LeafReport, an online CBD educational platform, tested the cannabinoid potency of 37 different CBD products, comparing the results to potency claims from each product. Researchers found that about 27 percent of products had variances in claims versus potency that wouldn't pass the standard for products sold in state-legal marijuana industries.
Because the FDA has yet to regulate CBD companies and they don't fall within states' legal marijuana regulations, it's largely up to brands to make sure their products are safe and accurately labeled. That means you might not always get the amount of CBD you paid for.
"We felt that it's very important for a user to understand if they're receiving the same amount of CBD that they purchased," says Noa Gans, a researcher for LeafReport.
Partnering with an independent (and unaffiliated with any CBD brand or LeafReport) testing lab Canalysis Laboratories, LeafReport chose the CBD products from brands they view as current industry leaders before determining the percentage of variance between the amount of CBD listed on labels and the amount of CBD that products actually contained. According to LeafReport, 10 percent is considered the maximum cannabinoid variance in the marijuana industry, and 27 of the 37 products tested (73 percent) fell within that margin of error. However, four products had margins of error in between 10 and 20 percent, while one product was in between 20 and 30 percent, and four products were wrong by 30 percent or more.
Another surprising finding was that the variances swung wide in both directions. About 84 percent of all the products tested contained more CBD than listed on the label, with one product, Diamond CBD Full Spectrum CBD Oil, containing over 62 percent more CBD than the label claimed, while CalyFX Social Tincture only had 6 percent of the CBD it advertised.
"I think the best tip that we can give to users is to buy from the well-trusted, reputable brands. In our opinion, don't take chances with unknown brands or new brands. Don't let them seduce you with lower prices. Go for the well-known brands, and you will get the best product," says Rotem Amar, vice president of product at LeafReport. "If you stumble upon a new brand and you want to figure out if this brand is good or if maybe someone is trying to scam you or give you a lower-quality product, check it."
But what does that mean for fledgling CBD companies looking to put themselves on the map? "So for the smaller brands, I think they need to emphasize the transparency and try to give as much information and clarity to the users," he continues, recommending that consumers look for CBD products that include QR codes on their labels, which show lab testing results and product sourcing information when scanned.