Cannabidiol is without a doubt one of the most popular natural medicines at the moment. Extracted from hemp, a variety of cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, this chemical has held the world in thrall for the past year or two. Early trials to prove its medicinal properties found that the hemp extract did, in fact, have therapeutic abilities, and its popularity has soared ever since.
At the moment, the market is filled with thousands of cannabidiol-infused products, from tinctures and vapes to topicals and nasal sprays. Currently worth millions of dollars in sales, experts predict that it will hit $20 billion by 2024. Despite these extremely attractive numbers, the sector hides a dark secret.
Quite recently, The Digital Citizens Alliance ran a study that found out just how bad things are in the nascent cannabidiol sector. One of the biggest issues had been mislabeling, and the study found that a large percentage of CBD products did not contain exactly what was stated on their labels. According to Digital Citizens, more than half of the CBD products purchased and tested contained CBD levels that were 20% higher or lower than what was on the labeling.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp, stating that all legal hemp and its extracts had to have reduced levels of THC, the psychoactive chemical that gives marijuana its sting. However, that was the only stipulation laid down for CBD, and without comprehensive regulation, the sector has grown into what some have called a wild west industry.
Some of the products Digital Citizens tested had less than 10% of the CBD claimed on their packaging. What is especially worrying is that a large number of Americans have started using CBD as an alternative to pharmaceuticals to help alleviate conditions such as anxiety, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and others. Using substandard CBD products not only puts them in harm’s way, but it lulls them into thinking they are doing what’s best for their health when they, in fact, aren’t.
The Digital Citizens’ report, dubbed CBD Confusion: How Consumers Can Be Misled and Why the Market Needs Adult Supervision Now calls on regulatory agencies to quickly find ways to reign in the CBD industry before consumers are adversely affected.
“CBD shows promise to treat pain, anxiety, and seizures such as epilepsy. But the market can’t be built on inaccurate CBD levels, misleading claims and a false sense of security about safety,” argues Tom Galvin, the Executive Director of Digital Citizens.
“For consumers to truly trust CBD, they need to know that products meet safety and quality standards backed up by the FDA.”
Experts say is exactly the same call for comprehensive regulations that sector players like HTC Extraction Systems (TSX.V: HTC) (OTCQB: HTPRF) have been advocating for so that the industry can grow in a responsible way which builds public confidence.
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