When the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the regulated production of low-THC hemp, as distinct from other cannabis plants, there was a flurry of new hemp products reaching the market. But these have not received the same attention as THC-based cannabis products, with the result that many of them may be of dubious quality.
In an effort to survey the contaminants present in hemp-derived products as well as the accuracy of labelling for active ingredients, SC Labs and the United Cannabis Business Alliance partnered to test products purchased at unlicensed CBD retailers and traditional “smoke shops” in the Los Angeles area.
The results were concerning — over seven in ten of the samples failed for either excessive levels of contamination or containing too much THC to qualify as hemp, or both, when tested against California standards for inhalable cannabis products.
For background, hemp is defined in the legislation as the cannabis plant with one key difference: hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent of THC (the compound in the plant most commonly associated with getting a person high).Though the USDA and the DEA have weighed in with interim rules establishing a system for the production of hemp-derived CBD and other cannabinoids, there is not as yet any federally drawn up safety requirements for the products those cannabinoids are pouring into.
Among the most concerning findings of the SC Labs / United Cannabis Business Alliance survey was that the majority of samples labelled and sold as hemp contained levels of THC several times above the legal limit sufficient to cause psychoactive effects and intoxication, which could be frightening or even dangerous for an unsuspecting CBD consumer.
Furthermore, 42 percent of the samples tested exceeded California’s legal limits for pesticide and heavy metal contaminants set for regulated cannabis.
A much larger degree of consumer safety has been built into the regulated adult-use cannabis market, so for a properly regulated cannabis pharmacy might be where to seek out your cannabinoids for now – even if it is just CBD.