Scientists tested 250 top-selling CBD products and detected THC in 45% of them, raising questions about FDA regulation.
CBD is anywhere and everywhere these days, asserting itself as the biggest wellness trend in the country. According to a Gallup poll released last month, 14% of Americans say they use CBD products. That equates to more than 45 million Americans using CBD products, based on latest available U.S. Census estimates.
But if you’re among those 45 million Americans, there’s a good chance your CBD product included some THC, the cannabinoid responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive sensation. Ellipse Analytics, a Denver start-up focused on purity and big data in food products, recently tested the 250 top-selling CBD products and detected THC in 45% of them. Among products that claimed it was “THC-free,” 21% in fact contained detectable levels of THC, Ellipse announced.
“In the absence of a federal definition of THC-free, consumers are essentially being misled to believe their CBD products are free of THC,” Dr. Sean Callan, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Operations at Ellipse Analytics, said in a statement.
An important reminder: CBD may be legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s regulated. Hemp-derived CBD products were made legal through the 2018 Farm Bill. So long as they don’t contain above 0.3% THC, they’re legal. The Food and Drug Administration, though, has dragged its feet in instituting regulations on CBD products. We’ve heard hints for months and months that FDA regulations were coming for CBD, but we haven’t seen anything yet.
In light of America’s vaping crisis, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stepped in. Earlier this month, he drafted a measure that would force the FDA to set temporary guidelines of “enforcement discretion” around hemp-derived CBD products. Should the bill pass—there hasn’t been a vote yet—the FDA would have 90 days to draft such guidelines and 120 days to institute them.
What’s clear is that CBD products need regulation or, as Dr. Callan insinuated, people could lose their jobs.
“Ultimately, without federal or state intervention, the ‘safe’ amount of THC in a finished good will most likely be established through class action lawsuits,” Dr. Callan said. “People consuming CBD products making false THC-free claims are unknowingly ingesting THC and potentially failing drug tests.”