There is a dizzying array of options to choose from on the CBD product market. When it comes to selecting the right CBD product for you, how do you know which brand to go with? How can you be sure these products are safe?

It can be a confusing experience for many, but one thing that is essential for consumers to understand is what constitutes a safe and high-quality CBD product.


Lab testing

To demonstrate product safety, CBD producers should have their products third-party lab tested in order to provide consumers with accurate information about the product’s composition. If you purchased a 500mg CBD tincture, you would expect to receive 500mg of CBD.

Unfortunately, we have seen that is not always the case.

Several independent studies carried out in different countries have compared the advertised CBD content of products available on the market, to the actual CBD content determined by a third-party lab test. Sadly, all studies concluded that CBD products are frequently mislabelled in their cannabinoid content.1-4 This has significant implications on vulnerable consumers using these products, and highlights the need for accurate labelling and better testing standards throughout the industry.


Managing CBD intake

Precise information regarding product composition is crucial for consumers to manage their CBD intake. Although CBD products are mainly sold as food or wellness supplements, we know they are more often used by patients hoping to relieve a multitude of self-treatable symptoms.

Over-the-counter CBD is also used for relief from more life-threatening disorders such as childhood epilepsy; which is partly due to the current inability to access CBD easily through the NHS.

The widespread problem with substandard CBD products means that many patients will not be receiving the dose of CBD that they intended to take which in turn may lead to doubts about CBD’s efficacy. Negative experiences like these can lead to a reduced public perception of the usefulness of CBD products.

Third-party lab testing provides an objective analysis of the product, giving an unbiased verification of what is actually contained inside.


Meeting regulations

High-quality testing can ensure that CBD products meet regulations, are free from contaminants and are ready for customers to safely consume.The result of third-party lab testing is what is known as a Certificate of Analysis (CoA). This document is proof that the batch has been tested by an approved laboratory.

A full Certificate of Analysis should display the cannabinoid & terpene profile of the CBD product. It should show the product to be free from heavy metals, pesticides, and residual solvents. Microbiology testing should demonstrate the product is free from harmful microbes, including mycotoxins.

This type of testing is common practice for many agricultural products which are grown for human consumption. Next time you purchase CBD, look out for a Certificate of Analysis which should be available from any reputable supplier or brand.


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References

  1. Liebling JP, Clarkson NJ, Gibbs BW, Yates AS, O'Sullivan SE. An analysis of over-the counter cannabidiol products in the United Kingdom. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2020, X:X, 1.
  2. Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017, 318(17), 1708.
  3. Pavlovic R, Nenna G, Calvi L, et al. Quality Traits of "Cannabidiol Oils": Cannabinoids Content, Terpene Fingerprint and Oxidation Stability of European Commercially Available Preparations. Molecules. 2018, 23(5), 1230.
  4. Hazekamp A, Epifanova S. Grote variatie in samenstelling cannabisolie noopt tot regels. Pharmaceutisch Weekblad. 2017, 152, 16.