A new report on CBD labelling has shown different amounts from what is advertised on their label highlighting the need for US regulation.
The study on commercial CBD labelling, published in the journal, Epilepsy & Behaviour, reported that a variety of CBD products such as oils, beverages and edibles had higher than expected levels of THC.
The US study highlights the need for strong regulation around labelling on consumer products that would avoid confusion around dosing, especially where THC is concerned.
The authors of the study reported that the percentage of CBD in a lot of the products surveyed varied largely from what their label claimed. The CBD beverages were the product most likely to contain different percentages.
It was also discovered that some of the products contained larger amounts of THC than advertised. This could mean that consumers may be at risk of failing a drug test or experiencing drug interactions. The authors also highlighted that this may mean those using the products for conditions such as epilepsy may not get the correct CBD or THC levels needed to control seizures.
The results for the eleven oils revealed that 18.8 per cent made nonspecific label claims of ‘hemp extract’ in lieu of CBD. Researchers found that 36.6 per cent were appropriately labelled but another 36.4 were under labelled. THC was detected in 54.55 per cent of oils with a maximum concentration of 0.02 per cent.
However, when it came to water-based products such as drinks, the tests revealed inaccuracies. Researchers found that only 7.14 per cent of aqueous products with a label claim were appropriately labelled.
The authors wrote: “THC was detected in 23.81 per cent of aqueous products tested with a maximum THC concentration of 0.0005 per cent w/v, and a minimum concentration of 0.0002 per cent w/v. Cannabinol was detected in 9.52 per cent of aqueous products, both at a concentration of 0.0015 per cent w/v.”
They added: “We demonstrate that commercial CBD products, especially aqueous beverages, can show inconsistent labelling, vary largely from their label claims should they make them, and show lot-to-lot variability making dosing unpredictable.”
CBD labelling reports
Other studies on CBD labelling report inaccuracies leaving consumers confused about how much they are actually consuming.
A previous study on delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol products discovered discrepancies. Delta-8 THC is legal in US federal law as long as products contain 0.3 per cent delta-9 THC or less. Delta-8 THC is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in the plant along with its relative, Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Both are psychoactive compounds but Delta-8 is thought to produce a milder high than THC.
It also examined the products for heavy metals, solvents, mycotoxins, pesticides and microbial contamination. The products tested included flower, edibles, prerolls, tinctures, concentrates, vape cartridges and vape pens purchased across different US states.
The results revealed that 76 per cent of the products contained delta-9 THC at greater than the limit. One product contained slightly more than 23 per cent delta-9. Vapes and concentrates were found to have higher levels than the pre-rolls or flowers. When it came to lab reports, the researchers found that two in 20 reports had been altered.
The authors wrote: “Overall, the lab investigation paints a picture of an industry with some reputable companies being dragged down by many who don’t deliver what is promised to consumers, often selling products that are indisputably illegal at the federal level and open consumers up to risks.
Customers can check lab results, but with little correspondence between lab results shown to customers and the results of testing on the actual product, this doesn’t really offer much assurance. Regulation is needed to fix the industry, but consumer diligence or even avoidance is strongly recommended until then.”
Delta-8 age restrictions
When it comes to the law, Delta-8 is in a bit of a grey area in comparison to THC. The Farm Bill from 2018 removed hemp from the list of controlled substances due to its low THC levels. Delta-8 is technically not mentioned by the bill which has caused a surge in products being released in the US market often with no age restrictions.
Another problem highlighted by the Oracle study was the issue of age verification. Only 14 per cent of the companies required age verification for the products purchased online.
It outlined some of the ways in which companies were verifying ages. One site required a signature on the delivery of the products and five used online certification platforms. Consumers would have to upload a photo of their driving license to purchase cannabis. The most common verification method was a pop-up option requesting a user’s age.
Restrictions and regulation changes
Speaking with Cannabis Wealth, Heidi Whitman, global strategy director, Avida Global confirmed that labelling is still an issue in the industry.
“Unfortunately mislabelling is still commonplace in the industry. Regulations were slow to develop leading to a “wild west” mentality where unscrupulous companies falsified and amended COA’s and therefore labels, to benefit from quick sales,” she said.
“Independent researchers along with the FDA, were alerted and warning letters sent, but it was and still is easy to create another brand to evade further collisions with the FDA. There is and continues to be a lack of standardisation, regulation, and enforcement for products online and in stores/dispensaries.
The rise of Delta-9 and Delta- 8 products alerted the authorities to the issue of further mislabelling, with a subsequent investigation and lab results concluding that the product label discrepancy was 8000 Delta-9 than what was labelled.
The whole industry suffers when the public cannot trust what they read on the label is honest and accurate.
As of 2022, there is more awareness for consumers to be alert, and a noticeable crackdown by the FDA to improve standards. However, from my recent discussions with USA based companies, the problem remains.”
She added: “I appreciate the moves made by the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC). The NASC audits each product which vies for their coveted gold seal for packaging. Regulation, standardisation, and enforcement can slowly weed out the non-compliant, short-term businesses that do not have the end consumer in mind, but rather their bank accounts.
As with any industry, there will always be average quality and premium quality products, but with Cannabis, due to the historical stigma and newly accepted rebirth of the industry, we desperately need some guidelines. Labelling of any product is meant to guide the consumers. There should be no cheating those looking to improve their health.”
California must bin cannabis cultivation tax to compete with black market
A new study has concluded that the State’s cannabis tax must be eliminated to move consumers away from illicit products.
California could increase legal cannabis sales and bring in 123 per cent more in total monthly cannabis-related tax revenue by 2024 by eliminating its cultivation tax.
California’s high cannabis taxes are high – as much as USE$90 per ounce, or $1,441 per pound. These taxes are hurting farmers and businesses while the illicit market captures two-thirds of cannabis sales, according to a new study carried out by Reason Foundation, Good Farmers Great Neighbors, and Precision Advocacy.
These taxes mean that California’s legal cannabis market has failed to meet expectations and is just one-third the size expected based on its population and adult usage rates. Additionally, the study estimates that nearly two-thirds of cannabis sales in California are still taking place on the illicit market.
Cannabis taxes average $340 per pound in Oregon and $526 a pound in Colorado, and, due to these lower taxes and greater access to legal products, the report shows that residents in Oregon spend 378 per cent more per capita on legal cannabis. Residents of Colorado spend 335 per cent more per capita on legal cannabis than Californians spend.
Director of drug policy at Reason Foundation, Geoffrey Lawrence, commented: “High taxes are undermining California’s legal cannabis market. California could double monthly cannabis tax revenues by 2024 by eliminating the cultivation tax.
“Without the cultivation tax, our data show lower cannabis prices would increase sales of legal products, increasing the state government’s general sales tax revenue and more than replacing losses from the eliminated cultivation tax.”
President of Precision Advocacy and legislative advocate of the California Cannabis Industry Association, Amy O’Gorman Jenkins, commented: “We are experiencing first-hand a serious price compression in the California supply-chain in part as a result of the illegal market, high taxes and fees and a patchwork of inconsistent local taxes driving legal operators to the brink of a financial cliff.
“We cannot allow the largest cannabis market in the world to fail. This study provides a roadmap of tax policy solutions for the governor and state legislative leaders to consider immediately.”
The study also recommends reducing retail excise taxes and encourages policies that could incentivise California’s local governments to stop banning the sale of legal cannabis products. It also found that Oregon has one legal cannabis retailer for every 6,145 residents and Colorado has one legal retailer for every 13,838 residents while California has just one legal cannabis retailer for every 29,292 residents.
Policy director of Good Farmers Great Neighbors, Sam Rodriguez, stated: “California’s cannabis farmers are experiencing the biggest challenges of their time. Many farmers are considering going fallow this year.
“Busy Bee Organics, one of the first woman-owned, sun-grown farmers in Santa Barbara, has already declared she’s not planting this year.
”California’s cultivation tax is regressive and has only contributed to uncertainty about the future of the state’s cannabis farmland economy and whether it can survive. The immediate elimination of the cultivation tax would be a first step in addressing critical issues impacting the state’s legal cannabis market from seed to sale.”
The problem with “copycat” cannabis edibles
With the rise in popularity of cannabis edibles, the problem with “copycat” products that look like popular snacks should be a major concern for the industry.
A recent study has shown that high-THC copycat cannabis edibles that look like well-known snacks increase the risk of ingestion by children.
Edibles are an increasingly popular segment of the cannabis market in the US, with up to 56 per cent of cannabis consumers buying them. Many of these products often use branding and imagery very similar to popular foods, which is raising public health concerns in the country – with nearly 2,000 cases of young children ages 0 to 9 consuming edibles from 2017 to 2019.
The study, carried out by the NYU School of Global Public Health, and published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, collected hundreds of photos of cannabis products and analysed packaging, finding that out of 267 edibles, 8 per cent closely resembled 13 different snack products.
These findings highlight the risk that these copycat products could be attractive to children.
Lead author, Danielle Ompad, associate professor of epidemiology at NYU School of Global Public Health, said: “At first glance, most of the packages look almost exactly like familiar snacks.
“If these copycat cannabis products are not stored safely, there is the potential for accidental ingestion by children or adults.”
Twelve of the products were candies or sweet snacks and one was a salty snack. Eight of the 13 packages used the exact brand or product name of the original product; the remaining five used names that were similar, for example “Stoner Patch Dummies” instead of “Sour Patch Kids”. Seven of the packages used the same cartoon or brand character as the original product.
“While each package is likely intended to include multiple doses, few packages indicate the serving size or number of servings,” said Ompad. “Moreover, if we’re considering 10 mg a standard dose, these products could contain an alarming 30 to 60 doses per package.
“Policies to prevent cannabis packaging from appealing to children haven’t stopped copycat products from entering the market — nor have food brands taken legal action against cannabis companies for copyright infringement.
“People who purchase edibles that look like snack foods should store them separately from regular snacks and out of reach of children.”
New platform aims to transform US cannabis supply chain
The platform aims to provide information sharing, reduce costs, and increase transparency and trust.
Lucid Green has announced it has raised $10m (~£7.88m) for its UPC platform in a series B funding round. The company is aiming to transform the cannabis supply chain through its LucidIDs, the industry’s first intelligent QR code.
The cannabis supply chain in the US is riddled with challenges for businesses. There are problems with inaccurate product information, inefficient cycle counting, sporadic Certificate of Analysis (COA) compliance and secondary stickering.
Manual inventory management is also time consuming, expensive and prone to errors. Brands experience increased costs and lower profit margins as a result of compliance and supply chain inefficiencies, and lack the mechanisms to communicate directly with consumers and dispensaries. Distributors face reducing retailer order fulfilment time and turnaround – resulting in higher working capital requirements for their customers.
Lucid Green is aiming to solve these problems with its intelligent UPC through its $10m, funding round led by Gron Ventures, with participation by Gotham Green Partners.
Co-founder and CEO of Lucid Green, Larry Levy, commented: “It’s clear that the cannabis supply chain’s status quo is holding the industry back, and Lucid Green is proud to have pioneered the first solutions to benefit all stakeholders.
“We are laser-focused on developing the leading solutions to strengthen our industry. Lucid Green benefits brands, distributors and retailers while delivering a much needed educational experience for consumers that helps to further normalise the industry.”
The new funding will support the recruitment of top tier talent, raise awareness of its technology, and accelerate adoption of its solution.
LucidIDs utilise QR codes to allowing for true truck-to-shelf inventory intake, reducing manual labor and human errors, and virtually eliminating data cleanliness issues.
The QR codes permit dynamic information flow which empowers stakeholders to continue adding information about a product through its lifecycle, unlike the status quo of secondary stickering. The IDs have already been used for more than 17 million products.
The IDs offer brands, retailers and distributors a solution to reduce costs, increase transparency, and drive more sales, delivering data insights and COA management.
Wilder Ramsey, managing partner of Gron Ventures, commented: “Inefficiencies and outdated methods in the supply chain are holding the cannabis industry back from reaching its full potential.
“We are proud to have invested in Lucid Green because the power and promise of their technology and solutions can save all stakeholders time and money, while increasing education and trust among consumers.”
“Our core ethos is quality, consistency and value, and part of our mission is to provide retailers and consumers with the best cannabis products at the best price,” added Skip Motsenbocker, CEO at Pacific Stone.
“Lucid Green is a critical partner for us, and with their LucidIDs, we’re able to directly communicate with budtenders and consumers, increasing education, loyalty and trust. Lucid Green is creating higher profit margins for us thanks to more efficient truck-to-shelf processing, and we think the whole industry would benefit from their solutions.”
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