Recent data from Leafreport shows less than half of CBD brands tested the majority of their products for potency and 60 per cent of products did not match the labelled CBD content.
The cannabis and CBD industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in North America with many other countries, including the UK and much of Europe, starting to catch up. But as the sector grows regulators have lagged behind, allowing for mislabeled and untested products to flood the market.
Although regulators are struggling to keep up with the rapid growth of the nascent sector, increasing competition has helped to boost the number of companies carrying out third party testing. Despite some small steps being made towards a more regulated industry, recent data has found that there is still a long way to go.
In August 2021, Leafreport, a peer-reviewed watchdog for the CBD sector reviewed 2946 products from 136 CBD brands for purity and potency testing. The results confirmed the CBD industry remains a ‘wild west’ with mislabelling and inaccurate claims still running rife. Less than half of the brands tested the majority of their products for potency while just 13 per cent tested the majority of their products for purity. 25 per cent of brands carried out no purity testing at all.
Leafreport’s 2021 market analysis solidified its earlier findings with the report showing that 60 per cent of 221 products sent for third-party testing did not match the labelled CBD strength. Just under half of these had CBD levels that differed front the label by more than 30 per cent. This week, the company released a further study which found that more than half of 52 tested CBD products currently marketed for sleep contained the wrong amounts of CBD, CBN, and/or melatonin.
“Frankly, the results of this research are shocking and continue to illustrate the need for a more transparent CBD industry,” said Gal Shapira, Product Manager at Leafreport. “Consumers need to know when they buy CBD products that there are certain quality standards being met. Leafreport exists to help these consumers make better-informed decisions about what they put into their bodies. We see this report as a critical service to help consumers ensure they buy products that actually work.”
In the US, some states require CBD products to undergo third-party testing before they can be sold on the market. But despite these rules being in place, they often go unenforced. Scott Mazza, founder of New York-based organic CBD producer Vitality CBD said that although the state has introduced rules surrounding labelling, third-party lab testing and extraction methods, there is no regulatory body ensuring that companies comply.
“New York really tried to come out with a lot of regulations but it’s nothing that’s ever been enforced; not in any way shape or form,” Mazza told Cannabis Wealth. “The [state] tried to come out with certain labelling requirements [but] there’s no regulatory body that is checking any of the boxes. They’ve even tried to ban certain methods of extracting CBD but I know people around here that are still using extraction methods that technically aren’t compliant.
“We adhere to all the [regulations] to a tee, but then you’ll go around locally to a lot of CBD stores, hemp stores and vape shops and you’ll see companies in there that are completely disregarding any of the rules or regulations that just came out.”
Inesa Ponomariovaite, founder of Chicago-based producer of full-spectrum CBDa products, Nesas Hemp, echoed Mazza’s view. Before launching her ‘Beyond Organic’ full-spectrum CBDa hemp extract, Ponomariovaite travelled across the US and Europe to independently test the products that were currently on the market. She said she was “devastated” by what she found.
“I had to really investigate because the [industry] is still not regulated,” Ponomariovaite said. “Anybody who wants to be in the cannabis business can be. You can do whatever you want and nobody’s going to stop you and you’re not even going to [face] a penalty. I saw heavy metals, I saw organic certified farms sharing soil with cornfields. We have this major industry growing and who knows what is in these bottles.”
While the industry remains unregulated, Mazza said consumers should not be afraid to reach out to the companies they are buying from and ask for proof of lab results and growing conditions.
“I think the more information a company can provide and the more transparent they are about the products that they’re selling is a positive sign that they’re being honest and selling what they claim to be selling,” he said.
JM Wholesale sees 750 products included on FSA CBD list
The CBD stockist has described the development as a milestone for the company.
Following a partnership with the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) and active participation with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), JM Wholesale has had more than 750 items included on the public CBD list.
Earlier this year the FSA published its list of CBD products linked to what it deems as credible Novel Food applications. Products included on the list will be advancing through the final stages towards authorisation, expected by 2023.
More than 900 applications for thousands of UK products have been submitted for approval, with the majority being rejected for lacking basic information such as toxicity levels.
JM Wholesale has announced that it has now had 750 of its products included on the public list.
Thomas Lowe, operations director at the Leicester-based company, said that, after 200 per cent business growth in the past 18 months and a resulting move to major new premises, JM Wholesale is now perfectly placed to consolidate its position as the UK’s premier CBD wholesaler.
Lowe commented: “We have a larger range of approved CBD products than any other distributor and this moment is another milestone for our company.
“We’ve worked hard to ensure that our customers and our business are protected, by getting rid of any products not published on the FSA’s website, regardless of how big those brands are.
“In fact we’ve always loved finding unique products, including those where the CBD can be absorbed in different ways. That way, more people from different walks of life can enjoy CBD no matter how they prefer to access it.
“From our distribution centre we now provide the largest range of isolate and full spectrum CBD products in the UK, all of which are 100 per cent accepted by the FSA.
“We are the first distributor to add the relevant Novel Food classification numbers to all of our relevant listed products.
“The past few months have been extremely challenging for our industry but we have made efforts to take an active role in the novel food submission process. We anticipated regulation of this industry, we were determined not to let it stand in the way of the growth of our business, and we’ve participated accordingly.
“All in all, this is excellent news for our customers and partners.”
The company has stated that it has experienced rapid growth off the back of increased awareness of the health benefits of CBD products in the UK, and that, alongside its consumer business, it also exports to suppliers in the UK and in 170 countries worldwide.
FSA CBD list now closed for applications
An additional 6000 products added to the Food standards Agency’s (FSA) CBD list.
The FSA has confirmed that the UK’s list of CBD products linked to credible Novel Foods applications is now closed.
The FSA has updated its public list of CBD products that can be marketed in England and Wales, adding almost 6000 products. These are products that are linked to a credible application submitted for authorisation to the FSA, and are not new to the market.
The organisation has confirmed that the public list, which was initially published in March, is now closed and has stated that any further requests to have products put on the public list or evidence sent are no longer being accepted.
The FSA has previously reminded consumers that products on the list will be able to remain on the market as they progress towards final authorisation, but that, although these products are classed as “credible”, it does not guarantee they will be authorised for sale.
Rebecca Sudworth, director of policy at the FSA, stated: “This has been a long and complex process and we are grateful for the help and cooperation of the CBD industry as we reach this important milestone on the path to bringing CBD products into compliance and protecting consumers.
“The only changes we envisage being made to the list now will be to reflect the status of products as we move to authorisation, and any routine corrections.
“We have seen the list, which contains almost 12,000 products, grow considerably since March when we first published it. The publication of the initial list prompted a number of companies to come forward with new evidence linking large numbers of individual products to existing applications, and so we made a final call for evidence to support businesses in achieving compliance for their products.
“We think it is important we get this right, and it is encouraging that so many companies want to get their CBD products on the path to authorisation.”
Businesses wanting to sell their products in Great Britain should now apply to the FSA’s regulated products process and those wanting to sell in Northern Ireland should apply to the European Commission. However, as new applications will not be eligible for the public list, they should not be put on sale until they have been authorised.
Validated applications on the CBD list are currently moving on to a full risk assessment stage of the application process, and those that are shown to be of a low enough risk must also go through a risk management process before a recommendation can be made to Ministers on authorisation.
At the time of the list’s initial publication in March, the FSA confirmed that, with a lengthy process still to go, it is unlikely any applications will be considered for authorisation before early to mid-2023, with any additional authorisations potentially taking another few years.
The FSA emphasises that there are currently no authorised CBD products on the market.
British Cannabis™ launches premium CBD products in Selfridges
The CBD by British Cannabis™ collection will be showcased in the Beauty Hall at Selfridges London.
British Cannabis™ is launching its premium, flagship range of CBD products in Selfridges.
British Cannabis™ will launch its super-premium collection of 100 per cent cannabis supplements and cosmetics in Selfridges on 4 July, 2022.
All of the food supplement products in the CBD by British Cannabis™ collection were recently included on the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) public list of products that are legal for sale on the UK market.
The products’ appearance on the list followed the company’s successful submission of Novel Foods applications.
A recent update by the FSA saw British Cannabis™ ranked as the UK’s largest CBD manufacturer by number of publicly listed CBD products manufactured.
CEO, Thomas Whettem, commented: “This is yet another great milestone in the British Cannabis™ story. It is a testament to the levels of excellence we demand within our supply chain and products, that we are now stocked at an iconic, prestige retailer in Selfridges.
“We set out to create ‘the champagne of CBD oils’, with more beneficial cannabis phytochemicals than any other CBD products compliant and legal for sale today.
“Our premium, THC-free products are both UK-born and UK-manufactured, thus debuting in Selfridges London seems very appropriate.”
CBD by British Cannabis™ products have won multiple awards in recent years, including the Highly Commended 2021, P3 MVP Award for 1000mg CBD Cannabis Oils, ICP magazine’s 2022 CBD Product of The Year, and Your Healthy Living magazine’s 2022 Silver Award for Best CBD Products (for CBD by British Cannabis™ Dermal Patches 500mg).
The 100 per cent cannabis products contain hundreds of other beneficial cannabis compounds, terpenes, flavonoids, phenols and more, whilst still being compliant with regulations and legal for sale within the UK.
Each product is rigorously tested for accuracy, purity, and THC-free status for consumer peace of mind.
Every product contains the knowledge and expertise that has been amassed over the last seven years of British Cannabis™ existence, evidenced in the growing, extraction, research, development, and manufacturing that saw this British start-up grow to be the leading authority in consumer cannabis products within the UK.
The company launched a television campaign in March 2022 for the range as part of a half a million pound investment in awareness building and consumer recruitment 2022/23.
The campaign aimed to break down barriers to legal cannabis-derived products, gaining broadcaster approval to make more industry-specific references than any campaign to date.
Shown across dozens of premium channels on the SKY and Channel 5 networks, this marked the first time that the SKY network had opened its doors to CBD advertisers on their linear stations since 2019.
British Cannabis™ managing director, David Ralson, commented: “As proud as we are of our tested, trusted, super-premium CBD supplements and cosmetics, we are equally proud to now be bringing them to the world-class shopping experience at Selfridges, as part of our distribution expansion plans.
“For over a century, Selfridges have brought premium health and beauty products to the forefront in exciting ways – and especially in their new Feel Good Bar. As one of the UK’s original British-made CBD ranges, with a heritage in this young industry of nearly seven years, the match of Selfridges and CBD by British Cannabis™ seems a perfect fit.
“I hope that Selfridges shoppers grow to love and trust our CBD range as much as our existing loyal customer base, who over the years have given us over 1,500 5-star reviews on Trustpilot.”
With sales of wellbeing supplements, superfoods and ingestibles up almost 125 per cent at Selfridges since last year and almost 700 per cent compared to pre-pandemic, The Feel Good Bar will launch as a new permanent wellbeing destination at Selfridges London.
The bar will be a place for visitors to explore more than 250 of the latest and best products in wellbeing innovation, ranging from gut health to hormones, hangover cures and sleep hacking.
The destination will be anchored by a new energy-lifting bar concept brought by JENKI, introducing a menu of matcha and alternative drinks that reimagine drinking culture.