Vast amounts of CBD products are sold online and in stores without any documentation or transparency. Big marketplaces, from eBay to Alibaba, sell mysterious vials of oil with odd labels, and people buy them.
The first is the herbal supplement boom, a $49 billion-a-year industry that has seen rapid expansion since about 2010. The second is the rise of the anxiety economy, in which all sorts of products, from fidget spinners to weighted blankets, are pitched as reducers of the mild panic of everyday life. And the third is the near-overnight creation of a legitimate cannabis industry, thanks to the spread of marijuana legalization.
They see a market littered with items like this and assume that no customer would reasonably assume it’s of high quality. That lines up with one of the rare instances of FDA testing.
In 2016, the FDA tested several “CBD oils,” ultimately issuing warnings to eight companies. Some of those oils were found to contain no or barely any CBD, and many contained illegal quantities of THC.
In fact, a report last June byPhytoVista Laboratories, one of the UK’s most reputable labs for testing cannabis oils and hemp products, turned up worrying results after testing more than 30 CBD products available in the UK for the CMC. Sixteen contained less CBD than advertised, and eight of these contained less than half the amount they claimed on the bottle. One product – which had a £90 price tag – contained no CBD whatsoever.
For example, Healthy Hemp Oil’s “Herbal Renewals 25% CBD Hemp Oil Gold Label” contained 8.4 mg/g of THC. Sana Te Premium Oils, which sold 25 mg “CBD oil” capsules on Etsy, contained between 13 and 19 mg/g of THC and less than 0.1 mg/g of CBD. Blessing told me that two clinical managers of pharmaceutical companies she knows have performed tests on various CBD oils they’ve found for sale, just out of curiosity. (They declined to speak on the record.) Some of these products had no CBD in them at all, they found. Hudson Hemp caters to high-end CBD companies, and its accountability is unusual.
Other celebrities are taking things further still by joining the growing band of so-called ‘cannapreneurs’. The CBD craze took off hemp oil tincture when President Trump signed the Farm Bill last December. The bill allows farmers to legally grow hemp, the source of CBD. It is a member of the marijuana plant family, but it produces only trace amounts of THC.