Study Finds Over-the-Counter CBD Products Less Potent Than Advertised

According to a new study published by the Journal of Dietary Supplements, many cannabinoid (CBD)-infused products that are purchased over-the-counter contain far lower percentages of cannabidiol than advertised on the products’ labeling. The study, titled Content versus label claims in cannabidiol (CBD) products obtained from commercial outlets in the state of Mississippi, was first reported on by NORML.

For the study researchers lab-tested 25 commercially available hemp/CBD oil products: All of these products are legally available, but none are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration.

“Of the 25 products tested, 15 possessed quantities of CBD that were far below what was advertised on the products’ labels. Three of the products tested positive for levels of THC above the federal 0.3 percent limit. In four of the products tested, investigators identified the presence of synthetic cannabinoid adulterants.”



Authors concluded by stating that “From this small, but diverse sampling of hemp-derived merchandise, it appears that most product label claims do not accurately reflect actual CBD content and are fraudulent in that regard. … These findings argue strongly for further development of current good manufacturing practices for CBD-containing products and their stringent enforcement.”

According to NORML, “The study’s findings are consistent with dozens of other analyses reporting that commercially available CBD products are of heterogeneous quality – with many containing psychoactive adulterants, heavy metals, and lower than advertised percentages of cannabidiol,”

According to a newly released marketing report by New Frontier Data, an estimated 18 percent of Americans over the age of 18 have tried CBD products, with many acquiring them from online sources.

The study’s abstract, in its entirety, can be found below:




Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are now available throughout the United States, but their quality is oftentimes questionable. The CBD and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of 25 commercially available hemp oil products, obtained throughout the state of Mississippi, was determined via gas chromatography/flame ionization detection (GC/FID). These products were also analyzed for the presence of synthetic cannabinoids using full scan gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Analytical findings were compared to label claims for CBD content. Product label claims for CBD ranged from no claim to 500mg per serving; however, marked variability was observed between actual CBD content and claimed quantities. Of the 25 products, only three were within ±20% of label claim. Fifteen were well below the stated claim for CBD; two exceed claims in excess of 50%; and 5 made no claims. In addition, THC content for three products exceeded the 0.3% legal limit. Furthermore, four products—primarily marketed for vaping—were adulterated with synthetic cannabinoids. From this small, but diverse, sampling of hemp-derived merchandise, it appears that most product label claims do not accurately reflect actual CBD content and are fraudulent in that regard. Moreover, products that exceed legal THC levels may jeopardize a consumer’s employment status (i.e. failed “drug test”), while those adulterated with synthetic cannabinoids may subject them to serious adverse health effects. These findings argue strongly for further development of current good manufacturing practices for CBD-containing products and their stringent enforcement.

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