These days it seems that you cannot swing a Chad by his fuckboy haircut without hitting an endcap full of heavily branded and virtually unregulated CBD products. The potential health benefits of CBD, especially as part of a full spectrum blend of cannabinoids and terpenes, are well-documented and the number of those “miracle” stories continues to grow by the day. But the fact that nobody with any authority anywhere on the planet is looking over this burgeoning multibillion dollar industry sets the CBD scene as a playground rife with snake oil salesmen looking to sink their own fangs into unsuspecting rubes.
Recently a testing lab named Ellipse Analytics obtained samples of 240 of the most popular CBD products found on the quasi-legal market today. Their task was to test all samples for potential contaminants and to also test the samples to determine the validity of the potency claims on the label. What they found isn’t surprising, but is absolutely disappointing, and won’t be changing without some serious oversight on the hemp market.
Of the 240 products tested, over 70% of them came back as “highly contaminated" containing significant amounts of heavy metals like lead and arsenic, herbicides like glyphosate (the active cancer-causing ingredient in RoundUp) and a host of other contaminants including pesticides, BPA and toxic mold. Some tests have even turned up traces of the compound 5F-ADB, known to be in dangerous synthetic drugs like K2 and Spice.
One of the products, from a brand called Ananda Hemp, failed the tests so miserably that the levels of lead their product contained was found to be 100x higher than what the EPA would allow in our drinking water. The company, of course, disputes the tests but that’s just it, who fucking cares? What good are rules if there is nobody to enforce them? Bad PR? Start a new brand selling the same shit. There is no licensing, no permitting, no nothing. Trash some old packaging and just like that you’re back in business. Rinse and repeat.
Meanwhile, people are pouring this stuff down the throats of their sick kids or elderly parents expecting the same multitude of benefits that they read about in CBD-related stories daily.
The recent revelation from Ellipse Analytics also showed that more than 50% of the products tested had misleading claims on the label regarding the actual content of CBD found inside. Some had absolutely zero CBD in them, others had 5-6x the listed amount. This is a serious problem when dealing with a poorly packaged, hard to dose medication, especially when dealing with kids or those with compromised immune systems.
Too many of these companies do not really even care about the CBD content – they only care to ensure that their product has less than the 0.3% THC allowed by the feds. As long as they are under that threshold, no oversight agency is holding them accountable for the CBD content.
For most of them, overdosing their products with their money-making ingredient makes no difference as they are importing hemp-derived CBD from places like China for fractions of pennies and then flipping it into $30-40 bottles of false hope. Making matters even worse is the fact that the hemp biomass being produced in other countries for CBD extraction is often the lowest grade material you can imagine. Worse still is the amazing bioremediation properties of the hemp plant make it an ideal crop to use to “clean” toxic soil in preparation for more food crops. Years of pesticide use can foul a plot of farmland, but a solid hemp harvest can give a second life to the soil. But all of that poison gets sucked up into the hemp plants and then extracted out in concentrated amounts to make the CBD that people are pumping into their kids’ and their own mouths these days. 70% of all hemp being processed in the U.S. today was grown in China.
No track and trace, no lab testing, just a bunch of vultures trying to cash in on what they see as nothing more than a new wellness trend.
The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began the first in an ongoing series of hearings just today to determine how it plans to move forward with the regulation of hemp-derived CBD in food and drink products, which it now currently bans despite the total removal of hemp from the controlled substances act in December of last year.
Fortunately, there are companies out there farming, harvesting, and processing their hemp and cannabis into legit CBD products right here in America. Of course, they cannot possibly meet the nation’s growing demand alone, and they are drowning in a sea of snake oil, but if you or someone that you care about is taking CBD or is considering adding it to your wellness regimen, it is now more important than ever to do your homework and to know your source.
And for those getting over on others in this time of confusion, the karma is going to burn like hell when it catches up to you.