There’s a growing focus on the use of e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are often used as a replacement for tobacco, but many of these cartridges are also marketed for Cannabidiol (CBD) users. Unfortunately, regulation in the new and fast-growing CBD industry is minimal, exposing consumers to potentially dangerous drugs in CBD products.
A by-product of hemp, CBD doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the by-product in marijuana associated with the psychological effects, or “high.” CBD has been marketed as a holistic approach towards reducing anxiety and inflammation, improving the ability to focus and contribute to overall wellness. Those seeking the benefits of CBD can consume it through creams, oils, edibles and e-cigarette cartridges.
The Associated Press (AP) recently used an outside laboratory to test several different CBD products. According to AP, “At least 128 samples out of more than 350 tested by government labs in nine states, nearly all in the South, had synthetic marijuana in products marketed as CBD, according to information the states provided.”
Psychoactive chemicals have been found added to fraudulent cartridges marketed as CBD and linked to 11 deaths in Europe and several illnesses in the US, incidents being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The greater issue is some of the products have no markings, labels or ingredients. A consumer may have no idea what substances the cartridges or edibles contain. The manufacturing process is so disjointed, the AP laboratory analysis found even products marketed under the same brand name had significantly different ingredients depending on where they were purchased.
The legitimate CBD industry has chosen to self-regulate, forming The US Hemp Authority. This organization provides standards, best practices and a third-party audit for those who wish to obtain certification.
The issue comes down to money. Synthetic marijuana is much cheaper to produce and allows for a much cheaper end product. “People have started to see the market grow and there are some fly-by-night companies trying to make a quick buck,” Marielle Weintraub, president of the U.S. Hemp Authority told the AP.
The majority of CBD cartridges and edibles aren’t certified. And there’s no way to know what chemicals an e-cigarette cartridge or edible may contain. So while the CDC continues to investigate and the legitimate hemp industry attempts to self-regulate, all users should be aware of potential risks.