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Some CBD Creams, Patches Don’t Match Labels: Study

July 25, 2022 Cannabidiol (CBD) products created from hemp have gotten popular recently. But just how much is it possible to trust what the label says, in comparison to what is really in CBD patches, creams, and lotions?

A team of investigators made a decision to learn. They bought 105 hemp-derived CBD topicals products made to be employed to your skin from physical stores and websites on the internet.

Of the 89 labels that list the quantity of CBD, for instance, 24% matched that which was inside; 58% of the merchandise had more CBD; and the rest of the 18% contained less.

Also, greater than a third 35% of the topicals tested contained delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), including some that claimed to be THC-free.

THC may be the compound in marijuana connected with “getting high.” But hemp products are permitted to contain 0.3% or less THC, and all of the products in this study met the regulation.

People should “be skeptical of cannabinoid products obtainable in retail stores. The merchandise may not support the levels of CBD or THC which are advertised,” says lead study author Tory R. Spindle, PhD.

The study was published in JAMA Network Open on July 20.

COULD BE Deceiving

CBD topicals are over-the-counter (OTC) products, therefore the FDA will not regulate them exactly the same way as prescription drugs. But simultaneously, the agency will not allow OTC products to create claims about health advantages.

“Medical claims made on the merchandise, which are generally very pricey, might not be supported by clinical research,” says Spindle, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Cannabis Science Laboratory in Baltimore.

He and colleagues found 28% of the 105 products made a therapeutic claim, mostly about helping ease pain and inflammation. And 14% claimed to greatly help improve skin quality or appearance.

“This study really highlights that current regulatory oversight of cannabinoid products isn’t sufficient,” says Spindle, who’s also an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

More hemp-derived CBD products are turning up on store shelves and online due to the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act. This act, additionally referred to as the Farm Bill, removed hemp and hemp products from the U.S. controlled substances list.

Take Heart, Consumer

Despite concerns uncovered in the analysis, the topical CBD industry is apparently improving, says Adam Friedman, MD.

“Fortunately that within the last couple years, when confronted with this incredible explosion of CBD-heavy or CBD-only products which have to enter the market because of the Farm Bill, there does appear to be better quality assurance,” says Friedman, a professor and chair of dermatology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC.

“The labeling is improving, but there’s still lots of work to be achieved considering that there’s still under- and over-labeling,” he says.

The analysis authors mention concerns about ingredients in the products absorbing through your skin, entering your body, and causing other effects, such as for example liver toxicity. But Friedman says it’s unlikely many of these CBD topicals would go deeper compared to the skin’s upper layers.

“They are reputable investigators which have published widely in this space, including with this subject. It is a reputable journal. The look is sound, and the limitations are few, says Jamie Corroon, ND.

He found it interesting that products were mislabeled whether or not these were sold in brick-and-mortar stores or online. Also, concerning the finding that the merchandise containing THC were all within the 0.3% legal maximum, that is surprising and shows good manufacturing practices, he says.

Given these CBD products with THC are put on the skin, the chance of impairment “is exceptionally low,” says Corroon, an authorized naturopathic doctor and founder and medical director of the guts for Medical Cannabis Education in Del Mar, CA.

“The case for topical hemp-derived CBD products is they are generally safe, accessible, relatively affordable, and a lot of folks are reporting positive experiences with them,” he says.

SEVERAL Bad Apples?

Friedman agreed with Spindle and colleagues that incorrect labeling and claims about health advantages on some CBD products are concerning.

“Companies that mislabel and make inappropriate claims hurt the complete field.”

“There’s tremendous prospect of this area, especially in dermatology, where we’re considering specific topical agents for utilizing CBD,” Friedman says. When manufacturers mislead about CBD products, it “undermines the credibility of the field.”

The researchers purchased about 50 % the CBD products at physical stores in Baltimore and another half online in July and August 2020.

To get the exact levels of CBD, THC, along with other cannabinoids in each product, the investigators detected chemical signals for every ingredient of interest utilizing a method called gas chromatography mass spectrometry testing.

Applying More Research

Spindle and colleagues are examining the short- and long-term ramifications of topical cannabinoid lotions, creams, patches, along with other products.

“We have to understand what the products do,” he says, “and when you can find factors such as for example product formulation that may influence their effects on an individual.”

One unanswered question is whether topical CBD products could change the outcomes of drug testing necessary for employment or for other reasons.

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