Our report on online retail showed that less than 30% of the products researched had laboratory test reports available. CBD Testing is not mandatory and it can be expensive, so few manufacturers do it. We think this is a big concern for customers and suppliers alike. Why?
Is there THC in CBD products?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted from plants in the genus Cannabis, which contains unique components called cannabinoids. THC is the most notable of these , due to its psychotropic action [Reference 00001], and it is illegal in the UK [Reference 00002]. Although the cultivars of Cannabis used for production of CBD contain little THC, traces of it can be found on CBD products. As per Home Office fact sheet:
…it is very difficult to isolate pure CBD, and in our experience many products in fact do not fully disclose their contents or provide a full spectrum analysis at an appropriate level of sensitivity to accurately and consistently determine their true content or control status.Factsheet – Cannabis, CBD and other cannabinoids UK, Home Office
Against this background, the presumption has to be one of caution – that is, that a CBD containing product would be controlled under the MDA 1971 /MDR 2001 as a result of its other cannabinoid content. “
Thus, if a CBD products contains more than 0.2% of THC, it would be a controlled substance in the UK. How to make sure products are under the legal limit? Laboratory testing.
Reasons for CBD testing
There are at least two reasons why to test CBD products for their THC content. One legal, from the point of view of companies, and one on the consumers’ rights.
- Companies supplying in the CBD business should be able to proof, at any time, that their products are legal. It is likely that there will be confusion on both sides (Government and suppliers), and conflicting views are expected. One example of this happened with Canna Kitchen, restaurant that got media attention for being the first in the UK to infuse their dishes with CBD. After being target of police raids, it has shut down. [Reference 00003, Reference 00004]. Although laboratory results may not be sufficient to avoid completely problems, it is likely that they can be useful to provide evidence of legal operation.
- Consumers of CBD products want to be assured that there is no, or very little, THC in the products. Since THC is psychotropic, and it is difficult to isolate CBD from other cannabinoids, the testing is the only way for companies to prove to consumers that their products are not, actually, controlled substances.
Conclusions on CBD Testing
The results of our report are indeed worrying, considering both points above. Although not mandatory, CBD testing is highly likely to help companies in ensuring compliance and demonstrating the quality of their products. As the CBD market evolves, we expect more scrutiny on products, by both consumers and Government, and this will drive the market towards higher standards of quality control, traceability and transparency. Testing will be a critical part of it.