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The Importance of Testing & Mislabelled CBD Products

The Importance of Testing & Mislabelled CBD Products

Cannabidiol (CBD) is becoming increasingly popular as more people learn about its benefits. A few years ago, the CBD market in the UK was worth £300 million. In 2025, it’s expected to be worth £1 billion. The UK CBD market is larger than that for Vitamins C and D combined and is set to equal the entire UK herbal supplement market in a few years.

The meteoric rise of CBD isn’t restricted to the UK. In the U.S., CBD sales are set to reach $1.8 billion by 2022. To meet rising demand, more CBD-infused products are being manufactured and put up for sale. Unfortunately, not all are following rules and regulations put forth by various government agencies. A slew of reports have shown the significant amounts of mislabelled CBD products. In this article, we have examined how CBD products fail to measure up to the claims they make, the types of mislabelling seen in major CBD markets, and the importance of third-party independent CBD testing to ensure this doesn’t keep happening.

Mislabelling Of CBD Products

A study by the University of Pennsylvania showed that almost 70% of CBD extracts distributed online are mislabelled somehow. The lack of oversight is especially shocking, considering that many individuals pay to use these goods for medical purposes. This particular study analysed 84 products from 31 different companies and found that 26% of products were over-labelled, and a shocking 42% were under-labelled. Only 30% of products contained CBD within 10% of the amount listed on the packaging. In addition to mislabelling the amount of CBD in the product, some products contained significant amounts of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC), the compound that produces a psychoactive effect. In the U.S., this is a Schedule 1 drug, making it illegal to purchase.

Other research includes Veteran Affairs San Diego, Americans for Safe Access, Johns Hopkins University, Palo Alto University, and RTI International. These have come to the same conclusion, i.e., the inconsistencies in claims about CBD concentration. Research in the UK has also confirmed this. 

In fact, one of the most comprehensive studies on this was completed by the Centre for Medical Cannabis (CMC) in 2019, where 30 different CBD oil products were tested from both online and in-store retailers. Testing included checking CBD content and determining the presence of other substances in the oils. Unfortunately, results showed that only 38% of products were within 10% of the advertised content. In addition to over-labelling and under-labelling CBD content, various levels of isopropanol, ethanol, arsenic, and lead were discovered in many products. Furthermore, 45% of products included more THC than permitted by law.

Why Are CBD Products Mislabelled?

One of the main reasons for this alarming percentage of mislabelling is the competitive nature of the industry. Thorough CBD testing can be expensive, and as companies try and price their products competitively, they may cut corners on testing. Additionally, there is a lack of government oversight in countries like the U.S. There aren’t any clear FDA regulations to follow, and so, products continue to be mislabelled and sold under false pretences. 

Even in the UK, there’s a lack of clear laws to follow when it comes to CBD testing. While CBD content has to be included on labels, other testing isn’t mandatory. Unethical businesses continue to take advantage of this. The import of CBD from other countries makes tracking more complicated.

The CBD purification process can also be expensive, and many companies cut corners instead of opting for the best possible extraction process. CO2 extraction, for example, is one of the best ways to go about this, but many companies end up using solvent extraction because it’s cheaper. Unfortunately, this leaves in contaminants that can be detrimental to health. 

CBD Testing and Why It’s Important

With this information coming to light, the importance of CBD testing cannot be ignored. 

Legality – While CBD is legal in the UK and many U.S. states, THC is not. CBD can be used for medicinal purposes, while THC is the component that results in psychoactive effects. In the UK, CBD products must contain less than 0.2% THC. Certain products have passed this threshold and are no longer considered legal. Not only can businesses face legal troubles for selling these products, but consumers can also be prosecuted for purchasing them.

Consumer Trust – Studies like those by the University of Pennsylvania and the CMC have shown that consumers are losing trust in CBD products and the companies selling them. Purity and quality are of the utmost importance, and transparent brands are more likely to thrive than those that don’t offer testing proof. Purchasing decisions are affected by clearly and accurately labelled products, making testing a priority for companies that want to establish consumer confidence.

Safety – Safety is the most important aspect of testing. Studies have shown the presence of heavy metals and other toxic ingredients in CBD products. These can result in headaches, anxiety, and other health consequences. With CBD being used to treat medical diseases and being used in drugs catered to children, it’s especially important to ensure safety before putting these products on the market.

Get Your CBD Products Tested From a Reliable Lab

In order to make labelling as accurate as possible, manufacturers must choose reliable laboratories to test their products. While some companies prefer in-house testing, third-party CBD testing is the most reliable option since it ensures all claims being made are accurate and the product is meeting all requirements.

At IFS Laboratories, you can find all types of analytical testing for different matrices, including balms, oils, lotions, creams, e-liquids, vapes, food supplements, and more. While we offer everything from pesticide analysis to vitamin analysis, our most popular testing includes checking for THC presence and measuring the potency of CBD through spectral analysis. 

Our results can verify the validity of your extraction process and can prove the absence of any contaminants. Whether you’re looking for cannabinoid profiling or heavy metals testing, you can check out our comprehensive analytical services here. Reach out to us today to ensure that your labelling is 100% accurate.