Study Finds Many Medical Edibles Mislabeled
American consumers expect to be able to check the labels of food products to determine what is in them. For products infused with medical cannabis, that is all the more important, but a new study finds that cannabis products may be more often mislabeled than not.
Last fall, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine collected edible medical cannabis products from dispensaries in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. Their analysis, published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that THC and CBD content matched the labels in only 13 of the 75 different products tested. Accurate labeling considered to be anything measuring within 10 percent of the listed amount.
THC content was less than the product label listed in 45 of the 75 samples, sometimes strikingly so. According to lead author Ryan Vandrey, two products that were supposed to contain 100 milligrams of THC had only two to three milligrams.
Perhaps even more problematic than patients not getting the medicine they pay for was the study’s finding that 23 percent of the products contained more THC than the label indicated. The lag time between ingesting a product and feeling its effects make proper dosing tricky. Ingesting a more potent product than intended can be counterproductive to the therapeutic benefits sought and produce uncomfortable side effects
Cannabidiol (CBD) was also consistently mislabeled or not labeled at all. Of the 75 products tested, 54 showed detectable levels of CBD, but only 13 had CBD content labeled, and none were accurate. Four had less CBD than labeled, while nine had more.
“The manufacture and labeling of medicines must meet the most stringent standards,” said Kristin Nevedal, director of the Patient Focused Certification program at Americans for Safe Access. “That’s why third-party audits and verification are so important at every step, from cultivation to distribution to testing.”
ASA’s Patient Focused Certification program is working with industry stakeholders and regulators to provide objective verification that products and organizations meet the national standards established by the American Herbal Products Association for botanical medicines. To date, the PFC program has certified the compliance of companies in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, New Mexico, Washington State and the District of Columbia.
The study abstract: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2338239