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CBD products in UK were found to have high THC levels

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CBD Products UK High THC

Excessively high THC levels

In a study by PhytoVista and Centre for Medical Cannabis of the UK, it’s been reported that over half of the 30 products containing CBD in Europe were tested to have THC levels that are two times more than the accepted limit which is 0.2%. The article was just published this month.

The study reports 45% of the products that contained THC had about 0.4% mean content of THC. Tested products were those that are being sold online and in stores.

Solvents found in CBD products

Apart from the excessive levels of THC found in the products, the research has also found that only around 38% of the tested products actually contained the actual CBD content advertised. Moreover, also 38% of the products contained less than 50% of the amount of the CBD that they claim to have. This is very disappointing especially to those who highly rely on the CBD content of these products.

Surprisingly, a sample of a 30ml product obtained from a shop contained 0% CBD. The said product retailed for £90. Even one product contained higher levels of ethanol than the recommended amount which is 3.4% which in the UK, is the level of ethanol in alcoholic beverages. Moreover, seven of the products tested were even found to contain the solvent dichloromethane of around 3-13 ppm. Cyclohexane, also a solvent, was found in a product at a level of 27.9 ppm.

Although the levels of solvent contained in these products are within the limits recommended, they still exceed the levels recommended for food safety. CMC stated that the results of the study should serve as a guide for the CBD industry in coming up with products that abide by the standards and are high-quality products that abide by the standards. Furthermore, CMC also encourages producers to make use of these findings to make necessary steps to assure that this will not happen again.

RPS wants clear guidelines on THC products

These data gave a push to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) of the UK to request the government for specific guidelines with regards to tetrahydrocannabinol or THC levels in products like CBD oils.

In the letter to the Home Secretary, the RPS said that they were willing to come up and give advice with regards to specific steps they should make so that no one would break the law with regards to products containing CBD. Pharmacists also demanded guidance with regards to the legality of CBD product handling. They also called out on the out-dated laws concerning CBD.

They also add that in the UK, it is legal to sell CBD just as long as they don’t include any medical claims in their marketing. Furthermore, the limit of THC is only up to 0.2%.

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Common Drug Tests Cannot Tell Difference Between CBD and THC

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Common Drug tests can't tell cbd from thc

Some people are getting in trouble due to returning a positive result in a drug test after taking cannabidiol or CBD.

Mark Pennington, a resident of Colorado, relayed to the New York Times how he almost lost the joint custody of his 2-year-old son after his ex-girlfriend took a hair follicle from the child and had it tested for drugs at a specific laboratory. The result showed positive for tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is the psychoactive component in marijuana.

Pennington worked at Colorado Hemp Honey, a company that sells raw honey infused with CBD. He stated that he was letting his son take the CBD honey, which is non-intoxicating, unlike THC, which is still mostly illegal.

CBD legality and confusion

Both CBD and THC are compounds found in Cannabis sativa L.; however, cannabidiol or CBD is legal provided that it is derived from the hemp variety of the said source plant. Last December, President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill, which legalizes hemp and its derived products as long as it does not contain more than 0.3% of THC.

Frank Conrad, Colorado Green Lab chief technology officer, spoke with Pennington and showed a study detailing how common drug test methods can mistake CBD presence for THC. It explains how Pennington’s son might have gotten a false positive drug test result.

Two chemists from a private research company in Oregon, Cascade Chemistry, reviewed the study and confirmed to The Times that such drug testing problems might occur.

Pennington took Conrad as a witness and won equal custody of his son. He is now planning to sue the lab to bring awareness to problematic testing methods, which could affect many people since the CBD industry is booming.

Rampant problem

Conrad said he worked on similar cases like Pennington’s; one client got arrested for a positive THC test after taking CBD, violating his parole. Another couple from Florida got charged with possession following a positive THC test result for their CBD-containing gummy bears.

Every case that Conrad testified on was dropped by prosecutors after he explained how there is a problem with the testing method itself.

Emerging drugs and opioids committee chair Bruce Houlihan of the American Society of Crime Lab Directors in Orange County expressed his worry regarding the drug testing method. He said that it is difficult to estimate how many labs mistakenly test CBD for THC since the methodology used is determined in-house.

It’s also a challenge to count how many people have lost jobs or parental rights due to positive THC test results. There is also the matter of drug driving, which does not distinguish between the type of drug they are caught to have taken.

In the states that legalize marijuana, it is still entirely lawful for employers, public housing authorities, child protection services, and other agencies to hold drug testing for THC.

The drug test method

The method in question for testing THC uses a typical chemical analysis instrument, the gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry (GC-MS) machine. Most devices undergo derivatization or the use of a chemical or sample to determine trace amounts of the illegal substance. One common agent used is the trifluoroacetic anhydride or TFAA.

In the published study introduced by Conrad, TFAA used in a GC-MS machine makes it difficult to distinguish between CBD and THC.

Other labs have upgraded their method to high-performance liquid chromatography, but GS-CS devices are still widely used.

Quest Diagnostics Senior Director Barry Sample said they are aware of the problem but insisted that their laboratory does not use the said methodology. However, a woman came forward after being fired last year for testing positive for THC using a urine sample.

The woman took a CBD product for a couple of weeks before the drug test. She stated that the product she took came from a reputable company and even had lab results for the product posted on their website.

More issues surrounding CBD

A false positive drug test is just one problem among the bunch that has happened since the cannabis industry saw significant growth in their market.

Since research for such compound was illegal, people are not informed about their chemistries. Rodger Voelker, an analytical chemist from Oregon, noted how regulatory agencies are reactionary and slow to take action.

For example, there is no standard measure for cannabis intoxication. The methods for testing show only whether a person used the illegal substance a few days prior.

As policies and laws change, testing methods have to be upgraded, which also requires substantial resources, says former American Society of Crime Lab Directors President Matthew Gamette.

He recalled an incident last January when Idaho troopers seized 7,000 lbs. of cannabis with the assumption that these were marijuana. The company that owned the crops sued the Idaho State Police for mistakenly taking the said plants, which were legal hemp.

Pennington believed that the lawsuit against the laboratory would help law enforcement and consumers understand cannabis laws so that no one else goes through what he did.

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Dietary Supplement Trade Associations Urges Congress to Permit CBD Products for Sale

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Dietary Trade Associations urge Congress to permit CBD Products

Four dietary supplement trade associations penned a letter to federal lawmakers urging them to pass legislation that would make the sale of CBD products legal for purchase while the regulations from the Food and Drug Administration are still being developed.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, American Herbal Products Association, United Natural Products Alliance, and the Council for Responsible Nutrition stated that Congress needs to clarify hemp-derived CBD as a legal dietary ingredient as long as the CBD-containing dietary supplement meets quality and safety standards.

Details of the letter

The said groups offered a recommendation stating that a limited waiver should be granted to exempt CBD-infused products from a Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act provision that would let companies sell CBD dietary supplements, provided that such products are derived from the hemp variety and safety and health standards.

It is also stated in the letter that the industry feels Congress must take action, given the rapidly expanding market of CBD products. They urge lawmakers to clarify CBD dietary supplements’ legal status. They also stated that it is essential for the FDA to protect people from unsafe CBD-containing products.

They cited the strong demand from consumers regarding CBD, as shown by the growth in sales and products, which they think requires urgent response so that legal issues are clarified for consumers, manufacturers, and retailers.

Since the FDA has previously stated that its CBD rulemaking process could last for five years, the associations argued that congressional action is a need. They also lauded the efforts of the Senate committee in approving agriculture-spending legislation that allocates $2M to support the development of cannabidiol regulations by the FDA.

Timely regulation development

They further urged Congress to go the distance in including substantial resources to promote healthy oversight by the FDA of the rapidly growing CBD market, which provides funding for the timely review of dietary supplement ingredients. They also call for the enforcement of manufacturing, labeling and safety standards stipulated in old laws, which concerns CBD-containing nutritional supplements.

The four associations urged lawmakers to forge a working relationship with FDA to examine the funding needed to promote effective CBD regulation that does not disrupt enforcement priorities of other agencies.

They stated that they appreciate the FDA efforts to build a robust regulatory framework, but are concerned about the lack of clarity and effective oversight of the growing CBD marketplace, leaving consumers vulnerable to unsafe products.

This action from the dietary supplement trade is not the lone call for a hastened process of fully allowing CBD products in the legal market. Two sets of letters have been penned by a group of senators who urged the FDA to clear a path for CBD.

A letter penned by a Senate bipartisan coalition, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), also prompted the FDA to air their stand regarding CBD products so that companies can lawfully sell their products while the agency is still crafting its regulatory framework for the said substance.

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More Senators Urge FDA to Hasten CBD Regulations

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Senators urge FDA to regulate cbd

More Senate members urge the Food and Drug Administration or FDA to establish a clear set of regulations for CBD and its related products to protect the buying public and to sieve the slowly congesting industry.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) called on the FDA during a press conference last Tuesday to issue a statement to clear the air about CBD and how it could be legally marketed. He and five other senators penned a letter to the FDA requesting to hasten their rulemaking process regarding the said substance.

During his speech, Blumenthal presented gummies, tinctures, and seltzer water as examples of useful CBD products for consumers.

Although hemp-derived CBD is lawful under the 2018 Farm Bill, there is still a lack of regulations that caused both good and lousy CBD products to be marketed at the same time. The senators reiterated that having quality standards can prevent unsanctioned claims and inadequate labeling from marring the CBD industry.

Blumenthal further stated that the bad players in the market should be removed from the mix to give way for products that are legally and accurately promoted.

Bipartisan support

The senator and his colleagues are set on encouraging the FDA to provide a regulatory framework that works to protect consumers and businesses alike. Setting rules for classification, marketing, labeling, quality, and more ensures that buyers are getting the right and honest product they want.

Blumenthal also added that the issue receives bipartisan support, with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), State Majority Leader, being a champion for the hemp industry.

Blumenthal duly signed the letter, as have Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

The senators ask for an update from the FDA within 90 days, citing that the current actions undertaken by the agency are inadequate.

In the letter, they also stated that buyers rely on the guidance of the FDA concerning products, such as in ingredients. They also point out how manufacturers can develop effective and safe CBD products for consumers if they have clear regulations to follow.

They also noted how the CBD industry is growing more extensive than FDA’s efforts in establishing rules can handle. They ask to expedite the agency’s efforts in promoting transparency and accuracy for CBD products.

Blumenthal also guested on a WTIC radio interview to encourage the agency to hasten their CBD rulemaking efforts.

FDA’s “inadequate” CBD endeavors

FDA acknowledges the 2018 Farm Bill that the president duly signed into law last December, but they are also concerned that CBD only exists as an FDA-approved drug and therefore complicates the rulemaking process.

Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner, stated early this year that to market CBD as a supplement or food item, they should establish an alternative regulation that may take years to achieve.

Last month, 26 House members formed a bipartisan coalition that sent the FDA a letter to ask about discretion guidelines on enforcement while they work to create the final rules. They want the FDA to issue a statement regarding the agency’s enforcement priorities so that companies making unsubstantial claims may be reprimanded.

McConnell also called for a guide to lawful marketing of cannabidiol products in a report on congressional spending last month.

Blumenthal reiterated that failure on the part of the FDA to hand out a concrete regulatory framework endangers the consumers and inhibits the growth of the CBD industry as a whole.

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