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Houston, We Have a Labeling Problem

When you walk into a dispensary to purchase edibles, you expect the THC quantity advertised to be correct, right? Of course you do. Unfortunately, you might be wrong.

According to a study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), only 17% of 75 products tested were correctly labeled. Of those falsely labeled, 23% were under-labeled (less THC than advertised) and 60% were over-labeled (more THC than advertised). All products tested were acquired from medical dispensaries in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

When suppliers under-label their products, like some that advertised 100 milligrams (mg) THC but were tested and found to contain only 2-3 mgs each, it creates a real problem for patients. With less THC than advertised, patients are spending more without reason, and may not get the necessary relief of their symptoms. Over-labeling holds more potential danger as patients may accidentally ingest drastically higher quantities of THC than they anticipated. This could lead to a host of side effects including anxiety, paranoia, and even acute psychosis.

The medical industries in California and Washington have been under-regulated with little to no product testing enforcement, which is a departure from the tightly-regulated recreational industries in Colorado and Washington. This means that producers control labeling with little to no enforcement. We hope to see this change soon, as medical patients need protection, too.

We can’t stress enough how paramount it is to accurately label products in both the medical and recreational sectors. As the cannabis industry continues to grow, it’s crucial that products be correctly labeled and advertised. It’s dangerous to both consumers and patients to take more than the recommended dose of THC, and it’s wrong to overcharge them on a falsely advertised product.