The series reveals inconsistency and inaccuracy in the explosive CBD product market; delivers tips for consumers to make smart buying decisions
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Leafly, the world’s leading cannabis resource, today published a three-part series investigating the state of the rapidly growing CBD market, including the labeling accuracy of popular products and how the CBD manufacturing process works. As part of the series, Leafly independently tested 47 CBD products widely available today, finding one in three tested products delivered less than 80% of the CBD promised. That not only cheats consumers—it may put their health and wellness at risk. Other key findings included:
- Just over half (51%) of the 47 products tested delivered CBD within a reasonable 20% range of the promised amount. Fifteen percent of the products tested contained more than 120% of the promised amount of CBD, while 11% of products delivered no CBD whatsoever.
- Although 11% of the products tested contained no CBD, this is an improvement overall when compared to a 2016 study by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which tested 22 CBD products and found 18 of them contained much less CBD than advertised, and often no CBD at all.
- Reliability varies across different CBD form factors. Tinctures and gummies were the most reliable form factors, whereas water was the least reliable form factor. Capsules consistently delivered more CBD than promised and vape pens and topicals had the most variance in results.
“Testing CBD products is a lot like Goldilocks and the Three Bears: some have too little CBD, some too much, some none at all. This inconsistency can give consumers the impression CBD is a scam, when really it can be a powerful and helpful cannabinoid when delivered in a quality product. As an industry, we need to help people understand what makes a CBD product stand out from all the rest so they can make the most informed decisions,” said Bruce Barcott, Leafly Sr. Editor and author of the series.
- Buy online or in trusted stores:Some of our lowest-performing products were purchased at stores that specialize in something other than health and wellness products.
- Demand third-party test results: Any brand can claim their products are tested. Only brands that link to third-party testing are offering actual proof of potency and purity. “Third-party” means an independent lab carried out the test. The brands that showed the most accurate results in our study printed a QR code on their packaging. Scanning it brings up third-party test results for the exact batch from which the product you’re holding was taken.
- Look for experienced companies:The products with the most accurate potency numbers tended to be made by companies experienced with legal cannabis. Look for brands based in early cannabis legalization states like Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, or Massachusetts.
- Packaging matters:Companies that are focused on health and wellness and take the time to follow best practices for compliance deliver superior products. You can often spot them by their packaging. Products packaged like medicine or vitamins in our study were more likely to deliver the CBD promised on the label.
- Organic sourcing is a good sign: Going to the effort of sourcing certified organic ingredients means chances are good that all the other ingredients and potency are being thoughtfully considered.
- Some forms are better than others:Bottled CBD water was the least reliable CBD delivery vehicle in our study. Gummies were the most reliable form factor, in terms of actually delivering the promised CBD dose. Tinctures were the runner-up on the reliability scale, followed by vape cartridges and vaping juice.
- You get what you pay for: Producing a quality CBD product is difficult and expensive. If you’re buying the cheapest CBD you can find, you may not be receiving any CBD at all.
All of the 47 products cited within the report findings were tested by Confidence Analytics in Washington, one of seven founding members of the Leafly Certified Labs Program. The Leafly Certified Labs Program was announced last week and seeks to validate accuracy of cannabis testing and to provide consistent product information for consumers.
The Leafly Investigation can be found here.