Cannabidiol (CBD) Testing

by Rachel Bloom

April 01, 2021 - 2 min read

Today there are no standards for testing CBD products in the U.S. Establishment and adoption of standards and practices is critical for CBD to earn the trust of consumers and acceptance by medical practitioners, consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands, and food drug mass (FDM) This acceptance is vital to facilitate manufacturing, measurement, communication, and commerce. The complete lack of transparency has kept CBD in the fringes and has limited its acceptance into international markets, customers, partners and the medical community. Couple this with the deluge of misinformation and structure function claims and CBD is stuck as a cast off from black market cannabis. 

The establishment of national standards from a patchwork of state and federal programs isnt a new challenge. Alcohol set the playbook for CBD. After prohibition every state adhered to a national standard  and developed their own respective guidelines for testing, producing, marketing and interstate distribution, not to mention taxation. 

Unfortunately there are many bad actors in the cannabis testing space;  false reports are commonplace, either by choice or by lack of competency. Lab-shopping is where a CBD company will test at multiple labs until they either get the result they are looking for, or they can request a “clean” result for pay. It's not uncommon for CBD products to advertise results for products that have never been tested and more commonly to reuse results and forge batch numbers and dates. 

It's important to understand the gaps and challenges in the current testing environment. Today the CBD industry has no federal regulatory body to regulate it, but its products are already for sale in all 50 states with hundreds if not thousands of brands representing a major consumer packaged goods category with everything from drinks to deodorant. Consumers are looking to be reassured that the products they are consuming are safe, consistent and free from toxic solvents, pesticides and THC. The convergence of so many brands and consumers makes the need for codified national regulations and testing standards imminent. 

Consumers care about what’s in the products they buy now more than ever and place a premium on transparency. The need for testing and transparency is obvious. If you look at the myriad results of product testing by consumer advocacy groups like the Clean Label Project, the lack of prioritization of consumer safety testing for things like mold, pesticides and other toxic impurities highlights the need for standard operating procedures (SOP’s) and national oversight. 

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