CBD products largely unregulated: “Like the wild west out here”

Investigators

STEELTON, Pa. (WHTM) — State and federal officials have expressed concerns about the quality and safety of CBD products found at stores and online.

CBD is an oil extracted from hemp. To grow hemp in Pennsylvania you need a permit from the Pa. Department of Agriculture, which will test hemp crops to make sure THC levels are below 0.3%.

While hemp crops are tested, there are no regulations on testing the CBD products that come from hemp crops.

“It is almost like the wild west out here in the CBD world,” Breanna McCloskey said.

McCloskey is a manager at Coexist Glass Gallery in Steelton, which sells CBD products that have been tested.

“Since it’s not regulated through the FDA there is no standard protocol put in place to actually have (CBD) products tested. I really think testing should be required. It would bring public opinion up on the product and make sure the people making the products have integrity, ” McCloskey said.

The lack of testing can can lead to some un-welcomed side effects for consumers.

“Sometimes they are dealing with stomach pain, diarrhea, they throw up,” McCloskey said.

Coexist Gallery sells several CDB products made by Pennsylvania companies, including Rolling Acre hemp farm in Carlisle

“We grow, process, and manufacture CBD and CBG products. We have a tincture line and we also have salves,” said Richard Roush, owner, Rolling Acre Farm.

After starting his hemp business three years ago, Roush did a trade-in program that allowed customers to bring in CBD products they didn’t like and try a Rolling Acre Product.

“The biggest issue I saw was misgivings in labeling on some of those products. You really couldn’t figure out what was in the bottle. I think that is the biggest problem. People are buying CBD products and not really knowing what they are getting,” Roush said. “We do testing at several different levels to make sure everything that we say is in the bottle is actually there.”

There is a way consumers can check to see if the product they are buying has been tested. Rolling Acre includes a batch number on its packaging so you can look up the Certificate of Analysis (COA) on the company website. Some companies also include a QR code on the packaging that customers can scan with their phone to pull up the COA.

“Ideally you want to see a COA for every single batch. Looking at if they are testing for heavy metals, pesticides, and mold. All that yucky stuff you don’t want in your body. You should also verify the percentage of CBD,” McCloskey said. “If you can’t find a COA that’s when you should have that little voice in your head say don’t buy this, it may not be what you hope it to be.”

Supporters say CBD can ease chronic pain, anxiety and help with sleep.

The FDA says there is little research into the benefits or potential harms of CBD and it will “update the public as it learns more.” The FDA has approved only one CBD product, a prescription drug to help treat seizures.

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