US medical cannabis company MedPharm has been awarded a research grant to evaluate cannabinoid product label claims of potency.
The three-year study funded by the state of Colorado will delve into trends in consistency between laboratories, shelf life and label accuracy within product categories.
“The proposed work will allow a direct comparison of product content to product labels, enabling an independent quantification of any systematic biases that may exist across product types or testing facilities,” said MedPharm Director of Chemistry Dr. Tyrell Towle.
As well as help informing regulators on any potential issues and helping to shape policies and procedures for testing and dosing, the results will also be of interest to medical cannabis patients and scientists – they will be made public.
It’s a big project involving 480 cannabis products to be randomly selected and purchased from licensed retail dispensaries in the state. It also involves collaboration with a Colorado university – but it wasn’t clear which one.
Dr. Towle says there have been no previous studies systematically testing the full range of cannabis products sold in Colorado’s retail market.
Colorado’s medical cannabis market is huge, raking in $40.3 million in March this year. But it’s dwarfed by retail marijuana sales, which topped $166.7 million for the same month. Since sales started in 2014, the total figure for both has eclipsed $10.5 billion.
MedPharm has a 15,000-square-foot manufacturing, R&D laboratory and cannabis processing facility in Denver, Colorado and was the first recipient of a cannabis research license issued in the state.
There have been other studies in the USA delving into product claims regarding potency, including one by the USA’s FDA that found a large number of the products tested contained significantly more or less CBD than stated on the label. It’s not a problem confined to the USA. A study in the UK in 2019 also found a similar situation, although the UK has cracked down since.
On a related note and closer to home, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration recently warned of the risks of sourcing cannabis products for medicinal purposes via illicit channels.