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Beware Of Counterfeit Cannabidiol

Purchasers of cannabidiol preparations need to be very careful when buying products to ensure they acquire CBD from ethical vendors with appropriate quality controls.

Cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating cannabinoid with the potential to treat or manage a range of conditions, is getting increasing attention. It’s a high value product and a lucrative industry. As in any sector, there are shonky operators more than happy to take money from desperate people, with little regard for their well-being.

According to the USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 52 people in the state of Utah became ill after using a fake cannabidiol (CBD) product between October 2017 to the end of January 2018 – and 60% were hospitalized.

Those affected reported having used CBD medicinally (29.4%) or recreationally (66.7%), although why anyone would take CBD recreationally is a bit odd.

The vast majority had consumed it by vaping (72.5%) and more than two-thirds had purchased products at local tobacco stores.

Findings presented at the 67th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference state a counterfeit product was found to contain a dangerous synthetic cannabinoid (4-cyano CUMYL-BUTINACA); the side effects of which included altered mental status, hallucinations, nausea or vomiting and seizures or shaking. The product contained no CBD.

This situation could have had fatal consequences for those already comprised by a health condition.

Roberta Z. Horth from Utah’s Department of Health  says cannabidiol is illegal federally* and in many U.S. states.

” As such, products labeled as containing CBD are not regulated. Consumers should be aware that products labeled as CBD could contain dangerous synthetic cannabinoids.”

Fake medical cannabis oil products aren’t just an issue in the USA. Last year we mentioned a report that some Australian patients were being sold fake and “toxic” cannabis oil products made by unscrupulous or inexperienced vendors in backyard laboratories.

Some of the warning signs that a cannabidiol product may be fake include:

  • Very low prices compared to market average
  • Advertisements claiming CBD is a cure-all
  • Lack of detail of extraction methods and quality control
  • Lack of transparency regarding the company or party offering it

If you’re acquiring cannabidiol for health-related reasons, there’s simply no sense in cutting corners. Also, it’s wise to note that CBD is still illegal in many places – just because something can be purchased online, it doesn’t mean you won’t run afoul of the law and wind up in hot water.

* Cannabidiol’s legal status in the USA at a federal level is a very murky area – some would argue that federal law does not make cannabidiol illegal.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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