UW-Madison study finds non-prescription CBD product labeling to be largely inaccurate

Hemp products range from CBD oils, to lotions, sodas and more.
Hemp products range from CBD oils, to lotions, sodas and more.(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 8:03 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2022 at 8:04 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - According to new research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, many CBD products on the market don’t actually contain what they claim.

UW-Madison School of Pharmacy researchers recently published a study that used high-performance liquid chromatography to analyze the contents of 39 CBD-infused products being sold across Southwest Wisconsin. These products included CBD-infused beverages, oils and other miscellaneous items, including chocolate bars, honey, coconut oil, transdermal patches and more.

Although not all products specified CBD levels on their labels, only six — 15.4% — were accurately labeled.

According to the study, beverages were the least likely to be labeled. Among 21 beverages, only one was accurately labeled.

Seventy-eight percent were over-labeled, meaning they contained less than 90% of the CBD they were supposed to contain, and 7% were under-labeled, with 110% or more CBD than the label indicated.

“Cannabinoids are lipid-soluble and don’t really dissolve in water,” Pharmacy Professor Barry Gidal said. “When I started seeing CBD beverages, I realized that there was probably nothing in them, but the products are still being sold at a premium.”

Many of the studied products also contained detectable levels of THC, which can cause the psychological effects attributed to marijuana. THC was detected in 24% of beverages, 55% of oils and 71% of miscellaneous products.

Researchers explained that the inaccuracy of labeling, particularly regarding THC, could cause unexpected effects on the central nervous system and cause trouble for those who are subject to drug testing.

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