CBD is now legal with no prescription necessary, but it’s also largely unregulated, which means consumers don’t always know what they’re getting.

CBD is derived from cannabis or hemp, but it contains very little or no THC so it does not make you high. Some people said it helps with a wide range of ailments from pain to anxiety.

“Everyone is just trying to jump on the bandwagon. You have grocery stores, gas stations, liquor stores and corner stores that are selling this stuff,” said Nicholas Patrick, owner of Embrace CBD Wellness Center in Glen Burnie.

Many retailers are selling CBD products, but no one is regulating them.

“That’s absolutely true. At this current moment, there are no (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) guidelines, no FDA restrictions. They have a very loose enforcement policy. So, when you’re buying CBD, you could be taking a potentially harmful product,” Patrick said.

Patrick said all of his products are tested by third-party labs, and customers can see a lab report and a certificate of analysis showing what is in the product.

The 11 News I-Team decided to test some CBD products, including eight oils and seven gummy packets, purchased from both brick-and-mortar stores and internet retailers. The I-Team covered the product name, labeled the items and took them to Atlantic Test Labs in Millersville, which is independently accredited for testing products containing CBD and also approved by the state of Maryland for medical cannabis testing.

“These are samples that are supplied by WBAL-TV. They’re from suppliers around the country. They were all submitted blindly with expected concentrations. We’re going to verify that analytically,” said Scott Robertson, of Atlantic Test Labs.

Atlantic Test Labs scientists Robertson and Amanda Horodyski checked for things like the amount of CBD in the product and the presence of harmful elements such as heavy metals, pesticides or mold. They also checked for THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. A THC content of 0.3 percent or less is legal in Maryland.

None of the samples contained heavy metals, pesticides or mold and no THC was detected above the legal limit. Most of the gummies tested contained amounts of CBD inconsistent with package labels.

“Three gummies were significantly lower than their label claims. One of them was zero, it did not have any CBD at all,” Robertson said.

The product the scientists said had no CBD was the Jolly Green Oil CBD Edible Party Pack. When the I-Team contacted the manufacturer, a woman who would only identify herself as a manager named “Janet” sent the I-Team a photo of the back of the product and said: “Every product that leaves our factory is stamped with a holographic scannable QR code to prove that it is an authentic product we manufactured.”

There was no such code on the bag the I-Team purchased.

“Therefore, I am still unable to verify that this is our product. In the next few weeks, we are launching printed bags as well to avoid any fraudulent products being produced,” Janet said.

A third-party lab on Jolly Green Oil’s website shows potency in line with the label claim. Atlantic Test Labs stands by the results it found.

So how do you know you’re getting a good product? The consumer really needs to do their homework.

“The consumer needs to be really aware that they’re not getting a product that has been thoroughly tested unless they verify that it has been,” Robertson said.

That can be difficult. Most of the products the I-Team purchased and tested did not come with a lab report or did not provide a complete analysis.

“So you want to look for those pesticides, heavy metals, micro-contamination and especially the THC content in it as well,” Horodyski said.

Patrick said the industry is in desperate need of regulation.

“I’m hoping that the FDA steps in soon and does what they have to do to hold these CBD companies accountable to what they’re putting inside of their product. There’s a lot of hemp being grown, and God knows what’s in the soil where that hemp is being grown,” Patrick said.

An FDA spokesperson said the agency held hearings about CBD regulation last May and plans to have a status update by early fall.

Original Article: https://www.wbaltv.com/article/cbd-products-testing-lab/28845550