CBD has popped up in nearly everything, including bath bombs, ice cream, and even dog treats. But what is the popular product, which has been touted as a stress reliever, analgesic, and memory-enhancer?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, a chemical in the cannabis plant. But unlike THC, it does not produce a feeling of intoxication. Instead, users experience a “body high,” not a mind-altering one. “Physically, it’s like taking a warm bath, melting the tension away,” said Gabe Kennedy, founder of Plant People, a leading manufacturer.
Although there is little high quality evidence that CBD is effective for most of the conditions that it is marketed for, users report that it treats ailments as diverse as inflammation, pain, acne, anxiety, insomnia, depression, post-traumatic stress and even cancer.
The CBD market is expected to top at least $2.15 billion by 2021, up from $292 million in 2016. “It’s hot, everywhere and yet almost nobody understands it,” said New York advertising executive and a board member of Dosist, an industry leader.
Consumers have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this cannabis compound. But most is sold without any government regulations or oversight, enabling manufacturers and distributors to overstate or outright lie about the amount of CBD contained in the products and their health benefits.
In fact, a 2017 study demonstrated that less than a third of 84 CBD products tested contained the amount of CBD advertised on their labels. Additionally, the FDA has reported that many CBD sellers advertise unsubstantiated health benefits, warning consumers to “beware purchasing and using such products.”
According to a study published this month in Forensic Science International, several products from a leading brand of CBD vaping liquids contain a chemical that’s been linked to emergency room admissions and even death. The compound, 5F-ADB, was found in products made by Diamond CBD and can lead to paranoia, panic attacks, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and even death. The DEA has classified 5F-ADB as a Schedule I drug, meaning that the Federal government considers it illegal, potentially addictive, and has no currently accepted medical use.
These Diamond CBD products are advertised as having “100% natural CBD extracts,” but that representation is far from true. In addition to finding 5F-ADB, researchers also discovered amounts of dextromethorphan (“DXM”), an ingredient in cough medicines sold over the counter in drugstores. In large quantities, DXM can also lead to abnormal heartbeat, sedation, hallucinations and a sense of euphoria.
Although some states currently regulate CBD as part of their recreational or medical cannabis programs, the industry is largely self-policing, “there is going to be opportunity for abuse that is really going to put public health and public safety at risk,” said Michelle Peace, the researcher who led the study.
If you or someone you know believes they have been or currently are a victim of CBD market misrepresentations, please contact us. All consultations are free of charge. You may be eligible to be included in a class action lawsuit.
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