Study finds your favorite ‘pure’ CBD products may have a lot of THC

Brittany A. Roston - Apr 12, 2021, 1:56pm CDT
Study finds your favorite ‘pure’ CBD products may have a lot of THC

Demand for medicinal cannabis products, including THC, CBD, and a mixture of both, has grown sharply as more states legalize certain uses of the substances. A number of users choose THC-free CBD products due to a number of factors, including avoiding the psychoactive ‘high’ or due to employer restrictions. Those products may not be what they seem, however, with a new study finding many contain THC.

THC and CBD products are used medicinally for various reasons including everything from reducing chronic pain to treating epilepsy and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately, the labeling included on some of these products may not accurately represent what the consumer is actually using, according to a new study from Massachusetts General Hospital.

The study involved analyzing urine samples from clinical trial participants who were using medicinal cannabis products. Based on the analysis, the researchers found that among participants who said they were using CBD-dominant or evenly mixed CBD/THC products, around a third of the samples showed no CBD.

As well, around 80-percent of the samples were found to contain THC, the cannabis chemical that causes a ‘high,’ including ones from participants who believed they were only using pure THC-free CBD products. Beyond that, a large percentage of participants who vaped their cannabis products (around 20-percent) had zero detectable THC or CBD metabolites in their urine samples.

This, the researchers explain, may be due to using a vape that isn’t able to heat sufficiently enough for vaporing the chemicals. Unfortunately, medicinal cannabis products are not regulated by the FDA and as a result, many consumers may end up with products that have inaccurate or misleading labels.

The study’s lead author Jodi M. Gilman, Ph.D., explained:

People are buying products they think are THC-free but in fact contain a significant amount of THC. One patient reported that she took a product she thought only contained CBD, and then when driving home that day she felt intoxicated, disoriented and very scared.


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