Most of the online CBD products mislabeled, recent study reveals

Most of the online CBD products mislabeled, recent study reveals

The recent study by Dr. Bonn-Miller’s from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School has shown that up to two thirds of online vendors provide incorrect data regarding cannabinoid content on their product’s labels! The market for hemp products is extremely fragmented, both in the European Union and in the United States, mainly because of inconsistencies between federal law and dozens of varying state/country regulations. While most of the CBD products are not illegal, their manufacturers are often forced to operat in the gray zone of juridical chaos. And this impacts customers – one of the practical consequences of the situation can be the unequal quality of CBD products.

The results of the study by Dr. Bonn-Miller’s team point to the blatant inaccuracy in the labelling of many CBD products. The Pennsylvania team purchased eighty-four products advertised as “containing CBDs” from thirty-one on-line vendors. The products were stored according to pckaging instructions, then their labels were replaced with blinded study identifiers and sent to the laboratory for analysis. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was used for the identification of: cannabidiol (CBD), cannabidiol (CBDA), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) – regarding the last two it is worth noting that neither THC, non its psychoative derivatives were supposed to be contained in the purchased products in the first place. Each product has been tested three times, and the results have been averaged. The results were intriguing, to say the least.

Let’s focus on the CBD – as many as 43 percent of the products reported were underlabeled (contained higher content of cannabidiol than declared on the packaging), 26 percent were overlabelled, and only slightly more than 30 percent of the labels contained factual information (that is, the CBD content fell within the 10 percent margin of error allowed by the US Pharmacopoeia). Interestingly, there were significant differences in the reliability levels of labels depending on the type of product – in the case of oils, the percentage of properly labeled products increased to 45 percent while for vaporization fluids it was barely 12.5 percent. In the case of vaporization fluids, the average deviation of the actual content from the declared standard was the worst – up to ten times!

According to Bonn-Miller, fluctuations in the content of CBD, a substance of a very good safety profile,  are not dangerous, although they do mislead the consumer, mainly in the case of overlabeling which may prevent the buyer from benefitting from the intended dose of CBD.

The conclusion of US research is of a universal nature and concerns the markets on both sides of the Atlantic – a closer scrutiny of CBD products and sensible regulation in this regard are essential. Researchers point out that such big difference between the actual and the declared composition can be the result of buying the products from online vendors only (such stores are usually harder to control, not to say – shady), but this is not an excuse to give a leeway to online traffickers.

Let’s think about this recommendation – although it is gradually becoming somehow civilized, the market for hemp products in Poland was laissez-faire for far too long, and running a reliably study similar to the US one would be very revealing. In fact, the conclusions of our own little research on products available on the Polish market were almost equally alarming…

Regardless of the efforts of the regulatory bodies, the best guarantee of a accurate composition is to  purchase from verified, professional sellers. Each batch of CannabiGold oils is subjected to a multi-stage inspection to ensure that the composition declared on the label corresponds to the actual one, and each bottle is filled with the optimal composition of natural phytoannabinoids.


Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, PhD1; Mallory J. E. Loflin, PhD2; Brian F. Thomas, PhD3; et al: Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online