While the medical marijuana industry is growing in the United States, it's also still very much in its infancy and there are many issues that still need to be worked out. And a recent study shows one of those areas that needs improvement: labeling.
A recent study published in the Journals of the American Medical Association found that less than one-third of products containing marijuana extracts were properly labeled. A group of scientists purchased 84 different products online that contained cannabidiol (CBD), the compound in cannabis that produces many of its health benefits. They then sent those products to a lab to be chemically analyzed. The lab found that only 31 percent of those products contained the exact amount of CBD as labeled. 26 percent contained less CBD than labeled and 43 percent had more.
The researchers also found that the type of cannabis product affected accuracy. About half of extract oils were labeled inaccurately, while 90 percent of vaporized liquids were incorrect. Another issue the study found was that despite all of these products saying they did not contain THC and could not get users high, 18 of the 84 products did have some amounts of THC in them. The primary author of the study said the results were not particularly surprising.
"Was I shocked? No," said Marcel Bonn-Miller, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. "Was I disappointed? Yeah. It just got me thinking, we need oversight of this industry...(It's) one thing on the recreational side, but here we're talking about something that people are using almost exclusively medicinally. You don't get high off of CBD."
Since marijuana is listed as a Schedule I narcotic by the U.S. government, the Food and Drug Administration, who would normally handle the regulation of labels on medicinal products, is not allowed to oversee the industry. So right now, the medical marijuana industry is basically running like the Wild, Wild West.
Bonn-Miller says he hopes his study will help convince the FDA to begin regulating the medical marijuana industry to ensure proper labeling and that customers know 100 percent what's in the cannabis they're buying.
But that would be a rational and logical thing to do, so Congress couldn't possibly allow that to happen.