Study: Inaccurate Labeling On Edible Products Solidifies Need For Proper Testing

Yesterday, we posted details of an extensive report from JAMA that showed the benefits and negative effects caused by marijuana. Another JAMA report focuses on edible products and its results prove that laboratory testing for these products isn’t being taken as seriously as it should.

According to an article in the New York Times, JAMA’s report conducted an analysis of 75 edible marijuana products sold to patients in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles and found that only 17 percent of the labels correctly identified and described the proper levels of THC. Sixty percent of the products had less THC than their packages claimed, while 23 percent of them had more THC than was claimed.

According to the article, most research has shown that after using marijuana, patients can stay high for one to three hours, but inaccurate labeling can cause the high to last much longer or not long enough.

For the latest study, JAMA used the Werc Shop, a West Coast lab. Scientists looked at cannabis candy, drinks and baked goods from 47 brands. In one case, a product had just three milligrams of THC even though its label claimed 108. The researchers didn’t name specific manufacturers or products, for fear of a lawsuit. One researcher pointed out that the point of the study was not to say, “Hey, X medical marijuana company, you’re bad.” Rather, it’s about saying “we don’t have the kind of quality assurance for edibles that we have for any other medicine.”

There were also some interesting findings when it came to where the edibles came from and their likelihood of having content mislabeling. The chances of having edibles with more THC than advertised was higher in Los Angeles, while the chances of having edibles with less THC than advertised were more likely in Seattle.

The researchers also tested each product for CBD and found that 44 products had detectable levels of CBD, even though only 13 claimed to contain CBD. Nine had less CBD than labeled; four had more.

One main point to take away from this study is that only one laboratory tested the products. That could present an issue, since the likelihood of getting more reliable and believable results could occur if multiple labs had tested the edibles.


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Richard Lowe

Richard Lowe is a 14-year veteran of the financial sector with licenses as a commodity broker (Series 3) and investment advisor representative (IAR Series 65). Along with a focus on raising capital for the firms he was employed with, he also wrote and edited much of the content published by them. He holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts. He has been a longtime advocate for marijuana legalization due to the social injustices associated with marijuana prohibition and the strong potential for the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

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