BY THE U.S. HEMP AUTHORITY
CBD is turning up everywhere. Enter “CBD” in your search engine and you’ll discover a seemingly endless variety of brands offering CBD-infused products from tinctures, water, gummies, and gums to sprays, lotions, balms and bath bombs— formulated for people and pets, too.
It’s also on the shelves at major retail and pharmacy chains, sporting goods stores, and even at gas and convenience stores, as well as in custom dispensaries that specialize in the hemp-derived product.
The so-called “Canna-Curious” audience interested in the benefits of CBD is growing.
With growing consumer interest and CBD brands entering the market, it’s important for consumers to be aware.
Although CBD has emerged as a popular wellness product, to date, the FDA has not developed a clear regulatory pathway for the retail sales of CBD products.
Until then, there are ways consumers can ensure the CBD products they are interested in are meeting standards, especially when they have the U.S. Hemp Authority label on them, offering a reliable standard and understanding of just what is on the inside.
What’s inside is important, and consumers need to be aware that product standards vary.
Properly labeled products provide consumers the assurance that their CBD product has everything they want in it – and none of the things that they don’t.
Reliable standards are important and, in the case of additives, are critical. CBD products with the U.S. Hemp authority label are guaranteed to be free of pesticides, heavy metals, and dangerous bacteria.
The FDA recently issued warning letters to 15 companies for illegally selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD) in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), including marketing CBD products to treat diseases or for other therapeutic uses.
The FCD, which monitors CBD and other consumer products, routinely issues warnings and public notices of products that violate the FD&C Act. Even more recently, the FDA also sent warning letters to three additional CBD retailers for making COVID-19 claims, something that has previously been unseen in the marketplace.
Consumers should also continue to watch for warnings issued by the FDA, which monitors CBD and other consumer products and issues warnings against those making unauthorized health claims.
And, while there are numerous anecdotal reports that CBD helps with pain and inflammation, there are few controlled human studies thus far to back its efficacy.
So, while the FDA looks to best tackle the issue, the U.S. Hemp Authors and other CBD brands are aligning around self-regulation and opportunities to provide greater transparency to protect consumers.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Whether you are buying CBD online or on your next trip to the grocery store or pharmacy, here are some important things to look for:
SCRUTINIZE THE LABEL
Cannabinoid Content & Purity. Look for product that is less than .03% THC
Third-Party Testing – COA. Verify the product is third-party tested. If you are buying online, you can look for the brand’s Certificate of Authenticity, or COA, showing test results. Conducted by an independent laboratory, COA testing includes a contaminant analysis that identifies any evidence of impurities like pesticides, heavy metals, and bacteria. This is particularly important because Cannabis plants (which include Hemp) are phytoremediators, meaning they absorb toxins from the soil like heavy metals, which can get further concentrated during processing if not controlled.
Instructions for use. Verify whether the CBD product you are buying is ingestible or a topical product. Tinctures are a sublingual product, meant to be taken under the tongue for the highest level of absorption.
Dosing guide. Make sure you understand the dosing guide, which should detail both how and how much of the CBD product should be used. Check to see if the CBD percentage listed is for the product or just a serving size.
Net quantity. Quantity, expressed with measures such as weight or numerical count, allows you to compare one product against another. Consistency standards assure that consumers achieve the same desired effects with every dose and provide comparison benchmarks.
Storage instructions. Storage guidelines vary by product and manufacturer. Follow the instructions listed on the product label.
Batch lot or control number. Look for batch test results versus one sample test result on CBD products.
Production or expiration date. Always check the product expiration date. Do not use CBD products past their recommended expiration dates.
Company contact. If an online seller or retail store doesn’t have, or won’t share, information, don’t buy from them. Federal regulations require a product label include information on how to contact the company.
Claims. Federal guidelines prohibit food or supplement products from being marketed as a cure-all or treatment.
Ultimately, the consumer is in charge. Not every state requires testing, and required testing varies state by state. But 47 states have legalized CBD from Hemp, and a consumer can look to new labeling standards like the one from the U.S. Hemp Authority with its Certification Seal to ensure products are thoroughly tested and manufacturing plants are audited to a high standard.
Whether you try CBD as an edible, in drops, or topicals like creams and gels, make sure you are getting the highest quality and safest product possible.
ABOUT THE U.S. HEMP AUTHORITY & ITS CERTIFICATION SEAL
The U.S. Hemp Authority was seed-funded by the U.S. Hemp Roundtable and joined by organizations such as the Hemp Industries Association®, industry-leading firms, top-tier testing laboratories, agronomists, and quality assessors. Together, the U.S. Hemp Authority and its partners developed comprehensive guidance for growers, processors/manufacturers, and brand owners of ingestible and cosmetic hemp products.
Participants are licensed to use the Certified Seal of the U.S. Hemp Authority after meeting stringent self-regulatory standards, passing an independent third-party audit, and entering into a Licensing Agreement.