False CBD Oil Product Packaging

cbd oil
Written by Dr. Brian C. Smith

Journal of the American Medical Association Article Claims 2/3 of CBD Oil is Mislabeled.

The Nov. 7, 2017, edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a prestigious medical journal, claims that over 2/3 of CBD oil product packaging is mislabeled. The lead author is Dr. Marcel O. Bonn-Miller of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. In the study, 84 CBD oil products from 31 companies were purchased over the internet. The samples were then analyzed for cannabinoid content by an independent lab via high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). They found that 36 of the samples had less CBD than stated on the label, 22 contained more CBD than stated on the label, and only 26 of the 84 products were properly labeled for a total mislabeling result of 69%.

I personally believe these results. My own work using mid-infrared spectroscopy, published in the November issue of Terpenes and Testing magazine, shows that potency in cannabis oils decays with a half-life of about 8 months. If more than a month elapsed between when these oils were labeled and when the researchers analyzed them, their potency would be measurably lower. However, this does not explain the samples whose CBD content was higher than labeled. In this case, I believe the lack of a standard industry method for determining potency in cannabis oils is to blame. I have observed how a number of cannabis labs perform their HPLC analyses, and none of them use the same method. Sample preparation is particularly variable across labs. These problems could account for some of the mislabeling observed.

The implications of these results should worry the industry. Imagine the bad press and lawsuits that would arise if it were discovered that 69% of aspirin bottles or antibiotic tablets were labeled with the wrong potency. At a minimum, these results show that a significant number of patients are getting the wrong dosage of CBD. Cannabis is medicine and it should be tested and labeled like medicine. To ensure our patients are getting the proper dosages, it’s time we implemented more and better potency testing.

About the author

Dr. Brian C. Smith

Dr. Brian C. Smith is Chief Technical Officer of Big Sur Scientific, based in Capitola CA. Dr. Smith has done pioneering research in the use of mid-infrared spectroscopy to analyze cannabis containing materials for cannabinoids, terpenes, and moisture. Dr. Smith has over 30 years experience as an analytical chemist, 20 of which he spent running his own training and consulting business. He has also worked for PerkinElmer, AT&T, IBM, and Xerox. He has written 3 books on the use of infrared spectroscopy to analyze samples, authored a number of papers published in the peer reviewed scientific literature, and writes a bi-monthly column for Spectroscopy magazine. Dr. Smith earned his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Dartmouth College.

Leave a Comment