Mislabeling Common With OTC Topical Cannabis Products

On average, products contained 10 to 20 percent more cannabidiol than advertised overall

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MONDAY, July 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Only one-fourth of hemp-derived topical cannabinoid products are accurately labeled, according to a study published online July 20 in JAMA Network Open.

Tory R. Spindle, Ph.D., from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues evaluated the cannabinoid content (e.g., cannabidiol [CBD] and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]) and label accuracy of topical cannabinoid products and quantified their therapeutic and nontherapeutic claims. The analysis included 105 products purchased from retail locations and online companies.

The researchers found that of the 89 products that listed a total amount of CBD on the label, 16 products were overlabeled (e.g., contained >10 percent less CBD than advertised), 52 products were underlabeled (e.g., contained >10 percent more CBD than advertised), and 21 products were accurately labeled. For in-store products, the median percentage deviation between the actual total amount of CBD and the labeled amount was 21 percent compared with 10 percent for online products. In more than one-third of products (35 percent), THC was detected, although all contained less than 0.3 percent THC (the legal limit for hemp). Of the 37 THC-containing products, four were labeled as THC-free, 14 indicated they contained <0.3 percent THC, and 19 did not mention THC on the label. More than one-fourth of products (28 percent) made therapeutic claims, 14 percent made cosmetic claims, and 47 percent stated that they were not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"These findings suggest that improved regulatory oversight of cannabis and hemp products is needed to ensure quality assurance, deter misleading health claims, and potentially prevent unwanted drug effects among consumers," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Canopy Health Innovations.

Abstract/Full Text

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