Some non-profit organizations take the lead in CBD security testing and demand consistent standards
The popularity of CBD in Europe is increasing, although the market does not have clear rules or industry standards to ensure reliable and safe products across the continent. For consumers, this means that legitimate products can often be right next to other products that have a significantly lower CBD content than advertised or that contain potentially harmful contaminants.
For businesses, it's a challenge in terms of compliance and growth
This is particularly worrisome in European countries, where patients have limited or no access to medical cannabis and people with weakened immune systems purchase CBD products, sold as food, for use as medicines. These products, however, could do more harm than good.
The newspaper Marijuana Business Daily met with organizations in Spain, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Austria that test product safety and consistency to know who should take responsibility for overcoming these challenges:
Last December, the Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis (Observatorio Español de Cannabis Medicinal - OECM) published a report on the analysis of 15 CBD oils commonly sold in Spain.
The oils were tested twice each by two different laboratories.
- Five of the 15 oils had CBD levels corresponding to the labeling in both lots.
- Three of the 15 oils had CBD levels corresponding to labeling in one lot but not in the other.
- Seven of the 15 oils had CBD levels that did not match the labeling in either batch.
- The metals and pesticides found were in most cases negligible and "did not threaten human consumption". But several products had a confusing labeling, including the word "organic" despite the presence of metals and pesticides.
Carola Perez, president of the MCEO, told MJBizDaily that she was disappointed that most companies are unaware of the report's findings and continue their operations as if nothing had happened or question the reliability of the tests.
"An industry that refuses to mature and be accountable to consumers could be used as an argument by regulators to allow only the sale of pharmaceuticals that have been the subject of clinical trials at prices that most patients could never afford, "she said.
"In Spain, we have already seen the seizure of CBD products on the shelves."
Despite the lack of regulation, "CBD is widely available in British High Street and online channels, and the interest of the general public has never been higher, which is fueled by both the media and the media. by the growing evidence and experience of therapeutic benefits, "said Jonathan Liebling, principal investigator at the Center for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC), at MJBizDaily.
Next month, the CMC plans to release test results from 30 products available in the UK, selected based on their popularity.
The results will enable the organization to make policy recommendations to improve the regulations that it describes as "inconsistent" and "imprecise".
In the UK, the CBD is a "totally unregulated market" and "there is no guarantee that what is on the label is actually on the product itself," Liebling said.
"No one is responsible for controlling and regulating this exciting new market."
In the Czech Republic, the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI) published last year a "warning to consumers of cannabis and CBD oils sold on the European market".
The tests of the group showed it:
34% CBD oils did not match the manufacturer's declared content.
Many products presented a "risk of dangerous contamination".
Most of the labels did not indicate the THC content, which exposed consumers to the risk of failing drug tests.
Pavel Kubu, CEO of ICCI, said that when the group shared the test results with the manufacturers, "about a third of them took active measures to improve their quality, which occurred when subsequent tests ".
After years of testing, ICCI is preparing a report with a trend analysis to be released later this year.
In Austria, another non-profit organization, Arge Canna, is also analyzing samples of commonly sold CBD products.
When the group tested 46 products for its first report, only 21 of them had CBD content that matched their labels with an acceptable range.
Since this 2017 report, the organization continued to publish the results of third-party testing in Austria and Spain.
Gerald Wagner, board member of Arge Canna, noted that since the organization began testing products and publishing the results, companies "have responded positively and brought their work to a new level" .
"The CBD in Europe is the Wild West, so independent certification bodies should be encouraged by industry and regulators," he said.
To encourage companies to improve their standards, Arge Canna offers a "seal of quality" to companies that test their products for cannabinoids, pesticides, micro-organisms and heavy metals.
Standards at EU level
The application after the inclusion of CBD in the European "new foods" catalog has been anything but uniform.
Mr Perez, of the Spanish Medicinal Cannabis Observatory, believes that the solution must be found at EU level, allowing the sale of products that meet a minimum quality standard.
"When police seize products in local stores, consumers simply buy them online. "Spanish entrepreneurs move to Italy or the Czech Republic to produce and sell online in Spain. It's an absurd situation. "
Mr Kubu, ICCI in the Czech Republic, sees "no reason to believe that EU national laws will undergo significant changes" because the EU's rules on novel foods should provide a standard at the EU level. continental.
So far, however, no CBD product has the necessary authorization to comply with this rule.
"Enforcement of large-scale regulation is expected sooner or later with (the) first product successfully registered," Kubu said.
In a recent interviewDanish Health Minister Ellen Trane Nørby also called for more coherent European regulation.
"Many European countries have CBD oils on the shelves of pharmacies, but they do not have legislation," Nørby said.
"If you have countries that do not have legislation, or simply do not follow the legislation they have in the country, you are putting patients, producers, and consumers in a very difficult situation."
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