A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit against a Canadian edibles maker for allegedly breaching California consumer protections laws for improper labeling of its THC and CBD products. Specifics of that settlement haven’t been made public, but the allegation was that the manufacturer of medicinal chocolates sold products in Southern California over the course of two years that failed to contain the amount of CBD and THC that was advertised.
Labeling lawsuits against CBD and THC product makers are increasing. As our Los Angeles cannabis attorneys can explain, it is imperative that companies ensure the level of THC and CBD in their products aligns with what is advertised. In this case, the lawsuit alleged the potency of these compounds in the products were “drastically” different from what was publicly claimed.
FDA Studies CBD, THC Product Contents
Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration submitted a letter to Congress indicating numerous CBD products that the company tested that contained far more – and sometimes less – than the amount of cannabidiol that was advertised. Some of the testing revealed certain products contained THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis) that wasn’t supposed to be in them.
Of the more than 100 products (tinctures, oils, capsules, edibles, drinks, and pet products) the FDA tested prior to the report, 18 had less than 80 percent of the CBD they were advertised to have. Slightly less than half were within 20 percent of the amount of CBD advertised. A significant number – 38 – had more than 120 percent of the CBD advertised. Many also contained trace amounts of THC, though they weren’t supposed to contain any.
The FDA chose a random sample of products to test from a pool of internet and trade journal advertisements, companies that had previously been cited by the FDA for making health-related claims about their CBD products and participants in various industry events. The testing size was limited, a fact the FDA noted as well and pointed to as cause for a more intensive, longitudinal study.
Hemp and CBD industry insiders are concerned by the findings, but know that as a whole, providers and manufacturers hold themselves to high standards. Part of the problem is the lack of FDA regulation for CBD and hemp products, which has resulted in a patchwork of state-level rules and enforcement. That may soon happen, as members of the House Appropriations Committee has allocated $5 million for the federal food and drug regulator to continue its review of CBD products, expressing concern for misleading health claims.
Last year, with assistance from researchers at the University of Mississippi, the FDA completed analysis on cosmetic products containing hemp, finding that a dozen of more than 100 tested contained THC – even though that element wasn’t specified in the label. A couple of those products contained 120 percent more CBD than advertised.
While there is little question the industry requires more work to ensure products with CBD and THC meet product labeling guidelines, one bright spot worth noting is that in the FDA’s testing for heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury, lead and arsenic, none were found in any quantity that posed a significant health concern to consumers.
Potency Rules for California Cannabis Products
California law has established testing regulations to ensure the package labeling matches the potency of each product. The law requires products to be tested for THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, CBT and CBN. The potency level is considered “passing” if it is within +/- 15 percent of the amount indicated on the label.
This is in addition to testing for solvents, pesticides, microbiological impurities and heavy metals.
California law limits the amount of THC in edible cannabis products for recreational use to 100 milligrams. These limits are not in place for medical marijuana products, which require a medical marijuana ID card to purchase.
Consult with an experienced cannabis business attorney in L.A. to ensure your company is doing everything possible to meet the potency, packaging and label requirements.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, ancillary companies, patients, doctors and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.