Public Health and Safety

Buying Hemp Derived Topical Products? Buyer Beware

When purchasing hemp derived topical products, the adage of “Let the buyer beware” could have new meaning. Are you really getting what you’re paying for? Can you trust the label? A recent study suggests you can’t.

A new study in JAMA Network Open (July 2022) examines the accuracy of cannabinoid content in commercially available “Hemp-derived” products, most commonly cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  The authors, Spindle, T ( obtained samples hemp-derived products (n=105) intended for topical or transdermal use, from common retail and online sources, claiming to contain CBD. These items were all submitted for analysis to determine the actual cannabinoid content and amounts.

Of the 89 labeled CBD products, 76% of the samples (n=68) failed to match the claimed amount, being either 10% over or 10% under the amount listed on the label. Only 24% of the samples (n=21) matched their labels. THC was found in about 1/3 of the products but at a level consistent with law (less than 0.3%).

This study raises questions about quality control, effective regulation, and the need for consumer protection from fraudulent claims of health benefits not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

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