There may be some additional reasons to be particularly cautious about pro-ducts ordered online, says Amanda Reiman, Ph.D., a cannabis policy and public health expert based in California who also works for Flow Kana, a cannabis company. She notes that there may be less oversight of those products than there is of store-bought ones, making their purity and potency even less certain.
Research backs her up. A November 2017 study in JAMA, authored by Vandrey at Johns Hopkins, found that only 26 of 84 samples of CBD oils, tinctures, and vaporization liquids purchased online contained the amount of CBD claimed on their labels. Eighteen of them had THC levels possibly high enough to cause intoxication or impairment, especially in children. And a quarter had less CBD than advertised. Similarly, FDA testing has found several “CBD” products with no CBD at all.
Some companies that make CBD products say they also contract with third-party testers to do additional analysis beyond the state requirements. Kevin Liebrock, chief operating officer at Bluebird Botanicals in Louisville, Colo., says that’s what his company does. And he says that it posts the results online, so customers can check to see that they are “getting the advertised amounts of cannabinoids, like CBD, and that the product is free of contaminants.”
Other companies, such as Floyd’s of Leadville, also post their results online. And Maggie Frank, national educator at CV Sciences, maker of PlusCBD Oil, says customers should ask to see the Certificates of Analysis, or COAs, which show the results of those tests. If a company won’t do that, she says, “that’s a red flag.”