What to Know
- CBD is a chemical found in marijuana and hemp plants that doesn’t get you high, which advocates say help to heal some health problems
- Also known as Cannabinol oil can be purchased over-the-counter are unregulated and unmonitored by the Food and Drug Administration
- The I-Team tested three brands of CBD oil and four brands of gummies; five samples of each were purchased and the results were startling
NBC 4 New York first highlighted the popularity surrounding CBD-infused products months ago.
CBD, or Cannabinol oil, is a chemical found in marijuana and hemp plants that doesn’t get you high, which advocates say help to heal a variety of health problems. CBD products purchased over-the-counter are unregulated and unmonitored by the Food and Drug Administration. NBC New York decided to put dozens of these products to the test to learn what is lurking under the label of certain CBD products.
Users swear by CBD as a treatment for everything from anxiety to chronic pain.
Arliss Buergo has been using CBD oil for more than a year to treat her severe anxiety. She sought out CBD as an alternative to traditional prescription medication. Buergo currently doesn’t have a medical prescription for CBD so she has purchased over-the-counter products.
“Those anxious moments they seem to just drift away,” Buergo told NBC 4 New York.
Users like Buergo encouraged NBC 4 New York to put over-the-counter products to the test. The I-Team wanted to know: are you getting what you’re promised on the labels?
The I-Team’s producer went online and undercover to local storefronts to purchase a variety of CBD products. The I-Team tested three brands of CBD oil and four brands of gummies. We purchased five samples of each brand and the results were startling.
The I-Team spoke with Chris Martinez, owner of Evio Labs in Miami, Florida.
“It’s concerning and it’s alarming,” Martinez told the I-Team, when he reviewed the results of our lab report. That report revealed that two of the brands of oils tested had samples rejected by the lab because they do not meet California standards for quality control.
A sample labelled as "Lazarus Naturals" was flagged by Evio Labs because it contained lead.
NBC 4 New York purchased the Lazarus Naturals sample from an independent seller off Groupon. However, Lazarus Naturals said they couldn’t verify that the sample is of their product since it did not have a batch number and they have experienced a problem with counterfeit products sold on unapproved marketplaces. Only one of the five samples we purchased that had a Lazarus Naturals label contained lead.
One sample we purchased from CBDistillery contained one pesticide that exceeds California’s acceptable standards. A company spokesperson told NBC 4 New York that the batch in question was tested by “an accredited third party lab,” and the amounts of pesticides detected passed that laboratory standards.
Additionally, NBC 4 New York purchased Jolly Green CBD oil online and in store.
“This is 500mg,” one of the store clerks told us.
Turns out, that was not the case, according to the test results.
Martinez told NBC 4 New York: “Less than half of the samples that were tested actually had the stated amount of CBD inside the product.”
The lab test showed every sample contained less than half of the advertised amount on the packaging. The company did not respond to our requests for comment.
“It’s not uncommon to see these inconsistencies across the board,” Martinez said.
As for the gummies tested, only one of the brands, Green Roads, contained the amount advertised on the packaging.
Two out of the four gummies tested had less than half of the amount advertised and one contained zero. The I-Team purchased 5 packages of Hemp Bombs, they had less than half the amount of CBD advertised. When we reached out to the company for comment they told the I-Team they couldn’t verify our testing results. They said that the gummies were made the old way by, “sprinkling CBD on them.” Now, the company “infuses the CBD hemp extract into the gummies.”
Another brand purchased online, Gold Line, had similar findings. Results show they have less than half of the amount advertised on their website at the time of purchase. When we reached out to the company for their response they told us that they put the “wrong photo” online. They called it an “innocent mistake” and removed the product from the website.
The biggest difference was in gummies purchased from a surgery recovery website called, Dani’s Doll House. They claim to be the “strongest” CBD gummies than can help “speed up your recovery.”
“All give of those samples had zero CBD in them,” said Martinez.
The owner of the website told the I-Team that they purchase the gummies from a distributor and then apply their own label. She said in an email follow up, she is “going to try to get to the bottom of this.”
“Until there is some type of regulation that levels off the playing field, patients are being duped into buying products that aren’t really going to benefit them,” Martinez said.
“You have no idea what you’re getting. You don’t know where the product is coming from, you don’t know who made it, you don’t know what was put in it,” warns Nate McDonald the General Manager of Operations of Curaleaf New York.
Curaleaf is one of New York state’s licensed medicinal marijuana producers. Curaleaf produces medicinal CBD and THC products. Unlike CBD found on the shelves of gas stations and online store fronts, medical CBD is strictly regulated.
“We have to test potency. We have to test for heavy metals. We have to test for microbiologicals. We have to test for pesticides and fungicides. All of that is required by the state to make sure that the meds are safe,” McDonald said.
Buergo said the results gathered by the I-Team should be a wake up call for CBD consumers.
“Pay attention to the lab results, pay attention to where its sold from and where the plants are from,” Buergo told the I-Team.
Some CBD companies are trying to calm customer fears by putting QR barcodes on the packaging allowing for users to scan and review test results via their smartphones.
Industry experts recommend you make sure CBD-testing is done by a third party and includes results for heavy metals, pesticides and other toxins.