ORLANDO, Fla. — Across the country, "canna-business" is booming. CBD hemp products are popping up everywhere, from health food stores to dog groomers.
Investigative reporter Karla Ray has learned, however, that many consumers might not always know what they are buying. In some cases, products labeled with CBD may not actually have any CBD at all.
CBD is not regulated, meaning companies are not required to test to ensure potency levels are as advertised, and no one from the government is doing so either.
Kim Adams credits CBD for improving her family’s quality of life, as well as supporting her family’s livelihood. She runs a New Smyrna Beach shop that specializes in CBD products.
“It started with a gummy, and that's really where the journey began with CBD,” Adams said. “I had no idea it would take us here.”
Eyewitness News first reported about the Adamses' fight to allow daughter Zoe to take CBD gummies to school. Zoe has a rare disorder called San Filipo syndrome, and her family says the only thing that calms her are cannabidiol candies, derived from hemp.
“For me, the results are visible; I've seen it change a life, so I can't take that away,” Adams said.
The Adamses' crusade prompted rule changes within Volusia Schools, and led Kim Adams to start selling CBD products, including gummies named for her daughter.
She admits though, without regulation, it’s hard to know you’re getting what you pay for. Adams told 9 Investigates that another local business owner was caught selling products with her label on them, that tests proved did not actually contain CBD.
“It's scary that anybody can say there's CBD in this, or how much is in it; there's no regulation,” Adams said.
9 Investigates purchased seven different CBD samples; mostly oils, but capsules and gummies, as well. We took those samples to a South Florida laboratory to put them to the test.
“Not everybody operates on the same standards, because there are no regulatory standards in the moment,” said Chris Martinez, of Evio Labs, the only ISO accredited cannabis-testing lab in Florida.
Martinez says his chemists run tests for 13 licensed medical marijuana cultivators in Florida, and about 450 CBD companies nationwide.
“We see a lot of inconsistencies in potency, across various product lines, various SKUs [stock keeping units],” Martinez said.
Of our seven samples, only one tested -- PlusCBD Oil Full Spectrum Hemp Drops -- had the exact level of CBD as advertised. The capsules we tested were also very close, testing just over 24 milligrams per capsule, with 25 milligrams advertised.
Lab reports for the samples we tested of Pinnacle Hemp and Reef Newport Beach CBD oils came back about 50 milligrams lower than advertised. We made contact with those companies, which both do testing and provide certificates of authenticity for the products they sell, but they have yet to officially respond to the discrepancies.
“If you're going to be in a space where you're creating a product for a patient to increase their standard of living, there has to be a consistency in that product,” Martinez said, reiterating the fact that equal distribution of potency is challenging.
The items we purchased from Adams came back with the biggest deficits. Dr. Feel Good oil, advertised at 500 milligrams of CBD, tested for 381. FLA 420 CBD additive advertised at 300 milligrams of CBD, but came back with a level of 85 milligrams.
Testing showed the gummies Adams was selling, and giving to her daughter, had zero CBD. She pulled the gummies from her shelves as soon as we notified her of the results and has since switched distributors.
“I think there should be more checks and balances on it,” Adams said.
Adams told 9 Investigates that she has gotten more testing back on the Florida 420 oil and that she and her business partner believe the potency level that is advertised is accurate.
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