‘Patients Are Being Duped’: NBC 6 Tests CBD Products

Arliss Buergo has been using CBD for the last year. She uses it in oil form, with just a drop on her tongue once a day.

“Those anxious moments, they seem to just drift away,” Buergo said. “I feel just calmer, more at ease, grounded.”

She considers the extract a natural alternative to treat her anxiety.

It comes from the leaves and flowers of hemp and marijuana plants.

“I feel more mindful in the moment,” she said.

She’s one of a growing number of people taking a variety of CBD products.

They come in the form of oils, edible gummies, creams and even coffee.

People, like Buergo, say they’re taking CBD for their reported health benefits saying it can help treat everything from inflammation to anxiety.

“I definitely see CBD as something I could use for the rest of my life,” she said.

As of now, the extract has only been officially approved by the FDA to treat epilepsy.

An NBC 6 investigation found some products on the market labeled as containing CBD did not have the amount listed on the product. NBC 6 Investigator Dan Krauth reports.(Published Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019)

Growing Business

Right now, you can find CBD products in beauty salons, gas stations and online. But you’ll soon be seeing CBD products show up in a variety of other places, including larger scale retail stores.

Last year, federal lawmakers passed the 2018 farm bill which separated hemp from the legal definition of marijuana, making it legal to manufacture and buy anywhere in the United States.

In 2018, CBD was a $619 million industry nationwide. By the end of 2019, it’s expected to hit $5.9 billion, according to researchers with Brightfield Group, a CBD marketing research firm.

Little Regulation

The growing industry has little to no regulation with no one watching what’s going into the product.

CBD is not considered a food or dietary supplement, so there aren’t strict regulations or testing requirements for the products.

The FDA can only go as far as warning companies against making any type of marketing claims regarding what the product can do for a person’s health.

Product Testing

The NBC 6 Investigators purchased 35 CBD products from seven different companies. We bought five products of each brand.

We covered the samples with white labels to prevent identification of the samples being tested at the lab. We then took the samples to Evio Labs, an accredited testing facility in Davie.

The company tests for more than 400 companies worldwide.

At the lab, the products were photographed and entered into the company’s computer system. Chemists then measured and weighed the samples and tested for how much CBD was inside the products. The NBC6 Investigators then took the results and compared them to what we found on each of the company’s labels we purchased.

Product Results

Of the 35 samples we tested, 20 of them had less than half of the amount of CBD advertised on the label. Some samples had no CBD at all.

“Patients are being duped,” said Chris Martinez, President of Evio Labs. “They’re buying products that really aren’t going to benefit them.”

Of the products we purchased, the biggest differences were found in gummies that were infused with CBD, one of the most popular ways to consume CBD.

The NBC6 Investigators bought five packages of Hemp Bombs CBD Gummies. Each package listed that it contained “5 Max Strength Gummies.”

The package label advertises each gummy contains 15 mg of CBD. However, test results show each gummy had 2.2 mg or less.

In an email, the attorney for Global Widget (which owns Hemp Bombs) said he “cannot verify” the test results but said the products tested were not made the way the company makes them now.

“The gummies you tested were not made using our latest manufacturing equipment, which infuses the CBD hemp extract into the gummies, rather than sprinkling it one them,” said attorney Rod Kight in an email. “This is significant because temperature changes, handling, and other external factors can cause the hemp CBD powder to fall off of the gummies over time.”

In another brand of gummies, Gold Line, the results were similar.

The NBC6 Investigators purchased five bags of the product.

The company’s website listed each bag was infused with “High Potency 25 MG CBD.”

However, test results show each bag had 10.5 mg or less.

In an email, a company spokesperson said he posted the wrong product photo online and has since removed it from the website. He called it an “innocent mistake.”

The biggest difference was discovered in a third brand of gummies. NBC6 purchased five packages of gummies from danisdollhouse.com, a surgery recovery website based in the Miami area.

The website claims they’re the “strongest” CBD gummies and can help “speed up your recovery.” The package advertises 1,000 mg of CBD inside.

However, test results show each of the five packages had no CBD at all.

“It’s concerning and alarming,” said Martinez.

When the NBC6 Investigators called Dani from Dani’s Doll House, she said she purchased the gummies from a distributor she did not name and put her own label on the packages.

She told NBC6 she was going to “get to the bottom” of what happened.

When it comes to oils, NBC6 also found differences.

We purchased oils from three different companies. Out of the five oils purchased from Jolly Green Oil, all five had less than half the amount of CBD claimed by the company. After two weeks of calls and emails, the company hasn’t responded to requests for comment.

The oils from two other companies, CBDistillery and Lazarus Naturals, all had about the same amount of CBD inside the product as listed on the labels.

How to Test CBD ProductsHow to Test CBD Products

NBC 6’s Dan Krauth explains how to test certain CBD products.(Published Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019)

Some Products Passed the Test

Not all of the results showed big differences. NBC6 tested gummies from Green Roads, a South Florida-based company.

Results show the product inside matched what was listed on the packages.

The company’s founder wasn’t surprised.

“We want to make sure people are getting what we say they’re getting,” said Laura Baldwin Fuentes.

Since there’s no regulation, companies aren’t required to test their products. At Green Roads, Baldwin Fuentes says she spends $10,000 a month to do three levels of testing.

“They get checked where we buy it from, when it comes in the door and when we get it back from manufacturing,” she said.

The founder says she wants more regulation for the industry to ensure each company is required to test its products.

“It’s just crazy what goes on in this industry honestly,” said Baldwin Fuentes.

What to Watch Out For

Experts recommend when buying a CBD product, check to see if the company does testing and ask for current test results.

Some companies, like Green Roads, put a testing bar code on all of their products. It’s a code you can scan with your cell phone that will take you to the test results for the product you’re buying to see the levels of CBD inside.

Experts say, even if a product doesn’t have a bar code, consumers should look for a CBD product that has a batch number on the label so it can be tracked to where and when it was made. Most companies should have test results on their website that can be matched to that batch number and product.