A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that only 31% of the products tested contained the precise amount of CBD advertised on the label (within the acceptable margin of error), while 26% contained less CBD than the label indicated and 43% contained more.
Accuracy of labeling, it turned out, was also associated with product type. About half of the CBD extract oils were labeled inaccurately. Nearly 90% of the vaporization liquids were labeled inaccurately. Tinctures (alcoholic extracts) were roughly equally likely to be over-, under- or accurately labeled.
Another finding from the study is that concentration of unlabeled cannabinoids were generally low; however, THC was detected in 18 of the 84 samples tested.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, has its own medical applications but, unlike CBD, is psychoactive and can cause a "high."
Unknowingly ingesting THC could result in side effects such as trouble sleeping and cognitive impairment. It could also have unintended consequences, such as positive drug tests.
"As things stand now, the supplement industry overall is not regulated," CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. "You don't always know what you're getting, how much you're getting or even if the active ingredients are in there at all. With medical marijuana, it is almost the opposite situation at the federal level. It is highly regulated."
"If the FDA regulated this industry, we would be way better off," the study author said. "They're good at regulating things. When you go and buy a prescription at a pharmacy, you know what you're getting. ... (It's the) same thing for food. When you get a pack of Doritos or a Hershey bar, you know what it is."