Hemp Labs, Retailer Call for CBD Standardized Testing

Want industry reform, transparency to hold brands and companies accountable for products
CBD oil
Photograph: Shutterstock

LAS VEGAS Real Tested CBD, a platform bringing transparency to cannabidiol (CBD) consumers, is joining forces with brick-and-mortar franchise Your CBD Store and independent testing facility KCA Labs to encourage accuracy and standardization in hemp product disclosures on a national scale.

“If we don’t have reliable testing, we put the industry and consumers at risk,” said Steve Townsend, Real Tested CBD general manager. “And if we don’t impose our own standards, then we can’t blame government when it imposes greater regulation.”

Consumers should be able to easily find high-quality options based on product labels as cannabinoids become more mainstream, Real Tested CBD said. Consumers relying on the information in a product Certificate of Analysis (COA) should be standard when it comes to shopping for CBD and other cannabinoids; however, a lack of transparency from both CBD brands and some third-party labs threatens that goal, Real Tested CBD said.

Discrepancies—sometimes exceeding 30% to 50% in cannabinoid content—between results reported on COAs and independent lab tests are becoming more common. Third-party labs are reporting different, usually lower, concentrations of cannabinoids compared with label claims. For consumers looking to avoid traditional THC (Delta 9) or other substances, this can be a serious concern, severe enough that consequences could extend to health issues, legal penalties or even loss of employment.

Real Tested CBD said this issue is heightened by third-party labs that do not recognize or address deficiencies in their testing procedures or results yet publish them anyway. While some labs might see a competitive advantage in delivering lab results that support a hemp brand or company, industry progress is being jeopardized and consumers are put at risk.

The question, Real Tested CBD said, arises whether some labs purposefully don’t recognize discrepancies in COAs either to make sales or because they lack the expertise in specialized analytical testing.

“Either way, a lack in transparency and disclosure creates risk for consumers and the industry,” the company said.

Real Tested CBD, KCA Labs and Your CBD Store call for the following reforms for labs and hemp brands:

  • Develop, validate and use fit-for-purpose testing methods. These methods would be based on the cannabinoids and product types analyzed.
  • Be willing to challenge inadequate methods. Processes that are inaccurate or not adequately validated for product or sample type must adapt to the changing testing requirements introduced by a changing industry.
  • Strive to achieve baseline resolution. Extracted, isolated and converted cannabinoids and the methods by which they are obtained are complex processes. A single-test approach using methods designed for plant materials is outdated and detrimental to industry progress. The exceptional selectivity afforded by using mass spectrometry should not be overlooked, and use of internal standards to improve accuracy and precision should become standard for the determination of cannabinoids.

Real Tested CBD is a platform that provides independently tested lab results of the most popular CBD products on the market, free to the user, based on the belief that this information should be readily provided to consumers across the market.

KCA Laboratories, Nicholasville, Ky., is a third-party analytical chemistry lab focused on advancing the science of industrial hemp. With a client base across 45 states and six countries, KCA provides regulatory testing, analysis for contaminants and research and development.

Your CBD Store, Collierville, Tenn., has more than 500 locations across 39 states and four in the United Kingdom.

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