Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are now available throughout the United States, but their quality is oftentimes questionable. The CBD and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of 25 commercially available hemp oil products, obtained throughout the state of Mississippi, was determined via gas chromatography/flame ionization detection (GC/FID). These products were also analyzed for the presence of synthetic cannabinoids using full scan gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Analytical findings were compared to label claims for CBD content. Product label claims for CBD ranged from no claim to 500 mg per serving; however, marked variability was observed between actual CBD content and claimed quantities. Of the 25 products, only three were within ±20% of label claim. Fifteen were well below the stated claim for CBD; two exceed claims in excess of 50%; and 5 made no claims. In addition, THC content for three products exceeded the 0.3% legal limit. Furthermore, four products-primarily marketed for vaping-were adulterated with synthetic cannabinoids. From this small, but diverse, sampling of hemp-derived merchandise, it appears that most product label claims do not accurately reflect actual CBD content and are fraudulent in that regard. Moreover, products that exceed legal THC levels may jeopardize a consumer’s employment status (i.e. failed « drug test »), while those adulterated with synthetic cannabinoids may subject them to serious adverse health effects. These findings argue strongly for further development of current good manufacturing practices for CBD-containing products and their stringent enforcement.
Keywords: CBD; THC; cannabidiol; phytocannabinoids; quality control; synthetic cannabinoids; Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol.