The Great Cannabis Labeling Debacle: What Responsible Consumers Need to Know

by HelloMD

Medical marijuana cardholders want to know that the products they are purchasing are safe, pure, high-quality and accurately labeled. Unfortunately, that isn't the case of many edible marijuana products many in states where marijuana is legal for medical use. In recent months, labeling inconsistencies across the country have come to light, and it's becoming increasingly obvious that the declared THC content on the labels of many edible marijuana products may be inaccurate.

The Dr. J's Hash Infusion Problem

Located in Denver, Dr. J's Hash Infusion is one of the foremost edible producers in Colorado. Known for its wide variety of chocolates, bars, capsules and candies, Dr. J's was a long-time favorite among consumers who wanted a high-quality product with a potent level TCH content.

Everything was clipping along until The Denver Post began conducting independent studies on Dr. J's products in 2014. When the test results came back, the verdict was highly concerning. The vast majority of Dr. J's products that listed 100 milligrams of THC on their labels only contained between .2 and 5 milligrams.

Needless to say, consumers were shocked, and rightfully so. Trusted companies like Dr. J's are expected to produce high-quality marijuana-infused edibles that are accurately labeled, and the glaring inaccuracies in the labeling and production process beg the question, "What is going on?" As it turns out, the problem is not limited to Dr. J's.

A Systemic Issue

Although the Dr. J's case was particularly high-profile, labeling inaccuracies like this are occurring all over the country. According to a study conducted by Ryan Vandrey and his team at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, only 13 out of 75 tested marijuana-infused edible products featured labels that accurately presented their THC and CBD content.

Unlike the Denver Post studies, the Vandrey study wasn't limited to Colorado. This study tested products made by dispensaries in San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles and produced dismal results across the board. When consumers take into account that these inaccuracies are showing up in medicinal products, the reality is quite shocking.

For patients who have serious medical conditions that require treatment by marijuana-infused products, the notion that they are getting less THC or CBD than recommended can be downright infuriating and potentially dangerous. Serious conditions like multiple sclerosis require precise THC treatment levels, and it's safe to say that many patients around the country are not getting what they paid for from their medical edible prescriptions.

The Calls for Increased Accountability

Due to the dangers of mislabeled marijuana edibles, consumers across the country have called for better regulation and increased oversight in the marijuana edibles industry. In addition to exposing mislabeling cases, Vandrey's studies, and others like it, have also exposed the fact that some marijuana dispensaries may not employ any type of quality control at any point during the production process.

Few states have specific laws regarding testing requirements for their medical marijuana-infused edibles. Colorado and Washington both require strict testing for their non medical products, but the regulations essentially fall by the wayside when it comes to medically prescribed edibles.

Unfortunately, there is not much movement to change the laws to require the accurate labeling of medical cannabis products, but consumers all agree on one thing -- medical marijuana products need to be better regulated and must be subject to more accurate labeling practices. In the meantime, you can protect yourself from mislabeled products by purchasing only from dispensaries that independently test their products to ensure they are accurately labeled. Another option is to use products other than edibles, such as tinctures, oils, flowers, and topicals.

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