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Grocery Stores Have Most Consistently Labeled CBD

Results from the CBD Awareness Project's product potency tests
Photograph: Shutterstock

Are grocery stores offering the most accurately labeled cannabidiol (CBD) products? A recent potency study by CBD Awareness Project suggests so.

“As with most purchases, you typically hope the product labeling is reliable,” the study reads. “Where CBD is concerned, being critical of a product label and working to understand its terminology can help ensure you’re getting the quality you expect, especially when deciphering dosages.”

As such, the independent consultants and experts at CBD Awareness Project recently purchased 15 different CBD products from 15 different grocery, convenience or hemp/CBD specialty stores and tested to see which purchase locations and types of products contain the advertised amounts of CBD. Here’s what they found.

Grocery Is the Most Reliable Channel

After comparing each products’ advertised CBD amount vs. the lab results, the results showed that, on average, CBD products purchased at grocery stores contained 136% of the CBD advertised, products purchased at CBD stores contained 83% of what was advertised and products purchased at gas stations contained just 40% of the CBD advertised (likely due to the fact that three beverage products from gas stations had no CBD at all).

Of the grocery store products purchased, 20% contained the CBD levels advertised, 60% contained more and 20% contained less. For CBD stores, 20% of products were labeled accurately and 80% contained less CBD. At gas stations, 40% had less CBD than advertised and 60% contained no CBD at all.

“According to our findings, it is useful to consider the purchase location as a quality indicator,” the study said. “If you go into a store that specializes in CBD, you might expect to get the highest-quality offerings. In reality, just 1 in 5 products from CBD retail locations contained the amount of CBD their labels advertised.”

Topical Is the Most Reliable Format

The testing also showed wide discrepancies based on the type of CBD product, with beverages faring worst. Of the four beverage products tested, only one had any CBD in it (and was less than the advertised amount). Edibles were also likely to be mislabeled: While all four edible products tested had some amount of CBD, three had less than what was on the label and one had 25% more than what was labeled.

Topical products, according to this test, were the most likely to be accurate. Of five topicals tested, two had as much CBD as advertised, two had more CBD than advertised and one had less.

“The type of CBD you’re interested in might not always be all it’s promised to be,” the report surmised.

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