LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- From promises of pain relief to a better night’s sleep, the oil from cannabis known as CBD is being sold as a cure-all.
CBD, or cannabidiol, has popped up across the Las Vegas Valley in dispensaries, mom-and-pop shops, gas stations and even big box retailers.
While there are thousands of CBD products online, most people shop at their local store. FOX5 went to several popular valley businesses, bought their products, then handed it over to a testing lab to find out exactly what’s inside.
“It’s all over the place right now,” Canalysis Laboratories president Skipper Kelp said. “You can get 10 products off the shelves. Five will have exactly what it says. Some will have none. Some will have less, even more levels of CBD.”
That is where industry insiders said the problem lies.
“With CBD products, right now there’s no regulatory body so a sticker that says ‘lab tested,’ anyone could do that,” Kelp said.
Some businesses make it at home. Others buy third-party products, trusting in what’s on the label.
FOX5 bought items from stores across Las Vegas including CBD gummies, oils and water, and gave it to the scientists at Canalysis.
“When you start selling to the masses, I think the mass deserves that quality control,” Kelp said.
Canalysis explained how they test each sample. They look for high levels of heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants.
The lab also tests for truth in labeling, meaning consumers getting what they paid for.
“I think it might be asking a little too much of the convenience store clerk to be an expert, that’s why the label itself is so important,” Kelp said.
Kelp added that false claims have already caused scares in the young industry.
“Our phones have been ringing off the hook with CBD companies and manufacturers,” he said. “They want to get their products tested and validated.”
After about a week, FOX5 went back to Canalysis to get the results. All six products were contaminant-free.
When it came to potency, only two of the six products tested as labeled. Three other products had less than half the amount of CBD, claimed.
Of the two sets of gummies, one had just 1/20th of what was on the label. The CBD water showed not a single trace of CBD inside.
Kelp said this is a good snapshot of the industry and the role of independent labs.
“Lab tests and these machines behind us, aren’t cheap,” he said. “They’re expensive to run and lab testing cost money.”
But in a multi-billion dollar market, “it’s a cost well worth it for the entire industry,” he said.
Kelp added it’s well-worth the buyers time to do research on labels and labs, so that the choice isn’t between risk or relief.
“It’s growing so fast and people are jumping on – it’s the wild, wild West right now,” Kelp said. “There’s a big grab to get right here, everybody sees opportunity. And everything has to reel back a bit.”
Canalysis is one of 12 labs in Nevada with a license from the state to test medical and recreational marijuana products.
FOX5 chose not to identify any of the products that was tested. The results are based on one sample of each. Many CBD companies post their own lab results online. FOX5 wanted to focus on what the lab does and its message for buyers to beware.