The CBD industry is still young.
Yet it’s evolved so fast…that we’re pretty much learning as we go along. And since hindsight is 2020, it’s clear we’ve made some mistakes along the way. One of the more insidious of these mistakes lies in something surprising: in the way the industry does labeling.
Many of this fledgling industry’s consumers are evolving, too.
More and more of them are interested in conscious consumption — the idea that we need to band together as a collective and be extra aware of the CBD we take. Including where it comes from, who produced it, why they produced it, etc! Because, while CBD itself is awesome, many CBD brands may be burdened by the shortcomings of circa-2019 capitalism.
In practical terms: consumers need to know exactly what they’re getting before they purchase any product…and, unfortunately, most CBD products on the market don’t exactly facilitate that. The following story should help explain why.
Take a look through almost any CBD store, whether in person or online, and you’ll see something interesting.
More than just one thing, actually. There’ll be a CBD oil with “500 mg” on its label… a topical that says “200”…capsules that say “1,000 milligrams.” Do you see the trend here? Everything is labeled in milligrams per bottle.
If your CBD source happens to be within a brick-and-mortar health food store, look around — if it’s not, feel free to tag along in your mind. Find the vitamin C on a nearby shelf: what does its label say? More than likely, it’ll say 500 or 1,000 mg, too….kind of like the CBD products do, right?
Wrong. Whether the vitamin C bottle says 500 or 1000 or something else, that figure refers to the milligram content of one serving, not the whole bottle.
Things get stranger. If you have time, check out some of the other supplements in the store. The vitamin D, for example — its label will say 1000 or 2000 IU — and said value will be per serving, too. In fact, we bet CBD will be the only thing in your health food store that lists its total active ingredient content on its front label.
There’s a reason nearly all nutraceuticals opt to go the per-serving route. It’s simple, refined, and catered to the consumer. Why doesn’t the CBD industry follow suit, you might ask?
Good question. Possible reasons include a lack of awareness or a surplus of greed, seeing as consumers could be impressed by the comparatively-larger numbers. Thankfully, though, some brands are just now starting to make the transition.
Take that 500 mg CBD oil we mentioned earlier. It should really say 16.6 mg on its label — because that’s the true amount of CBD present in a one-dropper serving! Better yet, change the total bottle value to 480 milligrams so the mg/serving value can be a nice even 16. Easier math for the end-user, right?
Another benefit to this type of labeling: the front label and back label (ie, “supplement facts” section) line up perfectly. There’s no more trying to convert various fractions to find out how much CBD, THC, etc. you’re getting.
“Nearly 70 percent of cannabidiol extracts sold online are mislabeled, study shows: Mislabeling may lead to adverse effects for patients, including children with epilepsy.”
– University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. As seen in ScienceDaily, November 2017.
We’ve mentioned before how things like independent lab testing and transparent supply chains can impact your quest to find the right CBD product. It’s up to consumers to look for such things — regulatory agencies aren’t yet looking for them.
Yet now the time is right for diligent customers to consider adding one more thing to their list of standards: accurate, per-serving labeling. And not just for their own sake, either. Impending FDA regulations mean that CBD companies who adopt per-serving label standards now will probably fare better than brands that don’t in the future. Why not stick with a brand that will last?
Take if from the FDA themselves…they’ve recently declared interest in CBD, after all: “CBD products are still subject to the same laws and requirements as FDA-regulated products that contain any other substance.”
One of these requirements is — you guessed it — standardized per-serving labeling.
As of right now, we’re only aware of a few CBD brands that offer this new type of labeling. Stay tuned for more info on them!** As it turns out, the way a brand labels its products speaks volumes to the integrity of other things they do, too. And at Fred & Jane we believe clarity is the best path the cannabis movement could hope to take moving forward.