Curation Matters

As the acceptance and use of cannabidiol (CBD) continues to grow and the prevalence of discussion about CBD at times appears ubiquitous, the warnings from CBD critics have inevitably grown louder.  One of the most frequently heard criticisms of CBD products is that their labels contain insufficient or inaccurate information and, as a result, consumers are not able to make fully informed decisions.  We share this concern.  Addressing this issue by evaluating the products we offer and sharing that knowledge with you is a large part of the inspiration for White Label Market.


Critics make frequent reference to a study published November 7th, 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and available in the National Institutes of Health’s US National Library of Medicine. This article, titled “Labeling Accuracy of Cannibidiol Extracts Sold Online”, was funded by the Institute for Research on Cannabinoids (IROC) and sought to examine “the label accuracy of CBD products sold online, including identification of unlabeled cannabinoids”.

In order to conduct the study, the researchers performed internet searches, much like us, using keywords “CBD, cannabidiol, oil, tincture, and vape” to identify and purchase CBD products available online.  The products then were sent to the laboratories at Botanacor Services for analysis using standards consistent with those of US Pharmacopeia and generally applied by the medical cannabis industry. In all, 84 products from 31 companies were evaluated.  


The researchers found that, with respect to CBD, only 31% or products were accurately labeled, meaning the product contained between 90% and 110% of the amount of CBD disclosed on the label. Meanwhile, they found that 43% of products contained more than 110% of the amount of CBD disclosed on the label and 26% of products contained less than 90% of the amount of CBD disclosed on the label.  The study authors noted that consuming more CBD than expected is less of a concern as CBD appears to have neither abuse nor serious adverse side effect at high doses but consuming less than expected is of concern as consumers could experience less response than intended.  Vaporization liquids were most frequently mislabeled (88% of products tested) and oil was most frequently accurately labeled (45% of products tested).  The study also added that the concentration of unlabeled cannabinoids was “generally low”, however, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids were detected in some of the samples.  

The article concludes by highlighting the need for better manufacturing and testing standards and oversight of the industry.  Our hope is that as the CBD market rapidly evolves, this will come to fruition, and labeling accuracy will continue to improve. 

Adding to the possibility for confusion, large retailers have begun to advertise hemp seed oil (sometime simply labeled hemp oil) for sale with advertising touting the benefits normally associated with CBD. They often will present these items when you search their sites for “CBD” (pick your large retailer and try this). The fact is, however, that hemp oil derived from the seeds should contain no CBD. So be sure to check the product carefully to make sure that you are actually getting a CBD product if that is in fact what you are searching for. (We love hemp seed oil, too, for a number of different reasons than CBD. You can learn more about this here.


Lastly, we would like to point out one final nuance. Not all CBD, and the hemp from which it is derived, is created equal. Some CBD comes from industrial hemp. This source requires a tremendous amount of plant material due to its low CBD content such that, given that hemp is a natural bio-accumulator, it poses the risk that any impurities in the hemp (such as pesticides and heavy metals) will be magnified in the finished product. Also, many producers around the world are racing to cash in on the CBD boom. As the New York Times recently pointed out, China is moving quickly to expand its production capacity. We prefer to source our CBD from farms in the United States that are subject to strict testing and quality control requirements and adhere to organic, sustainable, and ethical growing and business practices (and we verify all of this before offering any product for sale to you).

We hope that as the industry continues to rapidly evolve, the accuracy of information provided by manufacturers will continue to improve until such time as consumers truly can rely on it in making their CBD purchasing decisions. Until that happens, we will keep, as core to our mission, thoroughly evaluating the products we offer and sharing that information with you so that you can make the most informed decisions when it comes to CBD. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please drop us a line at