Psychoactive Adulterants Identified In Some Liquid CBD Products

Richmond, VA: Liquid formulations of CBD available on the commercial market have been identified to contain synthetic cannabinoids and other psychoactive constituents, according to a scientific analysis published in the journal Forensic Science International.

A team of researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University evaluated the content of nine commercially available CBD e-liquid products obtained from a single manufacturer. The products were advertised as being “100 percent natural CBD extracts.”

In addition to containing CBD, two of the nine products also contained THC. Four products contained the synthetic cannabinoid agonist 5F-ADB, a schedule I controlled substance that has also been identified in ‘Spice’ and other so-called herbal cannabis products. One product contained dextromethorphan (DXM), a cough suppressant.

Authors reported: “The addition of 5F-ADB and DXM compounds to the CBD products may lead to unexpected psychoactive effects. Uninformed users may mistakenly associate these effects with CBD. The inclusion of these drugs in e-liquids can lead to dangerous consequences; particularly when the users are unaware, and the product are used for therapeutic reasons.”

They concluded: “There was no indication on the website, box or labeled e-liquid containers to indicate that these products contained any psychoactive substance other than CBD. The analysis of these products illustrates the potential quality control issues that can occur in an unregulated industry. CBD products are believed by many users to offer health benefits, but the detection of a dangerous cannabimimetic, 5F-ADB, and DXM in the analyzed products illustrates the need for oversight of CBD products.”

Other  studies, such as those here and here, have previously reported that commercially available CBD-infused products are often mislabeled – frequently containing far lower percentages of CBD than advertised on the label. Many of these products also contain THC despite being advertised as THC-free. Analytical testing of CBD products by the US Food and Drug Administration has yielded similar findings.

Despite the abundance of these commercial products, the US Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies contend that CBD is a schedule I controlled substance.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “The unexpected identification of the cannabimimetic, 5F-ADB, and dextromethorphan in commercially available cannabidiol e-liquids,” appears in Forensic Science International.