Along with bold and unsubstantiated promises of health and wellness, most marketing materials for products containing CBD claim that CBD, a compound found in cannabis that alters mental processes and behaviors, is non-psychoactive.
Thatâ€™s not true. If CBD does in fact reduce anxiety, or fight depression, those are by definition psychoactive effects. But one effect CBD products are absolutelyÂ not supposed to have is a â€śheart-poundingâ€ť hallucinogenic experience, like the one a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate student suffered last year.
As The New York Times recently reported, the unidentified student contacted the schoolâ€™s forensic toxicologists after vaping some liquids made by a company calledÂ Diamond CBDÂ and having a very bad time. His experienceÂ mirrored that of more than 100 U.S. service members, some of whom were hospitalized with hallucinations after vaping products said to be CBD oil â€” experiences that track more closely with ingesting spiceÂ than CBD, which studies have found to be mostly benign even at high doses.
When VCU toxicologist Michelle Peace tested Diamond CBD products, in four of nine samples examined, she found a compound called 5F-ADB â€” which is a synthetic cannabinoid that has no therapeutic potential,Â according to the World Health Organization, but can trigger acute psychosis and, in extreme cases, convulsions and death.
Fake cannabinoids, keep in mind, are subject to a blanket ban by regulators in the United States and have been linked to numerous very bad health outcomes, including the notorious â€śzombieâ€ť incident in Brooklyn.
But since â€śsynthetic marijuanaâ€ť is a blanket term referring to one of any number of chemical compounds whose effects attempt to â€śmimicâ€ť THC, they are very hard to suss out. And also, apparently, easy to mix into â€śCBDâ€ť products in order toâ€¦ well, produce a high? Produce negative headlines? Trick the user?
Among its products marketed to humans, which the very troubled in human consumed, Diamond CBD also sells products marketed to pets.
In a statement to the Times, Diamond CBDâ€™s parent company,Â a holdings company called PotNetwork HoldingsÂ that also markets CBD products under comedic legend Tommy Chongâ€™s brand Chongâ€™s Choice, rejected the findings and said their own tests did not find â€śany unnatural or improper derivative,â€ť and said it would test more products and issue a recall if necessary.
But the experience of the soldiers last year â€” who also claimed to have vaped CBD oil before turning up in emergency rooms with symptoms consistent with exposure to synthetic cannabinoids â€” suggests that the one manâ€™s issue with Diamond CBD products may not be an isolated incident.
The Timesâ€™s analysis of the incident was a critique of the CBD marketâ€™s lack of regulation. This is a real thing and it is problematic. Swearing that your CBD product can work all kinds of wonders, as many CBD product marketers have done, is neither honest nor legal. But adulterating CBD oil with synthetic cannabinoids, as VCUâ€™s Peace alleges that Diamond CBD may have done, is a huge leap beyond hucksterism and lands instead in the realm of reckless or malicious disregard.
What to do? Thatâ€™s an excellent question. The speed at which CBD productsâ€™ popularity and availability have outpaced any kind of CBD knowledge and awareness â€” let alone product regulation, safety, and testing â€” has been stunning. The vape oil is out of the bottle and in your lungs and brain; whatâ€™s in it? You just canâ€™t be certain, and until you can, there is apparently a risk of being very dangerously fooled by unscrupulous CBD companies. Will it happen to you? It could, and thatâ€™s bad enough.
TELL US, are you concerned about the safety of CBD products?