RALEIGH, N.C. â€” Testers in North Carolina and across the country have encountered products marketed as delivering the cannabis extract CBD but that instead were spiked with synthetic marijuana.
AP commissioned laboratory testing of vape oil plus 29 other vape products sold as CBD around the country, with a focus on brands that authorities or users flagged as suspect. Ten of the 30 contained types of synthetic marijuana â€” drugs commonly known as K2 or spice that have no known medical benefits â€” while others had no CBD at all.
Among them was Green Machine, a pod compatible with Juul electronic cigarettes that reporters bought in California, Florida and Maryland. Four of those seven pods contained illegal synthetic marijuana, but which chemical varied by flavor and even location of purchase.
AP reports North Carolina’s state crime lab found nearly 30 spiked products as of earlier this year. Nearly all were vape products.
Vaping in general has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks because hundreds of users have developed mysterious lung illnesses, and several have died. The AP’s investigation focused on yet another set of cases, in which psychoactive chemicals are added to products presented as CBD.
That practice has sent dozens of people nationwide to emergency rooms, including teens and service members in North Carolina. Unlike CBD, synthetic marijuana gives an intense high.
The results of AP’s lab testing echo what authorities have found, according to a survey of law enforcement agencies in all 50 states.
At least 128 samples out of more than 350 tested by government labs in nine states, nearly all in the South, had synthetic marijuana in products marketed as CBD. Gummy bears and other edibles accounted for 36 of the hits, while nearly all others were vape products. Mississippi authorities also found fentanyl, the powerful opioid involved in about 30,000 overdose deaths last year.
In all, lab testing shows spiked vapes or edibles such as gummy bears marketed as CBD in at least 13 states. Industry representatives acknowledge spiking, but say many companies are reputable.