This Week in CBD: September 20, 2019

Vaping continued to be big news this week, with spiked CBD e-pens taking center stage. The Associated Press published the findings of their own investigation into spiked CBD, after commissioning lab testing of 30 brands of CBD vape products.

The investigation comes in the wake of several cases of consumers becoming ill after inhaling products that were labeled as CBD. The spiked products actually contained cheap and illegal street drugs like synthetic marijuana and, in at least one product in Mississippi, fentanyl.

Of the 30 brands tested, ten were found to contain synthetic marijuana, while others had no CBD at all. It’s important to note that the investigation focused on brands that had been flagged by authorities and users as suspect, so the findings are not representative of the CBD industry as a whole.

The story does highlight, though, the importance of consumer awareness in an unregulated industry.

According to the AP, authorities have struggled to stay ahead of fly-by-night companies out to make a quick buck. Buying from companies that show third-party lab reports and have well-established reputations may not get you the cheapest CBD, but it’s well worth avoiding a trip to the ER.

This Week’s Top CBD Deals

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is applying pressure to the Food and Drug Administration to clear a path for the lawful marketing of hemp-derived CBD products.

The FDA is currently wading through the complications of establishing a regulatory framework for CBD, keeping the CBD industry on pins and needles as they await new rules. McConnell, who was one of the chief proponents of hemp legalization, wants things to move faster.

In consultation with US Hemp Roundtable (a hemp advocacy group), McConnell has introduced language into a congressional spending report that would require the FDA to meet benchmarks within the next three to four months.

This would allow CBD companies to move forward with developing new products and encourage financial institutions to invest in the industry – without fear of reprisals from the FDA.

A federal judge in Indiana just threw out the state’s ban on smokable hemp. The ban, which was put into effect in July, was a response to the frustrations of law enforcement officials, who complained that hemp flower looks and smells exactly like marijuana – creating a problem of enforcement.

The Midwest Hemp Council, together with seven Indiana hemp wholesalers, sued the state over the ban. US District Judge Sarah Evan Barker sided with the plaintiffs, ruling that it was unconstitutional to ban one type of hemp just because it can’t easily be distinguished from marijuana.

“The fact that local law enforcement may need to adjust tactics and training in response to changes in federal law is not a sufficient basis for enacting unconstitutional legislation,” wrote Judge Barker.

Charlotte’s Web, a CBD company with perhaps the best brand recognition in the industry, made hemp history this week. The company was awarded the first US patent for a hemp strain (under the name “CW2A”), according to US patent and Trademark Office Filings.

The patent will protect Charlotte’s Web from competition with any company that might grow their strain of hemp from a clone. This ability to protect access to their strain gives the company a huge competitive advantage. The CBD industry rests on the ability to grow strains of hemp that provide high levels of CBD and low levels of THC.

The patent documents describe the strain as containing “an assortment of phytocannabinoids (e.g., CBD), terpenes, flavonoids…that work synergistically to heighten effects of products produced by CW2A.”

Traveling with CBD can be tricky, even when just crossing borders in North America. But the British government sent out a travel advisory this week, warning UK citizens to take extra precautions against intentionally or accidentally bringing CBD oil into the United Arab Emirates.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Service, which issues travel advisories, reminds travelers that CBD found anywhere in a travelers’ luggage — including in skincare and e-cigarette refills — will be taken seriously, and could lead to criminal charges in the UAE.

According to the advisory, bringing even a small amount of an illegal drug (like CBD) into the UAE can lead to a jail sentence of at least four years.