Several products from a leading brand of CBD vaping liquids contain a chemical that’s been linked to emergency room admissions and even death, according to a study published this month in Forensic Science International.
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found that the products, all from Diamond CBD, a publicly traded company, contained a compound called 5F-ADB. That compound, often found in illegal synthetic marijuana products such as “K2” and “Spice,” can trigger paranoia and panic attacks, increase heart rate and blood pressure, and cause convulsions, organ damage, and even death, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
One of the tested products also contained dextromethorphan, a cough drug ingredient that is sometimes abused by teens looking for a high.
The findings raise questions about the rules and regulations around the burgeoning CBD market, says Michelle Peace, Ph.D., co-author of the study and an associate professor of forensic sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University. She points out that numerous products with CBD are now being sold directly to consumers, often with claims about their potential health benefits.
The products that Peace and her colleagues tested contained CBD derived from hemp. (CBD can also come from marijuana plants.)
“The industry is currently self-policing,” she says, noting that her limited testing focused on just a few products from one company. “How many others are there? Without federal regulations guiding the oversight and protections of the general public, there is going to be opportunity for abuse that is really going to put public health and public safety at risk.”
Diamond CBD’s chief executive officer, Kevin Hagen, told CR that current formulations of the products differ from those that were tested. He also said that the company’s products are subject to third-party testing and that as a result of Consumer Reports’ questions and the study findings, it planned to retest all its products and issue a recall if they are found to have been adulterated. “The company strives to provide the assurance that we supply the best, highest-quality products on the market,” Hagen said, adding that he supports regulation to ensure the safety and quality of CBD products.