Source: Merry Jane, May 24, 2019 by Zach Harris - https://merryjane.com/news/report-says-70-of-cbd-products-are-contaminated-with-heavy-metals-or-pesticides
"You have an industry that has a rampant quality control issue." If you’re heading to the head shop or health store for a new hemp-based CBD product to help curb your anxiety, relieve your arthritis, or just spice up your morning latte, you may be unknowingly purchasing pesticides, heavy metals, or something that contains no actual cannabidiol at all. According to a new investigative report from Ellipse Analytics and CBS Austin, 70% of the 240 top selling hemp CBD products available online or in non-dispensary retailers tested positive for heavy metals like lead and arsenic, concentrated chemical pesticides, toxic mold, and other potentially dangerous impurities. "You have an industry that has a rampant quality control issue," Dr. Sean Callan, who lead the Ellipse cannabidiol testing research, told CBS Austin. "Comparing [CBD] to other supplements that we've tested, we found really high levels of pesticides, really high levels of heavy metals." Since the federal Farm Bill was signed into law last year, hemp-derived CBD products containing less than 0.03% THC are technically legal across the United States. But without regulatory oversight from the Food and Drug Administration, the cannabidiol industry may as well be the Wild West. In addition to residual fungicides, pesticides, and ground metals, Callan’s team found that most hemp CBD products on the market contained significantly less cannabidiol than advertised. "They have to test for the THC content because there's a federal law," Callan said, "but there's no rule that says you have to actually test your CBD content." Until full-scale federal growing, importing, testing, and labeling standards are applied to hemp products the same way they are to our food and other medicinal supplements, the CBD fad sweeping the nation will be marred by snake oil hucksters.
Chow420 is enforcing transparency in the CBD Market for consumer safety through Blockchain Technology
For a technically unregulated and young market, CBD sales have gotten to a quick start. Already a multibillion-dollar industry, the sector is projected to be at least four times its current size by 2025. However, as a market plagued by irregularities associated with information gaps, pricing standards, uneven transaction costs and limited transparency debilitate future growth opportunities.
Already, several reports detail the misrepresentation of a grossly large proportion of CBD goods on the market. Handicapped by the nascence of the market, the FDA is currently engaged in what could best be described as cursory regulatory activity. For the most part, defaulting vendors and brands have received nothing more than warning notifications. Such a situation leaves much to be desired. Consumers remain exposed to the machinations of scheming product manufacturers. Even in the instance of unintentional defaults, a protocol for handling the scrutiny of product content information is required.
Consequently, brands are starting to struggle with the prospect of effacing customer trust in products even when products are compliant. This also affects the ability to build brand equity. The issue is that a defined method for proper vetting and an avenue for brand activity history is lacking and absent in the market. Therefore, as a market, the current situation exacerbates transaction costs, which is detrimental to the efficiency of the market system. The obvious orientation for a resolution is one that focuses on the gaps created by deficient regulation and consumer safety. A third, perhaps most important, area is that of a data ecosystem that includes the profiles, activities and capacities of all participants.
The Chow420 blockchain certification program is an innovation that competently meets the above listed criteria. The network registers COAs (certificate of analysis) that have been checked against the records of testing laboratories. The Chow420 protocol involves this confirmation and the embedding of all information on the blockchain network. Essentially, this enables the inspection of an orderly listing of every individual product to be sold on the Chow420 ecommerce platform. The rationale is to create an organized aggregation of product information and transaction history as a solution to the current regulatory and commercial predicament, and make available a platform for future growth opportunities, as dictated by the emergence of varied trends, in the CBD market.
The team at Chow420 consists of individuals who are veritable stakeholders in the CBD market. After a successful fundraising round and the successful launch and operation of a custom retail service ecommerce site, the company is also expanding its footprint by introducing automated dispensary machines as a means to include physical sales points in its distribution chain this Fall.
The success of the CBD industry is a boon to all concerned hemp industry professionals. Certain aspects of the market remain underdeveloped, but companies like Chow420 will always strive to proffer effective solutions for advancement.