What’s in that CBD? Maybe not what you think. – USA TODAY

A collection of CBD infused products at the Enquirer Studio in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – CBD is everywhere.

In lotions sold at the mall. In your freshly squeezed juice. In dog treats that promise calming effects.

But there are few regulations and rules regarding products containing CBD, or cannabidiol, a cannabis compound found in marijuana and its non-intoxicating cousin hemp. Testing is not required. There is no way to know for sure whether the product contains the amount of CBD advertised on label – or whether it’s free from lead, pesticides and other potentially harmful substances.

The Cincinnati Enquirer, part of the USA TODAY Network, recently had eight CBD products tested to see if they matched what the label claimed.

The results: most products contained the CBD advertised. But a few had far less than they were supposed to and three contained heavy metals or pesticides.

That’s in line with what researchers and advocates have found in similar experiments. Martin Lee, founder of advocacy organization Project CBD, doesn’t expect that to improve any time soon, even with further regulation by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

“These products have a lot of crappy things the FDA allows,” Lee said. “The onus for regulation is falling on the states.”

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How we tested

Marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, so each of the 33 states that has legalized it in some capacity has had to decide what to test for and what’s an acceptable amount. There are no federal hemp testing standards.

Ohio legalized hemp and therefore CBD derived from hemp in July 2019. Eventually, the Ohio Department of Agriculture will test hemp products to make sure they match what’s claimed on the label. The agency has contracted with three companies, including the lab consulted in this story, to test products before a state lab is established.

Meanwhile, the agency is checking to see whether products are making untested claims such as relieving sore muscles or helping people fall asleep.