Lead image via
Louisiana state police officers say that customers of hemp CBD products like gummies, vape cartridges, and tinctures should be wary of their over-the-counter purchases, or risk consuming dangerous synthetic cannabinoids.
According to the Shreveport Times, Bayou State cops have reported that at least 14 gummy products labeled as hemp CBD have tested positive for synthetic marijuana — also known as K2 or Spice. Made by spraying psychoactive chemicals on benign plant matter, K2 has no chemical relation to organic cannabis, and has become more potent as US authorities play a cat and mouse game with constantly-adapting drug chemists.
Elsewhere, the AP commissioned lab testing of 30 vape products sold as CBD from throughout the US. Ten of the 30 products were found to have synthetic weed, while a percentage of the others had literally no CBD whatsoever.
And according to the AP, a survey by law enforcement agencies from the whole country found equally bleak testing results. Out of 350 products tested by government labs, 128 samples (mostly gummy bears and CBD vapes) were contaminated with synthetic weed, CNBC reports.
Spice was originally made to mimic marijuana, but as the active chemicals continue to be altered for increased potency and untraceability, the drug has become more closely associated with bath salts, flocca, and other niche research chemical drugs. Unlike traditional cannabis, synthetic marijuana has been linked to psychotic episodes, severe illness, and even death.
Gallery — Here's What Fake Vape Cartrdiges Actually Look Like:
Since the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law last year, hemp-derived CBD products have exploded in popularity across the nation. Cannabidiol-infused products of all kinds can be found on the shelves at health food stores, gas stations, clothing boutiques, and more. But without firm regulations from the Food and Drug Administration, federal authorities have consistently noted that food and drink products infused with CBD are still technically illegal under federal law. And with purity, contamination, and deceitful labeling concerns running rampant in the rapidly growing industry, those warnings come with good cause.
“Congress’s intent was clear with the passage of the Farm Bill that these products should be legal, and our farmers, producers and manufacturers need clarity, as well as a workable pathway forward regarding the agency’s enforcement," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement earlier this summer.
The FDA has said that it is currently in the process of constructing formal regulations for the hemp industry, but has not announced a timeline for those policy additions. It is not yet clear if tainted vape cartridges labeled as hemp CBD have been linked to the recent spat of vape illnesses that has left hundreds hospitalized and at least six dead.
Follow Zach Harris on Twitter