Improperly labelled CBD oil increases the risk for pets and children

Published Mar 6, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Helin Loik-Tomson

Regulation surrounding the cannabis industry is so strict that it can be challenging for a brand-new competitor to enter the market, but products like CBD oil are often overlooked. This is largely due to the widely held belief that CBD products cannot get you high, and if they were all pure, then that would be true, but unfortunately, a lack of required testing and standards has led to an influx of tainted products hitting store shelves pretty much everywhere.

What does CBD stand for?

One of the first steps towards understanding why this is such a big deal, is to unravel the mystery behind the hotly marketed cannabinoid. CBD is the most familiar term used to refer to cannabidiol, which is one element that can be found in both hemp and recreational weed strains. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that won’t get you high, but it does offer a wide variety of health benefits.

Why is THC dangerous for pets and kids?

It is important to recognize that the mere presence of THC is not a concern, but it can become a problem once ingested by children or pets. Kids are often so overwhelmed by the experience that it can be scary, and even dangerous if they have a pre-existing medical condition concerning blood pressure or heart rate, but children usually recover shortly after the effects of the euphoric element wears off.

Unfortunately, our pets have very different biological systems than we do, and though there are similarities between us like the presence of an endocannabinoid system which is necessary to feel the effects of cannabinoids like THC or CBD, the rate at which they process THC is much faster. A sudden flood of THC oil to the system of an animal can lead to difficulty breathing, dehydration, vomiting, seizures, and even death.

Health and wellness, a trend of the future

CBD can be an incredibly beneficial tool in the arsenal of both individuals and healthcare providers for humans and animals, but right now, the rush to get ahold of the latest and hottest product might be putting unsuspecting consumers at risk. Since CBD doesn’t get you high and is wildly popular thanks to its widely believed medicinal and therapeutic benefits, whereas a lot of people are considering or have started a CBD oil treatment for their kids or pets.

Normally this would help to do things like boost the immune system and energy levels while aiding with other less noticeable imbalances, but when you introduce THC to the combination, the game changes significantly. THC oil absolutely can get you and anyone else who takes it stoned, and according to some experts, this stuff is in a substantial number of supposedly pure CBD products from across the market.

That’s right. Both black market dispensaries and other vendors like health food stores are unknowingly selling mislabeled CBD oil with hidden traces of THC oil inside. Despite pleas from consumers, it appears that the government isn’t quite sure how to handle an all-natural product that is marketed for health and wellness, which leaves the majority of producers out there doing as they please.

Are they purposely putting THC oil into pure CBD products?

You might be wondering how this is all possible, as some of this makes it sound a bit like the majority of CBD oil producers are actively risking people's pets and children while getting them high, but that’s not generally the case. The rush to get these new products to the market has led some producers to cut corners, and most people have no idea how difficult it can be to get a pure CBD to concentrate on a budget.

Most CBD product companies are starting from scratch, which means that there isn’t a whole lot of room for trial and error, and growing plant materials to extract from those that are pure isn’t an exact science. It is widely believed that CBD is always extracted from hemp, and most people think that hemp only makes CBD, but that is only because of how it’s marketed. The truth is that both hemp and cannabis strains can produce either of the cannabinoids, so it isn’t as easy as choosing a strain that just doesn’t have it.

Environmental conditions play a significant role in this process, so even if the grower picks out the seeds with the best genetics for high CBD and minimal THC production, the results might be something entirely different. Things like extreme drought and high temperatures are often enough to tip the scales out of the CBD oil producer's favour, and into the territory of recreational levels of THC.


Now imagine working for the entire year-long, only to find out that all of your hard work is essentially spoiled, and this is why so many chose to either avoid testing for these results or to ignore the facts and continue with production as planned. This is an unfortunate situation for everyone involved and one of the main reasons we need regulation as well as protection in place to serve those who are willing to fill this need in the market.

Wouldn’t customers know if they got THC oil instead of CBD?

In most cases, CBD oil will consist of mostly CBD, and those who abide by current standards ensure that there is less than 0.3%, but do you know how much it takes to get a person stoned? In some cases, a small amount of only 5mg is enough to send a fully-grown adult through a unique euphoric experience, so it only takes traces to pose a risk, particularly to small children and pets.

The low THC molecule level is likely the reason why so few consumers are able to detect the trace amounts, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. It’s merely lurking in the shadows, underneath a veil that promises nothing but all-natural health benefits. Now, this risk is mainly of concern for underage persons and pets, but there are ways around experiencing this problem if you want to continue with CBD treatments.

How to avoid tainted CBD products

If you are having success with CBD treatments and do not want to stop using the products altogether, then that’s ok, but right now, it is very important to know what to look for when making a purchase. Listed below are five different ways that you can avoid tainted CBD oil options, and all of them should be relatively easy to do so that you can rest easy knowing that your CBD oil doesn’t contain any unknown or hazardous hidden ingredients.

  1. Make your own products using CBD isolate

  2. Only buy CBD oil from companies who openly advertise testing results and a way to verify their legitimacy.

  3. Stick to trusted brands that are well established and have a reputation to protect.

  4. Buy tested products from legal dispensaries that are pre-made.

  5. For pets, seek a reliable provider of pre-infused CBD dog food or treats.

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