Be Wary of CBD Labeling Inaccuracies in Certain Products


Properly vet CBD companies when choosing which products to carry in your pharmacy.

Many cannabidiol (CBD) topical products do not contain the amount of CBD as advertised on the label, according to a new analysis from CBD watchdog Leafreport.1

Although there are myriad CBD products marketed and sold with medical claims, there is currently only 1 CBD product that has been evaluated and approved by the FDA. Therefore, many of the OTC products that appear on pharmacy shelves are not regulated by the agency. Because of this, pharmacists who offer CBD in their stores must ensure they are selling quality products by reputable manufacturers.

For the analysis, Leafreport worked with Canalysis Laboratories to test 40 CBD topicals. Out of the 40 tested products, 31 (77.5%) contained the wrong amount of CBD. The amount of CBD found in the products ranged from 12% to 99% versus what was on the label. According to Leafreport, a CBD product should contain anywhere from 90% to 110% of the amount stated on the label to be considered accurate.1  

Only 9 of the products tested had CBD levels within 10% of the label, which is required for an A rating, according to the analysis. Eleven products received an F rating for being off 30% or more from the label. Additionally, the report indicated that lesser-known brands were more likely to perform poorly than major companies, although a few small or new brands received an A rating.1,2


According to Lital Shafir, head of product at Leafreport, these findings were not surprising, as topical products are more difficult to formulate than oil and typically use smaller amounts of CBD. However, the results indicate that companies can do a better job of correctly advertising what’s in their topical products.1

“These tests are important when shopping for CBD because there’s no regulation preventing companies from selling low-quality products that have incorrect CBD levels or carry contaminants,” Shafir said.1 “The most important third-party test is called potency or cannabinoid profile. It shows the amounts of CBD and other cannabinoids in a CBD product to verify the company’s claims.” 

When looking for quality CBD products, choose companies whose products are independently tested by third-party laboratories. Most CBD companies publish third-party certificates of analysis directly on their website. Leafreport suggests focusing on the section called “cannabinoids,” “cannabinoid profile,” “potency,” or something similar when reading the report.

“Compared to our previous reports, these findings suggest that topical CBD products are not accurate CBD oils,” Shafir said.1 “We expected this because topicals are harder to formulate, requiring the blending of CBD with many other ingredients.”


1. Leafreport: Less than 1 in 4 CBD topicals contain the amount of CBD labeled. News release. PR Newswire; February 22, 2021. Accessed February 24, 2021.

2. Oleinik G. CBD Topicals Market Report–Less than 1 in 4 CBD topicals contain the amount of CBD labeled. Leafreport. February 21, 2021. Accessed February 24, 2021.

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