The Alabama Department of Public Health has issued a warning about products labeled CBD, cannabidiol, which is derived from the marijuana plant.
According to State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, products with the CBD label are untested, unregulated and potentially dangerous. Though CBD does not produce a “high,” as it is not psychoactive, Harris said the products might contain any number of substances, and there is no assurance they are safe to consume.
“People need to be careful about what they buy and what they consume, because when you buy a product over the counter that’s not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, you don’t always know what you’re getting. You may not be clear about the quality or about the contents you’re consuming, and, in some cases, that’s been dangerous for people,” Harris said.
Like the 52 people in Utah who were “poisoned” after consuming what they thought was a CBD product. According to the ADPH, “the report of the Utah oubreak found that acute poisonings occurred due to the presence of a synthetic cannabinoid that was being sold as cannabidiol.”
“What is clear is that they bought something that they were told was CBD and then they had a poisoning that resulted from it,” Harris said.
The passage of the Farm Bill in 2018 made industrial hemp legal across the country, including in Alabama. The bill makes it legal for Alabamians to sell or use CBD products if they come from industrial hemp and contain no more than .3% of THC. THC is the main ingredient in marijuana.
“The problem we (ADPH) have is that people are selling CBD (products), and there’s no way to tell where it comes from, and there’s no way to verify for sure what the THC content is,” Harris said.
Harris said that many of the CBD products on the market are misleading, and that if you do want to purchase a CBD product, it’s important to go to a reputable seller.
“As long as people have CBD that’s made from hemp and that has less than .3% THC, then that’s not in violation of federal law,” Harris said.
Harris said if you suspect a tainted CBD product has caused you to be ill, contact a poison control center and seek medical attention. The number for the Regional Poison Control Center at Children’s of Alabama is 1-800-222-1222.
In one study of adverse reactions, the most frequent symptoms experienced were altered mental status, nausea or vomiting, and seizures or shaking.
In Alabama, medical marijuana use is prohibited, with the exception of products prescribed for those enrolled in a UAB Department of Neurology study or those being treated for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition including one that produces seizures.