Since the CBD market is largely unregulated, one concern with gummies is mislabeling. “When you’re buying a gummy, you just don’t know what’s in it,” Rountree said on the podcast.
To recap, CBD products should contain a standardized, consistent amount of the cannabinoid CBD (or, if it’s a full-spectrum blend, multiple cannabinoids including CBD) and less than .3% of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. This ensures that it’s high in calming plant material—but not the kind that will get you high.
But according to one study on edible cannabis products purchased from 47 different brands, only 17% were accurately labeled. 23% were underlabeled and 60% were overlabeled, with respect to THC content. “Edible cannabis products from 3 major metropolitan areas, though unregulated, failed to meet basic label accuracy standards for pharmaceuticals,” the study reads. “Greater than 50% of products evaluated had significantly less cannabinoid content than labeled.”
Now, this research was done on cannabis products—which are naturally higher in THC than hemp products—so there’s not a direct correlation. However, another review suggests that similar issues can also affect non-psychoactive hemp edibles, due to the inherent difficulty of regulating food substances. “Myriad techniques are used to extract cannabinoids from the cannabis plant in a form that can be integrated into the countless forms that edibles can take,” it reads, “resulting in considerable variation in the amount and homogeneity of cannabinoids that make it into the final products.”
This isn’t to say all gummies are mislabelled, but if you’re going to buy the sweet treat it’s important to go with a brand that takes this stuff seriously. Look for one that has done third-party testing to verify cannabinoid count and overall quality. It should be certified free of pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
Another thing to keep in mind? Gummies, Rountree reminded us, are often high sugar. And when we take CBD as a food or capsule supplement (as opposed to taking it under the tongue in an oil or tincture), it tends to lose some of its potency. This means you might need to take a higher dose of it to feel its full effects. When you start taking multiple gummies, it can lead to a sugar rush that just fuels feelings of stress and anxiety instead of tames them.
In the end, Rountree said, there are better ways to reap the relaxing, mood-steadying benefits of CBD—and they won’t end in a sugar crash.