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More Than Half of CBG Products Are Incorrectly Labelled, Study Finds

By Alexander Beadle

Published: Nov 26, 2021   
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Around 53 percent of CBG products do not contain the advertised amounts of CBG claimed on their label, a new investigation from Leafreport has found.

As part of its ongoing investigation series into the cannabinoid products market, Leafreport purchased 38 CBG products and sent them for third-party cannabinoid potency testing through SC Labs, an ISO 127025 accredited cannabis testing laboratory.

More than half of the products tested were found to exceed reasonable margins of error when comparing these independent test results against the cannabinoid levels claimed on the product packaging, in one case varying by more than 60 percent.

Products from leading companies are more likely to be labeled accurately

While CBD products have become fairly ubiquitous in the health and wellness market over the past few years, CBG products are only now beginning to gain popularity. The non-intoxicating cannabinoid is less abundant than CBD, but early research suggests that CBG may hold similarly promising anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving potential. As a result, CBG and combination CBG/CBD products are starting to gain more ground in the wellness sector.

But do these new CBG products actually deliver what they claim? For this new investigation, Leafreport created a grading scale to help evaluate the accuracy of product labeling across the 38 sample products. Industry labeling recommendations suggest that cannabinoid levels in a product should generally be within 10 percent of what is advertised, and so all products falling within this allowable 10 percent range were awarded an “A - excellent” grade by Leafreport. “B - decent” ratings were given out to products with cannabinoid levels within 20 percent of what was stated in the label. Those within a 30 percent range were designated as “C - poor”, while anything that varied from its label by more than 30 percent was given a failing grade.

Of the 38 products tested by SC Labs, just 18 (48 percent) fell within the acceptable 10 percent margin and were awarded an A grade. A further 13 products (34 percent) were given a B grade, with 5 products (13 percent) given a C grade.

Two products were awarded an F – both containing over 30 percent less CBG than stated on the product label. One of these failing products was advertised as containing 1000mg of CBG, but independent testing recorded just 352mg of CBG in the product – meaning that it contained nearly 65 percent less CBG than originally claimed.

Just one in six products are accurately labeled for both CBG and CBD

Of the 38 products sampled, 24 also made claims advertising specific levels of both CBG and CBG. When the laboratory certificates of analysis (COAs) for these products were examined, 7 of the 24 products (29 percent) were accurate in their CBG labeling but not their labeling of CBD. A further 8 products (33 percent) were accurate in terms of their CBD content, but not their CBG content. Just 4 products of the 24 advertising specific amounts of CBG and CBD were accurate in both claims – amounting to just 17 percent of the overall sample size. Out of 24 products claiming to carry specific amounts of CBG and CBD, only 4 were accurate for both.

While brands appear to struggle more when trying to accurately label two cannabinoids, the investigation did note that all 15 products claiming to contain broad or full-spectrum CBD extracts were correctly labeled. According to Leafreport, this is its first study where all products being screened have indeed carried the correct type of CBD extract.

Overall, products from leading and well-established brands tended to perform better in terms of labeling accuracy when compared to newer or lesser-known companies, with most of the prominent companies’ products receiving A or B grades. Well-known brands also made up three of the four products that were accurate in both their CBD and CBG claims.

When looking at the lab analysis data in terms of product categories, tinctures and capsules were generally the best performers. Around 57 percent of these products were given an A grade, and a further 29 percent were awarded a B grade. Edible gummy products performed similarly well, whereas topical CBG products were the least accurately labeled products overall.

Leafreport notes that these findings are limited to the 38 test samples, and that given the natural variability in CBG levels in hemp it is reasonable to expect that the exact CBG levels recorded for each product tested could vary from batch to batch. However, given the relatively good performance of CBG tinctures and capsules, plus the relatively low number of failing grades given out in comparison to other previous investigations such as CBD drinks and edibles, Leafreport says that the CBG product study findings “exceeded our expectations.”

In light of these results, Leafreport suggests consumers buy from leading brands if they are concerned about mislabeled CBG levels, and to confirm these levels by checking for third-party lab testing results before using a product. Such lab results are frequently published on reputable product manufacturers' websites as a way of demonstrating their transparency and reliability.


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