Industry watchdog: Over half of CBD products for pets make incorrect label claims

By Danielle Masterson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / Sylvia Becerra Gonzalez
Getty Images / Sylvia Becerra Gonzalez

Related tags: Cbd, pet cbd, leafreport

The CBD pet product category has been steadily growing in popularity. Are inaccurate label claims holding it back?

Leafreport, the CBD industry's peer-reviewed watchdog website, sent dozens of pet CBD products for independent testing at Canalysis Laboratories in Las Vegas. The website recently disclosed the results from their comprehensive review.

The analysis found that 56% contained an incorrect amount of CBD and many had trace of THC, despite being labeled as full-spectrum CBD.

Breakdown 

In order to receive an “A” from Leafreport, CBD levels have to fall within a 10% variance of what the product stated on its label. 

In total, only 24 of the 55 products tested (44%) contained the advertised amount of CBD. The remaining were off by anywhere from 10.2% to 98.5% from the label. Notably, 56% (31) of the tested products had CBD levels that differed from the label by more than a 10% variance. Of the total tested products, 22 had no THC, despite companies claiming they contained full-spectrum CBD. Only 24 (44%) of the tested products had CBD levels within 10% of the label. 

leafreportpets

While some products contained very little CBD, most of the products (58%) actually had more CBD than advertised—perhaps a sign that the industry is maturing.

"These results are a significant improvement. There were similar studies run in 2019 that showed that 80%+ were not meeting their label claim and the vast majority had less CBD than they were marketing. CBD product making has had a history of being truly the ‘wild west,’”​ noted Dan Grim, CEO of Meli Botanicals. 

Lital Shafir, head of product at Leafreport, also said the industry has come a long way.

“You’re far more likely to find a high-quality CBD product today than several years ago. However, there’s still room to improve. Testing to ensure the potency of your product is accurate is a fundamental aspect of brand integrity,” ​said Shafir. “There have been many cases of companies selling products that contain little to no CBD—that's why third party testing is so critical for brands in this industry. Our aim is that regular reports such as Leafreport's will help CBD consumers become more savvy and allows us to act as sort of a watchdog for the industry as a whole.”

Other key findings

Overall, the analysis found that pet edibles and topicals were more likely to be less accurate than oils and tinctures. Despite scoring well for tinctures, many companies actually received a poor score for their edible pet products.

In general, it's usually easier to get accurate dosing for oils and tinctures compared to other products, so you can see the majority of the "A" scored products are tinctures and oils. Other products such as edibles and topicals are usually harder to be accurate since they also include many other ingredients, so reputable brands can get good scores for their oils, but still have some problematic results for edibles and topicals. This is why our database is showing results per product and not per brand, since besides choosing a reputable brand, it's important to check the lab results for the specific product you are interested in,”​ explained Shafir. 

The analysis also revealed that all 22 products claimed to contain full-spectrum CBD, but contained no detectable THC.

The report explained that full-spectrum hemp extract should always contain small amounts of THC (0.3% or less). Instead, most brands used broad-spectrum CBD, which is the same as full-spectrum, but with THC removed. 

Shafir told us that she thinks this happens for several reasons. “First of all, some brands might make false statements to make their products look better (such as being full or broad spectrum instead of isolate, which is usually considered better and priced higher than isolate products). Another explanation might be that brands make mistakes and inaccurate statements without an intention to deceive. Finally, there is an option that some brands are correct about their statements but the amounts of minor cannabinoids and THC are so small that they were undetectable in the tests.”

Industry tips

Beyond the COA, Grim said that consumers should ask their CBD providers where they source their CBD input. “If they say overseas, they should be avoided. Reputable European product makers still import from the US due to the vast difference in quality.  Secondly, the entourage effect is real. The closer the product is to “whole plant,” the higher the quality and effectiveness. Ask your provider what makes up the product outside of a cannabinoid profile. You’re looking for terpenes, flavonoids, and chlorophyll."

“To sum up, if you want to buy a high-quality CBD product for your pet, it’s best to go with a CBD oil from a reputable brand and check the third-party lab tests beforehand to verify the levels of CBD and THC,”​ suggested Shafir. 

To access the full Leafreport, click here.​ 

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