The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has stressed the importance of ensuring that products labeled cannabidiol (CBD) are sourced from reputable sellers.

CBD oil products are untested and unregulated, and are therefore potentially dangerous, according to State Health Office Dr. Scott Harris.

Though CBD is derived from the marijuana plant, it contains little to no tetrahydrocannabnol (THC), the psychoactive compound of cannabis. Nonetheless, CBD oil may contain a host of other substances with no assurances that they are safe to consume.

Many CBD products are sold unregulated

“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.

Harris’ warning follows an incident in Utah last year where 52 people were “poisoned” after consuming what they thought was CBD oil.

“The report of the Utah outbreak found that acute poisonings occurred due to the presence of a synthetic cannabinoid that was being sold as cannabidiol,” according to the ADPH.

“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.

A study into adverse reactions from tainted products sold as CBD found the most frequently experienced symptoms to be an altered mental status, nausea or vomiting, and seizures or shaking.

The Farm Bill signed into law at the end of 2018 made industrial hemp legal across the U.S. As a result Alabamians can sell or use CBD products if come from industrial hemp and contain less than 0.3 percent of THC.

“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 consumers should be wary of misleading CBD products and go to a well-respected seller if they wish to purchase CBD.

He also advises that you contact a poison control center and seek medical attention if you suspect that a tainted CBD product has made you ill. The number for the Regional Poison Control Center at Children’s of Alabama is 1-800-222-1222.

Medical marijuana is prohibited in Alabama with the exception of use in prescribed studies in the Department of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, or for patients being treated for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition including one that produces seizures.

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