If you’ve been reading the headlines, the Central Disease for Control (CDC) have published a report that claims that 52 people in Utah were poisoned by fake CBD that was synthetic.
Over 30 people were sick and had to go to the hospital due to ingesting fake CBD oil from October 2017 to January 2018. So, why was the CBD oil fake? Let’s dive into the difference between fake CBD that is synthetic and real CBD from plants to avoid confusion.
What is fake CBD oil?
You may not know, but fake CBD oil is a synthetic cannabinoid known as 4-CCB. Synthetic cannabinoids are not extracted from plants but are human-made from chemicals. These are the types of chemicals that are also put in some e-cigarettes.
The fake CBD oil causes confusion, hallucinations, and seizures. These synthetic cannabinoids can be dangerous or even threaten life. Of the 52 reported poisonings, 31 people went to the emergency room, 19 experienced ‘seizures’ or ‘shaking’, and 12 reported hallucinations. At least 15 of the patients were under the age of 18.
Barbara Crouch, the Executive Director of the Utah Poison Control Center, states the CDC first started receiving reports on December 8th “CBD does not generally cause psychoactive effects. So these were adverse effects that were clearly out of the realm of what we expected from CBD oil,” she said.
On December 2017, 5 people visited emergency rooms, but what exactly led to these visits?
Lab Testing of CBD
The testing of the products consumed by those experiencing symptoms found 4-CCB in 8 of the products. These products were labeled “Yolo CBD Oil’ and contained synthetic cannabinoids that are human-made chemical concoctions.
This outbreak mainly affected men over the age of 18 that lived in Salt Lake County area of Utah. Of those affected, the people purchased oil at a smoke shop, but those with symptoms also vaped the CBD oil.
When the oil that was tested, in fact, did not contain any CBD oil. If you connect the dots, CBD oil does not produce these kinds of symptoms (hallucinations) that the products did; therefore, the CDC was tipped off that they were dealing with a different chemical.
Where is CBD Illegal?
Thankfully, some states allow for the sale and possession of CBD; however, regulation differs in each jurisdiction. Products being sold in Utah at the moment are not done so legally, so there is no way to ensure that these products are safe,” said Dr. Horth to Gizmodo.
At the time, oil and synthetic cannabinoids are not legal in Utah except for epilepsy, therefore, there is really no regulation guarding a market that is not legal in that state. CBD oil is legal in other states, such as Colorado, but it varies from state to state depending on whether you have a medical script for a condition that qualifies you to obtain CBD.
Can I Buy CBD Online?
CBD is the non-psychoactive version of marijuana, made from hemp. It does not produce a high and has been legal in Utah for epilepsy since 2014.
CBD products are sold and bought from traditional smoke shops and online; it is thought to help ease some conditions such as anxiety or aches in joints. Over 30 states have some form of legalized medical marijuana; an additional 16 states also have state legislation concerning medical provisions for CBD.
What is Synthetic Cannabinoid?
The lab testing of the products that the patients ingested showed no signs of CBD, but a presence of 4-cyano CUMYL-BUTINACA (4-CCB), a synthetic cannabinoid meant to mimic the effects of THC. Over half of the products contain 4-CCB or “Yolo CBD oil”.
Of the nine products that were positive for 4-CCB after tests, eight were the brand “Yolo CBD oil.” But the products had no labels indicating who manufactures them or even what ingredients made up the product. Four of the five patients whose blood was tested also had 4-CCB in their systems, as did an unopened CBD product purchased by the task force from the same store and brand a patient had bought.
Is Fake CBD Oil Poison?
Gizmodo reports, at the moment, it’s thought the 4-CCB was intentionally used as a replacement for CBD in these products; however, the investigation to track down where it came from is still ongoing, Horth said.
But though some stores have voluntarily pulled their stock of Yolo-branded oils, the threat of more cases is real.
CBD Legal Federally?
This year, the state Legislature passed reforms legalizing CBD for the general public and creating a system to register and test products for quality.
“It does make it legal for people to purchase it,” said state Sen. Evan Vickers, a Republican pharmacist who sponsored the new law. “We just want to make sure that if they are going to purchase it that it is safe.”
Vickers said the new law should prevent people from taking synthetics falsely marketed as CBD.
Utah is currently writing regulations to implement the law, Wilbur said. He expects rules to be final by the end of the year.
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