Marijuana labeling system “not an effective or safe way” to detail what’s inside the products, CU study finds

Marijuana labeling system “not an effective or safe way” to detail what’s inside the products, CU study finds
Denver Post

Marijuana product labels fail to capture “the chemical reality” of what people smoke, a University of Colorado study has concluded after analyzing 90,000 samples offered for sale in six states. The widely used labeling system purported to predict effects of different “strains” — “indica” (relaxed high), “sativa” (energetic high), and “hybrid” — obscures the diversity of chemicals cannabis consumers inhale, according to the study, which was published Thursday in the online science journal PLOS One. CU information scientists analyzed labels that companies provided for an online platform called Leafly, which lets consumers see a more complete listing of contents in marijuana products. They compared this labeling with the commonly used system. “The prevailing labeling system is not an effective or safe way to provide information about these products,” said University of Colorado information sciences professor Brian Keegan, who co-authored the study with Daniela Vergara, now at Cornell University. For example, imagine a woman walking into a liquor story to buy a bottle of wine labeled Cabernet who then finds it to be Pinot Grigio. “You would, justifiably, be upset,” Keegan said. “In the cannabis industry, those kinds of mismatches can happen frequently.” The researchers recommend creation of a standardized “weed labeling system” similar to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s nutrition facts labels on food products. Their study stands out as perhaps the largest so far exploring the chemical composition of marijuana products. A decade after marijuana legalization in Colorado, product labeling has emerged as an issue amid a push by companies for greater professionalization. Marijuana products heavily marketed to consumers contain dozens of chemical compounds with potential psychoactive or medicinal effects. CU’s researchers contend understanding these chemicals is crucial. Government regulators of the industry in Colorado and other states where marijuana has been legalized require companies to disclose dosages…

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