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What's really in that CBD product you bought?

A man and woman stand next next a variety of CBD oil products on shelves
Carla K. Johnson
Two University at Buffalo researchers are warning that less government regulation means you may not know exactly what chemicals are in that CBD product you bought.

As marijuana becomes more legal in the U.S., two University at Buffalo public health researchers are stressing one of the oldest advices to purchasers: buyer beware.

Two researchers from UB's School of Public Health and Health Professions surveyed 521 customers about Delta-8 — a branch of marijuana's psychoactive substance THC — through locally-based Bison Botanics. That company makes CBD and sells the various products to people for medicinal purposes.

Daniel Krueger, a research investigator for the University of Michigan with an affiliation at UB, warned that there seems to be less government restrictions on these Delta-8 products than full-blown pot products, so you may not really know what you're buying.

"Some producers are converting other cannabinoids, like CBD, to Delta-8 and the DEA actually thinks that that's not covered by the Farm Bill. They think that that's actually illegal," Krueger said. "So you could have Delta-8 that's legally supplied and Delta-8 that's illegally supplied, according to them."

Research partner Jessica Kruger, a UB clinical associate professor of community health and health behavior, said, "any sort of thing could be" in those gummies or brownies — or whatever you buy — besides a cannabinoid.

"Anyone who is looking for cannabis products needs to educate themselves and look for labels that show testing and understand what the dose — the proper dosage — is because, especially with edible products, people can have a more intense experience than they might want to have if they take too much of that product," she said.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.