Concerns regarding possible health problems linked to trace metal contamination in CBD oils made from hemp have grown as the use of CBD products has increased. From 2021 to 2030, the CBD market is projected to develop at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.8% in Europe. By 2027, it is anticipated that the market for vitamins and dietary supplements would contain more than 20% of CBD-infused products.
Trace metals issue in cannabis
As a hyperaccumulator plant, hemp can absorb and store heavy metals from the soil it grows in. Thinking about the most toxic, we can include lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), cadmium (Cd), zinc (Zn), and chromium (Cr). Certain genes in hemp have been found to contribute to its tolerance to heavy metal stress, according to studies. In addition to metal accumulation from the soil, CBD products can get metal contamination through fertilisers, nutrients, pesticides, water, and other environmental factors. Elemental contaminants may also be present when CBD concentrates and oils are prepared and processed on metallic equipment. Additional factors can be in extraction and purification processes, as well as the products’ delivery mechanisms, such as inhalers and vaporizers.
Taking the US as an example, most states have established limits for only four heavy metals: lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. In contrast, pharmaceutical products undergo more strict protocols for trace metal analysis. These guidelines and standards differ significantly from the limited requirements imposed on CBD non-pharmaceutical products.
Trace metal contaminants research
To guarantee trust among customers, the study used samples purchased from certified companies. These organisations work to improve the quality of their products and their members’ adherence to industry best practices. The majority of the twenty-two non-regulated elements examined were identified in the CBD tincture oils, according to the study’s results. But at low parts per billion, well below the permitted daily exposure (PDE) levels specified by the International Council for Harmonization (ICH) Guideline for Elemental Impurities Q3D (R1). This shows that there were probably no major toxicity risks in those samples.
There is a lack of information on the possible toxicity of organotin compounds. Moreover the study did not examine the forms or speciation of tin present in the CBD oils. Thus, we need more research to identify them. In overall however, the study’s findings showed that tested commercially available CBD tincture oils, both “certified” and “non-certified,” typically complied with the standards for controlled trace heavy metals like cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and lead. Lead concentrations did, however, occasionally surpass the legal limits, particularly in samples from two manufacturers. Although more research is needed to prove this theory, it is possible that the product packaging is the cause of incorrect lead levels.
Important researches for CBD market now
First of all, we need to see the study’s limitations. Even though the findings offer information about the existing situation with regard to trace metal contamination in CBD tincture oils. The study did not take into consideration any variations in production methods. Nor the purchase of raw materials. Thus, the researchers only examined a small sample size from a small range of manufacturers. Moreover, the study did not cover the potential cumulative effects of exposure. Thus, it did not include trace metal analysis over an extended period of time.
To conclude, it is important for all cannabis market stakeholders to cooperate now. If they wish to reduce the dangers associated with trace metal contamination, the industry must release specific quality control regulations. Thus, regulators, producers, and independent testing organisations must work together.
Amaya Foran, Lily Slater, Bert Woods, Robert Thomas, Tom Gluodenis. Profiling Trace Metal Contaminants of Toxicological Interest in Commercially Available Cannabidiol (CBD) Tincture Oils. American Journal of Biomedical and Life Sciences. Vol. 11, No. 3, 2023, pp. 41-46. doi: 10.11648/j.ajbls.20231103.12