SUNDAY, Aug. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A quirk in quality testing could mean that pot-laced chocolates are more potent than their label indicates, researchers report.
Many states that allow the sale of marijuana-infused edibles — gummy bears, cookies and chocolates — require package labeling that shows the products’ level of THC, the compound that gets you high.
But potency testing on chocolate products appears to be slightly skewed, said David Dawson, a research principal with CW Analytical Laboratories, one of California’s longest-operating marijuana testing labs.
It turns out that larger samples of chocolate used in testing actually produce less accurate results than smaller samples, Dawson said.
“It’s pretty striking and definitely goes against your basic gut instinct,” Dawson said.
“As the amount of sample you are testing increases, it should be more representative of the whole of the product. Thus, you should be getting more solid values,” Dawson said. “We saw the opposite here, where we actually start getting less accurate and precise values the more actual product we are testing at a given moment.”
The testing flaw tends to cause a chocolate product’s THC levels to be reported as lower than they actually are, Dawson said. For example, a bar containing 97 milligrams of THC might test at 93 milligrams.
The variance “isn’t enough to truly pose a danger to consumers, but it is enough to possibly make a good product fail compliance testing,” Dawson explained.
However, other experts are concerned that consumers might get in over their heads if they purchase a pot-infused chocolate bar that’s more powerful than its label says.
Imbibing too much THC “can result in not only longer-lasting sedative and depressant effects, but a greater potential for paradoxical central nervous system toxicity in the form of psychotic behavior and seizures,” said Dr. Robert Glatter. He’s an emergency medicine physician with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
California law states that edibles can contain a maximum 100 milligrams of THC in a given package, Dawson said.
An edible cannabis product fails testing if its THC levels vary 10% or more from the labeled amount, Dawson added. Products containing too little THC must be relabeled, and a batch containing too much THC must be destroyed.