Over the past three years, CBD and other cannabinoid products such as CBG, CBN, or other compounds of the hemp plant have flooded the market. From corner stores to large retailers, carrying CBD products has become the new trend. Sales have exploded, and the stigma surrounding the plant is slowly vanishing, hence it has become more and more common for people to discuss openly their self-medication success using CBD products.
When the well-known Dr. Dung Trinh, MD conducts his educational series at senior facilities, he often asks the question: How many of you take CBD products? Only three years ago, ten to fifteen out of one hundred people would raise their hands. Today, nearly all of them answer yes. CBD products are used by consumers to help promote better sleep, as part of a pain management routine, or to help reduce inflammation.
SHOULD WE BE EXCITED?
This new phenomenon is both great and worrisome. It is good in the sense that there are a lot of benefits related to this compound, and for those who understand the endocannabinoid system and its interrelationship with CBD products, it has been shown to often be life-changing or help promote and maintain a more homeostasis state of the body.
On the downside of this trend, many people complain that there is either no immediate effect, or they find it disappointing that only a few doctors understand the benefits related to cannabinoid products, or that physicians are not aware enough to even entertain the conversation with patients.
The problem extends beyond just the lack of understanding of CBD products. It is about, what product should be trusted. If not made by pharma or FDA regulated, or sponsored studies, physicians often shy away from getting their feet wet. Thankfully, some decided to get involved.
CONSUMERS AT RISKS
As with any market without stringent FDA regulations and policing, the marketplace becomes a free for all. It is composed of incredibly efficacious and compliant high-quality products, buried in a mass of low-grade, low-quality, and even fake products. This seriously places consumers at risk, knowing that most consumers buy their CBD products either based on nicely designed labels, a referral from friends and family, simply based on price, or believe claims from marketing promotions.
As mentioned before, today, the CBD (and other cannabinoids) market is flooded with products that are not trustworthy.
Fake products without potency or CBD in it
Tempered Certificates of Analysis (COAs)
Labels not reflecting accurately its content or dosage
Higher THC content than acceptable
Products containing pesticides, mold, heavy metals, etc.
This seriously places consumers at risk, simply because many consumers buy either based on nicely designed labels, referral from a friend or based on price
FACTS DO NOT LIE
At first, consumers were told that a certificate of analysis (COA) is available as proof of the product’s purity and quality. This lab report called COA can be intimidating to read for consumers and furthermore, can occasionally be tempered and modified by unscrupulous parties. A random analysis conducted in 2021 by the FDA found that nearly 64% of products tested had an illegal level of THC or had false information on their labels.
Furthermore, a survey conducted by the Physicians CBD Council in collaboration with the Mace Media Group in 2022 unveiled that 55.1% of consumers felt comfortable to somewhat comfortable reading and understanding what a COA reveals, while only 32.3% of participants were aware that fake or tempered products were a market reality.
One of the most unsettling aspects of what can be found in up to 40% of the products on the market is the dangerous toxic chemicals, mold, pesticides, and harmful heavy metals. A cannabinoid compound may have tested “clean” for its purity but is then mixed with other ingredients such as oil, flavors, colorant, terpenes, and even be impacted by low-quality packaging that can transfer harmful chemicals to the product. It is sometimes difficult, even for the best brands, to be in complete control of the entire supply chain, and very few products are tested at the end of the process, in its retail packaging, ready to be shipped.
43.3% of consumers are either uncomfortable or unable to read and understand a Certificate of Analysis (COA) - PCC & Mace Media Group Survey 2022
DOCTORS KNOW BEST! OR DO THEY?
Without sounding alarmist, another issue that cannot be ignored is the fact without proper knowledge from physicians of the endocannabinoid system and CBD products in general, consumers are self-medicating. This trend is not unique to cannabinoid products, however, whether or not it contains a cannabinoid compound, self-medicating is a risk when you do not know how it interacts or affects other medications one may take. Let’s set the record straight, we are not, by no means, saying that CBD products have strong side effects, but more so that most medications are filtered through the liver, and the liver can only process a certain amount of nutrients per hour. When and how to administer cannabinoid products become important since you do not want other important medications to not be filtered and processed completely. A person should always consult a physician before self-medicating, but what to do when your physician does not have enough knowledge to help?
The 2022 Physicians CBD Council and Mace Media Group survey showed that 91.2% of consumers wish for their physicians to be more knowledgeable on cannabinoid products and their benefits, with some suggesting that pharmacists would be well positioned to provide help with dosing and education on the topic.
PHYSICIANS ARE STEPPING IN
In 2018, Dr. Dung Trinh, MD considered himself one of the doctors who had a stigma against cannabis-related products. Faced with patients showing up with CBD products and asking him for his opinion, he was shocked to realize that patients may know more than he does on the topic. Equipped with his thirst for facts, Dr. Trinh began researching and reading thousands of studies and facts. This new knowledge changed his mind forever and led him to form the Physicians CBD Council in 2019, with the mission of educating, collaborating, and ensuring consumers’ safety. This is done by educating patients, industry leaders, and doctors on the functions of the endocannabinoid system and the potential health benefits or risks associated with taking cannabinoid-derived products.
The Physicians CBD Council (PCC) now counts about 35-40 highly reputable physicians and nurse practitioners' medical board of advisors who excel in their primary field of specialty, while choosing to spend time educating their patients and supporting the emerging field of cannabis research for potential therapeutic health benefits.
The Board of advisors includes specialists in the field of family medicine, internal medicine, rheumatology, pain management, endocrinology, psychiatry, nephrology, and more. Although the council started in California, it has since attracted supporters from across the USA, and a few international ones too.
A WELCOME SITUATION
In 2022, the Physicians CBD Council (AKA Physicians Cannabinoid Council) decided to step in further, not to regulate, but instead to evaluate products’ real purity and safety, through thorough testing and factual verifications.
The Physicians believe great products and brands should be identified by a trusted party that will be highly reputable, unbiased, and unshakeable in its integrity, for the safety of consumers and the benefit of the industry in general.
Furthermore, the PCC has teamed up with the company MoreBetter, creator of the Releaf App, to offer product efficacy testing for branded products certified with the Physicians Quality Verified trusted Seal. This opportunity will help the best products on the market have factual data backed by MoreBetter and the PCC.
DO YOU BELIEVE YOUR PRODUCTS ARE CLEAN, SAFE, AND EFFICACIOUS?
The Physicians CBD Council now offers a chance for brands to distinguish their products from the cluster of other lower-grade branded products on the market through a simple but thorough evaluation to receive the Physicians Quality Verified Seal that can be proudly displayed on your products and marketing platforms. The additional option to conduct product efficacy testing is available exclusively to branded products that have passed the seal test/evaluation.
In the survey of consumers conducted by the PCC and Mace Media Group in 2022, a clear 89.5% of people said they would be inclined to buy a product bearing the trusted Physicians Quality Verified Seal of the PCC.
To learn more about the Physicians Cannabinoid Council or to register your interest in the Physicians Quality Verified Seal certification, visit the www.physicianscbdcouncil.com.
by Helene Blanchette