Testing reveals dangerous substances in some CBD products

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A North Carolina laboratory is finding dangerous substances in some CBD products.

"We find heavy metals, we find arsenic, we find lead, we find certain pesticide residues," said Volker Bornemann, President and CEO of Avazyme, Inc.

Avazyme tests CBD products for the State of North Carolina to make sure THC levels are below the 0.3 percent legal limit.

THC, like CBD, is an active ingredient in the cannabis plant (marijuana). THC, however, is psychoactive, producing a "high," while CBD is not.

Avazyme said other than THC testing, the CBD industry has little regulation.

"There's currently no mandatory testing for the products that are sold in stores," Bornemann said.

He said plenty of businesses operate in good faith and send their CBD to be tested before it's sold to consumers, but it's not always the case.

"We test for mycotoxin levels, heavy metal levels, pesticide residues and then the processed goods for residual solvents -- food-born pathogens," Bornemann said. "So, we find certain contaminations rather frequently and part of the reason is our detection methods are very, vey sensitive so we find stuff at very low trace levels which doesn't mean that it's automatically a concern for human safety or animal safety but we do find it."

Bornemann believes more CBD regulations need to be put in place.

"Reputable sources for hemp products, of course, do (spend the money on testing) and they are very careful about making sure their products are safe for consumption," Bornemann said. "There certainly are products out there that have concerning levels of contaminants in them."


CBD advocate, Kelly Helms of Indian Trail, said she's been giving the medicine to her son, Jackson, who suffers from seizures, for roughly five years.

Helms said she purchased CBD oil that she believes to be "snake oil." She says it was a substance without medicinal value that made her son's health suffer.

"There's a lot of companies that have opened for the sheer greed of making money," Helms said.

Helms said there's no question that CBD has improved her son's life. She called it miracle medicine. However, as more people are turning on to CBD products, she believes people to need to ask questions and be aware of who they're purchasing from.

"Any reputable company that is proud of their product is going to have had extensive labs done."