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Study Finds Widespread Inaccuracies In Dosing Of Medical Marijuana Edibles

DENVER (CBS4) - So what's in that medical marijuana edible? A new study finds patients may not be getting what they paid for.

The study looked at medical pot products in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. The researchers found patients who are prescribed medical pot can't always believe the labels on edibles in those cities. Now the results have Coloradans wondering about the medical marijuana edibles being sold in their state.

According to the study released Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) there is inaccuracy in dosing of edible medical marijuana products in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. Of 75 products purchased only 17 percent were accurately labeled for THC content, the ingredient that gets people high. Twenty-three percent contained more THC than indicated, and 60 percent contained less THC.

(credit: CBS)

Under Colorado law marijuana edibles must be appropriately packaged and labeled. But in Colorado the THC content isn't usually on the product labels. Until the law changes in July of 2016, Colorado businesses are not required to test medical marijuana and medical marijuana infused products. CBS4 found out some are doing it anyway.

"We go ahead and test those medical products because we want to know how much THC we're putting in there to make sure that we're accurate with our dosing," Joe Hodas with Dixie Elixirs said.

Hodas says to ask the budtender if a medical pot product has been tested.

RELATED STORIES: Marijuana Legalization Story Archive

Experts say overdosing can lead to vomiting, anxiety and hallucinations. But Hodas says under-dosing can also be a problem.

"If they're using it to treat an ailment we want to make sure they have enough medicine in the product so they get what they're paying for," he said.

Joe Hodas
Joe Hodas with Dixie Elixirs talks with CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh (credit: CBS)

Hodas says buy from trusted businesses.

A big research analysis also published in JAMA says medical marijuana has not been proven to work for many illnesses for which state laws have approved it -- including anxiety, sleep disorders, Parkinson's and Tourette's syndrome.

An editorial by two psychiatrists suggests the cart has been put before the horse when it comes to medical marijuana and widespread use should wait for better evidence. CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh has previously reported that Colorado hopes to lead the way in researching the medical benefits of marijuana.


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