CBD Market Report: Over Half of CBD Products Are Mislabeled

From the 221 products we tested, only 40% matched the labeled CBD strength. Many also contained the wrong type of CBD.
Written by 
Gleb Oleinik, CBD Journalist.
|Check IconMedically reviewed by 
Eloise Theisen, RN, MSN, AGPCNP-BC.
|Last Updated:

Can you be sure you’re getting what’s advertised when buying CBD? Over the past year and a half, we purchased hundreds of CBD products to answer that question. 

Our mission was simple: send the products for third-party testing and compare the results to the amount and type of CBD listed on the product label.

We tested products from different categories, including oils, edibles, topicals, beverages, and pet products, and published the results in separate reports. 

For this summary report, we combined our findings to evaluate the overall accuracy of CBD product labels.

Results Summary

In total, we sent 221 CBD products from 111 brands for third-party testing. These included 35 CBD oil, 40 topical, 40 edible, 22 beverage, 55 pet, and 29 coffee & tea products.

For each one, we compared the amount and type of CBD shown on the test to the label.

To be considered accurate and receive an A grade, products needed to be within 10% of the labeled CBD content. Products that were off from the label by a higher percentage received a B, C, or F grade.

Check out the key findings below.

Overall Findings

  • Only 40% of products matched the labeled CBD strength
  • 28% of products received the worst (F) grade for having CBD levels that differed from the label by more than 30%
  • On average, the CBD content of the products was off from the label by nearly 25%
  • Beverages had the worst results, with only 18% of products matching the label and two products containing no CBD at all
  • Out of 97 products advertised to contain broad or full-spectrum CBD, 44% were mislabeled
  • In the beverage, topical, and edible categories, more products got an F than an A
  • Lesser-known CBD companies performed better than leading brands in the edible and beverage categories
  • The two most accurate brands were Lazarus Naturals and Steve’s Goods; their products received A scores in all three categories in which they participated
  • Just CBD, PlusCBD, and CBDistillery also did well, scoring an A on two reports and a B on a third one

Our Methodology

We purchased the products from a mix of online brands and brick-and-mortar stores like vape shops and supplement stores. Next, we sent the products to an independent cannabis testing lab (Canalysis Laboratories or SC Labs).

The lab technicians tested the levels of CBD and other cannabinoids in the products and sent the certificates of analysis (CoAs) back to us. 

Then, we compared the test results to advertised CBD strength. We assigned each product a later grade depending on its accuracy:

  1. A (Excellent): independent lab tests showed CBD levels that were within 10% of what was stated on the label. 
  2. B (Decent): independent lab tests showed CBD levels that were within 20% of the label.
  3. C (Poor): independent lab tests showed CBD levels that were within 30% of the label.
  4. F (Fail): independent lab tests showed CBD levels that differed from the label by more than 30%.

For products that were advertised to contain full or broad-spectrum CBD, we also checked the levels of other cannabinoids. Broad-spectrum products should contain minor cannabinoids and no THC, whereas full-spectrum ones should have both. 

To be considered accurate, a product needed to be within 10% of the labeled CBD strength. 

For example, if a company sold CBD oil that should contain 1000 mg of CBD but the tests only showed 600 mg, that means it contained 40% less CBD than claimed. This poor result would receive an F grade since you’d be getting much less CBD than you paid for.

Top Brands

Out of the 111 CBD brands we tested, the five most accurate were Lazarus Naturals, CBDistillery, PlusCBD, Steve’s Goods, and JustCBD.

  1. Lazarus Naturals performed the best out of the 111 CBD companies we tested. Its products received an A on all three reports they were included in. Lazarus Naturals is popular for its low prices and high quality. It’s one of few brands that oversee the entire production process from seed to product and is close to being fully organic-certified by the USDA.
  2. CBDistillery got 2nd place. Its products received an A on two reports and a B on one report (off by only 2%). CBDistillery is another leading, popular brand certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority, highlighting its adherence to hemp industry best practices.
  3. PlusCBD came in 3rd place. Two of its products got an A and one received a B. PlusCBD is a reputable, U.S. Hemp Authority-certified company based in California. It was also the first CBD brand to receive GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status. 
  4. Steve’s Goods got 4th place. Although it also scored an A for three products similar to Lazarus Naturals, some of these don’t clearly explain the CBD content on the label. The company also doesn’t order contaminant testing. Steve’s Goods is a Colorado-based brand best known for its minor cannabinoid products.
  5. JustCBD got 5th place. It received an A for two products and a B for a third one, which is a good result. However, its gummies received a lower score. JustCBD is a popular Florida brand recognized for its low prices and wide product variety.

Findings by Product Category

We summarized the key findings for each CBD product category below. 

CBD Oil Tinctures

The Excellent brands list on the CBD Tinctures report

Product Name Rating Claimed CBD Actual CBD % Variance
CBD Dog Health Calm Tincture for Dogs 550 mg (30 ml) A 550 595.08 8.20%
CBDMEDIC Eczema Ointment 200 mg A 200 204.68 2.30%
CBDPure Hemp Oil 300 mg (60ml) A 300 316.62 5.50%
CBDfx Hemp Tincture 500 mg (30 ml) A 500 519.18 3.80%
CBDistillery CBD Isolate Tincture 250 mg (30 ml) A 250 253.2 1.30%
Deep Relief Tincture 500 mg (30 ml) A 500 545.67 9.10%
Elixinol CBD Tincture 300 mg (30 ml) A 300 305.19 1.70%
Endoca Raw Hemp Oil 300 mg (10 ml) A 300 296.15 -1.30%
Fab CBD Citrus Full Spectrum CBD Oil 300 mg (30 ml) A 300 302.31 0.80%
Funky Farms Alaskan Ice Tincture 250 mg (30 ml) A 250 249.06 -0.40%
Green Gorilla Full Spectrum CBD Oil 300 mg (30 ml) A 300 307.23 2.40%
Green Roads CBD Oil 250 mg (15 ml) A 250 256.969 2.80%
Honest Paws CBD Oil for Dogs 125 mg (30 ml) A 125 126.12 0.90%
Joy Organics Tranquil Mint Tincture 250 mg (30 ml) A 450 473.16 5%
JustCBD Tincture 250 mg (30 ml) A 250 235.14 5.90%
Lazarus Naturals Chocolate Mint High-Potency Tincture 750 mg (15 ml) A 750 773.91 3.20%
Medterra Broad-Spectrum Tincture 1000 mg (30 ml) A 1000 1077.15 7.70%
Nanocraft CBD Oil 300 mg (30 ml) A 300 305.43 1.80%
NuLeaf Naturals CBD Oil 240mg (5 ml) A 240 232.8 -3%
Pachamama Black Pepper Turmeric Tincture 750 mg (30 ml) A 750 758.22 1.10%
PlusCBD Oil Gold Drops 250 mg (30 ml) A 250 247.26 1.10%
Receptra Naturals Vanilla Mint Serious Rest Tincture 750 mg (30 ml) A 750 747.15 -0.40%
Savage CBD Tincture 1000mg (30 ml) A 1000 1016.25 1.60%
Sunmed Broad-Spectrum Lemon Tincture 240 mg (30 ml) A 240 251.01 4.60%
Veritas Farms Unflavored Tincture 250 mg(30 ml) A 250 255.45 2.20%
cbdMD CBD Oil Tincture 300 mg (30 ml) A 300 321.27 7.10%
Dixie Botanicals 250 mg, peppermint-flavored dew drops tinctures A 250 245.8 1.7%
  • Oils were the most accurate CBD products, with 74% matching the labeled CBD strength and an average difference of only 13.5% from the label
  • Out of 17 products advertised to contain broad or full-spectrum CBD, 12 (70.6%) contained the wrong type of CBD; most of these were full-spectrum oils that didn’t carry THC
  • Honest Paws, PlusCBD, Endoca, and CBDistillery were the most accurate brands

Full CBD oil report

Our picks for Best CBD oil

CBD Edibles

The Excellent brands list on the CBD Edibles report

Produce Name Rating Claimed CBD (mg) Actual CBD (mg) % Variance
Green Roads CBD Dark Chocolate Bar A 180 171.738 -4.59%
Nirvana CBD Gummies A 25 25.8022 3.21%
VT CBD Lemon Recovery Strips A 25 25.4261 1.70%
Highline Wellness CBD Gummies A 10 10.8449 8.45%
Proleve CBD Gummies A 25 26.4159 5.66%
Chronic Candy CBD Peach Rings A 250 253.456 1.38%
Smilyn CBD Gummies A 10 9.8648 -1.35%
Sunday Scaries CBD Unicorn Jerky A 10 9.0619 -9.38%
Wyld CBD Blackberry Gummies A 25 25.9674 3.87%
Dixie Botanicals CBD Kicks Chews A 5 5.0469 0.94%
  • Only 27.5% of edibles matched the labeled CBD strength
  • On average, edibles were off from the label by 26%
  • Most of the accurately labeled products were made by small or new companies
  • The most common grade was an F, given to 30% of products
  • Dixie Botanicals and Smilyn were the most accurate brands

Full CBD edibles report

Our picks for Best Gummies

CBD Beverages

The Excellent brands list on the CBD Beverages report

Produce Name Rating Claimed CBD Actual CBD % Variance
Savage CBD Revive Shot A 25 25.7505 3.00%
Dram Beauty Bubbles CBD Sparkling Water A 25 25.68 2.72%
Wyld Blood Orange Sparkling Water A 25 26.4184 5.67%
Cleen Craft Hemp Cola A 16 16.7597 4.75%
  • Beverages performed the worst out of any category, with 59% receiving an F
  • Only 18% of beverages matched the labeled CBD strength
  • Two products had zero CBD and another one had 221% of what’s advertised, the worst results we saw out of all the tested products
  • On average, beverages were off from the labeled CBD strength by 52.9%
  • DRAM and Savage CBD were the two most accurate brands

Full CBD beverages report

Our picks for Best CBD Drinks

CBD Topicals

The Excellent brands list on the CBD Topicals report

Produce Name Rating Claimed  Actual  % Variance 
CBDfx CBD Muscle & Joint Cream A 500 546.3 9.26%
Erth CBD Face Serum A 250 272.22 8.89%
Lazarus Naturals CBD Lotion A 300 317.07 5.69%
Koi Naturals CBD Healing Balm A 150 142.954 -4.70%
Green Gorilla CBD Balm A 300 319.5 6.50%
Medical Mary CBD Relief Cream A 500 510 2.00%
Social CBD Muscle Rub A 50 54.893 9.79%
Steve’s Goods CBD Relief Balm A 500* 527.9886* 5.60%
Receptra Naturals Yoga Balm A 400 416.815 4.20%
  • Only 22.5% of topicals matched the labeled CBD strength
  • On average, topical products were off from the label by 27%
  • Out of 23 products advertised to contain broad or full-spectrum CBD, 4 (17.4%) contained the wrong type of CBD
  • Koi CBD and Medical Mary were the two most accurate brands

Full CBD topicals report

 Our picks for Best CBD Topicals

CBD Pet Products

The Excellent brands list on the CBD Pet Products report

Produce Name Rating Claimed  Actual  % Variance
Austin & Kat Hemp Chews A 2.5 2.266 -9.37
Austin & Kat Hemp Salmon Tincture A 100 109.290 9.29
AVID Hemp Full Spectrum Pet Oil A 150 159.630 6.42
Joy Organics Pet CBD Oil A 450 457.920 1.76
Honest Paws Calm CBD Oil for Dogs A 125 129.840 3.87
Honest Paws Calm Peanut Butter A 160 144.500 -9.69
Just CBD Oil for Dogs A 100 92.100 -7.90
CBD Essence CBD Oil for Dogs A 75 73.350 -2.20
NuLeaf Naturals Pet CBD Oil A 300 327.295 9.10
Naternal Dog Chews A 5 5.196 3.92
Steve’s Goods Hemp Bites A 10 9.263 -7.37
Tree of Life Seeds CBD Oil Pet Chews A 2 2.073 3.63
Medical Mary Pet CBD Oil A 250 269.430 7.77
King Kanine King Kalm CBD Oil A 150 135.360 -9.76
Naternal CBD Oil for Pets A 300 328.650 9.55
Steve’s Goods CBD Oil for Pets A 150 153.735 2.49
PlusCBD Pet Tincture A 250 266.875 6.75
CBD American Shaman Canine Tincture A 300 320.610 6.87
CBD Living Cat Tincture A 150 153.498 2.33
Charlotte’s Web Dog Tincture A 510 556.215 9.06
Veritas Farms Joint Care Chews A 300 325.350 8.45
Lazarus Naturals CBD Pet Tincture A 600 564.448 -5.93
One Farm Pet CBD Oil A 100 95.7685 -4.23
CBDistillery CBD Pet Tincture A 150 160.1258 6.75
  • 44% of pet products matched the labeled CBD strength
  • On average, pet products were off from the label by 21.7%
  • Tinctures were more accurate than edible and topical products
  • Many brands scored well for tinctures but received a poor score for edibles
  • Out of 36 products advertised to contain broad or full-spectrum hemp extract, 23 (63.9%) contained the wrong type of CBD, including 22 that had no THC despite being advertised as full-spectrum
  • Austin & Kat was by far the most accurate brand; both of the products we tested matched the labeled CBD strength and extract type

Full CBD pet products report

Our picks for Best CBD Pets Products

CBD Coffee & Tea

The Excellent brands list on the CBD Coffee&Tea report

Product Name Rating Claimed CBD (mg) Actual CBD (mg) % Variance
Steve’s Goods CBD Coffee A 360 388.823 8.01
Strava CBD Coffee A 250 230.52 -7.79
FloChi CBD Tea A 30 31 3.33
Diamond CBD Chill CBD Assorted Coffee & Tea A 100 100.572 0.57
CBD Living CBD Matcha Tea A 250 240.929 -3.63
CBD American Shaman CBD Sparkling Tea A 10 9.75 -2.50
Allo Bean & Bud CBD Coffee A 320 298.998 -6.56
Coldfire Roasters Nano Hemp Coffee A 60 59.661 -0.56
CBD Infused Tea Blazin’ Berry Black Tea A 200 202.646 1.32
Sun State Hemp CBD Ground Coffee A 300 294.608 -1.80
Glow Water Restore CBD Tea A 125 127.855 2.28
Tranquility Tea Company CBD Coffee A 900 953.564 5.95
Cadence Iced Cold Brew CBD Coffee A 10 9.1 -9.00
The Brothers Apothecary Mellow Mint Hemp CBD Tea A 150 150.84 0.56
  • Coffee & tea performed the best after the CBD oil tincture category, with 76% of products receiving an A or B
  • 48% of products matched the labeled CBD strength
  • On average, coffee and tea products were off from the label by 16.5%
  • Out of 14 products advertised to contain broad or full-spectrum hemp extract, 3 (21.4%) contained the wrong type of CBD
  • Brands with multiple products scored well for one but had lower scores for another product
  • Brothers Apothecary and Coldfire Roasters were the two most accurate brands

Full CBD tea & coffee report

Medical Expert Opinions

According to the report results, we asked our experts what is their personal opinion of the CBD industry and what are their tips for users who want to buy CBD?

Eloise Theisen, MSN, AGPCNP-BC

The CBD industry is evolving and testing is an area that we are starting to see more transparency and consistency. 

With so many products on the market to choose from, there is no reason for a consumer to purchase a product that has not been tested for potency, contaminants, residual solvents and pesticides. 

This report highlights the vast differences among CBD products on the market. Consumers are often unaware that CBD is unregulated and therefore testing is not required. It is nice to see a report like this that brings more transparency to the industry and demonstrates the true leaders in the CBD space.

It is imperative that consumers look for the test results to ensure that the label is accurate. Many consumers find that work to be tedious and overwhelming. Leafreport has simplified the process by independently testing CBD products and reporting on the findings. 

Additionally, Leafreport looks at other factors such as pricing, customer service responses, and shipping. Their reports can save consumers a lot of time and money by offering a one stop place to find the information they need to make an informed decision.

Zora DeGrandpre, MS, ND

This report highlights the importance of quality control in the manufacturing and testing process as well as the need for rational regulation of all products destined for consumption. 

In the US, the FDA is still reviewing data, particularly on the safety, potential side effects, and benefits of CBD. It’s a frustratingly slow process, impeded by the fact that too many researchers stay away from cannabinoids because of the regulatory gray area. 

This problem is made worse by businesses that don’t follow basic aspects of quality control — selling products that contain the stated amount of CBD and testing for various contaminants. These businesses are giving CBD a poor reputation. 

The reality is that poor manufacturing and QC practices may result in overreaching and stifling regulations, and these businesses will only have themselves to blame. Even now, CBD regulations around the world are increasingly complex and developing in different directions.

To sum up, this report highlights high-quality CBD companies and I support the recommendations given here by LeafReport.

My advice has always been to go for a company that does full testing and practices organic (official or unofficial) and sustainable farming, has QC standards in place, understands the basic science of what they are doing, and the difference between proven and potential CBD benefits. 

Dr. Carlie Bell-Biggins, Naturopathic Physician

Considering the report results, the CBD industry has a long way to go to gain the public’s trust. CBD is effective for many ailments; this is widely accepted. However proper dosing is still unclear, especially since individual variations within the endocannabinoid system are unique from person to person. Mislabeled products only compound this issue.

For example, if an individual believes they are taking 50 mg of CBD daily based on the label of the product, but in reality, they are taking 30 mg, or 70 mg, or even 0 mg, there is no way to truly get a therapeutic dose for the individual. Furthermore, we will have individuals that say CBD does not work for them. Now we must question, does it not work, or was there CBD even present in the product they were using. Or one may find CBD to be quite effective at 100 mg, however in reality they are consuming 120 mg, and so their minimum effective dose may be higher than they realize due to mislabeling. 

This report highlights the need for proper testing for all CBD products on the market. Going a step further, proper testing in a lab that has the proper protocols in place, with calibrated equipment and properly trained laboratory technicians is the even better answer.

Overall, the CBD industry exploded on the retail market before proper measures were put into place to ensure all consumer products are labeled accurately for public safety. As we continue to see the industry grow, I am confident that we’ll see more accuracy and regulation around testing practices and product labeling.

CBD consumers should always view the Certificate of Analysis report, or the COA of a product. If the products are tested by a third-party lab with good protocols in place, the COA should offer insight into the quality of the product and the accuracy of the label. 

Buy from a trusted brand with an A rating to ensure you are getting the most accurate dosage and highest quality CBD.

Conclusion & Recommendations

Overall, our findings suggest that the CBD industry has a lot of room to improve. 

While it has come a long way since its early days, most products still don’t match the labeled CBD strength and extract type.

The key point to take away from our independent research is the importance of third-party testing. You should only buy from reputable brands that provide up-to-date test results for all products, like the companies we discussed above.

More importantly, you should look at the test documents to make sure they match the product label:

  1. First, check the levels of CBD. They should be within 10% of the label.
  2. Second, compare the advertised type of CBD to the tests. Full-spectrum CBD products should also show some THC and minor cannabinoids like CBG, CBN, or CBC. Broad-spectrum products are similar but should have no THC. Finally, CBD isolate products should only show cannabidiol and potentially a small amount of CBDV.

It’s even better to choose reputable, positively reviewed brands that do both potency (cannabinoid levels) and purity (checking for pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents, and other potential contaminants) testing. 

We also recommend choosing CBD oil instead of other product categories because it’s more likely to contain accurate quantities of CBD.

 

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Gleb Oleinik
Gleb Oleinik
CBD Journalist
Gleb Oleinik is a freelance health writer and Journalist from Vancouver, Canada. He’s read thousands of research studies about various supplement ingredients, enabling him to translate complex health information into simple language. Gleb specializes in CBD and has personally tried and reviewed dozens of CBD products. He’s knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the CBD industry as well as the science and research behind this popular natural remedy.
Eloise Theisen
Eloise Theisen
RN, MSN, AGPCNP-BC
Eloise Theisen is a board certified Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner who specializes in cannabis therapy. For over 20 years, Eloise has worked primarily with cancer, dementia and chronic pain patients. In the last 6 years, Eloise has focused her efforts on cannabinoid therapies. Eloise has worked with over 6500 patients to help them effectively treat age-related and chronic illness with cannabis.

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