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US: Study suggests retail cannabis often less potent than advertised

The potency of some cannabis products sold by legal retailers may be lower than what is reported on the label, according to a study released Wednesday, as researchers say a discrepancy in labeling could negatively affect the multi-billion-dollar industry.

Researchers from the University of Northern Colorado analyzed 23 samples of cannabis flower from 10 dispensaries in Colorado and found that 16 (70%) pieces had at least 15% lower concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the molecule that causes cannabis’ psychoactive effects—than advertised.

The reported potency varied between products, researchers said, as THC content differed from advertised levels by as much as nearly 55% in one sample and as little as 13% in another. The study suggests a discrepancy in THC values could be caused by a lack of standardized testing for potency, limited government oversight and possible financial incentives to advertise higher-potency products.

Researchers called on dispensaries to sell products with more accurate labeling, as inaccurate labels could impact sales and possibly harm consumers.


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