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Regulating heavy metals in cannabis: what can be learned from the pharmaceutical industry?

The ever-increasing demand for cannabis-based products requires US state regulators to set guidelines that ensure products are safe for human use. However, as medicinal cannabis moves forward at a rapidly increasing pace, regulations are falling behind. Here, Robert Thomas discusses the many inconsistencies across US states for monitoring levels of elemental contaminants in cannabis-based products and suggests that the pharmaceutical community could offer some much-needed guidance on how best to prepare the cannabis industry for federal oversight.

THE CANNABIS and hemp industry is moving at such an alarming rate that the analytical testing community is struggling to keep up. It is estimated that the demand for medicinal and adult recreational cannabis-based products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) compounds will exceed $25 billion in the US by 2025. However, because the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only been involved in this process when an investigational new drug (IND) has been submitted to conduct human clinical trials (eg, Epidiolex™ for treating seizures in young children), the task of regulating the industry to ensure products are safe for human consumption has been left to individual states. In addition, CBD-only products, which are dominating today’s marketplace, are for all intents and purposes unregulated by the federal government at this time.











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