Photo by MAMTA LULLA/Advocate staff Cyndal Johnston, who owns HempE Distribution Inc. says illegal cannabis oils are hurting her business.

Some CBD oil available in central Alberta is unapproved

Psst… there’s a slim chance that the cannabis oils you’re buying from central Alberta sellers may not be legal, and therefore, not regulated.

Cannabis Council of Canada executive director Allan Rewak encourages consumers to buy cannabis and cannabis oils from licensed retailers or through the Alberta Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis agency.

He questions the quality of products that are available on the internet or in smoke shops.

“We have absolutely no clue what’s in them. They’re not tested, they’re not regulated, they’re not approved for sale. They’re not legal products,” said Rewak.

The unregulated products may be hurting at least one central Alberta hemp seed oil business.

Central Alberta resident Cyndal Johnston started HempE Distribution Inc. about four years ago. She sells various hemp oil-based products – from supplements, hemp hot sauce to beauty products such as lotions and body butter.

“You see all these (CBD oil) products at smoke shops or Facebook buy and sell,” she said, noting they’re not legal.

Some of those products are from the U.S., and are not monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Johnston said, who questioned their quality and consistency.

Recently, the FDA said it will hold a public hearing May 31 to gather more information on the science, manufacturing and sale of cannabis compounds such as CBD.

In the meantime, it issued more warning letters to companies for making unapproved health claims about CBD products, The Associated Press reported.

The hype over CBD oil, even before legalization in Canada, hasn’t been helping Johnston’s hemp seed oil business.

“A lot of people are convinced, because they’ve been told by word of mouth that CBD oil is what they need,” Johnston said.

“The interesting thing is benefits (of hemp seed oil) are very, very, similar (to CBD), if not identical.”

Not everyone understands the differences between the two oils, such as extraction and prices, Johnston said, noting hemp seed oil is cheaper.

“When I tell them our product has naturally occuring CBD in it as well as other cannaboids, just at lower level … a lot of the times, they will try,” the business owner said.

She said pet products and beauty products such as lotions, moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners infused with hemp are popular in central Alberta.

Johnston believes the industry trend will move upwards with education. At a recent conference in Olds, a representative of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance said that five per cent of Canadian households use hemp-based products.

With files from the Canadian Press

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