FGCU testing CBD oils for possible contaminants – NBC2 News

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Preston Siner first tried CBD oil a little more than a year ago. He said it helped ease his anxiety right away.

“I’ve never been able to experience something like that,” Siner said. “I was able to just, I guess, take a nice little deep breath and say, ‘Things are gonna be alright.’ It just made a big difference for me.”

It also led to a new job: Siner now works at Your CBD Store in Fort Myers.

“Once I tried it I was like, ‘I’m a believer,’” he explained. “And I want other people to be able to experience what I just experienced.”

CBD oil has exploded in popularity in recent years. Some people swear by it and say it helps with various health issues.

But FGCU professor Dr. Martha Rosenthal said more research is needed to know exactly how well it works.

“I do believe there are definitely some potential benefits. I’ll be honest, I think to some degree it’s overhyped,” Rosenthal said. “People are taking it for everything! And it’s not gonna be good for everything.”

The Florida Department of Agriculture is working to better regulate CBD-infused products. The state has provided grant money to several universities — including FGCU — for new research.

Students and staff inside the chemistry lab are testing several different brands of CBD oil to see if they contain contaminants.

Dr. Arsalan Mirjafari is in charge of the research into possible microplastics in the oils.

“We came up with an idea using the current technology to be able to detect them and measure them,” Mirjafari explained. “Not just only see, ‘Oh, we have microplastic.’ We want to know how much microplastic we have.”

“Nobody wants to have contamination in their food or in their drug,” he added. “Who wants to smoke or inject or just give the microplastic to their pets or kids?”

Dr. Greg McManus is overseeing the other part of FGCU’s research: trying to detect heavy metals, like mercury or arsenic, in various CBD oils.

“Many of the (oils) already get tested for heavy metals, but can we come up with a newer, more cost-effective method for doing those tests? And also, to help to make sure the levels are kind of where the (companies) say they are,” he explained. “You don’t want (those metals) in anything.”

In July, one type of CBD oil was recalled after random testing by the Florida Department of Agriculture discovered high lead levels.

“The consumer should care about anything they put into their body,” Dr. McManus explained. “Two years ago there were no CBD stores. Now they’re almost on every street.”

Exactly how the contaminants could harm people — and the source of them — is beyond the research being conducted at FGCU.

Students are staff are only focused on finding contaminants and measuring them. And while they aren’t ready to release their full results, Dr. Mirjafari said the data was surprising — and not in a good way.

“The numbers we saw were shocking,” he said. “Profoundly high. A few samples.”

“People are rushing to get into this industry. But you want somebody who knows what they’re doing,” Rosenthal said. “It’s vital for all consumers to get a trusted brand that has independent, third-party testing.”

Products sold at Your CBD Store do have that kind of testing. The oils have detailed labels and even scannable QR codes that can show specific lab results.

“Every product that you get — make sure it has a QR code,” Siner said.

He said they welcome new research and increased regulations in the emerging industry.

“When it comes to it, this is what we built up and we’ve been preparing for this. We’re excited for these things,” he said.

Source: https://nbc-2.com/news/investigators/2020/09/23/fgcu-testing-cbd-oils-for-possible-contaminants/