Article by Lasia Kretzel, News 1130
A B.C. cannabis grower has accused another company of mislabelling the potency of some of its products and has asked the federal government to investigate.
In a complaint to Health Canada, Pure Sunfarms says Canopy Growth used a historical average to label its TWD brand 20 per cent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) across 18 different batches. Meanwhile, companies like Pure Sunfarms print custom labels to display a more precise THC percentage for each individual batch.
“For a producer of our size, it can be in the millions of dollars,” Pure Sunfarms president Mandesh Dosanjh said. “Even for a small producer, it’s a large sum of money for them to spend doing that. And that’s what the rules require us to do. So moving to a static label, you could save a lot of costs.”
He says he thinks imprecise THC percentages erode consumer trust and safety.
“Cannabis is a very personal experience and how somebody feels or reacts to a certain strain may be very different to how you and I may react,” he said. “As a result, what we’re used to is customers being able to gauge the impact. Whether it’s a beer, a glass of wine, or in this case cannabis, and the experience of that consumption and how it makes them feel. I think potency is just one of the indicators that consumers use to understand what effect or impact it will have on them.”
Next to price, potency is one of the most important criteria for consumers. Perceived ideal percentages include product 20 per cent and above, however emerging research has indicated THC and CBD are not the only contributing factors to how high a person may feel.
UBC professor says THC potency mislabelling not a big concern
However, UBC cannabis psychologist Dr. Zach Walsh says the percentage may not mean as much for dried cannabis.
“It’s less of a concern with a dried plant, largely because people will sort of self titrate where they almost naturally will stop when they get the effect they want,” he said. “It may not be exactly about measuring how much cannabis they’re using as much as how much cannabis they’re inhaling and how they’re feeling. So I’m less concerned about mislabelling of the herbal cannabis than the edibles, because the edible, you eat it and it’s like a pill, you’re stuck with whatever you take.”
Much like the end of alcohol prohibition, Walsh expects as more time passes since the legalization of cannabis in Canada, consumers trends will change and people may not consider potency one of the main purchase considerations.
Currently, cannabis companies are required to label the THC and CBD content on the packaging for each lot or batch, but the rules don’t set variability limits for dried flower products, meaning you could have more or less of the labeled dosage.
Amend cannabis regulations, says Pure Sunfarms
Dosanjh says he would like Health Canada to amend cannabis regulations to avoid any ambiguity “by specifying that the THC and CBD values displayed on the labels must reflect the results obtained from the batch or lot testing.”