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Alabama cops drop marijuana test after bottled CBD water ‘exposed’ its flaws

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CBD and THC oils, derived from hemp or marijuana, are being used medically in the U.S. Their uses and legality vary; watch this video to learn more.
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CBD and THC oils, derived from hemp or marijuana, are being used medically in the U.S. Their uses and legality vary; watch this video to learn more.

A southern Alabama police department is dropping a field test officers use to detect marijuana after the test suggested THC was in bottled CBD water that didn’t contain the marijuana chemical — a mishap that “exposed the deficiencies” of the test, police said.

Summerdale police said they would abandon the test Wednesday after writing in a Facebook post earlier in the day that officers had performed field tests looking for THC in bottled CBD water from a local gas station. The test twice found the water was positive for THC, police said. THC is the ingredient in marijuana that’s largely responsible for its psychoactive effects in users, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“The Facebook post was never intended as a slight against any CBD product or company,” Detective John Gleaton wrote in a statement emailed to McClatchy, saying the situation “exposed the deficiencies in the Fast Blue test and we will discontinue using this test going forward.”

It’s nearly impossible that the CBD water the officers tested contains THC, according to Ace Robinson of CBD Cure, the company that produces the bottled water.

“You have a better chance of winning the lottery,” Robinson said in a phone interview with McClatchy. “It’s pretty much impossible to have THC in the water because every bottle goes through FDA-approved lab testing.”

Robinson said the Valencia, California, company’s lab testing checks all of their products to make sure they comply with the law before they hit shelves across the country. He said the company is considering legal action against the Police Department “for falsifying records” and suggesting THC is present when the company believes that’s almost impossible.

“We know what’s legal and what’s not,” Robinson said, adding that the product is available in 7-Elevens and other common convenience stores.

Police wrote in their initial Facebook post that the field test has its limits.

“This does not give us the amount of THC, just that there is some present,” police wrote.

Police said they didn’t mean to single out CBD Cure.

Gleaton said he performed a more expensive drug test on the bottled water, and the water did not test positive for THC.

“The testing that they have, the field testing local police departments use ... picks up all of the other cannabinoids that they think is THC,” Robinson said. “But once it actually goes into a certified lab — they could choose any one of their local certified labs — the results would actually be the opposite.”

The department wrote in its initial Facebook post that “the FDA does not regulate CBD products, and while legal in Alabama it’s still iffy.”

The Facebook post had been shared more than 200 times as of Wednesday afternoon.

“The Facebook post was intended to point out that the testing methodology for tests must be better vetted to insure that no one is penalized or arrested based on a false result of a test used by an officer,” Gleaton said. “The product tested was chosen randomly and should not be taken as a reflection on that product or brand.”

Gleaton said workers expecting to undergo drug screening should check what kind it is.

“Anyone considering using these products should check their employer’s drug testing policy,” Gleaton said, adding that “it is safe to assume that a Fast Blue type test in one of those tests could also render a positive result.”

Barry Sample, senior director of science and technology at the major drug testing company Quest Diagnostics, said the most common urine tests employers use don’t check for CBD, according to Consumer Reports.

“There isn’t going to be a laboratory analytical false positive confusing CBD with a THC metabolite,” Sample said, though he warned that if CBD products contain more THC than advertised the chemical could build up to traceable levels over time, according to the publication.

CBD Cure water doesn’t contain any THC, according to the company’s website.

But as CBD “is going mainstream” to treat anxiety, insomnia and more, people using some products that do contain THC are finding that “one unexpected ‘side effect’ could be failing an employer’s drug test, and even losing a job as a result,” Consumer Reports said.

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