Canada has one stringent commercial medical cannabis program, requiring its licensed producers to implement standard operating procedures, good manufacturing processes and rigorous quality assurance and control.
Some might argue the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) have resulted in recalls for some rather innocuous errors, but when it comes to treating various medical ailments, it's crucial accurate and reliable information is communicated to patients.
Here are four medical marijuana recalls that demonstrate that Health Canada does not mess around when it comes to labelling, accurate THC and CBD indicators and testing for illegal pesticides.
- Where’s the per cent symbol? Most recently (and 2018's first) Canadian licensed producer Aphria announced a Type III recall in early January because the labels on the containers of cannabis omitted a per cent sign (%) next to the numerical content for THC and CBD. While THC and CBD content is important for medical cannabis users to know for dosing purposes, Type III recalls are undertaken when a product is not likely to cause any adverse health consequences.
- Just a tad too strong. Licensed producer Peace Naturals was subject to a recall in February of 2015 because its Nyce N’ EZ dried flower strain showed an inaccurate THC level of 9.07 per cent, plus or minus 2 per cent. A third-party lab test indicated the product actually contained slightly more THC, at 13.7 per cent. At the time, it was reported by Huffington Post that the company had to recall the strain “for being too strong.”
- Missing a bit of CBD. On April 7, 2017, licensed producer Emblem Cannabis initiated a Type III recall of four lots of its products for reporting an inaccurately high potential CBD percentage. One bottle was labelled as containing CBD value of 15.02 per cent, but it actually contained 13 per cent of CBD. At the time, company reps reported that the figures were correct on their online shop and the mistake only occurred on bottle labels.
- A dash of pesticides. Licensed Producer Peace Naturals recalled 74 lots of dried cannabis and cannabis oil in May 2017 because they contained small amounts (0.79 parts per million) of piperonyl butoxide, a synergist used to enhance pesticides that is banned for use on medical cannabis in Canada. Since, the synergist has been approved for use in Canada.
A previous version of this article inaccurately described the Emblem recall as a Type II recall, and misreported the actual percentage of CBD as 0.113 per cent. It was a Type III recall and the actual percentage was more than 13 per cent. The original story also misidentified piperonyl butoxide as a banned pesticide. It is not a pesticide, but a synergist with no pesticidal activity used in conjunction with pesticides. We apologize for the errors.