The cannabis extract CBD is marketed as a healing remedy that, unlike its cousin marijuana, doesn’t get users high. As demand increases, however, some vapes marketed as delivering an inhalable form of CBD in fact contain dangerous, illegal synthetic marijuana.

As part of an investigation into CBD vapes, The Associated Press wanted to understand the availability of products spiked with synthetic marijuana. AP sought information about testing of spiked CBD from federal law enforcement as well as crime labs or other law enforcement authorities in all 50 states. AP then used that information, as well as postings from online discussion boards, to purchase vape products that could be spiked, and lab tested those samples.

— LAW ENFORCEMENT TESTING: AP requested data about CBD testing that showed the presence of synthetic marijuana in products that authorities picked up during criminal investigations. AP did not specify whether the sample was a vape or edible product, such as gummy bears.

Officials in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia all reported positive hits. Law enforcement and regulatory agencies in another 22 states that responded to AP’s requests said they had not found synthetic marijuana in CBD vapes or edibles, though some of those agencies said they had not tested CBD products or that they had analyzed only a few samples. Agencies in other states either did not respond to requests, said they could not search their databases for CBD, or said that the information is related to criminal investigations and therefore confidential. Michigan wanted $202 to release its information, which AP declined to pay.

AP sought U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration testing results by filing a Freedom of Information Act request in March. The agency is still processing that request.

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