Health Canada recalls CBD gel capsules containing THC sold by Zenabis

Namaste CBD Light Softgels. (Namaste website)
Namaste CBD Light Softgels. (Namaste website)

Health Canada has issued a recall of incorrectly labelled cannabis gel capsules manufactured by British Columbia-based producer Zenabis Global. (ZENA.TO)

The recall issued on Tuesday involves the company’s Namaste softgels. The label indicates the product is “CBD Light gelcaps.” However, the units contain THC gelcaps, according to Health Canada.

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The agency said the products were sold through Cannabis NB, New Brunswick’s provincially-run retailer.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-intoxicating cannabis compound widely used for a variety of wellness applications. THC is the well-known psychoactive ingredient that causes users to feel high. The mix-up could have legal consequences for Zenabis, according to attorneys who spoke to Yahoo Finance Canada.

Health Canada said affected capsules were sold in packages of 15. The label is said to show each pill contains 0.19 mg of THC and 6.13 mg of CBD. Health Canada said the actual values are 2.247 mg of THC and zero mg of CBD.

The agency said 768 units were sold by the company on Oct. 7. The lot number is 1000321.

Zenabis said on Wednesday that Cannabis NB has confirmed that 603 units remain in stock, and are set to be returned to the company.

“We are working to ensure that such mislabeling does not happen again in the future,” Jordan Owens, Zenabis’ regional director of communications, told Yahoo Finance Canada in an email. “We regret any inconvenience that our customers may have experienced.”

The company said it issued a voluntary recall notice on its website on Dec. 12.

Health Canada said in its release that it has not received any complaints related to the recalled lot, but Zenabis has received one. Health Canada said neither the agency nor the company have received any adverse reaction reports.

Anyone in possession of the affected product is asked to return it to the retailer where it was purchased. For additional information, customers may contact Cannabis NB at 1-833-821-2195.

Harrison Jordan, a Toronto-based lawyer specializing in cannabis, said the mislabeled capsules could expose Zenabis to legal action under certain circumstances.

“If customers believe that they are purchasing CBD products with very trace THC, and it turns out it is the opposite, and they take it and have a psychotic episode, or perhaps get behind the wheel of a car after consuming it, producers could be susceptible to lawsuits,” he told Yahoo Finance Canada on Wednesday. “This is a relatively big screw up.”

Cannabis advocacy group NORML Canada said while the level of THC per capsule is considered low, the lapse underscores the importance of accurate labelling for safe consumption.

“No one wants to be unsuspectingly high,” communications director Andy Lee told Yahoo Finance Canada in an email on Wednesday. “It is unfortunate that the Zenabis—Namaste product mislabelling was not caught earlier, before reaching consumers.”

Zenabis was the subject of a separate Health Canada recall in June involving product sold through the Société québecoise du cannabis.

A batch of the company’s “Wappa” dried flower was mislabelled as containing 6.57 per cent THC and 12.1 per cent CBD, when it contained a much more potent 17.3 percent THC and just 0.07 percent CBD. More than 200 improperly labelled 3.5 gram units were sold in that instance.

Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.

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