Curaleaf forced to deal with seven lawsuits over CBD-THC mix-up

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Cannabis multistate operator (MSO) Curaleaf Holdings is continuously finding itself on the receiving end of federal lawsuits in Oregon.

All of the lawsuits being directed at Curaleaf come from customers in Oregon who claim that their health has been jeopardized after unknowingly consuming the psychoactive compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

The incidents happened after Curaleaf’s customers purchased Select CBD Drops containing the non-psychotropic compound CBD (cannabidiol). Since the drops had been accidentally tainted with THC, the plaintiffs were left feeling “high” not exactly what the doctor ordered. 

In total, the Massachusetts-headquartered company has been slammed with seven lawsuits, all of which were filed in the U.S. District Court of Oregon.

What makes CBD different from THC?

Although both cannabinoids can be derived from the cannabis sativa plant species, the properties of CBD and THC are quite distinct from one another.

The main difference is that THC causes people to experience psychoactivity, whereas CBD does not. While the non-psychotropic compound CBD is often derived from hemp, which was legalized across the United States with the 2018 Farm Bill’s passing, the psychoactive cannabinoid THC can only be extracted from the cannabis plant.

Because of this, legality may also differ between the two cannabinoids. This is why it is important for consumers to check the laws in their state of residence before purchasing and/or consuming THC and CBD products. Aside from the difference in legalities/regulations, the effects are also quite dissimilar between the two.

THC is acknowledged as a relaxant, appetite stimulant and natural analgesic that may potentially cause unwanted side effects, including anxiety, paranoia and drowsiness. 

CBD, on the other hand, is devoid of the negative side effects commonly associated with THC. Rather, this non-psychotropic plant-derived compound boasts numerous uses in the field of medicine. 

For example, CBD is renowned for possessing an abundance of therapeutic powers, including antitumor, antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant and neuroprotective properties.

An overview of Curaleaf’s Select CBD Drops lawsuits

Filed by attorney Michael Fuller, seven of Curaleaf’s Select CBD Drops lawsuits seek damages amounting to one percent of the company’s net worth. As of 2021, Curaleaf had a market cap of $6.68 billion.

Based on the most recently-filed suit, which was submitted on November 19, plaintiff Ayuba Agbonkhese said that he required “immediate medical treatment in the emergency room, and experienced harm including the belief he was going to die, shaking, racing heart, psychosis, discomfort, and distress, and interference with life activities.”

Curaleaf officials say that the confusion has been attributed to an “unintentional human error at our facility that led to the production of a batch of CBD drops that were actually THC drops and vice versa.”

Since the lawsuits were filed, Curaleaf has issued a formal apology. Additionally, Curaleaf has been in close contact with Oregon regulators to recall the two questionable batches. Moving forwards, the company claims to be monitoring its production processes so as to steer clear of future mix-ups.