CBD oil is an amazing supplement that has exploded in popularity over the last couple of years. When I tell people I have a CBD business, so many questions come up: how does it work, what does it help with, how do I know which brand to buy? These are all valid questions and a great example of why you have to be your own advocate as a CBD consumer.
Being your own advocate means you’re going to have to do your own research. When you buy CBD, there are no laws or regulations to ensure a baseline standard of quality, purity, or potency. This means anyone looking for a quick buck can buy CBD wholesale and begin spouting its benefits without regard for the CBD quality. The aim of this post is to arm you with the relevant information you need to be an informed CBD consumer.
If you use these standards to choose a CBD product, you will not have to worry about wasting money on snake oil. In fact, most credible and ethical manufacturers will have all of this information readily available on their website. If they do not, that is a red flag not to purchase from that company, because when it comes to something you’re putting in your body you have the right to know exactly what’s in it.
Here are the 7 things you should know before buying CBD oil.
1. How is the hemp grown?
Not only do most companies not grow their own hemp plants, but they are also not required to tell you their source. Many companies buy cheap plants from halfway across the country (or globe) with no knowledge of the soil they grew in, whether they were chemically treated, or whether they are potent enough for a decent product. This is problematic because hemp is a bio accumulator, which means any chemical, fertilizer, or toxin in the soil in which it is planted, the plant will rapidly absorb it. The hemp plant roots will pull it from the ground and accumulate it in plant’s cells and at least some of that is going to end up in the oil you buy.
Quality companies are transparent about the origins of their plants, whether they grow hemp themselves or work with a local supplier. Always look for companies that use USA-grown organic hemp because farmers are required to be certified through their state. Companies who grow their own plants or work with a good supplier take great pride in this because they know the market is saturated with companies who don’t bother. They will be more than happy to share this information as a means of customer service.
2. Is it third-party tested?
This is the golden ticket to verifying CBD and THC levels as well as the purity of your oil. If you only take one piece of advice from this post, let it be this: Any good company will provide lab-testing results for the batch of CBD oil you are purchasing. Lab tests will look for pesticides, herbicides, bacteria, fungus, heavy metals, foreign matter, and residual solvents from extraction. This is crucial for people with compromised immune systems. It is also important to know how to read these lab results, so if any of the information is confusing, don’t hesitate to reach out to the company with questions.
3. What is the extraction method?
The extraction method used to make your oil can have a significant effect on the end result. Some of the cheaper methods require solvents like butane, hexane, or propane which can leave unwanted residue in the final product. These methods are also known to yield lower amounts of cannabinoids, which is why some companies can get away with such cheap prices. Pharmaceutical-grade ethanol is a safer solvent option, and it also yields a much higher cannabinoid content without the petroleum residue.
However, the absolute best way to extract CBD from hemp is through a process called supercritical CO2 extraction, which uses high pressure in a cold environment to extract the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes without the use of solvents. This is a more complex process that requires expensive equipment, but it’s the best way to ensure your oil is pure and potent.
4. Does it contain THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC, is the psychoactive cannabinoid that gets you high. CBD and THC both come from the same plant, but not everyone who wants CBD also wants to get high on THC. If CBD oil is processed poorly or not lab-tested before bottling, it could contain more than 0.03% THC, which is the maximum amount that can exist in legal CBD products. Any CBD oil you purchase should either state that it contains less than 0.03% THC or is THC free in the case of a broad spectrum product.
5. What is the CBD concentration?
The label should always state how much CBD is in the bottle along with the amount of CBD per dose or some way to determine this. This is important because it’s common for oils to contain anywhere from 100mg to 1500mg of CBD or higher, and the higher the concentration, the higher the amount you’ll get per dose and the quicker you’ll feel the cumulative effects.
6. Is the company touting suspicious health claims?
Don’t buy CBD oil from a company that makes wild health claims. Claiming CBD can treat cancer, HIV and alzheimer’s without having studies to back up these claims is dishonest. Yes, there have been studies done on issues like epilepsy and sleep, but trustworthy companies will use caution and not make audacious claims until more research has been done.
The best way to determine what CBD could do for your health is to understand how it works with your endocannabinoid system. Everybody’s endocannabinoid system is different. Your experience with CBD can vary depending on your experience with hemp and tolerance levels, any illnesses or symptoms, your current endocannabinoid levels, your metabolism, how much food you eat, and so much more. One product could change your life and relieve all your symptoms while doing absolutely nothing for someone else.
The takeaway is this: It is intellectually dishonest to say there are no benefits to CBD. The amount of anecdotal evidence alone should tell you that it does actually help people feel better. However, that doesn’t mean it’s OK for a company to claim their products will get you off your prescription medication or cure your cancer. That is ridiculous and unethical.
7. Is the CBD broad/full spectrum or isolate?
Full-spectrum oils contain more than just CBD – they also contain some THC and other important plant materials like terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids that work together to create what is known as an “entourage effect.” These oils are usually labeled “full spectrum” or “whole plant”. If the oil is 100% THC free, it should say “broad spectrum” on the label, which is what you want if you’re looking for an oil with non-detectable THC levels. CBD isolate is a fine powder containing cannabidiol and no other cannabinoids or plant ingredients. It is usually consumed through vaping, or by adding it to food and beverages.
Transparency is key to finding a CBD company that is ethical, trustworthy, and selling a high-quality product. This industry is taking off with the Farm Bill passing in 2018 allowing hemp to be gown in all 50 states and there are no set standards to protect or ensure that you’re getting whats on the label. The best thing you can do as a consumer is require this information from any company you purchase from to encourage a safe, transparent marketplace that puts people’s health and safety above profits.