Not all CBD brands are created equal.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is quickly becoming the most sought-after wellness supplement, known for helping the body find balance for maximum health. CBD is the second most abundant cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, most famous for its non-intoxicating properties, which means it will not get you high, no matter how much you take.
Because CBD is growing fast in a booming industry, there are downsides to this growth because everyone wants CBD right this instant, which means some manufacturers out there care too much about sales and not enough about the quality of the CBD product.
The key takeaway from this post is quality: Quality CBD, quality products, and quality brands, are what makes the difference between a helpful and beneficial product, and a product that you aren’t able to see results with. Or worse, can be harmful to take.
How do you know you’re getting quality CBD? We inform you of five standout ways below.
1. Research how the CBD was manufactured
Different brands have different extraction methods in order to process CBD oil.
Companies who sell their products at an obviously lower-than-average price most likely use cheap methods of extracting CBD. These methods are commonly used in gas stoves and ranges such as propane and butane, which require toxic solvents dangerous to our health like propane, hexane, pentane, and butane.
The method that ensures CBD maintains its purity throughout the entire process (hence producing the best quality of CBD) is called Supercritical CO2 Extraction — a process that involves using carbon dioxide under high pressure in an extremely cold environment. This method requires expensive equipment, more complex refinement processes, and production expertise, but it ensures the CBD extracted maintains its purity.
2. Know where your CBD came from
One of the best ways to identify a quality CBD product is checking the high-quality materials it came from (just like any other manufactured product). To put it simply, high quality hemp plants = high quality CBD. Low quality hemp plants = low quality CBD.
Look into where the CBD brand sources their hemp. Try to find U.S. grown hemp – U.S. farmers are required to get certified by state departments of agriculture, which means their hemp has to be legitimate, or they are in big trouble. Europe also has some of the highest quality standards in the world for their hemp farmers. European and U.S. grown hemp are your best bets. Steer clear of Chinese grown hemp, as the quality restrictions are much more lax.
One of the main characteristics of the hemp plant is being a “hyperaccumulator,” meaning the plant easily absorbs anything that is present in the ground where it was cultivated and farmed. If the hemp plant grew on rich soil, the resulting plant will contain the best quality CBD.
Unfortunately, there are manufacturers out there who purchase low-quality hemp (because it’s cheap, and they only care about profit) to process CBD, which can be dangerous to the consumer, as it could be polluted with heavy metals.
Note: CBD can be derived from either the hemp strain or the marijuana strain. To better understand the difference, check out this post.
3. Check for THC levels in your CBD product
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant responsible for getting users high. The reason why hemp is used over marijuana when creating CBD products is because of hemp’s low levels of THC, upping the health factor and diminishing the buzz factor.
The legal level of THC present in CBD products should not exceed 0.3 percent. This is the magic number you will see everywhere regarding THC levels. Check the labels of your CBD product to make sure THC levels aren’t more than that. You can even ask the company for lab results for the CBD product before purchasing it.
4. Check for a whole-plant or full-spectrum label
Another way to ensure your CBD products are of top quality is to see if they were manufactured using “whole plant” CBD.
Using the whole plant, rather than CBD isolates (only one part of the plant) guarantees the CBD product contains the full range of primary and secondary compounds of the hemp plant. Due to the “Entourage Effect,” CBD works its best in conjunction with all of the natural elements of the cannabis plant, including terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids.
All of these beneficial cannabinoids working in tandem makes the benefits and therapeutic effects of the final CBD product exponentially greater than products containing just CBD. CBD isolates are effective in many ways as well, but working together with other elements helps the CBD perform optimally.
5. Check for third-party lab results
A reputable CBD brand will always provide third-party lab results to their consumers. These are independent labs that exist to ensure the CBD product is in fact everything it claims to be.
So, if the label says the product was made with a high level of CBD, low levels of THC, and contains no impurities, you should be able to request (and receive) that corresponding lab result.
Before purchasing any CBD product, research the vendor’s production methods. The information should be available on their website, or through talking to a customer service representative.
If you aren’t able to find how a brand’s products were manufactured, that is a red flag. Every company should be able to explain how its products were manufactured and extracted. For the best quality, highest purity level of CBD, we suggest getting CBD products which have been processed through ethanol and/or supercritical CO2 extraction.
Another tell-tale (and common sense) sign that a particular CBD brand is credible? The company has great customer service. If representatives are willing and happy to get the answers you’re looking for (like helping you find a lab result), that’s an honest way of doing business.
Ending note: CBD regulations and enforcement are likely to increase as time goes on, (especially after full legalization of hemp). But, until all of that happens, you the consumer must be cautious about what CBD brands and products to trust. Refer back to these five ways as your guide.