Anyone in search of a CBD (Cannabidiol) product right now will be pleased to find thousands of choices out there; it’s a hot commodity and suppliers are more than ready to meet the demand. With some states in the U.S. having legalized cannabis in some way shape or form prior to 2018, and then with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the CBD market has exploded into what is being called a ‘green rush.’ And it’s only going to get bigger, according to projections, placing the market value at around $20 billion by 2024. But with all these new companies popping up, murky legislation, loopholes in legality and little to no regulations, it can be quite daunting for consumers to navigate the market and distinguish a high-quality CBD product from a bad or fake one. It is important, however, to understand what makes up the quality in a CBD product. Here are some of the factors that come into play when identifying a good quality CBD product.
The Extraction Process
One of the most important factors that affect the quality of CBD products is the extraction method used to produce it. There are several ways to extract CBD from hemp and some are better than others for human consumption or use.
One extraction method involves pharmaceutical-grade organic ethanol. This method is known for removing residues and toxins from the plant and tends to yield the most cannabinoids, in comparison with other forms of extraction. It is also considered organic and safe for humans, making it one of the highest quality methods of extraction that helps make a higher quality CBD oil.
Another way involves carbon dioxide. This method is known as Supercritical CO2 extraction and uses high-pressure in a cold environment via special equipment and a complex refinement process. While it is more complex and requires a production team that is well versed in this process, it helps keep the purity intact throughout the process.
There are still other methods of extraction that utilize hydrocarbon gases such as propane, pentane, butane, and hexane – all found in petroleum. These methods have risks to human health and are not the best methods of extraction for the consumer. It is best to avoid CBD products that have CBD extracted in this manner.
Comes from a Reputable Source
While the hemp that is used to make CBD oil can be grown in a number of regions including Asia, North America, and Europe, not every country takes care to ensure the quality of the crops and of the products being exported. The U.S. is among the countries with the most stringent regulations regarding how hemp is grown and the derivative of it. Many Asian countries are known in the industry to have the lowest, making it easier and often cheaper for brands to source their hemp extracts from those countries. Brands who take pride in carrying high-quality CBD products often choose to stick to home-grown hemp, knowing they can vouch for the quality of their products if their customers should inquire.
Most CBD products that are sold in the U.S. come from either Oregon or Colorado, states that have experience and history with Cannabis. Kentucky is also growing a competitive amount of cannabis after its law passed in 2013 to support hemp farmers. Other forms of CBD products being sold in the U.S. are being outsourced from other countries for cheaper prices and a higher profit margin. One of the main concerns U.S. farmers have is making sure their hemp plants don’t absorb harmful chemicals that could be in the soil since cannabis is a plant that absorbs easily. They are also obliged to monitor the amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) cannabinoid known for giving users a ‘high’ in the plant to ensure they are in compliance with the federal law – less than 0.3% THC present to be able to grow and supply. These are also two major points for buyers to pay attention to. You can check a CBD brand’s sources by looking through their websites or by reaching out to their support center to find out where they grow their hemp.
Is Organically Grown
As mentioned before, the cannabis plant absorbs things easily, so it is very important to look for CBD products extracted from organically grown cannabis, meaning there were no fertilizers or pesticides used.
Comes from a Legitimate Manufacturer
If a CBD company takes the time to get their website, certifications and business assets together in a professional way, there is a better chance that they also take care to upkeep high standards for the products they carry. Beyond their appearances, of course, there are a few more telling indicators of a trustworthy manufacturer. Some of these attributes to look for include:
- Is a U.S. based manufacturer that sources from U.S. growers
- Has contact info readily available to consumers
- Has their certificate of analysis readily available to consumers
- Has a certificate of analysis from a third party lab that meets the ISO 17025 standard. This ensures that the lab sticks to high scientific standards and used testing methods that have been validated by national standard-setting organizations like the should also be validated by one of these three national standard-setting organizations: The AOAC (Agricultural Chemists,) the USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia,) or the AHP (American Herbal Pharmacopeia.)
- (If you’re buying from a manufacturer) has as many processes involved as possible as part of their in-house specializations – for example if they have in-house chemists for their own formulations, this is a big plus.
Actually Contains CBD
Because of all the hype surrounding CBD, companies are eager to throw related terminology on the packaging of anything that resembles CBD oil, even if it doesn’t actually contain any. If there is a loose connection, brands will take advantage of vague language and the power of implication. As a buyer, being savvy means not being fooled by similar products. When purchasing what you think is a CBD product, check the ingredient list on the label. The packaging should expressly states that it has CBD or Cannabidiol to be legitimate. Keep in mind that it could also appear as “hemp extract” to adhere to the newest laws and regulations of the state the product is being sold in. This is not to be confused with hemp seed oil, which is extracted from cold-pressing the seeds of the hemp plant. You might also see it listed as Cannabis Sativa seed oil, which is the same thing. This product has no CBD since the seeds do not contain this cannabinoid. Cannabidiol is present in the whole plant or the flower, which is what CBD is extracted from. Brands know that there are still many consumers that don’t know the difference and will take advantage of the confusion to make the sale. You should also look to make sure that the CBD and THC content that is displayed in the certificate of analysis matches the amounts on the labels, as this is a common mistake brands tend to make.