A licensed cannabis farmer has two key concerns when it comes to getting healthy produce from his plantation.
The first concern is to ensure that no chemical contaminants seep into the plants from the soil. The second is to control the composition of the two key chemical components of the plants. These chemical components are cannabinoids – cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
These aren’t just concerns for a cannabis farmer; this is something that consumers need to be aware of and pay close attention to while trying out medical marijuana and other CBD products.
According to the estimates of market research firm Brightfield Group that specializes in cannabis plantation, their quality control and growth in market share, the CBD market is expected to multiply sevenfold by 2021, to $2.15 billion, up from 2016’s $292 million market share.
It’s no wonder that all companies are on their toes to ensure the very best quality product, duly tested by a third-party lab, makes it to the shelves. Even then, as consumers, you need to be aware of what to look for in a CBD product before you narrow down on a bottle of CBD oil tincture or oral spray.
What You Should Remember when You Buy CBD Oil
While it is true that not everyone responds to CBD oil in the same manner, you should also be aware that not all CBD oil products are exactly the same. In fact, they aren’t always what they even claim to be.
CBD, like many herbal products, has many therapeutic benefits. But, you need to make sure you are buying a good quality product.
So, how can you be sure of a product’s quality and safety? Just remember these points the next time you decide to buy a CBD product:
#1 Why & How You Want To Use CBD?
CBD has many health benefits. But, why do you want to use it – to promote sleep, to get relief from some kind of pain or inflammation, or to control your anxiety issues? How severe are your symptoms? Depending on these factors, you can decide how best to administer CBD. Different kinds of administration have different levels of CBD bioavailability, different CBD dosage requirement, different periods of effectiveness, varying time for onset of effect, etc.
For instance, inhaling CBD through a vape pen may be the most effective method to get instant relief from muscle cramps or anxiety, whereas if you can wait for a few minutes to ensure the effects last much longer, you can choose an under-the-tongue oral spray.
Topical lotions are great for athletes and yoga lovers before a workout. But, their effects and time of onset may differ from person to person.
Meanwhile, CBD-infused food products are likely to take around 30 – 45 minutes to be absorbed into your system. While the injection, inhalation, and sublingual sprays are the fastest methods of administration, they also ensure the maximum potency.
#2 Sourcing of hemp-based CBD products
With hemp-derived CBD, you need to be especially careful about their quality.
Unlike marijuana, hemp can and are grown in conditions in which marijuana won’t be able to retain its true nature. Hemp can grow in soil that isn’t conducive to grow marijuana.
Note that CBD derived from marijuana plants are more potent, although they contain higher levels of THC. Hemp, on the other hand, contains much a lower level of THC but can grow under harsh environmental conditions.
In the US, hemp is sourced from Colorado or Kentucky. These are usually dependable sources. But a lot more is sourced from other countries, most of which aren’t regulated, and usually not lab tested. Such products may not be safe to use or consume.
Always check labels for information on where the hemp has been grown. If you’re buying online, search for as much information as you can lay your hands on. In the case of offline stores, ask the retailer for the information. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer to your queries about a product’s sourcing, it’s best to steer clear of it.
#3 Look for possible THC content level
Hemp-derived CBD oils contain no or negligible levels of THC (at least not enough to give you a high). This kind of CBD is legal in all 50 states of the US. If you’re interested in marijuana-based CBD oil, you need to know the prevalent laws of the state you live in to find out if you can buy, possess or use it. Besides, unless recommended by a physician who is authorized to prescribe me1dical marijuana, it is best to stay away from marijuana-derived CBD oil, as THC can pose certain health risks that your body may not be equipped to withstand.
#4 Transparency about quality
Companies selling good quality CBD products always offer all relevant information regarding the test results of their product by a third-party laboratory. Known as the certificate of analysis or COA, the results contain information on the product’s potency, quality, possible microbial and chemical contamination, and residual solvents.
These tests also inform the buyers about the presence or absence of terpenes (which are in fact good components of cannabis in their natural form). If an online manufacturer or retail store don’t have the information or refuses to share them with you, avoid the product or the retailer altogether.
#5 Check the label for CBD content level
All reputed brands inform the consumer about the CBD content in their product. The dosage (mg/ml) may vary depending on the method of administration. However, the label must mention the total CBD content in the product (also mentioned in mg or mg/total ml).
If a product label does not contain any mention of CBD content or mentions only the cannabinoids present but not their exact content, be wary of buying such products. They may be marketing their products as “whole-plant” or “full-spectrum” products. While real full-spectrum CBD products are better and more effective than isolates, don’t fall for it just because they say so. Look for their COA to check the veracity of their claims.
Note: Broad-spectrum CBD oils are better than even the real full-spectrum and isolate products if you are drug tested a lot, as they have the advantages of both, with none of the disadvantages. Broad-spectrum CBD oils contain no THC, but all the other natural components of hemp, including several other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids.
#6 Everything else labels can tell you
The product labels must also inform you about the brand’s reputation and that of the company marketing or manufacturing it. Find out more about them to be sure they are genuine and that they follow good practices.
There should also be some information on their sourcing, their extraction, etc. Another thing to look for is any mention of “hemp oil”.
While many brands, selling CBD-rich hemp extract, may call it hemp oil, the term ideally means oil extracted from hemp seeds, which contain much lower CBD content, compared to normal CBD oils that are extracted from the leaves, resin and flowering buds of hemp plants.
#7 Avoid Vaping Products With Propylene Glycol
While shopping for vape pens, look for products that mention “solvent-free oils” in their label. Some CBD concentrates used in vape pens contain a solvent known as propylene glycol, which when burned at high temperatures produce fumes of formaldehyde that can irritate your nose and eyes, and even cause breathing problems and lead to cancer.
#8 Don’t fall for products making tall claims
Be wary of brands making unrealistic claims of curing cancer or heart disease. While CBD does help manage the symptoms to a great extent, this substance can’t actually cure the diseases themselves. Since 2015, the FDA has become more vigilant and taken stringent action against several companies making tall health claims.
#9 Don’t Go for Cheap!
Yes, CBD products are expensive. But, don’t fall prey to companies trying to compete with the top brands by pushing poor-quality products. There is a reason why high-quality cannabidiol is so costly.
The entire process of growing, extracting, cleaning, processing, and the final selling, are all very expensive. If not, the top brands will not be charging you so highly for anything! Find out more. After all, when it comes to matters of your health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Characteristics of a Good Quality CBD Product
You now know the factors you need to look into before buying a product. One of them is quality. But, how do know if a CBD product is as safe and genuine as has been advertised?
You can be sure of a CBD product’s potency, quality, safety, and genuineness if it’s:
#1 Sourced from Organic Hemp
CBD products sourced overseas aren’t usually as regulated as they should be to ensure their safety and potency. Certified cannabis growers in Colorado and Kentucky are a safer bet.
#2 Extracted by CO2 technology
A good quality CBD product does not contain harsh chemical solvents. That is because their manufacturers use CO2 technology to extract the oil from hemp plants. This makes the CBD extract 99% pure. The other method of extract uses butane, which is not fit for human consumption. CBD oil extracted in this method produce an unpleasant taste and is also toxic.
#3 Containing all-natural ingredients, including terpenes
Terpenes and the other cannabinoids (including traces of THC) have a role to play in a good quality CBD oil. They are all a part of the natural composition that is found in cannabis plants. Not only do terpenes have their own benefits, but they also enhance the therapeutic effects of CBD.
They also give off a pungent aroma, providing (along with flavonoids) the extract its ideal flavor. The other cannabinoids also play a similar role. CBD is fat-soluble, and not water-soluble. The fatty acids in the cannabis’ original composition enable CBD to be metabolized in the body and interact with the body’s receptors. The combined effect of all the components of cannabis, working in tandem with each other, is known as the entourage effect.
#4 Decarboxylated CBD
Decarboxylation is a process of removing the carboxyl acids from the hemp flowers with the help of heat over a long period of time. This process transforms the inactive compound – CBDA – into the activated form – CBD. When the hemp extract isn’t decarboxylated, the resultant product is often cheaper and far less effective.
The Dangers Of Purchasing CBD Oil Locally
Generally, it isn’t safe to purchase CBD oil from local retail stores or dispensaries. Mostly because of the reasons we have mentioned above.
In the absence of sufficiently stringent quality standards and regulation, many unscrupulous vendors and dispensaries are pushing poor-quality CBD products made from artificial cannabinoids that may do more harm than good, as they aren’t usually tested by any third-party labs. Moreover, they are priced at least 3 – 5 times higher than the online products.
You may end up buying products containing harmful, carcinogenic chemicals or with those that do not even have any CBD in it. Admittedly, it is more convenient to fetch a bottle of CBD oil from a local drug store. But remember Your health matters more than your time!
You may have to wait for a day or two longer to get your product if you buy online. But it is worth the wait. At least, you can be sure that you are buying it from a trusted seller. Are you still wondering about where to get the best quality CBD product?
Final Thoughts: How to choose the High Quality CBD Oil
Look for the telltale signs on the label and do your own research before you make your first purchase. Buying a product from your nearest local drug store may seem simpler, but the risks are higher. Never compromise on issues of your health. Even if you are suffering from difficult-to-treat ailments, don’t make a hasty decision while buying a CBD product.
CBD oil is not sufficiently regulated everywhere. Pay attention to where it is sourced from. Make sure you choose the trusted brands of manufacturers. And never go for the cheap versions! They will possibly do you more harm than good.
Table of Contents
- 1 What You Should Remember when You Buy CBD Oil
- 1.1 #1 Why & How You Want To Use CBD?
- 1.2 #2 Sourcing of hemp-based CBD products
- 1.3 #3 Look for possible THC content level
- 1.4 #4 Transparency about quality
- 1.5 #5 Check the label for CBD content level
- 1.6 #6 Everything else labels can tell you
- 1.7 #7 Avoid Vaping Products With Propylene Glycol
- 1.8 #8 Don’t fall for products making tall claims
- 1.9 #9 Don’t Go for Cheap!
- 2 Characteristics of a Good Quality CBD Product
- 3 The Dangers Of Purchasing CBD Oil Locally