Written by Enjonai Jenkins
CBD has become one of the fastest-growing industries of 2019, and it makes sense. Many consumers, who are fed up with the multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry, are shifting to more natural and organic methods of coping with their everyday ailments. Many manufacturers have seized this opportunity to flood the market with their versions of CBD in various forms, leaving consumers confused about which companies offer the best quality and how said quality can be determined.
RESEARCH. RESEARCH. RESEARCH!
If you’re looking into purchasing any CBD products, it’s important that you take some time and research the company. There are five common questions that can help you to determine the legitimacy of any CBD product and the companies that produce them.
Third-party certification is the process in which an independent organization reviews the manufacturing procedure of a product and has determined that the final product complies with specific standards for safety, quality or performance. If a company’s product has been tested by a third party, it should be stated on their website and available for anyone to see the results.
If lab reports are not available, it could indicate a variety of things. Maybe the findings didn’t match up with the information provided by the manufacturer – for instance, the product didn’t contain the stated quantity of cannabinoids, or that the product contained harmful contaminants. Maybe the company forgot to include the reports to their website. Whatever the reason may be, without these lab results, you can’t be sure of the presence or nonexistence of contaminants in any products.
If you find a lab report, you should confirm these four things:
- Was the analysis performed by an accredited laboratory? – The easiest way to identify if the lab that performed the testing is legitimate is by making sure that it is accredited in accordance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This accreditation confirms that the lab meets certain standards and operates under certain guidelines that are approved and monitored by a governing body.
- When was the lab report approved? – There are no regulations on how often a CBD product must be tested. That means that the product could’ve been tested once, maybe at its initial moment of production, and then never again. In other words, the more often the testing, the better.
- Does the lab report confirm that the product is free of contaminants? – The analysis process will determine if the product contains any harmful contaminants, such as heavy metals or microbial contaminants. If the contaminant amount is below the limit, making it safe to exist, the analysis report will list “Pass” under the “Status” column. If it exceeds the safe limit, the report will list “Fail” instead.
- Is the cannabinoid content listed on the product consistent with the analysis report? – The report lists each cannabinoid detected in the product and its concentration within the product. You want to make sure that the cannabinoid content listing on the product’s label is consistent with what is listed in the product’s lab report.
Hemp is the primary source of CBD and the hemp quality is a major factor in the quality of CBD in the end. While hemp can be sourced from many different locations in Europe and China, since the US has nutrient-rich soil and superior cultivation standards, it is the best geographical location to cultivate hemp.
If the hemp farm is part of one of the Pilot Programs in Colorado, North Carolina, and Kentucky, there is an even higher set of standards and quality control set in place, in order to guarantee the absolute best end product possible.
There are many different methods of extracting CBD, such as liquid solvent extraction, olive oil extraction, and CO2 extraction.
However, CO2 extraction is the highest standard because it produces the purest version of the product. CO2 uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract CBD from the plant, then compresses it into a cold liquid state, while preserving the trichomes and terpenes. This extraction process makes the resulting product much more expensive because there are no removed health benefits and the final product is less likely to be contaminated.
INGREDIENTS AND THC LEVELS
As with most products, ingredient lists are extensive, confusing, and use words with too many letters to properly pronounce. But that’s okay because Google can solve all your problems. Use Google to research ingredients and their side effects be sure that you’re using a product that you consider acceptable for your needs.
Products with natural and organic ingredients are ideal. If other ingredients are added to enhance the benefits of the product, such as Melatonin and Vitamin B12, that’s even better!
Research suggests that CBD tends to be more effective when combined with a small amount of THC. This is called the “entourage effect”, which is the idea that the sum of the two chemicals, plus other related compounds in the plant, is greater than their individual parts. The legal amount of THC allowed in any CBD product in most states is 0.3 percent, at the most. This percentage is not nearly enough to feel any psychoactive effects from the THC.
Any amount of THC more than 0.5 percent is not only illegal in most states, but it would hinder the effectiveness of the CBD in the product and provide more psychoactive effects.
CBD TYPE AND AMOUNT
The extraction process provides manufacturers and consumers with three types of CBD: CBD Isolate, Full Spectrum CBD, and Broad Spectrum CBD. The three types are different and understanding the difference is very important to know.
CBD Isolate is pure CBD, extracted from the hemp plant and then isolated from other cannabinoids that were present. The result is a 99% pure CBD extract.
Full Spectrum CBD is CBD that was extracted from the hemp plant along with all other cannabinoids present, including THC.
Broad Spectrum CBD is essentially Full Spectrum CBD without the inclusion of THC.
You can make the choice on which CBD you should use based on your needs and the legality of THC in your state. If you live in a state where THC is still illegal, Full Spectrum CBD products would not be ideal for you.
Also, it is important to note the amount of CBD contained in the products that you buy – you need to know this in order to understand dosage amounts. There are many products on the market that claim to contain CBD but don’t list the CBD content.
For example, when using a CBD tincture, the dosage is taken from a dropper. If a 30 mL bottle claims to have a content of 300 mg of CBD, a simple formula can be used to calculate dosage.
TOTAL CBD CONTENT IN BOTTLE ÷ NUMBER OF SERVINGS IN BOTTLE
Most medical droppers contain 1 mL of liquid content, by using the formula above, you can determine the dosage:
300 mg of CBD ÷ 30 servings = 10 mg per serving
Depending on your ailment and how much CBD you need, 10 mg doses might not be enough to provide relief. On the other hand, you don’t want to purchase a product with a dosage higher than you need.
Ultimately, in order to choose the best CBD product for yourself, research is mandatory. Don’t be fooled by health food stores and organic markets that claim the products on their shelves meet the standards that we all expect. CBD is such a new phenomenon that most markets may be unaware what to look for when purchasing products to fill their stores. Quality CBD products are out there, you just must find them.