I'm sure you've heard of all the positive benefits that CBD can provide. Although, due to a lack of regulation there is still a lot of unknowns.
For instance, how do we discern good CBD vs. bad CBD? I always seek to get the best quality I can, especially when it's something that will be entering my body and affecting it. So, I've embarked on a journey to discover what are the differences between the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to CBD!
Quality CBD products come down to a few key points. For one, any worthwhile product should be third-party lab tested. Sometimes referred to as a certificate of analysis, these reports detail exactly what is in the CBD product including readings for heavy metals, pesticides, and microbials to ensure product safety.
Another key aspect to finding good CBD is where it's made & where the Hemp was grown. Look for companies that are based in the US and source their hemp from U.S. farms. CBD from outside of the country can be unregulated & therefore can contain harmful chemicals and additives.
Lastly, the extraction method that is used to produce the product is critical. Methods such as supercritical CO2 or Ethanol extraction are considered the safest and best methods. These extraction techniques render a safe CBD product that is free of chemical solvents while preserving the maximum amount of naturally occurring compounds from the Hemp plant.
3rd Party Lab Testing
One of the most popular ways of discerning good CBD products are through lab tests performed by an independent testing company.
Keyword here is “independent”, as the lab used for testing should be completely isolated from the company selling the product. This ensures unbiased, unaltered, and truthful lab results without any fussing around.
If there are only lab tests provided by an “in-house” lab, there is a chance of the results being skewed & altered to better fit the company's image and sales figures.
A Full Lab Report
These lab tests should also be quite extensive. The more detailed the lab report, the better. This is an area where you must be careful and do your research. As some companies attempt to fool you with a lab report lacking key elements.
Any worthwhile company will provide an extensive report that not only details the products cannabinoid profile, meaning the levels of CBD, THC, and other cannabis compounds. But also, there should be sections for pesticide, heavy metal, solvent, and microbial residue testing included.
These are some of the most important readings out of the entire lab report! What you will find with a less-than-stellar CBD company is that they provide the cannabinoid testing, while leaving out the pesticide, heavy metal, solvent, and microbial testing due to reasons that the product makes exceed safe levels.
So, when looking at a CBD lab report don't just settle at seeing a link. click on the report and at the very least skim through it. There should be sections detailing the different kinds of tests that were performed and if you do not see the heavy metal, solvent, pesticide, and microbial testing sections this is a huge red flag.
U.S. Sourced CBD & Hemp
Another important factor in making sure you're getting quality CBD is where it's made and where the Hemp comes from.
We encourage you to look for companies based in the U.S. who also use U.S. grown Hemp that is mandated under State pilot programs. Although regulation is somewhat lackluster, the USDA does provide generalized guidelines & permits for licensed growers who are held accountable for their plants.
Hemp is a Bioaccumulator
Because Hemp is a bioaccumulator, meaning it will soak up harmful chemicals from the soil it’s grown in, the plants must be carefully farmed to ensure that heavy metals and other harmful chemicals that may be present in the soil and/or surrounding area are not present when harvested.
If the Hemp is grown blindly without careful concern & constant attention the plants may end up with less than optimal genetic makeup. Which may include these harmful chemicals.
CBD From Other Countries
Hemp is grown around the world & as such, CBD companies can source their extract from other countries. This poses a risk as there are plenty of countries with less strict regulation, which could mean the extract is not safe to use. At times, sourcing from outside the U.S. may bring down the cost to the end consumer but brings a higher risk of harmful chemicals being present.
This is exactly why we prefer U.S. grown hemp and U.S.-based companies that are at least somewhat regulated & mandated according to US law.
Another one of the most important aspects of creating a quality CBD product is the extraction method used to produce the end product.
Extracting CBD & other cannabinoids from Hemp requires some sort of process to separate these compounds from the plant material. There are a number of options that manufacturers can use and some are better than others.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction
For example, the two most highly regarded as safe extraction methods or Supercritical CO2 extraction and Ethanol extraction. The Supercritical CO2 method is considered the safest by many, as there is technically no chemical solvents used in extraction. Instead carbon dioxide & pressure is used to separate the cannabinoids from the plant. Therefore, there is less risk for the end product to contain solvents.
Ethanol extraction is another widely accepted method. Although, an important factor is ensuring the use of human-grade ethanol. There are different grades of ethanol and you should ensure that the one used is safe for humans.
This method is a bit different from the Supercritical CO2 technique in that it utilizes Ethanol as a solvent, which is an alcohol commonly used to extract compounds from plants. Now, with this method there is higher risk for solvents to end up in the end product but if done correctly there shouldn't be any after all said and done. Rendering a solvent-free extract that is rich in Cannabinoids including CBD.
This means that the oil will no longer contain any alcohol whatsoever and therefore is safe to use.
Take A Look at the Brand
Our final recommendation is for you to take somewhat of a deep dive into the brand you are looking into. Companies that seek long-term growth place importance on customer satisfaction & transparency.
Companies have realized that consumers are looking for brands that show integrity & a commitment to providing quality, safe products for their customers to enjoy.
As such, we invite you to explore the company's website, any news articles about them, and searching the internet for reviews and real-world feedback.
The website should showcase some faces behind the company, it should clearly communicate their message/mission, and their commitment to you as a consumer. If they're not even telling you that they have your best interest in mind, then it may be best to look the other way.
The brands you should be buying from will provide a level of transparency & be able to back up their claims with all of the points we described above. That is: lab tests, showing you where the hemp is grown, and sharing what extraction methods they use. All of this criteria should be readily available on their website for anyone to view, at any time.
So there it is, a few ways for you to get better insight into the quality of a CBD product. We invite you to do your research & practice due diligence when buying a product that is aimed at improving your health.
Remember that there are still many unknowns and regulation is loose. Many brand solely seek to jump on the CBD bandwagon & ride the wave. So be careful who you're buying from and don't just listen to claims that don't have anything to back them up. Demand transparency, safety, and a commitment to you from any brand you purchase from.
This is exactly what our company was created for and it's what we seek to help you find. We take everything we’ve learned, along with the things we continue to learn everyday, and apply it to our vetting process to ensure that we are truly getting the best quality and the safest to consume products for you to enjoy. Making it all very easy, straightforward, and transparent so you can have confidence in your CBD.