The CBD industry is booming and growing exponentially at a rate faster than anyone expected.
With that boom comes many great CBD products that are available on the market today. Unfortunately, there are also some sub-standard CBD products too, and some of them could even be potentially dangerous. That’s why we’re bringing you the CBD Testers Ultimate Guide to choosing only the best CBD, with some pointers and guidance on what to look out for before you buy.
Check The Source
Hemp has grown wild for centuries across many parts of the world until it was outlawed and prohibited in the 1930s. Hemp grows like a weed (hence the nickname) and spreads great distances even under extreme weather conditions and terrains. These days, hemp is grown legally in the USA following the Farm Bill 2018 which permitted the agricultural cultivation of hemp as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC (the compound in hemp and cannabis that gets you high).
Hemp grows in Europe and other parts of the world, but around half of the hemp grown is in China. While much of that Chinese hemp is likely cultivated well and safely, there are no meaningful regulations when it comes to the Chinese authorities. That’s even more of an issue after the hemp is processed and made into products like CBD oil. As well as regulations, environmental aspects are also a big part of the equation. Climate and pH levels in the soil are also essential factors in ensuring a good quality and safe final product.
Take Away Tip: Always check the source of the CBD you’re interested in buying. Try to find CBD extracts from the USA or Europe and ensure the farms growing the hemp are organic (which they usually are) and approved to grow the crop.
How’s It Extracted?
Extracting CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp is a delicate process. There are also many different ways to extract the active compounds and chemicals, but not all of those methods are equal. The way the CBD is extracted has an overall impact on the final result. Some CBD products are extracted using heat from butane or by using solvents. These extraction methods are considered inferior to what’s known as Supercritical Co2 Extraction.
CO2 Extraction is considered to be the best and most effective way of extracting cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp. There are different types of CO2 Extraction; subcritical and supercritical. Supercritical is the method almost all reputable CBD manufacturers will use as it keeps the active compounds as intact as possible, especially as opposed to oil, dry ice, or solvent extraction methods. CO2 acts a little like a solvent as it’s passed through the plant material in a closed-chamber system. However, this method leads to no denaturing or damage to the hemp plants.
Take Away Tip: Always check the extraction method used by the CBD company whose products you’re interested in. If they confirm that they use Supercritical CO2 extraction methods, their products are likely to be of high quality (notwithstanding other factors).
Look for Natural and Organic CBD
The way the CBD in the final product is extracted, as discussed above, is also a vital factor when it comes to keeping things natural and organic. If organic is a word that is important and features in your life, you won’t want to be ingesting CBD extracted by butane. You also want to ensure the product you’re buying doesn’t contain any pesticides or other things like heavy metals. The last thing a nature lover wants is to be potentially ingesting or vaping foreign chemicals often added to protect crops from bug infestations.
Many CBD vendors are 100% organic. You need to look out for additives and extraction methods, which are usually displayed on the product page online and/or on the label of the item. If the list of ingredients is long and arduous, it may not be the CBD product you’re ideally looking for. Many CBD companies at the top of the industry only use approved organic farms for their CBD extract, and that’s another thing to check for.
Take Away Tip: Always do your homework and establish that the CBD company you’re purchasing from uses organic farms for their CBD. Also make sure the product doesn’t contain butane molecules, pesticides, solvents, chemical additives, or heavy metals.
GMOs and Other Additives
GMO stands for “Genetically Modified Organism.” This refers to any organism whose genetic material has been changed in any way via genetic engineering. The last thing you want inside your new bottle of CBD is GMOs, and that’s why most CBD companies specify that they never use them. Many CBD products like gummy bear edibles and vape juices contain additives like flavorings and sugar, so it’s advised you look out for those. Try to find CBD oils containing essential oils as the suspension. Olive oil and MCTs are an excellent place to start as they are considered safer.
Many CBD Vape juices, or E-liquids as they’re also called, contain a bunch of additives to make them vapeable. CBD E-liquid contains at least one of three carrier liquids: VG (Vegetable Glycerin), PG (Propylene Glycol) Or MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides). While all three of these oils are food-grade and approved by the FDA, they are also controversial at the same time.
Vape juice is considered a way better alternative to smoking by many experts. However, recent news reports have questioned how safe PG and VG are when vaporized into the lungs. If this concerns you, look for a CBD vape juice which uses MCT as the carrier.
Take Away Tip: Try to check label information of products and have a good scan of the company’s website. Look out for phrases like “NON-GMO” and “no additives.”
Look for Broad or Full Spectrum CBD
As you’ve no doubt fathomed by now, not all CBD is equal. There are three main types of CBD extract used to make most CBD products on the market. There’s Isolate which is pure, 100% with no other minor cannabinoids or terpenes in the mix. There’s Full-Spectrum CBD which contains terpenes and cannabinoids but can also contain THC at levels potentially higher than 0.3% concentration. To avoid the THC but benefit from all the other cannabinoids and reintroduces terpenes, you’ll want to look out for Broad-Spectrum CBD.
Broad-Spectrum CBD amplifies the overall effect of the compounds through something called the “entourage effect.” Broad-Spectrum CBD offers this well-rounded effect as it also contains terpenes, antioxidants, flavonoids, Amino Acids, and Omega Fatty Acids. All of these elements work together to offer a full and long-lasting experience.
Take Away Tip: CBD comes in many different extract forms. If you want to feel the full effects of CBD with other elements (not including THC), opt for Broad-Spectrum CBD products, sometimes known as “whole plant.”
Packaging and Storage of CBD Products
The packaging is an all-important factor when it comes to CBD products. In fact, the packaging is as important as the source and extraction process, so there are several things to keep in mind. As CBD and the other ingredients oxygenate, through exposure to air and light, they break down to some degree, and some of the contents dissipate over time. CBD oil should come in a glass container in either opaque blue or amber. Try to steer clear of plastic contains as much as possible as it can encourage mold and mildew.
The way the CBD product is stored is also another vital component. While you have little control over that in terms of how the company stores its products, you can make your CBD last longer by storing it correctly at home. It’s best to store CBD in a cool, dark place with a reasonable temperature and low humidity. Also, try not to open the bottle more than you have to so as to not let too much fresh air enter the product. Keep CBD products out of direct sunlight and away from children and pets.
Take Away Tip: Having mentioned how to store your CBD at home, if possible, buy CBD products which are made recently. The last thing you want is CBD oil that has already oxidized from two years of sitting on a shelf.
Third-Party Lab Tests
One of the most vital things to check when you buy CBD products is the third-party lab results carried out by the company. Any reputable CBD company in the industry will send their whole product range for third-party testing by an objective, certified lab. The very best CBD vendors will test their CBD products on a batch-by-batch basis, even if it does cost extra to do so. These lab reports are not cheap, and the information provided is substantial. The labs test for things like heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, and other additives.
What’s even more interesting about these lab reports is that they also provide, as a matter of course, full cannabinoid and terpene content profiles. This means that you can see exactly what other ingredients are in the extract with precise percentages. Most good CBD manufacturers will display the third-party lab reports on their website in a transparent and easy to read format. In some case, you may need to reach out to their customer service department for those results, but that’s also a good thing to do. By contacting customer support before you buy a product, you can see how responsive and helpful they are, or not.
Take Away Tip: Always look for up-to-date third-party lab reports on the product page of the item that interests you. If you have any questions or queries, reach out to customer support to check their response times.
With the wide range of CBD products available on the market these days, it’s well-advised that you do your due diligence before making a purchase. If you follow the advice in this article and keep the “take away tips” in mind, you’ll be on the road to identifying the best-quality CBD out there.
Always feel free to test out the customer support team by asking a question or two. Then, check the third-party lab results as well as the product information on the bottle or the website. Finally, always ensure you shop around and look for price comparisons. This way you can rest assured you’re getting value for money as well as the finest quality CBD.