Recent legalization combined with wide-scale celebrity support have made hemp and CBD products more desirable than ever. News articles are popping up left and right outlining the wonderful, organic health effects these products can provide.
With the demand for hemp and CBD products rising, hundreds of brands have been springing up to offer new and improved products that are cheaper than ever. The problem is, many of these brands don’t actually care about providing high quality products. All they care about is pushing out cheap merchandise and raking in the bucks.
Unfortunately, this sometimes means that they use mediocre or even dangerous production methods to make their products. Some use dangerous chemicals when extracting CBD from hemp. Others use subpar purification methods and lie about the amount of THC in the final product. In some cases, dangerous filler chemicals such as fentanyl have been found in CBD products.
All of this makes it more important than ever to do your research before choosing a product. Below we’ll show you a few things to look out and how to find a safe, reliable CBD brand.
What Goes into Making CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid (chemical compound) produced by the cannabis plant hemp. It does not cause any psychoactive effects and so far has not been linked to any negative side effects. Rather, CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to provide a long list of positive health benefits.
CBD helps sooth chronic muscle and joint pain, helps those with anxiety and depression, alleviates inflammation, promotes a good night’s sleep and so much more. With its long list of benefits, it’s no surprise that CBD has been growing in popularity.
As with any health product, a lot goes into the production of CBD products. From growing hemp to extracting CBD and other cannabinoids, producers must be careful about how everything is done. There are several steps that go into making an effective, pure, high-quality CBD product.
First, CBD producers have to find high-quality hemp. Next, the CBD itself has to be extracted from the plant. There are several ways to do this, but some can be ineffective or even dangerous. During this process, any reliable CBD company will send their product to a third-party laboratory to test the quality and purity of the CBD. This will include an extensive overview of any cannabinoids, chemicals or heavy metals they may find in the mixture. Viewing these results will allow you to ensure you are purchasing a product with no unwanted ingredients and with less than 0.3% THC.
Because there is so much involved in its production, it’s best to steer clear of cheap CBD oils, tinctures, edibles, etc. It’s also best to stay away from brands that claim that their products are cure-all miracle potions. As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
How Do I Know If My Brand Is Using High Quality Hemp?
High quality CBD comes from high quality Hemp. Growing hemp can be tricky because it has a tendency to absorb anything and everything in the soil. This means that if there are any dangerous chemicals or heavy metals in the ground, it might absorb it.
Unfortunately, using unreliable hemp can sometimes result in CBD samples coming back to the lab with trace amounts of dangerous materials. At times, labs have even found CBD with mercury in it. Yikes!
An unreliable CBD brand will try to cut corners by importing cheap hemp. When buying CBD, try to find a brand that uses US-grown or European-grown hemp. Although these are usually more reliable, always be sure to double check your company’s lab results just to be safe.
Good Extraction Processes Vs. Bad Ones
There are four main ways to extract CBD and other cannabinoids from the hemp plant. These include CO2 extraction, solvent extraction, olive oil extraction and dry ice extraction.
CO2 extraction is commonly considered the safest and most reliable method for CBD production. This method includes putting a hemp plant mixture into a machine that compresses the plant and forces CO2 through it. What you have at the end of the process is a pure and potent oil.
Although this method is typically considered the best, it is also very expensive. Watch out for CBD products that are being sold for a very low price. Even if they say they have been processed with CO2 extraction, a suspiciously low price tag might mean that other methods were used.
The most dangerous form of CBD extraction is solvent extraction. This method involves using strong chemicals such as lighter fluid to burn the hemp and extract cannabinoids. Although this can result in a high yield of cannabinoids, the resulting mixture is often contaminated by the chemicals – making it unsafe for consumption.
There are some who argue that it is safe to use solvent extraction as long as high-quality ethanol (grain alcohol) is used. This has become a popular method of extraction since it can yield higher amounts of CBD and other cannabinoids. However, the ethanol must be pharmaceutical-grade and must be processed very carefully. Be sure to ask your company plenty of questions about the extraction process if you decide to go with a brand that uses this method.
The last two types of extraction methods are the dry ice method and the olive oil method. Both of these are relatively safe and cheap. However, the mixtures they produce usually aren’t as pure and don’t have a very high percentage of cannabinoids. Buying CBD made with either of these may technically be safe, but it probably won’t be as potent or as pure as CBD extracted with CO2.
THC Content and Third-Party Lab Results
Another extremely important thing to consider when buying a CBD product is its THC content. Unlike marijuana, hemp naturally produces very little THC. Regardless, depending on the producer, there might be more THC than intended in the final product. This could lead to unexpected side effects or even fines/jail time if you live in a state where THC is illegal.
The nationally accepted amount of THC that can be present in a CBD product is .3%. Any more than this and you may find yourself with an illegal product.
When making a purchase, there are three things to look for.
First, check to see if your CBD brand has its product tested through a third-party lab. Any reliable brand will send its product to an unbiased laboratory to be tested. A lab result should be present on the company’s website, or should be available by contacting customer service. These documents will break down the ingredients and you will be able to see if there are any unwanted cannabinoids, chemicals or metals in the final product. If they don’t have lab results available, run away and find another company.
It’s also important to decide whether you want to invest in a CBD isolate product or a full spectrum product. A CBD Isolate will contain no other cannabinoids or compounds besides CBD. This means 0.0% THC.
A full spectrum mixture will include several different cannabinoids and other naturally occurring compounds from the cannabis plant. While these are usually considered to be more effective, they may contain up to .3% THC. Most CBD products will have the blend clearly listed on the label.
Where Should I Start?
There are hundreds if not thousands of CBD brands out there. How many reliable ones are there? Well, that’s debatable. One good place to start your search is on our website. There you can find products from well-known brands such as Pure Spectrum, Heady Harvest, Koi CBD, ECODROPS and more. We do extensive research on each and every product and brand before offering them in our store.
Remember, no matter where you go – whether you find a CBD brand online or at a local farmer’s market – always make sure to do your research.