I’ve been writing about CBD and hemp now for more than two years, and I’ve learned a lot. You know that I am a strong proponent of CBD and hemp, and love reading and writing about it. But, it occurs to me that I’ve never really written about what to look for when buying oils, topicals, or edibles. So today, let’s dive in and learn to identify quality products.
First, let me state that CBD and hemp products are relatively new players on the therapeutic stage. But, as they gain popularity, they also are ripe for rip-offs and con artists looking to separate you from your cash. Before you buy, be informed.
First, what is CBD? Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a nonpsychoactive hemp or cannabis compound. It has myriad health benefits, as you may already know if you read these blogs. The popularity of this beneficial herb is exploding. But, not all CBD is created equal.
You need to know what to look for before you rush out to get in on the therapeutic benefits of CBD. Although there haven’t been extensive studies about the benefits of CBD, some scientific and clinical research—much of it sponsored by the US government—shows that CBD has potential to treat conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders.
This guide is not comprehensive and it’s important to read up on products, whether it’s topicals, gummies, oil, tinctures or edibles. Know what condition you are trying to treat or what benefit you hope to derive.
Tips for choosing products
From there, choose quality over price. But, a higher price is a fallible measure of quality.
We can break this down into these four basic beginning points:
1. Manufacturing. Ask how the company extracts the CBD from the cannabis plant. If these toxic chemicals are present in extraction—propane, hexane, pentane and butane, which are flammable hydrocarbon gases found in petroleum—walk away. Fast. Two healthful extraction methods are done with organic, pharmaceutical-grade ethanol or a process called supercritical CO2 extraction. Look for that instead.
2. Sourcing. Find out where the cannabis or hemp originated. How it was grown, and the species, sativa, ruderalis or indica. Hemp easily accumulates toxins in the soil. If the growing environment isn’t clean, your CBD probably isn’t either. One of the best sources of CBD is organic-certified, hemp-grown farms in pristine regions of Europe. If you can find it, US-grown hemp can be a good source, too. US farmers are required to be certified by state departments of agriculture. Check a company’s website or inquire with its customer service to get that information.
3. Purity. Is the CBD made from the whole plant? Look for a label that says, whole plant or full spectrum. Using the whole plant ensures that the oil contains CBD as well as a full range of primary and secondary parts of the hemp plant. These include terpenes, flavonoids and other cannabinoids that enhance the CBD, making the benefits exponentially higher than CBD alone.
4. Lab results. A product should be tested by a third-party lab to ensure that the CBD is what its label claims. A company willing to undergo scrutiny by an independent lab has nothing to hide. Look for high levels of CBD, with trace levels of several other cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG and CBN to name a few. There should also be test results for potential impurities such as solvents, pesticides and heavy metals to ensure a safe product. Reputable companies will disclose their lab results if you ask or may even put it right on the products.
There you have it. A beginner’s guide to buying CBD. There’s more to know, but this will get you started. Do your homework to find the best products that meet your needs.