The benefits of hemp-derived CBD is historic. Hemp was once widely grown in America. In fact, it’s been used all over the world, dating back to the Neolithic Age in China, for a multitude of products: paper, textiles, food, plastics, insulation, biofuel—the list is long. Then came reefer madness.
Two factors converged to discredit hemp. The story goes that William Randolf Hearst, the newspaper giant, set about defaming the prolific plant to make way for trees to provide paper. Money talks, right?
Around the same time, according to Martin A. Lee in his book “Smoke Signals,” Harry Jacob Anslinger became the director of the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) in Washington, D.C.
Money was tight and Anslinger needed a cause to save the failing FBN. Mexicans bringing in weed, smoking it and “becoming raging rapists, ax murderers, criminals, etc.” became the scapegoat. (Sound familiar?)
So between the FBN and Hearst, reefer madness was touted throughout America by media sensationalist. The rest, as they say, is history. Hemp, although a cousin of marijuana, was tarred with the same brush and banished from United States agriculture by 1958.
Hemp CBD as a supplement
As it receded from our agriculture, so did the knowledge of its benefits. As a source of food, it is prolific and can survive without chemical pesticides mucking up the environment. (Did you know it even kills the weeds that try to grow around it?) From this food source comes hefty amounts of heart healthful Omega-3 and -6. Hemp seeds can be used to make butter, jazz up a salad with nutrition and flavor, and many other things. If you’ve read any of these blogs, you’ve learned about many health benefits derived from hemp, the source of CBD.
Losing hemp’s industrial potential was an economic shame. According to an article in Forbes, hemp could be a boon for the economy and the environment. It’s versatile and can be used to produce textiles, paper, biofuel and more. In fact, the fiber is stronger than cotton, softer and lasts longer. It uses less water and grows almost anywhere. Fiberboard, lighter and stronger than wood, is another byproduct of hemp. Plus, trees take years to grow. Hemp not so much; so sustainability is not a problem. We’re missing out on a boatload of products that could be produced from this one plant more ecologically and economically. Fortunately with the 2018 Farm Bill, we may be starting back on the right track.
CBD is not THC
See, the thing about hemp is that it’s not marijuana, but that knowledge has been lost in the hype and fear raised by those purporting its dangers. Education and knowledge can still be power. Learning about and using CBD products could have a profound effect on our economy and environment, and you.
But, at the same time, it’s important to know what the CBD product you’re considering really contains. There are a lot of CBD products out there that aren’t what they claim to be.
Here’s a short list of what to look for when purchasing CBD products.
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 CBD products
From there, choose quality over price. But, 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.