Cannabidiol, or CBD is an extract of the cannabis plant. Although present in psychoactive cannabis (marijuana), most CBD oil is extracted from agricultural hemp. While psychoactive cannabis remains federally illegal, the 2018 Farm Bill took hemp-based CBD out of the control of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
These hemp-based CBD oil supplements are very low in THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) the natural compound that produces a high or feeling of euphoria. CBD offers many of the health benefits of medical marijuana, without the high, making it more versatile and less controversial to both users and the community.
However, quality matters: Low-grade CBD oil may not offer the same levels of benefits offered by top-rated CBD oil because of a variety of factors, and it could even potentially contain no CBD at all. In addition, products are misleadingly labeled. On Amazon, most of the hemp oil sold there is in fact hemp seed oil, adding more confusion to the market. However, a handful of real CBD brands do sell there products on the marketplace but its extremely difficult to navigate due to the profusion of fake products there. Only buy brands that you can trust like Guardian HempBoost water-soluble CBD nano drops.
The most important factors when identifying high-quality CBD are: How it's made, where and how the hemp was grown, and only picking brands that offer third-party lab results or certificate of analysis. Other important factors include whether the product is a full-spectrum extract, and the overall transparency and communication available from the brand. We've examined each factor in more detail below.
How was the CBD oil manufactured?
Unfortunately, due to the young age of the CBD industry, there aren't regulations that control the manufacturing process. This means different CBD brands may have different extraction methods in order to process CBD oil from hemp.
Unscrupulous companies, especially those who sell their products at a ridiculously low price, may use cheap methods when extracting CBD oil. This requires toxic solvents that are dangerous to our health such as propane, hexane, pentane, and butane.
Better companies use pharmaceutical-grade ethanol to process CBD. Ethanol is essentially graIn alcohol. It removes unneeded toxins and residues from the base hemp plant. Many experts consider ethanol among the most efficient extraction methods. This method retains the highest number of natural cannabinoids among the different refinement processes. It's also considered one of the safest methods of extracting CBD for human consumption.
Some brands manufacture and extract CBD oil through "supercritical CO2 extraction." This process involves using carbon dioxide under high pressure in an extremely cold environment. Supercritical CO2 extraction requires expensive equipment, more complex refinement process and production expertise, but it ensure that CBD oil maintains its purity all through the process.
There are some less common, but still safe methods such as lipid extraction.
Before purchasing an CBD oil, research the vendor's production methods. The information can be found on their website, or through talking to a customer service representative. Quality CBD brands most commonly use ethanol or supercritical CO2 extraction.
The Source of Your CBD Matters
Like any manufactured product, one of the best ways to ensure quality is to use high-quality materials.
This is especially important in CBD oil. Hemp acts as a "hyper accumulator." This means that the hemp plant easily absorbs any toxins or heavy metals in the soil. If a hemp plant grew on rich soil, the resulting hemp plant will be of high quality, and can produce CBD oil in the same high-quality as well.
Being a hyper accumulator also has drawbacks. If you grow hemp in soil with heavy metals or pollution, those toxins could find their way into any CBD oil or consumable products made from those plants.
Sadly, some manufacturers would choose to purchase low-quality hemp to process as CBD oil, and such hemp may be polluted with heavy metals. These manufacturers only have profit in mind, and don't care about the possible consequence of their products. This is one reason why CBD oil risks getting a negative reputation.
Look into where the CBD brand sources the hemp from. We recommend buying CBD oil products made from U.S.- grown hemp whenever possible. Such information can be found on the retailer's or manufacturer's websites as well as through their support center.
Checking for third-party lab results (COA) when buying quality CBD
A high-quality brand of CBD will always provide third-party lab results to their consumers. These results are also known as Certificate of Analysis (COAs). Some laboratories find favorable results, while some CBD products fail their lab tests.
These independent labs exist to ensure that CBD oil is everything it claims to be, with a high level of CBD, low in THC (legally, under 0.3%THC), and lacking in impurities that can be harmful to consumers. Depending on the brand, results might show just levels of CBD and other cannabinoids. However, many brands offer detailed tests which show levels of terpenes, and verify the lack of pesticides, fungus, or other harmful chemicals.
Reading these results can be a bit confusing from new consumers, but it helps to at least briefly check COA and educate yourself about their contents as much as you are comfortable doing. Click this link to see a sample COA.
A reputable brand of CBD oil should always have recent lab results available. Some provide them on their website, while others include them in their packaging or both. You might also be able to look up a product using a special batch code or QR code on the packaging. When in doubt, reach out to customer service for help.
Look for CBD brands that value communication and transparency
One common theme you might have have noticed in this article? We frequently encouraged you to reach out to brands directly for more information.
The reason for this is two-fold. First, a brand knows their products best. But, perhaps more importantly, high quality CBD brands prioritize transparency and good communication. It should always be easy for consumers to find more information about CBD products, including how they were made. Customer service should be easy to reach and respond quickly, whether you use email, phone, or social media.
Sometimes we hear from inexperienced consumers who see advertising for a disreputable CBD brand. One of the simplest indicators of high-quality CBD brands is whether they have an easy to browse website and an active, friendly presence on social media.
Only buy from brands with a professional looking website that's easy to browse. If you can't easily get questions answered by customer service, move on to another CBD brand that values its customers more.
Final thoughts on choosing high quality CBD oil
CBD oil is growing in popularity every day and we're happy to say that it's here to stay.
While most brands want to deliver high quality products, not all companies maintain this same level of integrity. CBD regulations and enforcement are likely to improve with time. But until this happens, the consumer must be cautious about what CBD brands to trust.
We have gone through five important things to look for when purchasing CBD oil and offered some suggestions on how to determine if your brand checks out. It is important that you do your own research before making your choice. Remember, you can always check for product reviews.