Updated: Aug 27, 2019
CBD oil is the buzz in the health and wellness market. The industry claims to cure everything from seizures and cancer to weight loss and anxiety. And, I, for one, jumped on the CBD bandwagon from day one. I quickly learned, however, that if you try one CBD product, you’ve tried one CBD product. All products are NOT created equal. I walked into one health food store and there were two displays, totaling 12 shelves, of CBD products for humans and 2 more shelves for pets. The options are truly overwhelming. But there are a few things you can investigate to ensure you are getting the best product and the best price. Let’s start with some basics.
Price MAY indicate quality
Look, I like a deal as much as the next person. At this stage of the CBD game, the price can be very indicative of the quality of the product. As you’ll see, how the hemp is grown, processed and extracted are huge factors in quality and effectiveness and will affect the price.
Above all of the factors we will discuss, transparency is a must. Product producers must share their methods of growing, processing and extracting the CBD oil. If you are looking at a product and their packaging doesn’t disclose this information, check their website. If the information is still not available, call them. If they still don’t disclose the information, move on to the next product. Fortunately, consumers are becoming more educated and wiser and demanding this information so producers are beginning to be more open with this information.
So, now that you understand that price will affect the quality and effectiveness of the product and you should only buy from companies that are transparent, let’s dive into the 5 ways to know which CBD oil is the best one for you.
1. Be aware of labeling and dosage. CBD oil’s labeling is tricky. Unfortunately, not all store clerks understand this. It’s to your benefit to understand the packaging. So, I’m going to make this super easy. There are no standard requirements for packaging, so sometimes the concentration of the product isn’t clear. Here’s a simple formula so you can compare apples to apples. Get your calculators ready...
Total amount of CBD (in mg)/volume of container (in ounces) = concentration level
This formula will give you the concentration. So you could by a 4 ounce bottle and the bottle claims a big 750mg on the front. That does NOT mean that the concentration is 750 mg of CBD, it actually means the concentration is 187.5mg per ounce...big difference. CBD oil usually begins at a concentration level of 250 mg. The concentration needed is different for everyone. You can start low and increase until you see the desired effect.
2. How and Where the CBD is Produced
This information is critical. There’s controversy surrounding organic and non-organic products, but this is one product you want to ensure is organic. Here’s the deal, hemp is a plant. The oil you are consuming comes directly from that plant. Moreover, hemp is a bioaccumulator. That means it absorbs molecules in the air, soil and water that provides the plant the nutrition it needs to grow. So, if the farm is using pesticides, the oil will also have those pesticides. Pesticides have been linked to diseases, including cancer. The oil in CBD oil is highly concentrated. Thus, the pesticides are also concentrated. It’s important that you CBD is grown, harvested and produced in the USA. It’s also important that the CBD is organic. The USA has tighter regulations around statements claiming a food or supplement is organic.
3. How is the CBD Being Extracted?
Just as important as how it’s grown is how it’s extracted. Think about it, hemp is a plant.
That’s it. It’s a plant. So, to get oil from this plant, there has to be a process completed to “squeeze” that oil from the plant. Think about olives. We love the healthy benefits of olive oil, but have you ever thought about how they actually extract the oil? When I eat an olive, I don’t feel or taste the oil. So, how does it happen? Well, like olive oil, the process to extract CBD oil from hemp is quite complicated, which adds to the expense of the oil. Two of the most common ways to extract the oils are:
Chemically-A liquid solvent (usually butane, isopropyl alcohol, hexane, or ethanol) is used to remove the cannabinoids from the plant, added to liquid and then the liquid is evaporated leaving the oil.
Carbon dioxide-CO2 is a molecule that can function as a gas, liquid or solid. For this method, the CO2 is pumped into a temperature and pressure controlled chamber with the plant. Similar to the chemical method, the cannabinoid and flavors are extracted, added to the liquid CO2 and then moved to the last process where the pressure and temperature change, still controlled. Here the CO2 floats to the top while the oil remains at the bottom.
Both methods produce CBD. There are some claims that the chemical processing can leave a minute level of residue. The CO2 method has minimal risk of contamination. However the chemical method is the most widely used and least expensive form of extraction.
4. Is There Any Accountability?
This may go without saying, but make sure the product you are purchasing is from an actual company. The internet allows pretty much anyone to pop a company up online and sell their product. They can hide until they get called out. So, check their website. Do they list forms of contact? Is there a working phone number? Are they willing to answer your questions about how the grow, harvest and extract their oils? This is important. This industry is not heavily regulated as of yet, so doing your homework will help you to get the best quality product.
Also, it’s okay to ask if their product has been tested by a third party. Third party testing can test for solvents, fungus, metals and pesticides. If the product has been tested by a third party, most companies are happy to share their results.
5. Level of THC
Wait, what is THC? THC is the chemical responsible for the psychological effects of marijuana. Most CBD has trace amounts of THC. In order to qualify as a legal hemp product, CBD oil must contain less than 0.03% THC. For some people, this is important because of drug testing at their place of employment. Even a small amount can show up on a drug test. If this is important to you, many companies produce zero CBD products.
Although there is ongoing research into the benefits of CBD, some benefits of CBD oil appear to include pain relief, reducing inflammation, anti-acne, and an antidepressant. If you choose to try CBD, be educated before you head to the store. If one brand doesn’t work for you, give a different brand a try.
Tips to remember:
-Made in the USA
-Calculate the concentration
-Third party testing
-Level of THC