If you are just starting out on your CBD journey, it can be overwhelming to try to buy CBD oil. After all, how do you know which products to buy? Which brands to trust? What kind is right for you?
That’s where we come in! You don’t have to be a complete CBD expert before trying this plant-based therapy for headaches, nausea, joint pain, anxiety, stress, insomnia, and more. But here are the 5 most important things to know before you buy CBD oil.
Does this brand provide third-party testing and lab results?
The first thing to look for before a buying CBD product is whether the brand conducts testing through unbiased, outside laboratories. These tests ensure both quality and consistency in the products that are created. Reviewing a brand’s testing policies is a great way to determine its trustworthiness.
Without third-party testing, it’s impossible to tell if the product does contain the ingredients promised. Products that aren’t tested could also contain harmful containments. Additionally, each batch of the product could be different if not checked for consistency.
Always check for a valid lab report or Certificate of Analysis before you buy CBD products, either online or in person.
Remember that some brands may not provide a lab report until you’ve actually purchased a product. Each brand, however, should be clear about their testing policies and ready to provide a report if asked. So, don’t be shy! Make sure you’re getting the best CBD products available.
Where is the hemp from?
Hemp, the source of CBD, is a bioaccumulator. This means it absorbs everything from the air, water, and soil around it — good and bad! That’s why it’s important to know where the hemp that made your CBD is sourced, grown, and cultivated.
If the hemp was not organically-grown, it could have been exposed to harmful pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals. And each of those would absorb right into the plant and could potentially transfer to you!
The entire life of the hemp plant affects the quality of the CBD products it can produce. That’s why many people choose to purchase only CBD from organic sources. Organically-grown hemp farms generally use cultivation methods that ensure high-quality, pure products. These methods include maintaining the proper ph-balanced soil, sourcing hemp seeds from accredited collectives, and abstaining from pesticides, GMOs, and more.
That’s why you should always confirm where the hemp was from. You can verify the quality of your CBD because you know where it’s from and how it was grown.
How much THC does it have?
CBD is often confused for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana that causes a “high” feeling. It’s understandable — they are very similar molecularly, after all! But while they are both present in the cannabis plant and are almost identical chemically, CBD is structurally different.
CBD by itself does not have any THC and cannot produce any psychoactive effects. It helps treat many symptoms with no side effects, in fact!
That being said, there are a lot of CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, products containing less than 0.3% THC are considered legal. While such a tiny level of THC could show up on a drug test, especially if you take a very large amount.
Remember that THC is still illegal in most of the United States and that there are many products without it! Whether you decide to buy CBD oil with THC or without it, it’s always best to learn your state’s laws. And keep in mind that in order for a CBD product to be considered legal, it must contain less than 0.3% THC.
What was the extraction method?
You already know that CBD comes from hemp, but the actual process is pretty complex. The CBD has to be extracted from the hemp plant. Most commonly, either CO2, ethanol, or olive oil are used to accomplish this — and each one is different.
Unlike other essential oils, which are typically expressed or distilled through steam, CBD oil normally undergoes one of the following:
- CO2 extraction is the most common and reliable method. It consistently produces a purer, higher-quality end product. In this method, liquid CO2 is heated and pressurized to reach supercritical levels and diffused throughout the plant. Then, the solution is separated, the oil collected, and the CO2 returned to its liquid form.
- Chemical solvents, like ethanol, pull out the desired cannabinoids to produce CBD, too. Unfortunately, they also pull out other materials that have to be filtered. The result is a less potent oil — that could contain contaminants if the filtration wasn’t done properly!
- Olive oil can also be used to extract CBD. In this method, the cannabis plant is heated to activate the chemicals inside and then simmered in olive oil. This is a very safe way to create CBD, but not always ideal as the results are less robust and more perishable.
What’s the difference between full-spectrum and isolate?
Full-spectrum? Broad-spectrum? CBD isolate? What does it all mean? Let us help you determine which of the two safe, non-addictive products is best for you by breaking down their differences.
After the extraction process, CBD oil contains a number of other terpenes (essential oils) and phytochemicals. Most notably, full-spectrum CBD includes trace amounts of THC (not enough to produce psychoactive effects, though).
This collection of oils and phytochemicals is referred to as full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD. Some people prefer the collective effect of full-spectrum CBD, especially as it can provide additional health benefits beyond just CBD alone.
In contrast, a CBD isolate does not contain additional phytochemicals and terpenes. It is essentially CBD at its most “pure” and shouldn’t contain any traces of THC.
Tasteless and odorless, it’s ideal for adding to food or beverages. For people with taste or smell sensitivities, this makes it much easier and more pleasant to take.
While isolate is typically more expensive, it’s also easier to know and control the amount you are using. With CBD isolate you can fine-tune the serving.
There is a lot of information about CBD out there and it can be difficult to wade through. But these are the most important things to know about the products you’re taking and the brands you’re supporting. Now that you know what to look for, you’re ready to buy CBD oil! Take a look at our online store and find the brands and products that resonate with you!