This is the most important question you should ask yourself. As CBD is a product used by your body, whether ingested or applied topically, you should make sure you are using a quality product. So, how do you find the best CBD?
Know What you are Getting
In 2018, the United States passed the Farm Bill which lifted the ban on hemp-derived CBD (Cannabidiol) containing less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This meant the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is no longer responsible for CBD and presumably it is now the responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Taking a step back, CBD extracted from marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance and illegal. While CBD is legal on a federal level, not all states allow hemp-derived CBD. In 2020, CBD is still illegal in Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota and most places require you to be over 18 years of age. In addition, while cannabidiol is being studied as a new drug, it should not to be included in foods or dietary supplements. CBD cannot be marketed with a therapeutic claim, like it will cure or heal a disorder or a disease.
When looking for CBD, avoid purchasing products claiming to cure cancer, anxiety, or any medical condition. CBD is not a cure all, but it does have many promising benefits. Currently, it is allowable to state how CBD might assist you and it will remain that way until further research is done.
We know CBD does not get you “high” and it does have many other potential uses. CBD seems to assist your body by keeping a chemical affecting pain, mood, and mental functions in balance. The FDA recently approved the first cannabidiol product, Epidiolex, for reducing seizures. Once additional research is done, we will know for sure to what extent CBD is a therapeutic option for anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain relief. Until then, the best evidence available is from the people successfully using CBD.
How to Find Quality CBD?
Safe and effective CBD, is quality CBD. CBD working as intended and providing you wellness benefits, is a quality product. Individuals respond differently to a CBD product, as everyone is unique. Individual differences based upon weight, age, severity of condition, digestive system, and similar individual characteristics will affect your reaction. In fact, it might take time before you feel the effects of CBD and likely you will have to adjust your dosage.
There are many ways a consumer can determine if they are receiving quality CBD.
- First, do your own research and learn what to look for in a CBD product. Learning what is a quality product, assists you in determining what are the best CBD products.
- Second, read the product label. A reputable CBD company lists the ingredients on its label. You should know the ingredients contained in a product, as well the proper dosage. Look for CBD, cannabinoids, or hemp derived extracts as this means the product contains CBD.
- Third, keep reading about other important factors.
Is it CBD or Hemp?
CBD Oil and Hemp Oil are two different products. Yes, CBD is derived from hemp, but hemp oil does not contain CBD. Make sure the product is hemp-derived CBD and not CBD from hemp oil or hemp seeds. It is the CBD which provides the potential wellness benefit. Hemp seeds or hemp oil do not contain CBD. So, if the product is made from hemp seeds or hemp oil, you are not getting CBD and therefore, do not expect to get any benefits CBD provides.
Third-Party Laboratory Testing
This is a MUST. Third-party laboratory testing details what is in a CBD product by each batch Preferably, the laboratory is certified via the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) so their international standards and guidance are used in all calibrations and testing. As a third-party laboratory, the CBD company has no personal stake in the results; keeping the laboratory impartial. This is an important factor in keeping CBD manufacturers honest and a reputable company should have no issue with this requirement.
This lab report, better known as a Certificate of Analysis (COA), documents the quality and content of the final product by each individual batch. The COA details the chemicals, fertilizers, heavy metals, CBD, and THC levels. A COA ensures you get exactly what you think you are getting.
Third-party testing of CBD products demonstrates a company’s commitment to quality, purity, safety, and consistency. Reputable CBD companies have these third-party results available on their website. To find these results, simply use a QR code or enter the batch number on the company’s website.
Understanding a COA
A COA provides transparency, showing you the exact the contents of a specific batch. Every COA will vary in its exact format, but this information is somewhere on the laboratory report.
An actual COA will contain the following items:
- The top of the COA provides the name of the laboratory used. It should never be the same as the company manufacturing the CBD.
- There should be a QR code, allowing you to verify the actual laboratory results.
The sample COA below shows:
- The profile of the batch, including the contents and all the cannabinoids found with their amounts.
- You can determine the amount of THC. In this COA, it is listed as ND which means non-detectable. Remember, legal CBD contains less than 0.3% THC.
- At the top of this sample, you can see the tests passed: pesticides, heavy metals, microbials, etc. Since this sample is only 1 page of 4, you do not find the actual breakdown of each test which a real COA will show.
- The COA should be signed and dated.
This is a partial COA, which is provided only as a representation to assist you in understanding what a COA looks like. We have removed the specific company information.
If you are buying CBD products, do not buy from a company that does not provide you a Certificate of Analysis on their products. A reputable CBD company wants a consumer to have this information.
Is the CBD Grown in the USA?
Make sure the hemp used to produce CBD is grown in the USA. Hemp grown in the United States, is regulated by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 or the Farm Bill. This law requires compliance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations. As you can imagine, they have numerous regulations for monitoring and controlling production. Additionally, states have their own enforcement requirements and some even require a special license or permit to grow hemp.
All these US regulations ensure you have a safe product. Not only is hemp specifically regulated, but the US has existing environmental and agricultural protections to make certain all crops, including hemp, and the resulting products are safe. It is simple, hemp grown in the USA results in a safer and higher quality product.
What about the Company?
Is the manufacturer of the CBD product reputable? Are they available to provide you support when needed? This applies to the manufacturer as well as the company selling the CBD product. If either has poor customer service or is unavailable for questions, go elsewhere. It is a good idea to call their phone number, speak to customer service, and see how they respond before purchasing their products.
A reputable company, either an online or a brick and mortar store, will stand behind its products. There should be no pressure for you to buy something you neither want nor understand. A quality company understands the more educated you are about their products, the better customer you will become. Since this is a relatively new industry, everyone should be ready to help you with your purchase and if not, go elsewhere.
Organic is Best
Most hemp is grown organically and without pesticides. Look for CBD products with little to no amounts of pesticides or chemicals. Check the COA to verify the levels are acceptable.
Also, check to see what else is included in your CBD products. Hemp appears to absorb whatever surrounds it in the soil. So, pesticides, heavy metals, and toxic chemicals are detrimental to both you and the plant. Obviously, natural is your best choice. Any flavors added, should be natural, non-GMO, and gluten free. The best CBD has little added to its product.
How is the CBD extracted?
How the CBD is separated or extracted from the plant matters. High-quality CBD comes from using qualitative methods. There are many ways to extract CBD, using heat produced from butane is not preferred since it alters the chemical profile. The preferred method of extraction is using carbon dioxide or ethanol to extract the CBD from hemp. These substances do not harm the chemical profile of CBD.
Bioavailability is defined as the rate and the extent a substance is spread or absorbed throughout the body, so it has the intended effect. When a product is taken orally, it works its way through our bodies; passing through our stomach and digestive system. Some products are slowly absorbed and therefore take time to work.
Why is this important? CBD products are no different, in that they must work their way through our body. As our body breaks down CBD, we want a greater percentage absorbed into the bloodstream providing its full effect. This is accomplished by looking for products having high bioavailability.
Bioavailability might be affected by your age, genetics, physical activity, stress, various disorders, and other factors. A fast metabolism will obviously process CBD faster. Eating a meal, most likely will increase absorption which is why some medications state “take with food.”
CBD products using nanotechnology can breakdown the CBD into tiny molecules and the smaller the molecules, the more bioavailable. The smaller the molecules, the easier they pass into the bloodstream. Combine these particles with a fatty oil or terpenes and the resulting emulsion makes the bioavailability even better.
As with any product, it is up to you, the consumer, to educate yourself and become knowledgeable about what you buy. Remember, even when you visit your physician, you ask questions about your medication. CBD products are no different and therefore, you should do the same. If you do a little homework, it is easy to find quality and the best CBD products for you.