CBD is everywhere. Here’s what to look for.
TomMarch 11, 2019
CBD is showing up everywhere nowadays. It’s understandable: CBD treats insomnia, anxiety, the aches and pains of arthritis, and many other conditions that happen to afflict baby boomers and just about everyone else.
CBD does not get you high and there are no side effects, so it’s no wonder that demand has exploded, and companies are popping up overnight to meet the growing need. But before you buy some CBD at the gas station (or online) there are a few things you must know: Quality matters in this market. This isn’t a wax you’re putting on your car, it’s an herbal substance going into your body, so you want to make sure it’s as pure and potent as you can get. There is no regulatory oversight of the CBD industry. Quality control is up to the producers. It’s a buyer-beware scenario.
Three things you want to know for sure about any form of CBD before you buy:
Where was it grown? Hemp is a bio-accumulator; it sucks up what’s in the ground. So if it’s grown where there are toxins such as lead or other chemicals in the soil, those are going to end up in the hemp, and anything that’s extracted from it. You want CBD that’s derived from certified organic hemp. This can be found in the U.S., Europe, or other parts of the world. But stay away from hemp from places like China or Russia.
How was it extracted? The two most common methods of CBD oil extraction are using CO2, which produces a cleaner oil, and alcohol, which may leave trace amounts of ethanol in the extract. As detailed at Project CBD:
“The supercritical (or subcritical) CO2 method uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to isolate, preserve, and maintain the purity of the medicinal oil. This process requires expensive equipment and a steep operational learning curve. But, when done well the end product is safe, potent, and free of chlorophyll.”
Also from Project CBD:
“High-grade grain alcohol can be used to create high-quality cannabis oil appropriate for vape pen cartridges and other products. But this extraction method destroys the plant waxes, which may have health benefits that are favored by some product-makers.”
Are there test results available? Reputable brands know they must prove to customers that their product is clean and pure, and they will provide third-party test results with detailed information about:
- The spectrum of cannabinoids in the extract: Full-spectrum (other compounds and might contain a trace of THC), broad-spectrum (other compounds, no THC) or isolate (no other compounds, CBD only)
- Potency of the product, usually expressed as a percentage of weight, or as milligrams
- Terpene profile
- Absence of heavy metals like lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury
- Absence of pesticides, mycotoxins (indicating mold) and solvent residue
It’s also prudent to choose a brand that has been in business for at least a few years, displays the address of an actual place place of business on their site, and has real reviews from real people.