The cult of wellness is something we all in some respect can’t help but be sucked into; the same way those cookie crumbs on the floor beside your bed can’t help but be shamefully sucked into your vacuum cleaner the morning after.
And, as we put our trusted confidante away we start to hazily recall the burst of goods purchased in a lustful frenzy of self-improvement – cooling yoga mats, a bestselling treaty on micro-napping in the workplace, a guide to the Himalayan Salt Lamp Diet. And, nestled between (useless) fat-eliminating tights and empty bottle of mayo, a not-so-innocent looking receipt for CBD oil, purchased from some place called ‘HIGH4EVAH’.
Sure enough, therein also rests a clear plastic bottle without an ingredient list, purporting to be ‘totally dope CBD oil’. Would you go ahead and pour an uneducated amount of this into your mouth? If your answer is ‘No… Well, probably no’, you’re in the right place. Without firmly established labelling, quality, and manufacturing standards, scenarios like the one mentioned above aren’t just a bad dream, but can and do happen in the budding world of CBD oil.
And because of this, as consumers of CBD oil, it’s up to us to fight back against a market rife with dodgy products by being more educated than the companies trying to sell them. If you don’t know how to best equip yourself, don’t worry, there’s a lot to consider, from production to packaging. So take a look at the 10 top tips to keep in mind before you buy, and before the latent Gwyneth Paltrow within us all opens her blood red eyes.
I know it’s easy to jump the gun when you see a product for sale that can do as much as popular culture says CBD oil can do. And, as I’m sure you will learn when, after this article, you studiously do your own research, many of the claims made are backed by Actual Scientific Research. It’s so important I had to capitalize it. Learning about CBD oil and how it interacts with our Endocannabinoid system is the first step to learning what you’re looking for in a product.
Understand the difference between ‘full spectrum’ (CBD oils that include all extracted chemicals, nutrients, cannabinoids, and terpenes, including THC – causing what is known as the ‘entourage effect’ or heightened effectiveness caused by the interaction of all of these), ‘broad spectrum’ (CBD oils that contain all phytocannabinoids in the plant without a detectable amount of THC), or ‘isolate’ (Yep, just good old CBD).
Along with knowing what kind of CBD oil you’re looking for, it is important to learn the terminology of what you should see on a CBD oil label (hint: it should say more than ‘totally dope CBD oil’), which is what most of our advice leans towards.
For one, there should be an explicit indication not only that the product indeed contains CBD (Amazon, for example, will sell things that sound synonymous, but don’t actually contain CBD), but also the concentration percentage. There should be an ingredients list that should make sense to you. Sometimes ingredients may contain additional ingredients that can provide their own benefits, such as melatonin or MCT oil, or their own potential harm, like propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine, which are common in CBD vape oils. The label should not leave you with any questions.
The actual packaging material matters too. Once hemp is harvested, a race to preserve its natural cannabinoids begins, and quality packaging can lengthen the shelf life of your CBD oil. Glass is impenetrable, so ensure the container is made of glass. Go for a dark amber glass, which prevents UV ray penetration, something that can also make your oil quality short lived.
Before you buy, make sure you’re aware of the laws in your location regarding THC legality or legal limits. Although CBD is for the most part legal in the Western world, THC legality varies from place to place, and there may very well be restrictions on the legal amount of THC allowed in CBD oil where you’re buying it.
Federal law in both the US and UK permit concentrations of THC no higher than 0.3%. In the UK, since THC is not legal, the 0.3% is applicable everywhere, whereas in the US, you would have to be in a state that has legalised THC to lawfully purchased CBD oil with a concentration higher than this.
You might wonder why extraction is so important, and we can tell you. Not only does the extraction method indicate quality, but can also change the genetic structure of the final product. There are a couple of typical methods for extraction, and these act as a good indicator of quality.
If the CBD was extracted from the plant using heat, this indicates that butane was used in the process, and that a lower quality process has taken place. Butane, a hazardous material, produces chemicals that come into contact with the CBD extract during this process which can cause a chemical reaction and altered genetic profile. The butane can be distilled from the CBD extract, but even still, an irreversible reaction has occurred.
Instead, look for products that have been CO2 extracted. At certain temperatures and pressures, CO2 acts like a solvent without the same dangers. The low temperature of the process and the stability of CO2 also allows most compounds to be extracted with little damage. Using natural solvents such as these ensures that the cannabinoids remain unfiltered and intact throughout the extraction process, meaning you get a high quality end result.
If you use CBD products made from lesser quality hemp, you can bet it has also come in contact with foreign chemicals like pesticides or fertilizers during the growing process. If you cannot find any indication of growing standards, don’t trust the product. Buying CBD oil without being able to verify growing standards means that not only will you be ingesting these chemicals, but they will have also gone to work wreaking havoc on the quality of your CBD.
Following on from this, make sure that your products is grown and produced in a place where regulations regarding these variables is law, like North America or the UK that have introduced measures like the Farm Bill to ensure compliance regarding quality assurance. As we’ve seen, many things can affect the quality of your CBD oil, and it’s best to go with a company that sources their materials from a place where regulation has already been written into law.
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Third Party Lab Testing’, but what is it, and why is it a crucial thing to consider when looking for the best CBD oil? Well, as there’s no government-approved testing process for determining the purity and quality of CBD products, private labs have been targeted to quality check products for companies. And, as you can imagine, not all labs and reports are created equal.
Look for key information if you get your hands on a lab report, like date of publication, synchronicity with the product label, and lab accreditation. Indeed, even if a lab can produce results, if the testing methods are faulty they could skew findings. So do a bit of research and ensure you’re going for products tested by reputable labs, such as Think20 Labs, for example.
CBD oil doesn’t benefit from superfluous additives, and really your CBD oil shouldn’t contain anything besides its core constituents. If your CBD oil is flavored, it’s best to buy products containing only natural ingredients, like essential oils. Buying a CBD oil with additives that could be bad for you kind of defeats the purpose of buying CBD oil in the first place, or any other advice you follow therin.
If a company is dedicated to the quality of their product, they will stand by their words when it comes to transparency, but also when it comes to any quality issues that may arise. Ensure that your CBD oil comes with a money back guarantee and enquire about the returns policy. If a product does not contain either of these things, it demonstrates a lack of commitment which can speak volumes about what corners were cut during the production process.
At the end of the day, whether the oils you choose are broad spectrum or isolates, natural cherry flavored or plain, 0.3 % THC or 3% THC, unless you have a very clear idea of why you are taking CBD oil, they may not be the most optimal product for you. Have a thorough think about what you would like CBD to help you with, whether it’s restlessness, anxiety, skin conditions, or pain, and what kinds of results you are looking for. High quality topical ointments are best suited for skin conditions, whereas high quality full-spectrum sublingual CBD oils can help with overall bodily pain.
With a bit of insider knowledge and a teeny bit of research and a helpful guide, buying CBD oil that is the best quality possible doesn’t have to be difficult, and doesn’t have to end in spending money on an unknown, potentially harmful or illegal, product.