Everyone is talking about cannabidiol, abbreviated CBD, and the number of CBD product available for purchase on the market seems to increase daily. At this point, it's like the wild-wild-west out there as far as quality, testing and regulations and standards, which makes it very confusing for consumers. How do you know what you're getting?? Here are 5 important things to consider when deciding on a CBD product.
1. BROAD-SPECTRUM vs. FULL-SPECTRUM vs. CBD ISOLATE
Many experts believe in “the entourage effect,” which suggests all the plant compounds work together synergistically to offer greater natural benefits than taking isolated CBD alone. CBD + the plant’s minor cannabinoids offers the greatest benefits.
Full-spectrum CBD has THC (
Broad-spectrum CBD doesn’t contain any THC, but contains all the other cannabinoids.
A CBD isolate is an extraction of only CBD.
2. AMOUNT OF CBD IN EACH DOSAGE AND 3rd PARTY TESTING
Mislabeling of CBD is already rampant, with many labels overstating the concentration of CBD. It’s imperative customers choose products from reputable companies, and buy from companies that have been third-party verified. Look for a valid Certificate of Analysis (lab report) before purchasing CBD oil. Also check if the CBD oil was tested in an accredited laboratory, in accordance with ILAC or ISO (International Organization for Standardization). It should be tested for all quantities of CBD and its derivatives, heavy metals and microbial contaminants (ie: mold, bacteria).
3. ORGANIC IS A MUST
A small number of CBD oil brands are labeled organic by the USDA; however, the company can state whether it comes from an organic farm.
Hemp is known as a bio-accumulator and tends to draw toxins from the soil. Because hemp can become easily contaminated with heavy metals and toxins, it’s crucial to understand where the hemp is grown and what type of soil it’s grown in. Conventionally grown hemp is likely to use fertilizer in the soil at the beginning of its growing cycle.
Transparency in this industry is an advantage (for both the supplier and customer).
4. KNOW WHERE THE HEMP IS SOURCED
Knowing it’s sourced in the United States isn’t enough.
5. VERIFY HOW THE CBD IS EXTRACTED
CO2 extraction is the standard because it’s safe and delivers a pure product. It uses carbon dioxide to obtain the cannabinoids, and then compresses it into a supercritical cold liquid state while preserving the nutrient rich trichomes and terpenes.
Other safe extraction methods include: Vapor distillation and Lipid-based extraction (using fats to absorb the hemp compounds).
Unsafe extractions are ones that use toxic solvents like butane and hexane, which can leave harmful residue behind in the final product. The downside is you won’t get a full spectrum of compounds.
Note: When cannabinoid acids are exposed to heat, they lose the “A” part and turn into a neutral plant cannabinoid (rather than acidic).
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods
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