Article by Joseph Rollin for Ministry of Hemp

CBD oil is an amazing supplement, but now it’s also a growing industry and that means there are unscrupulous scam-artists trying to rip off consumers, too.

Are there signs of quality CBD oil that you can use to determine if it’s reliable or snake oil?

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy for consumers to determine which CBD brands and product claims’ are trustworthy. With the growth in popularity of CBD oil, new brands and merchants are coming out every day with promises to offer you the best, high-quality supplement. However, there are few regulations, if any, to help monitor and regulate these claims.

We conducted some research to help you identify high-quality CBD from its low quality counterparts when selecting CBD oil for sale online.

HOW CAN YOU IDENTIFY HIGH-QUALITY CBD OIL?

Cannabidiol, or CBD is an extract taken from cannabis plants. Although present in marijuana, CBD oil is most commonly extracted from agricultural hemp.

This is because these varieties of cannabis contain less THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical that produces psychoactivity in humans; in other words, THC is what makes people feel high. CBD offers many of the health benefits of medical marijuana without the high, making it more versatile and less controversial to both users and the community.

However, quality matters: low-grade CBD oil may not offer the same levels of benefit offered by top rated CBD oil because of a variety of factors, and it could even potentially contain harmful toxins.

Here are five ways to identify top quality CBD oil:

1.Manufacturing CBD: It Matters How CBD Oil Is Made

Unfortunately, due to the young age of the CBD oil industry, there aren’t any regulations that control the manufacturing process. This means that different CBD brands may have different extraction methods in order to process CBD oil from hemp.

Some companies, especially those who sell their products at a ridiculously low price, may use cheap methods when extracting CBD oil. This requires toxic solvents that are dangerous to our health such as propane, hexane, pentane and butane. Two of these are commonly used in gas stoves and ranges, such as propane and butane, and all of them are hydrocarbon gases found in petroleum.

Others companies use organic, pharmaceutical-grade ethanol to process CBD. The ethanol, which is essentially grain alcohol, is used to remove unneeded toxins and residues from the base hemp plant. This method of extraction is generally considered to be the extraction process that yields the highest amount of cannabinoids among the different refinement processes as well as being considered the safest method of extracting CBD for human consumption.

In addition, CBD oil can be extracted and manufactured through “supercritical CO2 extraction.” This process involves using carbon dioxide under high pressure in an extremely cold environment. Supercritical CO2 extraction requires expensive equipment, more complex refinement process and production expertise, but it ensures that CBD oil maintains its purity all through the process.

SUGGESTION – Before purchasing any CBD oil, research the vendor’s production methods. The information can be found on their website, or through talking to a customer service representative. We highly suggest going after CBD processed through ethanol and/or supercritical CO2 extraction.

2.Growing Hemp: The Source of Your CBD Matters

Like any manufactured product, one of the best ways to ensure quality is to use high-quality materials. This is especially important in CBD oil because of the hemp plant’s characteristic as  a “hyperaccumulator.” This means that the hemp plant easily absorbs anything that is present in the ground that it was cultivated and farmed. If a hemp plant grew on rich soil, the resulting plant will be of high quality that can produce CBD oil in the same high-quality as well.

Being a hyperaccumulator also has drawbacks: If a hemp plant that is used in production of CBD oil was cultivated in a land that is rich in heavy metals such as mercury and lead, the resulting oils will also reflect the amount of heavy metals absorbed by the plant, making it unsafe for humans to consume, especially children or others who are extremely vulnerable to toxins.

Sadly, some manufacturers would choose to purchase low-quality hemp to process as CBD oil, and such hemp may be polluted with heavy metals. These manufacturers only have profit in mind, and don’t care about the possible consequence of their products. This is one reason why CBD oil risks getting a negative reputation.

SUGGESTION – Look into where the CBD brand sources their hemp from. If available, try to find US grown hemp, as US farmers are required to get certified by state departments of agriculture. Such information can be found on the retailer’s or manufacturer’s websites as well as through their support center.

3.Check The Amount of THC Present In CBD Oil

A computer-generated model of the THC molecule

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is one of the cannabinoids present in both marijuana and agricultural hemp, and it is the substance responsible for giving a psychoactive effect on the body. It is what gives a user a “high.” The reason why hemp is used over marijuana when creating CBD oil is because of the former’s innate low levels of THC over CBD, making it perfect for CBD oil processing.

Although low, the original amount of THC present in hemp may still cause a certain level of psychoactive effects when processed incorrectly. Remember, CBD oil is made from the extracts of hundreds, even thousands, of hemp plants, therefore, no matter how small a percentage of THC there is in hemp, it may still have a high concentration on CBD oils that have been processed poorly, especially since the equipment needed to properly process CBD oil from hemp can be costly.

SUGGESTION – The optimal level of THC present in CBD oils should not exceed more than 0.3 percent, so make sure that you check the labels or ask for lab results for the CBD oils before purchasing them.

4.Check For a “Whole-Plant” or “Full Spectrum” Label

Another quality of a good CBD oil is that it is manufactured using the whole plant. CBD Isolates are becoming increasingly popular, but in reality, it is a cheaper material than whole plant extracts.  Using the whole plant, rather than using only one part, ensures that the oil contains not just CBD, but also the full range of primary and secondary constituents of the hemp plant. These include terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids that are generally believed to work synergistically with CBD, making the benefits exponentially higher than CBD alone.

SUGGESTION – Check the labels on the product to determine if the manufacturer uses the whole plant in their products, or check their websites for the information. Some brands use the term Whole Plant while others could use Full Spectrum.

5.Check for third-party lab results when buying quality CBD

A high quality brand of CBD will always provide third-party lab results to their consumers. Some laboratories finds favorable results, while some products fail these tests. These independent labs exist to ensure that CBD oil is everything it claims to be, with a high level of CBD, low THC, and lacking in impurities that can be harmful to consumers. 

SUGGESTIONS – A reputable brand of CBD oil should always have recent lab results available. Some provide them on their website, while others include them in the packaging or both. Good customer service is another sign of quality CBD oil, so check in and get them to help you if you’re having trouble finding the lab results.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON CHOOSING QUALITY CBD

CBD oil is growing in popularity every day and were happy to say that it’s here to stay.

While most brands want to deliver high quality products, not 100 percent of companies maintain this same level of integrity. CBD regulations and enforcement are likely to increase as time progresses, especially after full legalization of hemp. But until this happens, you the consumer must be cautious about what CBD brands to trust.

We have gone through five important things to look for when purchasing CBD oil and offered some suggestions on how to determine if your brand checks out. It is important that you do your own research before making your choice.

While buying CBD can feel intimidating at first, with a little knowledge you’ll be ready to make the right purchase.

Article by Joseph Rollin

Joseph Rollin has particular interest in the advancement of CBD studies and vaporization for its health benefits. Joseph is the founder of Pure Green Living, a leading CBD/420 related content magazine based in California. His ambition is to see the 420 trends become widely legalized into the mainstream.