With the flood of CBD products on the market, and not much regulation, it can be difficult to know which sellers you can trust. As such, we want to help you make informed CBD choices! We scoured the web for all the best recommendations, ideas, perspectives, and tips for identifying quality CBD products, and compiled them into 6 categories to help you identify which sellers meet the highest standards.
1: Where was the Cannabis Grown?
Poor: Grown Outside the U.S. or by an Unlicensed Grower
Good: Grown by Licensed U.S. Cannabis Farms
Best: Grown by a Licensed U.S. Medical Cannabis Farm
Cannabis is a lot like a grape vine, in the sense that it easily absorbs nutrients and chemicals from the air and soil alike. Which is why it is so important to be sure the cannabis you ingest (or absorb through your skin) is grown in healthy soil – free from heavy metals – and in clean air. Luckily one thing the FDA does regulate are licensed farms, which means they regularly test the soil and air quality to ensure safety & quality standards.
2: How was the CBD Extracted?
Poor: Hydrocarbon Solvents (e.g. propane, hexane, pentane, & butane)
Good: Organic Ethanol
Best: Supercritical CO2
This is something that the seller should mention on their website, if not the farm definitely will. Now it’s a scientific, and complicated, process to separate the CBDs from the cannabis plant ensuring that the THC is left behind. But thankfully you do not need to understand how it all works to know which method is best. The hydrocarbon method of extraction can leave behind toxic petroleum-based residue that you most definitely do not want entering your body. The method using organic ethanol is very safe, and most widely used. The extraction method utilizing supercritical CO2 is very tricky, expensive, and thus usually only employed by medical cannabis growers.
3: How Much of the Plant is Listed in the Ingredients?
Okay: CBD Isolate
Good: Full-Spectrum CBD Oil
Best: Both Isolates and Full-Spectrum Oil
Isolate vs Full-Spectrum is a bit of a debate within the CBD community. And the reason for that is the term ‘CBD’ is most often used to refer to the many (100+) different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. In fact Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the many cannabinoids, and so is Cannabidiol, which confusingly is also abbreviated as CBD. Full-Spectrum CBD oil contains almost all of the CBDs, with pretty much only the THC removed. CBD Isolate on the other hand is the result of extraction so finite that only Cannabidiol remains. Which is great for attaining a high percentage* of CBD (and I mean Cannabidiol – not the entire group) in your product. However there are many other health benefits afforded by the less prevalent CBDs, which is why Full-Spectrum Oil is so highly recommended.
*refers to category #6
4: Third-Party Lab Testing?
Poor: Not done/results not available
Good: COA available upon request
Best: Links to pdf COA on seller’s website
Third-party lab testing means that someone other than the grower or the seller evaluated the CBD product and tested it for harmful toxins, like pesticides and heavy metals, THC levels, and the levels of Cannabidiol and the other CBDs. The COA is the test report, which displays via percentage, if any, which chemicals were detected in the product. Ideally you want to see 0% in the list of toxins they tested for, and the ideal percentages of THC and CBD (Cannabidiol) are what follow in category 5 and 6.
5: How Much THC Remains?
Poor: Anything over 0.3%
Good: Between 0.3 – 0.1%
Best: Less than 0.1%
6: Actual Percentage of CBD per ‘Claimed’ mg of CBD
Poor: Anything less than 75%
Good: 75 – 90%
Best: Over 90%