These days, options abound when shopping for CBD. From grocery stores to spas and even gas stations, it seems CBD is everywhere. The options are endless.
The explosion in CBD’s popularity has made it easy to choose a CBD product out of convenience. But, should you really reach for the first product you see, at the cheapest price?
Why Choosing Quality CBD Matters
Because the market has grown so much, CBD companies are looking to win out amongst their competition. Usually, they will try to produce a cheaper product. While this may be alright with some goods, it is not okay when it comes to a supplement for your health and wellness.
Many companies can boast about a cheaper price, but the quality of ingredients and the effect of the final product can be minimal.
Top 7 Tips In Getting The Best CBD
That being said, here are a few basic things for you to keep in mind when choosing CBD.
1. Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolates
This is a great starting point to educate yourself about CBD. You’ve probably heard the words “full spectrum” and “broad spectrum” tossed around, but may be unsure about their meaning. Isn’t all CBD essentially the same? Well yes, and no!
Full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD products contain CBD. The difference lies in how much of the original plant compounds are present in the final product. Specifically, THC.
With full spectrum, you’ll get a more complete plant profile, which means that the product could contain up to 0.03% THC. This is the legal limit.
If you’re not concerned about drug testing for work, or simply would rather stay away from THC, then you may want to consider broad spectrum CBD. Broad spectrum CBD offers all the benefits of CBD without any THC.
There is another subcategory of CBD products known as isolates. The cannabis plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids. A CBD isolate contains only CBD, without any THC, terpenes, flavonoids, and other components you normally find in both broad and full spectrum CBD.
The only disadvantage with CBD isolates is that these products lack the full cannabinoid profile. All the cannabinoids working together in a CBD product result in what’s known as the “entourage effect.” This means that when all the cannabinoids are left intact, they work better together. Some people may notice more results from taking broad or full spectrum CBD than isolates.
There is really no right or wrong way to take CBD. You just have to do what is best for your body and lifestyle.
2. Third Party Lab Testing
This is a big one, and very telling about product integrity. Does the company use third party lab testing to verify the contents of their products? If not, it generally means they are hiding something. Perhaps there is a very low amount of real CBD in the product. Or, there could be more THC than the legal limit.
Transparency is a sign of a quality product and a company that cares about consumers. By having their products tested by a third party, you can trust that the label is free of biased claims. A third party lab test will usually include THC levels, CBD content, presence of metals, pesticides, any chemicals, and more.
Figure out the basic and different methods on how one can take CBD in this article on CBD Bioavailability.
3. Extraction Method
Check the extraction method. Three is more than one way to extract CBD oil from the plant. The extraction method can affect the safety and chemical composition of the final CBD product.
In order to get CBD oil out of the cannabis plant, you have to apply pressure. It sounds simple, but to get a little oil that’s a lot of work! In order to make the process more efficient, some companies use heat or chemicals to get more out of the plant.
This doesn’t sound bad, but it can be. Too much heat dilutes the cannabinoids, so you get less benefit from a product with this extraction method. When heat is used, butane is commonly used along with it. This is actually a hazardous chemical, and is terrible for your health.
The best extraction method, hands down, is the carbon dioxide extraction method. Carbon dioxide is a natural solvent. So, it preserves terpenes-an important part of the plant’s makeup which happens to be beneficial to our health. Also, this process uses zero added ingredients. It doesn’t get any better than this!
Some companies use food grade ethanol because it is a natural solvent, and the terpenes are left intact. This is also a good option because there are no additional ingredients necessary.
Natural is best! The less ingredients, the better. CO2 extraction will leave you with the highest quality CBD minus chemicals, additives, and other nonsense.
4. Sourcing and Cultivation Standards
Since CBD comes from the cannabis plant, it makes sense to check out the sourcing info and cultivation standards.
Hemp grown in the US is the best quality because it is in compliance with strict agricultural regulations. You will be more assured about the absence of chemicals, pesticides, etc. which are often used in hemp grown in other countries.
These chemicals are great at keeping crop-destroying pests away, but they are harmful to your health.
Some third-party lab tests will show if there are any pesticides and other toxins present in the CBD product you’re ingesting (or applying).
There are other ingredients in CBD products besides straight up CBD. The herbal taste often needs to be masked by a little sweetness or added flavor in order to make it palatable. Not everyone can handle the herbal taste of pure CBD oil.
Added ingredients aren’t necessarily bad, as long as they’re natural and don’t interfere with the effectiveness of the CBD.
Gummies and other edibles are the most common culprits of artificial flavorings. A high quality product may add some essential oils or essence of herbs which are compatible with the taste of hemp.
Peppermint is a common CBD product flavor. It doesn’t negatively impact your body’s absorption of the CBD, and it is actually healthy for you.
On the other hand, sugar, colorings, and undisclosed “flavors” make it more difficult for your body to break down the product. This is especially true of some lower quality CBD gummies. Do they contain CBD? Yes. That CBD contains wonderful benefits for your body, assuming it’s not buried under layers of other matter for your body to metaboliZe before it even gets to the CBD!
Does the product contain animal derived ingredients? What about gluten, or other allergens? Be sure to check for these ingredients if you have allergies or are vegetarian/vegan.
In short, keep it simple. Some plant oils like peppermint are a nice addition to CBD oil and other edibles. If there are any ingredients you can’t pronounce, it’s best to avoid these products.
This one may seem unimportant, but labeling can tell you a lot about a CBD company.
Does the package inform you about the contents of the product? Does it show a lot of nondescript, over-promising language?
For example, do you see words like “natural,” “organic,” and “real CBD” without any more specific information?
These words sound nice, but don’t really mean much. Natural can mean that there are ingredients derived from plant sources which have been treated with chemicals, and are now really something else.
If the label says it’s organic, who has certified it? Is it a reputable source? Is it 90% organic? 100%? These details do make a difference in the quality and overall effectiveness of the CBD inside.
If the packaging is making a lot of claims about how it will improve your health without any evidence to back it up (access to lab tests, etc.) then it’s likely a marketing ploy.
In general, look for transparency without excessive promises. Look for a company with integrity which prioritizes customer care along with their profits.
7. Research The Company
Before buying a CBD product, you should look into the company. Learn about their mission. Why are they selling CBD? Is it just to make money off a hot health trend, or is it to improve people’s lives?
What kind of consumer care does the company offer? Some CBD companies offer extensive customer support, discounts for first responders, rewards programs, and more.
Get CBD Savvy
Educating yourself is vital when exploring the world of CBD. The more you know about the market, regulations, and production, the better it will be for you. You’ll be able to discern which companies are offering high quality CBD as a health supplement, rather than looking to make fast money off of people seeking wellness.
Find the products that work for you! Take some time to experiment, especially if you’re new to CBD. Can you tolerate the taste? Go with a CBD oil. Need something yummy? Try some CBD chocolate, gummies, or even CBD coffee. Want localized pain relief? Check out CBD pain relief creams and roll-ons.
Above all, your health and wellness are the priority. It may mean investing in a higher quality product, but your body will thank you. After some research and trial and error, you’ll find what works best for you.