The cannabis market has been over saturated by countless CBD brands, all promising to offer the highest quality natural relief. Navigating the CBD waters can be difficult, especially if you’re not sure where to begin. Let’s break down the questions you need to ask your local dispensary, or anyone offering to sell you any Cannabis product, before you buy.
There are three different versions of cannabidiol (CBD) products: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate.
A full-spectrum CBD product contains multiple cannabis plant extracts, including essential oils, terpenes, and other cannabinoids, such as cannabinol. Full-spectrum CBD products may also contain up to 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Full-spectrum allows for the complete synergy of the Cannabis plant, known as the Entourage Effect. “When we ingest cannabis, our bodies take in hundreds of botanical compounds. Each one arrives with unique effects and benefits, and their behavior may change in the presence of other compounds. This is the entourage effect.”1
Broad-spectrum CBD is one of the three main forms of CBD. The others are full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. Broad-spectrum CBD contains a range of naturally occurring compounds from the cannabis plant, but typically no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
CBD isolate is a pure form of CBD. It contains no other cannabis plant compounds. It usually comes from hemp plants, which typically contain very low amounts of THC.2
The version of CBD you need depends largely on the issue you are seeking to address. In addition to your condition, other factors should be taken into consideration before selecting the version that will work best for you. For example, if you are subject to drug screening, you may want to consider an Isolate CBD product. If pain is your issue, consider trying a Full Spectrum product.
Many newcomers to Cannabis and CBD are unsure about which version will work best for them. The majority of CBD users ingest CBD for multiple chronic conditions, rather than just one single condition or occurrence. If you are unsure of what version to start with, consider trying an Isolate CBD product. These types of products contain only the CBD molecule (aka Cannabinoids) within the Cannabis Hemp plant. Once you determine if CBD is right for you, you can try different versions and types of products as your comfortability with cannabis grows.
Where the hemp or CBD oil is sourced from is one of the most important factors in your decision to purchase that vendor’s products. Does the manufacturer use hemp grown in the USA? Do they extract their oil within the United States? Bottom line, where does their CBD come from?
Hemp grown and harvested in the United States goes through a rigorous regulation process, compared to many other countries. A multitude of hemp farmers grow their hemp in accordance with organic standards as well. If the hemp or CBD extract is sourced within the US, you can be assured it’s a legitimate, regulated product.
Ideally you want to find CBD manufactured by companies that source their hemp from a single farm. This is known as a “single farm source”. A majority of CBD oil in the market is extracted from hemp from many different farms which creates more of a conglomerate oil, varying in terpenes and strains. Furthermore, CBD brands that own their own farms offer a higher quality product than companies that source from multiple locations.
There are numerous ways to extract CBD and other cannabinoids from the cannabis plants. The most common methods include ethanol, CO2, and solvent-less extraction.
Ethanol is the least expensive method of extracting CBD, making it the most widely used extraction method in the US market. The use of ethanol does not create a harmful end product as it is extracted prior to the final product. In addition, ethanol is one of the only ways to extract the CBD molecule to create Isolate crystals. As a result, a vast majority of Isolate CBD products are extracted using ethanol.
CO2 is another common method and the one used by FDA approved vitamin and supplement brands currently sold over the counter, but it’s also a more expensive. This creates a higher cost to the consumer, however, it also results in a higher quality product. In addition to better overall quality, it’s a popular opinion that CO2 extraction methods allow for a purer product compared to ethanol extracted products.
Any reputable company should be completely transparent with their Certificate of Analysis (COA), otherwise known as lab results. In addition, their COAs should be from an unbiased 3rd party lab company. What is a 3rd party lab result? A 3rd party lab result is a certificate of analysis from a verified lab that is independent of the CBD manufacturer.
Every lab report should correlate with the exact batch number in which the product you are purchasing was created. Information such as the amount of milligrams per milliliter are in the product and the other cannabinoids existing within the product (i.e. Delta 9 THC) are important to look for within the COA. Every COA should come complete with a passed harmful metals, mycotoxin, and pesticide reports. The best COAs out there will also include a Terpene Profile to depict the specific benefits that product may be able to offer you.
Amazon has a STRICT policy against CBD. They do not allow the sale of any cannabis products on their platform. Unfortunately you will see “CBD” products for sale on Amazon. More often than not, these are “hemp seed” oil and products that do not contain extracts from the cannabis plant. Instead, these products use the oil from hemp seeds to create the product. Hemp seeds, although great for animal feed, holds no benefit for any condition, and is essentially snake oil.
There are some legitimate CBD products available on Amazon. However, in order to sell these products on Amazon, the sellers must use cryptic language and photoshop their images to remove “CBD” from the labels and descriptions. This circumnavigates Amazons “no CBD” policy but is a clear violation of their rules. Regardless of how ridiculous we find this policy, it does not detract from the fact that these companies are acting unethically in order to sell you a product. And if they’re willing to fake photos and break the rules to sell you something, what else are they willing to do to sell you a product?
Convenient Stores have not performed any research into the efficacy, validity, purity, or history of the brands they provide to their consumers. Most gas stations and convenient stores offer brands that realize the highest profit margins for the store’s bottom line. This often results in low quality products, many of them not containing the amount of CBD they claim on the labels.
Finally, the gas station attendant is not familiar with the CBD products they carry. They cannot answer your most basic questions, let alone the questions presented within this article. They cannot help determine which variant or type of product is best for your specific condition, and they certainly won’t take the time necessary to ensure you’re getting the perfect fit for your needs. Next time you see that CBD tower at the counter of the gas station, think twice about making that impulse purchase and visit a local dispensary instead. We’re always here for you at Authentic CBD and welcome questions you may have regarding CBD and other cannabis products. Contact us to start your path to natural relief with CBD.
1 The entourage effect: How cannabis compounds may be working together
2 What’s the difference between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD?