Since the 2018 Farm Bill took hemp-based non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) out of the Drug Enforcement Administration's control and made it legal for sale in most areas, CBD oil and other products have exploded in popularity.
While formerly only found in cannabis dispensaries, CBD can be purchased everywhere, from the local drugstore to specialized online stores. New sellers are popping up from around the world — but not every CBD product is equal.
Here are seven key factors to help you buy quality CBD products — from how the cannabis plant grew to how it was processed.
1. Was the CBD Extracted from Marijuana or Hemp?
CBD is an extract from cannabis plants, which includes both hemp and marijuana. The difference is that marijuana plants have high levels of THC, while most hemp plants max at a slight 0.3 percent.
2. Is it Certified Organic Hemp Grown in the United States?
Hemp is a fast-growing plant that readily absorbs everything in the soil, and it will take in helpful vitamins and nutrients as efficiently as harmful minerals or toxins.
You want CBD from plants grown in fertile and healthy soil.
CBD extracted from marijuana is grown and tested under the legalization laws of that state. Jampha only uses certified organic industrial hemp plants as a source for our CBD products.
3. Was it Crafted from the Whole Plant or Isolates?
CBD is in the leaves, flowers, and stalks of the hemp plant but not the seeds. If a product only has "hemp seed oil" instead of "hemp oil," it contains little to no CBD.
4. Are the Lab Test Results Available?
Always ask to see a product's Certificate of Analysis (COA). Trusted companies that are proud of their products make independent test results available to consumers.
The COA is a lab report that lists the levels of CBD and THC present in the product and contaminants, if there are any.
The U.S. does not require testing of the final CBD oil, so companies that provide a COA took that step independently.
5. What to Look for on the Certificate of Analysis
Once you get the COA, inspect it carefully. Here are a few things to check:
Does the lab meet "ISO 17025" standards?
Be cautious of companies that test products in-house. The results might be accurate, but a third-party independent lab is more reliable.
How much THC is included?
To legally qualify as hemp oil, a CBD product cannot contain more than 0.3% THC. The COA is an excellent way to verify the accuracy of the product's label.
There isn't enough THC in hemp-based CBD to have a psychoactive effect, but it can register on a drug test in some cases.
If you want maximum CBD benefits with zero THC, a broad-spectrum CBD product includes the non-psychoactive helpful cannabinoids without any THC.
Is the CBD dosage accurate?
The COA should confirm the advertised CBD concentration. CBD can be listed as "hemp extract" or "hemp oil" on the product label." That's the right stuff!
Some products advertise themselves as "whole-plant" or "full-spectrum" because they contain cannabinoids, but they don't have any CBD!
Don't be fooled by products only containing hemp seeds, hemp seed oil, or Cannabis sativa seed oil. These are edible carrier oils for CBD but do not contain CBD on their own.
Checking the COA will verify that you're getting the promised CBD concentration.
Does the Certificate of Analysis include cannabinoids?
Any whole-plant, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum CBD product should show a variety of cannabinoids. There are over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Common cannabinoids to look for in CBD include:
Cannabidiolic acid (CBDa)
What measurement are they using on the report?
Certificate of Analyses come in different formats and can be a challenge to decipher. The quantity of CBD or other cannabinoids present in the product will be listed in one of three ways:
Milligrams (mg) of cannabinoids in the full product
Milligrams (mg) of cannabinoids per gram (g)
Milligrams (mg) of cannabinoids per milliliter (ml)
If the total amount of CBD looks low for the full product, check if the report lists by gram or milliliter.
Any molds, pesticides, or heavy metals?
In addition to the cannabinoid profile and terpene analysis, check for any molds, pesticides, or heavy metals that could be harmful over certain levels.
Check the status column of these charts and look for a "pass."
6. How is the Hemp Oil Manufactured?
CBD oil manufacturing is not heavily regulated, so it's worth knowing how yours was extracted.
Some of the lowest price CBD oil products use cheap extraction methods that involve toxic solvents, including butane and propane. If you're buying CBD for your health and well-being, extracting it with potentially harmful chemicals works against you.
One safe method of extracting CBD for human consumption uses organic and pharmaceutical-grade ethanol. Jampha uses this system to guarantee maximum benefits from our whole plant extracts.
Another excellent method is supercritical CO2 extraction. In this process, extremely cold and high-pressure carbon dioxide extracts the CBD oil while maintaining its purity.
CBD manufacturers face a challenge trying to create a consistent product when extracting CBD from various plants. The terpenes and cannabinoids vary from crop to crop. Some brands use CBD distillation to produce a reliably consistent product and then enrich the CBD with terpenes or cannabinoids.
CBD distillation is a complex process of several steps. Towards the final stages, distillation removes impurities by turning the liquid extract into vapor and then back into a purified liquid.
In sum, if you’re buying CBD oil, look for products extracted using:
Vape pens are easy to use and transport and they produce minimal smoke and help maintain a low profile. However, some vaping products use propylene glycol as a solvent. Propylene glycol can degrade into formaldehyde when burned at high temperatures.
Inhaling formaldehyde can irritate your nose and eyes and may increase the risk of asthma and cancer.
Solve this problem by only purchasing vape products that use solvent-free oils.
Maximize Your CBD Benefits by Selecting High-Quality Products
As the CBD industry prospers, additional regulations will inevitably be established and enforced. In the current marketplace, it's up to the buyer to manage quality control.
Assuring your CBD oil caliber is as simple as following the seven critical steps outlined above. Most importantly, look for grown in the U.S., cleanly extracted, and tested by an ISO 17025 certified, independent, third-party lab.
The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant to substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.