The CBD industry is unfortunately plagued with unethical businesses. A lack of regulation and the legal grey area continues to allow shady retailers to exist. The FDA is cracking down on fraudulent CBD companies; however, there are so many that it’s impossible to manage. The good news is that there are plenty of incredible CBD brands on the market, but it’s up to the consumer to pick the companies producing reliable CBD products.
We are going to discuss how to choose CBD products when you are purchasing from a new company. Taking these steps will ensure you are purchasing a high-quality product from a reputable retailer.
Understand the Type of CBD
The first step in choosing a CBD is identifying the type of CBD extract featured in the oil, topical, edible, or smokable CBD product. Below are the three main categories of CBD you will find when shopping online.
- Full-Spectrum – A CBD extract featuring a full array of cannabinoids and terpenes from the original hemp plant. Full-spectrum CBD contains small amounts of THC under the 0.3% threshold allowed by the FDA.
- Broad-Spectrum – THC-free full-plant extract. Broad-spectrum products have additional cannabinoids and terpenes, but manufacturers leave out THC in the extraction process.
- Isolate CBD – Pure CBD. All other plant compounds are separated from the CBD during extraction.
We recommend full or broad-spectrum products because they are believed to provide additional benefits and activate what is known as the ‘entourage effect.’ The idea is that CBD is meant to be consumed along with other plant compounds. Research supporting the idea includes Dr. Ethan Russo’s famous scientific paper, Taming THC and a study from Jerusalem comparing an isolate with a full-plant extract.
3 Types of CBD extract
Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and Isolated CBD: What’s the difference? Read our informational post
Check Lab Tests
Once you understand the type of CBD extract in the product you are interested in, you want to verify the chemical compounds through a 3rd party lab test analysis. It’s essential to evaluate testing from an unbiased, independent lab because manufacturers and retailers have misled consumers with faulty lab results.
The cannabinoid content in the product should be confirmed with lab tests. Verify the product has the amount of CBD they are advertising and other cannabinoids if you are interested in a full-plant extract.
Hemp is a bioacummulator, meaning it absorbs contents from the soil. Therefore, you want to make sure your CBD is free from heavy metals. In addition, verify no pesticides are present in your product by checking the 3rd party tests.
A high-quality full-plant extract will have a substantial amount of terpenes. You should verify their potency levels and the source of terpenes (whether they are from the hemp plant or were added after extraction) on the company’s website.
During the extraction process, solvents are used to separate the valuable cannabis compounds from the plant matter. You shouldn’t have any present in the final product.
Look at Customer Reviews
Feedback from other customers is a great way to determine if the company is legitimate. CBD users are very vocal and love to express their success stories.
Find the Source of Hemp
Finally, make sure you know where your hemp is coming from. Ideally, you can find a company with its own farm and manufacturing facility; however, most CBD companies outsource their hemp from external farms. You want to be sure the company provides transparency in where their hemp is grown and how their CBD is extracted.
Support Honest and Transparent CBD Companies
While there are many unethical CBD retailers online, there are also plenty of incredible companies that are passionate about cannabinoid hemp products. For now, it’s up to the consumer to discern the real from the fraudulent, but if you follow these steps, you will quickly weed out the shady retailers.