Thanks to their benefits in soothing anxiety, stress, and pain, CBD products have become a rising star as a natural medicine with very few, minor side effects. As CBD grows in popularity, a variety of products have become wildly available; in fact, you want to try CBD for the first time, it may be difficult to figure out whether you should buy CBD concentrates, isolates, or topicals in order to get the best product. As experts, we’ve got a few tips for choosing quality CBD products to help you decide.
CBD Extraction Processes
The way CBD oil is extracted from hemp can change its chemical makeup by the time it finally reaches the final product stage. If you’re unaware, extraction is done by applying pressure to a plant—hemp for CBD—so that the trichomes will burst open. Once this happens, the plant will excrete an oil that is then captured and sold. It’s these methods that use pressure that make for higher quality CBD products than using conventional methods such as heat.
If the CBD is extracted through heat, then the substance butane will inevitably be used. When the butane comes into contact with the cannabinoids, the two aromatic chemicals form a chemical reaction that alters the genetic profiles of all compounds within. Butane itself is also a hazardous material and truly has no advantage over pressure extraction, since the butane will always dilute the quality of the CBD oils.
Instead, other processes that are of higher quality that you should look out for are CBD products that were extracted using techniques like CO2 or food-grade ethanol extraction. These are all-natural solvents that will not contaminate the CBD oil and keep the terpenes intact.
Hemp Growing Standards
Much like how you want to avoid CBD products contaminated with butane, you want to get a grasp on how the hemp CBD is extracted from is being grown. A sign that products are made from low-quality hemp is when they’ve been exposed to foreign chemicals like pesticides. As they’re meant to kill pests that might harm crops, it’s obvious that these pesticides are toxic and aren’t something you want in your CBD oil because they will negatively impact the health benefits that CBD would otherwise provide. Hemp especially, compared to other plants, is known to soak up everything in the surrounding soil, so it’s easy for them to become tainted by pesticides and other harmful substances.
Hemp that has been grown in a greenhouse is always a safe bet because of how controlled an environment they are. This not only prevents hazards like pests from getting to the crops but the conditions can be tweaked and changed for optimal growth so that the plants are of as high a quality as possible.
Broad and Full-Spectrum CBD vs. CBD Isolate
When comparing the different products, you’ll notice that most of them fall into two main categories: Broad or full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolates. CBD isolates are the purest form of CBD, typically appearing as a fine powder which is the most efficient form of CBD—however, that doesn’t mean CBD isolates are the most effective form.
CBD works best when it works in unison with other cannabinoids—an outcome commonly referred to as the entourage effect. To this end, broad or full-spectrum CBD should always be preferable, and the differences between the two are minor. Broad-spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabinoids except for THC, the compound that causes the “high” feeling that marijuana is infamous for. Full-spectrum, on the other hand, typically contains about 0.3% THC. However, such a small amount of THC really isn’t enough to affect you.
CBD Product Sources
The location of where your CBD is grown may also be of concern to you. If you’re unsure, a good rule of thumb is to stick with CBD oils from the United States to ensure you have a consistent and safe experience.
Some of the environmental factors, such as soil pH or the climate, can have a massive impact on the growth of hemp and the condition of the oil it produces. Sticking with what you know will better ensure you understand the conditions of the source, and also give you confidence regarding that source if you buy within the United States.
While cannabinoids produce greater results when they work together, it’s important to realize that any other additives are unnecessary and add nothing at all. The one exception may be if you want a flavored CBD oil, in which case you should make sure the flavors come from all-natural sources such as essential oils. If you do see that a CBD product has been given some sort of additive, it will still be safe to consume, but the effects of the CBD may be less potent.
The way your CBD is packaged matters more than you might think. The packaging is responsible for slowing the natural deterioration of the CBD and preventing the cannabinoids from dissipating into the atmosphere. While it’s always inevitable, CBD companies strive to improve upon packaging to give CBD products a longer shelf life.
CBD products packaged in a glass container will usually be more effective than plastic ones. This is because glass is impermeable, which means that moisture cannot pass through the packaging. However, one advantage of plastics is the ability to utilize amber containers. The containers' amber color protects the product within from the harmful UV rays of the sun that would otherwise dilute the effects and potency of the CBD.
Third-Party Testing Reports
While doing your research is always important, it never hurts to get a third-party testimonial. Research on CBD products conducted by a third party keeps companies honest because the third party does not have any bias or motivation to cover up defects or abnormal ingredients within the CBD. Furthermore, because CBD products are relatively new on the market, the FDA has not yet set many guidelines for CBD products. A third party can help keep you informed about your products by thoroughly examining their composition, making it one of our best tips for choosing quality CBD products if you’re completely at a loss, or if you desire to take an in-depth look into the products you’re consuming.