Are you ready to buy CBD oil and discover just what all the Hemp CBD oil craziness is about? When it comes to selecting and purchasing your first CBD product, here’s a checklist of the most important things you need to know to make sure you get the right product for YOU.
it comes to your (or a loved one’s) health and wellness… it’s critical to be an informed consumer so you don’t waste your money and efforts on something that just won’t work. Your longevity, as well as daily vitality to meet life in all its glorious complexities… and your ability to truly enjoy this life you’re living… are vital health goals. You deserve to feel great in your body.hen
When you hear about all the benefits of CBD – and specifically CBD hemp oil – it can generate a massive case of either analysis-paralysis… or shiny object syndrome, which can have you rushing for instant gratification, just to eventually leave you with buyer’s remorse.
Let’s NOT have that happen, okay?
We got your back with this buyer’s checklist of 13 things to look out for whenever you buy any CBD oil products.
Here’s exactly what you need to know before hitting that “buy” button:
1. Go all-natural or organic!
Hemp plants (and the cannabis plant in general) absorb things from the soil they’re planted in — and they do it really well. It’s what’s known as a “hyperaccumulator” and is even used in bioremediation. That is… in real-person speak… hemp plants can be used to clean-up toxic soil. Which. Is. Ahh-mazing!
BUT, it also means it’s critical to choose your CBD products from organic and all-natural sources to ensure that the hemp plant used to create YOUR product didn’t just soak up a world-record-amount of toxins.
Keep in mind that not all growers can certify that they are organic – even if they adhere to the strictest standards. For example, Canadian-grown hemp is some of the highest-quality industrial hemp in the world – but most of them can’t be certified organic in the United States.
So look for growers and manufacturers who test the soil and water for contaminants. Ask for verification that all ingredients in any product are free of pesticides, heavy metals and other pollutants.
Related Article: CBD Hemp Oil for Beginners: CBD 101
2. Consistency is key.
Look for a producer who has a method for providing consistency from bottle to bottle (or cartridge to cartridge), and can demonstrate third-party testing to ensure and prove purity. This includes plant genetics, soil testing, extraction methods, potency testing and more.
It is our responsibility as consumers to educate ourselves and enforce the values and quality standards we demand.
A good guideline is to seek a company that can secure the entire supply chain for their products, meaning they are in control of everything that happens to the hemp plant: From seed to shelf.
Any solid company will provide third-party verified batch test results that show everything going into the batch of products you’re purchasing. You may just have to email or phone them for this extra information.
3. Know the concentration.
So you’ve found a CBD oil for sale. Unfortunately, even if it has CBD in the name, that doesn’t mean there’s actual Cannabidiol CBD in the product. Crazy, right?!
Because CBD products are not currently evaluated by the FDA, companies can make untrue or misleading claims with little fear of trouble or prosecution. Therefore it’s up to each of us to do our homework on any CBD hemp oil product we want to consume or use.
Verify the actual concentration of CBD in any product you’re buying. Just because a product states “500 mg” for a “Hemp CBD Oil” doesn’t mean there’s 500 mg of actual CBD.
We strongly recommend you request or locate the third party lab results from any product manufacturer (and the lab should be certified under ISO/EIC 17025:2005). Look for a concentration between 250-1000 mg per fluid ounce of oil.
4. Avoid additives.
Don’t buy anything with preservatives or additives you can’t pronounce. And make sure the packaging is free of chemicals like Bisphenol-A (BPA) that could leach into the product. BPA is a known endocrine disruptor. We want to enhance your endocannabinoid system functions, not damage your endocrine system!
5. GMP certified (cGMP).
Look for a producer who uses the FDA’s (or their own country’s) Good Manufacturing Processes guidelines. They’re specifically designed to ensure quality in dietary supplements. Even better, the producer should have a third party GMP certification, not just claim they’re following GMP or FDA guidelines.
5. Verify THC content.
If you’re in a state or country where cannabis is legal, you can buy CBD-rich products in your local dispensary. Just be aware that if you buy in a dispensary, you’re most likely getting a marijuana-derived CBD product. And that means there may be THC included. Your dispensary budtender (as well as the product packaging) will tell you the ratio of CBD to THC and the exact mg content of each.
If you want your CBD with nearly zero THC content, make sure you’re getting a hemp-derived CBD product.
6. It’s not called “grass” for nothing.
Taste may matter to you. Hemp has a bit of an earthy, grassy quality (which makes sense for a plant), so if you don’t like that sort of flavor profile, stick with a capsule, which should be flavorless. Or choose a tincture or edible that’s flavored to mask the hemp taste.
7. Choose your delivery method.
CBD comes in many forms. Here’s a rundown of the most common ways to ingest your CBD:
- Tinctures. These are drops or sprays. They are very easy to use and have great dosage control, but they are not quite as strong as some other forms of CBD.
- Edibles. This is CBD in candy form, such as chocolate or gummies. While these are convenient and delicious, they are also expensive and it’s quite easy for some people to overeat and take a dose that’s larger than necessary. You also need to keep them out of the way of pets and children who may mistake them for actual candy.
- Capsules. Pills offer a high concentration of CBD, offer long lasting relief and don’t have an odor or taste. Capsules are a convenient choice once you know your ideal dose of CBD.
- Topicals. These are a great choice for those with muscle pain, joint pain or inflammation. A CBD-infused cream or patch is applied directly where relief is needed, for example, an arthritic knee or a sore neck. These can take awhile to take effect but are long lasting. Note: There are many lotions and topicals out there that contain hemp seed oil. While these will give you skin benefits, they won’t provide the other medicinal effects of CBD. Make sure you’re getting a full-spectrum hemp extract.
- Vape oil. This is CBD that’s been put into an oil, sometimes flavored, that turns into vapor when inhaled from a vaporizer or e-pen. These are also sometimes called e-juice or e-liquid. You take the vapor directly into your lungs. The effects are pretty much immediate. This is not always a good choice for beginners, as it requires buying a vaporizer or an e-pen, both of which cost extra and can be a little tricky to use at first.
- Pastes and concentrates. These CBD products are very strong and some can take effect quickly (within about 15 minutes) and last a relatively long time (up to 12 hours). These are not recommended for beginners who don’t yet know their dose, but can be a good choice for experienced users as you get a lot for your money with a concentrate. Note that these do have a strong hemp flavor.
If you’re just starting out, you want ease of use while you learn the ropes and fine tune your dosing. We recommend starting with a tincture or capsule.
8. How fast do you need it to work?
You should know that the method you use to take CBD will affect how long it takes to work in your body. Vaporizing CBD will have an almost immediate effect. Taking a tincture under your tongue will mean you’ll get results in 20-30 minutes. A topical application may take up to an hour to create an effect and an oral capsule or gummy can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to start working.
So, when choosing a delivery method, decide whether you need immediate relief from a vaporizer, the long lasting benefits of a concentrate, or something in between.
Many of us here at Heal thy Body keep a few different products handy, for different purposes. We like vape oils for quick relief like when popping an asprin or pain killer. We like a good oil tincture for regular daily use and overall maintenance of mood and wellness. Topicals are great for after a workout or injury, and for beauty or anti-aging goals. While edibles are fun, they’re our least favorite because they take the longest to activate and they often include sugar and other unhealthy chemicals or ingredients.
9. Full spectrum all the way!
Choose a full spectrum (sometimes called broad spectrum or whole plant) product instead of a CBD isolate. This will give you the synergistic benefits we discussed in Article 2 of this series.
In a nutshell, you want your CBD the same way you want your honey or wheat. When you’re ingesting the whole plant or product as nature made it, all its enzymes, nutrients and molecules work synergistically to deliver the greatest benefit. On the contrary, when sugar, flour, and other products are refined and produced from isolated parts of the plant, you end up with things out of balance. And it can throw your body out of balance as well. Such results are counter to the wellness benefits of CBD and so you want to be mindful that you’re working with full-spectrum hemp extracts that contain CBD… and not CBD isolates.
10. Extraction method matters!
You want all the naturally occuring goodies in the hemp plant. The method used to extract your hemp oil will have an impact on the potency and quality of the final product. Here’s a rundown in the types of extraction processes most commonly used:
- CO2 extraction. This is our preferred extraction method. It produces a safe product, free from solvents and contaminants. Basically, carbon dioxide is pressured to act as a solvent and is used to pull phytochemicals (including CBD) from the plant. There are three methods of this type of extraction: supercritical (high temperature, high pressure), subcritical (low temperature, high pressure) and mid-critical (pressure and temperature falls between the two). One drawback of this method is the expense of the expertise and equipment needed to control the temperature and pressure of the carbon dioxide. But in our experience, the highest-quality and most effective CBD products use C02 extraction.
- Olive Oil extraction. This is a safe and inexpensive method of extraction that can even be done at home. First, the plant material is heated to activate the chemical compounds within the plant. Next, the plant matter is added to the olive oil and heated for a period of time to release the phytochemicals. This method is labor intensive and not practical to do at scale. Also, the end product is pretty delicate and needs to be kept in a cool dark place to prevent degradation.
- Alcohol extraction. This process uses alcohol, usually ethanol, as a solvent to extract the cannabinoids from the hemp plant. The process itself is dangerous, as alcohol is flammable. This process does preserve the terpenoids that can contribute to the “entourage effect.” Alcohol extraction is often used to create vape oil. You’ll also notice that if you buy a “C02 Vape Oil” if you look closely at the ingredients on the package, it will often state “extracted with C02 and/or ethanol.” So again, do your homework to be sure of what you’re buying. 🙂
- Solvent extraction. This process uses chemical solvents such hexane and butane to extract the cannabinoids from the hemp plant. Thsi process is also a dangerous one, as flammable chemicals are used, and there’s a chance that residual butane in the product can irritate your lungs. While this process preserves terpenes, we don’t recommend it because of the toxins it can leave behind in the oil.
11. Buy enough for a good start.
CBD gives you the most health benefits when used consistently. To reap the benefits of CBD oil, make sure you buy enough to give yourself a good start and enough time at a consistently decent concentration to really see if it’s working for you.
This means figuring out your starting dose and how many times a day you’ll be taking it to calculate how much you need per day, then making sure you buy enough for about 12-14 days so you can give it time to work in your body.
12. Skip the fancy claims.
Companies shouldn’t be making claims that their product is the absolute best or that they’re “rated #1.” Such claims are meaningless and unfounded. Also just because a company says they’re scientific, or the purest, or any other claim, doesn’t make it true. You’ll have to verify any of those claims by requesting third-party lab results on their products.
The most important things to verify are: Extraction method, actual CBD content per serving or mg/ml, absence of chemicals or toxins, and actual THC content to ensure it won’t create any unwanted psychoactive effects.
13. You get what you pay for.
Don’t necessarily buy the cheapest product! CBD oil is truly a get-what-you-pay-for proposition. There’s a big production cost to create a quality product and that should be reflected in the price.
On the other hand, beware of super-expensive CBD products that don’t provide verifiable CBD concentration per serving and third-party lab results. It’s ok if they don’t list these on their website, but you should be able to easily verify quality via a quick email or phone call requesting lab test results.
The great news is that CBD is now legal in all 50 states and no longer a grey area of commerce. That means that over the next few years, we’ll see regulatory oversight begin to manage and enforce a lot of the quality standards we are currently forced to ensure ourselves.
Just rest assured, for something as health-transforming as a proper CBD oil, it’s worth the trouble to make sure you’re buying the right one!
In the next article of this series, we’ll look at the benefits, effects and side effects of CBD and talk about how to figure out the right dose for your body.