There are now thousands of CBD oil brands on the market … and most are complete junk.
Case-in-point: a research paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that nearly 70% of CBD products sold online were mislabeled, and many contained THC levels that could potentially cause “intoxication or impairment, especially among children,” according to the research team, which included scientists from Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania.
In this article, we will show you a 5-point checklist you can use to ensure you’re picking a CBD product that’s safe, effective, and gets you the most bang for your buck.
If you scroll below the graphic, you’ll get a detailed explanation of each of the five points here, along with references and citations.
#1: Choose CBD Products That Are US-Grown and Avoid Ones From Overseas
Many of the bestselling brands on the market use hemp grown in Asia and Europe. Regulations are different overseas and there’s a chance you’re getting hemp grown on soil contaminated with heavy metals that’s sprayed with all types of chemicals not approved by the U.S. EPA.
That’s why it’s important to choose CBD products made with U.S.-grown hemp (from states with a regulated hemp growing program like Colorado, Kentucky, Oregon, etc.) rather than
Consumer Reports suggests looking for companies in states that have legalized the recreational and medical use of cannabis since they tend to have stricter standards.
#2: Choose CBD Products Made From Organic Hemp
This eliminates about 90% of the products on the market today. But there’s a good reason we’re making this recommendation: if your CBD doesn’t come from organic hemp, there’s a solid chance it’s tainted with chemical pesticides and herbicides.
When hemp is grown organically it can improve the soil, making it a more sustainable option for the environment.
Most CBD is grown in non-organic soils, which are higher in pesticides and toxins like heavy metals. Some of those chemicals inevitably end up getting absorbed by the plant, which can result in various negative health effects on both humans and the environment, according to research.
Just like food, paying a little more for organic may be worth it if you want to avoid these contaminants.
#3: Choose CBD That’s Full Spectrum and Not Isolate
Contrary to popular belief, CBD products with zero THC just aren’t as effective.
Full spectrum or “whole plant” CBD contains numerous beneficial cannabinoids, whereas CBD isolates only contains one.
Full spectrum CBD is considered to be much more effective due to the Entourage Effect, which means the other cannabinoids work synergistically to provide additional benefits vs. just using CBD by itself.
On top of that, full spectrum CBD requires smaller doses than isolates to achieve an effect.
So choose “full spectrum” hemp-based CBD extracts, not isolates, distillate or
products labeled “pure CBD” or “no THC”. (Note: if you are at risk of losing your job because of drug screening, there’s a very small chance of testing positive when you use full spectrum CBD. For that reason, we do recommend avoiding all CBD products to err on the safe side).
#4: Make Sure Your CBD Is Tested for Safety
How do you know that the CBD you’re buying online has what it says on the label? The unfortunate truth is, up to 80% of products do not.
Look for a barcode on the product label with a link to lab test results that show CBD, THC, and other cannabinoid levels and testing for mold, pathogens, heavy metals, and pesticides. If the product you’re using doesn’t have this, it’s a red flag.
It’s the industry standard now and one of the easiest ways to make sure you’re getting what the product label says.
#5: Choose CBD That Is CO2 Processed
Make sure your CBD is CO2 extracted. The product label or company website should say so. CO2 processing is the cleanest, chemical-free method to extract the CBD from the hemp plant. Other manufacturers use chemical solvents, which can have unwanted side effects. According to Organa Labs:
The most advantageous aspect of CO2 extraction is the fact that when used as a solvent, carbon dioxide leaves behind no residues, which is critical to providing customers with the purest form of cannabis oil. When compared to other extraction methods like butane extraction, which can leave behind trace levels of heavy metals, CO2 is the clear choice for those seeking the finest in extracted oil.