| Evaluating CBD

CBD Criteria: What should you be looking for in your hemp oil and hemp products?

What should your criteria be for hemp CBD products? Not all hemp products are created equal. Because CBD is not overseen by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at this point, you must scrutinize your purchases even more. When shopping in an online retail CBD store, your criteria for quality hemp products should include the following:

  • Where is the hemp grown?
  • Is it industrial hemp?
  • Where is the CBD made?
  • How is the CBD extracted?
  • Does it have THC? If so, how much?
  • Is it full spectrum or an isolate?
  • Are the lab results posted online?

CBD lab test

CBD Criteria #1: It should be from industrial hemp sourced in the USA or Europe.

First and foremost, the hemp should be “industrial hemp.” If the hemp is from the United States, it should be organic. While Europe doesn’t use this classification, it has extremely strict regulations that exceed what we call “organic.”

CBD Criteria #2: It should be Made in the USA.

Manufacturers in the USA have much higher standards for hemp products than do many other producers of hemp CBD products. The quality control is in place, and that is important.

CBD Criteria #3: It should be extracted using the CO2 method.

The CBD extract oils should be extracted using a method called CO2 extraction. This method is very safe and provides a pure end product, but is also very expensive. Because it is an expensive method to extract the oil, not every manufacturer uses it. Verify that your CBD has been extracted this way. 

To extract CBD using this method, the lab uses pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) to pull CBD (and other phytochemicals) from the plant. The nice thing is that CO2 acts like a solvent at certain temperatures and pressures. However, it possesses none of the dangers. While it is safe and effective, it also involves very expensive equipment.

These sophisticated machines are used to freeze the CO2 gas and compress it into a cold liquid state. By ensuring the temperature drops below -69 degrees Fahrenheit while increasing the pressure to over 75 pounds per square inch (psi), you have your starting point for CO2 Cannabis extraction.

CBD Criteria #4: It should have less than 0.3% THC.

CBD does naturally counteract some of the pyschotropic characteristics of THC. However, to be legal in the majority of the states, the CBD that you buy needs to have less than 0.3% THC.

CBD Criteria #5: Know if you are getting “full spectrum” or an isolate.

When hemp CBD products are referred to as full spectrum (also called whole plant CBD), it means that the hemp products in question contain all other cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. These other cannabinoids include, but are not limited to, CBN (Cannabinol), CBG (Cannabigerol), and THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin). Along with these cannabinoids, full spectrum oil also contains trace amounts of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). However, the THC levels must be below a concentration of 0.3% as mentioned above.

Alternatively, CBD isolate is simply purified CBD that has been extracted from hemp plants and isolated from the other cannabinoids. Isolates have zero THC, and no other cannabinoids.

Why does this matter?

The pie chart from medium.com below illustrates some of the qualities that the different cannabinoids possess. Depending on what you are looking for, an isolate may be just fine. In other cases, you would want a full spectrum.

CBD criteria

It once was believed that CBD isolates were more potent than those that are full spectrum. This, however, is not correct. In a study done with mice, the researchers determined that full spectrum provides more benefits. They also found that increasing a dose of full spectrum CBD increases the relief whereas increasing the dosage of an isolate creates little change in the results.

Nonetheless, there is a place for isolates. Because isolates have zero THC, they are safer for those who have to undergo drug testing, as even the trace amounts of THC (under 0.3%) can make a drug test positive for marijuana.

CBD Criteria #6: COAs should be provided from independent testing laboratories.

Lab tests aka COAs (Certificates of Authenticity) should not only be conducted on every batch of hemp products made by the manufacturer in question, but those results should be easily available and posted on the online retail CBD store or in the bricks-and-mortar storefront. These lab results include information about the quantity of the different cannabinoids in a supplement, including how much THC is present. They also typically indicate the source of the hemp. Note: This online CBD oil store DOES provide COAs for the products sold here.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of which CBD criteria are important to investigate when selecting the right CBD extract oils and hemp products for you.