Research is changing the way that we look at cannabis and cannabis-related compounds. What was once widely stigmatized has become respected as an effective health and beauty supplement. The widespread legalization of cannabidiol (CBD) oil has seen demand for it increase exponentially.
In other words, CBD oil has gone from a controversial but trendy concept to a legitimate player on store shelves across the country. Once upon a time, any cannabis product was associated with “getting high.” In reality, CBD can work independently of the psychoactive components of the plant to alleviate pain, swelling, and even some symptoms of anxiety and psychological disorders. The human endocannabinoid system has an impact on nearly every part of the body, modulating many physiological systems—and CBD has been shown to have positive effects on several ailments from pain to epilepsy.
The issue with the rise of CBD lies in this: the accelerating popularity of CBD oil is pushing some companies to source their products from less-than-reputable manufacturers. This is one thing that CBD For Life has worked hard to avoid. We believe it’s important that anyone purchasing hemp products understand the dangers of getting something substandard.
What constitutes “low-quality” CBD?
With the 2014 “Farm Bill,” industrial hemp (also called cannabis sativa) has become a major cash crop across the country. People that don’t have the knowledge or resources to properly cultivate the crop are trying to push out inferior products.
Low-quality products often contain inconsistent levels of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis which is widely controlled. You could end up selling or producing something that isn’t entirely legal if you don’t take the time to properly source your CBD from a trusted operation. It could also contain chemical solvents and byproducts that can inadvertently poison consumers over a long period of use. In short, poorly vetting your CBD oil could get you arrested and make people sick, neither of which are good for business.
In addition to those consequences, some products may not contain enough CBD to have the desired effect. Imagine a customer expecting to find some relief with a CBD tincture or pain spray, only to find that it’s about as effective as a placebo. This isn’t fair to those who could truly benefit from CBD, but end up giving up on it because of a bad experience with an inferior product. Knowledge is key when it comes to sourcing the highest-quality CBD.
The ethics of CBD production
Not only is the CBD oil often polluted with chemical solvents, it’s also being made in a way that puts workers at risk. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has made an effort to improve working conditions, and many reputable operations are developing safety management systems in response. As the industry flourishes, state and federal organizations are expected to begin enforcing safety regulations on a much larger scale.
What does this mean for the production of CBD? Although the thought of regular OSHA inspections may not inspire joy in producers, it does mean that the quality of CBD oil will only improve from here. New safety standards as well as quality standards will help to set the high-end operations apart, allowing retailers to choose from a better pool of CBD distributors.
It also means a more ethical approach to the manufacturing process, which is incredibly important to companies that only want the best for customers and employees.
What to consider before choosing a CBD supplier
There are some fantastic sources of CBD as a supplemental dietary product out there, it’s just a matter of knowing what to look for. Fortunately, there are numerous suppliers that are working to improve quality control standards in every capacity. There are several things to consider before you buy, use, or sell any CBD product, including:
Ask about soil quality and chemical fertilizers.
When growing any crop, it’s important to keep in mind that the contaminants in the soil can carry over into the plant. If a farmer is using harsh chemical fertilizers or pesticides, they can be absorbed into the hemp. Once they’re in the hemp, they carry over into the CBD oil. This means that if a consumer uses a tincture or even a topical rub, those chemicals are making their way into their body.
Hemp is what’s known as a “hyperaccumulator.” This is a plant that rapidly absorbs anything that’s in the soil. Not only are chemicals an issue, but heavy metals can also make their way into the plant when it’s grown on low-quality land. Know where the hemp was grown, and what was used to keep it healthy. High-quality hemp starts with rich soil and natural pesticides and fertilizers. U.S.-grown hemp is held to higher standards by the department of agriculture, and this information should be readily available.
Take the extraction methods into consideration.
Even the highest quality hemp can produce low-quality CBD oil when the wrong extraction methods are used. If you wouldn’t be okay with ingesting propane or butane, then you certainly don’t want it being used as a solvent to extract your CBD oil. These methods are cheap, but they pollute the finished product and lead to inconsistent amounts of CBD.
Ethanol extraction is still affordable, and essentially uses grain alcohol to purify the oil while keeping the cannabinoid levels fairly consistent. While this is a largely acceptable method, the top-shelf method is supercritical CO2 extraction. This combines carbon dioxide with freezing temperatures in a high-pressure environment to extract an extremely pure form of CBD oil. This may translate into a higher cost for consumers, but many believe it also produces a more effective oil.
Understand “whole plant” and “isolates.”
To be fully informed about what you’re ingesting or using, you should know the difference between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD. Whole plant or full-spectrum means making the CBD oil from the entire hemp plant, versus making it from isolates, or only parts of the plant. A whole plant approach creates a more consistent product that’s generally considered more effective. However, use discernment—the final use for the CBD will dictate whether the whole plant or isolates are more appropriate.
Look out for third party testing.
Third party testing is a fail-safe. It checks that THC levels are within the acceptable range, the product is free of harmful chemicals, and that it has a consistent and therapeutic level of CBD. All of this is essential when choosing a CBD oil or product to fulfill a specific purpose. It also helps to establish the legality of the products before shipping them to a less “cannabis-friendly” state.
When quality matters, find a company that you can trust. CBD For Life cares about each and every customer. We know that our products can improve the quality of your life, and we source our CBD with that in mind. Contact us for more information on our products, or share your questions and comments with our online community!