In the rapidly growing CBD industry, which is still largely unregulated, it’s a case of buyer beware.
But with a wide range of studies suggesting that CBD reduces feelings of anxiety and stress, and numerous studies indicating that CBD may help with falling asleep and staying asleep, CBD is gaining popularity at an astounding rate for anxiety, depression, insomnia and other conditions.
So, with this boom in popularity, more and more products and brands are entering the market every day. However, with little, and in some cases no regulation, around the farming, production quality, batch testing and product labeling, the lack of proper regulation is leaving consumers vulnerable and at risk.
To help, we’ve listed the Golden Five - a list of trust guidelines to follow when choosing CBD products.
How to Choose CBD products you can trust - The Golden Five
Before buying CBD oil, to ensure the product you are considering is high quality and safe, check the website or product packaging for these “CBD Golden Five” markers of trust:
- Origin of ingredients and product: Where do the ingredients come from and where is the product made? Does the product come from a country that is recognised for exceptional on-farm and manufacturing practices that result in nutritious ingredients and safe, high quality products?
- Product purity: Does the product only contain ingredients that are essential for functional and therapeutic effects? In CBD oils, the only two necessary ingredients are a quality carrier oil and CBD oil.
- Chemically green: Is the CBD oil made with a clean and safe extraction process that doesn’t pose unnecessary health risks?
- CBD potency: Has the product undergone third-party lab testing to verify the CBD potency? Are the results for the product batch available on the product packaging or the company website to certify this??
- Ingredient safety profile: Has the product been tested in a third-party lab for harmful ingredients? Again, is the certification of this testing available on the product packaging or the company website? Make sure the results are for the batch of the product you are buying.
Let’s unpack each of these markers of trust:
At a glance:
Quality of Ingredients
Have you ever wondered, what makes the difference in the overall quality of CBD oil?
CBD oil is extracted from the hemp plant. Like any plant, hemp's health is determined by farming practices and soil quality.
Plants that are grown using organic farming methods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts. Organic hemp contains fewer pesticides and results in healthier soil.
Healthy soils produce healthy crops that in turn nourish people. Soils supply essential nutrients, water, oxygen that our hemp plants need to grow and flourish.
So when it comes to choosing a CBD oil, it’s essential to know exactly where the hemp has been and grown and the farming practices that have been used. Has it been grown with organic farming methods, and sourced from a country that is known for quality farming practices, where the public’s demands for quality and safety with regard to food are high?
Does the product contain only the minimal ingredients required to provide maximum effect? The fact is, CBD oil doesn’t need anything else than pure, full spectrum CBD oil and a carrier oil.
Anything else is unnecessary and may be a filler that dilutes the CBD content. Sunflower oil is ideal as a carrier oil as it is rich in vitamin E, which maximizes the absorption of CBD and enhances its effect.
Many manufacturers are adding unnecessary fillers, fragrances and flavours, resulting in a product that ends up resembling a watered down sweet beverage, rather than an oil that provides therapeutic benefit.
In an industry where regulation hasn’t kept up with supply, knowledge is power. It pays to learn and understand as much as you can. One of the most important considerations to make when buying CBD oil is the method of extraction it uses.
Some brands use chemical solvents such as lighter fluid (butane) and hexane, when manufacturing their CBD. This can result in beneficial plant compounds becoming damaged by the butane or the process used to heat the butane.
Some manufacturers use hexane because it makes the extraction process faster, however the long-term health effects of using this synthetic extracting agent are unclear, so it’s not an extraction solvent we recommend. Safer extraction methods are available to avoid unnecessary risks to health.
That’s why, when looking for a CBD oil made with the cleanest and safest extraction process, we suggest choosing a brand that uses CO2 extraction. This process uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract the plant's essential waxes, cannabinoids, and terpenes. It kills harmful bacteria too.
While CO2 extraction is the most expensive of the most commonly used extraction methods, it is the cleanest, greenest, safest extraction technique resulting in a superior, potent CBD oil.
Potency is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a CBD oil, as it largely impacts the ultimate therapeutic effectiveness. But the potency of the CBD oil also affects the cost to the manufacturer. And with the rising demand of CBD products, some unscrupulous manufacturers are putting profits before people are diluting oils to decrease costs.
Recent studies have found that purity and dosage can be unreliable in many CBD products. One study found a wide variability in CBD concentrations in tested products.. Another study found that almost 70 percent of all cannabidiol products sold online are either over or under labeled. Another study indicated similar results.
Despite the lack of tight regulation in the industry, there is some regulatory testing being conducted. As a result, CBD companies across the globe are being warned and blacklisted for manufacturing and selling CBD products that do not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to contain.
But for those products that have not yet been tested, in a market that is increasing at such a rapid rate, how is it possible to ensure that products contain the CBD strength that is advertised?
Many CBD users are asking if there is a way to differentiate the “snake oil” from quality CBD products that contain what the label states, is safe, and may provide the anticipated therapeutic effects. We suggest only buying CBD products that have been independently lab-tested (we’ll go on to discuss this later in this article).
Avoid ultra-refined oils.
Some brands use refined CBD oil, which they market as “purer” oils. One form of refined oil is “CBD isolate”. However rather than providing more concentrated effects, the ultra-refining process strips away the powerful compounds that are believed to help achieve the desired effects, and that may result in a more effective and superior CBD oil.
For this reason, we suggest only buying Full Spectrum CBD oil. This oil is commonly considered more effective than oil that is made with CBD isolate. Full Spectrum CBD oil retains multiple cannabis plant extracts, including essential oils, terpenes, and other cannabinoids, such as cannabinol.
Ingredient safety profile
Our modern world is also a highly toxic one. Research indicates that certain environmental and chemical toxins may alter the brain in ways that help set depression in motion, and have many negative effects on health. Alongside inferior ingredients, substandard farming and manufacturing can also result in products that contain toxic chemicals. Toxins can come from insecticides, herbicides, heavy metals and more that are often found in everyday products.
Although regulatory bodies are conducting quality and safety tests, the reality is that demand for CBD has grown so rapidly, and the industry has diversified so much, that few of these bodies have been able to keep up. So unless you know what to look out for, you may end up buying a diluted or dangerous concoction of oils and fillers, rather than the natural, potent oil that is being promoted by the brand.
We suggest checking the label or website of the CBD brand you are considering to buy or use to ensure it’s farmed in a location that is known to have quality farming and manufacturing practices, and farmed with no harmful chemicals, using 100% organically farmed products.
Independent Lab Testing of CBD
Reputable manufacturers and brands understand that false claims and unsafe products will irreparably damage consumer trust and destroy their business in the long-term. This is why some brands pay to have their products tested fairly by an independent lab.
By displaying the lab results for each batch on the product packaging, the consumer can verify that what is stated on the package, is exactly what’s included in their product.
While the cost of this testing process and certification, for the manufacturer, is significant, it shows their commitment to transparency and integrity. In an industry that is still not completely regulated, it helps consumers identify products and brands they can trust.
If a brand doesn’t have their CBD products tested and certified by independent labs, it leaves consumers wondering whether the products would pass the test.
The bottom line when choosing CBD for anxiety, depression and insomnia?
When choosing a CBD oil to support mental wellbeing, it’s important to ensure the product you choose meets each of the Golden Five safety and quality guidelines.
Always check the product or website to confirm that the product comes from a place that is recognised for exceptional on-farm and manufacturing practices. Organic ingredients from a single source is also a marker of trust. Look for oils that only contain ingredients that are essential for functional and therapeutic effects.
Choose a CBD oil that is made with a clean and safe extraction process that results in a quality oil and doesn’t pose unnecessary health risks, such as CO2 extraction. Finally, make sure the product has undergone third party lab testing and the batch testing certification for safety and potency for the individual product is available on the website or packaging.
If you want a CBD oil that ticks all off the The Golden Five boxes…
Get Secrets of Eve. We created Secrets of Eve, to fill the trust gap and offer the best support for women with anxiety, depression and insomnia.