If you’ve been thinking about trying cannabidiol a.k.a CBD, you’re not alone. One of the first things you’ll notice when you go to pick some up, though, is the sheer amount of choices you have. Do you want to buy edibles or dried flowers? If you decide CBD oil is the right option, do you want full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or a CBD isolate?
It’s enough to leave your head spinning. Not all CBD products are created equal, so how do you know you’re getting the best? We put together this guide to help you find the product that fits your lifestyle.
3 Things to Look for When Buying CBD
There are quite a few different factors to consider when you’re buying CBD. These three are the most important, and you should look for them every time you try a new product.
- Quality – The better the quality, the more benefit you’ll receive. How do you determine quality though? We’ll look at growing methods, laboratory testing and extraction processes.
- Price – Quality has a price. We’ll break down what price can tell you about a CBD product.
- Delivery – Finally, we take a look at concentration and dosage. We’ll also go over why it’s a good idea to see a doctor before you buy.
1. Quality Matters
Get the Plant’s Life Story
The first thing to do when you’re considering any cannabidiol product is to ask about the plant itself. Where was it grown? How was it grown?
These questions are important because producers don’t all have the same standards. As a general rule of thumb, plants grown outside the United States are of lower quality. The reason? International growers don’t have to stick to the strict rules and regulations that American producers do.
Consider the case of pesticides. Many types of cancer have been linked to herbicides and pesticides. Some growers, often those outside the U.S., use these harsh chemicals on their plants. If your CBD contains something like glyphosate, it could do you more harm than good. That’s one reason many growers in the U.S. use organic methods of farming.
Organic producers also rotate crops, which is better for the plants and the soil. Plants that are grown using organic methods often have better nutrition compositions as well. For hemp plants, this could mean more CBD or a better terpene profile. Growers usually have to meet certification requirements to advertise their products as organic. These requirements can be quite strict, which protects the quality of the product.
How do you know where your CBD came from? Many producers use systems that let you trace the plant’s production from seed to sale.
Independent Testing Guarantees Quality
U.S.-grown CBD products are usually superior because they’re rigorously tested. A third-party lab usually conducts the tests. Look for CBD products that have been tested in an ISO/IEC 17025:2017 Accredited Laboratory. This type of testing ensures the CBD in your bottle is pesticide-free. It also controls for bacteria, fungus, heavy metals, and residual solvents. Again, be sure to look for producers who emphasize transparency in their production processes. If you can’t tell where the plant came from, you can’t guarantee the quality.
The Extraction Process
Cannabidiol occurs naturally in cannabis plants. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD derived from hemp plants is legal across the nation.
CBD oil is removed from the hemp plant using one of several extraction processes. The simplest processes usually involve harsh solvents. These can leave behind a chemical residue in the oil afterward.
Other processes yield a safer, higher-quality product. The most reliable process uses carbon dioxide (CO2) under pressure and low temperatures. This process yields the highest concentration of CBD and avoids introducing contaminants.
The extraction process can affect whether the product is full-spectrum or CBD isolate. Full-spectrum CBD products use processes that leave flavonoids and terpenes intact. Full-spectrum products also make use of the whole plant, so you get everything the plant has to offer.
Other extraction methods focus on CBD alone. They create pure CBD products, but the lack of other substances could reduce CBD’s entourage effect. There’s considerable debate about whether full-spectrum or CBD isolate is best.
One thing should be clear. When you’re shopping for CBD products, always ask how the CBD was extracted.
2. What the Price Says
When you’re shopping for CBD products, one of the first things you’ll notice is price. You may be attracted to more affordable options on the shelf, especially if you’re trying CBD for the first time. Price is often an indicator of CBD product quality, though. The higher the price the higher the cost it was to make the product.
Costs increase when you use more natural methods, such as organic growing methods and CO2 extraction.
- Organic – Organic growing methods use natural pest and disease control, as well as techniques like crop rotation. This improves the quality of the plants, and it helps the earth too. It can result in lower yields, as well as being more time-intensive.
- CO2 extraction – Results in a safer, purer product. It uses pressurized carbon dioxide as a solvent, versus less expensive substances like alcohol or other chemicals. Pressure and low temperatures turn the CO2 into a liquid, which is an energy-intensive process. Most producers and customers see the higher cost as more than worth it for a better quality product.
A higher price is the trade-off for buying a high-quality product from a reputable U.S. company. CBD products are an investment in your health and well-being, so you want the best of the best.
There are many products that make a good starting place for the CBD beginner. You might want to consider products such as:
If you’re looking for some quick relief, CBD flower is an excellent choice. Oregon-based USA Hemp CBD’s products are organic, lab-tested by third parties and follow a seed-to-shelf tracking process. Golden Redwood is a cross between Sour Tsunami and Cannatonic, two strains known for their potent CBD power.
Everything you expect from pure CBD oil in a convenient, 30mg-capsule. Papa & Barkley is based in Colorado. As a producer, they seek to make sure each product is of the highest quality. They focus on solvent-free extraction and the use of the whole plant, resulting in broad and full spectrum CBD products that contain the entourage effect of terpenes and flavonoids.
CBD isn’t the only cannabinoid with health benefits, and some research suggests THC and CBD work best as a team. If you want to get the benefits of both cannabinoids, you can check out some of these products.
For a delicious, easy to dose treat designed to help you relax, enjoy Plus gummies. Their Indica strain will calm you down while the 9:1 THC to CBD will give you the entourage effect of both chemicals mixed into these low calorie, naturally flavored blackberry and lemon gummies. They are gluten-free and kosher as well.
For a potent CBD strain that delivers quick relief in the easy to use cartridges for your vape pen, try the AC/DC line by ABX. This sativa-dominant strain means that it provides that euphoric, stimulating feel with a low enough THC that the psychoactive effect is not felt. The flavor profile of AC/DC offers an earthy, sweet taste to boot.
3. Product Strength and Potency
As you research CBD products, you’ll want to pay attention to the strength of any product. When CBD oil is extracted, it’s highly concentrated. High-concentration products are usually quite potent.
The right strength will depend on what you’re looking for. If you want the medicinal benefits of CBD, then a concentrated product might be right. If you’re hoping CBD will help you focus during a study session or a hard workout, then you might want something less potent.
The good news is most products are labeled in a similar way, which makes it easy to know how much CBD you’re getting. A bottle labeled “1,000 mg CBD Oil” has 1,000 milligrams of CBD in it. A high-quality product will have anywhere from 250 mg of CBD per fluid ounce, up to 1,000 mg per fluid ounce. Choosing which dose is right for your medical needs should always be discussed with your doctor.
When In Doubt, Talk To A Doctor
The right dose of CBD could help you manage everything from headaches to insomnia. If you’re not sure of how much CBD to take, it’s time to talk to a doctor.
Finding the right dose is easier when you have an experienced medical marijuana practitioner guiding you. They can give you expert advice and make recommendations about the dose, strains, and types of cannabis that will help you most.
Although it can seem daunting to try CBD for the first time, it doesn’t need to be. Get in touch with Heally’s expert team of physicians to talk about how CBD could help you and be mindful to purchase quality CBD. When it comes to your health, quality of care matters.