You’ve heard all about the benefits of CBD and you’re ready to try it, but should you just grab the first product you see at the local gas station? Unless you know what to look for, the immediate answer to that question is a resounding NO.
Aside from varying levels of CBD, these products are not regulated and many of them have been found to contain unwanted levels of THC (the cannabinoid responsible for the high with marijuana) and other ingredients.
Cannabis plants that have over 0.3% THC are considered marijuana by the federal government, while those that contain 0.3% or less THC are considered “industrial hemp” and, in most states, can legally be farmed. Industrial hemp can be turned into a variety of products or formulated into CBD for use in oils, which can be infused into edibles. tinctures, topical solutions, and capsules.
If the product you use isn’t from industrial hemp plants, you could fail employment or court-ordered drug screenings, or even face other undesirable consequences. Be sure to look for an indication that the product is Hemp Farm Bill Certified which will mean that it is indeed below that 0.3% threshold.
Whether you’re thinking about trying CBD, a novice user, or enjoy dosing daily, it’s extremely important to know exactly what you’re using.
Do They Test Their Products?
Accredited manufacturers not only test their products for THC, they ensure that they are free from other contaminants as well. It is well known that the cannabis plant readily absorbs pesticides, heavy metals, and other chemicals potentially harmful to humans. To protect against these sort of contaminants, the company should use validated methods to not only frequently test their growing crops, but the finished products as well.
As most states don’t require testing, it’s up to the CBD manufacturers to self-police. This is why it is extremely important to learn everything you can about the company before consuming their products — do they test both CBD and THC levels, as well as certify that they are contaminant free?
Don’t be afraid to ask for a product’s certificate of analysis (COA). This report will show testing results for CBD and THC levels, as well as any presence of contaminants. As there aren’t actual laws requiring a COA on CBD products, having it means that the manufacturer voluntarily has their products tested. This is usually a really good indication that they not only care about their products but the value they bring to their customers.
If a retail or online store doesn’t have a COA or refuses to share it with you, you should avoid both the product and the seller.
Where Was it Grown?
A lot of the hemp used for CBD products in the U.S. comes from Colorado, Oregon, or Kentucky. However, there are also manufacturers that import their hemp from overseas.
While Colorado and other states check THC levels and ensure that illegal pesticides are not used, hemp grown overseas is not subject to any sort of testing guidelines. Check the label to see where it was grown and if it isn’t listed or shows as imported, you should probably forego giving that product a try unless it comes with a COA.
What is the CBD Amount?
Look for products that show how much CBD is in each dose as well as the entire product. Dosages, which are generally in milligrams, can vary quite drastically depending on the manufacturer and type of product. Most experts suggest that you start with a relatively low dose, such as a 10mg per dose tinctures.
One thing to watch out for is products that only list the total amount of “cannabinoids” they contain, not specifically indicating the CBD concentration. Some manufacturers use this practice in hopes of attracting less attention from the FDA and their products could include not only THC and CBD but also dozens of other compounds as well.
Some CBD products are simply marked as hemp products that are “whole-plant,” “full-spectrum,” or rich in other compounds such as various fatty acids from the plant. If you are interested in trying a product like that, check the COA to verify the CBD and THC levels.
Just because the package says it’s CBD, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting what you think. Read the label and perhaps do a little research before deciding to give one of those products a try.
Watch What They Say
While the FDA has cracked down on quite a few companies offering CBD products online with health claims that aren’t allowed, you may occasionally come across some. According to federal law, prescription drugs are the only products allowed to make health claims and this is only after they undergo extensive testing for safety and effectiveness. If the package claims the product can stop migraines or “guarantees” it can treat any sort of ailment, you should steer clear.
A Warning to Those That Vape CBD
If you prefer to use a vape pen to dose with CBD, you need to ensure that the vape oil is made with “solvent-free oils.” Some concentrated CBD oils made for vaping have been found to contain propylene glycol which, when burned at high temperatures, can degrade into formaldehyde. This chemical reaction can cause eye and nose irritation and even increase your risk for asthma and even cancer.
As you can see, when it comes to using CBD products, you should generally avoid impulse buys. Good CBD products are providing much-needed relief to people all over the country and now that you know what to look for, you should be able to confidently find the right one for you.