Recently, a friend of mine told me a Texas-owned grocery chain is now selling CBD oil. He said, “They had two full end-cap displays of it.” My first thought, cannabis-derivate products are entering the mainstream market. However, I have questions, and so should you as the consumer.
The cannabis industry is mostly unregulated. Thus, there few standards placed on the manufactures and retailers. So what does this mean? It means a CBD brand must independently value operating ethically and transparently. A brand operating by these standards will prevent harm.
In a previous blog post, top 5 questions about CBD, I stated, “GOOD CBD is NEVER at the GAS STATION.” This is still a fact. Nonetheless, understanding product terminology is the foundation of becoming an informed cannabis consumer.
Know the THC Content
Most CBD products on the open market come from the hemp plant due to federal law. There are three types of CBD products available to consumers: CBD Isolate, Full Spectrum, and Broad Spectrum.
CBD Isolate – NO THC
CBD Isolate is the most processed form of CBD. Through a series of chemical reactions, CBD molecules are separated from all other cannabis constituents. Since the CBD molecules are all alone, a larger dose may be required to achieve the desired results. CBD isolate is used in tinctures, edibles, capsules, topicals, and pet products. Again, isolate contains NO THC.
THE SPECTRUM – Why it matters
Full Spectrum – CONTAINS THC
Many people prefer spectrum products over isolate. This idea capitalizes on a synergistic phenomenon called the “Entourage Effect.” Recent research shows that when CBD, THC, and all other plant constituents are present in a product, a smaller dose is required to achieve the desired result. There are two types of spectrum products available.
Full Spectrum includes all the naturally occurring constituents of the cannabis plant, such as cannabinoids, terpenes, fatty acids, and chlorophyll. This type of product requires less processing. They are commonly referred to as “whole-plant extracts.” It is vital to note, they CONTAIN THC.
Broad Spectrum – NO THC
Broad Spectrum products begin as full spectrum products but then undergo additional processing to remove the THC. Consumers who want to benefit from the entourage effect but cannot or do not wish to ingest THC should look for this type of product since it contains NO THC.
Know the Source
Most CBD products come from the hemp plant due to federal law. Unless you live in a state where adult-use (aka recreational-use) is legal. In these states, CBD products can be made from marijuana. Nevertheless, the variety of cannabis used is less important than knowing the plant’s place of origin.
Origin of source
Where did it come from, where did it grow? It is essential to ask the retailer where the hemp was grown. To be Captain Obvious, make sure it is produced in the United States since the USDA regulates growers.
In full disclosure, the United States allows importation of CBD isolate from places like China and India. A responsible retailer uses American made CBD isolate.
Bottom line, ask about the source of origin. A good retailer, who has done their due diligence, will be able to provide this information quite readily.
Know the Process
The manufacturing of CBD oil involves extraction, testing, packaging, and distribution to retailers. In the cannabis industry, there is a cliche “seed to sale,” this means a retailer grows, processes, manufactures and sells a product straight from their own field. In other words, the retailer has control over the entire production channel. For the record, most retailers in the CBD space do not fit in this category. However, it does not mean their product is inadequate or unworthy of use.
Understanding the methods of oil extraction will minimize your exposure to unnecessary chemicals. The two most common extraction methods are by using alcohol or carbon dioxide (CO2). Currently, supercritical CO2 extraction is the gold standard in the industry. The reason being, this method reduces the use of solvents and increases the yield of extracted oil. Consequently, using CO2 extraction method a win-win for both the manufacturer and consumer.
However, regardless of the method used for extraction, testing both by the manufacturer and an independent, third-party lab is a hallmark of an ethical, clean brand.
Testing: Third-Party Lab analysis or Certificate of Analysis
A reputable retailer will allow you to view the lab analysis before buying the product. What this signals to you, the consumer, is transparency. However, they should also be able to discuss the results. Why?
The cannabis plant is a bio-accumulator. A what?
Bio-accumulators soak up anything present in the soil or medium in which it grows. Below is a list of harmful substances that might be present:
- Heavy metals: arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury
- Microbes: bacteria, yeast, mold
- Pathogens: E.Coli and Salmonella
- Pesticides: this list is extensive, far too many to type
- Solvents or VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds): chemicals used during processing
Finally, the certificate of analysis should also disclose the amount of cannabinoids present in one milligram of the oil. Additionally, if you are buying a spectrum product, the terpene profile should also be listed.
In conclusion, my hope and mission in sharing this information education. Also, that you understand why buying CBD from a local grocery store chain may not be the best idea. Knowledge is power, my friends.
“NOW GO FORTH AND BE AWESOME!”The Hubs Tedder