To begin, if you’re new to the wonderful world of CBD, welcome to the club. You’re about to become one of the millions of people who use CBD to manage health conditions and support overall wellness on a daily basis.
But don’t get too excited yet. There are a few things you should know before you start buying CBD products. If you want to find the best CBD oil to buy, there’s plenty to learn from more experienced users. You’ll find a comprehensive introduction to the seven most important things to consider before making your first purchase below.
1. Full-Spectrum & Broad-Spectrum Products Beat Isolates Any Day
If you’ve done even a cursory search for CBD oils and other products, you’ve probably encountered these three terms:
- CBD Isolate
- Broad-Spectrum Extracts
- Full-Spectrum Extracts
In light of this, perhaps, there’s still a chance that you don’t understand their implications? Each of these terms describes a class of CBD products based on its phytochemical profile. Both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products contain essential cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. These compounds affect not just the taste and smell of the product, but also its pharmacological modes of action as well as these five key CBD factors:
- To date, most research into cannabis products focuses on two cannabinoids: CBD and THC. However, there are at least 111 other cannabinoids found in all cannabis plants in varying concentrations. Eventually, scientists should be able to isolate these minor cannabinoids for further study. What they know right now is that they work together to create a synergistic effect known as the Entourage Effect.
- According to this principle, CBD and other cannabinoids are most effective when taken with the other cannabinoids and terpenes found in hemp. That generally means you want to buy full or broad-spectrum CBD oil. Do you have reason to be concerned about the minute THC concentrations found in hemp-based CBD products? You can also buy broad-spectrum oil.
- Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains a wide range of beneficial phytocompounds but contains zero THC. Manufacturers remove this psychoactive THC compound after extraction by separating THC from the extract. Although the entourage effect is most pronounced when some amount of THC is present, you’ll still be able to benefit from the plant’s terpenes & other minor cannabinoids.
- Terpenes are the compounds that give each strain of cannabis its unique taste and aroma. They also confer some proven health benefits. Terpenes can help to boost your mood, ease your pain, and reduce your stress. Terpenes’ health benefits are still not the only thing that makes them special. Unlike most phytochemicals, terpenes can cross the blood-brain barrier and help CBD and other cannabinoids do the same.
- Products manufactured with CBD isolates don’t contain any terpenes or other plant compounds. Manufacturers make them by extracting the CBD from hemp plants. Even especially strong CBD isolates are no match for broad-spectrum and full-spectrum oil since they don’t take advantage of the entourage effect.
2. Don’t Buy Products Labeled as “Hemp Oil”
It’s not uncommon for newcomers to therapeutic cannabis to start out by purchasing products labeled as “pure hemp oil.” It’s completely legal to sell hemp seed oil under “hemp oil” but it misleads consumers. While CBD oil is a type of hemp oil, it’s made from the entire hemp plant. Most products sold as “hemp oil” are only made from hemp seeds, which contain no CBD or other cannabinoids or terpenes whats-so-ever.
Hemp oil manufacturers crush the seeds to extract their fatty oils, then add the oil to tinctures or creams. Using these products can be beneficial to your health. However, they won’t get you all the same therapeutic benefits as using actual CBD oil.
That’s because they don’t contain the same cannabinoids and terpenes as extracts made from the hemp plant’s flowers and leaves. Before buying hemp oil or hemp extract, check the label. If it doesn’t list concentrations of CBD and other phytochemicals, don’t buy it.
3. It’s Worth Paying A Little More for CBD
While there’s nothing wrong with trying to find CBD products that fit your budget, don’t assume they’ll offer the best value for your money. Cheaper oils don’t always live up to the claims made on their labels. Some have only very low concentrations of CBD while others fail to meet even basic quality standards.
It may seem like you’ll be saving money by buying the least expensive products. In reality, you’ll be spending money on CBD oil that won’t live up to this impressive cannabinoid’s well-deserved reputation. Save your money and wait until you can afford to buy high-quality, lab-tested products.
4. Not All CBD Extracts Are Created Equal
A lot of work goes into the manufacturing of CBD extracts. There are tons of variables that affect the quality of manufacturers’ final products. If you want to find a pure, potent CBD oil, you’ll want to do some research into the vendor and manufacturer.
Generally speaking, products made from organic, non-GMO hemp tend to have fewer impurities. Reputable CBD manufacturers work with farmers that care about the quality of their hemp. They want to start the extraction process with plants that contain beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes, and no environmental toxins.
Toxins can also be introduced during the manufacturing process. Some methods are safer than others. If you can find information about the manufacturer’s extraction process, look for one that uses:
- CO2 extraction
- Ethanol extraction
- Alcohol extraction
- Carrier oil extraction
- Or the Rick Simpson Method
5. Not All CBD Companies Are Created Equal
It’s never wise to trust a company that has only been around for a few months. That goes for all purchase decisions, not just buying CBD. Manufacturing CBD takes a ton of specialized skills. The farmers and manufacturers at nascent companies may not have honed those skills yet.
To make matters even worse, newer companies don’t have established reputations and brands. It will be harder for you to determine whether they are producing high-quality products. It’s worth spending some extra money on CBD that has been grown, extracted, and purified by industry-leading experts.
6. It’s Better to Buy From a Vertically Integrated Company
If you want to make sure you’re buying high-quality products, find a company that is vertically integrated. That means the same company is responsible for every step of the operation. They plant the seeds, cultivate the hemp, harvest the flowers and leaves, extract the phytochemicals, and bottle the products.
Managing each step of the process gives these reputable CBD companies full oversight over their operations. This makes it easier to ensure that adequate care is taken to prevent contamination and ensure potency at every step.
7. Always Read the Lab Reports
A reputable CBD company will always be willing to provide third-party lab reports. They’re often referred to within the cannabis industry as Certificates of Authenticity, or COAs.
You may be able to find the COAs for the company’s products on its website. If they aren’t there, don’t be afraid to send an email and ask for them. Lab reports let you know exactly what you will be buying. They contain detailed information about cannabinoid and terpene concentrations and prove that the product is free of contaminants.
A good COA will be provided by a licensed third-party lab, not created in-house, and should clearly show the lab information including the name, phone number, and address. It will have both details about what phytochemicals were found in the product and whether it contains contaminants. Common contaminants include pesticides, heavy metals, and pathogens. If a CBD company refuses to provide independent lab reports, don’t buy their products because there’s a reason the company isn’t exercising full transparency.
Make Informed Decisions
You should now have all the information you need to make informed purchasing decisions. As long as you follow the advice outlined above, you won’t have to worry about getting swindled. Just keep in mind that it’s always easier to order CBD products online than to go to specialty stores. You’ll get access to a wider array of products, and you’ll be able to vet them before you buy them.