Let’s start with a basic assertion; CBD oil is one of the best and most underrated food supplements in the world today. It’s also part of a fast-growing global market, which is expected to be worth $2.1 trillion by the year 2020.
Not all CBD supplements have been created equal, with the popularisation of the market having encouraged unscrupulous scam-artists to develop their own, less-than-reputable products.
With this in mind, it can be hard to distinguish high quality CBD oil from poor imitations in the current marketplace. In the post below, we’ll appraise the key considerations when buying CBD oil, and ask how you can achieve genuine value for money.
How to Identify High Quality CBD Oil
CBD, which is officially known as cannabidiol, is a completely natural and organic compound that is extracted from hemp plants.
Despite this substance being present in marijuana, CBD only contains trace levels of the renowned psychoactive agent THC, making it safe for consumption and incapable of getting you high.
This, coupled with the innumerable health benefits that it offers to users, it at the core of CBD’s appeal as a supplement and has triggered a surge of popularity among athletes and fitness enthusiasts in particular.
As with any supplement, the quality of CBD oil that you consume is a crucial factor that will ultimately determine its effectiveness.
Poor quality supplements may even include harmful toxins, so it’s crucial that you keep the following points in mind before making a final purchase.
Value for Money is More Important than Cost
We’ll start with a universal lesson in consumerism, and one that can be applied to every product and marketplace in existence.
Put simply, you should always prioritise value for money over the bottom line cost of a product or service, primarily because this typically allows for long-term savings and enables you to achieve the best possible return on your investment.
This principle is even more important in the case of CBD and similar supplements, as less reputable manufacturers may use questionable extraction processes in order to slash production costs and share these with the consumer.
The issue here is that cheaper extraction methods typically require the use of toxic solvents, such as hexane, pentane, propane, and butane.
These solvents are all categorised as hydrocarbon gases and found in petroleum, while propane and butane are also used in gas stoves.
Prolonged exposure to these toxins can cause significant issues, so extraction processes that leverage such solvents should be identified and avoided at all costs.
Conversely, studies have shown that CBD oil should be extracted through what is known as a ‘supercritical CO2 extraction’ method, and this is the exact extraction method carried out by CBD Asylum.
This requires the use of carbon dioxide within a highly pressurised and extremely cold environment, which converts the colourless gas into liquid form without leaving any residues behind.
This extraction method is considered to be extremely safe and environmentally-friendly, while it uses virtually no toxins and helps to optimise the purity of the CBD oil produced.
In fact, it’s also used as the standard extraction method for food, beverages, and the herbal supplement industry, and in this respect, it serves as a guarantee of quality and peace of mind for customers.
The issue with this extraction method is that it requires extremely expensive equipment and considerable production expertise, which is usually reflected by the price of the finished supplement.
This provides a stark contrast with cheaper production methods, of course, which is why value needs to be your key watchword when entering the marketplace.
Remember, noticeably cheap prices are typically indicative of questionable and unsafe production techniques, while higher costs tend to provide far greater value for money and a guarantee of product quality.
The Origin of your CBD is Important
While the way in which CBD oil is extracted remains a crucial consideration for customers, the quality of the supplement that you buy also relies heavily on its original source.
This is a universal rule of manufacturing, of course, as one of the best ways to guarantee quality is to work with materials of the very highest standard.
So, while CBD may be a natural compound, the quality of the supplement that you eventually buy will be heavily influenced by its origin and the way in which it has been extracted.
In terms of the source and its importance, we must remember that hemp plants are considered to be ‘hyperaccumulators’. This means that the roots of the plant are extremely absorbent, and have a tendency to take in toxins or substances that are present in the ground where it has been cultivated.
So, if CBD has been extracted from a plant that was farmed in rich and well-treated soil, it’s likely to be of high quality and considerable purity.
However, if the reverse is true and the plant was grown in an area rich in mercury or led, the subsequent oils will feature a high level of toxins and could ultimately become unsafe for consumption.
This once again brings us on to the thorny issue of cost, as unscrupulous, profit-driven manufacturers will often source their hemp from polluted ground in order to slash costs and undercut more reputable suppliers.
Conversely, accredited and compliant producers will only ever source hemp plants that have been grown in rich and furtive soil so that their customers achieve the best possible value.
It’s also worth noting that U.S.-sourced hemp is generally the better option, as all farmers in North America are required to obtain official certification from their respective state department of agriculture.
This is another guarantee of quality and one that enables you to realise the benefits of CBD in the safest possible manner.
The Presence of THC in CBD Oil Should not be Ignored
We’ve already touched on THC (or Tetrahydrocannabinol), which can also be sourced from hemp and cannabis plants. This is the psychoactive agent that is responsible for getting cannabis users high, and it remains a huge source of controversy in modern society.
This is why hemp is used exclusively to produce CBD oil, as this guarantees that any extracted substances will feature only trace levels of THC and can, therefore, be used to manufacture a safe and saleable supplement.
The fact remains that THC is present in CBD oil, however, and the failure to extract or process the substance correctly could ultimately cause users to experience unwanted psychoactive effects.
So, while identifying reasonably priced products that have been produced using the recommended extraction methods can help you to avoid such issues, you should still take the proactive approach of reviewing the labelled ingredients and noting the levels of THC that are present.
As a general rule, the optimal level of THC in CBD oil should never exceed 0.3%, with anything under this perfectly acceptable and likely to offer exceptional quality.
Any product that features higher levels of THC should be avoided at all costs, while if you’re in any doubt at all you should consider referring to the lab results for individual products before making a final decision (we’ll have more on this below).
Reputable CBD firms have third-party lab test results
Lab results are necessary step for reputable CBD firms.
All CBD products brought to market should have undergone and passed independent, third-party lab results.
So what should the lab reports include?
#1 CBD: This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s always good to see this featured in the list! It will usually be listed as cannabidiol, and should feature heavily in the report.
#2 Other Cannabinoids: As a general rule, CBD oil will also include a number of additional cannabinoids. So, don’t be alarmed if you see compounds such as CBC, CBG and CBN (along with THC) listed on the reports that you view, while their absence should also not cause concern as brands rarely provide a full profile through third-party reports. Take this opportunity to confirm the THC levels in the product, and remember that this should be 0.3% or under.
#3 Pesticides: Make no mistake; high quality CBD oil should be 100% natural and free from pesticides, as these could include potentially harmful by-products. If any pesticides are listed, this is a serious red flag and you should refrain from buying the product in question.
#4 Microbes: This vague term includes a diverse range of organisms, some of which are good and others that are bad. However, it’s never a good sign for your CBD oil to include a living organism, so this is another thing to watch for when reviewing reports.
#5 Chemical Solvents: Less of a red flag and more of crimson rag to a bull, chemical solvents are the most important compounds to look for in third-party reports. If you find any trace of glycols such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) or propylene glycol (PG), you should discard the associated products immediately. These solvents can break down in cancer-causing aldehydes within the human body, and wreak tremendous physical damage over time.
These lists will give you an insight into the depth and detail of lab reports, as well as the transparency of each product and its composition.
If you decide to request a copy of lab reports, we’d recommend keeping your eyes peeled for a few crucial pieces of information.
Reviewing the list of verified ingredients is an excellent starting point, for example, while the active cannabinoid profile of a product will identify the levels of specific compounds included within.
As we’ve already touched on, you’ll need to review the microbiology and pesticide results too, taking care to verify the levels of potential toxins and measuring these against the industry’s acceptable values.
Similarly, be sure to check that there is no metallic elements or toxins included in the product, as this could raise significant health risks over a period of time.
The Last Word
As we can see, the extraction and production processes associated with CBD oil are extremely detailed, while they can also have a significant impact on the quality of the final product.
Similarly, the source of your CBD will also influence quality, so it’s crucial that you review individual products objectively and in detail before making an informed decision.
Remember, the rapid and exponential growth of the CBD market has increased the risk posed by unscrupulous and profit-driven manufacturers. You need to be vigilant against this as a consumer, especially if you’re to realise the full benefits of CBD oil without compromising on your physical wellbeing.