When you hear that Martha Stewart is getting involved in creating CBD products, you know without a doubt that hemp has moved out of the underground and into the mainstream. That considered, it’s only logical that everyone and their dog is going to try and cash in on the cannabinoid craze.
Unfortunately, this surge in CBD’s popularity, combined with lack of oversight by any regulatory agency (such as the FDA) created the perfect recipe for a mob of unscrupulous vendors that sell CBD of questionable content and quality.
We believe that hemp CBD has powerful healing potential – but you have to take one that’s guaranteed to be pure and of the highest quality; otherwise, you will end up wasting money, or worse – poisoning yourself.
1.) Where is the hemp cultivated?
Knowing the growing region of your hemp is vital, for more than one reason. First, under the guidelines of the 2018 Farm Bill, only CBD from hemp grown in the U.S. under the strict supervision of the USDA is legal. Many companies continue to extract CBD from hemp imported from countries like China and India – which makes their products not only illegal, but likely contaminated with heavy metals.
This scenario leads us into the other reason why this question is so important to ask – knowing the area the hemp was grown in allows you to determine what the soil quality might be. While many growing regions are known for rich, fertile land, an equal amount have soil that is full of environmental pollutants from industrial runoff or toxic agricultural practices.
Hemp is so good at extracting pollution from the soil that it was used by researchers in the early 1990s at Chernobyl, where scientist Ilya Raskin coined the term ‘phytoremediation.’
In 2001, German scientists replicated these results by proving hemp could successfully pull lead, cadmium, and nickel from land contaminated with sewer sludge. Then, in 2011, hundreds of Italian farmers teamed up by planting hemp to clean up the massive pollution from runoff at a nearby steel factory.
Always know where the hemp was grown! 100% of the hemp used to procure our CBD is grown in a 20 mile radius in Kentucky. We use organic farming practices, are certified glyphosate free, and never use herbicides or pesticides.
2.) Is the CBD extracted from industrial hemp or marijuana?
Another fundamental question here in terms of not only legality but also effects. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, only CBD sourced from industrial/agricultural hemp is legal – CBD sourced from marijuana (high-potency cannabis) is not.
CBD extracted from marijuana tends to have significantly higher levels of THC, which is an issue for a lot of people who are attracted to the non-psychoactive nature of CBD (and also don’t want to break the law). We use 100% industrial hemp, 100% of the time.
3.) How was the CBD manufactured?
It’s good to think about what kind of environment the CBD is being created in, as ideally, you want a very clean, regularly inspected, professional facility – as opposed to someone’s backyard or garage (it does happen).
We are proud to have certified Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). We also bottle all of our products in our LEED Platinum Plus+ carbon-negative facility, only 20 miles from where our hemp is grown.
4.) What type of extraction method was used to create the CBD?
Speaking of extraction methods, it’s essential to figure out which type was used in the CBD product you’re considering buying. Petroleum-based solvents (butane, pentane, etc.), supercritical CO2, and ethanol are the most common forms used in the CBD industry.
Butane is frowned upon for its toxicity, dangers of use, and relative difficulty in removing it from the end product. Supercritical CO2 is relatively clean and straightforward, but does not create a real full spectrum product.
We extract our CBD with food-grade ethanol – the solvent of choice when looking for the most beneficial and authentic full spectrum product possible.
Also, inquiring as to what type of extraction method is utilized (butane, supercritical CO2, ethanol) will tell you a lot about what kind of CBD you’ll be taking, which leads us into our next question…
5.) Is the oil full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate?
Which type of CBD you seek depends largely on personal preference, but we passionately believe that full spectrum is the ideal way to take CBD. Full-spectrum means not only a blend of cannabinoids (CBD, CBG, CBDV, CBC, THC) and terpenes but also an array of other beneficial nutrients from hemp, like amino acids and polyphenols.
CBD isolate is 100% CBD – and nothing else. Some people like the idea of CBD isolate because they perceive it as ‘pure’ or ‘clean.’ What many don’t know is that petroleum-based solvents like pentane are almost always required to create CBD isolate.
What’s more, CBD isolate has demonstrated a very strict dose-response curve – meaning only an exact dose of CBD will elicit desirable effects. Too much or too little, and you can likely end up feeling even worse.
Broad-spectrum CBD is desired by some, as it is nearly identical to full-spectrum CBD, with one caveat – there is zero THC. A THC free product may be needed in cases where a person is avoiding THC for personal, religious, or legal purposes.
6.) Has the CBD been third-party laboratory tested?
Third-party laboratory testing is crucial if a product is authentic. A third-party lab is objective and does not have any vested interest in the company – meaning the test results will be unbiased. Lab tests check not only for cannabinoid and terpene levels, but also for common contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, residual solvents, and microbials.
Various organizations have tested a wide variety of CBD products to verify their contents, with some troubling results. In 2017, cannabis researcher Marcel Bonn-Miller tested over 80 CBD products and found that 70% has cannabinoid levels different than what was on the label.
Most troubling of all is the collective test results gathered by police officers in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia – with 128 out of 350 CBD products testing positive for synthetic cannabinoids, and three showing detectable levels of fentanyl.
As you can see, test results for CBD products are non-negotiable if you care about your health. Certificates of Analysis are the documents that show test results and should be publicly viewable on the company’s website.
We publish CoA’s alongside each product and also offer a handy CoA lookup tool for you to search your particular batch of product. This leads us to the next question…
7.) Does the CBD have a batch number/QR code?
A reputable company will always include batch numbers on its CBD products. This strategy helps to ensure you know exactly what you’re getting, as you can reference the batch number on the Certificates of Analysis.
We include the QR codes and batch numbers on the back of every product we sell, which you can type into our CoA lookup tool and see everything contained therein.
8.) Is the CBD dosage listed on the label?
Clear and accurate labeling is necessary to ensure you take exactly how much CBD you want to take – no more and no less. While putting dosage numbers on a label is an excellent first step, you’ll still need to cross-reference these dosages with the CoA to make sure the amount of CBD claimed on the label is actually what you’re getting.
9.) Does the CBD have any additives, like artificial flavors or colors?
It’s a good idea to do a thorough scan of the ingredients label to ensure there are no unhealthy ingredients, such as artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Not only are these additives unhealthful, but they also point to something more profound – that the manufacturer is at their core, not presenting a high-quality CBD oil. Pure, full-spectrum CBD is good as it is, it doesn’t need anything added.
10.) Where are you buying the CBD?
CBD is widely available at a variety of places, such as dispensaries, retail stores, and online. Dispensaries and retail stores generally do a vetting process. As such, you’ll usually be in the clear buying CBD from one of these places (still do your research though! Remember that you’re dealing with a salesperson in these establishments).
When it comes to reputable places to buy medicine, pharmacies are as solid as it gets. Our sister company, Ananda Professional, is for sale exclusively at over 4,000 pharmacies. It is the number one brand trusted by professional pharmacists.
Online is a little trickier, as anybody can create a website. Research the company’s reputation and online reviews before moving forward with a purchase.
Now, if you’re thinking about buying CBD at a gas station…well, we just can’t recommend that. When was the last time you saw a genuine health product at a gas station? If you’re looking for cigarettes, Dr. Pepper, and premium unleaded, you’d be in the right place – but CBD? No way.
11.) How is the customer service?
When you’re purchasing something like CBD that you’re going to be putting into your body for health reasons, you’ll want to make sure the company is available for questions, comments, or concerns, should you need help with anything that comes up.
Many companies that sell CBD don’t have so much as a legitimate address listed on their site. Look for these things. We are available by phone Monday through Friday, from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM PST, by calling 833-791-2511.
12.) Does the CBD claim to cure diseases?
Make sure to watch out for these offenders, as they are flagrantly going against the FDA’s guidelines and breaking the law. These are not the type of people you want to do business with, as you are only putting yourself at risk.
Here is a comprehensive list of every CBD company that has received a warning letter from the FDA since 2015 for making unsubstantiated health claims.