CBD products are widely available and it may be tempting to simply go online and look for the most affordable products or the best deals. Search for CBD online and thousands of products immediately pop up in the results. However, when choosing CBD products, there are various important factors to consider and you need to know more about them before just adding a product to your cart.
Some unreliable and untrustworthy sellers take advantage of the popularity of CBD products and you need to know what to look for if you want to buy a quality product with beneficial ingredients. Here are some risks to consider when buying CBD products.
A lack of consistent regulation
Federal law has determined that hemp products containing 0.3% or less of THC are legal and safe but the CBD market is still largely unregulated. The fact that federal and state laws are often contradictory complicates the issue considerably.
In this confusing environment, dishonest and unqualified companies have the opportunity to take advantage of consumers. Many of them tout the health benefits of the products they’re selling but some of them fail to take the necessary safety precautions to protect the health of consumers.
Products containing CBD are widely marketed as over-the-counter products, mostly food supplements due to the fact that many of the medical claims can’t yet be substantiated to the satisfaction of the FDA.
On various occasions, the FDA has sent warning letters to CBD hemp oil retailers addressing unproven medical claims being made. Unfortunately, research into the medical benefits is lagging compared to the anecdotal evidence due to the illegal status for so many years. Results of studies are only now beginning to show significant evidence of the therapeutic benefits.
Not knowing where a product comes from
One of the first questions you need to ask is where the product comes from. Brands who offer transparency are open about details like where a product is grown. When products are sold by distributors or third-party sellers, it becomes more difficult to identify the source of the product you’re buying.
For example, you often don’t know whether the hemp is sourced in America. In America, the farming of hemp is regulated. This is extremely important because hemp is a very absorbent plant that can easily contain contaminants like pesticides or heavy metals, depending upon the soil in which it is grown. You need to buy from brands who want to educate you and reassure you that their products are safe to use.
Varying extraction methods
Various methods are used to extract CBD from the plant and they have a high impact on the quality of the product. Genuine vendors will ensure safe, proper extraction methods and ensure the THC levels remain below 0.3% so users don’t feel high from using products. Extraction at this level involves the use of costly equipment and this separates reputable sellers from those who focus on quantity rather than quality.
The CO2 extraction method basically uses pressurized carbon dioxide to pull the CBD from the plant. It acts like a solvent but has none of the dangers associated with using a solvent. This method involves the use of expensive equipment to freeze the CO2 gas and compress it.
Solvent-based extraction uses harsh chemicals, such as butane or hexane, to extract the CBD. The solvent residue can be toxic and even increase cancer risks if they aren’t eliminated in the evaporation step. Some studies have found traces of petroleum and other residue in CBD products using solvent extraction.
To avoid risks of toxic residue, natural olive oil or ethanol is often used instead. The problem with natural solvents is that they don’t evaporate as well and result in a CBD extract that contains a lower concentration of CBD.
Mislabeling of products is common. Products may not contain the ingredients stated on the label. In a study published in JAMA researchers found that almost 70% of products sold online made from CBD contained either lower or higher concentrations than shown on the label.
If you’re looking for a CBD isolate, you don’t want it to contain any THC which is the psychoactive component of the plant. If you’re looking for a full-spectrum product, you expect it to contain a range of terpenes and cannabinoids that offer the benefit of the whole plant. Full-spectrum products are believed to be more effective but isolates are more suitable if you’re looking for a 0% THC product.
No third-party lab testing
Reputable Brands get third party laboratories to test their products. They will test for any contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals or harmful solvents. They also test for cannabinoid content so you are able to determine whether a product contains desirable ingredients for your particular needs.
If products have been tested, the lab reports should be readily available on a brand’s website. Without this lab report, you have no way of determining what’s really in a product and whether it is safe for use. If lab reports do not appear on the website, reach out to the company and ask if you can see them. If they can’t produce them, be very wary of buying their products.
Even laboratories are not all equal so you need to make sure the laboratory is accredited in accordance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). If the lab report is an old one, this could also be a problem. Consistent and systematic testing of products is important. If a product’s label says it contains 1,000mg of CBD, you should confirm content on the lab report.
A final word
It may be tempting to go for cost-effective CBD products but it’s worth investing in a quality product or it is not likely to perform as you expect it to do. You are always likely to want to know what a prescription drug will do before you take it and you should treat CBD with the same level of respect. Do your research, ask questions and look into details on a vendor’s website if you want to make sure you’re buying a quality product.