It’s no secret that the CBD industry in the UK can be quite daunting if you aren’t sure where to start. Understanding what does make a good CBD product comes down to quite a few factors, but it is very important to cover these bases to make sure you are getting a product that is right for you.
This post will cover:
- Third-party lab testing
- Extraction methods
- Strength/ Concentration
- Hemp origin
- Price point
1. Third-Party Lab Testing
This is one of the most vital things to look for. Lab results will tell you exactly what makes up your product- the CBD strength, whether it is free from THC, and the full cannabinoid profile of the rest of the extract. Not only does this provide peace of mind and transparency, but it also shows an extra investment has been made by the brand to ensure safety and quality. Any CBD brand that does not have easily accessible lab reports is an immediate red flag and should be avoided.
Some companies may claim to have third-party lab testing, but won’t have the results published or available anywhere; steer clear of these too. There is no good reason to get lab tests done and not go on to publish the results, if they stand behind the quality of their product.
2. Extraction Method
In order to create CBD extract, it needs to be separated from the hemp or cannabis plant. This is almost always done one of two ways:
Ethanol extraction uses ethanol (unsurprisingly) as a solvent to strip cannabinoids from the plant material. CO2 extraction has a few variations, but the most common method uses pressurised CO2 to pull CBD from the plant. Ethanol extraction is generally the much cheaper option, and it is often favoured for this reason, but CO2 extraction is widely considered to be more environmentally friendly, cleaner, and safer, whilst still producing a high quality CBD extract. This is definitely something to consider when looking at products on the market, as CO2 extraction is often favoured by brands who are willing to invest towards a safer, higher quality end product.
Similarly to lab results- the extraction method used should be made clear, and you should be wary if not.
3. Strength/ Concentration
Any CBD product you find online or on the shelf should always, always clearly state the strength of the product. If you cannot see this anywhere on the packaging/ bottle, then it is likely to be highly ineffective; or quite possibly completely lacking any CBD content at all. These products are often marketed as hempseed oil or similar and, although extracted from the same plant as CBD, is an entirely different component. You need only search for “CBD oil” on Amazon to see examples of this; Amazon currently has tight restrictions on Cannabidiol, and with a little examination it becomes apparent that almost all of these products are nothing more than slyly marketed hempseed oil.
Knowing what kind of strength you should be looking for can vary, depending on the application, the form it comes in (tincture, topical cream, etc.), and the requirements of the individual. This is almost always defined in milligrams (mg), and sometimes as a percentage. Here are some easy examples to show the relationship between these measurements:
A 10ml oil which has 10% CBD will contain 1000mg in total.
A 30ml oil which has 5% CBD will contain 1500mg in total.
A 30ml oil which has 1% CBD will contain 300mg in total.
(Millilitres ml x Percentage %) x 10 = milligrams (mg)
So without overcomplicating too much; the percentage value tells you the strength per volume, whereas the milligrams gives you the total amount of CBD present in the bottle. Most products will sit somewhere between 1% - 10% in strength.
4. Hemp Origin
This one is perhaps a little less obvious compared to some of these other points; surely a plant is a plant and will be the same wherever it is grown? Well, not when it comes to hemp. The hemp plant is known as a bioaccumulator, which simply means that it will absorb all it can from the ground and air around it. This includes all the nutrients from the soil, but it will also include any heavy metals, pesticides, or unwanted substances as well. This means it is very important to make sure that the CBD you are using is from a trustworthy source. Look for hemp grown organically and in the US, as this is known for its high quality.
5. Price Point
It can be very tempting in the current market to look at the range of cannabidiol products available and go for the cheapest option. Unfortunately, due to the factors that we have discussed here and other manufacturing costs required to ensure the highest quality, safest and most trustworthy end result, these cheap options are just not going to hold up against higher quality competitors. In fact, these low cost options often cost less than the higher-quality products cost to produce in the first place; at the end of the day, you get what you pay for. Budgeting more towards a supplement to ensure you are giving your body the cleanest product you can is always going to be a worthwhile investment.