A lot of CBD companies and products often look like they’re good on the surface; with bright branding and catchy slogans, it might seem like a cheaper option is going to be just as good as the higher-end. However, there are many factors that you should be vigilant for, and that will help you determine the safest, highest quality products.
Third-party lab testing
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again - if you only take away one thing from this article, it should be to always look for lab reports. This will indicate the product’s THC and CBD levels, as well as the other cannabinoids present. This makes it very easy to check that the THC level is within legal limits (0.2% or less), and also that your product contains the correct, advertised amount of CBD.
Lab testing can be a costly process, which is one reason why brands who skip the process can sell at cheaper prices. This corner is not one to be cut, however, as it could result in illegal or potentially harmful levels of unwanted chemicals to be present. If you are going to buy any product that you are consuming or is interacting with your body in any way, this should always be reason enough to invest in a tested, proven product.
Be very suspicious if a brand says nothing about lab testing; and even more so if they claim to do lab testing, but don’t publish the results. If a brand spends extra on testing (or has claimed to) but is unwilling to show those results, you can only question what the outcome must have been. Confidence in a brand begins with lab testing, so always make this your first line of inspection.
Examine the brand
As mentioned in the point above, the first step to examining a brand should start with looking for their lab tests, which should be easy to find and clearly displayed. Once that is checked, it’s worth also looking over the brand’s website and information as a whole.
First off - is there actually much to go off? A surprising number of brands will add little to no information with regards to their production methods or products themselves. Can you find details of the extraction methods? Are the ingredients for the products listed? Do they have articles or blog posts that share relevant CBD advice? You’ll quickly realise that a lot of brands, although they may have a lot of text on their sites, actually only provide a relatively surface-level commentary on CBD. It’s fairly easy to discern this empty ostentation of some of these brand’s sites once you’re consciously keeping an eye out for it.
Another red flag is to watch out for outrageous health claims. Due to the rapid growth of the UK CBD industry, research into the cannabinoid is racing across the board, in an attempt to catch up. At present, brands in the UK are not allowed to make any miracle or medical claims. If you come across a CBD brand who are advocating their products as a treatment for cancer or prevention for Alzheimer's, then definitely stay away - we just don’t have the concrete backing to say whether these claims are true, and this also reflects directly on the honesty and transparency of the brand.
CBD oil vs. hemp oil
Speaking of honesty of the brand - hemp oil products are some of the most dishonest CBD market infiltrators. Hemp oil is a perfectly useful product for several applications, including as an excellent natural oil ingredient for use in CBD products; the difference is that it doesn’t actually contain any meaningful CBD levels itself. CBD and hemp oil are separate ingredients, but the close association of the two has led to an excessive amount of market exploitation, with brands popping up on Amazon and street stores closely disguising hemp oil as CBD oil, in an effort to make a quick profit from those who may not realise the difference. If a product is suspiciously cheap, or is boasting extremely high “mg” values, then make this your first check.
If you’re still unsure about a brand, or you’re yet to try CBD and want to hear from an honest third party, reviews are a great way to do so. As mentioned earlier; although brands themselves have to be careful when it comes to making direct health benefit claims, product reviews are a useful space to hear genuine customer experiences with CBD and to find out how it may have helped others. They can also sometimes answer more of the questions that you may have had, and generally just provide another layer of assurance to you as the consumer.
There’s a lot of CBD on the market nowadays; much of it is legitimate and produced to a certain standard of responsibly, but unfortunately there is also a fair share of unreliable (and even potentially dangerous) budget brands, in an attempt to undercut trustworthy products with low prices and dubious promises of life-changing benefits. Taking the time to analyse a brand a little more carefully could save you wasting your money, and will ensure that you make a wise investment in CBD.