In the past few years, cannabidiol (CBD) has changed the cannabis industry, with it appearing everywhere from online retailers to your local gas station. But with its increase in accessibility comes this problem: not all CBD is worth taking. You can have two CBD brands that are advertising the same dosage, and one can be far more potent than the other.
The truth is that not all CBD brands are properly vetted and tested. In fact, it can be said that inadequate quality control can lead to the inclusion of harmful toxins within your CBD. Many of these cheap CBD brands are packed with toxic fillers that can do more harm than good.
For you to get the most value out of your CBD, you must use CBD that’s been fully tested by a third party. In today’s post, we’ll dig into why third-party testing is superior to in-house lab testing.
How CBD Works
Before we can delve into the “why” of third-party testing, let’s better understand how CBD works.
The human body has an endocannabinoid system that hosts cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoids are a family of complex chemicals found in cannabis that bind and activate the nervous receptors found in the endocannabinoid system.
These receptors are called CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are located in the brain and throughout the body. CB2 receptors are found mainly in the immune and gastrointestinal system.
When talking about the endocannabinoid system, understand that it’s a powerful neurotransmitter network. The goal of the endocannabinoid system is to achieve homeostasis (balance). It needs to maintain a stable environment internally. When something in your body isn’t function correctly, it sends messages to your receptors to adjust how you physically feel.
The endocannabinoid system plays a role in your:
- Immune function
When thinking about the endocannabinoid system and its receptors, imagine a “lock and key” system. Cannabis is the key and the receptors are the locks. When cannabinoids bind to the receptor, it is activated. This is how CBD has such strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects on the human body.
What You Should Know Before You Buy CBD
Knowing how CBD works is important, and if you’re dealing with physiological issues, it can be an absolute game changer for your health.
With all that said, don’t simply pull out your wallet at the first bottle of CBD you see. It’s important that you vet its quality. In this section, we’re going to dive into what you definitely must know before you consume that brand of CBD.
Where was the CBD grown?
Where your CBD was grown can play a major role in how pure it is. Hemp can biologically accumulate both good and bad from the water, air and soil in its environment. If its soil environment is filled with pesticides, herbicides and heavy metals, it will integrate into the hemp. You want CBD that is organically grown from a US location.
When pesticides and herbicides get into your system, it can be a disaster. Here are a few cancers that have been linked to these chemicals:
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Soft tissue sarcoma
Those are nasty, dangerous diseases that can wreak absolute havoc on your wellbeing, so its important you know where and how the CBD was grown. If the CBD is tested in a third-party accredited laboratory, you can verify if the product is free from these hazardous chemicals.
How much THC content is in the CBD?
Trace amounts of THC may not be a deal-breaker for many people, but if you need to take a drug test for work, you don’t want to be in for a bad surprise. For hemp to qualify as legal, it must be under 0.3% THC. If you have drug tests, or simply don’t want to consume THC above the 0.3% limit, it’s important that you read the labels on the CBD product and read the third-party lab results to confirm the brand’s claims.
What’s the concentration of CBD?
There are many shady companies who will dilute the concentration of CBD to squeeze out a higher profit margin. When this happens you hardly get your money’s worth. Although this is hardly an official rule, quality CBD should have a concentration of 250mg to 1,000 (or more) mg per fluid ounce. If two different brands of CBD have the same amount of volume in the container, but one has a higher concentration of CBD than the other, which one will be carry more potency? The CBD bottle with the higher concentration of CBD.
How is the CBD extracted?
How CBD is extracted can have direct effects on its purity. The cheapest, but most dangerous, method is to use harsh solvents like butane and hexane. The problem is that these solvents leave hazardous residues that are not safe to consume. If the CBD product you’re thinking of purchasing uses this extraction method, run the other direction. The carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction method is a far superior method than the use of harsh solvents. Carbon dioxide is used to apply high pressure and extremely low temperatures to isolate and pull the CBD from the hemp. The result potent CBD oil that is uncontaminated by harmful chemicals. A thorough third part lab test will check for residual solvents like butane, hexane and ethanol.
What claims are being made?
Is the CBD brand making absolutely crazy claims, but they have no proof to back it up? You should be naturally skeptical of any outlandish benefits of CBD. The Food and Drug Administration strictly prohibits making unproven medical claims on CBD’s ability to treat medical conditions.
And if they’re making any ridiculous claims (that aren’t true), it should lead you to question what else they’re willing to lie about.
By reading this post, you should have received a better understanding of how CBD third-party testing can help you make the most informed purchase possible. The lab reports should be posted on that brand’s website, and it should be easily readable. Before you spend money on a CBD product, make sure that you read the third-party lab report (and not a report from their in-house laboratory). The lab report should answer the questions in this blog post, and there should be no feeling of uncertainty when you purchase a new CBD product.