It's important to understand and feel safe about the CBD products you are consuming.
From 2014-2019, the FDA tested over a hundred CBD products and found less than half of them contain the amount of CBD that was listed on the label. Due to the huge amount of hemp companies started over the past few years, there are a lot of CBD products on the market, but not all are made to ensure the wellness of the consumer. This is why we value transparency, honesty, and education.
Whether you have experience with CBD or are looking to try it for the first time, it is important to make sure that what you’re consuming is safe and accurately represented. A few things to look for when buying CBD products are clarity of packaging, easily accessible and full panel lab reports, accuracy of CBD amount, and any harmful ingredients. A quality, consumer-friendly, and trustworthy product should never be confusing or have missing information.
What Type of Product is it?
Understanding the product you are looking at is the first step. One of the immediate things you want to look at is the type of product it is. Depending on which method of consumption you prefer, you may be looking for an ingestible, sublingual, inhalable or topical product. These products can range from product an oils, tinctures, capsules, gummies, creams, or flower. Knowing what product it is will allow you to continue doing the proper research for that type of product throughout the label.
Next you will want to look at the CBD extract source; is it made with full spectrum distillate, broad spectrum or CBD isolate? Full spectrum products will contain CBD along with other cannabinoids including the legal limit of Delta 9 THC. Broad spectrum products are THC-Free but still contain a wide variety of cannabinoids. CBD isolate is purely CBD and will not contain any other cannabinoids.
How many milligrams of CBD is in the product?
First, does it actually contain any CBD? Make sure the label mentions the amount of CBD the product contains; this will typically be represented in milligrams (mg) on the front of the product.
There is a common misconception for CBD products when it comes to mentioning milligrams on the front of the packaging; they will either be marketing mg of hemp extract or mg of CBD, both very different. For example, 1000mg is different from 1000mg CBD. Likely 1000mg alone refers to 1000mg of the type of extract used (Crude, Distillate or Isolate). CBD Extracts can vary anywhere from 40% to 99% in actual mg of CBD content. Therefore it is very important to read the milligrams on the front and try to match it up to the nutrition facts and serving suggestions on the back to make sure you understand the actual mg of CBD per serving.
The nutrition facts should explicitly tell you the suggested serving size, servings per container, the amount of CBD per serving and ingredients. Having this information will allow you to understand what is in the product and find a proper dose. Companies may represent this information differently since this industry is still unregulated, however it is important that this information is clear when trying to read it. Keep in mind for this section as well if the product is mentioning actual milligrams of CBD content or just the milligrams of extract; the accuracy of this can be double-checked through the lab report.
Does the label contain an easily accessible lab report?
The product MUST contain an easily accessible Certificate of Analysis (COA) somewhere on the packaging. It is important to check for this usually represented with a scannable QR code that can be easily linked. The most important information is going to be checking the CBD content on the COA and making sure the product is Full Panel Tested. Safe products typically include full panel lab reports which means they tested for heavy metals, pesticides, and residual solvents. COA’s can be confusing to look at but it is important to know what to look for In a COA in order to know if the product is being accurately represented.
Reading the COA aka Lab Report
There are a few things to look for when reading a Certificate of Analysis (COA). Total CBD and Delta 9 THC content should all be easily accessible for a reputable COA. Total CBD content should match up with what the product says on the packaging (the units may or may not match up, so keep that in mind) and the Delta 9 THC content should always be under 0.3% for the product to be federally legal. As mentioned above make sure products have a full panel tested and contain 0% or non-detected (ND) results for heavy metals, pesticides and residual solvents.
Other things can be done for a more thorough investigation of the COA including double checking the sample name, sample type, the photo of what was tested, the company’s name and the name of the lab. You can also call the lab for COA verification where they can make sure it is the original document and has not been manipulated or altered. There are many different labs that test and COA’s can look very different but this is general information that you should be able to check and verify in order to confirm that the product is accurately labeled.
Does it contain any unwanted or harmful ingredients?
For any CBD product you will want to look at ingredients to see if there are any unwanted or harmful ingredients. Artificial ingredients and coloring can cause inflammation which counteract the effects of CBD. We highly recommend organic or all-natural products.
Because CBD products are still currently unregulated and not FDA approved, safe products should contain proper disclaimers. You want to be on the lookout for false claims and false advertising. False claims are illegal and often indicate that a company is not following the current FDA guidelines that are out there for CBD products. The FDA states that CBD products are not dietary supplements because CBD is still in the process of getting clinical claims researched and approved. The disclaimers should be represented on the packaging like any other holistic non-FDA approved product.
Always buy from trusted sources. Transparency and education behind what you’re buying and consuming is necessary. Read carefully and be safe!