Finding quality CBD products

How it all started

Since around 2014, hemp derived CBD products have been hitting store shelves in mass. With destinations ranging from the high end spa in town, to the raggedy gas station off a highway exit. We’ve seen CBD products infiltrate all walks of business. From common products like lotions, tinctures, gummy’s, and other snacks, to an odd range of infused products. Odd such as CBD clothing, pillows, and other accessories. In a market that lacks regulation and consistency on making these medicinal products, how do you know where to look? For high quality and standards, we’ve listed a few ways to find the good stuff!

Ins and outs of quality made CBD

The best way to start is to learn some basics about hemp products. By understanding that word of mouth, and packaging is not a reliable way to differentiate what’s quality and what isn’t. To elaborate on my take of understanding this, I set out to start my own CBD company in 2018. Bellisimo Botanicals was just an idea and a logo before it became an e-commerce store in January of 2019. Bringing products to the market involved plenty of products development and market research. My task to research was where things are going wrong, and where they are going right. How does the production of these products could go wrong?, and what to look out for before starting sales was essential.

The way product development starts

To design a hemp product, one must start with deciding what category of product to make. Will it be ingestible? Topically applied? Gulped down in the form of a fizzy drink? Step one is easy, it’s getting down to the numbers that makes quality standards difficult to achieve. No matter the type of product, sadly one can’t just put 1,000mg of CBD into a mix and expect it to test as such. Residual loss is the explanation behind this. The production process is part of the reason why one needs to include this dilemma in their formulations. Beyond the residual loss with production, manufacturers also need to compensate for the variance in lab testing across the country (15% from the actual amount typically)

Different forms of CBD extract

CBD gets extracted from hemp in multiple stages from crude oil, to distillate, to isolate, Crude is the most unrefined form of extract from the plant. Next, winterizing is the process by which freezing and filtering the ethanol/ crude solution removes chlorophyll and plant lipids. Then on to short path distillation to clean up the extract and increase the potency per volume. The last step is changing it to its isolated form – “CBD isolate”, isolate meaning an isolated cannabinoid. With this understanding of extracts we can look into the quality of products that are made from each kind.

CBD distillate in an erlenmeyer flask

Some extracts contain THC

It’s important to emphasize that when products are made with crude/distillate oil, this generally means the product will contain THC. Excluding a newer product “Broad Spectrum” which basically just means a distillate has had its THC removed, and leaves the other residual cannabinoids there. Each form of extract has different pros and cons to their potential uses in CBD products on the market. Isolate is perfect for those who want just CBD, or another cannabinoid. Full spectrum offers a greater variety of benefits, but lacks the ability for one to pass a drug test. Broad spectrum has no THC, giving it the benefit of use without the drug test concern, while also giving an entourage effect to the user with its plethora of cannabinoids still in the mix.

The Entourage Effect

The synergy of multiple cannabinoids working together is a perfectly simple way to describe the entourage effect. Commonly referenced when using full spectrum or broad spectrum products, it’s the go to for many consumers of CBD who are looking to get the most rewarding benefits from their purchase. For others, the concern of testing positive for THC has many sticking to “CBD only” for the foreseeable future.

CBD Buying basics

When looking into buying some products, some basic advice to follow comes as this. First, see that the products have been lab tested so that the advertised milligram content is close to what they advertise. Most labs test within 15% of the actual total so seeing within that range is a good indicator they are trying their best to give you an accurate serving size of CBD. Check the label for an actual milligram content of CBD and not “hemp oil/hemp extract/hemp”. Look at the ingredients to see what form of extracted CBD is used in the product (Isolate/full spectrum/broad spectrum) and the amount per serving. Sometimes products will have a QR code you can scan with your phone that will link to a digital copy of the certificate of analysis (lab test/”COA”). Lastly an address where the product is manufactured.

Experimenting with products, see what works best for you

At the end of the day, no one company can ethically or legally provide medical advice to a consumer about CBD products as they have not been evaluated by the FDA yet. Try quality CBD products that can clearly state what form of extract they use, that are made in a licensed food safe space at the least, and company information on their packaging. You know your body best, and if something isn’t working for you then experiment more with other varieties and types of products. Stay safe out there and have fun experimenting.