As a holistic nutritionist and longtime consumer of CBD products, I am of course alert to the CBD products that I purchase. CBD, in itself, is a natural compound, but I look for the other ingredients that may be unnatural. I have tried many different brands and I have been lucky for the most part even when I was first buying without the knowledge that I have now. My reasoning was that It would be counterproductive to buy clean, organic food and not set the same standards for my supplements. I never had a problem with the bitterness of unflavored CBD, and that is what I mostly use. I understand that there are those (especially children) that will only take it if it tastes good. There can be a big trade-off when making supplements more “tasty.” Oftentimes companies will add dyes and corn syrup to an otherwise healthy product. This is all for the sake of taste, texture, and appearance.
Some common forms of CBD. Photo by Steven Ashton
With the popularity of CBD products on the rise, it’s no wonder there is confusion over which ones to purchase. A Google search of “CBD oil” returns a vast amount of purveyors and local businesses selling CBD products. CBD is unregulated at this time, but that does not mean that there are not top quality products available. The really good ones don’t need to be regulated, they know what they are selling, they are transparent, and they have extremely high standards. One of the companies that I source from has been producing CBD products for over 10 years.
I won’t go into the other details of CBD since there are many great and informative articles in this blog, but I will say that there is still much to be learned about CBD. It has been an illegal substance for so long that it has been very difficult to do the proper research to gather more data. All of that is rapidly changing and there is significant scientific evidence of the positive properties of CBD usage. There is no shortage of positive testimonials on the wonders of CBD therapy, it may not work the same for everybody. Results from long term usage are not known and most people turn to CBD’s pain-reducing properties out of desperation, which is what I did.
How does one know whether they are getting the best product for their money? There are certain things to look for and that is what this article will attempt to explain. It is really quite simple. We first look at the company. Are they legitimate? Are there customer reviews? Are they transparent in their product description? Do they provide detailed lab reports? What are the other ingredients? CBD comes in several popular types or delivery methods including tincture, isolate( sometimes called concentrate or crystals), balms and cremes, gummies, and pet treats.
Look for the lab reports (COA-certificate of analysis) and read them. I can’t stress this enough. Make sure the concentration matches up to the label of the product you are purchasing. Some companies will show a generic lab report that is old and probably does not even associate with that particular batch. Some manufacturers have a QR code on the packaging that will take you directly to the lab results for that particular product. Look at the impurities and toxins tested for. The end product does not necessarily need to say “organic” to be pure.
Easy way to see lab results. Photo by Steven Ashton
Cold Co2 Extraction
Since extreme heat tends to modify and/or oxidize, it is best to look for CBD products that have been extracted using the mild heat and CO2 for this process. I apply this same logic to the oils that I use in cooking. I prefer the cold or expeller pressed over industrial oils that use high heat in the extraction process.
Pay attention to the flavoring agents and carrier oils used, especially the fruity ones. CBD oil is bitter by itself and many manufacturers use a flavoring to partially mask the bitterness. Stay away from the cheap industrial seed oils (canola, safflower, sunflower) used as a carrier. The best oils are MCT, coconut, olive oil, vegetable glycerin (usually made from palm or coconut oil).
Treats like gummies and candy sounding names require more scrutiny as they usually contain dyes and unnatural sweeteners. Look for organic and non-GMO ingredients. The source hemp should be organic. The best hemp is no longer of only German origin; clean, organic hemp is also grown in many places in the U.S. with more farms coming online regularly.
Full spectrum CBD oil is usually the best and most effective. Although isolate is pure CBD, the recommended dosing is greater. The reason for this is because the isolate doesn't contain the phytocannabinoids. These plant-based compounds, when combined together provide the most therapeutic effects. Just be aware that isolate is the absolute purest form of CBD and no other helpful plant compounds. Isolate powder is most useful when added to foods or beverages and does not have the bitterness that tinctures have.
It is suggested that CBD be taken as a tincture sublingually or topically as opposed to ingesting. Doing so avoids the destructive digestive process and the liver does not have to process.
The lab report will show this. The standard is less than .3 percent, some actually will show as 0 percent on their lab analysis.
Check the sample date to make sure it matches your product. Photo by Steven Ashton
There is also a large and growing market for CDB for pets. The standards for CDB products for humans also pertain to pets. CBD can provide relief from pain, anxiety, and many age-related disorders often seen in older dogs and cats.
As always, follow recommended dosing instructions on the labels. Always start with the minimal dosage. Not everyone responds the same to CBD and the endocannabinoid systems are all different among us. Stay abreast on the latest CBD research and findings by signing up for my email list.
For more information on shopping for CBD products, comment at the bottom of this post or email me directly.
Resources and further reading on CBD:
This video/slide presentation goes into great detail: Phytocannabinoids in Clinical Care