The CBD market can be a confusing place—unless you're armed with this expert-approved buyer’s guide.
CBD oil is the most popular ingredient on the block these days. It’s one of the many naturally-occurring chemical compounds present in the flowers and leaves of cannabis plants, found in both marijuana and industrial hemp. Unlike THC (the psychoactive element of cannabis), CBD cannot get you high, no matter how much you take.
What’s drawing both consumers and product manufacturers to CBD oil are its highly promising purported health benefits, from reduced anxiety to help with nausea, inflammation, and insomnia. (Though we still need more comprehensive research on the effectiveness of CBD oil).
Thanks to all of the above, CBD is sneaking its way into snacks, drinks, beauty products, even dog food. And though the World Health Organization has reported that “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD,” regulation of the ingredient is still murky at best. It’s legal to grow hemp in the United States and to extract CBD from it, but we’re waiting on clearance from the FDA to deem CBD as a “generally safe” product.
Which brings us to why we rounded up a few pointers—with help from Chase Terwilliger, the CEO of CBDistillery (the largest online retailer of hemp-derived CBD products in the world)—on what you should look for if you’d like to try out the CBD trend.
1. Growing Procedures and Extraction Processes
Ask your CBD retailer about their growth and production processes before you buy—it’s very important to choose a CBD product that is made by a company that is transparent about where their hemp is grown. Equally important is to ensure that the company you are purchasing from follows Good Manufacturing Practices in their extraction process.
2. Plant Type
CBD is the scientific abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of the 113+ potentially beneficial cannabinoids found in the plant Cannabis sativa L. Though Hemp and marijuana are terms often used interchangeably to describe any cannabis plant or its derivatives, hemp is not marijuana. According to the Federal Government, hemp or industrial hemp includes the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part or derivative with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. To avoid the feeling of intoxication often associated with cannabis products, it is recommended that you choose a product that is derived from industrial hemp.
3. THC Levels
Your CBD producer should have access to viewable third-party test results that they can share with you to confirm that the CBD product you select meets regulatory requirements. If your product contains more than 0.3 percent THC, it is no longer classified as hemp. If you want to avoid THC entirely, use the third-party test results to confirm that your CBD isolate products have 0% THC.
You should always purchase from companies who value transparency and follow industry guidelines, such as those from the U.S. Hemp Authority. As a good rule of thumb, look for companies that share verified customer reviews, as well as print earned product seals such as ISO 9001, Natural Farming Practice, Lab Tested Potency & Purity, and U.S. Hemp Authority on their labels.
The correct amount of CBD for you depends on your needs, the type of product you take, and the way your body responds to CBD. Everyone’s body reacts differently. We recommend starting with a very low dose of 5 to 10 mg of CBD, waiting 3 to 4 hours, and increasing as necessary to achieve desired effects. Keep track of how it affects you as it can take several hours, several days, or several weeks before you notice significant benefits. Patience is key. And if you don’t like the way you feel after sampling CBD oil, abandon ship.