If you buy CBD oil online, or if you’ve ever even done any general browsing for CBD products, you’ve likely come across the expression “third party testing.” But what does this mean, exactly? Are CBD manufacturers required to have their products tested before they can market and distribute them?
Mmm not exactly, as it turns out. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that companies still don’t have an incentive to do it.
In this article, we talk about what third party testing is, and how reliable it is in terms of separating quality cannabis products from “not so quality” products. And of course, we’ll discuss some things that you as a buyer should be looking out for, and also what the whole process of lab testing means for you as a consumer.
First Things First: What is Independent Third Party Testing?
The goal behind independent third party lab testing is to have a neutral, unbiased source examine the content and quality of a company’s cannabis products. This is incredibly important in today’s market, as the non-regulated state of cannabis has essentially allowed manufacturers and distributors to slap impressive-looking labels on their products, and then turn around and market and sell them however they please. (In case you were unaware, the CBD industry is NOT currently regulated by the FDA).
However, in terms of the cannabis industry, federal regulation has always been a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the majority of manufacturers don’t want the government dipping their hand into revenue and profits, or telling them what they can and cannot do, sell, market, distribute, etc.
But on the other hand, quality manufacturers know that an industry without rules and regulations will quickly become overrun with scams, false advertising, and out-and-out lies – which makes it very hard for a consumer to make educated purchases, or receive quality, reliable information.
Of course, this is fine for all of the crooks and swindlers out there who simply want to cash in on the booming cannabis industry. If no one is stopping them from slapping a “100% CBD” label on a bottle of snake oil, for example, then why would we expect them to not take full advantage?
It’s a sad way to have to look at things, but it’s also the hard truth.
Fortunately, this is where the beauty of transparency comes in: like cream rising to the top of a hot cup of caramel macchiato, good and honest companies with quality products will (hopefully) always find a way to overcome the competition and rise to the top. And most of them – nowadays at least – are accomplishing this through third party testing. They know that they are manufacturing and selling good, quality products, and they are not scared to have an unbiased, outside source verify it for them.
Does the FDA Really Not Regulate The CBD Industry at All?
In all honesty, this is kind of a hazy subject. The straightforward, bottom line is that no, the Food and Drug Administration does not maintain any sort of regulation or oversight into the CBD industry.
That being said, however, one of the inherent purposes of the FDA is to make sure that the general public is not being exposed to any dubious, dangerous, or questionable health products – including natural medications like cannabis. So if a company out there is selling a product labeled “CBD” (which is considered medication), then the FDA is entirely within their right to step in, test, and analyze that product. Dozens of sub-par cannabis companies have found this out the hard way over the last several years.
If Third Party Testing Isn’t Required, Then Why Do Companies Do it?
Analytical laboratory equipment like HPLC’s (high-performance liquid chromatographs) are not cheap, nor is the labor and expertise that comes with knowing how to use them. Taking this into consideration, why do a lot of these CBD companies willingly choose to spend thousands of dollars per month out of their own pockets, just to have a “Third-Party Tested” label slapped on to their products?
Like we just mentioned, it ultimately comes down to transparency. With cannabis products and CBD oil in particular becoming more and more popular by the day, it’s becoming increasingly crucial for companies to establish a reliable and reputable name within the industry. People know what quality CBD oil is capable of doing in terms of chronic pain relief, anxiety and depression relief, insomnia relief, etc, so they are certainly not going to spend their hard-earned money on an (expensive) brand that’s not even confident enough to have their products laboratory tested.
In short, it is well within a CBD company’s best interest to have their products third-party tested, even if it is costly for them. The average consumer is not feeble-minded, and they’ll be able to tell pretty quickly whether a brand is legit, or whether they’re full of it. So when they see that all-important gold “third-party” label slapped on the outside of the bottle, they know that they’re likely dealing with the former rather than the latter.
What about Cannabinoid and Terpene Profiles?
Another reason why cannabis companies spend large amounts of money on laboratory testing is to obtain cannabinoid and terpene profiles for each of their various strains. If you’ve ever been to a marijuana dispensary, you know that when you buy a product, the cannabinoid profiles are printed out and slapped right onto the outside of the bottle for quick reference (or at least they should be if it’s a quality dispensary).
For example, you might buy a Sour Diesel strain that has a cannabinoid profile of 22% THC and 3% CBD. Or you might buy a full-spectrum CBD oil that contains 28% CBD and 2% THC. Without third party testing, customers would have no way of knowing what’s in the product that they’re buying. And with more and more information coming out all the time about specific cannabis profiles being better for specific medical conditions (such as high CBD strains for anxiety relief), it’s all the more important that sellers are able to accurately verify what’s in each particular strain.
Final Thoughts: Third Party Laboratory Testing for CBD Products
The last thing you need to be spending your hard-earned money on is a CBD product that doesn’t contain any CBD. And given the current unregulated state of the industry, this is an all too easy mistake to make.
Thus, it’s becoming increasingly important as a consumer to look for oils, edibles, and other CBD products that have been lab tested by an unbiased, outside source. You would not believe the thousands upon thousands of people that get turned off to cannabis use, just because they used a crummy, low-quality product without knowing it. Shop wisely, look for reliable, reputable brands with good consumer feedback, and never underestimate the importance of third-party quality tested products.
Here are some brands that use Third-Party Testing:
- Full-spectrum Hemp extract
- No pesticides, solvents or chemical fertilizers
- 3rd party laboratory tested
- Price Range ($48.00 – $139.00)
- Maximum potency and purity
- Compounded by a licensed pharmacist
- Highly concentrated extraction process
- Price Range ($26-$169)
- Over 5 Years Experience
- 3rd party laboratory tested
- Organic hemp CO2 extract tincture
- Price Range ($62.00 – $204.00)
- CBDPure uses a chemical-free CO2 extraction process
- 3rd party laboratory tested
- Certified hemp grown in Colorado
- Price Range ($29.99 – $79.99)