The 2014 legalization of high-grade CBD hemp oil (as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC), means the market has exploded in the last couple of years and will continue to grow at an astounding rate. A few years ago, the CBD oil industry was effectively worthless, but it earned $202 million in 2015. In 2016, the market grew to $688 billion, and by 2021, it could be worth $3 billion!
While this is unquestionably exciting news, it is still a relatively unregulated market. Admittedly, it is not quite like the ‘Wild West’ of 2014 and 2015 when a host of ‘hustlers’ tried to make a quick buck by selling low-quality rubbish and passing it off as high-grade CBD hemp oil. Nonetheless, it is still wise to do your research because CBD oil isn’t cheap! In this article, we provide you with five excellent ways to spot top-notch CBD oil and differentiate it from garbage.
1 – Check the Color of CBD Hemp Oil
A surprising number of people are blissfully unaware that CBD hemp oil comes in differing degrees of strength and quality. It goes without saying that the oil must be extracted via the supercritical and/or subcritical CO2 extraction method, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the oil will be pure.
There are three types of CBD oil:
- Raw: This type of oil is black or dark green because once it has been extracted initially, no further processes are performed. Therefore, your oil will contain terpenes and chlorophyll along with other parts of the plant.
- Decarboxylated: It is similar to Raw CBD oil except for the fact it undergoes the ‘decarboxylation’ process. This is a chemical process that improves the strength and effectiveness of the oil. It is unfiltered and often has the same dark green or black color as raw oil.
- Filtered: This is the CBD oil you should consume, and it comes in a lovely light golden color. This oil undergoes the decarboxylation and filtering processes and removes the parts of the plant left over from the initial extraction process. If you want to look at things another way, high-grade CBD hemp oil is like fine brandy or vodka insofar as it is triple distilled!
2 – Where is the CBD Hemp Oil Sourced From?
You will notice that the vast majority of high-grade CBD hemp oil comes from Colorado or Denmark although there are other excellent locations to grow hemp. The most important factors include where the plant was grown, how it was grown and the species of cannabis; it could be indica, sativa, or ruderalis. The soil, climate and even the plants growing in the next farm all affect the quality of the product.
It is crucial to remember that cannabis is a ‘hyperaccumulator.’ This means it absorbs contaminants from the soil it grows with ease. If you choose CBD taken from hemp grown on non-food conditions, you could be consuming toxic substances. As well as focusing on hemp grown in Denmark and Colorado, check out brands that source their cannabinoids from German-certified farms. Germany has one of the strictest regulatory systems in the world so meeting its criteria is akin to the gold standard. Also, remember that all organic hemp grown in Europe adheres to European Union standards which are far stricter than in the United States.
3 – Is the CBD Hemp Oil Tested By an Independent Third Party?
Independent third-party testing is NOT a mandatory requirement in the CBD oil industry, so would-be hucksters have no incentive to pay for it and reveal their scam. On the other hand, reputable companies will pay thousands of dollars to use independent third party labs to verify their claims.
The overall cost of this third-party testing could run into six figures in some cases. Clearly, only a company with high-grade CBD hemp oil will pay such a large sum to prove the validity of their sales pitch. Organizations that pay for the tests will proudly display their Certificate of Verification on a page of their website. Obviously, do your research and make sure the third party lab is real and not some fictitious one made up to fool customers.
Third party labs test the cannabinoid profile of the oil along with potential contamination. Certificates will tell you the percentage of CBD found in the oil and whether there are any terpenes, pesticides, heavy metals or other microbiological contaminants. In simple terms, independent third-party lab testing means there is nowhere to hide for low-quality CBD oil producers.
4 – Beware the THC Content
CBD hemp oil must contain less than 0.3% THC to be legal for sale across the United States as a food supplement. THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana, but industrial hemp should naturally contain a very low level, to begin with. CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychoactive and helps relieve pain and deal with a host of other medical issues without getting you ‘high.’
The trouble is, some manufacturers are less than open about the full ingredients of their CBD hemp oil. As a rule of thumb, it is best not to risk purchasing any oil which doesn’t provide you with the full list of ingredients, especially the THC and CBD content. CBD can counteract the negative effects of THC in any case, especially if the ratio is 4:1 or more but the bigger issue is drug testing.
Even at 0.3% THC, there is a possibility of failing a company drug test if you consume a reasonable amount of CBD oil. As such, you should be looking for products with a THC content of as close to zero as possible. There are a handful of brands that sell CBD oils with practically no THC whatsoever. If nothing else, shoot for oils with a THC content of less than 0.05%.
5 – The Whole Plant Extract & Nothing But
Just to make things more confusing, there are oils made from Whole Plant Hemp and Isolated Hemp! Whole plant hemp is associated with high-grade CBD oil and is extracted from the seeds, stem, and stalk of the plant. Not only does the oil contain CBD, but it also has a full range of other natural additions such as terpenes, flavonoids, and secondary cannabinoids.
Research shows that CBD oil containing the above is more effective than its Isolated Hemp counterpart. Isolated hemp relates to products containing the stock of the hemp plant only. The creators of these products remove the fatty acids, terpenes, and other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant’s Trichomes.
The CBD ‘crystals’ are the only remaining component and end product resembles a white powder. Most experts agree that these products tend to degrade the synergistic properties of the hemp plant. As CBD isolate contains fewer cannabinoids than whole plant extracts, a far larger amount of hemp is required to extract a relatively small level of the isolate.
Final Thoughts on High-Grade CBD Hemp Oil
There is an enormous amount of research which shows the efficacy of CBD in the treatment of a surprisingly wide range of medical conditions. This versatile marijuana compound is a potential game changer in the medical field, but you will only receive the benefits from high-grade CBD hemp oil.
Although the FDA is cracking down on companies that sell low-quality oil, never assume that a company with a professional looking website and marketing campaign is the real deal. Instead, play detective and make sure it is golden filtered oil grown in the right location, tested by an independent third party, with an exceptionally low level of THC and that it is made from the whole plant. Nothing else is worth your money.
- 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)
- Organic hemp CO2 extract tincture
- Available in Cinnamint & Natural
- Full-spectrum extract
- Price Range ($39 - $249)