Written by Alexander Lacina, Founder of CBDoken
To get rid of some of the confusion regarding the idenfitication of quality CBD, we came up with a list of our four most essential tips when it comes to buying CBD products.
Mark Twain once said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth even gets its boots on.”
Misinformation can masquerade as science, especially when it comes to CBD. Many people have asked how to identify a premium quality CBD product since there are thousands of new white labelled products entering the market every day.
Here are four essential tips when it comes to buying CBD products:
1. Know your ingredients — e.g. is isolate powder added?
There is much confusion surrounding CBD oil. Most of the time when someone talks about CBD oil they mean CBD isolate blended with plant oil made out of olives or coconuts. It comes in a dripper, and it is easy to use. It is offered in all different qualities because the central question is: isolate or full spectrum extract.
However, be aware, because sometimes low-quality CBD isolate powder (mostly from China without any quality control) is mixed in this oil or even added to low full spectrum extracts to boost its CBD content, so that it is more attractive to the consumer. This is why you should always follow these three rules:
- Check Lab-Test
- Check Source
- Check Product
2. Isolate vs Full Spectrum
In the last few years, CBD isolate was thought to be the top-notch CBD extract on the market. When you are purchasing CBD products today, you have two options: full spectrum CBD or isolate CBD. They have a few key differences that you’ll want to be aware of.
Full spectrum CBD, as a direct hemp extract, contains every cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant. This means cannabidiol, cannabicyclol, tetrahydrocannabivarin, and cannbichromevinaric acid, to name a few.
In full spectrum CBD, there is nothing held back or left out. Different cannabinoids introduce various potential benefits that seem to address a wide variety of ailments, both on their own and in conjunction with one another, and with CBD, the so-called ‘entourage effect’. The entourage effect declares that CBD creates better results when combined with the other properties from the source plant, instead of existing on its own. Various studies indicate that CBD when in the presence of other plant constituents, is more potent and efficacious.
These studies conclude that the higher efficiency of the plant extract can be explained by additive or synergistic interactions between CBD, terpenes, and the minor phytocannabinoids or non-cannabinoids presented in the extracts.
Since then the Full Spectrum Extract is acknowledged as the healthiest and most potent CBD extract, 100% legal and organic grown. Unluckily the market reacted in a way which was not in the favour for the consumer.
Nowadays low-quality extractions are blended with isolate to create a high CBD ‘full spectrum’ product, but they do not contain any significant amount of a full cannabinoid profile. It is also common to find cheaper, low cannabinoid-profile extracts on the market with an overall profile of around 10–25% as well, but those products are not using proper extraction methods to get the best out of the raw hemp material.
CBDoken as an example offers a supercritical co2 extract with a CBD content above 55% and a total profile over 75%. Organic, vegan and grown in Europe.
3. The Source
There should be no compromises when it comes to quality. This begins with the selection of local, European certified seed. So, you should take your time to select the perfect strain for certain formulations with the right CBD percentage and cannabinoid ratio.
For this task, some traditional European hemp-growing farms have been revived in Slovenia and Croatia. Their environmental awareness and natural resources give them an advantage in producing all-natural raw hemp free of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and heavy metals.
To achieve this, the hemp is harvested only on specially selected days. Like in the past, all the crops are harvested by hand. Each flower is separated from the stalk by hand, which also means they can make a selection and pick only premium flowers.
To safeguard the potency of their hemp, they let it dry naturally, always at temperatures below 35° C. A special closed-machine method helps us secure the precious crystals on the flowers, so-called trichomes, where the cannabinoids and terpenes accumulate. The dried material is then pressed into pellets that contain a special blend of three authentic European hemp varieties, rich in active cannabinoids.
4. Visual Check
It may not require much text to explain this testing method: have a look at the colour of the product. If it is greenish, it has much chlorophyll left in the extract. If the extract looks like golden-amber honey, you are on the right track.
Most of the time you will find some brownish product, which is usually a blend of low-quality extract with CBD isolate. Different extraction methods result in different quality, not only affecting the cannabinoid profile.
The right temperature, the correct pressure, and the right timing are needed to get the best product out of the EU certified raw material when using supercritical co2 extraction. It is recommended that you have a look at the source of the raw material as well. EU certified hemp with bio certification is a good start.
It is a simple rule. If the seller does not provide a lab-test: do not buy the product. A lab test should at a minimum cover the cannabinoid profile, but we also recommend a microbiological analysis. CBDoken as an example works with seven different labs to ensure the highest quality controlled product on the market.
In Austria, there is an NGO called arge-canna.at which initiated the first seal of approvement for CBD products. If you are lucky, you can get hands on their certified products, which are already traded in pharmacies. You can also rely on reputed natural skincare brands such as INDICA Skincare if you wish to use high quality CBD products.