CBD is arguably the most sought-after natural herbal remedy as an alternative medicine across different demographics. It is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound predominantly found in hemp but also available in cannabis plants. CBD is famous for its numerous therapeutic effects, including anxiety, pain, and insomnia relief.
Given its popularity, it is available in various consumable forms, from CBD vape pen to edibles, topicals, and sprays, vapes, patches, and more. While CBD may seem like a low-involvement purchase, buyers must pay attention to ensure they consume high-quality products. Here is a CBD buyer’s guide, enabling first-time buyers to navigate the saturated CBD market.
The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the schedule 1 drug list, making it federally legal to cultivate, sell and distribute hemp products. Such progressive laws create a conducive environment for hemp businesses like CBD to grow unperturbed.
There are over 1000 CBD businesses today, with 2020 industry statistics showing that end-use companies recorded the highest annual revenue at 42.8%. However, the CBD industry remains widely unregulated. The regulatory loophole creates room for unscrupulous individuals and entities selling low-quality products bearing adulterated labels to thrive.
As a first-time CBD buyer, you need to be sure you’re working with a transparent CBD vendor. For starters, consider buying products from retailers and manufacturers who give customers access to product analysis certificates from independent lab tests.
Independent accredited labs test CBD products, verifying their cannabinoid content, terpene profile, potency, ingredients, and extraction methods. The tests also check for contaminants, including herbicides, extraction solvent residue, and pesticides, ensuring only top-grade CBD products make it to the final consumer.
Market statistics show that 89.4% of CBD companies conduct third-party lab testing for their products. While the figure seems way above average, one untested product batch risks compromising consumer safety.
Apart from lab test reports, consider CBD businesses upfront about where they source their hemp, allowing you to establish whether they observe best practices in cultivation and CBD production.
- Know The Best CBD Type for You
While CBD is the dominant active compound in hemp, it is not the only hemp constituent, as hemp also contains terpenes, flavonoids, and minor cannabinoids. Moreover, the extraction method and production processes determine the contents of CBD products. Different CBD oil and concentrate compositions influence their efficacy in delivering therapeutic effects.
When shopping for CBD products, particularly CBD oil, you will come across terms like full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate. Understanding the various CBD categorizations helps you to make an informed purchasing decision.
Cannabis and hemp plants feature up to 400 naturally occurring phytochemicals or compounds, including THC. The law defines hemp as containing no more than 0.3% THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis).
Full-spectrum CBD undergoes minimal processing and thus has all the phytochemicals present in the hemp plant, including THC. Consequently, full-spectrum CBD is famous for the entourage effect, whereby interactions among the various phytochemicals increase their efficacy in delivering therapeutic benefits. However, full-spectrum CBD may not work for people who are averse to THC’s psychoactive effects.
Broad-spectrum CBD contains all other naturally occurring hemp phytochemicals except for THC. It is handy for people with low THC tolerance and those in professions where they can be subjected to impromptu drug tests. However, you can still benefit from the entourage effect when you buy broad-spectrum CBD products.
CBD isolate is a pure extract containing CBD as the only Phytochemical and does not deliver the entourage effect. While CBD isolate is the most potent CBD product, it is also the most extensively processed, thus furthest from hemp’s natural form.
With this information in mind, choosing the best CBD product for your needs becomes more accessible. However, when selecting full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products, check their certificates of analysis to establish the phytochemicals you are consuming.
CBD administration methods also influence their bioavailability and effectiveness. For instance, CBD capsules and edibles taken orally have the lowest bioavailability and take the longest before taking effect because they go through the digestive system. In contrast, CBD tinctures taken via sublingual administration and CBD topicals take effect faster and have higher bioavailability because they bypass the digestive system.
- Dosage Considerations
The CBD market remains highly unregulated, so there is no standardized dosage system for CBD products, except for the two FDA-approved CBD prescription medications. Second, similar CBD products by different producers feature different concentrations; hence there’s no standard dose.
Unique CBD uses and desirable effects determine the ideal dosage. Physiological factors like weight, age, and overall health also affect the dosage. Product bioavailability and potency also influence CBD dosage considerations, so consider all these factors before selecting a product and follow recommended dosing considerations.
While CBD products have numerous science-backed benefits, buying low-quality CBD products may cause more harm than good. Therefore, follow the above tips to ensure you buy high-quality, safe, and effective CBD products.