In my last two posts, I talked about the downfalls of the CBD boom and the necessity of product transparency. Readers learned what to look for when buying CBD, and how to stay safe in an age of misinformation.
SO! If you're crunched on time, too lazy to read the last two blogs (hey, no judgment!), or if you simply want a brief recap, here’s what you need to know:
(1) Make sure it's USDA certified organic and ethically sourced
The first thing you need to do is make sure your CBD product is derived from certified organic hemp.
Remember what I said about hemp being a bioaccumulator? That means it absorbs everything in the soil, including pesticides and toxins, at a faster rate that it is able to release or use them. If you’re concerned about pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxins, make sure that the oil you are buying is extracted from an organic plant.
It's also important to make sure your hemp is ethically grown, on US soil. Buying local, USDA certified hemp ensures that your product is pure and safe, while also supporting the local economy.
(2) Check the extraction method
Most of what you need to know will be covered in step three, finding a CofA. But if you aren't able to get your hands on one, or are crunched on time, you should at least check the extraction method. There are benefits and drawbacks to each method. For more information, check out my last blog.
(3) Get the lab results (aka the Certificate of Analysis (CofA))
Because of the gross lack of regulation in the CBD industry, companies are able to put whatever they’d like on the label. Remember the statistics from part 1 of this blog series? Out of 84 products from 31 different companies, nearly 70% were mislabeled (Bonn-Miller, et al. 2017).
A CofA ensures that the product was third-party tested, and is a great way to avoid fraudulent claims about potency and purity. Just look for the batch number of the product you’re looking to buy! At the end of this post, I've attached an example of Allay's most recent CofA- annotated to show exactly what to look for.
With a CofA, you’ll be able to find the following:
A CofA will show you exactly what pesticides, heavy metals, and toxic residue may still exist in the final product. CBD products that were extracted using butane, for example, can have toxic residue that may increase one’s risk of cancer. A CofA will also show you if there is any mold or bacteria in your product- just look for the “Microbiological Testing.”
Is what your buying really going to be effective? Is the money your spending really worth it, or will it be wasted on a weak product? You can find the total count of CBD, CBDa, CBN, and THC under “cannabinoid summary.” By looking at the full cannabinoid summary you can ensure that the product you are buying is truly full-spectrum, whole plant medicine.
And yep, that’s it. Just three steps! Buy organic, check the extraction method, and look for a CofA. All of this will ensure that your product is safe, accurately labeled, and potent.