In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the potential beneficial effects of CBD for both people and their pets.

But how do we know if we’re getting a CBD product that is pure, potent, and contains the legal limit of THC (.3% or less)? Unfortunately, with the boom in the CBD movement, many uninformed consumers have become victims of substandard products.

So this week, we’ll be reviewing the potential risks of CBD shopping, and how consumers can avoid purchasing unsafe and ineffective cannabidiol products.

How CBD works

We all have a complex system within our bodies that is constantly working to maintain our health and well-being. It’s called the endocannabinoid system, and it is the reason our bodies can maintain homeostasis, or a physiological balance.

CBD works by communicating with receptors within the endocannabinoid system, leading to potential health benefits, such as reduced pain, stress, inflammation and so on.

This is why so many people are turning to CBD products. CBD has the potential to help us deal with a multitude of health issues in a safe, non-intoxicating manner.

What to look for when shopping for CBD

Let’s start with the origin of a CBD product.

CBD is derived from either hemp or marijuana. Both plants are bio-accumulators. This means that as the plants grow, they attract toxins from soil, air, water and everything else around them.

In addition, farmers often use pesticides to get rid of insects, and herbicides to manage weeds. CBD products that have absorbed toxins, such as heavy metals and pesticides, can potentially be harmful to your health. In fact, some types of cancer have shown a potential association with these contaminants, including leukemia and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

After the plant is grown, how CBD is extracted from hemp and marijuana is crucial to ensuring a high-quality CBD product. The cheapest processes can leave chemical residues that might end up in the extracted CBD, causing potential harm to consumers.

A safer extraction method is to use carbon dioxide with high pressure and low temperature to extract the CBD oil. Once the extraction is finished, pressure is released to evaporate the CO2. That way there are no harmful residues left over from the extraction process.

How to use CBD

There are many ways to use CBD. Some people drink it with their lattes, while others might vape it. Vaping CBD could be harmful if the product contains the ingredient propylene glycol. When burned at high temperatures, propylene glycol may cause harm to your health. Consider buying vape pens that advertise themselves as with “solvent-free oils”.

Before purchasing CBD, you should also check out the company that produces and manufactures the products. Many companies avoid taking accountability for their actions by dodging communications with customers. If a firm is easy to reach, it is a good sign that they have nothing to hide, are willing to take responsibility, and that they trust their own products.

You should always look for brands that are transparent, ethical, and produce quality CBD from reputable sources.

Effectiveness of CBD

Have you tried CBD before and thought it didn’t work for you?

One possible explanation for this is that you’re simply using a product that doesn’t have enough CBD to produce any beneficial effects.

Many CBD companies package their products in a misleading way, so it’s not always clear how much CBD is in a specific product. For a CBD product to have any therapeutic effect, it needs to have at least 250mg-1,000mg per 1fl oz. Any less than 250mg per ounce, and there likely won’t be any noticeable effects.

Drug testing and CBD

Many of us have jobs that require regular drug testing. And in most CBD products, THC (the cannabinoid that can make people “high”) is present in very small amounts.

Therefore, when contemplating which CBD product to purchase, you should look for both the THC and CBD dosage. Legally, the federal government requires all hemp-derived CBD products to contain less than .3% THC.

In addition, in order to pass a urine drug test, you need to have less than 50 ng/ml THC in your body. Therefore, it is crucial for buyers to check the amount of THC in any CBD product they consume. If the product follows the THC guidelines set by the federal government, you’ll likely be fine taking a drug test for THC.

How to avoid substandard CBD

Previously, we mentioned that both hemp and marijuana are bio-accumulators – meaning they absorb toxins like pesticides, heavy metals, and bacteria.

When purchasing CBD, it is crucial to make sure that the hemp or marijuana where the product was derived from was organically grown. This way, fewer toxins would have made their way into the CBD product.

It is also important to note where the plants were grown. To ensure that you are buying the safest CBD product, the CBD should be derived from domestically grown hemp or marijuana. This is due to the fact that each state has their own regulations for growing hemp and marijuana.

Colorado, for example, has thorough safety rules. The state’s agriculture program tests hemp plants while they are growing to check for THC, and they also investigate illegal use of pesticides. If the CBD is derived from plants grown overseas, it likely didn’t go through the same extensive testing as plants that were grown in the U.S.

CBD lab testing

It is difficult to know the full contents of any CBD product without conducting a lab test on the product.

Therefore, consumers are encouraged to ask for the Certificate of Analysis (COA) for any CBD products that they consider buying. COAs provide information about the product’s CBD content and whether or not it contains contaminants, such as pesticides or fungus.

Even in states like Colorado that perform extensive tests on hemp plants, finished products are not always tested before going to market. Manufacturers themselves have to do this phase of testing, but some don’t. That is why if a company fails to provide you with a COA of their CBD, you may want to think twice before purchasing the product.

In addition, when you are given a COA, check if the lab meets the ISO 17025 standard. This means that the lab follows a high standard for testing.

For further precautions, all labs test CBD differently and their methods are not all equal. The lab should always follow the testing methods approved by one of the three national standard-setting organizations: The Association of Official Agriculture Chemist (AOAC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), or the U.S Pharmacopeia (USP).

CBD and the FDA

Recently, the FDA has cracked down on companies that are promoting the health claims of CBD. Curaleaf – a CBD company that made many sweeping health claims about their products – is one of the latest examples of this.

If a CBD company makes far-fetched claims, such as their products being able to cure Alzheimer’s disease or cancer, it is both illegal and potentially dangerous. An uninformed consumer who is suffering from a serious disease could forgo proven treatment options and choose CBD instead.

Although CBD has shown many promising outcomes, additional clinical research is needed to prove its effectiveness and safety.

The CBD Certification Course

Whether you are a CBD consumer looking for the highest-quality products and reliable information on CBD, or a CBD industry professional, education and training are becoming increasingly important as the CBD boom continues.

That’s why we created our CBD Certification Course.

If you or your team need a trusted CBD training resource, then this course is for you.

Learn more, and be sure to check out our generous group rates for teams of 3 or more!