How to Find Quality CBD Product – Know What the Label Says
CBD-infused products seem the trend lately. From beauty products to edibles and everything in between, CBD has found a home amongst most of our everyday products. Thanks to early CBD-based studies, which literally exalt CBD as a cure-all drug, with acclaimed benefits spanning from pain relief, anti-inflammation, reduced epileptic seizures, anti-depression, and everything between.
As the popularity increases, so do misconceptions and misunderstandings around the compound. This is mainly caused by the poor regulations on the fast-growing CBD market.
The CBD market is increasingly flooded with products with manufacturers looking to quickly cash out from the rising sector, which is predicted to hit 5.3 billion dollars by 2025.
The result – a porous market flooded with dangerous substances with “Quality CBD Oil” labels.
The good news?
There are many reputable brands with consistent top-quality products with accurate labels.
Until the FDA enforces a reliable regulatory structure, it’s entirely up to you, the consumer, to make the best-informed purchase decision.
Honestly, navigating through the truckload of alternatives on the market can be tricky. No worries, though.
Let’s discuss how to buy the best quality CBD product and enjoy all the potential promises and avoid toxins and other harmful materials that can make you sick.
Let’s cut to the chase…
Ask for the Certificate of Analysis(COA)
A Certificate of Analysis, or COA, is arguably the surest single way to spot quality among fakes. The COA is a report from a third-party lab test, confirming a product label’s credibility – or incredibility.
For emphasis, COA investigates the ingredients and concentrations of CBD products. This allows you to match the product label claims with the lab test result.
Currently, a COA is a hallmark of credibility among CBD brands. Findings show that almost two-thirds of CBD products on the market have inaccurate labels. So, any product without a third-party test result is most likely one.
A COA gives you peace of mind on every CBD product bought. No matter how authentic it looks, without a COA, move on to the next product.
Check the lab’s license
How do you know the credibility of a lab?
Here’s a common question from our audience. It’s pretty simple – Check its ISO 17025 accreditation. This should be found on the COA, alongside the name of the issuing laboratory.
Although ISO 17025 is not the sole existing accreditation, it particularly certifies that a licensed third-party lab has reviewed the product.
Of course, any report from a non-accredited lab is as good as none.
It won’t cost much to inquire about the accuracy of product content from the issuing lab. It is important to note that some COA can be faked or doctored.
While most labs will not issue a COA directly to consumers, they will gladly attend to any consumer who seeks to verify a COA and the accuracy of a batch number.
Match the batch numbers
Too often, CBD products’ batch numbers do not match what’s on the COA header.
To verify the authenticity of batch numbers, match the number on the product’s label with the COA header. For increased transparency, most COAs comes with a photo of the exact tested product to allow quick comparison.
Check CBD’s potency
Indeed, there are no hard-and-fast rules on how much any CBD product type should contain. Consumption route, topical or oral administration, and consumption purpose are key factors that determine how much CBD your product should contain.
However, ensure your preferred product contains the CBD quantity stated on the label. Match the labeled CBD percentage to what the COA states.
On your COA, CBD level is usually the first item on the list. Check if the percentage-per-serving and/or per-product align. Also, make sure the measurement unit used is similar; otherwise, you may need to run some conversion to ensure the report and the label state the same thing.
Full-spectrum? Broad-spectrum? Or Isolate?
There are debates within the CBD community whether to use broad-spectrum, full-spectrum, or isolate. While research suggests full- or broad-spectrum have more therapeutic potency than isolate, others argue the contrary.
Regardless of your preferred option, know that broad- and full-spectrum products are typically more expensive than isolates.
If a product label states “Full-Spectrum” or “Broad-Spectrum,” refer to the COA to confirm the presence of other compounds like CBN, CBG, CBC, and even THC, though low in percentage.
The market currently seems to favor full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products due to the ‘entourage effect.’ However, broad-spectrum products seem to be safer since it offers all the cannabis therapeutic components without THC, the compound in cannabis that can alter a person’s metal state.
The point is – before you pay for a product, whether a broad-spectrum or full-spectrum, ensure the product actually has all the additional ingredients to justify the cost.
Don’t forget the terpenes
If you want broad- or full-spectrum, remember to check the COA for its terpene profile. Terpenes account for the flavor and aroma of your CBD product. Terpenes may have their unique therapeutic offers too, research suggests.
For instance, for relaxation, you should choose a product that contains the terpene linalool, a component of lavender which studies claim may help sleep.
You don’t need any professional certification to read a terpene profile. If you find terpenes on a label, you may stop there – that’s one-enough among other proofs that you’re paying for a broad- or full-spectrum.
The mere presence of terpenes on your lab result makes a statement of product credibility and transparency.
Read other chemicals
Pesticides, mycotoxins, heavy metals, yeast, bacterial contaminants, and molds are not desirable elements. Check the COA to confirm how much of these contaminants were found in the source hemp plant used for the product.
Although it’s common to find trace amounts of these substances in a panel test, quality CBD products come with negligible notes of contaminants, which even regulatory bodies deem safe.
Credible COAs show parts-per-billion of contaminants detected. This enables the buyer to check if the product fails the regulatory test and know the exact level of these contaminants.
The surge in CBD activities is traceable, in part, to the popular 2018 Farm Bill. The Bill, passed into law by President Donald Trump, decriminalized hemp-based cannabinoids produced by licensed cultivators, in line with relevant state and federal regulations.
As we speak, the FDA has evaluated and approved only one CBD product– Epidiolex, a CBD-infused prescription drug for two rare forms of Epilepsy, particularly for pediatric use.
With this analysis, always keep in mind that all products are made to sell – even the fakes, so be sure to always read all the information on the labels.
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