Knowing and understanding the health benefits of CBD oil is one thing; finding a well-made, reliable tincture that you can trust to be safe, effective and affordable is another thing altogether.
The truth is, because the cannabis industry (and particularly the legal CBD hemp sector) is not regulated by the FDA, manufacturers and private labelers alike pretty much have free range to advertise as they please. Naturally, this makes it very, very tricky for average customers who don’t know the difference between low and high-grade products to settle on a quality tincture.
In this article, we disclose 5 key tips that you absolutely have to keep in mind when shopping online for CBD oil – there are A LOT of very low-quality (and potentially even dangerous) products out there that have been manufactured with substandard extraction processes, so you’ll want to avoid these at all costs for a number of different reasons.
1. How was the CBD extracted?
Now that the CBD industry has been fairly well established over the last couple of years, extraction process across the top manufacturers should be pretty well standardized at this point.
Basically, if a CBD oil wasn’t extracted from hemp using low-temperature, solvent-free CO2 methods, you’ll probably want to stay away from it.
Solvent-based extraction can produce some high-quality tinctures – and indeed there are several top-shelf companies who still use the method – but generally speaking it is much riskier (and less effective) than CO2 techniques.
The problem with solvent-based extraction is that, unless it’s done by absolute professionals with state-of-the-art equipment, it can leave traces of potentially dangerous chemical residues left over in the end product. CO2 extraction, on the other hand, uses nothing but highly-pressurized carbon dioxide (the same stuff that’s in carbonated water) to pull the active compound from the raw hemp plant material.
2. What part of the plant was the CBD oil made from?
Speaking of raw hemp plant material, knowing what part of the plant the CBD was extracted from is another crucial step in being able to pick out a well-made oil from a bad one.
Basically, you’ll want to make sure that the CBD was extracted from the flowers, leaves, stem and stalk of the plant – NOT the seeds.
One of the biggest ploys that some “CBD oil” sellers use is to simply bottle up a bunch of hempseed oil (i.e. the stuff that you can find in your local health food store), and market it as therapeutic CBD tincture.
While hempseed oil is nutritious and good for your health in its own right, the seeds of the plant do not actually contain any active CBD compound. Or if they do contain some, they don’t contain it in nearly as high a volume as you’ll need in order to experience the therapeutic effects of CBD.
If it’s unclear whether the product in question was made from hemp seeds or actual plant material, call the manufacturer and ask them. If they can’t provide an honest answer, then stay away.
3. Does the company offer 3rd-party lab testing?
Third-party lab testing is absolutely crucial nowadays because it’s pretty much the only way for customers to know for sure what’s in the CBD oil that they’re buying. Like we mentioned, there a lot of scam companies out there right now selling totally bogus “CBD” products – the only way to distinguish between them and the good stuff, is to check out the company’s lab report.
Among other things, a good lab report will tell you how much CBD is in the extract, as well as other hemp-based compounds like terpenes, flavonoids, and phytocannabinoids like CBN, CBC, and CBG.
And just as importantly, a good lab report will tell you what’s NOT in the product. In other words, it will verify that there are no traces of heavy metals, pesticides, fertilizers, or chemical solvents.
If a seller can’t produce a 3rd-party report from a trusted, verifiable analytics lab, then find another option.
4. Can it be used as both an oral CBD oil and a CBD vape oil?
With the rise in popularity of vape pens, you’ll see a lot of brands advertising CBD oils that can be used as both an oral (under the tongue) tincture and as a CBD vape liquid. Stay away from these products.
While some of them are probably fairly well made and relatively safe, the majority of them will have been made with thinning agents that, when heated to extreme temperatures, may produce carcinogenic by-products like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.
Make sure that they CBD oil you settle on is an oral-only tincture, NOT to be used with vape pens or any other form of vaporizer.
5. What’s the price?
Naturally price will be one of the first things you’ll look at anyway, but truth be told the cost of a CBD oil will tell you more than most any product description page ever could.
Basically, if you want a bottle of high-quality 1,000 mg oral CBD oil (the standard size being 30 mL/1 oz), you should be expecting to pay at least about $70.
Of course, the less potent (i.e. 250 mg, 500 mg, etc) tinctures will be a little bit cheaper, but still – if you’re looking at a 1 oz bottle in the $30-$40 range, odds are it’s an extremely low-quality oil made from Chinese or Indian hemp, and will not have any of the therapeutic qualities that you’re looking for.
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