In recent years, Cannabidiol, or CBD, has grown in popularity due to increased research and interest in its potential health benefits. Studies show that CBD can help alleviate a variety of conditions, such as anxiety and depression, arthritis, chronic pain, epilepsy, migraines, inflammation, sleep conditions, and so much more. The market itself is quickly growing as well, saturated with a variety of products that range in quality and type. Before purchasing CBD, there are several factors to consider, including the type of CBD product, its potency, and the provider or manufacturer.
Currently, the FDA does not regulate CBD products, so it’s the buyer’s responsibility to choose quality products. It’s up to you as the consumer to ensure that when you purchase CBD you get what you pay for and can feel confident on your journey exploring the benefits of CBD. We put together the following recommendations that can act as your Buyer’s Guide to CBD.
Look for a COA
A certificate of analysis, or COA, is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a CBD product. Essentially, it is a form of quality control that confirms whether the product contains the quantities of CBD that the manufacturer claims or advertises. When a plant contains 0.3 percent or less THC, the federal government considers it hemp-derived CBD, but if a plant has THC levels above 0.3 percent, the federal government considers it cannabis.
Additionally, it’s important that consumers check the COA for contaminants, as their presence could have long-term health effects. Cannabis plants easily absorb heavy metals, pesticides, and other potentially harmful chemicals that can be present in the soil or water, so it’s important that cannabis products be tested while growing as well as when they become finished products. Microbial contaminants (e.g. E. coli, salmonella), heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic, and residual solvents such as heptane and hexane can cause serious illness. Each contaminant should receive its own individual status of passing to be considered clean and safe to consume.
Think of the COA as the product’s quality control, and always be sure it comes from an accredited, trustworthy lab.
Consider the Potency
The potency of the CBD product is another important factor to consider, as it varies greatly depending on the individual’s needs. CBD products usually display dosages in milligrams (mg). However, it is important to remember that there is little human research to guide suitable dosing for various conditions. If you want to avoid the head high that is associated with THC content, we recommend you look for CBD products that are made from hemp.
When buying CBD, you should also consider the specific amount of cannabidiol present not only in the whole offering, but also in each dose. Dosages are typically described in milligrams, and can vary considerably depending on the different products. Metabolism, tolerance levels, and the method of intake can all influence the dosage required. A great rule of thumb is to start low and slowly increase. Every individual will have varying needs, and once you have found the right dosage for your cannabinoid therapy, it’s a good idea to continue to stick to it.
Understand Types of CBD
Although the effects tend to be the same, some people may prefer one type of CBD product over another, depending on how or when they plan to use it. Oils and tinctures, edibles, vaporizers, creams, and lotions, are all different methods of CBD consumption. Various methods of consumption have differing onset times, which can be a deciding factor when buying CBD. In some cases, inhaling CBD or using it topically may have a quicker effect than if taken orally or as a food product, which typically takes longer to be absorbed into your system. Different ailments may also require different methods of usage, while some may be based on personal preference. For example, to potentially manage localized areas inflammation one could use a topical cream, or also choose to use a tincture.
Key Indicators of Quality
Most reputable CBD oils include the following information on their labels: amount of CBD as an active ingredient per serving, supplement fact panel – including other ingredients, net weight, manufacturer or distributor name, suggested use, CBD compounds, batch or date code. CBD compounds to choose from are as follows:
- Full-spectrum CBD: contains all of the naturally available compounds of the cannabis plant, including THC. However, in hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD, the THC will be no more than 0.3 percent at the dry weight. THC levels rise when the flowers are extracted into oil.
- Broad-spectrum CBD: contains all of the naturally occurring compounds, except all of the THC—or all but a very tiny amount–is typically removed.
- CBD isolate: the purest form of CBD, isolated from the other compounds of the hemp plant. CBD isolate should have no THC. [Source: Healthline]
Where to Buy CBD Products
There are many options available when it comes to buying CBD products. You can find topicals, oils, edibles, and more online directly from a number of retailers. If you live in a state where dispensaries are legal, knowledgeable staff may be able to help with recommendations and answer any questions you may have in your process.
The most important thing is that you are able to confidently understand what to look for when buying CBD, so that you can shop for high quality products with confidence and find one that’s right for you. At Realm of Caring, we believe in taking an individual approach to cannabinoid therapy to find a product and dose that works for each of us! If you would like to reach out to our Care Team (719-347-5400 option 1), they would be so happy to help you individualize your therapy and find a product that is right for you.