We are all entitled to know what we consume and should be able to make an informed decision on what enters our body. However, it is not always so easy to judge when it comes to CBD products. It’s important to understand the potency of the product, its Cannabinoid profile and any possible contaminants if you want to maintain consistent high standards of production.
WHY DO COMPANIES TEST?
Analytical laboratory equipment like HPLC’s (high-performance liquid chromatographs) are not cheap, nor is the labor and expertise that comes with knowing how to use them. Taking this into consideration, why do a lot of these CBD companies willingly choose to spend thousands of dollars per month out of their own pockets, just to have a “Third-Party Tested” label slapped on to their products? For a company like Terpen, because we care. We use the same products you buy from us. So do our friends, so does our family.
It ultimately comes down to transparency. With cannabis products and CBD oil in particular becoming more and more popular by the day, it’s becoming increasingly crucial for companies to establish a reliable and reputable name within the industry. People know what quality CBD oil is capable of doing in terms of chronic pain relief, anxiety and depression relief, insomnia relief, etc, so they are certainly not going to spend their hard-earned money on an (expensive) brand that’s not even confident enough to have their products laboratory tested.
In short, it is well within a CBD company’s best interest to have their products third-party tested, even if it is costly for them. The average consumer is not feeble-minded, and they’ll be able to tell pretty quickly whether a brand is legit, or whether they’re full of it. So when they see that all-important gold “third-party” label slapped on the outside of the bottle, they know that they’re likely dealing with the former rather than the latter.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Thanks to updated regulations and a wave of recent research, CBD products made from hemp are gaining popularity with consumers in search of relief and relaxation. Now, more than ever, CBD products are being used to treat everything from anxiety to inflammation with positive results.
Since today's CBD products are made from hemp and do not contain any of the psychoactive properties of cannabis, they are legal across the entire United States. And now that consumers know they can enjoy those therapeutic benefits without experiencing the high that cannabis is known for, they are more open to purchasing and using CBD products as part of their regular health care routine.
Today's CBD market is brimming with options as CBD infused products come in oil, gummy candies, non-greasy creams, capsules, and vapes. Determining which product is best suited for your specific needs can be particularly tricky, so research should be done on the part of the consumer ahead of purchasing any CBD infused product.
CBD OIL SPECIFICS
CBD oil is refined and rich in cannabidiol, a cannabinoid molecule best known as CBD. And unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, CBD is not psychoactive - meaning that it will not get you high like the THC associated with cannabis will if ingested. Hemp, or cannabis plants cultivated to contain less than 0.3 percent THC, is commonly sourced in the creation of CBD oil, though the oil can be made from the cannabis plant. CBD derived from hemp is a better overall option for people looking to make CBD a part of their daily regime without the consequences of getting high.
Thanks to a recent surge of clinical research studies, CBD infused products are shown to be effective in treating a wide array of conditions including inflammation, pain, and anxiety.
FINDING THE BEST PRODUCT FOR YOUR NEEDS
Regardless of what you are trying to achieve or treat in taking CBD oil, you should first do some research into the brand and type of CBD infused product that will best fit your overall needs. Since CBD oil's gain in popularity, it has become increasingly difficult for consumers to discern which brands are pure, properly tested, and of the highest quality due to the rash of brands that have descended upon the CBD market.
Sadly, a majority of CBD products out there are not as pure as their manufacturers would have consumers believe. A lot of times, products are made primarily of synthetic materials or are even devoid of CBD altogether. According to CBD producers and industry insiders, the best way to ensure that the product you are purchasing is pure and of high-quality is to search for products that have been thoroughly and properly tested to make sure that what's inside the bottle is real and natural.
LOOKING AT LAB REPORTS
The best way to ensure that the CBD product you are getting is pure, look for products that have been tested by a company other than the one that is manufacturing and selling it. Independent companies are not biased in any way because their reputations depend on the quality and reliability of their testing processes and procedures. Part of building that reputation, reliability, and trust for these companies is identifying everything that is in a CBD product, whether the product's manufacturer is happy with the results or not.
According to product testing companies, the more tests run on a product by multiple testing agencies, the more complete a picture the consumer will have when it comes to a product's overall chemical makeup and purity. In essence, consumers should come to think of this not only as a means of spot checking, but also a second, and possibly, third opinion on the overall consistency and quality of a CBD-based product.
ITS GOOD TO KNOW
In general, all CBD oil contains CBD that is mixed into a carrier oil like grapeseed oil and possibly another type of essential oil. Even though the main purpose of testing is to ensure the purity and quality of the product you are buying, another reason for testing is to identify any contaminants, pesticides, and other synthetic substitutes for CBD that may be within the oil as well.
If you've been on the fence about purchasing CBD oil out of concern that it still may have some psychoactive properties or impure ingredients, rest assured that thorough testing will also provide that data to you as well. Remember, that hemp-derived CBD oil will contain less than 0.3 percent THC by volume, and thus will have zero psychoactive side effects associated with it. Also, products with less than 0.3 percent THC by volume are also legal in most if not all states across the United States.
REGULAR QUALITY CONTROL IMPORTANCE
In your search and research for the best quality CBD products, you should also look for companies that maintain transparency with their consumers. These companies are unafraid to share any and all test results with the public and welcome the opportunity to have open discussions with consumers regarding the CBD infused products that they sell.
Most legitimate companies do post their product's test results right next to the actual product descriptions in their online catalogue. Moreover, the best companies will always keep their product's test results up to date on their websites so that consumers can be confident that they are not looking at last year's results and aren't left questioning whether this year's batch still makes the grade.
In addition, the best companies will go the extra step and not only post their product's most recent test results and ingredients online, they will also include labeling mirroring those same results and ingredients either within their product's packaging or on the products themselves. A good company will not have their consumers searching for the answers they are looking for.
In your ongoing search for the best CBD products and retailers available, you should keep in mind that those test results also act as an indicator for that retailer's reliability and reputation. Since the CBD industry is still considerably young, all consumers should follow the old saying, "Buyer Beware," as sadly, most companies out in the market today are only producing and retailing CBD products to make a profit and do not have the health or the best interests of consumers in mind.
In following along with a company's testing regimen and doing your own research and due diligence, you will be sure to find a reputable company that makes and sells the highest-quality, purest, most effective CBD product on the market today. It is these companies that will create a strong future for CBD oil and all of the wonderful health benefits that CBD offers.
Lastly, companies that run through many rounds of testing through many independent labs also symbolize a deeply invested seller interested in complete and total transparency with their consumers. So, before you invest your money in a CBD product to help with your health needs, remember to take some time to do the research so that you can find the best, most effective, highest-quality CBD product available.
FIND WHERE THE HEMP WAS GROWN
Many CBD products sold online and in retail stores come from hemp, not marijuana. And the source of that hemp can be important.
Most hemp used in CBD products sold in the U.S. comes from Colorado or Oregon (which have long histories with cannabis) or Kentucky (which passed a law to support hemp growers in 2013), or is imported from overseas, says Colleen Lanier, executive director of the Hemp Industry Association.
Among those sources, Lanier considers Colorado to have the most robust hemp program. The state’s agricultural program performs spot-tests of hemp plants while they are still in the field to check THC levels and will investigate the potential use of any illegal pesticides based on complaints. (Note that the 2018 Farm Bill, now in Congress, may make it easier for farmers to grow hemp and expand the number of states where it is grown and tested.)
Products made with hemp grown overseas can be even more problematic, because they are not subject to any state or federal testing, say both Lanier and Boyar. “There needs to be testing results available to consumers,” Lanier says, “and manufacturers should follow the FDA’s guidance for good manufacturing practices.”
So for CBD products from hemp, check labels to see whether they say where it was grown, and look especially for those from Colorado. Not all products, however, include that information. So in a dispensary or a retail store, ask the staff whether they know where the hemp was grown. And for products purchased online, check the companies' website to see whether it has that information, or contact the seller to ask the same question.
ASK FOR TEST RESULTS
Always also ask to see a product’s COA, or certificate of analysis. That document shows how a product performed on tests checking for CBD and THC levels, and the presence of contaminants.
For products made with CBD from hemp, even Colorado doesn’t require testing of the finished product. So any COA for those final products comes from testing the company arranged on its own. Though not all manufacturers take that step, many do, Lanier says. That includes even some companies that use imported hemp, such as CV Sciences, which makes Plus CBD Oil from hemp grown in Holland.
If an online manufacturer or a retail store doesn’t have the information, or refuses to share it, avoid the product and the retailer.
One state, Indiana, has made it easier for consumers to find these COAs. Since July, all hemp-derived CBD products sold in stores in Indiana must include a QR code on their label that lets consumers download a product’s COA to their phone. All CBD products sold at Indiana locations of Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, a Midwest regional chain, now carry those codes, says Jonathan Lawrence, director of vitamins and body care at the chain. “It’s important for any consumer to know what’s in their product and what they’re taking,” Lawrence says.
For even more assurance about a product’s quality, Boyar recommends checking the COA to see whether it says that the lab meets “ISO 17025” standards. That suggests the lab adheres to high scientific standards. Also look to see whether a company uses testing methods validated by one of three respected national standard-setting organizations: the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), or the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).
Unlike hemp-derived CBD products, those made from marijuana must undergo testing—at least in states that permit medical and recreational use of marijuana. In some of those states, dispensary staff are supposed to have the COAs available and be willing to share them with you. If they aren’t, or the COA is not available, go to another dispensary or choose another product.
In states that have only legalized the medical, not recreational, use of marijuana, testing is less consistent, Boyar says. Several states—including Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York—do require some testing of products, according to the National Cannabis Industry Association. But others don’t, including Arizona and Michigan.
The FDA has tested the chemical content of cannabinoid compounds in some of the products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to contain. It is important to note that these products are not approved by FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease. Consumers should beware purchasing and using any such products.
Accurate testing of the product is essential to ensure our products have the highest levels of quality, potency and purity. We measure CBD levels using state of the art High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) equipment. In addition to testing CBD levels in every batch of Canabidol CBD oil, we run a full unique terpene profile and test for microbiological contamination, heavy metals and pesticides.
Our 3rd party testing facility has researched and developed an analytical Cannabidiol Oil Testing method for the six main Cannabinoids by using state of the art High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC to separate, identify, and quantify each component, or cannabinoid at low levels (parts/million).
We first test for Potency to ascertain the exact amount of Cannabinoids in the product. CBD is not the only Cannabinoid in cannabis, there are over 600 known Cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and a lab test is essential to confirm the level of Cannabinoids to determine the potency and confirm the lawfulness of the products
We test for CBD, CBDA CBC, THC, THCA CBG and CBN.
We primarily want a high potency CBD product but it’s also essential to have small amounts of the other Cannabinoids as it is the synergistic quality also known as the entourage effect of these compounds that makes it truly effective.
We test for terpenes to identify the compounds that produce the colour and distinctive flavours to the final product. Terpenes are considered to have many beneficial effects as well. We test for these compounds to ensure our product has a consistent colour and flavour profile which meets our high standards of production.
We also test for pesticides which is important to analyse so we have assure the safety and purity of the cannabis. If the plant has been treated with pesticides a final product containing a significant concentration of these could cause unwanted side effects. We only use cannabis that is grown organically as nature intended but continue to test for these pesticides to verify our product is 100% organic.
Testing for bacteria or mould on the plant material is also done to ensure there are no harmful pathogens which could be consumed and cause unwanted side effects.
Although we do not use solvents with our method of CO2 extraction a complete lab test should also include analyses of residual solvents. Solvents can be used by other companies for extraction of CBD when the plant material is turned into oil. High concentrations of solvents can lead to unpleasant health effects and or result in an unsafe product that could be volatile. As we use CO2 extraction, solvents are not used so we run this test to verify that there are no detectable solvents.
We are dedicated to running a full analysis on all our products and every batch goes through the same rigorous process to make sure, you, as the customer receives only the highest quality of CBD oil in your products.
INDEPENDENT LAB TEST THE OIL
We also validate our tests by employing 3rd party independent labs across the globe to test our products. The labs that we work with are just a few in the world that are qualified and capable of doing the testing that is necessary to meet our quality standards. We make sure there is never a question of what an individual is receiving when they make a purchase.
Homogeneity measurement is most commonly the result from a series of tests performed to ensure that products have consistent amounts of active ingredients throughout a batch, across batches, or even within a single edible unit.
It is especially important for the safety of consumers of cannabis edibles that each portion has the same reliable dose of CBD. Our detailed operating procedures ensure that we take sufficient number of samples of a product in a batch to yield a significantly significant measurement of the level of consistency in a product.
Some states require homogeneity testing, and others require that each portion of a batch matches label claims. Whether required by state law or not, this is a critical test to ensure product consistency.