How do I know if a CBD product is high quality?

Jan 31, 2020

cbd stopper and leaves

For those who are new to the CBD scene, it can be a bit daunting trying to find a product that is not only right for you, but of a high quality. While checking the credibility of the seller and online reviews are a good place to start, the quality of the product you’re buying can also be determined by its certifications, extraction method, hemp plant sources and more.

Below, I’ve outlined some questions to ask yourself that will help you determine whether the CBD product you’re looking to buy is high quality or not.

Is the seller credible?

Before you’ve even looked at the product, you’ll be able to gauge an idea of its quality by assessing the authenticity of the seller.

Positive reviews, good customer service, an online presence and also transparency over dosages, ingredients and manufacturing processes are all things that point to a genuine seller with a quality product to offer. If you feel the website is a bit shady and doesn’t give you a good feeling, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Is information about the product readily available?

When I first launched Kolibri and my CBD drink company, I quickly learned that transparency is key in gaining the trust of consumers while implicating quality. This is especially important for CBD sellers, as consumers will want to see where the product was manufactured, THC content, certificates of analysis and more.

So, when checking the website, ask yourself: is this information all readily available, or is it hidden away somewhere or non-existent at all? If you have the product in your possession already, check the labelling to see if the information can be found there.

If you’re having trouble finding the information, I always recommend contacting the company for it. If they don’t respond or can’t give you a straight answer, move along.

Marijuana Leaf

Where was the hemp plant grown?

While you’re checking the website’s information and certificates, you’ll also want to consider where the hemp plant was grown. While Colorado and California are considered to be the leading producers of CBD in the world, Europe comes in at a close second. So if the hemp plant was grown in any of these locations, you know it’s a good sign.

According to MarijuanaBreak, “European hemp farms (and in particular German-certified farms) are notorious for having some of the strictest agricultural regulations in the world, so you might say that they represent the ‘gold standard’ in terms of the purest, highest quality raw CBD material.

“Also, remember that all organic hemp grown in Europe adheres to European Union standards, which are far stricter than in the United States.”

How much THC does the product contain? 

Like many, you might be thinking that the more THC your CBD contains, the better, right? Wrong. In the UK, the legal amount of THC allowed per container is 1mg or 0.2%, and anything above this is illegal. If the seller isn’t adhering to this legal requirement, it proves they are not a responsible seller.

Again, this information should be readily available on the website and/or on the product labelling. If you can’t find it, either contact the company directly or give them a miss.

How is the CBD extracted?

When it comes to manufacturing CBD products, how the CBD is extracted is a big indication of its potency and quality. While the production of CBD is still unregulated, different companies will have different methods of extracting CBD oil from hemp. Some of the cheaper methods of extraction can mean that toxins get into the product, while other more organic, pharmaceutical-grade processes, such as CO2 extraction, avoid this completely.

According to Ministry of Hemp, “Before purchasing any CBD oil, research the vendor’s production methods. The information can be found on their website, or through talking to a customer service representative. We highly suggest going after CBD processed through ethanol and/or supercritical CO2 extraction.”

pot of CBD

Is the product ‘whole-plant’ or ‘full spectrum’ CBD? 

This is an easy indicator of a high-quality product and refers to whether the whole plant was used in the manufacturing process or just a small part.

Sometimes called ‘full spectrum’, using the whole plant rather than only one part (‘CBD Isolates’), “ensures that the oil contains not just CBD, but also the full range of primary and secondary constituents of the hemp plant. These include terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids that are generally believed to work synergistically with CBD, making the benefits exponentially higher than CBD alone,” says Ministry of Hemp.

What is the colour of the product?

This mostly applies to CBD oil. It’s believed that the quality of CBD oil is related to its colour and clarity of the oil. This is true, but only to a certain degree. According to Leafly, “Colour and clarity can be manipulated and don’t tell a complete story when it comes to the quality of cannabis oil.

“Darker oils may be viewed as less attractive than light or translucent concentrates, however, there are a number of reasons that an oil might be darker coloured. It could be as simple as the amount of light the packaging allows in, oxidation, or - at worst - poorly purged and worth avoiding.”

As colour may not be the most accurate indicator of quality, instead, Leafly recommends checking the oil for any defects like dust, dirt or hair. You’ll also want to pay attention to the consistency of the oil, as this will indicate what the product is like to use. “Runny oils sometimes called ‘sauce’ generally feature a low viscosity consistency thanks to their high terpene content. Solid, stable concentrates generally feature higher cannabinoid levels as a result of THCA molecules clumping together into a more solid form.”

From where the hemp plant was grown to the extraction method, there are many factors that point to a good quality product. For me personally, it’s all about the company. Having a good online presence and customer service instils trust, while being transparent about the product’s ingredients, potency and production puts me at ease. To ‘go with your gut’ has never rung truer when it comes to purchasing CBD, and you’ll certainly reap the benefits by ensuring the product you’re buying ticks all the right boxes.

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