Shopping for CBD

CBD Options can be Confusing

CBD and hemp-based products today present us, the consumer, with a dizzying array of choices. There are products readily available at the local corner store, vape shops, specialty shops, online, and even at Walmart! Coca-Cola is investigating CBD additives for their drinks, business executives and CEO’s all over the country are interested in finding ways to profit off this new “craze,” and even pharmaceutical companies are trying to bring products to market.

When faced with all the available options, it can be difficult to make sure you're getting a product that is both reliable and healthy, but by asking the right questions and understanding the answers, you can make the best choices possible for your health and budget!


Questions to Ask

One of the most basic yet overlooked pair of questions is “What was the CBD extracted from, and where was it grown?”

Not all CBD sources are created equal, nor are all CBD sources even hemp. CBD from industrial hemp grown for manufacturing purposes tends to have lower total counts of beneficial cannabinoids, while medicinal grade hemp grown specifically for the purpose of CBD extraction can have a much higher impact on overall health due to the entourage effect and the extra compounds they contain. There are even some companies now bringing to market CBD extracted from specially grown hops; yes, America's favorite alcoholic brew is crafted with a plant belonging to the same family, and hops can be cultivated to produce cannabinoids!


The region the CBD comes from can have an impact on how it performs as well, due to differences in growing conditions and climates. Even when grown indoors, or in greenhouses, various factors outside human control can play a major role in the overall health and harmony of the plants. A metaphor for this is America's other favorite drink, coffee. While the majority of coffee is sold by brand and roasting time, high end coffees are identified by the region they come from, sometimes down to specific areas within those regions. Coffee from South America has a distinct flavor when compared to some of Vietnamese origin, and in the same way different regions of hemp and CBD production can produce subtle yet profound differences.


Another important question to find the answer to is “How was the plant grown?”

Not only is it helpful to find out if the source material is outdoor, greenhouse, or hydroponically grown, it's also vital to find out what pesticides or fertilizers were used! CBD is a medicine to many people with compromised or weakened systems (by default, if you're using CBD, you likely have health issues you're trying to address), and this can lead to some people having a bad reaction: not necessarily to the CBD itself, but instead to how the base plant was handled and treated. Never be afraid to dig deep into where your CBD is sourced; if the purveyor of a product seems annoyed or tries to tell you it doesn't matter, it's your right to know where your medicine is coming from and how it's been handled!


How was the CBD extracted?” is another question that is gaining favor in today's products.

There are many ways to extract the CBD, including long term cold pressing, Co2 extraction, heptane (butane, methane, etc) based extractions, and several others as well. All of these methods pose their own benefits and drawbacks. Whether it's a fear of easier chemical contamination or sky high price; it's up to each of us, as the patient and consumer, to balance our needs versus our budgets and make the proper decisions as to what our bodies need.

One thing that can be confusing is learning the difference between Full Spectrum Extract and CBD isolate. This is a topic that deserves an article of its own (which can be accessed here), but a quick point to make: isolate is what it sounds like, isolated CBD with no other cannabinoids, while Full Spectrum Extract has the full range of cannabinoids present in the parent plant. There are reasons to choose one over the other, and we encourage you to check out the other article for more information!


Another thing to check, as obvious as it may seem, is What's in the ingredient list?

If the supplier of the CBD products doesn't have an ingredient list, either on the product or easily available on their website and literature, be cautious in moving forward with your purchase! If a product can't be bothered to have an easy-to-comprehend list of what you're putting in or on your body, there's a good chance it's nothing more than snake oil.

Sad as it is, there are a lot of unscrupulous people willing to take advantage of those in need by providing bogus product for jumped up prices. Along those same lines, always ask “Do you have lab reports?” Another article will go into detail on how to properly make sense of a full lab report (releasing soon!), but a good lab report should have a few basic things you can easily spot: level of CBD in product, the date the product was tested, and if possible test results for contamination (mold, pollen, chemicals, pesticides, etc). Again, if a product is offering CBD benefits but fails to produce a quality lab report on demand, beware!

Now you're prepared to go forth and conquer the world of CBD products! Be smart in your shopping, spend your money wisely, and learn to promote true healing and health by listening to your body!

This article was written by Joshua Lee and published on October 9, 2018. Copyright © 2018 Hempsley, All Rights Reserved