How to Tell if Your CBD Products are Quality
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How to Tell if Your CBD Products are Quality

When it comes to anything that you consume or apply to your skin, you want to know it's not only of the highest quality but that it's safe, too. And that includes CBD products.

You can't just assume that whatever you're buying is safe and effective. Unlike foods and beverages that you buy from your local grocer, CBD products are not regulated by the FDA to assure public health — not yet, anyway. While there's talk about potentially regulating CBD products — particularly those that fall under the food and beverage category — CBD products don't have that same level of regulation.

That's why it's so important for consumers to take matters into their own hands and take measures to ensure that the products used are top-notch. Without being careful enough, you could be using a product that's not only ineffective but also potentially dangerous.

What Can Happen With Sub-Par CBD Products?

A plethora of CBD manufacturers and suppliers have popped up recently, looking to capitalize on the product’s popularity. While many of these suppliers are reputable, unfortunately, too many are not — and it can be tough to tell which is which. 

For instance, some products may not contain the level of CBD that the labels suggest.

In an effort to determine the CBD content in certain products, undercover investigators with NBC recently bought 35 different CBD products from various companies and had them tested in a laboratory that tests for over 400 companies across the globe. 

After the products were measured, weighed, and tested for the amount of CBD in each product, the results were compared to what was specified on the labels. 

It turned out that 20 of the products tested had less than half of the amount of CBD that was marked on the labels. In fact, some products had no CBD at all— imagine consuming CBD for medicinal purposes, but there are no medical benefits, no relief to your chronic pain or psychological ailments. 

And the situation can sometimes be more serious than simply the amount of CBD advertised on labels. Some CBD products may even contain substances that are potentially harmful to one's health.

Take three smoke shops from Houston, for instance. Last year, Houston police seized CBD oils that contained synthetic substances similar to those used in a synthetic marijuana product found on the streets of Houston called “Kush.” This dangerous synthetic product was the culprit behind several overdoses across the city over the recent past. The shops in Houston were the focus of an investigation after 130 pounds of such extracts were seized.

In other cases, mislabeled CBD products have cost people their jobs, because trace amounts of THC were found in the product. These trace amounts of THC caused people to fail drug tests. 

Hemp-derived CBD has little to no THC. More specifically, CBD products must have no more than the legal limit of 0.3% THC in order to be lawful. But there are plenty of CBD products that have more than 0.3% THC in them, which would be considered against the law on a federal level, as well as on a state level in states that have not yet legalized marijuana.

Consumers who consume mislabeled products, or are not familiar with CBD products, may find themselves inadvertently consuming more THC than they'd care to, which can put their jobs at risk if they're tested positive for THC. 

An isolated CBD product is purified CBD that has been extracted from cannabis and isolated from other cannabinoids in the plant, including THC. But full-spectrum CBD oil includes all of the compounds in the plant, including THC. Consuming full-spectrum CBD oil products can put users at risk of testing positive for THC.

Clearly, this can be a major issue for anyone who may be subject to random drug testing at their place of work. But it can be even more significant for police officers, emergency personnel, pilots, the military, transportation workers, and others in safety-sensitive roles. 

Many people who buy and use CBD products might not give this any thought, but the repercussions can be severe if THC is found in their system.

These examples are just a few of what can go wrong when using a CBD product that's not exactly what you think it may be. The importance of quality assurance cannot be underestimated— especially in the cannabis industry. 

Not only can sub-par products not provide the desired effects, they can also place consumers in a precarious position with the law, and may even have a disastrous effect on their health.

You should ask as many questions about a product as you like to make a more informed buying decision.

How to Ensure Your CBD Products Are High Quality

As noted, ensuring that the CBD product you buy and use is high-quality is incredibly important. The question is, how can you know for certain that what you're using is up to par?

Read the labels. One of the first things that you should do as an informed consumer is to read the labels. Much like you would read food product labels to identify the ingredients, reading labels on CBD products is a good first step to making sure that what you're consuming is good quality. 

But reading labels alone is not enough. You also want to make sure that what's on the label is accurate and true. As mentioned earlier, certain CBD products may have labels that don't accurately reflect what's actually in the product. That's why it's so important to make sure that the label is an accurate reflection of what's in the product.

You may be able to verify the accuracy of the info on the labels by checking out any third-party lab test results, which all reputable manufacturers should supply. Without full third-party lab test results, companies can claim whatever they like in terms of ingredients in their products.

Identify the source of the product. Is the CBD product you're buying derived from industrial hemp or THC-producing marijuana? And why is this important?

Generally speaking, hemp does not typically produce high-content THC, as long as the plants are not cross-pollinated by any plants other than hemp. As such, the result will be a plant that has little to no THC.

Cannabis-derived CBD products, however, may contain much higher levels of THC. If you’re looking for a product that doesn’t bring psychoactive effects or a higher likelihood of failing a drug test, it’s important to know the source.

Ask questions when buying. You're not just spending your hard-earned money when you buy CBD products - you're also ingesting something that can have an impact on your health. Given this, you should ask as many questions about a product as you like to make a more informed buying decision. 

Ask questions such as:

  • What is the source of the CBD?
  • What is the CBD:THC ratio?
  • Is this an isolate or full-spectrum product?
  • What other cannabinoids and ingredients are included in the product?
  • Can I see third-party lab test results?
  • What was the extraction method?

There's nothing wrong with asking a few questions first. In fact, you should. Reputable dispensaries are staffed with highly knowledgeable associates ready to answer your questions and educate you on the products available.  

How Are Hemp and Marijuana Tested?

Much like any other consumer product, CBD products can and should be tested before they're sold on the market. More specifically, the plants that CBD is extracted from are tested for purity and potency to make sure the end product has exactly the amount of CBD that is advertised on the label and does not contain any other substances that could be potentially harmful.

Hemp and marijuana plants are tested for a few things, including the following:

THC:CBD components: The two most abundant cannabinoids in cannabis - THC and CBD - are identified through in-depth lab testing. More specifically, their ratio is determined to see how much THC vs CBD is contained in the product. As already mentioned, a product with too much THC can induce mind-altering effects and can cause users to test positive on a drug test.

Purity and contamination: When the cannabis plant is grown and harvested, and the CBD is extracted, any number of contaminants can make their way into the product. This can harm the purity of the product. 

Effective testing will identify if any pesticides, chemical contaminants, additives, toxins, heavy metals, or even dirt and debris are present, which could affect the quality of the final product.  

Be an Informed Consumer

You might have any number of reasons for wanting to include CBD into your daily regimen. Whether it's to target a specific ailment or to simply give your health a boost, CBD can be an effective supplement to take. But you don't want to compromise your health and safety by using a product that is low-quality.

Before you enjoy the therapeutic properties of CBD, make your product is high-quality, correctly labeled and safe before consuming.