What’s in Your CBD? Take Caution

by editor
person holding white labeled CBD bottle

By Pedro Alvarez

It seems CBD is in everything nowadays—food, supplements, oils, and other products are invading shelves. Regulators in places like the US and EU are typically strict and so one can logically believe that CBD has passed some sort of test with them, having taken on a new light in their eyes as a product that’s safe (and beneficial) enough for the public to enjoy. This is true, but CBD is just a single molecule among the hundreds in Cannabis that may be responsible for its attributed advantages.

The sudden surge in CBD’s popularity is because we know it works, and we know it is not harmful. We have also been able to isolate it from other cannabinoids, especially the psychosis-inducing THC compound. However, research on CBD—or Cannabidiol—is still gaining momentum. Even with all the science and research invested into Cannabis in the last decade, we still have cannabinoids and protein receptors to identify and pair with their effects, and much more to know about how and why our own bodies produce endocannabinoids.

For now, we have relied on the first wave of medical studies which indicate CBD’s benefits for a wide range of conditions. Consider though that despite the demonstrated potential CBD has for treating PTSD, opiate addiction, acne and more, it’s only ever been scheduled as a “drug” for one thing so far: epilepsy. The FDA is still cautious to expand this definition, while at the same time the US federal government allows CBD products with less than 0.3% THC to be sold, giving people with other conditions a loophole to operate in.

Regulation and enforcement of CBD is a work in progress, which is good for people that it can help, but unfortunately also leaves room for impostors to slip through the cracks who might fudge the THC concentration numbers, put in unnecessary additives, or use faux CBD. Here’s what to watch out for.

What to Know to Safely Consume CBD

The primary rules for over-the-counter CBD products is that they need to have a capped THC content (0.3%) small enough for no psychoactive effects to be possible. In some cases, products can be sold alongside these safe and compliant CBD oils that make it harder to determine that what you’re buying is what you really want. Consumers who want quality CBD should therefore pay attention to labelling. They’ll quickly find that only the best products ensure the following guidelines are followed:

1. Hemp Seed Oil is Not CBD:
It’s easy to get tricked into buying products with low-or-no CBD in them, thanks to a tricky substance called “hemp seed oil”. You’ll likely see lots of products on the cheap containing this hemp seed extract, which is essentially just cold-pressed hemp seeds. These products contain so little CBD that Amazon, which prohibits the sale of real CBD products, allows them on their site. This is why a good secondary rule to follow is to never buy CBD products from Amazon, and to ensure that the label says “blended hemp (Cannabis Sativa L) extract” instead. No seeds!

2. Production Must Be Compliant:
Getting the concentration of real CBD correct requires laboratory conditions which prioritize precision and compliance over all else. Only in these settings can a company guarantee proper CBD concentration and isolation, which is an issue that’s popped up thanks to highly publicized studies showing that the label concentration of CBD in many common products was flat out incorrect. In one study, only 30% of products were correctly labeled, and as many as 42% were under labeled in terms of CBD content.

3. Application is Key:
Use your CBD in a way that reduces the other things you’re consuming at the same time. Vaping, for instance, introduces other things like Propylene Glycol (PG) and Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) to your body. These can be harmful because at high temperature, they turn into minuscule polymers that can damage lung tissue and are only now being recognized for their potential hazardousness. Applying CBD topically is a safer alternative, and one that is known to activate the endocannabinoid system as effectively as inhalation or ingestion.

4. Labelling for Concentration:
If any of the above ideas aren’t immediately addressed by skimming the CBD product’s label, then you should be skeptical. Concentration of CBD and THC must be listed alongside certification of the product’s controlled production in a certified facility, and any other ingredients in it. If there are names of chemicals you don’t recognize, then due diligence is recommended. Natural ingredients that complement CBD or aid in its delivery are superior as well.

High Quality CBD Will Stand Out

Consumers who take advantage of CBD for temporarily treating common ailments like arthritis, backache, and tension or pain in joints, can look towards products like CBDMedic which are available over-the-counter in the US and Europe. With a thoroughly compliant supply chain and production in a cGMP facility, CBDMedic products contain THC-free hemp extract from blended Cannabis sativa L and other natural ingredients. Their lotions such as the Active Sport Ointment do away with synthetic fragrances, parabens and artificial additives, with only menthol, camphor, and clove oil alongside its high-quality CBD for maximum efficacy.

Products like these are easy to identify when placed next to others, which in comparison look substantially opaque in terms of what’s in them, and where and how they’re produced. Though the industry is still in its earlier stages, CBD is accessible safely thanks to companies which place the burden of compliance and quality on themselves, and that help consumers not only to help but also educate themselves.

Pedro Alvarez has over 20 years of experience as a physiotherapist and wellness coach.

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