CBD has exploded onto the marketplace, making it one of the fastest growing industries and a target for many who see it as easy money. The market has been flooded with product, not all of it good, and it’s easy to get confused.
It’s important to do your research and choose a company you know is producing a high-quality product from start to finish. Just because it’s labeled CDB doesn’t mean you’re getting the same quality product from every company.
This is a fast-growing market, which means you’ve got a lot of people selling CBD who don’t know much about it.
Below we have a few tips to help you wade through the clutter and make an informed and healthy choice about CBD.
1) Choose CBD from USDA-certified Organic Hemp
Hemp plants are only as strong as the soil in which they’re grown. Hemp is an effective bioaccumulator, meaning it’s exceptional at absorbing compounds in the soil.
Research has shown plants grown in rich organic soil offer higher nutritional content than conventionally-farmed plants, and it’s expected hemp raised in organic environments yields stronger cannabinoid properties, which make us feel better.
The reverse is also true. If grown in poor soil containing pesticides, herbicides, or high concentrations of heavy metals, the resulting plant, and thus the CBD extracted from the hemp, may contain these same chemicals.
Just because a company claims it’s organic doesn’t mean it is. Always ask to see the company’s USDA certification before buying.
Choosing a company that can prove they extract their CBD from USDA-certified organic hemp ensures the product does not contain chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or toxic concentrations of heavy metals.
In this unregulated industry, a company that can prove they’ve earned approval from the USDA is a strong indicator they’re legitimate and have your best interests in mind.
Takeaway: You can view Laura’s USDA organic certificate here. All of our full spectrum CBD is extracted from USDA-certified organic hemp grown at Laura’s Mt. Folly Farm. The farm goes through a rigorous annual review with the USDA to ensure our fields and farming practices meet all qualifications to be organic.
By raising the hemp ourselves, effectively sourcing it from a single location, we’re able to confidently say our hemp is free of all chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.
2) Learn How the CBD is Extracted
Once the hemp is grown and harvested, it goes through a process to extract the cannabinoids (including CBD), terpenes, and other valuable compounds.
There are multiple methods of extracting compounds from plants.
Supercritical CO2 extraction, which uses high tech equipment and carbon dioxide, is considered the safest and cleanest method. Other processes can open the door to contamination or leave residual amounts of solvent in the finished product.
Many CBD companies are importing hemp from unfamiliar sources or purchasing wholesale CBD products without understanding how the vendor extracts the product.
It’s important to select a company that uses CO2 extraction and who has great oversight of the extraction process.
Takeaway: We’re partnered with a local extractor who uses supercritical CO2 extraction. Being local, our Quality Assurance team regularly meets with the extractor to ensure what’s on the label is what’s truly in the CBD product. Learn more about our extraction processes here.
3) Understand the Type of CBD Product You’re Using
There are different types of CBD to choose from including full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. Knowing what type of CBD you’re taking is very important as it influences the overall effectiveness of the product.
Full spectrum CBD oil remains as close to the natural plant as possible and includes a range of cannabinoids, terpenes, amino acids, vitamins, and nutrients.
In CBD isolate products, the CBD is removed from the other plant compounds, forming a powder which is then mixed with a carrier oil. CBD isolate is a bit like selling bread that’s been stripped of much of its nutritional value.
Early research has shown full spectrum CBD is more effective at reducing inflammation than CBD isolate. It’s thought that, with full spectrum, all the cannabinoids and other compounds work in unison to provide better results — a phenomenon dubbed “The Entourage Effect.”
Takeaway: Here at Laura’s, all of our CBD products are full spectrum. We take great care to stay as close to the hemp plant as possible and to create authentic, healthy farm products that simply work.
4) Request Third-Party Product Tests
The CBD industry is unregulated and rapidly growing, making it a target for “fly-by-night” companies trying to make a quick dollar. That inevitably leads to low quality and misrepresented products.
Make sure whichever company you choose uses a reputable testing facility.
Third party testing by an accredited International Organization for Standardization (ISO) lab means the product has been verified to contain the levels of CBD, THC, and other compounds indicated on the product label.
In other words, third party testing provides proof that what’s on the label is what’s actually in the product. A reputable CBD company will make the third-party lab results available to customers either publicly or upon request.
This transparency provides you with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision. If a company cannot produce third-party lab tests, that’s a red flag and you should avoid buying products from them.
Takeaway: We third-party test every batch of CBD products with an ISO-accredited lab that specializes in hemp testing.
These include tests for the overall cannabinoid profile, CBD concentration, THC concentration, pesticides, and microbial matter. Our customers are able to search their lot number here, where they can see the lab results for their particular product.
Creating safe, authentic products is at the core of everything Laura has accomplished, from Laura’s Lean Beef to Laura’s Homestead Alternatives.
5) Research the Company’s Reputation
In this crowded marketplace, choosing a company with a solid reputation is paramount. Do your research. Learn who is behind the company and determine if they have a history in the health and wellness category.
- Choose a company who maintains control of their hemp from farm to final product.
- Ask if they can show a USDA organic certification and if they use CO2 extraction.
- Study the third-party lab results.
- View online reviews from other customers.
- Take the time to investigate the company before making a choice.
Takeaway: Laura’s Mercantile is led by Laura Freeman, the founder and CEO of Laura’s Lean Beef for 23 years, as well as a known agricultural innovator. Following a bad horseback riding accident, Laura found CBD to be central to her recovery, which led to her growing hemp for CBD.
She now runs Mt. Folly Farm, one of the state’s largest USDA-certified organic farms, where the hemp for Laura’s Homestead Alternatives CBD is grown. See more of Laura’s Story here.