INFOGRAPHIC: How to find high quality CBD

Source: Rave Reviews

Sixty-nine percent of CBD products* are mislabeled 
Some products contain little to no CBD
Others contain unlabelled THC

Here’s how to know if you’re buying a high-quality CBD:

Step 1: Decide What CBD Is Best For You

Hemp or Marijuana?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a natural extract, derived from cannabis ー CBD treats a wide range of medical conditions, without the psychoactive effects of THC

Hemp-derived CBD 

Extracted from cannabis strains with less than 0.3% THC 
Legal in all 50 states 一 No prescription required

Marijuana-derived CBD 

Extracted from cannabis strains with higher THC content
Only legal some states ー May require a prescription

Full Spectrum or CBD-Only?

Other cannabinoids ーincluding cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and cannabigerol (CBG)ー have likely medicinal benefits, but lack the strong research backing of CBD

Full spectrum CBD

Includes additional cannabinoids found in the plant
May contain traces of THC

CBD Isolate 

CBD crystals are 99% pure and THC-free
Might not offer the same relief as full spectrum

Which works better? 

A 2015 study found that a full spectrum CBD was more effective than CBD isolate for relieving pain and inflammation in mice
The “entourage effect” ─added relief from products that contain minor cannabinoids─ has also been shown in numerous studies on medicinal THC

Fast-acting or Long-lasting?

For sudden headaches or acute insomnia, a fast-acting CBD may be best ㄧ But for chronic pain, a longer-lasting option will provide the best relief 

For rapid relief

Sublingual tincture: Oil or concentrate applied under the tongue
Vape: Liquid inhaled through an e-cigarette, vape pen, or vaporizer
Both sublingual tinctures and vapes offer high bioavailability for CBD

For long-lasting effects

Oral: Oil, gel cap, or infused edibles
Transdermal patches: Slowly release CBD through your skin

For targeted treatment

Topicals: Lotion, salve, or lip balm 

What’s the best method of CBD consumption?

Vaping is the most popular method of using CBD 
Topicals work best for skin conditions and localized pain
Sublingual tinctures are portable, discreet, and effective

Once you’ve decided what you’re looking for, find a manufacturer you can trust

Step 2: Research the Manufacturer

Cannabis plants are bioaccumulators ー Easily absorbing contaminants like pesticides and pollution

Look For: Good Farming Practices

Organic farming ー Organic practices eliminate exposure to herbicides, pesticides, and harmful chemical fertilizers
Grown in the USA ─ Strict regulations govern domestically grown hemp, while the growing conditions of imported hemp can be hard to verify
In the US, hemp is rarely USDA certified organic, even if grown using organic practices
Some methods of extracting CBD from plant material leave behind toxic chemical residues or create a low-quality product with limited shelf life

Look For: Safe Extraction Methods

Ethanol extraction ─ Extracts cannabinoids to create a high-quality oil perfect for vaping and other products
CO2 extraction ─ Extracts cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils to create a CBD oil with no harmful chemical residues 
CO2 extraction can be used to make both CBD-only and full spectrum products 
21% of CBD products* contain unlabeled THC 一 In some cases, enough to cause intoxication

Look For: Independent, 3rd-Party Lab Testing

Reputable manufacturers will choose to test their product and make the results available to the public 一 either on their website or by request
Results should show the product’s potency, THC content, and preferably the presence of any contaminants* 
The report should be dated and show the name of the lab company
In the United States, THC content cannot exceed 0.3% 一 Except in states with legalization

Knowing how to read the product label can answer a lot of questions about your CBD

Step 3: Read the Label

Though CBD is unregulated, most manufacturers of oral CBD choose to follow FDA guidelines for dietary supplements and vitamins

How Long Will It Last?

Expiration date 一 Most CBD will last 12 to 18 months
Storage instructions 一 Most products last longer if kept in a cool, dark place
Packaging 一 Heat, light and humidity make CBD degrade more quickly 
Servings per container 一 Indicates how many doses are included

How Strong Is It?

CBD products should always indicate the actual CBD content, in addition to the serving size
Serving size 一 How much of the product you should take
Dosage 一 Actual CBD contained in a suggested serving
Topical CBD never enters the bloodstream, so dosage guidelines aren’t necessary 一 BUT the product label should still indicate how much CBD it contains

What Else Is Included?

Terpenes 一 Natural plant extracts that add aroma and flavor
Sweeteners 一 Sugar or natural sweeteners added to improve flavor
Cannabinoids 一 Full spectrum oils will contain additional cannabinoids
Carrier oils ─ Tinctures combine CBD extract with a food grade oil
Topical CBD often includes ingredients like menthol or lidocaine for added relief

The FDA doesn’t regulate CBD, leading to a marketplace flooded with low-quality products

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized cultivation of hemp and its cannabinoids 一 But it’s still up to you to find a high-quality CBD

For the best results, find the best CBD

Talk to your doctor before trying CBD

(This article originally appeared at

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