How to Know if a CBD Product is Good

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In the last few years, the CBD industry has exploded. There are now many options to buy CBD and CBD products. The brands associated with CBD are plentiful, but many people are still unfamiliar with the markers of these relatively new product lines. Unfortunately, there are some companies out there looking to make a quick buck off of all the excitement by selling inauthentic or low-quality items. In time, people will learn through experience to recognize the products that are consistently made with high-quality CBD, but right now there is still a fair amount of confusion about how to select the right product.  

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Sub-standard products are a well-documented problem. In one study of eighty-four commercial CBD products, 26% had less CBD than indicated on the label. Whether this was due to poor quality control or intentional deception, the result is the same: customers end up with products that are less effective than they expected.    

How do you know if a CBD product is authentic? While it can be challenging to separate the good from the bad, there are some useful indicators to help you sort out which CBD products are legitimate. 

Legitimate CBD Products are Transparent

Companies that use the best hemp and other ingredients are naturally proud to share about the good stuff in their CBD products. They have nothing to hide and in fact want people to understand exactly how the ingredients make their products special. Many CBD products get by with lower-cost, generic ingredients, which may be fine, but the labels should at least be transparent about what is inside. When looking through your CBD product options, be sure to look for an ingredients section and check to see what’s listed.  

At a minimum, the CBD label should clearly state the amount of CBD, any other ingredients and additives, and basic instructions for use. Some brands go one step further and allow you to trace the ingredients. This is particularly useful for CBD and can give you some added confidence when buying. 

Legitimate CBD Products are Tested by Third-Party Labs

There are two major undesirable types of compounds that people need to avoid when using CBD: THC and pesticides. THC is the psychoactive component in cannabis. CBD products legally must contain less than 0.3% THC. Pesticides are used by some hemp growers. If the hemp is not correctly processed, trace amounts of pesticides could end up in the CBD. Good CBD companies know how to make products without either THC or pesticides, but inexperienced CBD companies may not be able to consistently avoid contaminants. This is why independent lab testing is critical for customers to be able to trust their CBD manufacturer. 

Third-party testing is standard in the industry for companies to prove that they use good, pure CBD. Lab tests results for every CBD product sold should be readily available. Whenever you try a new CBD product, be sure to check for this information. If it is not available, then you should probably look elsewhere.

Legitimate CBD Products Don’t Make Unproven Claims 

There are strict federal rules for marketing CBD products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible to make sure that unless a CBD product has proven to be safe and effective in clinical trials, it cannot claim to treat any disease or condition. To date, only one CBD product has been approved as a treatment (Epidiolex for rare, severe forms of epilepsy). These rules exist to protect consumers against salespeople who would like to claim CBD as a “miracle cure” for any condition without valid evidence to back it up.

Many products do not follow the regulations and make bold claims about how CBD can cure various ailments. If the maker of a CBD product disregards FDA rules, it is probably not a good product to buy. That company will likely be shut down sooner or later. Further, if they are not following industry standards for claims, they may be cutting corners in other areas too. Over the past 5 years, the FDA has issued numerous warning letters to companies making claims that CBD can cure just about anything. 

Although early research indicates that CBD holds much promise to benefit users, manufacturer informational material should not say it is proven effective for particular conditions or ailments. So, when you’re shopping for CBD, look for labels that are free from claims that the CBD can treat diseases.  

Finding Great CBD Products

Even among legitimate CBD products, some may be better than others. Not all CBD products are made equal and different products may work better for different people. Once you are confident a product is authentic, finding your favorite is largely a matter of trying them out, but there are questions you can ask to help you find something that fits your needs. Here are a few things to consider:

  • How well does the container work? The container can actually be an important part of your experience using CBD. Is it messy? Is it easy to use? Can you reliably control how much liquid is dispensed? 
  • For topical products, what are the secondary ingredients and how well do they complement the CBD? How does the product feel on your skin? Is it light or greasy?
  • Is the CBD labeled as “full-spectrum” or “isolate”? Full-spectrum CBD contains more cannabis compounds other than CBD (for better or worse), while isolate typically contains essentially no THC and is the lowest risk for a positive drug test.
  • Where was the hemp grown? How was the CBD extracted from the hemp plant? There are multiple approaches, and people have different preferences for growing regions and extraction processes.

Ultimately the best CBD product will be the one that works best for you. We recommend you try 2-3 different brands to see what you like. Just be sure each follows basic industry quality standards and you’ll be all set to get started. 

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