It is vitally important that in the unregulated hemp industry, consumers know how to protect themselves against fake, low quality, and even harmful CBD products. Not all companies involved in this sector are reputable, and even among those who seem on the up-and-up, there can be wide variations in the quality, purity, and potency of the many products offered.
Hemp is a bioaccumulator, which means it pulls whatever elements from the soil in which it is grown into the plant itself. So, the first step in creating the best CBD hemp oil products is in ensuring the seeds are planted in rich, clean soil that is free of contaminants and chemical residue.
Additionally, the finest hemp-derived CBD products are cultivated using organic methods that do not involve the use of pesticides or herbicides. To do so would mean that not only would these harmful chemicals end up in the final product, but they would also contaminate the fragile ecosystem and pristine environment surrounding the growing fields.
Extracted methods vary widely among CBD companies, and it is critical that no shortcuts are taken during this important step. Some operations use dangerous solvents such as butane, hexane, or ethanol to extract the CBD from hemp—the main reason is that these techniques are cheap and don’t require complex equipment. Unfortunately, these methods can contaminate the final product with residual solvents, rendering it unsafe.
The gold standard in the industry is a process called Supercritical CO2 to extract the CBD oil from the hemp. CO2 extraction requires sophisticated equipment and trained engineers. However, it is the safest process known and the only one which the FDA regards as GRAS (generally regarded as safe).
Multiple Layers of Testing
To ensure the highest standard of consistency, safety, and quality seek CBD that has been triple lab tested.
First, testing should occur several times during the growing season and at the time of harvest to ensure no contaminants are present. After the oil is extracted, it is should then be tested for anything that could potentially impact the quality of the final product.
Finally, the oil should be tested by an ISO/IEC accredited testing lab to determine the exact levels of cannabinoids present, including CBD, CBDa, and THC. At the same time, it must be checked for mold, mildew, fungus, yeast, E. coli, Salmonella, Mycotoxins, heavy metals, and residual solvents.
When purchasing CBD, look for companies with these high standards— from the time a hemp seed is planted up until a bottle of CBD oil is delivered. The Hemp Roundtable has established its own criteria and have recently awarded several companies with their certification of excellence.