If you’re researching the best CBD oils to purchase online, you’ve probably come across the terms “natural” and “organic,” but what is the distinction between them? As it turns out, quite a bit. In this post, we will clarify both.
Natural CBD vs. Organic CBD
By default, all CBD sourced from hemp is natural; hemp is a plant, after all. But If a CBD company claims to offer organic products, they must obtain official certification according to the guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
To be fair, the requirements for organic certification are strict, and only domestic hemp grown under the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program qualifies. The process takes a lot of hard work and effort, and it can be expensive. Smaller farms with less capital can have a harder time getting their crops certified.
Another obstacle is that of time. A cultivator must not have used any prohibited chemicals (like fertilizers and pesticides) for at least three years before seeking certification. This is important to note, as many hemp companies have only recently had the option of certification.
Are There Different Types of Organic Certification?
Most people don’t realize that there are actually three types of certification:
- CBD made with organic ingredients means that some of the ingredients used in a product are organic.
- Organic CBD contains at least 95 percent organic ingredients with some approved additives
- CBD labeled as 100% organic means that all individual ingredients plus the growing and manufacturing processes are certified organic
What Is Required for Hemp to Be Considered Organic?
Growing organic hemp is not only a labor of love, but the high standards set by the USDA are also stringent and include:
Using Organic and Untreated Hemp Seeds
Farmers must ensure the seeds themselves are entirely untreated and organic, and that they have not been genetically modified or feminized.
Meeting Specific Soil Conditions
The soil used for growing the hemp must contain absolutely no chemical fertilizers, and it needs to stay that way from seed to harvest.
No Artificial Growth Hormones
It’s common among some farmers to use growth stimulators, hormones, and enhancers to boost yields. However, if the goal is to grow certified organic hemp, none of these chemicals are permitted.
The water supply and soil must contain no radioactive runoff from nearby facilities.
Only Approved Pesticides May Be Used
Growers have to have some way of protecting their crops against pests like fungal and bacterial infections, but interventions like pesticides can be harmful. To be certified organic, the use of biocontrol agents must be minimal, and the compounds need to be on the Environmental Protection Agency’s approved list.
Is CBD Sold as “All-Natural” Bad for You?
Not necessarily. It’s really up to consumers to do their research when it comes to the source of their hemp products. The competition is so stiff between brands vying for your business that most reputable companies go out of their way to be transparent about their practices.
Consumers can do a little investigative work by checking out the third-party lab reports and the “About Us” pages on a brand’s website. In most cases, the source of the hemp and the growing processes used will be disclosed, as will the extraction and production methods.
Often, a farm is cultivating its hemp using organic practices but has not had the resources to deal with the exhaustive process of certification. Calling or emailing a brand directly will usually answer any questions you might have.