Why CBD Testing for Products is Important
With the explosive growth of the CBD market, people are starting to ask more questions about products containing CBD oil. Find out why CBD testing is being conducted by third party laboratories and what you should look for in your CBD products.
What is CBD Testing and Why is It Important?
Despite CBD’s huge jump in availability, the market is still largely unregulated. Because of its ambiguous legal status, most consumers don’t know that the CBD industry has no standards for quality and content control for CBD oil and CBD products sold online and even at a CBD store near you.
With the lack of clarity when it comes to the ingredients in CBD products on the mainstream market, cannabis brands, especially those who started in legal medical markets, have made third party lab reports, also called Certificates of Analysis (COAs), available to their customers either by request or online. These COAs are the key to knowing what’s in a CBD product, and what isn’t.
While cannabis is still a Schedule I Substance under Federal Law, in June of 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex for the treatment of severe forms of epilepsy. While Epidiolex is the first pharmaceutical product to contain cannabis-derived cannabidiol, the FDA maintains CBD is a drug ingredient.
Despite the FDA’s stance, due to the development of state-legal cannabis markets, CBD has exploded into mainstream consciousness with hundreds of brands flooding the marketplace in the last few years alone. Many of these products contain misleading or incorrect ingredients lists, if any at all. Lab reports, conducted by third party laboratories, empower consumers by giving you a list of the exactly what is in your CBD oil. When shopping CBD brands, one of the first things to look at is the COA.
Explaining the Difference Between CBD Products
Before breaking down how to read a COA, it’s imperative to understand the basic components of a CBD product. Whether hemp or marijuana-derived, all CBD products on the market contain a base ingredient extracted from the cannabis plant:
- Whole Plant Extract: Like full spectrum oil, whole plant extracts contain a wide range of cannabinoids naturally occurring in hemp, however whole plant extract typically also contains lipids, waxes, and other phytochemicals.
- Full Spectrum Oil: In addition to CBD, and like whole plant extract, full spectrum CBD oil contains all the cannabinoids present in hemp, including CBN and CBL. It also contains the fragrance oils that occur in cannabis as well, like myrcene, caryophyllene, and pinene. It’s important to note that because there is no further processing, full spectrum oil can also contain trace amounts of THC. Patients and consumers who are seeking the benefits of what is known as the ‘entourage effect’ often opt for CBD products containing full spectrum oil.
- Broad Spectrum CBD Oil or Distillate: Broad Spectrum CBD oil, also called CBD distillate, is simply refined full spectrum oil, which has been processed to removed cannabinoids other than CBD, particularly THC.
- CBD Isolate: CBD isolate is completely refined cannabidiol in its purest form. CBD isolate contains 99% or more CBD and often come in powder or crystalline form. CBD extract or isolate.
Whether it’s an edible or topical CBD product, the contents of an extract or an isolate will vary depending on the kind of cannabis and extraction methods that are used.
What CBD Lab Reports to Trust
While reporting standards vary from state to state in legal marijuana markets, there are some basics for savvy CBD consumers to keep in mind when shopping for CBD products.
First, it’s important to know where a lab report comes from. While first party testing, self-reported test results provided by a brand, is sometimes conducted, third party reporting is the most common and preferred of the two. The reason for the demand for third party testing lies in the trustworthiness of the results. For example, while first party lab reports may be skewed or modified to sell more products, third party lab reports are generated by an independent company whose reputation is dependent upon delivering accurate results to companies and consumers.
Consumers should also look at how a given brand’s product line is tested. Different approaches to testing include:
- Batch testing of all products. This method is the preferred testing scope as this information empowers consumers by allowing them to easily look up the exact contents of their CBD products.
- Conducting one test per product
- A ‘source lab test’ which is a single test for the extract or isolate used in a product line or a batch of products
- Partial product testing in which only certain lines or products are tested
In addition to testing for content, labs are also able to screen for pesticides, heavy metals, carcinogens, fungi, bacteria, and more. Many reports will list ‘ND’ in their reports, meaning ‘none detected.’
Where Can I Find CBD Near Me?
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