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If any single factor could derail the CBD industry and consumer opinions of CBD products, it’s the flood of fake and poor quality CBD products hitting the market in recent years.
Because the CBD industry is still in relatively early stages, state and federal regulations haven’t yet caught up with production or consumer demand. Unfortunately, this means that fake and low-quality CBD oils have mixed into the marketplace alongside more reputable brands with safe, tested, and verified CBD products.
By following these tips for researching CBD oil products and brands, you can lower your risk of accidentally purchasing CBD oil that doesn’t match its label or your expectations.
Like other health, food, and beverage products, CBD oil undergoes a number of production processes from plant to pantry. By understanding how CBD oil may become tainted or its quality compromised, you can be better prepared to spot red flags around a particular product, line, or brand.
CBD product mislabeling can range in severity, from more negligible instances of improperly labeled ingredients, amounts, or percentages of certain compounds to whether the product contains CBD at all. Check lab testing results printed on the label or on the company’s website to ensure the CBD oil you’re buying contains the ingredients and amounts you want.
From organically grown hemp and cannabis plants to the types of solvents used in the extraction process, CBD oil derives its purity and quality in large part from the quality of the ingredients with which it’s made. Research the main ingredients and additives in any CBD oil product you buy, including the sources of those ingredients when available.
Similar to ingredients, the equipment used to produce, process, and distribute CBD oil also impacts the quality of the final product. Companies employing low-grade equipment run greater risk of tainting the CBD product with heavy metals and other toxins that leach into the oil during production.
It’s also critical to know how a company produced the CBD oil product you’re considering buying. Different processing methods open up CBD oil to various risks in becoming tainted by additives or other chemicals used in the production process.
Agricultural producers often use pesticides and other chemical compounds to protect crops from pests or disease, increase yields, or otherwise ensure the crop’s survival. Industrial hemp and cannabis crops are no different. The same concerns consumers have about pesticides and chemicals in their fruits and vegetables should also extend to their CBD oil purchases.
In addition to pests and diseases, the plants used to produce CBD oil can also degrade in quality due to contamination by mold, bacteria, and other dangerous microbes, such as E. coli and salmonella.
The CBD market is now robust and developed enough to demand that all products coming to market have confirmatory lab testing performed and made available to consumers. Most states require mandatory lab testing on all forms of oil, and federal regulation of CBD is likely to emerge in the next few years.
Check any CBD product you buy for lab testing results to ensure the product contains CBD and in the amount advertised on the label. Test results also prove the product is free of pesticides and other contaminants. If not printed directly on the label with a lab testing seal of approval, this information may be accessible via a QR code consumers can scan with their mobile devices.
Unsealed CBD oil packaging could pose a risk for being tainted or tampered with. The product contained within may fail confirmatory lab testing for safety or ingredient composition, or it may no longer be the product labeled on the packaging at all.
Buying sealed containers of CBD oil from trusted vendors or stores lowers your risk of buying counterfeit products, or products whose labels otherwise do not match the oil inside them.
CBD flavorings run the gamut these days, with enticing flavors in an array of candies, cereals, fruits, and assorted nostalgic tastes. Some producers combine CBD with other “healthy” ingredients to extend the potential health benefit claims their product can make.
The more flavorings and additional ingredients added to the CBD itself, the more likely the product could become tainted or lose purity in the process. Further, the industry still requires more extensive research into CBD and its biochemical interactions with other drugs and ingredients. As a general rule, the fewer the additives and purer the CBD content in the product you’re buying, the better.
Just as consumers have voiced concern over artificial ingredients in the foods and beverages they buy at the grocery store, those same concerns apply to artificial additives in CBD and cannabis products.
As the CBD industry has grown, so too have the online resources and reviews sites dedicated to it. Third-party websites and social media accounts offer everything from CBD company lab results to product reviews and testing for user-submitted suspicious products.
Note that some CBD reviews sites also sell products, the company’s own products or as an affiliate for other brands. This could impact or skew reviews for individual products, or the site may feature more of its own products or products it sells as an affiliate in roundup articles and “best of” lists.
Such reviews sites may still offer useful and unbiased feedback and data. But being mindful of information sources and their potential financial conflicts or biases remains critical in the digital disinformation age.
Besides the CBD oil itself, also be sure you trust the company that produces the batteries and refillable cartridges you use.
Poorly-made knockoff batteries and refillable cartridges may closely resemble their name-brand lookalikes, but they could be made from materials that are dangerous to ingest, such as heavy metals. The toxic chemicals from those materials can then seep into the oil you vape.
Saving a few bucks on vape pen batteries or refillable cartridges may seem appealing on an impulse buy. But those savings may not help much to offset the health impacts of regularly ingesting toxic chemicals over the long term. Most quality CBD oil vaping tools also generally deliver on longevity compared to how often you may have to replace more inexpensive, but cheaply-made, off-brand products.
To experience the full benefits of CBD oil, you need a clean, pure product, which can be more difficult to find in this fast-growing and currently under-regulated industry. Reduce your chances of buying fake or low-quality CBD oil by following these tips for researching products and companies before making a purchase decision.