Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main compounds found in hemp — a subspecies of the cannabis sativa plant. And since hemp became federally legal in 2018, CBD has become more and more popular as a means to manage mental and physical ailments, including pain, stress and anxiety, and various sleep issues. But it’s not as simple as just buying any old bottle of CBD oil. There are options. And possibly the most important one is whether you buy organic or non-organic. So, why does it matter if your CBD is organic? And how can you find the best organic CBD oil? This guide will tell you everything you need to know about shopping for organic CBD oil.
So, What Is Organic?
When it comes to CBD oil, the terms organic and non-organic help to inform consumers about how the hemp plants were grown, how the oils were harvested, and what (if any) additional ingredients were added to the CBD oil before final packaging. This makes it important to understand the differences between organic vs. non-organic CBD, how to evaluate these products yourself, and why one could ultimately prove better than the other.
According to the USDA guidelines, organic certification of crops (as well as certification of the products made from these crops) starts in the field. A few of the regulations that farmers must adhere to when growing organic hemp are:
- The soil must not have been treated with organic-prohibited substances (like certain pesticides) for at least three years
- No synthetic additives may be used in the soil to boost crop growth
- Genetic engineering or the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is prohibited
This means the soil used to grow organic crops must be kept fertile through other more eco-friendly means — crop rotations, ground tilling, and the use of naturally-sourced fertilizers, for example. And, due to the restrictions on GMOs in organic farming, you will never see an “organic” CBD oil that comes from genetically modified seeds.
The high standards applied to organic CBD oil production don’t stop once the plants are grown. During harvest and handling, all non-agricultural ingredients — synthetic or not — must conform to a strict federal list. If an otherwise “organic” CBD product contains an additive deemed “prohibited” according to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, then it can’t be labeled organic. Additionally, handlers dealing with mixed crop harvesting must also keep their organic hemp separate from non-organic hemp, as any cross-contamination could ruin an otherwise fully organic crop.
Is Organic CBD Oil Good?
Organic CBD oil is going to be a higher-quality product than non-organic CBD oil. Much like organic-certified fruits and vegetables you would purchase at your local grocery store, CBD oils that are produced using organic practices (or are USDA certified organic) are held to a much stricter standard than non-organic products. This is a good thing, especially in the case of hemp and CBD oil, as you’ll see in the next section.
Why Is It Important for Hemp to Be Organic?
Hemp is what’s called a “bioaccumulator” — meaning it absorbs chemicals and other contaminants present in the soil (including pesticides and heavy metals) at a faster rate than it expels them. This leads to the accumulation of these contaminants within the body of the plant, and eventually in any CBD oil derived from that plant.
Due to this special characteristic, hemp has been recognized as a suitable tool to remediate metal-contaminated soils. It’s been observed that chromium, nickel, copper, and zinc primarily accumulate in the leaves of the hemp plant, while lead tends to build up in the stem. But this doesn’t just happen when hemp is planted to decontaminate soil, this happens anytime hemp is planted in contaminated soil — which is likely the case if the crop isn’t being grown in accordance with USDA organic guidelines.
This is one of the main reasons purchasing organic CBD oil is so important. It guarantees healthier soil before the hemp seeds are even sown, reducing the risk of contaminants entering the plant and, ultimately, the final CBD product.
If you’re taking CBD oil to improve your health or relieve certain symptoms, it follows suit that you’ll also want to avoid the introduction of harmful pesticides and heavy metals into your system.
Organic vs. Non-Organic CBD Oil
The main differences between organic CBD oil and non-organic CBD oil are:
- How the hemp is grown and processed
- The resulting purity of the oil
While organic CBD oil tends to be more expensive than non-organic versions, this is often due to the strict regulations involved in organic crop production and the added cost of production. However, these restrictions protect consumers by preventing farmers from taking “shortcuts,” which could result in an inferior, or even dangerous, final product (remember the heavy metals?).
What Is the Best CBD Oil?
Even among organic CBD oil, there is a wide variety of options available — some contain pure CBD, while others are a combination of CBD and various other cannabis compounds. Studies have confirmed that when a variety of cannabinoids are ingested together, the effect they produce is greater than when taken on their own — and this “entourage effect” is what makes the latter more beneficial.
Let’s take a look at three different types of CBD oil:
- Full spectrum CBD oil is a CBD preparation that contains the majority of cannabis plant compounds, including some THC.
- Broad spectrum CBD oil is very similar to its full spectrum cousin, with the primary difference being its THC content. It still includes a range of cannabinoids, but only trace amounts of THC.
- CBD isolate is CBD that has been refined to a powder. It contains no other cannabinoids or impurities. It is pure CBD. (Note: Because there are no other cannabis compounds present, the entourage effect won’t come into play with the use of CBD isolates alone.)
How to Find the Best Organic CBD Oil
Before you start shopping for organic CBD oil, it’s important to remember that not all organic CBD oils are created equal. Here are a few things to look for when searching for the best organic CBD oil for you:
- Third-party analysis and reporting on all products (available to consumers as Certificates of Analysis)
- Certified organic
- Derived from US-grown, organic hemp
- No harsh solvents or heat used to extract the oil
- No additives or fillers
- Full spectrum or broad spectrum instead of a CBD isolate
The NuLeaf Naturals Difference
While many companies offer organic or GMO-free CBD products, NuLeaf Naturals goes further:
- We guarantee that you’ll never find fillers or preservatives in any of our CBD oils.
- All of our plants are grown under strict supervision in the US, leaving little time between harvest and extraction.
- To avoid the use of harsh solvents or heat, NuLeaf Naturals uses a special CO2 extraction method — cleanly drawing out the oils through the introduction of carbon dioxide. This process ensures that the final product is the cleanest full spectrum CBD oil possible.
- To ensure consistency and high-quality for each bottle, NuLeaf Naturals’ CBD oils are subject to third-party laboratory analysis and reporting. This ensures that our full spectrum oil contains a high profile of CBD, with no detected heavy metals or contaminant counts.
Need help figuring out which is the best CBD oil for you?
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