CBD and Hemp are all the rage. Companies and products are popping up all over the internet and in your local markets, shops, and gas stations. As availability increases nationally and internationally the task of discerning credible companies and products from fly-by-night snake oil peddlers is not as easy as you may think. Tactfully hidden amongst a lot of deceptive marketing are half-truth statements and elusion that purposefully frame bad actors as industry professionals and spotty Compliance Operating Procedures as the Gold Standard of Safety and Trustworthiness. Here are 7 important things to consider before you make your next Solventless Full Spectrum CBD purchase:
1). Does the CBD product come with a FULL Certificate of Analysis from a reputable state licensed independent Third Party ISO-Accredited Testing Laboratory?
A Full Certificate of Analysis (COA) includes not only a Cannabinoid Potency Panel, but also a Pesticide, Microbial, Mycotoxin, Residual Solvent, and Heavy Metals Panel. Depending on the product in question, there may also be a Terpene Panel analysis conducted and reported. It is still up to you and your veterinary professional to decide which type of product is best for a specific usage, but with a valid multi-panel COA it makes establishing dosing and trust in a product or company that much easier.
2). Is the CBD product a REAL Full Spectrum Product?
Too many times the terminology of ‘Full Spectrum’ is used to describe any CBD or Hemp product that contains <0.3% w/w Δ9-THC as part of an extracts cannabinoid profile. Just because a product contains Δ9-THC in some measurable amount doesn’t make the extract or resulting product made from infusing it representatively a Full Spectrum. 99.5% of the time products that are claimed as ‘Full Spectrum CBD’ are not even close and are really just a partial representation of a native cannabinoid profile at best. Without getting into semantics, if the product doesn’t contain carboxylic acid forms of cannabinoids then it in no way contains or is a REAL Full Spectrum product. These forms of cannabinoids are elucidated on a Cannabinoid Potency Panel and encompass many precursor forms such as CBGa , CBDa , THCa, CBCa, CBNa, etc and are almost exclusively in solventless concentrates and infused products.
3). Is the CBD in the product derived as a Distillate, Isolate, or Solventless Extract?
Figuring out what a manufacturer uses as their source material is normally an exceptionally difficult task if a consumer is left solely on the resolve of the marketing information provided on most packaging. From a scientific perspective not all extracts are representatively a REAL Full Spectrum and when marketing enters the scenario the real source origin becomes even more convoluted to decipher. There is a simple way to help cut through the fluff, and it’s as easy as recognizing a few key indicators on a COA. First and foremost if there is no reported amounts of carboxylic acids (CBGa , CBDa , THCa, CBCa, CBNa, etc.) in addition to CBD, CBG, CBN, Δ9-THC, then it’s not a Full Spectrum and is certainly a 100% distillate product. Second, always remember that an Isolate is a refined distillate. If there is only one predominate cannabinoid reported (CBD, CBG, CBN, CBC, etc.) in high purity then its most assuredly an isolate product. Lastly, only a Solventless Extract contains the true essence of the plant! When the mechanical separation process is employed versus chemical washes and Liquid Liquid Extraction (LLE) you end up with a mixture of carboxylic acids, neutral forms (CBD, CBG, THC, etc.), and minimal post-process artifacts (CBC, CBN, exo-THC) that are in natural ratios and do not exist in solvent refined extracts.
4). Is the Package labeling FDA-Compliant with easily accessible Product Data?
The FDA has very ridged and specific requirements for labeling when it comes to drug substances and herbal preparations. In the case of Federal Labeling Compliance less is not more, and if content information is few and far between on the retail package it doesn’t liken much to a companies transparency. A very common feature that should accompany every retail packaged Pet CBD or Hemp product is a scannable QR Code which directly links to all pertinent data such as Disclaimers, Warnings, Indications, COAs, etc.
5.) How are the input ingredients sourced?
When it comes to ingredients the answer all consumers want to hear is, they’re getting the ‘best’. A lot of times that connotation is an arbitrary assertion based on a company’s limitation of resources. Responsible sourcing and due diligence should be more than a trendy logo on a box and a grandiose concept backed by illusionary social proofing. Local sourcing input ingredients with supporting local economies and farmers is paramount to building strong communities. In the midst of a global pandemic the need to maintain the strict quality control requirements of GMP manufacturing forces literally all companies to explore and utilizes qualified national and internationally positioned supply chains.
6). Is the CBD domestically manufactured or imported?
Quality is not necessarily discerned by a products point of manufacturing, but a core principle of sustainable manufacturing is supporting local economies. US Farmers annually produce an exorbitant amount of raw biomass that has created an unprecedented surplus of hemp input ingredients readily available to all US CBD Product Manufacturers. Made in the USA is not just a credo or slogan, but a way of life to embrace and preserve.
7). The most expensive product is not necessarily the strongest and/or the ‘Best’!
Now that you’ve been armed with a few insights into savvy consumerism it should come as no surprise that there is a very large stratification in terms of retail price for products in the CBD & Hemp Marketplace. A rudimentary surfing session on Google would illustrate as much within minutes. The best way to help understand what you’re really paying for is to create a simple cost comparison based on the best available data you have. Sometimes manufacturers don’t make relevant information very accessible or acquirable at all, so the real world comparison can be more trivial than it should be. Using a cost per milligram (mg) comparison generally gives a very clear guideline for what a CBD product represents in terms of REAL value. Simply take the cost ($) and divide it by the total milligrams of product.