CBD products have grown into a massive industry that analysts expect to exceed $22B by 2022. And thanks to Congress, who in an unusual bipartisan move during these hyperpartisan times passed the 2018 Farm Bill, the industry will likely grow even faster. Of course, any nascent market that is poised for exponential growth will attract some bad actors. Coupled with far less regulation than more mature industries, you’re going to find products that vary widely in effectiveness and safety. We want you to use products that will help you while also safeguarding your safety. In this article, we’ll share with you a few tips to help you make sure you find only the best CBD products.
The first thing you should know about CBD products is the difference between hemp-derived (also known as industrial hemp) and whole-plant cannabis-derived CBD. Both hemp and cannabis are subspecies of the cannabaceae plant family, however, there are some distinct differences.
Traditionally, hemp was primarily grown for industrial purposes. To be considered hemp, the THC content of the cannabis plant can’t exceed 0.3 percent. Hemp also tends to be far less rich in other valuable compounds found in cannabis, like terpenes.
In the newly nationally legal hemp market, the hemp-derived CBD market is the Wild West. Many unethical producers make unsubstantiated claims regarding their products’ benefits. And worse, many — if not most — producers are mislabeling their products. According to a report published by Penn Medicine that nearly 70% of CBD products show inaccurate levels of CBD on their product labels. As you can imagine, they usually overstated the amount of CBD.
Whole-plant cannabis is the cannabis you’ll find in dispensaries. Cannabis is generally much richer in terpenes and other beneficial ingredients than hemp. Virtually all cannabis strains (including high-CBD strains) contain much higher levels of THC than hemp.
We suggest sticking to whole-plant cannabis CBD products. While there are many high-quality hemp-derived CBD products, the quality of products is unacceptably inconsistent. The only reason you’d want to buy hemp-derived CBD products would be if you live in a state that only allows hemp-derived products.
You’ve heard the saying: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” You’ll find this proverbial observation no more true than in the CBD industry. Beware of companies peddling product at prices that seem too good to be true. Most of these manufacturers use cheap, inferior extraction methods that often involve solvents that are toxic to our health (e.g., butane, hexane, propane, and pentane).
As you probably know, butane and propane are used to power gas ranges and stoves. All four of these use the same hydrocarbon gases you’ll find in petroleum. For obvious reasons, you should avoid any CBD products using these solvents.
Producers who are ethical, reputable, and trustworthy use only organic or pharmaceutical-grade solvents in their extraction process. For example, many of these companies will use ethanol (which is basically grain alcohol). Further, they rely on extraction processes that will preserve the highest amount of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. Supercritical CO2 extraction is another safe and trusted extraction method.
Before purchasing any CBD product, confirm the brand’s extraction process. You should be able to find this information on the company’s website or from more knowledgable budtenders. Look for products that process their CBD using ethanol or supercritical CO2 extraction.
You can find CBD products with little to no THC (> .3%). For patients who are highly sensitive to THC or are nervous about trying a product without THC, pure CBD products may be a viable option. However, for many conditions — particularly those living with chronic pain — most patients achieve better results with products that also have THC content.
You can find products with very low (but not insignificant) levels of THC. A common ratio is a CBD:THC ratio of 15:1 or 20:1. This ratio is ideal for patients who want a little bit of THC to boost the efficacy of CBD, but they don’t want too much. This is a great starting point for patients who are making the transition from pure CBD products to blended products.
Other common high CBD ratios are 10:1 and 5:1. Products falling in this range will produce no intoxicating effects making them ideal for daytime use or patients who don’t want to feel any high.
Some Patients Need Some THC
For those patients who feel they need more THC, ratios of 3:1, 2:1, and 1:1 are great options. 1:1 seems to be the most popular option and the most effective for chronic pain. Depending on your dosage, you shouldn’t feel much in the way of intoxicating effects in a 2:1 or 3:1. With a 1:1, you’re more likely to feel some intoxicating effects, though much less than high-THC products. You may find the ideal dosing strategy for you is to use a CBD product with a higher CBD ratio during the day, and turn to a 1:1 product for evening and night-time usage.
If you’d like to learn more about CBD products or would like to purchase a CBD product, visit your local Have a Heart location. Our budtenders are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have. And the best thing about buying from Have a Heart is that we only carry the highest quality, locally-sourced lab-tested CBD products.