The market for CBD has been booming in recent years, mainly because of the simple fact that CBD products help numerous people around the globe to fight various conditions like anxiety, stress, pain, depression, epilepsy and skin problems. CBD products are also frequently used to improve overall wellbeing and promote health.
This high demand for CBD products has naturally led to the rapid development of a large market, with a huge number of companies and brands offering thousands of products containing CBD and other phytocannabinoids. Unfortunately, some people see the CBD business as a great chance to get rich quick, and do not care about the quality of the products they sell, nor about the actual benefits to their end-users.
This issue is closely related to the fact that the legal situation regarding CBD products varies a great deal and countries are legislating in different ways. For example, CBD products sold as food supplements are legal in the UK (but require a validated novel food application by the end of March 2021), while in EU it is currently not allowed to sell food supplements with CBD without a novel food authorization. You can find more details on this topic for the UK and EU in our previous posts.
The current situation represents a perfect match for creating confusion and mistrust with consumers that are interested in CBD products. To make things clearer and explain how to distinguish “the good guys from the bad guys” despite the legal uncertainty, we have prepared several explanations and suggestions to help you.
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, one of the most important phytocannabinoids that can be found in Cannabis plants, particularly in hemp, and has been associated with a number of beneficial effects on the human body. For more information on CBD please check our previous blog “What is CBD?” .
Learn about the “types of CBD”
Knowing the terminology when entering the world of hemp and CBD is very useful in order to understand the differences between the products on sale.
“CBD isolate” is a very pure (over 98%) compound that is produced from hemp biomass extract, which is further processed to produce this natural isolate.
“Full-spectrum CBD” contains various phytocannabinoids such as CBD, CBN, CBG, CBDV and other compounds found in the hemp plant, including fatty acids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Full-spectrum CBD contains only negligible amounts of THC, so it does not induce any psychoactive effects.
Why would you like to use CBD?
People are using various CBD products such as CBD oils , pastes, oral care products, and cosmetic and personal care products for several reasons, as mentioned at the beginning of this blog. When you decide to start using CBD products it is always advisable to ask yourself, what would you like to improve, achieve and enhance in your body?
Another important question is what type of product would be the best for you to use? For example, in the case of skin conditions such as dry and irritated skin, skin-care products like CBD balms , serums and creams are a great choice.
If you are on any kind of regular medical treatment, we advise you to consult your doctor before using any CBD products.
Please, also bear in mind that even though we all have an endocannabinoid system in our body, our response to CBD is different. Some people may feel the effects of CBD immediately, for others it will take days if not weeks before they notice an improvement. As Mahatma Gandhi once said – “to lose patience is to lose the battle”.
Select the trusted brands and ask for CoA
There are numerous companies that offer CBD products. Try to find a company that sells products which are routinely tested and that can provide you with a Certificate of Analysis (CoA), which reveals the amounts of cannabinoids in the product. In other words, the CoA indicates the potency of the product – it tells you how much CBD is in it. It also gives another very important piece of information – the level of unwanted THC, which is typically below 0.2%, or sometimes even below 0.05% . In addition to these two compounds, a typical CoA includes information about the levels of other phytocannabinoids, such as the acidic forms THCA, CBDA and others like CBN, CBG and CBDV.
Another added value is a CoA that was produced in an accredited laboratory. Such analytical laboratories can be outsourced or represent an integral part of an in-house quality control of the production process. This means that the results on the CoA are valid, reliable and confirm the high quality of the tested product. You can check the status of accredited laboratories that followed the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guidelines online at Accrediting organizations. At Pharmahemp, we perform quality control in terms of phytocannabinoid profiling in our in-house laboratory PharmaHemp Laboratories , which has been accredited since 2020.
Check the source of the CBD in your product
The source of raw material, i.e., the hemp biomass that is used to extract the CBD (and other phytocannabinoids in the case of full-spectrum extracts), which ends up in your product is another important factor that should be considered. Check the information on the hemp’s cultivation process, including the compliance with Good Agricultural and Collection Practices at your CBD products’ provider.
Read the ingredients
Checking the list of ingredients and the content of active components is a general piece of advice for purchasing any product. Read the list for any potential allergens you might have a reaction to and avoid products that contain artificial flavorings, colors and/or aromas and other additives. The amount of active components such as CBD should also be clearly stated on the labelling.
Side effects when using CBD products
To the best of our knowledge and based on literature reviews, the use of high-quality CBD products is, in general, safe, with no serious side effects being reported for healthy adults. As there is a lack of data, we advise against the use of CBD products for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and small children, or they should have a consultation with their doctor before starting to use CBD products.
Although CBD products are safe, there have been some cases when CBD products have triggered side effects, such as nausea and fatigue. These were mostly related to suspicious products from the black market with an unknown origin and the presence of considerable amounts of psychoactive THC. Therefore, be careful and use only CBD products that are provided by trusted brands which can give you information and respond to your questions on topics covered in this blog.
And last but not least – the pricing
The prices of CBD products can vary a lot. The main factor influencing the price is quality, which you can assess by checking the information about the seller and the product, including the list of ingredients, the origin of the CBD and the available CoAs. But prices also differ due to shipping charges, special offers and discounts, which are always welcome.