If there are three little letters that are taken the health world by storm at the moment, you better believe them to be CBD. A chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant, CBD is short for cannabidiol. CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the plant, however, unlike marijuana, it doesn’t contain THC, the psychoactive element responsible for getting you high.
As of late, it’s been hailed for its ability to treat chronic pain, reduce inflammation and ease anxiety. Walk into any cafe in LA and chances are you’re asked if you’d like CBD in your morning coffee, herbal tea or pancakes at brunch.
But how do you know if you’re getting the real deal? Is there a way to ensure quality, safety and transparency? Here, Georgia Branch, co-founder of Australian hemp brand, Hemple,shares with us the most common CBD mistakes people make and how to do it the right way.
Full-spectrum Vs Isolate
When you’re first purchasing CBD, look for products that say “full-spectrum” instead of CBD isolate. “There’s actually three kinds of CBD you can find on the market right now,” explains Georgia. This includes full-spectrum, isolate and more recently—broad spectrum. “Full-spectrum CBD is usually 97% or more CBD, with a combination of other minor cannabinoids naturally present in the hemp extract as well as a range of terpenes—compounds with aromatherapy benefits. Full-spectrum CBD usually has more of a hemp-y or bitter taste, which might be a downside for some palates. However, most users who prefer full-spectrum report experiencing the “entourage effect”—the natural balance of cannabinoids and terpenes working together in their body as nature intended.” “Isolate is a 100% CBD preparation. This means that the CBD has been separated from the other cannabinoids and terpenes. It’s common in gummies, topicals and some tinctures. It doesn’t have much of a taste or smell, however many users report better effects from full or broad-spectrum products.”
“Broad-spectrum is getting really popular. It retains some terpenes and minor cannabinoids, but contains 0% THC. As regulations around THC (the cannabinoid that gets you high) vary in legal markets—less than 0.3% THC in the US vs less than 0.2% THC in the EU and 0% in Japan for example—a lot of users and brands are now offering broad-spectrum options. Broad-spectrum is a good alternative to get most of the benefits of the entourage effect, while allowing customers in different jurisdictions to purchase.” “Personally, I opt for a full or broad-spectrum product. In my experience these provide more healing benefits of the plant’s natural active compounds.”
Once you have your full or broad-spectrum CBD oil in hand, it’s time to do a little research on extraction methods. “It’s important you choose a product with a clean extraction process,” says Georgia. “We use CO2 extraction as it leaves no residual solvents or toxins. It’s currently the gold standard.”
Georgia explains that in this method, the raw plant material is exposed to high-pressure, low-temperature CO2 gas. “This isolates the cannabinoids and preserves them in the oil. CO2 extraction takes longer and requires expensive machinery, which some businesses are not willing to wait for.”
“Alcohol extraction is also common, which depending on the manufacturer can be of good quality. As a rule, my advice is to avoid propane or butane extraction—and companies that don’t disclose the way their ingredients are extracted.”
Speaking of unwanted ingredients in your CBD oil, pesticides are another big concern. Hemp is a bioaccumulator, meaning it absorbs chemical waste and heavy metals. “Always check the brand’s website for their third party lab test results,” advises Georgia. “We test our extracts and finished product for everything from cannabinoid and terpene levels to heavy metals, residual solvents, pesticides and microbes.” “As a business owner, I’m committed to not only having a clean, effective product, but empowering customers to demand transparency about every batch we produce. If a company isn’t posting their results for you to review, I’d consider this a red flag and look elsewhere.”
When considering which CBD product to buy, Georgia recommends ticking the following boxes:
1. It’s organic
2. The 3rd Party Lab Tests are available on the website. Make sure it shows the product has non-detectable or is well under the limit for pesticides, heavy metals, microbes and residual solvents. Also check it has the percentage of cannabinoids in the finished product as the company says it does on the pack! 3. The company uses a CO2 extraction method 4. The product is full or broad spectrum 5. It has an effective delivery method. We use nanotechnology to make our products more bioavailable (absorbable) in the body. It provides the fast effect of a vape, in a water soluble tincture. For ingestible CBD, liposomal products are also more bioavailable than standard tinctures (which have about a 10-25% absorption rate).
Downsides to taking poor quality CBD oil:
“The main downside will be that you may not experience any benefit at all from the product you’ve bought!,” says Georgia. “That means missing out a natural tonic that can help support sleep, improve mood, reduce anxiety, minimise pain and lower inflammation. In the worst cases, you could be unknowingly introducing harmful toxins into your body.” Visit www.hemple.com for more!