In an exponentially growing (almost at £1 billion) market, a lot of newcomers can feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of products in the space, from various sources. We strive to convey an honest message with our platform, especially as the conversation online can often fluctuate in tone with regards to CBD. One minute the government is pushing back, and the next they are pushing forward, vaping can be (logically) super dangerous, new shops are popping up online daily which may not be entirely legal, Which? Magazine are exposing some brands for the frauds that they really are…and so on. So what is the truth, and how can we be sure the brands and outlets we are shopping with are legitimate?
With this in mind, we wanted to provide a streamlined advice guide to deciphering the best ways to shop CBD. There is also a great report written by Alexa Peters on Cannabis MD that is fully worth digesting.
First off and it almost goes without saying, but it is worth doing some in depth research. Is CBD right for you? What is your intention with the plant? We’d say that some basic understanding of your Endocannabinoid system is crucial. Do you need full spectrum oil, broad spectrum or isolate?
The term “full spectrum” signals the main differences, as it defines full-spectrum CBD oil as being extracted, with multiple compounds, out of a single hemp plant. Such compounds include cannabinoids like CBN (Cannabinol), CBG (Cannabigerol), and THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin). “Isolate” is just the CBD compound.
“Broad–spectrum” extracts contain multiple cannabinoids, they also produce the “entourage effect,” (a proposed mechanism by which cannabis compounds act synergistically to modulate the overall psychoactive effects of the plant, primarily by the action of THC), but without the THC. In a very simplified manner, broad-spectrum CBD is like a mix between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. It contains the entire spectrum of cannabinoids EXCEPT for the THC part. You can learn more about this here.
Understanding the THC content is super important, as it is the difference between a legal or illegal purchase. The law in the UK allows concentrations of THC no higher than 0.2%.
This is signified on the packaging and professional and trustworthy brands usually detail the number of milligrams of CBD and percentage of THC present, whether it is full spectrum, broad spectrum or isolate and so on.
It is worth exploring either through their packaging or online platform, exactly how the brand extracts the oil. Is it organic? Where are they based? There’s a lot of detail in our Best CBD Oils feature that can help with regards to this. It’s worth checking if butane damage has occurred to the plant during the extraction process, ideally you want an oil that has been extracted with CO2 for the most intact result.
As well as the location, it is worth exploring the hemp growing standards detailed by the brand – for example what type of plants are they using, what are the fertilisers and pesticides used – remember this will all go into your system too. Is the farm organic? This is a big priority for most advocates of the plant who want to maximise the wellness benefits.
You can ask for third party lab testing – something we are exploring more of here at CBDecoded to ensure that anything that we recommend you is lab tested multiple times. Currently, there’s no government-approved testing process for purity and quality of CBD products, which is why private labs are more important than ever to really verify new products launching into market. That said, a Certificate of Authentication from a third party should be available for your purchase!
Some final details is that you’d ideally want a product free of gimmicks – unnatural and artificial flavours and so on, and a brand that has a money back guarantee, someone offering genuine trust and care with your purchase!
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