With the range of CBD products available growing daily, finding a good quality cannabidiol product isn’t an easy proposition. If you’ve browsed online you will know that there are lots of claims such as, ‘strongest oil’ and ‘THC free’.
You may also have seen warnings about disreputable CBD retailers selling inferior ‘snake oil’. A recent report from the Centre for Medical Cannabis (CMC) revealed that a large portion of UK CBD products are sold with incorrect labels and false claims.
Despite this there are many great products available. To help you buy with confidence we spoke with founder of for the Ageless(FTA), Daniel. He has many years of experience and is setting new standards for transparency within the industry.
The lab tests
In May 2019, the Centre for Medical Cannabis (CMC) bought a product from thirty well-known retailers and had them independently tested by UK lab PhytoVista. The findings were published as part of the report “CBD in the UK: Towards a responsible, innovative and high-quality cannabidiol industry.”
This revealed that buying from leading names online and in the high street doesn’t guarantee that you will get what you pay for. While not all the products tested were mislabelled, many of them contained less CBD extract than claimed on the packaging. Some also had illegal levels of THC and detectable (but legal) amounts of toxins.
How to find quality CBD products
While these finding make a compelling argument for regulation within the industry, what does it mean for those of us buying CBD oil today? Daniel has had to build up his own strategies for filtering out low quality products. He says, “With each new supplier we take the time to get to know them and their product before we consider stocking anything at for the Ageless.”
Choose retailers that have met industry standards
Daniel works closely with official associations such as the Cannabis Trades Association (CTA). They provide centralised standards and guidance that must be met by their members. He also looks for industry certificates such as those for exceptional manufacturing processes or organic farming.
About the CTA he told us “Organisations like this, work with the industry to create a recognised quality standard. They often hold lists of the retailers and suppliers that have met their standards or have received awards for their products.
CBD suppliers also display awards such as organic certifications, these can be easily checked by visiting the website of the organic authority. Never take an award at face value. Always check out the authority that awarded it and see if they are a genuine recognised body.”
Find out the experiences of others by reading customer reviews
As a customer you aren’t really looking for percentages of extracts, you’re looking for specific results. The reviews of previous customers are a great place to find out if a product delivers the results you are looking for.
At for the Ageless, customer reviews can be recorded for every product. This means that new customers can see the experience of others at the point of sale. Daniel told us, “We quickly learnt that to set ourselves apart in a new industry we had to become 100% transparent in all of our practices.
Customer reviews create a public record that often informs future sales. They also act as a great resource for us when we are looking to assess our range. When you are looking to purchase from a retailer you haven’t used before, do some digging and see if past customers were happy with their products.
Reviews on retail sites and Facebook pages are useful, but they may not give you the full picture. Good information can be found on independent review sites such as Trust Pilot, Yelp or Google reviews. They give you a more honest insight into the experience of others.”
Look at the third-party certificates of analysis
The results of third party lab testsare the best tool when it comes to checking the authenticity of a product. “These are tests that should be carried out by an independent lab on every individual batch. They will tell you the exact amount of each cannabinoid and sometimes the terpenes too. A good brand will also test for unwanted toxins or heavy metals to ensure the safety of the final product.
They are an essential source of information and should be available on the product page of every CBD item. If you can’t see them, don’t buy! Retailers who are totally transparent will make it easy for you to find the lab reports.
When you have found them look to see if the amount of CBD on the label matches the test results, also check that the levels of THC and CBN are below 1 mg per container. Toxins and other chemicals should only be present in very small amounts. A quick google search will tell you the acceptable levels of any substance that may be found.
To be completely sure, check that the certificates are up to date and relate to the batch you are buying. You can also research the lab that conducted the tests, look at their reputation and see how they test each product.
Use the certificates of analysis to test claims such as ‘full spectrum’ or ‘CBD isolate’
CBD products are often advertised with phrases like full spectrum, broad spectrum, whole plant extract or isolate. These tell you whether the product contains just the cannabinoid CBD or whether it also has other active ingredients naturally found in the cannabis plant.
We asked Daniel if this really matters and how we can tell if the claims are true. “When CBD is accompanied by other natural, cannabis sourced substances, they work together to produce a wider range of effects. This is known as the entourage effect and explains why items containing more than one cannabinoid are viewed as more effective than isolated CBD.
Unfortunately, there is no legal requirement for what can be referred to as full spectrum, broad spectrum or whole plant extract. This means that one full spectrum oil could contain two cannabinoids when another could have eight. The certificates of analysis are a good way to find out exactly what is in your oil.
Full spectrum and broad-spectrum products should contain at least two extra cannabinoids such as CBG or CBC. Whole plant extract should contain several cannabinoids alongside terpenes, flavonoids and other plant nutrients.”
Buy in confidence
When you buy CBD use these steps to help you find a genuine retailer with high quality products. Even in a market where oils have been found to contain zero CBD you needn’t stop purchasing.
Find a retailer certified by an official body, with positive reviews from previous customers and clearly displayed certificates of analysis. Once you’ve done this you will again be able to buy in confidence.
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