More and more people are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) to combat anxiousness, reduce everyday aches and pains, and get a better night’s rest. The benefits of CBD are only as good as the quality of the plant and product, but the sheer number of CBD products available to purchase in stores and online can make choosing one overwhelming.
So, if you’re new to CBD and wondering what to look for, our guide on how to choose CBD products provides a complete overview of the most important considerations.
When choosing between CBD products, the most important considerations are quality and safety. Beyond those, you’ll want to choose your delivery system, type of CBD, extraction method, and concentration.
Spring for Quality
Before we jump into the specifics of how to choose CBD products, let’s talk quality. With so many CBD companies and products to choose from—and a lack of transparency around quality control in the CBD industry—it’s important to know what to look for in a high-quality product. One of the most common mistakes people make when choosing CBD products is going for the cheapest options which are likely not tested and analyzed for quality and safety.
While you can certainly find cheap CBD products, they may be unsafe, of poor quality, or may contain more THC than specified—not to mention they may not provide the same level of health benefits as high-quality products. CBD products should have clear labeling, detailing the amount of CBD, percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and the ingredients.
“Only around one-third of CBD products contain the amount of CBD they claim and many contain pesticides and other toxins that are used during cultivation but get extracted along with the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes.” -Josh Kaplan, Ph.D.
Certified third-party testing should be done for all CBD products—though this isn’t always the case. You should always ask for a Certificate of Analysis to ensure the product is safe and of high quality. Testing ensures purity and consistency of the product and tests for aspects such as cannabinoid and terpene profile, potency, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, microbiological contaminants, and residual solvents.
Choose Your Delivery System
CBD can be taken through several different delivery systems. Some of the most common include oils and tinctures, creams and lotions, edibles (gummies, mints, cookies, etc.), capsules and pills, and vape juices.
Oils and tinctures: Oils and tinctures typically come in a bottle with a dropper and are often taken under the tongue and held there for 30 seconds before swallowing to allow for quick absorption through the small capillaries in the oral mucosa, or mucous membrane.
Creams and lotions: Creams and lotions are commonly used to help ease muscle and joint pain and may also provide relief from irritated skin.
Edibles: Edible CBD products can range anywhere from mints and gummies to CBD-infused drinks. Edibles are one of the more popular delivery systems as they are portable and discreet.
Capsules and pills: Capsules and pills offer a discreet and convenient method for taking CBD—however, the time from ingestion to absorption can take significantly longer than other delivery systems.
Vape juices: Inhaling vaporized CBD oil is the fastest way to feel the effects of CBD. However, the safety and long-term health impacts of vaping are unknown. Additionally, the effects of CBD from vaping CBD oil dissipate quicker compared to other methods of CBD delivery.
Choose Between Types of CBD
There are three common forms or types of CBD—full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate.
Full-spectrum CBD hemp extracts contain CBD along with all the other cannabinoids and terpenes that are pulled from the plant during the extraction process. This includes small amounts of THC, which, in federally legal hemp-derived products, is less than 0.3%. Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum but goes through an additional process to remove the THC from the CBD.
Many believe that full- and broad-spectrum CBD products provide the maximum benefits due to a theory called the Entourage Effect.
“There is an increasing amount of scientific evidence that whole-plant extracts can have greater therapeutic efficacy than CBD alone. This is known as the “Entourage Effect” where multiple cannabinoids and terpenes are thought to interact to improve the effectiveness of CBD alone.” -Josh Kaplan, Ph.D.
Finally, CBD isolate is exactly what it sounds like—it’s pure, isolated CBD with no additional cannabinoids or terpenes. There is no entourage effect when using CBD isolate.
Understand CBD Extraction Methods
There are several methods for extracting CBD from the hemp plant including extraction via solvent, steam distillation, and carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction.
Extraction via solvent: This method uses a solvent, typically ethanol or a hydrocarbon such as butane or propane, to extract CBD. The hemp plant is soaked in the solvent to produce a mixture of solvent and cannabinoids which is then further refined to remove the solvent.
Steam distillation: Steam is used to remove the cannabinoids from the hemp plant, producing a vapor which is then cooled, condensed, and separated to isolate the oil from the water.
CO2 extraction: CO2 extraction uses pressurized CO2 to pull CBD and other phytocannabinoids from the cannabis plant using specialized equipment. This clean and pure method is currently the industry standard.
Opt for a Higher Concentration
Another common mistake people make when purchasing CBD products is buying an inexpensive option not realizing it may have a very small amount of CBD. Look for products that list the concentration and offer higher concentrations. For example, taking a 5 mg CBD gummy is unlikely to produce any meaningful results. If you want a high-quality, high-potency CBD product, it’s likely to be a bit more expensive.
For CBD oils in tincture form, look for concentrations between 250-1,000 mg/oz. For edibles, look for 20 mg of CBD per edible.
To summarize, here are the top six tips for choosing CBD products:
Spring for safe, high-quality products
Check the ingredients
Ask for a Certificate of Analysis (here's ours)
Consider full- or broad-spectrum CBD for maximum benefits
Look for CBD extracted using safe methods, like CO2 extraction
Opt for a higher concentration
At Feals, our products are formulated with only the purest ingredients and without the use of fillers or unnecessary fluff. From sourcing to packaging, we act intentionally to ensure quality and sustainability. Our products are rigorously third-party tested to ensure we deliver the highest quality products possible. Whether you’re looking for CBD oils in tincture form or CBD mints, we offer a better way for you to feel better.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.