In addition to THC, Meyer and consumers also need to worry about whether CBD products have contaminants. That’s because cannabis plants readily absorb heavy metals, pesticides, and other potentially harmful chemicals that may be in the soil or water, says Kyle Boyar, a cannabis scientist at Medicinal Genomics, a company that develops tests that help labs comply with state rules. To protect against that risk, cannabis plants should be tested frequently while they are growing, and finished products should be tested, using validated methods, too, Boyar says.
Some CBD products also describe themselves as including or coming from “hemp oil.” In some cases, manufacturers use that term to mean CBD oil, which is oil rich in CBD made mainly from the leaves, resin, or flowering tops of hemp plants. But “hemp oil” more often, and more properly, refers to oil made from the seeds of the plant, and contains only very small amounts of CBD, says Lanier at the Hemp Industries Association. That oil is often included in hemp-based soaps, cosmetics, and similar products.
However, though 47 states have now legalized CBD from hemp, marijuana, or both (see map, below), many don’t require any testing. And among those that do, the details vary considerably. As a result, consumers need to take matters into their own hands and often have to rely on CBD manufacturers to self-police.
As head farmer at Veritas Farms in Pueblo, Colo., Rianna Meyer has two big concerns when growing her 100,000 hemp plants, a form of cannabis closely related to marijuana.
CBD product labels sometimes say that they were produced with “CO2 extraction.” That can mean that the CBD and other ingredients were removed from the plant using high-pressure carbon dioxide gas, not chemical solvents. Depending on the type of CO2 extraction used, the technique might be able to extract not just CBD but other cannabinoids (see number 5) in the plant, Boyar says. However, that approach is not necessarily better, because it’s unclear whether those other compounds provide additional health benefits. And it may not be safer, either, because some forms of CO2 extraction still use solvents, Boyar says.
Such demand keeps Meyer—vice president for operations at Veritas Farms (pictured above) as well as a retired fire captain and an Air Force veteran—on alert. For one things, she says, “If cannabis plants are stressed out by the weather, they’ll create more THC.”
And those choices are soon likely to become even more confusing: The CBD market is expected to multiply at least sevenfold by 2021, to $2.15 billion, up from $292 million in 2016, according to the Brightfield Group, a market research firm that specializes in cannabis. Even Coca-Cola says it’s “closely watching” the growing interest in CBD and its potential as an ingredient in some of the company’s beverages.
So for CBD products from hemp, check labels to see whether they say where it was grown, and look especially for those from Colorado. Not all products, however, include that information. So in a dispensary or a retail store, ask the staff whether they know where the hemp was grown. And for products purchased online, check the companies’ website to see whether it has that information, or contact the seller to ask the same question.
Still, Lee cautions that some people are much more sensitive to the psychoactive effects of THC than others. So if you want to avoid the head-high, it’s better to stick with CBD from hemp.
What to look for when you shop for CBD products, including whether they comes from hemp or marijuana and how much THC they contain.
- Very engaged in the scientific aspect of CBD and cannabis health
- CBD isolate oils (100% THC-free)
- Sourced and manufactured 100% in the USA
- Offer a super potent 3,000 mg (1 oz) tincture
- Prices range from $49.95 to $149.95
CBDfx Review: Highlights
Like Premium Jane, Fab CBD is another newcomer to the industry, and they made this list simply because of how affordable they are. We received some samples quite awhile back, and while they weren’t the most potent products in the world, they absolutely did work and if you were to buy them from the online store they are about 15% cheaper than other top brands. ($79 for a 600 mg bottle compared to the average $95).
- Free shipping on ALL orders over $35
- Huge range of CBD vape oils and vape-specific products
- A lot of flavors to choose from folks who are sensitive to taste
- Koi CBD oil prices range from $39.99 to $99.99 for a single 1 oz bottle
- One of the largest ranges of CBD products available on the market
- Best CBD vape oils and largest selection for those that prefer vaping CBD
- Super unique product range including Pain Freeze and CBD Beard Oil
- Prices range from $49.99 to $299.99
MedTerra CBD Oil Review: Highlights
Along with PureKana and CW Hemp, I would say that Green Roads CBD oil probably rounds out the top 3 most popular hemp companies selling online, and that would generally translate to status as the “best CBD oil,” right? They have an incredible web presence, and in fact run a really great blog that you should keep up with if you’re interested in the latest CBD news, trends, etc. They’re also big into offering loads of different product, including pre-dosed pens called “Daily Doses,” CBD terpenes, edibles, and even potent CBD concentrates that you can dab (I don’t have a dab rig myself, but I have friends who say the potency is incredible). Honestly, you’ve just got to check out their website in order to get a better idea of the huge range of products they’ve got — all of which are of the highest quality.
Green Roads CBD Oil Review: Highlights
- Uses nutritional hempseed oil as the CBD carrier
- Potent CBD doses (1,500 mg CBD isolate in the “Heal” oil)
- Offer a 5-day trial period to test out before you buy a whole bottle
- 5 different formulas for specific uses
- Pet-specific formula
- Prices range from $25 to $165
With so many different CBD oil brands on the market, finding a trustworthy CBD oil can be a difficult task ✓ We bring you the full review on today's best CBD oils ✓