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.
Unlike hemp-derived CBD products, those made from marijuana must undergo testing—at least in states that permit medical and recreational use of marijuana. In some of those states, dispensary staff are supposed to have the COAs available and be willing to share them with you. If they aren’t, or the COA is not available, go to another dispensary or choose another product.
Thousands of the cannabis products line store shelves, but determining what’s safe is up to you
On the other hand, take extra care with products that list only the amount of total “cannabinoids” they contain, not specifically how much CBD is in them. Those cannabinoids could include not just CBD and THC but dozens of other related compounds. Companies may take that labeling approach because they hope it will attract less scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration, Lee 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.
So if you want a product that probably has a little THC but not so much to get you high, look for one made from hemp. Such products have the added benefit of being widely available, including online and in retail stores. (Note that while Boyar and other experts say that CBD products should also include THC levels on their labels, many made from hemp don’t. For that, you need to check a product’s test results, if they are available; see number 4, below.)
Some people may experience mild side effects from CBD, which typically result from taking too much CBD at one time. They include:
The extraction method a company uses impacts the final product. CO2 extraction is preferred because it produces a very potent and pure CBD blend. Before being sold to consumers, the best CBD oils undergo third-party lab testing and earn at least one of the following certifications:
Spruce’s CBD oil is a full-spectrum formula with 25 milligrams of CBD per 1 milliliter serving. The brand also has an extra-strength version that contains 80 milligrams of CBD per 1 milliliter serving. The organic, vegan, and gluten-free blend uses organic hemp seed oil and is free of artificial sweeteners, flavors, and preservatives. Spruce offers higher concentrations of cannabinoids, terpenes, antioxidants, and flavonoids than some of its competitors, which reviewers say translates to more effective relief.
How do you take CBD?
R+R Medicinals offers a USDA organic full-spectrum CBD tincture made with Colorado-grown hemp. The oil has a natural mint flavor and works best when taken with food.
At 30 milligrams of CBD per 1 milliliter serving, NuLeaf Naturals’s full-spectrum hemp extract creates a potent CBD product that has helped some users manage their pain. The whole-plant formula offers an enhanced effect thanks to its complete profile of cannabinoids and terpenes, which is maintained using CO2 extraction.
It is third-party lab tested for quality, contains organic MCT coconut oil, and is free of artificial flavors and preservatives.
Each product undergoes independent lab testing and is made in Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP)-certified facilities to ensure it’s free of pesticides and heavy metals.
If you want to avoid THC entirely, you should choose a broad-spectrum or CBD isolate product. They may also be labeled THC-free or 0% THC. Keep in mind that the miniscule amount of THC found in hemp won’t make you feel high – and it is perfectly legal.
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If you’re curious about trying CBD oil, you may wonder how to go about buying it. There are many options available, including buying it locally. For many people, going to a store to buy CBD oil can be overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with all of the terms and jargon associated with CBD.
What about THC?
A key factor in deciding what CBD product to buy is learning where the hemp used to make it was grown. Research the brand you’re considering buying from and see if you can find where their hemp is sourced from. Many reputable product manufacturers will include this information on their website. As an example, below is a statement from Medterra’s website:
A full-spectrum CBD product will contain all the cannabinoids that naturally occur in the hemp plant, including up to .03% THC. This trace amount of THC isn’t enough to make you high, and won’t cause you to fail a drug test. However, if you are concerned about consuming any THC, then you may want to choose a THC-free CBD product instead, like broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate.
CBD oil is placed under your tongue, which allows for fast absorption into your system. This can make it a good choice for anyone seeking quick relief of their symptoms.
The choice between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and CBD isolate is largely one of personal preference. While there are a number of benefits associated with taking a full-spectrum CBD, if you are drug tested at work and want to avoid even a chance of getting a false positive result, you may choose a 0% THC broad-spectrum or isolate. Full and broad-spectrum CBD oils also tend to have a stronger taste and smell, which can turn off some people. With these considerations in mind, you can make a decision that is right for you.