A walk into any Seattle dispensary will have you in a knot trying to figure out which CBD product to settle for, from all those available in the market. Knowing that CBD that is sold over the counter is actually not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration makes it imperative that additional steps are taken to ensure that whatever you consume is the highest quality and most suitable for your needs. We’ll cover the most essential elements that you need to consider when shopping for CBD to guide you into becoming a guru in figuring out what’s best for you.
Step 1: Decide on the Type of CBD
There are 3 main different types of CBD that contain different compounds and concentrations and knowledge of this allows you to make an informed decision taking you a step closer to finding perfect one.
Full Spectrum CBD
Other than CBD, there are other naturally occurring substances in cannabis such as THC and Terpenes. Full Spectrum CBD contains all these other substances and up to 0.3% THC. THC is what is known to cause the high in cannabis. Terpenes on the other hand are known to enhance or alter the effects that CBD and THC may have in the body thereby creating a phenomenon popularly known as the entourage effect. With this type of CBD, you may experience benefits that are as a result of the combined efforts of all the available substances within the CBD.
Broad Spectrum CBD
This type of CBD is almost like the full spectrum CBD but without the THC content. There may be traces of it available, but the intention is to derive the benefits from all the other substances sans the effects of THC.
This type here borrows heavily from the name and has the CBD in isolation. There are no other compounds found in it. The best thing about it is that it allows an individual to ascertain whether using CBD in isolation really works for them or if they actually need a combination of compounds to achieve their end goal. This type of CBD has no entourage effect and any benefits or disadvantages that may be experienced from the presence of the other naturally occurring substances are alleviated.
Step 2: Check for the Certificate of Analysis
Any serious brand worth its name knows that this is a non-negotiable. An organization may choose to have it listed on the website or their policy may be to send it to you as their valued consumer upon request. If you are unable to find it through either of the means mentioned above, that is a sure sign that you’re on the wrong path and that you need to pause and re-strategize.
What constitutes a Certificate of Analysis?
Cannabinoid analysis. Here, we’re looking at the weight and concentration of the cannabinoids present in the product after third party testing. This is one of the times where you want to be certain that what you see is really what you get.
Analysis on heavy metals. There is a high likelihood that there might be a presence of heavy metals within your product and there are recommended quantities that are allowable and you as a consumer have a right to know that the organization has kept it within this range. When checking for cadmium, lead or mercury it is essential that you determine that the ranges fall at 0.001 mg/mL of cadmium, 0.003 mg/mL of lead and 0.0001 mg/mL of mercury. Anything higher than these quantities is bound to cause you problems within your organs in the long run.
Pesticide analysis. Cannabis is a plant and like many other plants needs the spraying of pesticides to repel the bugs that may prevent the farmers from realizing a bumper harvest. This is understandable, and it therefore follows that an analysis of the traces of the chemicals used on the products is provided. It goes without saying that the harm from toxins can cause irreparable damage to a human being. A common example of chemical levels of pesticides to avoid would be 40 parts per million (ppm) of cypermethrin and 7ppm of ethylene oxide.
Verification of third party testing. Just like organizations use an independent auditor to prove to the public the authenticity of their financial records, organizations that produce CBD products require verification of third party testing to prove accurate and unbiased test results. It’s safer for you when an organization goes the extra mile and does this, it serves as proof that there is nothing to hide.
A comprehensive label. The information on a label is a sign of the legitimacy of a product. There is a science to how a label should be populated and only a brand worth its salt would get it right every time. The information that you should look out for when reading the label includes and is not limited to, the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor, ingredients (including non-cannabis additives), net quantity (weight), batch number, production date, expiration date, instructions on how to use and store the product, the suggested serving size or dosing information as well as the warnings. Human beings have so much going on that you couldn’t possibly remember all this information without a reference point where you could so often look at whenever you need to.
Step 3: Choose USA Grown Products
The U.S Department of Agriculture is really hands on the cultivation of hemp in the US. The 2018 Farm Bill that was passed required the USDA to establish a national regulatory framework for the production of hemp. On January 19, 2021, USDA published regulations that would oversee the production and according to them, the rules were to be in effect as of March 22, 2021. Aside from the regulatory framework, USDA has gone a step further and launched a Hemp eManagement Platform designed for producers, testing laboratories and sampling agents to submit hemp information and reporting.
If you ask me, an elaborate design thinking process was employed to ensure that the safety of a consumer of any of the hemp grown in the US was put into consideration. I am yet to hear of any other country that has gone out of its way to ensure that this has been done to the level of detail that has already been achieved in the States. When you check for this particular requirement, you’re not only looking out for your well-being, you’re also promoting the economy of the country.
Step 4: Purchase from a Reputable Dispensary
Whilst films have always painted a picture that the “good stuff” is usually bought from suspicious individuals who ask to meet you in dingy places, I assure you that that should not be your reality. The decriminalization of cannabis has brought with it a wave of entrepreneurs that believe that you should have a decent, pleasant and memorable experience in the event that you’re in the market for CBD. Within your locality, check for reputable brick and mortar dispensaries that have been set up where you could get professional advice that will ensure that you’re consuming only what you can handle comfortably.
When assessing the legitimacy of a brick and mortar shop, these are the components that you should look out for
An inviting ambiance. The physical location of the dispensary should be the first thing that lets you know what kind of establishment you’re about to engage with. The same way you would walk into a pharmacy, a supermarket or any legal establishment, that’s exactly how you should feel. Safe and secure and able to walk out in the case that you don’t purchase anything. The lighting should be friendly enough to allow you to see the contents of what you’re purchasing. The licenses should also be visible for you to authenticate that they are a registered enterprise.
Friendly and well-informed bud tenders. These are probably the most important people that you’ll interact with in the dispensaries. When you’re new to this, it can be overwhelming and having friendly understanding attendants that are patient with you and have a solid understanding of the products that they’re dealing with gives you confidence to ask questions. When you’re in a dispensary and the bud tenders seem to be fluffing around anytime you ask about something, that may just be your cue to leave. You would never leave your car with a mechanic that doesn’t seem to know his stuff, you probably shouldn’t let an unqualified person give you advice on what and what not to put in your body.
A wide variety of products. A good dispensary will ensure that they are stocked on different brands, different products, accessories, because the consumer should be allowed their freedom of choice. The market is vast and different people want different things at different price points.
When these three check out, you can comfortably proceed with your shopping experience. If you choose to follow the online route instead, it is always wise to check out the client reviews on the website of the dispensary that you so wish to purchase from.
Step 5: Ensure that the Packaging is Glass
At this juncture, you have ensured that the CBD that you have managed to acquire is potent, pure and effective. The final step should be is it protected from harmful Ultraviolet Rays? This particular need can only be solved by confirming that the CBD oil has been packaged appropriately.
Why glass and not plastic? When CBD oil is stored in plastic containers, it slowly breaks down the plastic over time. This also means that the CBD oil will also be contaminated and inevitably less effective. Essentially in this scenario, you’d be taking in impure CBD oil laced with deteriorated plastic, which doesn’t sound very appealing, and that is why glass is the best for CBD extracts.
Now that we’ve understood why glass, let’s dive deeper and determine what type of glass you should be on the lookout for while on your shopping spree. CBD oil is affected by light. When the extract is stored in a clear glass bottle and left in direct light, oxidation occurs rendering the extract less effective. It may seem like the simpler solution is to just store it in a dark place, but what if you accidentally forgot it out someday and it got hit directly by the light? Clear glass bottles are completely out of question in this regard in terms of storage for CBD extracts.
What then? You ask. Opaque glass bottles that can block out sunlight are the best storage containers for CBD extracts. To take it to a granular level, you should be on the lookout for amber colored bottles. While some extracts may be stored in either blue or green glass bottles, those two colors are allowable but not effective as amber colored ones. Light comes in two forms, visible light that we can see and the ultraviolet light that we cannot see. Blue and green glass bottles are especially useful in blocking out the visible lights from affecting the CBD extracts, but they are no match for the ultraviolet rays. On the other hand, the amber bottle is effective in blocking out both visible and ultraviolet rays giving you surety that the effectiveness of the extract is maintained at the exact standard that you purchased it at. With all this said, now you have acquired an oil that is potent, pure, effective and protected from ultraviolet rays. Basically, the perfect CBD extract.
This article has taken you through a journey to ensure that you acquire a firm understanding of the non-negotiable when you’re in the market for an extract. When you’re able to select the best CBD extract in the market, you will be getting all the intended benefits and avoiding any side effects that you would have encountered had you gone down the other road. May the pointers provided here lead you to a most wholesome CBD extract shopping experience.