JAN 09, 2018 5:59 PM PST

How Pure Is Your CBD?

WRITTEN BY: Loren DeVito

For those who have been following the recent controversy unfolding between states’ rights to sell cannabis (THC-based products) when legalized and the federal government’s imposed jurisdiction, the status of CBD remains as much in limbo as ever. As we discussed in a previous article, no one in the US can really give a straight answer regarding this issue, mostly due to the federal language around legality for CBD-based hemp products. Therefore, many people have taken advantage of this foggy window by processing and selling CBD in states where cannabis has not been legalized – in fact, you can buy it from many different places online.

But how much can you trust the quality of online-bought CBD? Are the CBD manufacturers legitimate? And – in those who have never used medical cannabis or CBD before – if that CBD does not affect you, does that mean CBD isn’t a good choice for you or that the product you bought may not be high-quality CBD at all?

Why CBD over THC?

Let’s rewind for a minute to talk about why patients may choose to use CBD instead of THC or CBD-THC products. As we’ve discussed previously, CBD offers some very helpful benefits, including anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory properties. And, unlike THC, CBD will not get you “high.” In fact, CBD oil is being studied in clinical trials to help treat certain types of pediatric epilepsy.

Therefore, it may be a good choice for people who need to take medical cannabis during the day to manage their symptoms but do not want to be affected by the psychoactive properties of THC.

Ordering CBD Online

A quick online search of CBD will bring up thousands and thousands of results, perhaps leaving one a little overwhelmed if not confused by what to buy. Where do you start? How do you know which product is the best? How do you know is the product a company is selling is actually 100% pure CBD oil? Well, the bad news is that you can’t know what you’re buying online. Unlike a medical cannabis dispensary where you can talk to a budtender about the products, where they come from, and the process used to make them, there’s no way to know if any of the information provided on web sites is really true. And how do we know this? By looking to the data.

Buyer Beware

A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed 84 CBD products from 31 different companies. They found that less than one-third of the products tested were accurately labeled with the correct amount of CBD contained. With CBD products costing upwards of $150, these results are quite disappointing, especially if you rely on CBD daily to manage symptoms.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that online CBD products have come under fire. In 2015, the FDA sent a warning letter to a company that overstated its claims for CBD without providing sufficient medical evidence.

What Should You Do?

IIf you are a medical cannabis patient who uses CBD, there are things you can do to become a more vigilant consumer:

-Make sure the oil used to extract the CBD does not contains any harmful chemicals

-Look for independent lab results that have proven the quality of the CBD product

-Purchase products with very high CBD:THC ratios (most CBD products contain very small trace amounts of THC)

-Buy a pure CBD product that has not been combined with another supplement

As with any purchase, make sure you are completely comfortable with your decision. If anything looks “off” about the product description or company, make your purchase elsewhere.

About the Author
  • Academically trained neuroscientist with extensive experience in science and medical writing across a wide range of therapeutic areas.
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