There are three main CBD product formulas on the market today, they include: CBD Isolate, Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum. (information on these three product formulas can be found under their respective tabs, in this FAQ section).
Unfortunately, there are many companies selling products they claim to be “high-quality.” Sadly, and in too many cases, they are more akin to “snake oil,” rather than a reliable CBD product. Confusing…? Yes, we know…and we sympathize with you.
Is more regulation in the CBD industry needed?—YES!, and Good Ol’ Boys welcomes the day when this will happen!
There are few regulations (currently) when it comes to CBD products, so it’s very important to choose a “cGMP” (current Good Manufacturing Practices) certified company, which processes the raw hemp extract for the final finished product you are purchasing.
As well as having secondary “cGMP” certified companies, receive this finished Hemp Extract, to complete the necessary processing of the final finished product, you will ultimately hold in your hand!
These companies (those producing quality products) are FDA (Food and Drug Administration) inspected with “cGMP certification” issued by the US Government through the FDA. Ensuring specific and rigid guidelines are being followed that can be trusted, helping you to make an informed decision with absolute confidence, that you are dealing with a truly trustworthy company.
A company that is not only accountable to itself through an established quality control program, but who is accountable to outside agencies, such as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), among others.
Companies you can trust to do business with will maintain an “unbroken-chain-of-custody” from the field to your hand! They will know where your product comes from and where it has been, before finding your hand—quality being their “primary” focus.
If you’re in the market for a product, you should look for a company that can offer you these five things:
- Third Party Testing :
A company should offer their lab test results up front. As a consumer, and potential customer, you have the right to know exactly what is being tested in these facilities, and what these test results are. You have the right to know the percentage of the cannabinoids, including the amount of CBD (cannabidiol) contained in the batching of your product, as well as other factors impacting the quality of the product and any potentially negative effects upon the consumer, such as: Pesticides, Heavy Metals, Residual Solvents and Microbiology (microbes, bacteria, fungi, yeast, etc.), so you can trust the purity and potency claims of the product you intend to purchase.
Report information should allow you to personally investigate these Testing Facilities to determine whether or not they are reputable, legitimate companies. Reputable and legitimate companies are companies who maintain certifications and are regulated by government agencies, or by nationally or internationally recognized testing standards organizations. cGMP facilities are “required” under their certifications to utilize Laboratory Testing Facilities who meet these standards. Beware of Laboratory Test Reports (COA’s—Certificate Of Analysis) from laboratories who have “no” certifications! They are most probably—lab test results from companies producing products from “NON” cGMP facilities, as well. Which makes everything—suspect!
The most prominent international standards organization is—ISO (International Organization For Standardization). The ISO is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives form various national organizations, which has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded in 1947, and promotes worldwide industrial and commercial standards.
One thing of note: as part of the cGMP certification process, the processing facility(s) receiving this FDA certification must “maintain” associations with trusted laboratory testing facilities, having protocols in place to ensure their products are “verified” to have met certain minimum standards. This standard applies to both internal (testing processes utilized within the organization) and external product testing (Independent Third Party Testing Laboratories).
The USA’s cGMP Certification is the equivalent of the international Standard—ISO.
2) cGMP Certified Facility :
cGMP stands for, “current Good Manufacturing Practices.” This means that the manufacturer has demonstrated a strong regulatory commitment and compliance to national FDA—cGMP standards.
According to the FDA, ‘cGMP companies assure the identity, strength, quality and purity of products being manufactured in their facilities. These facilities have established strong quality management systems, obtaining appropriate quality raw materials, establishing robust operating procedures, detecting and investigating product quality deviations and maintaining reliable testing laboratories.’
All facilities who handle and process the product, which you, the consumer, will ultimately hold in your hand, and use—must be cGMP facilities, to ensure the highest quality standards necessary, ensuring you receive a top quality product!
This is the “best” product guarantee you could have, in our humble opinion…!
3) Consider How Much THC the Product Contains :
This is very important if you have a job that requires initial or regular drug testing. Hemp products under the 2018 Farm Bill Act may contain <0.3% THC—by law. This is still enough THC to show up positive on a drug test (depending upon which drug test is conducted). Making it difficult for Military, Police, Firefighters, Government employees, etc., to benefit from this “miracle plant product.”
Some people have personal reasons “against” ingesting—THC.
If this is a deal breaker, we suggest finding a company that can extract THC to an undetectable and untraceable amount. Generally, Broad Spectrum products can offer this and will proudly display it on their product label as containing 0.0% THC. This should be confirmed from the third-party lab test report provided by the product seller.
Case in point: “ALL” AND WE MEAN “ALL” hemp extracts produced under the 2018 Farm Bill Act are 0% THC (A maximum of <0.3% THC being the “legal” standard).
Not all the hemp extract produced under the 2018 Farm Bill Act is “0.0% THC”—look for products that hold to this standard—and know the difference—if THC is an issue!!!
4) Where is your Hemp Grown?—is the Hemp Extraction Facility Farm Bill Compliant?:
You want to deal with sellers, who partner “only” with extraction facilities who receive hemp exclusively from growers in the USA, certified to be “Farm Bill Compliant,” under the 2018 Farm Bill Act.
The Hemp Extraction Facility receiving the raw hemp plant product must also be—2018 Farm Bill Complaint.
The hemp must contain <0.3% THC (by law). The top 3 hemp producing states in the USA are Colorado, Oregon and Kentucky, in that order (as of this writing). There are (14) other states, seven of which are considered “New” or “Emerging Markets”—Colorado is known to have a most robust hemp program.
Colorado’s agricultural program performs spot-tests of hemp plants while they are still in the field to check THC levels, and will investigate the potential use of any illegal pesticides based on complaints.
The Federal Government does require “all” states to both “Regulate/License” Hemp Growers, and “Inspect” their growing fields. Standards vary by State.
Hemp products that come from overseas can be problematic, because they are not subject to any state or federal testing or oversight—Beware!!!
Hemp quality can literally change from field to field, let alone from state to state. High quality extractors will deal exclusively with a “close-set-of-growers” to keep quality and potency standards uniform and consistent, as it directly effects their finished product(s).
Look for sellers who work with these extractors to ensure the highest quality products. Avoid extractors who “just buy any hemp being sold on the open market.” This is usually low quality hemp, with questionable purity and potency. Sellers focused on this type of wholesale market place, usually have their eye on “price” and not “quality!”
Which brings to mind this old and often used axiom: ‘you can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear!’—so why even try….
5) Research How the CBD is Extracted from the Hemp Plant :
How CBD is extracted from the Hemp plant can impact the genetic makeup and quality of the final product. Methods used to extract cannabinoids from the hemp plant are a big part of what separates high-quality CBD products from low quality CBD products.
There are three primary extraction processes, all are considered “solvent based” technology (Solvent defined as: “able to dissolve other substances”). Each of the solvents come into contact with the hemp plant. One uses hydrocarbons, usually butane or propane as the solvent, another uses CO2 (carbon dioxide) as the solvent, the last using food grade ethanol or ethyl alcohol, as its solvent.
Both the hydrocarbon (50-150 psi) and CO2 (1000 psi and greater) extraction methods utilizes pressure in the process. The ethanol or ethyl alcohol extraction method uses no pressure. It is believed by some in the industry, that pressure exerted on the hemp plant during extraction causes some detrimental effects to the final hemp extract product profile.
Butane and Propane are hazardous materials and must be removed from the finished product following extraction (as do all of the solvents for each extraction method utilized). These chemical compounds (butane and propane) do come into contact with the product and have the potential of altering the genetic profile of all compounds they come into contact with.
As of this writing, butane and propane extraction methods appear to be the least popular extraction method being employed by present day hemp extractors. Hemp quality and potency may also be negatively affected by this method of extraction.
CO2 extraction (also referred to as “Super Critical CO2 Extraction) utilizes pressurized (1000 psi—plus) carbon dioxide (CO2) to pull hemp plant extracts from the raw hemp plant. This method can be potentially harmful to the Terpenes and Cannabinoids, as it can potentially damage these compounds with the high pressures that are utilized to draw them out of the plant. It is the preferred method utilized by a large number of extractors as this process allows for larger quantities of hemp extract to be produced in a given day of production, having the additional advantage of reducing operating costs.
Some CBD sellers using this method tout their hemp extract as being “solvent-free.” Suggesting that it is a cleaner alternative to other extraction methods. However, the extract while full of cannabinoids and terpenes, requires “winterization” due to the high content of wax and lipids. The solvents, ethanol, isopropanol or methanol are commonly used for this purpose.
This winterization process is produced through distillation, at very high heat. So stating CO2 is solvent free, is not accurate. Since high heat is used for winterization, the “cold benefits” of CO2 are lost. This purification process to remove these waxes and plant fats from the hemp extract can also take away from the final cannabinoid and terpenoid profile.
Ethanol or ethyl alcohol is a food based solvent, often referred to as the “Gold Standard” for extracting CBD from the hemp plant.
This method uses “no pressure” to extract cannabinoids from the hemp plant. The cannabinoids are removed from the plant by soaking the hemp in ethanol, gently coaxing out all the desired compounds within the Hemp Plant (Cannabinoids, Terpenes, Flavonoids, amino acids and essential fatty acids). The liquid ethanol containing hemp extracts is then ultra filtered to remove all contaminates then distilled and further processed to remove the ethanol until a pure uncontaminated product emerges.
This method is being used by industry leading companies and this product has a high level of potency and purity, in general.
One of the most prominent benefits of ethanol extraction is the unique formation of esters, which are water-soluble, making them highly 1bioavailable—meaning, they are easily absorbed by the human body. By using this extraction method you will end up with CBD, as well as the other cannabinoids and related hemp plant compounds, that are more easily absorbed by the body.
1When it comes to CBD extract (which includes all the hemp extract cannabinoids and other advantageous hemp plant compounds), bioavailability is extremely important. Oil-soluble compounds are not easy to digest and need to be broken down by enzymes and acids in your body, reducing their purity and potency in the process. Bioavailability, reduces or eliminates the need for the body to use enzymes to break down these compounds, as they are already “bioavailable.”
Higher costs are often involved in this process of cannabinoid extraction, due to longer more tedious processing, requiring more steps in the production of the finished Hemp Extract Product. Finished batches tend to be much smaller than the C02 method of extraction.