6 Questions to Ask Before Buying a CBD Product

Woman with uncertain expression surrounded by CBD products

With CBD stories in the news daily and CBD products for sale nearly anywhere, you likely have many questions. But are you asking the right questions? Before you purchase any CBD product, there are a few essential questions to ask the supplier or manufacturer to determine if the product is the right fit for your needs.

Question #1: Can you provide third party lab test results or a Certificate of Analysis (COA)?

Purchasing CBD from a supplier that makes test results readily available is a good indication that the company is being transparent about the safety of their products. Companies that are making their own CBD products should be testing them regularly in-house, but a third-party test helps to solidify those in-house test results and confirm what you’re purchasing. 

Test results may be easy to find on a supplier’s website or may be provided upon request. If the supplier refuses to supply the results, or says they don’t have any, you should consider looking to another source for your CBD.

There are a few important things to look for on a COA report:

  • The Date: Usually, the date the test was completed will be at the top of the report. There are currently no requirements about how often CBD suppliers must third party test their products (or even that they must do so). Simply having test results may not be enough if those results are not current. Say you’re looking at a COA from 2 or 3 years ago, but your CBD tincture was manufactured last month. How can you know that what the test report shows is true for this batch of product? The more recent the lab results, the better.
Certificate of Analysis CBD
The image above appears on each product page of our website, with a link to the Certificate of Analysis for that product.
  • Cannabinoid Content: If you order a tincture with 300mg CBD, you want to know it truly contains 300mg. The cannabinoid content area of a test report confirms that the product contains CBD as advertised.
  • Presence of Contaminants: Hemp plants will absorb substances from the soil in which they are grown, which can transfer to the oil. And, a lot happens to the hemp oil from growth through processing and packaging of the final product. Impurities like pesticides, molds, metals, or bacteria, can contaminate the oil. If this occurs, a COA may say “Yes” to the presence of contaminants, or it may say “Fail,” meaning it has failed the safety test. If either of these appear on a COA, run the other way!

Question #2: Is the CBD sourced from industrial hemp or marijuana?

Hemp Field
Industrial hemp plants, grown in large fields like the one pictured above, produce CBD extract with a maximum THC concentration of 0.3%.

CBD can be extracted from both marijuana and hemp plants. However, currently only CBD extracted from industrial hemp plants is legal at the federal level. “Industrial hemp” means that the extracted oil contains a maximum of 0.3% THC. Purchasing hemp-based CBD:

  • Removes the risk of experiencing a high from the higher THC levels in marijuana
  • Eases your travel plans if you plan to take your CBD product across state lines or on a flight
  • And, you won’t need to worry about the legal status of marijuana in your state

Question #3: Where is the hemp sourced from?

Historically, hemp was routinely grown across the U.S. Today it’s just starting to make a comeback from years of restrictions. Because of this, many CBD products currently on the market are made with hemp grown outside the U.S. This is significant because hemp will bioaccumulate, meaning that it absorbs whatever substances are contained in the soil in which it’s grown.

On one hand, hemp’s ability to do this makes it great for cleaning up contaminated land. On the other, you don’t want any of those contaminants in your wellness supplements. Generally, it’s best to avoid CBD derived from hemp grown in China, as there is usually less information available about where and how it’s been grown. Hemp grown in Europe and the U.S. is a safer choice, especially as quality standards for U.S. hemp farms are beginning to be developed. But you should still ask to learn all the supplier can tell you about the growing conditions on these farms.

Question #4: How has this oil been extracted?

Close up image of oil
Hemp plants undergo a process called extraction to separate the oil, which contains CBD, from the rest of the plant.

There are many methods available for extracting CBD from hemp plants. The preferred method is called CO2 Extraction, which makes use of CO2 gas to separate the oil from the rest of the plant. Using CO2 is preferred because it is the cleanest extraction method. No CO2 remains in the oil after extraction, and the CO2 can be reused to extract the next batch. This method is currently at use in the food industry for other extractions, including removing caffeine to create decaf coffee.

Other extraction methods exist, many of which use solvents, such as ethanol or olive oil, to separate out the CBD. The main issue with these methods is that when a solvent is introduced, traces of the solvent can potentially remain in the final product. Manufacturers who use the CO2 method are aiming to maintain the highest standards in terms of the purity and potency of the final product.

Question #5: Does this product contain hemp seed oil or hemp oil?

While these terms are similar, they refer to different products. Hemp seed oil is oil that has been extracted from just the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp seed oil is very nutritious, high in omegas and fatty acids. However, it contains little CBD. If you are looking to experience the potential benefits of CBD, a hemp seed oil product is not the ideal choice.

bowl of hemp seeds with spoon
Hemp seeds offer several nutritional benefits, but contain only small amounts of CBD.

Hemp oil, sometimes called hemp extract oil, is oil that has been extracted from the other parts of the hemp plant. This is where you’ll find the higher concentrations of CBD. It’s important to ask which oil is in the product, because sometimes products are being passed off as CBD-rich, when in fact they only contain hemp seed oil. Also important to note: some products contain both hemp seed oil and hemp oil, providing the benefits of CBD along with the nutrition of the seeds!

Question #6: How much CBD does this product contain? How much is contained in 1 serving?

CBD is available in a variety of forms, each designed for different purposes. And, different people need to take different amounts of CBD in order to feel the same effects. Purchasing the product with the most CBD doesn’t necessarily mean the product is superior or the right match for your needs and body.

If you’re purchasing CBD for the first time, you won’t know what serving of CBD is optimal for your body. But, if you know at purchase the size of 1 serving of the product and how much CBD it contains, it will help you to understand the amount of CBD you are taking.

A related question you can ask is, is this product full spectrum? When oil is extracted from cannabis plants, it contains a variety of compounds, of which CBD is just one. These other compounds have their own unique benefits, a reason why full spectrum products are popular. Broad spectrum is also an option—this refers to full spectrum hemp oil with the THC removed.

Golden retriever with CBD pet products

Learn More About and Shop for CBD Products

Eco Health Source offers an extensive selection of hemp-based wellness products for healthier people and pets. Click here to visit our online store. And, visit the About Us section of our site to learn more about the sourcing and testing of all of our CBD products.

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1 comment
David Norriss says October 25, 2019

I like your advice about making sure that the hemp in the CBD is not from outside countries that we have little information about how it is grown, for example, China. This is will help keep people safe while they use CBD products because they’ll know that hemp inside is well-produced and not contaminated. Thanks for this awesome tip on how to stay safe while suing CBD products.

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