If you are interested in CBD oil, whether for yourself or a loved one, the options can be overwhelming. I've been researching CBD hemp oil products and have personally tried many brands. As a former family caregiver, I understand that your free time is limited, so here's a handy list for what to look for when purchasing CBD hemp oil:
Product description: CBD and hemp are sometimes used interchangeably, though CBD is a component deprived from the hemp plant. Some products, like the stellar Charlotte's Web, refer to their products as hemp extract oil. You won't see CBD mentioned in its product labels, though CBD is mentioned on its website. (Note that hemp seed oil made from seeds of the hemp plant, while nutrient-rich, does not contain the phytocannabinoids like CBD that hemp extract oil contains, which comes from the aerial parts of the plant.)
Potency: Once you've chosen a brand, you'll want to determine the correct potency for your needs. The potency of CBD hemp oil products can vary wildly. The key is to look for the amount of CBD offered per serving, versus the whole bottle. On the low end, I've seen brands offering 10 mg of CBD per serving to over 100 mg of CBD per serving on the high end. It is recommended to start at a lower dose and see how you react before increasing your dosage.
Full-spectrum vs. isolate: It's important to note whether the product is full-spectrum or an isolate. It is believed that a full-spectrum product, which contains CBD and other cannabinoids, including trace amounts of THC, create an entourage effect that offers the most effective way to get the full benefits of CBD. However, if you are required to take drug tests for work or any other reason, you will want to stick to an isolate which is processed to extract CBD only.
Flavorings: CBD hemp oil in its natural state has a distinct and typically strong plant taste. It can be bitter and vegetal in nature, and some people find it difficult to consume. Many brands of CBD hemp oil offer a flavored variety to make consumption easier. Charlotte's Web offers a tasty chocolate mint version. Koi offers popular citrus flavors. If you are not fond of a flavor, you can mix it into beverages or foods to mask the taste.
Base oil: Companies bind CBD hemp oil with a neutral carrier oil, often a medium chain triglycerides (MCT) such as coconut oil. It's important to know the base oil to rule out any potential allergens. This should be clearly listed on the product label.
- Lab results: Most CBD hemp oil companies will make the lab results for their products available online or by request. It is recommended that consumers review such lab reports, if they are interested in the purity and quality, as well as THC and CBD levels of the product.
Beware of Amazon: Its seller agreement bans the sale of CBD products, which are considered to be controlled substances. I discourage purchasing CBD products on Amazon, because it can be difficult to determine the product's quality, though there are some legitimate companies, such as Colorado Botanicals.
- Reviews: For a product like CBD hemp oil, word of mouth reviews are valuable. While product reviews on vendors' websites can be suspect because they may have received the product for free in exchange for a review, forums like Reddit tend to offer more honest assessments. Your traditional family physician is unlikely to be familiar with CBD, but if you go to an alternative health practitioner, they may be able to offer product recommendations.
I know this sounds like a lot to consider. Check out my list of vetted CBD hemp oil companies, which is a good place to begin your CBD journey.