What to Look For When Choosing CBD Products

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We met with Frogsong Farm, an Organic certified Hemp farm in the Willamette Valley, to learn the details of what you should be looking for when you purchase a CBD product. Fun fact: Frogsong Farm is the first CBD Company to obtain a B Corp Certification!

Things any CBD customer should always look for at minimum on a label for any CBD product:

  • The company name.
  • The product name.
  • Company website and/or other contact information (at least city and state).
  • Total amount of content in jar/bottle/package (i.e. 1 ounce, 2 ounces…).
  • Total amount of actual pure CBD in the entire package.
  • Amount of actual pure CBD per serving.
  • Ingredient list.: Companies can list individual ingredients specifically as organic if they are certified, but cannot list their product as organic unless at least 95% of the total weight of the product is made from certified organic ingredients.
  • FDA disclaimer: Companies MUST always have the exact FDA disclaimer shown at the bottom of the label below.

Image: Product label from Frogsong Farms

If your CBD product is ingestible, you also need:

  • Nutrition information, as shown below in an example from one of Frogsong Farm’s tincture bottles.

frogsong farms nutrition facts

  • Recommended serving size and serving instructions, as shown on the tincture bottle below.

tincture bottle frogsong farms

  • Additional warning regarding pregnant women, those on medication, and those with illnesses.

It is important to note that any company selling CBD products cannot make any claims that their product can treat or cure any specific disease, ailment or condition. It’s not required, but companies may also show if their product is Organic, Vegan, Kosher, Gluten Free, Natural, etc.

CBD products for dogs

According to Natural Pet Living, ” CBD can relieve common conditions in pets like anxiety and pain, and help to alleviate chronic diseases like arthritis and seizures” [1]. Here are guidelines on CBD doses for dogs.

CBD-Dosage-Chart-for-Dogs

Questions to ask a CBD company before making a purchase:

Growing

It is important to know the details about how the hemp used in your CBD product was grown. Here are some of the questions you can ask:

  • Is it Organic?
  • No-till? According to Regeneration International, “No-till practices allow the soil structure to stay intact and also protect the soil by leaving crop residue on the soil surface. Improved soil structure and soil cover increase the soil’s ability to absorb and infiltrate water, which in turn reduces soil erosion and runoff and prevents pollution from entering nearby water sources.” [2]
  • Conventionally grown? The USDA defines conventional growing as “the use of seeds that have been genetically altered using a variety of traditional breeding methods, excluding biotechnology, and are not certified as organic” [3].
  • Where was the hemp grown that you use in your products? Foreign or domestic?
  • What farming methods were used?
  • What chemicals were used on the ground or the crop during it’s growing season? This is important to ask even if the hemp is certified organic because there are organically certified chemicals that are not necessarily good for humans.

Harvesting/processing/drying

Frogsong Farms says that many large processors use massive equipment that heats the hemp up with high heat and airflow to speed up the drying process and increase their margins and throughput). In comparison, Frogsong Farm uses very low temperatures in an open barn setting with good airflow and take days rather than hours to fully dry their product. This preserves more of the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.

Here’s what you should ask about how the hemp was harvested, processed, and stored:

  • How was the dry hemp stored? In huge 300-500 lb. supersacksor bales? Or in secure, airtight totes that are infused with Nitrogen to flush out all oxygen and prevent oxidation of the key compounds. The second method is what Frogsong Farm utilizes and recommends.
  • For how long was the hemp stored that way?
  • How was the hemp you use harvested?  Methods include hand-stripped in the field, combine harvested, entire plant harvested, etc.
  • How was the hemp dried?

Extraction

The most common methods of extraction are ethanol and supercritical CO2. If using ethanol, always ask if it is organic. Frogsong Farms says that while they use organic, most companies do not.

Other solvents such as benzene, butane and other chemicals can be cheaper and pull more cannabinoids out, but at what cost to our health? Frogson Farms says to steer clear of any product that at any point in the extraction process uses anything other than CO2 or ethanol.

Other questions to ask about extraction:

  • Is your concentrate/extract fully decarbed? “Decarboxylation is a process that applies to all types of cannabis, including medical marijuana use, recreational marijuana use, and in the use of CBD products created from hemp” [4].
  • Is it full spectrum?  Broad spectrum? The differences are explained here.
  • Is it a CBD isolate? “CBD crystalline is surprisingly versatile when it comes to consumption, and there are a number of benefits to using this pure powder over other conventional forms of CBD” [5]. You can learn more about CBD isolate here.
  • How is it stored? It should always be in airtight containers in a dark, cool place.  Light and heat are the enemy here.

Retail and manufacturing

At the retail level, the only required tests are for potency. This will tell you how much CBD and THC (and usually a few other minor cannabinoids) are contained in the products you are considering. You should never purchase products from a company that does not have test results posted on their website.

What other ingredients are used? Organic? Other certifications? Purity levels?  Many companies cut corners here because it costs a lot to purchase high quality, pure organic ingredients.

You should also make sure that you know what the company’s return policy is. If there is no return policy, that is a red flag!
If a company does not know the answers to all of the questions above, this is also a red flag.

Do you have any other questions? Let us know in the comments below!

References:

[1] Chen, S. (2018, October 18). The Ultimate Guide to CBD for Dogs and Cats 25 Benefits. Retrieved from https://www.naturalpetliving.com/cbd-for-dogs-and-cats/

[2] Spears, S. (2018, October 16). What is No-Till Farming? Retrieved from https://regenerationinternational.org/2018/06/24/no-till-farming/

[3] United States Department of Agriculture. (2015). USDA Coexistence Fact Sheets Conventional Farming. [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/coexistence-conventional-farming-factsheet.pdf

[4] Peinkofer, J., Englert, H., Hal, Johnson, C., Riggs, T., October, J., … February, M. (2019, October 19). What is Decarboxylated CBD? Retrieved from https://www.cbdschool.com/what-is-decarboxylated-cbd

[5] What is CBD Isolate and What Is It Used For? (2020, January 28). Retrieved from https://weedmaps.com/learn/cbd/what-is-cbd-isolate

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