Hemp-derived CBD is certainly a rising star in the world of cannabis products. But with the number of hemp-based CBD products out there—from tinctures to topicals—how do you sort through the noise to be sure you’re getting a great product?
Hemp CBD has been found to help with several issues, including anxiety and inflammation, chronic pain, insomnia, and support of the immune system. While companies shouldn’t be making wild health claims—and be wary of those that do—the benefits of incorporating a hemp-derived CBD product into your daily routine can be abundant.
Below, we explain what makes hemp-derived CBD products different and share our top tips from experts on how to find the best hemp products.
Hemp or Cannabis?
With a hemp CBD product, you’re looking for wellness benefits—not a high. There is a lot of confusion out there as to what makes a CBD product and where it comes from.
Both CBD and THC (the psychoactive substance in marijuana) are the two biggest cannabinoids out of the potentially hundreds of different cannabinoids found in all types of cannabis plants, but THC is the one that gets you high. In turn, CBD has benefits without the buzz.
A hemp CBD product will likely come from industrial hemp, the tall, fast-growing plant that resembles bamboo. Industrial hemp is known for its stalks and seeds which can be used to make almost anything, from oils to clothes, to plastic substitutes. Your hemp CBD product can technically come from either cannabis plant – it just really boils down to being below that magic number of 0.3% of THC in the product.
What’s so great about hemp-derived CBD products? Hemp is a powerhouse as a multifunctional and sustainable plant. Despite some gray areas in legality, hemp CBD products are available in all 50 states and online, making it widely accessible for everyone.
7 Tips When Choosing Hemp-Derived CBD Products
Go Full Spectrum
When searching for a hemp CBD product, Gretchen Lidicker, a health editor at mindbodygreen.com and author of the upcoming book, CBD Oil: Everyday Secrets says to opt for “full spectrum” hemp-derived oil, for the best opportunity to receive the “entourage effect.”
Why full spectrum? A CBD isolate is just pure CBD, and that means you’ll be missing out on other potential benefits of the whole plant and other cannabinoid offerings.
Find Out Where the Hemp is Grown
“Momentum has definitely shifted toward US grown product,” said Gunhee Park, co-founder of Populum, an online hemp CBD product retailer. “It’s demand-driven as well. Customers are asking for and seeking domestic-grown ingredients.”
Why opt for US grown? It’s easier to research the growers and ensure you’re getting a better product. US growers have to abide by FDA rules, and if you’re seeking something certified organic, they have to show proof of that too.
Read Customer Reviews
You wouldn’t buy anything online without reading at least a few customer ratings, so why would your hemp CBD purchase be any different? “The biggest liability in the hemp space is health claims,” Park says. “We don’t make health claims. We have our customers speak for themselves.”
Reading other people’s reviews on products can help guide you when making decisions on what to buy, whether you’re looking to treat anxiety or find a pet-friendly hemp CBD oil for your pup.
Look at the Lab Tests
Lab testing is essential to ensure you are getting a pure product. Any legit company will have its batches tested by a reputable third party lab. If they don’t respond to questions or can prove that they have been lab tested by an outside party—and tested often—keep looking.
“My number one rule for picking high-quality CBD products is to always make sure the company is testing the final product to make sure the cannabinoids are intact,” says Lidicker. “They should be testing for potency, but also for contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, and microbes.”
Check Other Ingredients
Transparency is vital to your hemp CBD product buy. Look at what the company adds to its product, including other flavors and sweeteners. For example, Populum adds cold-pressed orange, grape seed, and coconut oils, with a little Stevia for taste. Some sites, including Project CBD, recommend staying away from junk ingredients like artificial flavorings and corn syrup.
How is the Hemp CBD Oil Extracted?
Hemp CBD oil is typically extracted by two methods: CO2 or ethanol. While CO2 is the more difficult extraction method of the two, it is the preferred method for those wanting a purer end product. Most CBD enthusiasts prefer the CO2 method, as it is considered the cleaner of the two, and ethanol can destroy some of the plant’s health benefits, according to this extraction guide by Project CBD.
Dosage and Delivery Method
Like THC-infused cannabis products, hemp CBD products come in many variations, including tinctures, concentrates, and vitamin-like supplements. Brandon Nolte, who runs the Healthy Hemp Oil blog, recommends taking a look at the milligrams included in the product (information that should be on the label).
“The milligrams of CBD are what counts,” Nolte writes. “If you’re new to CBD, we recommend using 2 to 3 milligrams daily at first.”
“If you’re new to the world of CBD, a tincture is your best bet—it’s portable, discreet, and easy to use,” he continues. “And with only a few drops or sprays on your tongue, it’s super easy to keep track of your daily serving size.