Before you make any purchase, whether it’s a new movie or some furniture, you will often look through the reviews, you might look through some FAQ’s and you’ll look around to make sure you’ve got the right one for you. However, CBD is a whole new level when it comes to questions, an item which realistically should be labelled medical, but by UK legislation has to be put down as a food supplement (who are we all kidding).

With the industry expanding so quickly and with brands quadrupling in size in the past 12 months, everyone wants a piece of the CBD industry, however with this growth there will always be cowboys. The CBD industry has been described by many as the Wild Wild West, due to the crazy sales figures, the unusual tactics for marketing adopted due to usual channels being removed and the bare fight to become a key seller. With this, we have also seen a number of shady products come out from China, which I’d be very wary of. I’ve written the below questions to help anyone who is looking for their first ever CBD oil.

1) Isolate Or Full Spectrum?

Isolate can pass on benefits, most certainly, but you should be opting for the whole plant extract, as the entourage effect means the whole is greater than its individual components.

2) What Are The THC Levels?

The legal maximum amount of THC in products sold in the UK is 0.2%, however you must also consider whether you are drug tested at work at all, as they will pick up on any trace of THC. For this reason, you should opt for zero THC products, which are easily attainable, however it is certainly something you may have to consider if you’re a teacher or a firefighter.

3) Where Is It Grown?

As I briefly touched upon earlier, there are many farms in China which are producing low quality supplements which I would strongly recommend avoiding. You can find it grown all over the world, but some of the most trustworthy farms are in Canada and the USA (mainly Colorado). This is due to the legislation and rules in place ensuring they keep the standards high. Trust Canada to set the standards!

4) Is It Lab Tested?

We don’t mean by their own lab, that would be very easy to manipulate, I’m talking a 3rd party lab test. If this has occurred then you should be able to find the lab test results on their website. Having said that, a lot of these brands still have poor websites, therefore you can often email them to ask for details around their lab tests. You should be very much alarmed if they refuse to offer you any lab test results or even worse if they say they don’t have them.

What you have to remember is the lab test might have shown they didn’t have the right amount of cannabinoids which they are showing on their packaging, therefore they have to cover their tracks.

5) The Extraction Process & Methods

How these brands handle the process of extraction is incredibly interesting, especially when you start to look around and you see each brand trying to work out greater ways to enhance results. Many brands use a CO2 extraction process, which tends to leave no residue.

You may alternatively find liquid solvents like butane or hexane are used by catching the cannabinoids and then the liquid evaporating away leaving the chemical as an oil.

You may also have heard of oil extraction, with the most common being olive oil (however not necessarily the best).

6) Brand Reputation

There are so many ways in which you can assess this. As a starting point, look where they are based, where they manufacture their product and whether they are on the companies house. If they are made or sold in a certain country, they will often have to meet those laws. For example, brands have got in trouble for selling certain products containing parabens into the EU.

You should also look up reviews on sites (such as mine or Trustpilot), but understand aggregate review sites can be manipulated very easily, so don’t blindly follow these.

If a well established CBD business, they should be setup with a number of programmes and authorities around CBD, which should be illustrated in the form of an image on their site linking through to the page where they are registered. Have they met ISO 9001 quality standards?

7) How Much Should I Dose?

Don’t just pour it straight in the mouth, as all products will state different amounts, so you have to be careful to read the packaging before supplementing. Always start off slow and then build up from there.

8) What Other Ingredients Are Included?

Pure CBD oil tastes pretty nasty, but that is something you just have to get used to. On the other hand, there are a number of flavoured options, such as Uncle Bud’s Industrial Hemp and Cubid CBD Peppermint Oil Drops. But the fact is, if you are getting a CBD oil that doesn’t taste bad, then what else is in there to make it taste good? Is it packed with sugars or are they using sweeteners.

There are also brands making really interesting mixes, such as the Naturopathica CBD + Night, which contains magnesium and 5-HTP.

9) Which Carrier Oil Are They Using?

In order for the oil to have the greatest level of absorption in the body, they will deliver it alongside a carrier oil. There are many you may see, such as olive oil, which is found in Love CBD. Then you also have brands that use unrefined MCT oil, which is recognised as one of the best options possible, if not the best. It’s also a healthy ingredient that, despite being a fat, works like a carbohydrate in your body.

Some other options you may find include hemp seed oil, sunflower, pomegranate, arnica, avocado and grapeseed.

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