With more research and attention on the benefits of CBD oil, companies around the corner and around the world have all opened offering a litany of supposed CBD-based products. From small stores in strip malls, to farmer’s markets, and even big websites, each one claims their oils and consumables are the highest quality and give you all the purported benefits of taking cannabidiol.
Unfortunately, this boom of products means that there are a lot of snake-oil salesmen within the industry offering sub-par products. Some of them may not actually contain any CBD, or are derived from hempseeds or oregano instead.
How can you tell the difference between actual CBD oil and less-than-legitimate products? With a little research and knowing what to look for, anyone can make the clear determination between actual and fake products.
How Bad is the Fake CBD Oil Problem?
Over the last 20 years, scientists and researchers have explored the potential benefit of cannabidiol, or CBD. Their studies suggest there’s a lot of potential for this naturally-occurring compound found in both cannabis and industrial hemp plants.
But only recently has the industry exploded, with a number of different companies offering their version of the concentrated extract. Bottles reading everything from CBD isolate to organic, full-spectrum CBD can now be found everywhere from specialty stores to truck stops. As with any new trend, some of those players are only concerned about their profits, and not the well-being of their customers.
Research suggests almost half of all products labeled “CBD” are counterfeit products. The analysis of 84 CBD-labeled products was revealed in a 2017 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, with 42 percent containing less CBD than labeled, while 21 percent contained high levels of THC – the psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis.
The core problem is that on a whole, the sale of CBD oil is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. With the exception of Epidolex (a cannabidiol-based prescription medication approved to treat two rare forms of pediatric epilepsy), CBD has not been completely evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Instead, the agency has warned the public against using CBD-based products, while issuing warning letters to misleading companies. Since 2015, the FDA has written over 65 warning letters to multiple companies – many of which are not reviewed by the public.
Because of the lack of supervision, the industry is forced to self-regulate their products and purity. While legitimate companies have agreed to keep the THC content in full-spectrum CBD oil at less than 0.3 percent of dry weight, others don’t go through the required testing to ensure standard quality.
How Can I Find Legitimate CBD Oil?
With so many companies offering CBD-based products ranging from oils and capsules to edibles, jams and jellies, how can you tell if your product is a legitimate and is consistent with the labeling? It all starts with doing research to ensure you can trust the company and their products.
First, determine the original source of your CBD oil and where the company is headquartered. There are several states that allow supervised and regulated industrial help or cannabis crop growth, including California, Colorado and Kentucky. If your CBD oil isn’t from one of these states, or doesn’t specifically say where they source their plants, avoid using it.
Next, look for published purity reports from reputable labs. ProVerde Labs is one of the top names in the hemp industry, and provides detailed reports on product quality and viability. If your CBD provider doesn’t offer a published lab analysis with verified levels of CBD and THC, it could be fake.
Another key indicator of a CBD oil’s purity is if it is USDA-certified organic. Like fruits and vegetables bearing the “organic” label, industrial hemp with the regulated brand must also meet stringent guidelines on field rotation and pesticide use. If it isn’t organic, there’s no accounting for the overall quality of the source plants.
Although finding the right CBD oil that meets purity guidelines can be a difficult prospect, the right one can make a world of difference. By understanding why fake CBD oil is a problem, and how to determine real products from counterfeit, you can set yourself up for success with you buy CBD oil for yourself.