There’s a lot of crappy CBD oil products out there.
The sad part is, there’s no easy way for consumers to know who or what to trust. Barely in its infancy, the CBD market is still largely unregulated, quality control is meager at best, and consumers are largely unaware what to look for when shopping for the products. So, as an outside observer that is not affiliated to any CBD brands, we conducted our own research to dig into the root causes of these problems and to provide you with the best advice on how to shop for your next CBD oil.
THE RE-GROWTH OF THE CBD MARKET IN THE US
The CBD market has been exploding the past couple years. Known for its remedies of suppressing seizure activities, reducing nausea, and combating cancer cells, CBD had originally been a tribal medicine in many civilizations around the world. Yet, it is quite foreign in our modern society because all CBD products had been prohibited for the past several decades. There’s the government and the huge marijuana (THC cannabis) community to thank for that (I’ll further elaborate on this later). Although industrial hemp and CBD products are now partially legalized within the US, those who are suffering from seizures, epilepsy, or cancer still have to jump through many hoops to buy CBD oil.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CBD INDUSTRY
CBD was first introduced to western medicine in the mid 1800s and numerous research and articles were written behind the topic over the course of the century. However, the surge of marijuana usage and our confused political leaders led to the prohibition of all cannabis plants in the 1900s. This included all industrial hemp and CBD oil applications. Unfortunately, these restrictions caused much of the findings and progress behind CBD to be quietly forgotten during the rest of the 20th century.
However, with the legalization of hemp in the early 2000s, this started the reemergence of CBD oil as well. But with its reintroduction came a big risk. Since CBD has been suppressed in our society for so long, there’s very limited understanding and transparency behind the products. This has made it easier for greedy businesses to take advantage of customers who are looking to pay big money for a remedy that could potentially help heal their sick loved ones.
WHY THE CBD OIL MARKET IS RISKY
Let’s first try to understand why it has come to this. From the research we’ve done, we can essentially break it down to four reasons that has caused the CBD oil industry to get out of control.
Nature of the customer demographic: sick patients (and their friends and family)
Think about the demographic that CBD companies are targeting. They’re mainly ones who are suffering from some type of illness. This can range from those who experience frequent nausea to those who are fighting cancer. Whatever the illness, these patients are suffering chronic pain that aren’t getting cured by regular medicine. Thus, many who turn to CBD oil are desperate to find a treatment that works. A perfect demographic for greedy businesses to target.
Businesses still have to import most (if not all) of their CBD oil from other countries.
Hemp farming is still largely prohibited in this country. Although the federal government legalized domestic hemp farming in 2014 via the Farm Bill Act, only a few states actually have granted licenses to farmers to commercially cultivate hemp. These limited supply volumes and the resulting high prices are nowhere close enough to compete against importing CBD oil from countries like China or Eastern Europe (mainly Romania). The main problem for end consumers is the lack of transparency when it comes to the CBD’s origin. There are basically no data behind the volume and quality control behind these CBD oil imports.
The main reason why hemp’s cultivation environment is so important is because of hemp’s properties of absorbing contaminants from the soil while it grows. So if the soil it was grown on is not good, clean soil, then that plant might contain high levels of lead or mercury. According to an industry insider, there have been instances where children have almost died taking hemp extracts that were high in lead. Essentially, “those companies have given the rest of the CBD industry a black eye because they were more interested in profiting off the sick instead of creating a quality product and testing it.”
Regulations and quality control behind the production of these products are very grey
A couple years ago, an industry insider turned into a whistleblower as she blasted her company and the entire CBD industry for its deceptive practices. Tamar Wise, a former Dixie Botanicals employee, posted on her Facebook that
“These formulations start with a crude and dirty hemp paste contaminated with microbial life (I have seen this and these organisms decompose the paste. The paste perhaps even contains residual solvents and other toxins as the extraction is done in China) made using a process that actually renders it unfit for human consumption.“
Whether this is completely true or not, one thing we know for sure is that the vague regulations behind CBD products is leading many helpless and sick customers to buy uncontrolled and dubious products.
It is easy for companies to mislead clients with their labeling
The biggest problem regarding labeling is that companies mislead their customers when it comes to the CBD dosage on their bottles. A transparent company’s CBD milligram(mg) strength is reflective of the actual active CBD in that particular product. If a bottle says 100mg of CBD, then that products should contain 100mg of actual active CBD. However, a lot of companies currently on the market will list the mg dosage of their CBD hemp oil without publishing the strength of their actual active CBD.
For example, let’s say Company A’s CBD Hemp Oil is only 30% CBD by weight but they label that they have 100mg of CBD hemp oil, then that product actually only has 30MG of active CBD in it. This happens a lot in this industry and buyers need to beware when they buy CBD oil.
Recommendations: Things to consider when buying CBD
We sat down to discuss how customers can avoid these risks with Carlos Frias, founder of Green Lotus, who has been in the cannabis industry for over 15 years by being an actual cannabis grower in California. The main question I had posed to him was how customers can tell the good from the bad when they buy CBD oil products.
Always request third party lab results
His number one advice was that customers should always request third party lab results that test for potency, pesticides, residual solvents, and mycotoxins of the CBD hemp oil. If a company is reluctant to share these results with you, it should automatically be a red flag and indicate that they have something to hide.
Pay attention to the product labeling. What is the dosage of the actual active CBD?
Frias encourages customers to pay particular attention to the product labeling. Is the dosage (mg) listed on the bottle the actual active CBD in that product? Or is it the dosage (mg) of the CBD hemp oil? These are two clearly different measurements that could make a strong difference in the potency of the product.
Ask for advice
Don’t be shy to ask for expert advice when you’re buying CBD oil products. The CBD oil market is young and immature, where the regulations and quality control practices are still subpar at best. Don’t just trust a product because it’s a “known brand” (we’ve found many reports of bigger CBD brands having dubious quality control). Make sure to check online reviews to see if you can read about other customers’ experiences. You can even reach out to us reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns while shopping for CBD oil. We’ll make sure to guide you in the right direction.
The CBD industry is a booming market. Many good intentioned entrepreneurs are entering this space to provide an alternative solution for patients who are suffering from chronic pain. But with any growing market, we are also seeing a growth in greedy businesses who are taking advantage of the vulnerable customer demographic who are looking for a remedy for their loved ones.
There’s no question that all restrictions behind CBD hemp oil will soon disappear and be replaced with stronger regulations that will help improve the transparency and quality control behind these products. But until then, customers have to be cautious of what brands they trust and buy from. We hope that we’ve been able to offer some insights and transparency into this industry and hope you’ll be able to find higher quality products through our advice.