CBD medical hemp oil is all the craze thanks to the benefits it offers, but do you know what to look for when choosing a brand?

The CBD medical oil industry is exploding. In fact, experts estimate it will be as profitable as the $13 billion National Football League. Cannabidiol (better known as CBD), a compound found in the Cannabis sativa L. plant species, offers a host of health benefits. For instance, CBD oil reportedly reduces pain, inflammation, seizures, and brings about balance within our bodies. However, unlike the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD has no psychoactive properties whatsoever.

Because of its amazing efficacy, this natural medicine is sweeping the nation and being sought out by sick patients who want an alternative to pharmaceutical painkillers or other medications that are not only addictive, but go hand-in-hand with harmful side effects.

Unfortunately, there’s a lack of transparency and regulation that currently exists in the marketplace. Driven by the desire to turn a quick buck, producers use misleading marketing and deceptive advertising, banking on the fact that people are ignorant and in need. Read: not all brands are reputable.

“Barely in its infancy, the CBD medical market is still largely unregulated; quality control is meager at best, and consumers are largely unaware what to look for when shopping …,” explains Carlos Frias of the Texas Wellness Center. Frias, who has been with the cannabis industry for more than 15 years, has seen, firsthand, the shadiness that exists in the CBD market.

While it’s surely a good thing to make products rich in cannabinoids available for people worldwide, it’s important to know what criteria to use when assessing products. 

Here are 4 standards to look for when purchasing CBD medical hemp oil.

1. Extraction Methods

To obtain CBD-rich oil, you need to extract it from the cannabis plant. There are a handful of methods used, but typically this isn’t something customers know to ask about.  

Not surprisingly, many companies use cheap methods that involve nasty toxic solvents such as propane, hexane, pentane, and butane, which are flammable hydrocarbon gases found in petroleum. Do you really want to consume this, especially if you are ill?

“Cannabis oil made with neurotoxic solvents like butane and hexane may leave unsafe residues that compromise immune function and impede healing,” explains Constance Finley, founder and CEO of Constance Therapeutics.

Beware of companies who try to convince you that using a hydrocarbon method stays the most true to the plant. Butane is illegal for a reason.

“Butane extraction is cheap and efficient but is toxic to make and use,” adds cannabis and medicinal plant expert Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham. “Inhalation of butane residue can cause cardiac and respiratory problems.”

Some industry insiders argue that organic, pharmaceutical-grade ethanol, which is a grain alcohol, is optimal and eliminates certain toxins and residues in the raw plant material itself. But others say that while this extraction method yields a high amount of cannabinoids and is GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) for human consumption, it destroys the plant’s waxes, leading to a less potent oil.

Conversely, to preserve most of the plant’s trichromes – these are the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids – look for Supercritical (or subcritical) CO2 extraction. This method uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to isolate, preserve, and maintain the purity of the medicinal oil. While this method is more expensive and involves complex equipment and expertise, it ensures quality.

“The CBD oil obtained through supercritical extraction is a full-spectrum cannabinoid-rich product,” says Elizabeth Moriarty, Clinical Herbalist and Formulator at Luminary Medicine Company. “This method also produces a cleaner taste, and meanwhile, mycotoxins cannot survive this process.”

It’s also eco-friendly and non-flammable, creating a safer laboratory and manufacturing environment, as well as better product control, says Gabriel Ettenson, licensed physical therapist and general manager of Elixinol, an organic Hemp CBD Medical Oil company.

Finally, olive oil or coconut oil can also be used to extract cannabis oil. According to Dr. Arno Hazekamp, director of phytochemical research at Bedrocan BV, which supplies medical cannabis for the Dutch Health Ministry, this method is both safe and inexpensive. “You won’t blow yourself up making cannabis-infused olive oil.”

With that said, cannabis-infused olive oil — whether CBD-rich or THC-dominant — is perishable and should be stored in a cool, dark place.

2. Sourcing

The quality of CBD oil is really based on its source; where was it grown, how was it grown, and what is the species of cannabis (e.g., sativa, ruderalis, or indica).

“The soil, climate, plants growing on the farm next door, the flowers in the farmer’s garden, etc. are all reflected in the final essence of the plant,” says Finley.

The main reason why hemp’s cultivation environment is so important is because the cannabis plant is a “hyperaccumulator,” meaning it easily absorbs contaminants from the soil while it grows. In fact, it’s used in bioremediation, a cost-effective plant-based approach to clean the environment of toxic heavy metals and organic pollutants.

“This is sadly why industrial hemp grown in non-food grade conditions is falsely being sold as CBD medicine over the internet,” says Finley.

So if the soil is polluted with heavy metals, then that plant will likely contain high levels of lead or mercury. According to Frias, 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.”

Look for brands who source their cannabinoids from organic-certified, hemp-grown farms in pristine regions of Europe. “The German regulatory system is strict and enforced, providing confidence in the superiority of their harvest, processes, and extraction quality,” adds Moriarity. Organic hemp grown in Europe must also adhere to EU’s strict organic standards, which are stricter than in the U.S. and highly audited. Also, look for ingredients that are certified organic and wildcrafted.

“While certainly a subject of debate among hemp experts, the general consensus is the best hemp extracts are found in plants from where growing hemp has been legal for generations and the environment is well-preserved, like in Europe,” agrees Ettenson.

Meanwhile, independent testing by accredited laboratories with globally accepted analytical methods ensures the organic extract is intact from pesticides, heavy metals, or microbiological contaminants. And reputable CBD companies have lab results from independent labs available on their websites, this can also be used as an indicator for consumers about what companies are providing high-quality CBD.

When it comes to the “best” genotype, it really depends upon what one is hoping to treat or effect.

3. Bioavailability

Unfortunately, there have been instances where products claiming to have CBD in them tested at zero percent in a lab attempting to verify the results. In fact, in 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested products and fined companies that did not include any CBD despite reports. This also gives the industry a proverbial black eye.

So let’s say you are dealing with a product that contains CBD, the amount that actually enters the body and central nervous system is still a gray territory. In food products, cannabinoids are subject to degradation and reduced bioavailability, depending on overall formulation/delivery.

“The industry is pushing for more research here, as these studies on cannabis are relatively very new,” explains Joe Santucci of  Solstice, a commercial cannabis production company. “CBD can be an amazing, but a very expensive solution for those that need it, so maximizing bioavailability is going to be essential to lower the cost for people.

“In terms of ingestion, the general consensus is that sublingual (under the tongue) and/or rectal delivery provide the highest levels of bioavailability,” says Ettenson. Some believe that vaping also produces high bioavailability as well. “Topical and ingestion (through soft gels for example) have lower levels of absorption,” says Gabriel.

If you are vaporizing CBD-dominant strains of cannabis, bioavailability is through the alveoli, tiny sacs in the lungs, clarifies Kilham. If you are taking CBD strain capsules, he suggests eating some fat or oil, like a handful of nuts or some full-fat yogurt, to improve absorption and bioavailability. Cannabinoids are fat-loving molecules. They are taken up readily into the small intestine with a bit of dietary fat.

“The need for enhanced bioavailability of the CBD phytonutrient is paramount”, adds Moriarity, “but tricky to accomplish without synthetic chemicals.” Most CBD products do not offer any bioavailability optimization, so 90 percent of the CBD is lost to first-pass effect, a phenomenon of drug metabolism whereby the concentration of a drug is greatly reduced before it reaches systemic circulation.

Meanwhile, the products that do engage in optimization efforts “are generally using a synthetic chemical soup of solvents, surfactants, and emulsifiers — none of which must be disclosed on the label since they are characterized as ‘processing aids,’” says Moriarty, who co-formulated our Superior cannabinoid oil, the market’s leading solution.

The formulation, however, offers optimized delivery via mucosal membrane permeability in tandem with precision production/formulation methods. Her company, HERBOLOGIE, reduces the particle size of the cannabinoids and immerses them in a matrix of exclusively natural ingredients that work synergistically to enhance absorption through oral membranes. When cannabinoids are transported through membranes and directly into the bloodstream, the phytonutrients are delivered more quickly, and crucially, avoiding first-pass degradation in the liver.  

“We know the manufacturing process can also influence bioavailability,” says Ettison. “For example, reducing the size of the CBD compound through the use of liposomes improves absorption and bioavailability.”

“When purchasing a CBD product, keep in mind that a transparent company’s CBD milligram (mg) strength is reflective of the actual active CBD in that particular product,” states Farias. “If a bottle says 250 mg of CBD, then that product should contain 250 mg of actual active CBD. However, a lot of companies currently in the market will list the mg dosage of their CBD hemp oil without publishing the strength of their actual active CBD.”

Ideally, look for CBD products that proportionately offer 4 or more parts CBD to 1 part THC, for maximum relief and minimal or no storage issues.

4. Greenwashing Tactics

Upon investigation there are companies that engage in the use of “window dressing.” For example, one popular brand brags that they use the superfood moringa. This of course lures people in. But keep in mind that for added antioxidant benefit, you would need to ingest 7.5 g (7,500 mg) within the context of a meal or beverage. The entire 30 ml bottle of said brand contains 33.3 mg; so at the recommended dose of 1 ml daily, the daily dose of moringa would only be 1.11 mg.

“The truth is that the gray zone of medicinal cannabis invites lots of shady characters into the burgeoning industry,” says Finley. “A lack of critical thinking, quality business practices, transparency about products and plants, all have been part of the black market.”

“When the conditions are “primed” in these four areas,  you set a high standard of quality for the whole plant efficacy, and CBD can provide outstanding health benefits for longevity and wellness in high grade medicinals used for health repair,” says Cherie Arnold, Founder and CEO of MediQI Energetics.

Look for products that are sold legally, with full transparency.

This Post Has 45 Comments

  1. The way CBD is consumed plays an important role in the uptake, distribution, and filtration/elimination of the compound. The measure of CBD that is really invested in the body subsequent to advancing through various filtration frameworks is called its bioavailability. Extraction method and bioavailability are two main factors when choosing CBD Hemp oil know other main factors at https://cbdvapegenius.com/blog/cbd-bioavailability/

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  3. The only CBD brand I’ve ever used is https://hemp2wellness.co.uk/. I’ve been feeling significantly better ever since I’ve started using it so never thought of switching brands.
    I’ll be going to the US soon and I would like to try some of the products that are not readily available in the UK. I see that you’ve got a lot of interesting stuff in the store. What would you recommend? Preferably not oil 🙂 Thanks!

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  5. Wonderfully informing article!

  6. ha! useless. where’s the INDEPENDENT LABORATORY data showing a non- biased comparison of your scam product to others? Anyone can write a review that says anything. But… I guess for the average moron, your answer would be sufficient and they’d pony up their hard earned money to buy your crap. Me? I’ll buy from states where THC infused products are LEGAL as the RESEARCH states that CBD is far more effective when THC is not removed from the product (or is in the product).

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  11. Dr Peter Hurt is a supplier of High Grade Medical Marijuana Sativa and Indica strains, Hash, (RSO), BHO, HEMP OILS, THC OILS, Cannabis Oil and Edibles FOR SALE . These Strains helps people with the following: *Insomnia,Cancer,HIV/AIDS,Anxiety Disorders,Major Depression,Back Pain,Back Sprain,Bipolar Disorder(Nightmares),Cancer Chronic Pain,Seizures,Diabetes,Epilepsy,Fibromyalgia,Glaucoma E.T.C if you are interested do get back to me via # on profile. INDICA and SATIVA strains are available .

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  13. My Daughter’s Tumors decreased up to 80%! her oncologist was shocked.I am so happy with how the Cannabis oil have changed the life of my daughter. We Bought high quality Cannabis Oil from Dr Peter Hurt and Our Delivery was 100% Safe and Discrete!! “Canasol(Eye Drop) is the only Medication that Treats Glaucoma Effectively” Thanks Dr Peter Hurt

  14. Great article! Here’s my 2 cents. I use Recharg3d https://www.recharg3d.com/. They are a spin-off of a Crossfit gym so their oils are specifically designed for pain and inflammation. All their products are made in the USA, 3rd-party tested, and have the highest, cleanest potency I’ve found for the price (about $0.04 per mg of CBD). Enjoy!

  15. How can you tell the difference between cbd oil vs thc oil?

  16. Been there done that. The only place where I was able to purchase cbd legally was this verified place here https://bit.ly/2AqEi2r Fast shipping, great quality.

  17. Great article. Prime My Body’s hemp oil is nanoemulsified and has 95-100% absorption. You begin feeling it taking effect within 2-3 minutes of taking it. They use injectible grade pharmeceuticals to produce their oil. It has helped me with arthritis, chronic back pain from a birth defect and sleep. I would love to introduce you to this oil too. Livemindfully.primemybody.com

  18. Hello everyone if your looking for the best CBD #Oil and #Sprays I reccomend you check out #HempWorxs our farm in Kentucky delivers to you the best product at a cheap price check it out for yourself we also have nice little treats for your pets stop by and check us out http://www.hempworx.com/LetsGetHealthy

  19. Simon- what company do you suggest I buy from? I have extreme back pain and my daughter is autistic and we both have bad anxiety. I vape so would like to find that for me. My daughter will not ingest it but any kind of topical. I’m looking for cbd with hemp. Please help me.

  20. You claim “Butane is illegal for a reason” but it’s not illegal, you can buy it anywhere and if used in conjunction with the right cleansing processes (such as carbon scrubbing) butane can make a very clean and effective extract. Not sure why you’d claim that it’s illegal.

    Many sources also claim that C02 extraction strips most of the terpenes while ethanol gives a more full spectrum extract with terpenes intact. The opposite of what you claim.

  21. Didn’t you read this article? hempready.net is in Kentucky! So, inexperienced, unregulated and likely inferior growing conditions.

  22. This company is a MLM (pyramid) deal – MOST companies like this are scams – either overpriced or worthless product or both.

  23. Good, complete synopsis of the challenges consumers face when searching for CBD Oil

  24. That is the same problem I am having. So many sites use the name “hemp oil” or “CBD Hemp oil” but hemp oil is suppose to be from the seeds only. I want TRUE CBD oil which comes from the whole plant & not just the seeds. Can someone point us to a website that sells true cbd oil or give us top 3 brands (for pain management) to look for locally?

  25. I am just researching this for the many health issues I struggle with daily. I read that hemp oil is not for medicinal purposes but rather CBD oil is what I need. Your product seems to be one in the same. Please help clarify this issue . Thanks
    #hempvscbd

  26. moringa is fine. but that brand if it’s the one i am thinking of adds surfacants that glump up the formula.

    we have people from literally around the world looking for superior. YOu can read the reviews.

  27. HI Aimee. I can say that is a good brand. But that ours is welll Superior and you get more for the cost and ours is liposomal as well.

    https://simplytransformative.com/goods/superiorhempoil/

    Superior Hemp Oil is the result of a collaborative effort to develop a novel, 10X bio-availability optimized hemp oil extract using exclusively natural, plant-based ingredients in a complete botanical formulation

  28. I’m considering buying CBD from https://primemybody.com because it says it offers Nanoliposomal delivery. Can you comment on that?

  29. i try him out too just to discover his high potent THC/CBD Oil is the best for my Tumor and brain cancer

  30. Best article I’ve read on CBD up to this point. Well done. Thanks.

  31. ” For example, one popular brand brags that they use the superfood moringa.” If this is the case and you know it for a fact then I feel it’s important to name the brand as to let the readers be aware of who to avoid.

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