Is it full-spectrum? Full-spectrum is the use of the whole hemp plant vs. an isolate which extracts the CBD from the plant. Using marketing terms like “pure” and “all natural,” isolates are sometimes not hemp at all and synthesized in a lab. While the efficacy of full-spectrum is debated in the scientific community, anecdotes and a study in Israel favor full-spectrum. In addition to potential benefits, there’s another reason you should be buying the whole plant: contamination. Chen notes that isolates are harder to trace back to origin and can be straight-up fake. Overseas lab-made isolates are cheaper than domestic versions, making the potential for contamination high. Utah recently grappled with synthetic CBD when 52 people became sick from an isolate. While isolates can be legitimate (FDA-approved Epiliodex is an isolate), you’re going to have to spend more time researching the brand’s products and practices. Put it this way, if you could get your vitamin C from Sunny D or fresh squeezed OJ, which would you prefer?
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.
I would recommend always going with a full spectrum oil. Some people say to use nothing but pure 100% CBD, but if you do a little research you’ll see that most doctors will say that the full-spectrum products with terpenes etc are much more potent and effective. I would only use the CBD isolate if I was concerned about an upcoming drug test (full spectrum has trace amounts of THC in it)
What’s more, CBD vape oils require additional equipment. In order to transform the oil into vapor, you’ll need an e-pen or vaporizer. This means an extra investment on top of the vape oil itself. I therefore recommend that, if you’re a first-time user, you try a more accessible and affordable CBD product type to make sure it’s the right supplement for you, before graduating to vape oil.