CBD testing shouldn’t just tell you what’s in a CBD oil, which is usually CBD along with a carrier oil like grapeseed oil and maybe some other essential oils for flavor. It should also let you know what’s not in the package. Thorough testing can confirm that the oil you’re buying is not only real CBD, but that it’s free of contaminants like pesticides and synthetic CBD substitutes.
Pesticides, mold, and other contaminants are obviously substances you don’t want to be mainlining into your body, but properly dosed CBD is also crucial. That’s because your body’s response to CBD dosage is bell-curved. Too little and you won’t feel anything; too much and it’ll dampen the impact with reported side effects like lethargy and diarrhea (not chill). Given the lack of research into dosage and the variety of ailments CBD is used for, most people have to find their own “Goldilocks Zone.”
CO2 extraction is one of the most common ways CBD is extracted from the hemp or cannabis plants. This method uses expensive equipment that adjusts temperature and pressure to extract the cannabinoids from the plant material, without damaging them. The other common method is to use solvents like ethanol or butane to extract the plant material. These solvents have to be burned off the final product which may damage the cannabinoids or terpenes in the process. There is also a risk that these solvents may not have burned off completely and could end up in your end product.
“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.
For some, having more than trace amounts of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) might not be a big deal, but if you’re being drug tested at work, operating heavy machinery, or fall into a number of other categories, you may want to keep the THC to a bare minimum. In order to qualify as a legal hemp product, CBD oil must contain less than 0.03% THC. Look for CBD oil certified to have low levels of, or zero, THC in them. Many reputable sellers do offer products that have absolutely no THC in them at all, so if you are concerned about keeping even trace amounts of TCH out of your body, it is best to look for those products and sellers.