There are new CBD companies coming online every week – these span the range from truly awful to really great. So how to choose the best? The quality of the CBD oil itself is obviously the most important factor – and many companies do take the quality of their products seriously. To reward those companies, we gave more weight to the quality of the product than any other category.
To add to the challenges, brands in the CBD space are struggling to verify their own products. Laura White, founder of Soul Addict, started a CBD line after she found it helped her with crippling anxiety. Wanting to create a reliable product in both purity and potency, she’d test on top of the farm’s tests and kept running into the same problem: The lab results didn’t match. When White finally found a farm that had accurate tests, she’d partner with them. A few years later, Soul Addict now sources all its CBD through small, family-run farms in Colorado and White is in the process of integrating her own crops from North Carolina. The lesson she learned? Brands should be constantly testing their product to verify their farms’ reports.
So a full spectrum decarb got higher points than isolate (“decarb” just refers to the process of decarboxylation which turns raw CBD into activated CBD). We also gave more points to companies with a “broad spectrum” tincture. Broad spectrum CBD oil includes a range of other cannabinoids, but minus the THC – which is generally what people using isolates are trying to avoid.
I cannot personally vouch for most of the brands on Amazon currently vs. most of the merchants on our page here, but I include Amazon as a resource for the folks that are comfortable shopping via that platform. You can also find my beginners guide, The Cannabis Oil Companion on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle. *We have been having some issues with our Amazon widget not displaying below intermittently in certain browsers, trying to troubleshoot this behavior, we apologize if this is not rendering for you. There is also a text link to Amazon's hemp oil section listed below.
Edibles begin with a raw or decarb oil as part of the base ingredients. They can be any number of things, from chocolate to hard candy, gummies, even teas and coffee. This is a way to “sneak” cannabinoids in a fun way and can be delicious (the Koi gummies are so good!) but they are not an extremely cost-effective way to allow cannabinoids to boost your overall health and well being on a daily basis.
Unregulated markets come with some obvious risks; lack of oversight, false claims, the potential for dangerous pesticides and contaminants. Cannabis, in states where it’s legal, is regulated. Sold in state-licensed stores (akin to states controlling liquor stores, except with higher taxes and much stricter regulations) aka dispensaries, you can be confident that the CBD-dominant cannabis tinctures, topicals, vapes, and edibles on shelves are accountable to purity and accuracy tests.
To get almonds from an almond tree, you can just shake the tree. To get juice from an orange, you can simply squeeze the fruit. But getting CBD oil from hemp is a much more complicated process. The cheapest and easiest ways to extract CBD oil from hemp commonly involve harsh solvents that can leave chemical residue in the CBD oil. The best, and most reliable extraction method, uses carbon dioxide (CO2) under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to pull out as much CBD as possible without introducing contaminants. Once the CO2 is no longer under intense pressure, it simply evaporates, leaving virtually no trace of extraction on the CBD oil.