We also rated the product based on the type of CBD they used: isolate, full-spectrum decarb, broad-spectrum, or distillate. There’s a lot of debate around what is actually best, but our first decision was to give points to CBD oil that contains a range of cannabinoids. While there are certainly people with good reasons for choosing an isolate, there’s a lot of good evidence that CBD works better in combination with other cannabinoids (this is called the “entourage effect”).
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)
Ultimately, the quality of any CBD oil comes down to the extraction process that’s used, and how well the concentrate is produced and finalized. Here’s the thing, though: like we mentioned earlier, products from the Cannabis ruderalis plant (aka hemp) are assumed to be legal by some as long as they are imported into the U.S. from other countries. The only problem with this, of course, is that raw material from low THC- Plants, such as C. ruderalis is typically low in active cannabinoids, including CBD.
Finally, in general, we almost always recommend full spectrum tinctures over supplements made from isolates (extracts of CBD alone). Full-spectrum or whole plant tinctures take advantage of the ‘entourage effect’ that comes from combining all the naturally occurring chemicals found in the hemp plant. Isolates are great for cooking with CBD or consumers that are especially sensitive to the taste of hemp extract, but some research suggests they may be less effective for certain uses than full spectrum extracts. All but two of the brands below are made from full spectrum hemp, and the exceptions are clearly noted.
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.
Hemp is a bioaccumulator, meaning it is capable of absorbing both the good and the bad from the air, water, and soil in which it’s grown. This makes it all the more important to know that your CBD oil comes from organically grown hemp that can be tracked to its US-grown source. The last thing buyers want is for their CBD oil to have accumulated toxic substances such as pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals. For decades, farmers have used pesticides to protect crops against insects, disease, and fungi – and have used herbicides to control weeds – but we’ve known for quite some time that chemicals used to harm other species can also be harmful to our own species. That’s one big reason behind the global push to go organic. People are starting to prioritize organic crops, whether you’re talking about fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, livestock feed – even textiles like cotton, wool, and flax.