As I mentioned earlier, when consumed, the cannabinoids found in CBD attach themselves to certain receptors in your brain and immune system. One such receptor, the CB2 receptor, helps manage pain and inflammation in your immune system. When you use CBD oil for pain, it impacts the way your brain and body respond to the signals they’re sent—ultimately helping to reduce pain and inflammation.
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.
As of now, there are only 9 states (and Washington, D.C.) that permit the use of marijuana on a recreational level. This means that, depending on where you live, it may or may not be possible to just walk into a dispensary and ask for a bottle of fine quality CBD oil. Also, some of those 9 states (even though they are recreationally legal for weed) may actually require you to obtain a medical marijuana card or a physician’s recommendation for CBD oil. If this is the case, though, it’s really no biggy as getting an online recommendation is incredibly easy nowadays, and can usually be done in minutes..
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.
All this talk about THC lands us nicely in the whole “Full Spectrum vs. Pure Isolate” debate. Once you begin shopping for CBD products, you’ll notice a lot of jargon that gets thrown around without much explanation. Now that we’ve introduced THC into the conversation, we can talk about the difference between, and relative benefits of, Full Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate (and the lesser-known contender: Broad Spectrum).
This may be a good place to point out that not all CBD products are created equal. The industry is still largely unregulated, and the quality and quantity of CBD in a given product will vary wildly. Third party testing definitely helps to monitor companies’ claims, but it’s still up to you as the consumer to do your homework on the best CBD products.
I will continue to use bluebird botanical products loyally. Their customer service is exceptional. Their products are of exceptional quality and reasonably priced. Due to the dedication of their staff, I have been given back something I thought was lost to me: HOPE. I cannot thank BlueBird enough for their dedication to sharing a product that improves the quality of life for others.

As I mentioned earlier, when consumed, the cannabinoids found in CBD attach themselves to certain receptors in your brain and immune system. One such receptor, the CB2 receptor, helps manage pain and inflammation in your immune system. When you use CBD oil for pain, it impacts the way your brain and body respond to the signals they’re sent—ultimately helping to reduce pain and inflammation.

CBD in all forms has enormous potential. Doctors are excited, the wellness community is excited, and I personally slather hemp CBD on my face to keep eczema at bay and put dropperfuls under my tongue to deal with anxiety. But, like all things marketed as panaceas, be skeptical and do your research before buying. If you’re interested trying CBD, always talk to your doctor first (particularly if you’re on other medication, which can interact with the cannabinoid). Start with a small dose and work your way up
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The human body has an endocannabinoid system — a natural system that maintains homeostasis or balance, in the body. The endocannabinoid system has CB1 and CB2 receptors. These are found throughout the body. CB1 receptors are generally located in the central and peripheral nervous system and CB2 receptors are generally found in the brain, immune system, and gastrointestinal system. CBD binds to these receptors creating changes and effects in the body
“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.”
“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.

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Watch Out For: Hemp grown in the European Union (EU) and China. Even in countries with agricultural regulations, the list of approved pesticides is far from safe. Thus you are really relying on the specific company’s ethical standards when it comes to hemp cultivation. The reason this is such a big deal with hemp when compared to other plants, is that hemp is a dynamic accumulator plant. Dynamic accumulator is a term used to describe plants that gather minerals – both good and bad – from the surrounding soil and store them in its tissues. So if you’re growing a hemp plant with petroleum-based pesticides in soil that contains heavy metals…you’re inevitably going to have a hemp plant containing both toxic pesticides and heavy metals. This is why many people have poor experiences when first trying CBD – you buy your vegetables organically, why not your hemp? The presence of these toxins is not regulated by any agency and they will end up in your CBD oil if you don’t purchase from the correct company. We like Ambary Gardens because they ensure that all of their CBD products are produced from organically and sustainably grown hemp without the use of pesticides.

And now, onto the thorny issue of legality. The simple answer to the question is yes – if it is extracted from hemp. The 2014 Farm Bill established guidelines for growing hemp in the U.S. legally. This so-called  “industrial hemp” refers to both hemp and hemp products which come from cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent THC and are grown by a state-licensed farmer.
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?
It sounds like the title of a children’s book, but like so much else that you learned in kindergarten, it’s true. Everyone’s body is different – but everyone’s endocannabinoid system is really unique. For reasons we don’t fully understand, receptors in the endocannabinoid system don’t respond predictably to cannabinoids from person to person. This lack of a predictable response makes standard dosing tricky.
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.
When buying industrial hemp CBD, i.e. everything you see outside of a state-licensed dispensary, all bets are off. Because the legality of industrial hemp is in flux, companies that use hemp CBD operate in a gray market with no oversight. Nick Mosely, Chief Science Officer of a testing lab in Washington explained that “everything currently on the market for interstate CBD sales is unregulated.” And product labels can be wildly different from what's actually contained in the product. Multiple studies of CBD oil sold online have repeatedly exposed brands that misrepresent purity and CBD dosage levels.
CBD oil is similar to other products in that it is capable of being “watered down.” Some companies will try to eke out a higher profit margin by fooling their customers into thinking they’re getting more for less. It is important to pay attention to the concentration level of the CBD oil you’re buying in order to ensure you’re getting what you’re paying for. Although concentrations of CBD can vary quite a bit across the broad range of CBD products, a quality product will start off having somewhere between 250mg to 1,000mg per fluid ounce. This matters because if you were to purchase a 4 ounce bottle that contained 250mg of CBD, your concentration would be a mere 62.5 mg of CBD per ounce – hardly enough to reap the full benefits of CBD. It’s always important to look at the concentration level of the CBD you’re buying.
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