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What to look for when buying CBD

The UK CBD marketplace can be a minefield amid mislabeling and false claims.



What to look for when buying CBD

The UK CBD marketplace can be a minefield amid mislabeling and false claims – what should you look out for as a consumer?

While more developed markets like the US and Canada are held to certain regulatory standards, there are no laws in the UK that require CBD companies to provide information such as laboratory reports. 

The result of this is a ‘wild west’ industry in which some companies market sub-par products to customers expecting a high-quality health supplement. 

With such a high prevalence of false claims and mislabeling in the CBD industry, how can consumers know which brands they can trust? 

Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules and what you look for in a product will depend on the type of product. 

Whether that’s a full-spectrum tincture or a water-soluble CBD isolate, we’ll outline what you need to look for in your next CBD product.

Certificates of analysis (COA)

The first place to look to determine the safety and quality of a CBD product is its certificate of analysis which tells you the content of the product you’re buying and the results of laboratory testing

These reports are produced by independent accredited labs that unpack the contents of a product and ensure that the true ingredients correspond with the label. 

It will also confirm the product’s potency so you know you are getting the CBD concentration that you’re expecting.

According to Tomas Biroscik of the European CBD company Hemp Point, lower concentration formulations can in fact have greater benefits than higher concentrations. 

When it comes to potency, whole plant or full spectrum cannabis oils with five to 10 percent CBD generally offer a stronger profile of terpenes and other compounds, Tomas said. 

Unlike isolate CBD which contains pure cannabidiol, broad and full spectrum products provide a range of other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids that are believed to enhance the benefits of CBD.

The issue with stronger concentrations of CBD is that levels of THC – the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis – would be too high if the product is produced from the original chemical makeup of the plant. Higher concentration products are therefore ‘topped up with’ isolate CBD to create a high CBD content with a legal concentration of THC (<0.2 percent).

Chemical and microbial analysis

As the CBD production process has the potential to pick up impurities such as pesticides, herbicides and heavy metals, a chemical and microbial analysis is vital for ensuring a CBD product is safe to consume. 

A recent review of over 4,000 products from across Europe found that only seven per cent of brands tested all of their products for microbes, pesticides, and heavy metals.

Looking out for companies whose chemical and microbial analysis is publicly available 

Terpenes analysis and other active ingredients

There is more to CBD products than their CBD content alone. 

A terpene analysis will determine the compounds present in the product which could influence your decision depending on why you are taking CBD. Head to our blog on CBD terpenes benefits to find out more about the benefits of these important compounds.  

Brands are now increasingly marrying cannabis-based extracts with other active ingredients to boost bioavailability and provide additional benefits. 

The warning signs to look out for

In most cases, transparency correlates with trustworthiness. If a CBD brand does not make its COA readily available, this should be an immediate warning sign. 

“A product should at least have a certificate of analysis. If not, it should set off alarm bells straight away,” Tomas said. “Education needs to move forward. Brands should be telling people how the quality standard is setup and what they need to be looking for.”

What does Hemp Point do? 

Hemp Point is a CBD company that is committed to making its products as transparent as possible, making its COAs, chemical and microbial analysis and terpene analysis readily available to its customers. For Tomas, the more analysis the better when it comes to CBD. 

Tomas offered a few additional tips for finding the best CBD product for you. 

“First of all, I would be looking at the reputation of the business, I would scan through and see any sorts of reviews,” he said.

“A certificate of analysis CBD as well as terpenes profile along with analysis of heavy metals, pesticides and residual solvents will give you the answer to everything about what is inside of a product.”

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