Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, is a naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant. Although many components of cannabis have been found to be medicinally useful, CBD is particularly known for its medical uses. CBD has been found to have a positive effect on those suffering from a wide variety of afflictions, ranging from epilepsy to anxiety to arthritis. Many users have found CBD to be the most helpful solution to the problems they deal with on a day to day basis.
One of the aspects of CBD that makes it such a valuable compound and so useful medically is that it lacks the psychoactive effects caused by some other compounds in the cannabis plant—most notably, THC. Put more plainly, if you want to experience the health benefits cannabis has to offer, but you don’t want to get high, CBD is a good choice for you. That means that CBD is also a viable option for users we would never consider giving a psychoactive drug to, such as pets and children.
However, because the oversight on CBD products is still so minimal, it’s important for users to actively educate themselves about the compound and ensure that the product they are buying and using has been tested and approved. Here’s what you need to know about that process.
Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, or Isolate?
In general, there are three categories of CBD products. Understanding the differences can help you make an informed purchasing decision.
- Full-spectrum CBD products are those composed of the entire cannabis plant, meaning that all its compounds are likely to be present. Full-spectrum products should be tested to reveal what concentration of each compound is present in the final product.
- Broad-spectrum products are much the same as full-spectrum products, with the caveat that THC is specifically isolated and removed. A broad-spectrum product should be tested to determine that there is no THC contained within. While full spectrum products are unlikely to get the user high (as long as the THC level falls within legal parameters) broad-spectrum products are safer for those who might need to pass a drug test.
- Isolate products are those in which the CBD specifically has been extracted from cannabis. In isolate products. CBD should be the only compound present—with the possible exception of additives to affect flavor or consistency.
Look for the Cannabinoid Profile
Not all CBD products are created equal. A good brand will always make its lab test results available for you to review—if you can’t find them, ask the proprietor! The first thing you want to look at is the cannabinoid profile. This breakdown of the contents of your product will tell you exactly what concentration of each type of cannabinoid is present. You want to know how much CBD is in a dose of your product so that you can keep your dosage consistent across brands or product types if you make a change.
You should also be aware that even though CBD itself is not psychoactive, some CBD products do contain other cannabinoids—including THC. Proper testing will reveal this. In order to be sold legally, a CBD product must contain less than .3% THC. If yours contains more than this amount, not only does it run the risk of getting you high, it’s also likely you’re buying from an untrustworthy source.
Be Careful Who You Trust
These untrustworthy sources can definitely cause you harm, so you want to be extremely careful. As mentioned previously, you should ask your CBD supplier to show you test results on their product. Many suppliers are fully transparent and put this information right on their website. That’s a good sign.
If a supplier can’t or won’t provide the screening information you’re looking for, be cautious. There are black market dealers out there who trade in synthetic products, and these products contain unknown compounds and chemicals that are dangerous to consume. In fact, products such as these are largely to blame for the recent spate of vaping deaths.
Before selecting a CBD product, make sure you know with confidence what you’re putting in your body. Never be afraid to ask to see lab test results before buying.