As anecdotal success spreads and science begins to support its safety and efficacy, the use of CBD is skyrocketing. CBD can be found essentially anywhere from your grocery pharmacy to the golf course clubhouse. The FDA does not identify CBD as a drug, rather a supplement. As such, CBD products are not subject to the typical scrutiny pharmaceutical drugs undergo. In other words, the contents of these products may not be what they say. The concentrations are not regulated and more importantly, there may be many contaminants that are not listed on CBD labels.

When it comes to CBD, it’s especially important to know about the product you are ingesting o using on your body for several reasons. First of all, if your concentration is wrong it could either make your supplement ineffective (too low) or potentially toxic (too high). Given CBD is found in the cannabis plant along with THC (the active component of marijuana) the risk for side effects, or perhaps worse, testing positive for marijuana on a drug test is a concern if you are buying any CBD “off the shelf.” Frightfully, labeling inaccuracy is so common that only ~ 30% of CBD products actually label their CBD concentrations accurately. Furthermore, some companies try to conceal their concentrations of product, hiding the actual concentration or dose per individual dose, leaving consumers to wonder, “How much CBD am I actually getting daily?” For these reasons, it’s important to have some guidance on how to pick your CBD.

Hemp vs Marijuana Derived CBD

Believe it or not, many states do allow marijuana-derived CBD to be bought and sold over the counter. Hemp-derived CBD comes from a plant that contains at most trace amounts of THC. However, even this can be detected on some drug tests. For this reason, if CBD oil is certified 0% THC or 100% THC Free, it should be able to prove it on a certificate of analysis (COA) available for consumers to view. While CBD is not regulated by the FDA, every batch should receive a COA. Ideally done by a third party, the COA should verify the contents and clarity of the CBD product. Keep in mind, when searching for CBD products many consumers find hemp seeds or hemp seed oil. Hemp seeds do not have a significant amount of CBD (typically found in the floral part of the plant, not the seeds or roots). This is why Amazon, which doesn’t sell CBD products, can and will sell hemp seed products that do not contain CBD. Some companies whose products do contain CBD will mislabel them as hemp seed oil to try to get them past Amazon so they can sell them on Amazon. You really have to read the labels if you decide to buy “CBD” on Amazon.

Spectrum and CBD

On every CBD label, you will find the phrases “full-spectrum,” “broad spectrum” or “Isolate.” This can be confusing, as from a marketing perspective, the full spectrum may seem more appealing. Or maybe the isolate would, as it would be the purest form of CBD. CBD company VALO Living’s medical director, Michael Jonesco, DO, sports medicine specialist, recommends “broad spectrum” CBD, which would not include the THC (as full-spectrum would) but would include other important compounds called terpenes and flavonoids, which contain other therapeutic and health-promoting effects.

Furthermore, when working together, CBD, flavonoids, and terpenes work more effectively, which is known as the “entourage effect.” CBD is just one of over 100 cannabinoids that can facilitate our body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating key functions in the body like sleep, mood, and pain. Broad-spectrum products may also list CBDA, CBN, CBG, or CBC. Their presence is fine, but the products’ main ingredient should be CBD. Ideally, a CBD product you purchase can provide the details of CBD potency, breakdown these terpenes and flavonoids, and include the presence of THC and/or pesticides identified in their product. If you cannot find this information easily, beware.


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