What should consumers look for when choosing a CBD product to purchase?
There is currently very little regulation within the CBD industry. The FDA, USDA, and federal and local health departments do not have rules in place that require any type of testing. It is left entirely up to the growers, processors, and manufactures to ensure the safety and quality of CBD products that are currently on the market and in your home. With so many companies starting up in the industry, many of the people in charge of the supply and distribution chains within the market are either inexperienced and uneducated about the risks involved; are forced to take shortcuts to remain competitive; or just blatantly disregard safety because they are blinded by profits. Under any of these circumstances, the safety, quality and purity of a CBD product is at risk – meaning that consumers health is also at risk.
This is why rigorous, full panel and independent third-party testing of all finished CBD products are important, even if they are not mandated by the laws governing the industry. Results from these tests should be readily available on any reputable CBD companies’ website in the form of a Certificate of Analysis (COA). These COA’s should be attained from a reputable third-party facility, preferably one that is ISO 17025 certified at the international standard to ensure the calibration of the tools used during testing; as well as the methods used to conduct and perform the testing. This COA should provide negative results for: mycotoxins; microbials; heavy metals; pesticides; herbicides; residual solvents; and potency. This COA should also provide the: date of testing; batch name or number; a chain of custody of who provided the sample, who tested it and the contact information for the manufacturer as well as the laboratory where it was tested. If a CBD company is not fully transparent with all of this information for every consumable product on their website or in their store, then they should not be trusted. There could be any number of risks involved in consuming a product without proof of its safety; including high levels of lead, arsenic, mercury, and poisonous microbials.
If you are still a little unsure about the credibility of a company, check to make sure that their products were tested at a reputable lab, and give the lab a call to confirm the test results. All of this information is available on a certificate of analysis, including the batch number and the contact information for the laboratory where the product was tested; and should be readily available on the CBD companies’ website (I’ve said this twice because it is important!!).
Once health safety has been established, the next variable that consumers should consider is price. In the CBD industry, there is tremendous variance in the prices of products that are equivalent in potency and quality. Brokers and sellers mark up prices each time a product changes hands, so that they can profit from the transaction. When purchasing a CBD product that has passed through several “middle men”, a lot of the price you are paying is a markup for each commission that was earned while passing hands on the way to market and has no correlation with quality or the safety of that product. Expensive CBD does not equal quality CBD, farming methods, extraction, formulation and testing are what create a quality CBD product. Purchasing CBD from a company that is farm direct is usually the most economic practice for saving money and obtaining a quality product. It is also usually less expensive to purchase a CBD product that is sold online than from a store. There is a lot of overhead involved in running a shop. There is the cost of rent, taxes, electric, air conditioning, advertising, employees, insurance and everything else involved with keeping up a storefront, and these costs are passed directly along to consumers in retail prices. Again, these higher prices are not what determine the quality of CBD, only the genetics, source, and methods of extraction, farming, formulation, manufacturing and testing can achieve this.
Following the advice given above is enough to successfully select a product that is not only safe for consumption, but is also what its manufacturer claims it to be – as far as potency; and to save a little money while doing it.
If a product has made it successfully through all of these pre-requisites, the ethicality of the work environment and farming methods of your chosen company is the only thing really left to consider. Large amounts of biomass are imported from second and third world countries for example, where workers sometimes have little or no rights. Another thing to consider is choosing to support a small business, or seed to shelf farm. These smaller companies rely on the quality of their products for success and often find tiny niches to fill within the industry, offering products that are truly cared for. Large growing operations are mechanicalized. Machines are used to plant their seeds or clones in trays which are then transplanted by tractor or another automated system into large fields. It is impossible to truly monitor these fields the way a grower of a small field can - by walking through the field and checking each plant every day. When it comes time to harvest, large companies use combines to bail their hemp into plastic wrap. Anything that was in the way of the combine or on the plants at the time of harvest, such as mice, birds, bird droppings, bugs, small mammals and trash are included in these bails. The bails are then stored for months or years at a time before going to processing facilities where everything in them is ground like coffee beans before being rushed to extraction, formulation and in the end, your body. This does not happen on a small farm, where plants are hand planted, individually monitored and hand harvested.
At Beck’s Farma, our farming and third party testing methods ensure that our CBD products are pure and safe. The cannabidiol used in our CBD products is extracted from hemp grown here, in our fields, by myself, on a small farm in Minnesota. At no point are fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides ever used in our fields. We use organic methods of farming when we grow our hemp. Our products are small batch, artisanal, hand farmed and hand crafted. They undergo rigorous full panel testing performed by an independent 3rd party. The laboratories that conduct this testing have been independently audited and ISO 17025 accredited by the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation. This is what ensures that our CBD oil meets the highest international standard in safety and the highest market quality.