Finding Quality CBD

October 27, 2020 | Olivia Kulander

The CBD market in America today is still new and largely unregulated, making buying CBD sometimes seem like a free-for-all. Companies at every level are scrambling to either comply with newly evolved laws, or to make a quick buck until those laws catch up with them. It’s incredibly important that consumers know that they are getting an authentic and healthy product from a trusted source. Here at Boojum, we believe that ensuring high quality products will grow your trust in us as a brand—which is the most important thing we grow.

When shopping for CBD you should be wary of red flags indicating that the product is low quality, inaccurately labelled, overpriced, or even dangerous. Here are a couple rules of thumb that will help you assess potential sellers, and ensure that you get the best product from qualified manufacturers.

Does the brand source directly from farmers?

When buying CBD oil, you should be able to trace your products all the way back to the farm. Reputable manufacturers don’t necessarily grow their own hemp, but they DO know where it comes from (and might even show you seedling photos like proud parents). Additionally, those manufacturers will be able to tell you about the plants and strains their products are made from. Any hemp that is going to be used in CBD oil should be grown in the US using organic methods. Knowing whose farm the plants come from means knowing they are sustainably grown and pesticide free - and that should be important for any product you and your loved ones use. 

Does the product have a Certificate of Analysis?

Even when the plant’s origins are clear and processing methods established, a good manufacturer will test every batch of product. Getting a Certificate of Analysis (or COA) from a licensed third party testing facility should be par for the course. From soil to oil, plants should be monitored and tested for pesticides, heavy metals, microbials, mycotoxins, and moisture content, in addition to their cannabinoid profiles. If processing is done with hydrocarbons, make sure to check residual solvents to make sure that your product doesn’t contain butane or propane.

Processors should be able to easily provide results upon request. If these are unavailable, look doctored, or are from a source you don’t trust, find another brand. At Boojum, all of our products feature an easy to scan QR code, allowing you to quickly access comprehensive test results for your product. 

The Laboratory: fact or fiction?

Another way to tell if you’re dealing with actual manufacturers seems obvious, but there are enough shady operations out there to make it a legitimate question. Do they have a real, brick and mortar lab? Processing has to be done somewhere, which means every processor should have a lab with a dedicated address. Reputable companies are proud of their products and facilities, and it shows. Look for lab photos on social media and on webpages. Not all manufacturers will give tours of their facilities, but there should be plenty of evidence that a company is running a clean and compliant lab. If their facility is not even photographable, do you really want to buy what comes out of it?

What extraction methods does the company use?

Cannabis processors have options when setting up their labs, with one of the most fundamental being whether to use ethanol, CO2, or hydrocarbons (usually butane or propane) in their extraction process. Each has its pros and cons, and as a consumer, you should think about what you expect from a product. In general, ethanol is the better choice if you are interested in the entourage effect, full-spectrum product, and whole-plant medicine, whereas CO2 extraction offers a narrower spectrum of molecules. Hydrocarbon extraction is the most economic choice, but if you go that route, make sure to ask for a residual solvent analysis to ensure that you aren’t ingesting too much butane or other harmful substances.

Does anything about the product seem too good to be true?

If a product’s price point is extremely low, it’s very unlikely to contain quality CBD. There are still too many instances of CBD products not containing any CBD at all, or in such low amounts as to be non-functional. As regulation around CBD increases, we hope the instances of false claims and misleading labeling disappear, but in the meantime, it’s important to be wary of unusually low prices.

Another red flag to look out for is manufacturers who make false claims. Whether it’s a lie about how much they produce, or claims about the unverified health benefits of CBD oil, someone who promises too much too quickly should be approached with suspicion. We are all here because we wholeheartedly believe that CBD holds great promise for human health and sustainability. As more and more research is done on the endocannabinoid system and the properties of cannabinoids, the possibilities only increase, and it’s tempting to tout the good news. It is important to note, however, that citing a study where CBD showed anti-tumoral properties is not the same as saying “CBD cures cancer.” Stay away from the latter (which is not only dishonest, but also an FDA violation), and you’re more likely to find companies that value your trust and scientific integrity over making a quick buck. 

Let’s work together

As cannabis culture trends more mainstream and governments step in to regulate the industry, it’s in the interest of everybody involved to collectively raise public confidence by offering high quality products with scientific knowledge and paper trails to back them up. Follow your gut (and these guidelines) to sidestep the scammers trying to take advantage of the current Wild West nature of the CBD world. Transparency is key, and reputable manufacturers will be happy to share licenses, COAs, photos, and knowledge about their products. Here at Boojum, we are proud of our products, and it shows. If you have any questions about CBD in general, or about Boojum’s CBD products, please reach out to us!

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