What to look for when buying CBD
Products infused with CBD (cannabidiol) come in many shapes and sizes in a market that is very diverse. The sheer breadth and quantity of CBD products on the market can be confusing.
Let’s assume, as with all PeachesandCalm offerings, that you’re looking at products that are completely legal and contain trace or virtually undetectable levels of THC (the active ingredient in cannabis). So let’s consider how to buy CBD.
The key questions to ask are:
Do I want full spectrum, broad spectrum CBD (that is, with natural ingredients included from other parts of the cannabis plant), or do I want pure, flavourless CBD?
What effects do I want CBD to have on my wellbeing?
What strength or potency of CBD do I want to consume?
How does consuming CBD fit in with my lifestyle and so how to I want to take it?
Do I require an organic product and freedom from heavy metals and pesticides?
Does the label contain accurate, relevant information to help me make a choice?
Is the product from a reputable supplier, fully tested and are the lab reports available?
Full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD
Full spectrum CBD: Full spectrum CBD products have a mix of CBD, minor cannabinoids, cannabis-derived terpenes, and trace amounts of THC. Every part of the plant is preserved to some degree.
Broad-spectrum: Similar to full spectrum CBD products, broad spectrum CBD products contain all of the cannabinoids and terpenes extracted from the plant with one big exception: THC. The plant’s other, non-psychoactive compounds are left intact.
Isolate: CBD isolate has had all other cannabinoids and terpenes stripped away until all that’s left is a crystalline powder of just CBD. To create a CBD oil, crystalline CBD powder is usually mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil. CBD isolates with a purity range of 99.9% and above are unlikely to have even trace amounts of THC, whereas a CBD isolate of 99.5% and below may still have traces of THC.
Full spectrum CBD with Terpenes and Flavonoids
Terpenes are the resinous oils responsible for the aroma and flavours of many plants cannabis, and support cannabinoids in producing desired effects. Flavonoids are similar to terpenes in that they contribute to a plant’s aroma and flavour profile but may offer their own unique health benefits.
.You’ll hear much reference to the ‘entourage’ effect, but the jury is still out on that, so let’s just say that terpenes and flavonoids give you a much more rounded flavour and smell experience. Aside from THC, there’s no indication that they get you high, and they may well have anti-oxidant or antibacterial properties of their own.
When you choose ‘full spectrum’ or broad spectrum CBD, these include terpenes and flavonoids, so look out for which ‘backnotes’ you want. Connoisseurs regard them like the subtle tastes in wine. But because they are said to act on your mood as well, then you can experiment with the effects of different terpenes with your CBD.
Products made with CBD isolate have other, more traditional flavours added, and don’t contain terpenes.
There are hundreds of Terpenes, so here are just a few popular ones.
Also found in pine trees, pinene has two forms that each has distinctive, piney scents. Pinene is one of the most common terpenes in hemp, and it appears to have antioxidant benefits.
Limonene is very common in sativa-dominant CBD flower strains, and this terpene has a powerful citrus aroma that resembles lemon zest. This terpene is unsurprisingly found in every type of citrus fruit.
Every strain of Cannabis sativa contains at least some myrcene, and in most strains, myrcene is the dominant terpene. Myrcene molecules are often present in relatively high quantities, and this terpene has a musky, earthy aroma. Myrcene is also found in thyme, lemongrass, hops, and mangoes.
Caryophyllene is one of the most common terpenes found in hemp. Also found in black pepper and other spices, caryophyllene has a spicy, peppery aroma and taste that’s reminiscent of cloves.
Linalool is the reason that lavender smells like lavender, and scientists believe that this terpene could even be responsible for lavender’s sleep-promoting effects. Linalool is also an antioxidant, and it appears to have mood-balancing benefits
Terpinolene is present in an odd mix of plants including citrus fruits, mint species, parsnips, and juniper. One moment, it smells like citrus, and the next moment, it smells like flowers.
What effect do I want CBD to have on my wellbeing?
The scientific research behind the supposed medical benefits of CBD is at various stages. It is thought that it may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) properties. One CBD product, Epidiolex, is licensed as a medical treatment for a certain type of epilepsy. However, anecdotal evidence shows that people who have used CBD have found relief from a variety of conditions, most commonly depression, anxiety, and pain.
Because CBD might contain so many beneficial properties, it has the potential to be an important medical compound. It is non-addictive, and does not get you ‘high’. To date there have been few side effects established. Overconsumption can have side effects such as diahorrea, but most people tolerate it well.
It is important to understand that CBD taken on the skin as a CBD ointment or balm doesn’t enter the bloodstream, so it won’t affect your mood. But it may well have a local soothing effect on your skin or joints. CBD taken in its many oral forms such as CBD oil, CBD capsules or CBD gummies reaches the bloodstream quickly or slowly, depending on how you take it, and its effects can vary in duration depending on your body’s size and chemistry. Take CBD in the evening for a relaxing night’s sleep, or in a morning smoothie of coffee to face the stresses of the day.
Don’t forget that CBD Oils, CBD tinctures, CBD gummies and other typs of consumption all have ingredients that can affect you as well. Many CBD products have coconut or hemp oil as a carrier of the CBD, which have soothing properties. if you’re vegan, check the labels for gelatin (in gummies) or honey as a sweetener.
What about organic products and freedom from pesticides?
Suppliers differentiate themselves on the source of the hemp that they use and whether the hemp, as well as the other ingredients in the CBD product, is organic. They’ll also tell you whether the CBD is extracted using CO2 or heat, and also tell you if the CBD product is free of heavy metals and pesticides.
Products differ because the CBD is delivered in different ‘carriers’, such as coconut oil or vaping glycerine. But a reputable product should contain the following:
- Amount of CBD as an active ingredient per serving
- Supplement Fact Panel, including other ingredients and their percentage
- Net weight
- Manufacturer or distributor name
- Suggested uses
- Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate
- Batch or date code
- A declaration of THC percentage (less than 0.2%)
- All products should be compliant with UK regulations. Products which are ingested should be ‘Novel Foods’ compliant and follow the Food Safety standards regulations.
Beware of medical claims. Although there are hundreds of ongoing studies and a mountain of anecdotal evidence, products should not make unsubstantiated claims about curing ailments. CBD is a food supplement.
Is the product from a reputable supplier?
A good supplier will volunteer third party lab reports for the product. They’ll normally be accessible online, or on request. A lab report from a reputable third party should tell you how much CBD, THC and other cannabinoids the product contains (which must be less than 0.2% THC, or only trace for human consumption). It will also tell you about opther substances such as heavy metals or contaminants.