By: Dr. Alex Capano
Trying to choose the right CBD product? Have you tried CBD before and it didn't work? It may be because you did not select the right CBD product. Or maybe your dose was too small. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to be an informed consumer and make sure you are getting what you pay for.
The Problem with the "Wild West" of CBD
There are hundreds of CBD companies out there with new ones popping up every day. Making the right decision for you and your wallet takes a little research. In a nascent, unregulated industry, the reality is that some "CBD" products have little to no CBD in them. In fact, the FDA evaluated CBD products in 2015 and 2016. They found that 22 out of 24 products did not have the levels of CBD advertised on their label1. A follow-up study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2017, revealed not much progress has been made, as 70% of CBD products do not match their label2. Transparency is key, but it is currently the exception and not the rule.
Step 1: Ask for a Certificate of Analysis (COA)
To ensure you are getting what you pay for, ask the CBD company for a certificate of analysis (COA). Any reputable company will provide this when asked, and the best companies make COAs readily available on their websites. This COA must be objective and be done by a reputable, third-party laboratory (like Steephill Labs). A COA will show you the active cannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBN, CBC etc.) per milliliter. Simply multiply the total cannabinoids per milliliter by the number of milliliters in the bottle, and there you have it!
You can find COAs for every batch of Ananda Hemp's products with our online look up tool. (See below for a sample COA).
Step 2: Check to see if the CBD matches the label
Does the number of cannabinoids match the label? If not, it may be because the company is bogus. Or it could be that the company is labeling for milligrams of CBDoilinstead of milligrams of active cannabinoids.Typically, cannabis oil is made up of 40%-60% of actives, so take 50% as that average. Cut the label in half to assume active content (ex. A "300mg" bottle is about 150mg of active cannabinoids). Currently, Ananda Hemp is the only full-spectrum hemp CBD oil that we know of who labels for milligrams of active. All other companies that we know of label for milligrams of oil. They aren't doing anything wrong, necessarily, but there is no uniform way to label across the industry...yet. A certificate of analysis will help you best determine value and allow a true price comparison.
Step 3: Check for chemicals, pesticides, and dangerous additives
Take a closer look at the COA. Does it list chemicals, pesticides, microbes, etc.? Great! Next to each of those names, you should look for a result of "ND" or "Not Detected." Unfortunately, some cannabis plants are grown with harmful chemicals, and indoor grow operations can be high risk for mold. These contaminants can get into the CBD oil and, eventually, into your body. Don't just settle for a company that claims its organic; make them show you evidence that their products are chemical free with a COA.
Step 4:Get a Full Spectrum product
Is the product isolate or full spectrum? Isolate means that the product contains just the isolated molecule, CBD. Full spectrum means the product has CBD, other active cannabinoids (such as CBN, CBG, CBC etc.), terpenes, flavonoids, omega-3s and omega-6s that naturally occur in the plant. This is important because all of these other compounds have therapeutic value. For example, the terpene known as beta-caryophyllene has well established anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, pain-relieving properties3,4,5. And plant derived omegas, such as linolenic acids, have cardiovascular benefits6.
Also, full spectrum allows for the "entourage effect," in which the compounds work synergistically to promote a greater response at a lower dose. In fact, research supports that full spectrum CBD is more effective than isolate CBD7,.
I like to think of this as an example of the "eat whole, real foods" argument. Would you benefit more from eating an apple or from getting apple pectin from a few cough drops? Or eating an orange versus putting a pack of vitamin C powder into a drink? (The answer is the apple and orange are better!) Our human bodies have evolved to consume foods and plants in their whole, natural form8,9, and the same goes for hemp CBD oil.
How do you know if a product is isolate or full spectrum? You guessed it, the handy COA! There should be more than just CBD in the cannabinoid profile.
Note: Some people select CBD isolate because they cannot be exposed to even the minimal amounts (0.3%) of THC in hemp products. For these cases, we developed a Zero-THCline that still includes all of the other cannabinoids and phytocompounds to promote the entourage effect.
Step 5: Finding the right dose
By now, you've selected your CBD product. It's time to find your optimal dose. Dosing for CBD is highly individualized and depends on many factors, including personal endocannabinoid tone and why you are using CBD.
The reality is it may take some time to identify what works best for you. We recommend that adults start at 10-15mg of active cannabinoids. It's best to start after dinner and about 3-4 hours before bedtime for two reasons: 1. You will probably get a great night's sleep! 2. Although rare, some people experience drowsiness from CBD. If this happens to you, then taking it at night won't ruin your day. Next, use the same starting dose for 2-3 days. If you choose, you can titrate up slowly from here, adding 5mg-10mg every 2-3 days. Once you do not experience additional benefits from a higher dose, you can go back to the previous dose. This means you'll have to exceed your optimal dose in order to identify it.
The good news is, you cannot dangerously overdose on CBD. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that CBD is considered safe in that it does not pose a public health risk and it is not associated with abuse potential10.
For more information on Ananda Hemp products, click here.
- S. Food and Drug Administration. (2016) Warning Letters and Tests Results for Cannabidiol Related Products.Retrieved from:https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm484109.htm
- Bonn-Miller, M. O., Loflin, M. J., Thomas, B. F., Marcu, J. P., Hyke, T., & Vandrey, R. (2017). Labeling accuracy of cannabidiol extracts sold online. Jama, 318(17), 1708-1709.
- Russo, E. B. (2016). Beyond cannabis: plants and the endocannabinoid system. Trends in pharmacological sciences, 37(7), 594-605.
- Klauke, A. L., Racz, I., Pradier, B., Markert, A., Zimmer, A. M., Gertsch, J., & Zimmer, A. (2014). The cannabinoid CB2 receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts analgesic effects in mouse models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 24(4), 608-620.
- Gertsch, J., Leonti, M., Raduner, S., Racz, I., Chen, J. Z., Xie, X. Q., ... & Zimmer, A. (2008). Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(26), 9099-9104.
- Abdelhamid, A. S., Martin, N., Bridges, C., Brainard, J. S., Wang, X., Brown, T. J., ... & Song, F. (2018). Polyunsaturated fatty acids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (7).
- Gallily, R., Yekhtin, Z., & Hanuš, L. O. (2015). Overcoming the bell-shaped dose-response of cannabidiol by using cannabis extract enriched in cannabidiol.Pharmacol Pharm, 6(2), 75-85.
- Campbell, T. C., & Jacobson, H. (2013). Whole: rethinking the science of nutrition. BenBella Books.
- Lichtenstein, A. H., & Russell, R. M. (2005). Essential nutrients: Food or supplements?: where should the emphasis be?. Jama, 294(3), 351-358.
- World Health Organization, & WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. (2018). WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence: thirty-ninth report.