It’s not a stretch to say that CBD has overtaken THC as the most popular and sought-after component of the cannabis plant. This has a lot to do with the fact that, unlike THC, CBD is now legal in all 50 states. It is also very well tolerated, causing only mild side effects, if any.
Of course, CBD’s main appeal is its therapeutic potential. Scientific research into this is just beginning, but we have good reason to believe that CBD can be used to help treat a range of conditions, including (but not limited to):
- Chronic pain
Add to that all of the anecdotal evidence, and it’s easy to see why the CBD market continues to grow at an exponential rate.
CBD and the FDA
With all that growth, however, comes a notable issue. As more companies begin putting CBD on the market, it becomes more difficult for consumers to distinguish between a trustworthy CBD company (ie. one with verified reviews and independent lab-tested products) and low-grade ripoffs.
To make matters worse, the CBD industry is not strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s certainly better regulated than it was a few years ago, but the FDA is still working to develop a comprehensive set of rules and restrictions.
Until that happens, there will be companies that try to cash in on the CBD boom by selling lousy products—or by running outright scams.
We’ll get into what separates good CBD from bad CBD in a moment, but first, let’s clarify a few basic facts about this cannabis ingredient.
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Where does CBD come from?
CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, naturally occurs in marijuana and industrial hemp. While both are varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant, marijuana and hemp have one crucial difference, namely how much THC they contain.
In case you aren’t already aware, THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis; it’s the reason why people get high when they ingest marijuana. Without high levels of THC, marijuana would not be an intoxicating drug.
Hemp contains a negligible amount of THC and therefore does not cause intoxication. For that reason, hemp was legalized by the federal government in 2018.
If your CBD product was made from hemp (as most of them are), you can rest assured that it is fully legal and completely non-intoxicating.
Good CBD vs bad CBD
CBD is pretty expensive. If you’re thinking about buying some for the first time, it can be tempting to hunt for a bargain. But this isn’t always a good idea; in fact, it can end up costing you more in the long run.
Not all CBD products are created equal. Far from it. For every good CBD product on the market, there is at least one mediocre one, maybe two. There are also some very bad ones. I’ll give you an example.
In 2016, researchers bought 84 CBD products from 31 different companies. They sent each product to an independent laboratory to have the contents tested. The results were not encouraging.
Concerning CBD content, less than 31% of the products were accurately labeled. Crucially, 26% were over labeled, meaning they didn’t contain as much CBD as they purported to. As the authors of the study noted, this “could negate any potential clinical response.”
In other words, you would have to take higher doses of these products to get the desired effects. Consequently, you go through them faster and have to replace them more often. You’re wasting your money.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid this situation. The golden rule when it comes to CBD is this: only buy from established companies whose products have been tested by an independent, third-party lab. They should also have a good deal of third-party reviews.
If it’s unclear whether a brand’s products meet this standard, they probably don’t. Trustworthy companies will proudly advertise the fact that their products are lab-tested. Moreover, they’ll provide you with the actual test results, either on their website or on the product’s QR code.
True, the price tag on these CBD products may be higher; but the quality will be higher too, and that’s what matters most.
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