Ingredients shouldn’t be mysterious. In fact, the FDA requires that all supplement and food products post a list of ingredients on product packages. But that doesn’t ensure that ingredients in CBD products are decipherable, clean and not vague.
Consumer Reports recently ran an article about the dangerous chemicals that were found in some CBD products. Particularly 5F-ADB, a synthetic compound that replicates THC’s psychotropic effects. Obviously this is bad news for all CBD brands as it befouls the reputation of the industry as a whole, but fortunately for those vigilant brands out there that maintain their integrity and transparency, consumers can still find good quality, whole plant CBD products.
So what exactly is it that you should be looking for in a CBD brand’s ingredients?
Firstly it is important to determine exactly what kind of CBD you are buying and where it came from. CBD comes in a massive variety of products and those products are produced from a variety of hemp extracts. Everything from tinctures to salves, gel caps and even seasoning (yes, for your food) can be produced with different forms of CBD. Generally, you can expect CBD products to be manufactured from either crude or distilled/purified extracts.
The CBD can be extracted from the plant with different chemicals and processes, the most common of which are simple alcohol extraction and a process called “supercritical CO2 extraction”. Both processes perform the job in similar ways. Just be aware that alcohol extracted CBD prone to leave more residual solvents than CO2 extraction.
All Common Ground products are produced using CO2 extracted CBD concentrates.
After CBD is extracted it can go through a series of processes to refine and purify it to different degrees. The four most common are Crude Oil (as extracted), Full Spectrum Distillate, Broad Spectrum Distillate and CBD Isolate.The farther you get down the refinement funnel, the more whole plant parts you lose, but the higher concentration and purity you achieve.
Crude oil provides you a full spectrum extract but also includes quite a few additional compounds beyond just the Cannabinoids and Terpenes. You get plant waxes and fatty acids, chlorophyll, and a bunch of other phytochemicals and plant material, but you also get a little bit lower concentration and purity.
Distillates provide higher potency, much less plant byproduct and while maintaining terpenoids and flavonoids, although at a lower concentration than you would find in crude. Distillation processes can vary from a very basic form of vacuum assisted evaporation and condensation to much more complicated molecular short path or wiped film distillation processes. Regardless of the method, the distillation process takes advantage of the melting and evaporation points of the hemp extracted oil to purify it by separating the finer compounds (cannabinoids) from the heavier particles such as plant material.
Contrary to some information that is out there, the more refined, lighter colored distillate is not achieved by inclusion of chemicals, but rather by separation of impure particulates. Read more here.
CBD Isolates can come as close to pure as you could possibly want. Generally completely flavorless and odorless, CBD isolate is a fully processed product that is sold in its milled, white crystal state. With Isolates, you will miss out on the “entourage effect”, a ton of other cannabinoid benefits, bioavailability, and the vitamins and minerals and other whole food benefits of the Hemp plant. That does not make it a bad product, we just believe that the cannabis plant has far more to offer than just CBD.
Our recommendation - Stick to products produced from Full Spectrum extracts like Full Spectrum Distillate and Crude (sometimes called Raw Extract).
CBD FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC
Keep in mind that there is a ton of CBD produced in China and other foreign markets. Usually this CBD is cheaper, less pure and can carry large amounts of toxic residual solvents and heavy metals from pesticides and herbicides used in the farming and extraction processes.
Don’t be hesitant to ask a seller where their CBD comes from and documentation to prove it. COA's (Certificate of Analysis) are documents produced by independent labs after a full analysis of a CBD product has been completed. Each COA should show purity, concentration, residual solvents and contaminants found in the company's products. If they have nothing to hide, they will be perfectly happy to oblige!
The Rest of the Story
After your concerns about CBD are resolved, your best course of action is to buy a product with as few ingredients and additives as possible. The largest volume ingredient in most CBD products is MCT Oil.
MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides. While it sounds complicated, it is nothing more than a refined Coconut Oil with everything removed except for a series of medium chain fatty acids that are a great carrier for plant extracts. MCT Oil can increase the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients and cannabinoids in CBD products (bio-availability). Some MCT Oil is flooded with cheap lauric acid which is technically classified as an MCT, but does not provide any of the benefits of the shorter chain triglycerides like C8 and C10.
Our REST and WAKE Tinctures are Full Spectrum 80% pure CBD Distillates blended with 100% pure, Organic C8 MCT Oil. It is more expensive than other MCT varieties, but it offers the highest bioavailability, which means that more of the precious, pricey CBD you are taking is being absorbed, breaking the blood/brain barrier and being properly processed by your body!
At this point, we have CBD and MCT. Next is just the variety of additives you might encounter in CBD products. Some brands add sweeteners, artificial flavors, other oils, melatonin, a variety of root extracts, etc… Since every person’s preferences are different, there is not much we can say to this except - Make sure you are aware of what is in any supplement you take. While we prefer to avoid artificial flavors, that might not be a deal breaker for you.
Our tinctures are handcrafted formulas that use only Full Spectrum CBD, Organic C8 MCT oil and a blend of terpenes that are extracted from organically farmed cannabis.
While there are brands out there trying to make a quick buck with inferior ingredients and mass manufacturing (foreign and domestic), there are tons of CBD brands that market clean, whole-food ingredient products and are genuinely interested in the consumer’s wellbeing. Make sure you do your research when buying any CBD product (or any supplement for that matter!) and pay attention to a company’s value propositions; Do they have third party Certificates of Analysis? Do they post their ingredient lists on their websites? Do they clearly present their mission statement as a brand? Are they transparent and honest?If a brand can check all of those boxes for you, then they are probably a pretty safe bet!