In this guide to buying CBD, we'll teach you what to look for in a quality product. You should always know how much you're getting, what you’re getting, where it comes from, and how to steer clear of red flags.
Rule #1: Understand how much CBD you’re getting.
If you're new to CBD and wondering what the "right amount" is, it's going to be unique to you. Your body is unique and therefore so is your tolerance to CBD.
The best products are clear and explicit about CBD concentration. The amount printed on the bottle—1000 mg, for example—equals the total amount of active CBD in the entire bottle. Tip: Look for the amount of liquid in the product. Vitalife's 15ml 1000mg bottles have 2x the concentration of CBD per drop as competitor's 30ml or 1oz bottles. Check our products for approximate values of CBD per drop and if you’re still not sure about concentration, just ask!
Rule #2: When it comes to ingredients, less is more.
Look for a product that gets down to business, one that isn’t touting a bunch of additional nutritional elements, flavorings, or—worst of all—fillers.
Some companies like to add superfoods to their CBD preparations, claiming these additions offer added health benefits. But along with the CBD extract and carrier oil, it’s unlikely there will be enough of the added ingredient to provide any health benefit. Also if the added ingredient is unfamiliar, you’re better off steering clear.
Rule #3: When it comes to cannabinoids, more is more.
CBD is one of 80+ cannabinoids that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. It turns out, the other lesser-known cannabinoids are surprisingly important!
In over 50 years of research, experts agree that the benefits from multiple cannabinoids consumed together outweigh the consumption of just one. This means that CBD is more effective when consumed with other cannabinoids instead of isolated on its own. This “joining forces” of various cannabinoids is known as the entourage effect.
A CBD product that contains multiple cannabinoids is called full-spectrum or whole plant while CBD-only products are called isolates.
If you want the maximum benefits from CBD, seek out full-spectrum products.
Rule #4: Not all CBD is created equal.
High-potency CBD can come from marijuana or hemp plants, especially if they are bred for higher CBD content. Here in the United States, using hemp for CBD is what allows it to be legal—federal law dictates that if hemp CBD contains 0.3% THC or less, it’s fair game to ship across the country. This doesn’t mean that there is anything inferior about the CBD you’re getting—your body understands this chemical compound, regardless of which type of plant it comes from.
One thing you should pay attention to whether the CBD source plant is domestic or foreign. Many foreign-grown CBD plants aren’t regulated in the same way that domestically grown crops are. We recommend spending a few extra bucks on organic, locally grown CBD to ensure that it comes from clean, unpolluted fields. We pride ourselves in our 100% organic hemp crop harvested in Colorado and Kentucky.
Rule #5: Watch out for solvents.
There are two primary ways to extract CBD from a plant—either by solvent or carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction.
With the solvent method, solvents are mixed with the plant material and strip the plant of CBD. Many CBD companies use ethanol (a type of alcohol) for extraction and swear by it. Watch out for hydrocarbons like butane, hexane—basically anything with an “-ane” at the end of it. These can be toxic, and can also compromise the benefits of CBD.
With the CO2 method, the gas is warmed to an extremely high temperature where it behaves like a liquid. In its liquid form, CO2 dissolves the CBD and other cannabinoids from the plant source to create a liquid CBD extract. This operation requires significant expertise and pricey equipment, so CBD that’s made this way can be a bit more expensive. Is it worth it? Absolutely. CO2 is a 100% natural substance and used for extracting coffee, essential oils, and many other food products. It’s the safest, cleanest way to make CBD when done in the right hands and the only way we extract our CBD.