As the popularity of CBD grows, customers are taking their time choosing a product as they want to ensure that they buy the best product on the market to support their health and wellness goals. As such, the pressure has shifted to producers to ensure that they consistently produce the highest quality CBD oils.
The six focus points for making the best CBD oil are:
1. High-Quality Organically Grown and Harvested Ingredients
To make the best CBD oil, the hemp needs to be organically grown and harvested. This is because hemp is a bio-accumulator which means that it absorbs substances at a faster rate than it is able to catabolise and excrete them. Industrial hemp quickly absorbs and accumulates substances such as pesticides that are present in the soil. As such, hemp plants need to be grown organically free from pesticides, herbicides, and more so that there is no risk of toxins being present in the CBD.
Many of the best CBD oils in the UK are made from hemp that is grown in Europe. This is good news because farmers in Europe are only allowed to grow hemp strains that are EU-approved and the farming of hemp is strictly regulated.
The harvesting process is also important, which is why many farmers, especially in Austria and Switzerland harvest industrial hemp by hand. This ensures that the hemp is not exposed to heavy machinery or toxins.
2. Industry-Leading Production Processes
The method by which CBD is removed from the hemp plant is important because CBD is naturally hydrophobic. This makes it difficult to extract cannabinoids from the cells of the hemp plant as the cell walls are incredibly tough. For this reason, many methods rely on a solvent to get the maximum CBD from the plant.
The two leading methods whereby CBD is extracted from the hemp plant are CO2 extraction and ultrasound extraction. CO2 extraction is popular and doesn’t use harsh solvents in the extraction process, but the gentle, highly effective method of ultrasound extraction is the preferred method.
Ultrasound extraction (sometimes called sonication) uses a probe that emits ultrasonic rays. The probe is inserted into the CBD mixture and set to emit alternating high and low-pressure sound waves. This creates microscopic currents that break through the cell walls and releases the contents of the cell to create a concentrated emulsion.
The process works quickly and extracts high concentrations of CBD and helps to make the best CBD oil because it’s environmentally friendly and doesn’t rely on heat. This preserves the integrity of the cannabinoids and terpenes to ensure that the CBD will be as effective as possible.
3. Full-Spectrum CBD
When choosing a CBD oil, it is better to choose a full-spectrum CBD oil, rather than a CBD isolate. This is because full-spectrum CBD oils contain a range of cannabinoids and other important compounds that occur naturally in the hemp plant. These compounds work together to boost the efficacy of the CBD through the ‘entourage effect’. The ‘entourage effect’ suggests that cannabis compounds work together in synergy to produce an effect that has a stronger influence than each of the compounds would have if taken in isolation.
A full-spectrum CBD oil will contain a mix of compounds including:
- Fatty acids
4. The Right Carrier Oil
There are a number of different carrier oils that work well for CBD including sunflower oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil and more. But what is the best choice?
The oil should have good bioavailability (this is the proportion of CBD that your body is able to process compared to what it takes in). The bioavailability of carrier oils affects the types of fat molecules that it contains and how well those molecules are able to transport fat in your system. Other factors to consider include the flavour and consistency of the carrier oil.
Hemp seed oil is an ideal choice as it has good bioavailability, and has a number of health-supporting benefits in its own right. It’s packed with essential fatty acids (particularly Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s) and has wellness-maintaining benefits.
Lastly, as CBD oil is consumed for its health and wellness benefits, the carrier oil should also be produced organically to ensure that the end product is as natural and pure as possible.
5. Constant Innovation
The best CBD oils are made by companies who employ skilled, experienced pharmacists and scientists who are constantly working to improve the quality and variety of their product range. For some, the bitter, woody taste of CBD oil might make it difficult to consume sublingually, so industry-leading companies will work on this aspect, introducing flavour variations and different methods of consumption.
Companies who make the best CBD oils will also be testing different product strengths and different carrier oils, and commissioning independent research to improve the bioavailability of their products, as well as looking at the different health-supporting benefits of their products.
6. Regular Internal and Third-Party Testing
As CBD levels vary from crop to crop, it’s important that internal and external testing is done on a regular basis. Additionally, it needs to be done to ensure that the CBD oil contains the full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that help to improve the efficacy of the product. And, because hemp is a bioaccumulator, testing will ensure that the product is free from compounds that are potentially harmful.
The five key tests that the best CBD oils will pass with flying colours are:
- Potency testing – this is where the cannabinoid profile is tested for purity and potency. Active cannabinoids are measured to check that the THC level is below 0.2% and that CBD is present in the percentage that is marked on the bottle. Other cannabinoids that should also be tested for are CBG, CBDA, THCA, CBGA, and CBCA.
- The presence of terpenes – these are created by trichomes in the plant (giving hemp it’s unique aroma).
- The absence of residual solvents – for the safety and quality of CBD oils, there should be no solvents (which may have been added in the extraction process). The absence of residual solvents is a sign that the extraction method used is good, and as a result, the end product is not contaminated.
- The absence of residual pesticides – this is an important test for how contaminated the hemp is. The best CBD oils will have no evidence of pesticides, herbicides, or fertilisers in the test conducts by third-party labs.
- Heavy metal analysis – as help is a bioaccumularor, any heavy metals present in the soil will be absorbed by the roots and taken up into the plant. Heavy metals to watch for are arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.
In summary, to make the best CBD oil, it needs to:
- Be made from the highest quality hemp
- Produced using ultrasonic or CO2 extraction
- Use full-spectrum CBD
- Have an organically grown, highly-bioavailable carrier oil
- Be improved by an internal team of pharmacists and scientists
- Be subject to rigorous, regular internal and independent testing