The process of shopping for high-quality CBD oil can be daunting. It’s not uncommon for a first-time buyer to end up ordering CBD oil from a company that produces inferior products. So how can you be assured that you’re getting what you need when you purchase CBD oil? When it comes to shopping for high-quality, effective CBD oil, a little knowledge can go a long way.
Of course, all companies say they make great products, but that’s truly not the case — especially when it comes to CBD oil. One reason for this is that there are no rules as to what a company can call CBD oil. They can add a few drops of CBD to a bucket of corn oil and call it CBD oil. Or they could be selling CBD oil made from hemp that’s deficient in cannabinoids and beneficial terpenes.
One of the most important things to consider is how the product was made. Knowing how CBD oil is made can help you to nail down a source for a high-quality product of the type that’s going to do you the most good. Was the product made by adding cheap, low-quality CBD paste to an oil base? Or is it actually a high-quality, full spectrum, CBD-rich oil that’s extracted from a potent strain of CBD-rich hemp and includes the original mix of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes?
How is CBD Oil Made?
It All Starts With the Hemp
High-quality CBD oil starts with high-quality hemp. You have probably heard that CBD oil comes from industrial hemp. If your CBD oil comes from the kind of industrial hemp grown in Europe and Asia, it can’t be very good. The reason for this is that this type of industrial hemp is grown to produce fibers or seeds, not cannabinoids and terpenes.
In order to produce a product that’s rich in these beneficial compounds, you need to start with a strain of CBD-rich hemp which is cultivated to produce bountiful, resinous flower clusters — not seeds or fibers.
Industrial hemp is grown in vast fields packed together sometimes twenty or thirty plants to a square meter. It grows up to 15 feet tall with spindly stalks and tiny flowers except at the very top of the plant.
If you’re producing hemp fiber, you need to harvest the plant before it even flowers. And if you’re producing seeds, you’re not producing CBD. Seeds have zero cannabinoids. As soon as an industrial hemp plant is fertilized, it puts all its energy into making seeds. These types of industrial hemp plants typically will contain only a small percent of cannabinoids.
CBD-rich hemp, on the other hand, is grown in plots or pots. It’s bushy and produces resinous buds that are rich in cannabinoids and terpenes. These plants are not only different than industrial hemp, they are not even a strain of industrial hemp.
CBD-rich hemp plants look and smell like marijuana and are grown in the same way. These plants produce anywhere from ten to twenty percent CBD and other cannabinoids and are very high in terpenes compared to industrial hemp. This is the hemp you want to use if you’re producing high-quality CBD oil.
The 4 Stages of Refinement
Once these CBD-rich plants are ready to harvest, they then must go through an extraction and refinement process. This process can be broken up into four steps:
- Extraction of raw hemp extract
- Filtering out unwanted solids and chlorophyll
- Distillation to concentrate the oil
- Further distillation to isolate the CBD
The Types of Products Produced
At each stage of this process, a different product is produced.
- The first extraction produces raw hemp extract.
- Filtering produces a palatable extract.
- Distillation produces a potent, full spectrum oil.
- Extreme distillation produces pure CBD isolate.
The first three steps in this process produce a product which maintains the original ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes which are found naturally in the plant. Let’s look at the differences in these products.
Hemp extract, the product produced in stage one of the process above, although it does have a mixture of cannabinoids and terpenes, is not extremely desirable. For starters, it has an extremely strong and unpleasant flavor. It also contains a lot of unwanted solids, waxes and compounds such as chlorophyll. The levels of cannabinoids and terpenes can vary greatly in raw hemp extract. In order to produce a consistent and effective hemp extract, additional filtering and distillation are desirable.
Full spectrum CBD oil is produced by taking a more refined product and combining it with an oil base such as hemp seed oil, grape seed oil or MCT oil. This product contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes. It can be formulated to produce a consistent potency. It can also undergo additional processes to increase its effectiveness such as nanoemulsion encapsulation, which gives the product higher bioavailability so that more of the CBD and other compounds can enter your bloodstream. For most people, this is the ideal CBD product.
CBD made with isolates is produced by adding refined CBD to an oil base. This product is devoid of the essential oils produced by the hemp plant, as well as the other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. It does not produce an entourage effect. Multiple cannabinoids and terpenes can be added to these products to create what is known as broad spectrum CBD oil. Don’t let this confuse you. This is not full spectrum CBD oil. It’s an unnatural product which is made with highly refined ingredients.
Also, broad spectrum oils that are made from CBD isolate cannot contain the wide variety of cannabinoids and terpenes found in full spectrum oils. This would make the products prohibitively expensive. And what would be the point of stripping every one of these active compounds out only to add it back in?
Full Spectrum CBD Oil or CBD Isolate — Which is Better?
While CBD is the most abundant cannabinoid, the other cannabinoids and terpenes each have their own medicinal properties. When combined, these compounds produce an enhanced effect known as the entourage effect. For example, some terpenes help cannabinoids penetrate the brain-blood barrier, while others interact with cannabinoid receptors in ways that are different from cannabinoids. Terpenes can also interact with other types of receptors in novel ways.
While it is not recommended for most consumers, CBD isolate does have its purposes. These isolates are starting to show up in pharmaceutical drugs developed to reduce seizures in epilepsy patients (Epidiolex) and to treat conditions such as multiple sclerosis (Sativex — currently only available in Canada).
In order for these products to pass FDA guidelines and produce consistent results, they must provide exact doses of active ingredients such as CBD.
However, for the average person, full spectrum products (because they contain a range of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes, each of which produces its own effects) is a far superior product.
Evidence for this was provided in a 2015 study entitled, “Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol.”
Researchers in this study noticed that previous studies had shown that administration of CBD isolate produced a bell dose-response curve. What this means is that the efficacy of purified CBD is highly dose-dependent. While pure CBD can be shown to provide therapeutic benefits at a certain dosage, doses both above and below the effective dosage showed a dramatic decline in efficacy. The researcher report states, “Healing was only observed when CBD [isolate] was given within a very limited dose range, whereas no beneficial effect was achieved at either lower or higher doses.”
The intention of the study was to determine whether full spectrum CBD-rich extract would also generate a bell-shaped dose-response curve. The authors explained, “The aim of the present study was to find a CBD source that could eliminate the bell-shaped dose-response of purified CBD.”
Indeed, as the researchers had hypothesized, a different dose response pattern was observed with the full spectrum CBD extract. Rather than showing a bell-shaped curve, the full spectrum extract produced a greater inhibition of pain and inflammation at higher doses. Researchers reported, “In stark contrast to purified CBD the clone extract…provided a clear correlation between the anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive responses and the dose, with increasing responses upon increasing doses, which makes this plant medicine ideal for clinical uses.”
Furthermore, the research showed that while a large dose of CBD isolate was required to produce significant pain relief, a much smaller amount of CBD was needed to produce the same relief when applied in a full spectrum extract. While CBD isolate produced a substantial drop in efficacy if more than a specific dosage was administered, higher doses of CBD-rich whole-plant extract did not reduce its efficacy, but rather the pain-relieving effects leveled off above a certain dosage.
Researchers concluded that full spectrum CBD oil “is superior over CBD [isolate] for the treatment of inflammatory conditions. It is likely that other components in the extract synergize with CBD to achieve the desired anti-inflammatory action that may contribute to overcoming the bell-shaped dose-response of purified CBD.”
Interestingly, researchers in this study found that full spectrum CBD oil was more effective than aspirin at reducing inflammation.
Joy Organics Sells Only THC-Free Full Spectrum CBD Oil
THC is the compound found in cannabis which causes a high. Although the cannabinoid-rich hemp used to produce CBD has only trace amounts of THC (below 0.3%) there are processes which can remove these trace amounts. If you do not want THC in your CBD, make sure the company you choose states that its products have zero THC and is willing to provide 3rd party lab reports to back up its claims.
Because it is expensive to remove THC, any company that spends the extra money to do so is going to promote its products as being full spectrum products with zero THC. If a company does not brag about its products being THC free, then there’s a good chance there’s a small amount of THC in the products.
In order to provide our customers with the most benefits, the CBD oil used in Joy Organics products is a full spectrum, cannabinoid-rich oil which contains zero THC and is safe for the entire family.