Hemp Products: Your Ultimate Shopping Guide
Confused about how to shop for hemp products and feel a hemp products shopping guide would be useful? We completely understand. With the recent surge in acceptance of cannabis across the country, there’s been a significant increase in the number of cannabis products available.
If you don’t know what you’re looking for when it comes to purchasing hemp products, you’re not alone. Shopping for hemp products can be complicated, especially when you’re new to the wide range of products derived from cannabis.
We’re here to clear up any confusion you might have. When shopping for hemp products, most people are doing so for their wellness-promoting properties. Lack of regulation and information, however, can lead to uncertainty about purchasing these plant-derived products.
To help you out, we’ve outlined everything you need to know when it comes to purchasing the absolute best hemp product to fit your needs.
A Complete Guide to Shopping for Hemp Products
Before we begin, it’s essential to understand how hemp relates to the Cannabis genus of plants.
The words cannabis, hemp and marijuana have been used interchangeably, but as it turns out, they’re not the same thing! The word cannabis actually refers to the Cannabis genus, of which hemp and marijuana are two subspecies.
Like members of any family, the two plants share similar characteristics but aren’t identical. Think of hemp and marijuana as cousins. The biological structure of each makes them distinctly different in some important ways.
Because hemp and marijuana are both part of the cannabis genus, the word “cannabis” is often used to describe both. This, however, is something that only adds to the confusion when shopping for hemp products. Is it hemp, or is it marijuana? More importantly, is it going to make me high?
The only place marijuana products are legally sold are in states that have passed medical or recreational cannabis laws. There aren’t many people selling marijuana products online, as it’s strictly illegal under federal law to do so.
Hemp products, on the other hand, should contain less than 0.3% THC.
The Chemical Compounds of Hemp
Did you know that cannabis is a plant composed of over 500 different compounds? Complex, to say the least. Some of these compounds include cannabinoids, phytonutrients, terpenes and flavonoids, all of which contribute to the quality of various hemp products.
Here we’ll take a deeper look at the chemical compounds of hemp so you have a better understanding of what to look for when shopping for hemp products.
More than 100 cannabinoids have been identified in cannabis, the most well-known of which are CBD and THC. As you’re probably aware, THC is the cannabis compound that contains psychoactive properties and is widely recognized for its head-changing high. CBD, however, doesn’t cause the same effects. Simply put, CBD doesn’t get you high.
Hemp contains very low concentrations of THC. In order to be considered hemp, the plant must contain 0.3% or less of THC. Marijuana, on the other hand, contains moderate to high concentrations of THC, ranging anywhere from 5-40%.
Other major cannabinoids contained in hemp include:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol Acid (THCA).
- Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA).
- Cannabinol (CBN).
- Cannabigerol (CBG).
- Cannabichromene (CBC).
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV).
While these cannabinoids haven’t been researched as much as CBD and THC, increased exploration suggests they each contain benefits of their own.
Terpenes are another major compound found in hemp and are what give many plants their fragrant aroma. In fact, terpenes exist in every plant on earth! Ever wonder why pine trees smell the way they do? Their distinct scent is due to the large prevalence of a terpene called pinene.
Terpenes are the building blocks for plants’ aromas and flavors. Commonly used in essential oils, terpenes live in the same glands as cannabinoids, and each has a profile that’s uniquely its own.
While concentrations of cannabinoids are relatively predictable in various cannabis strains, terpene profiles tend to vary. The most common terpenes present in hemp include: pinene, linalool, myrcene, caryophyllene, humulene and limonene. Much like cannabinoids, each affects the body in different ways.
Another term you might run into when shopping for hemp products is “flavonoids,” which are similar to terpenes in that they have a role in the aroma and flavor of cannabis plants. Flavonoids are considered the phytonutrients of a plant and are responsible for the various non-green pigmentation of cannabis strains.
Flavonoids are considered to be highly active and contain versatile benefits.
Cannabis Compounds and the “Entourage Effect”
The term “entourage effect” is used to describe how these chemical compounds in cannabis work synergistically together. It’s suggested that there are increased benefits to hemp products that contain all naturally occurring compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Keep this in mind when shopping for hemp products as you’ll likely see them described as full spectrum, broad spectrum and CBD isolate.
The Difference Between Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and CBD Isolate
If you’ve ever shopped for hemp products before, you might have noticed that many are described differently. When it comes to CBD, there are generally three types to choose from.
Here we’ll take a look at all three so you have a better understanding of exactly what you’re purchasing when shopping for hemp products.
Full spectrum hemp products are those which contain all the chemical compounds of the hemp plant. We mentioned that cannabis contains over 100 different compounds. Full spectrum hemp oil contains all of the various compounds present in hemp, including the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and phytonutrients. Full spectrum hemp products are those that contain 0.3% or less of THC and are known for offering the entourage effect.
Broad spectrum hemp products are very similar to full spectrum products, except any trace amounts of THC have been removed. Broad spectrum hemp extracts are created by either removing the THC from full spectrum hemp oil or using a CBD isolate oil and then adding various cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. While broad spectrum products don’t contain THC, they are also known for providing the synergistic benefits of the entourage effect.
Hemp products made with CBD isolate only contain the CBD compound. Using various extraction methods, CBD is isolated from all other compounds present in the initially extracted hemp oil. There’s a common misconception that because CBD isolate does not contain the other compounds present in hemp, it’s of lower quality than full or broad spectrum products. There are, however, many people who find benefits in hemp products made with CBD isolate, especially those who can’t have any THC.
Be Aware of Hemp Oil vs. Hemp Seed Oil
A big mistake many people make when shopping for hemp products is confusing hemp oil with hemp seed oil. While hemp seed oil is one of the most nutrient-rich oils you can find, it doesn’t contain CBD.
Hemp oil is made from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant whereas hemp seed oil is extracted from hemp seeds. If you’re shopping for hemp products that contain CBD, it’s important to ensure you don’t mistake hemp oil for hemp seed oil.
Choosing the Best Hemp Products to Fit Your Personal Needs
When shopping for hemp products, you’ll find you have several different options. Hemp products can be found in:
- Topicals (lotions, balms, salves).
- Inhalable options (vaporizers).
When it comes to purchasing the best hemp product to fit your individual needs, it all comes down to personal preference. Each consumption method comes with its own benefits, offering options for a wide range of various needs.
Tinctures are the most popular option. They can be taken by mouth or incorporated into a food or drink, such as a smoothie.
Capsules can be taken like a regular supplement, but tend to take longer to work as they must first be metabolized by the digestive tract and liver before making their way into the bloodstream.
Topicals are excellent for anyone looking for localized support for their joints and muscles as they target the specific area on the body to which they’re applied.
Edibles take the longest to feel effects, but they tend to last the longest.
Inhalable options, such as vaporizers, work quickly to provide rapid relief, but the effects don’t tend to last as long as other hemp products.
Important Things to Keep in Mind When Shopping for Hemp Products
When shopping for hemp products, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Not allhemp products are created equal and knowing what to look for can ensure that you don’t waste your money on a bad product.
Choose Hemp Products from Reputable Companies
When it comes to shopping for hemp products, purchasing from reputable companies is one of the most important things to consider. There are thousands of CBD companies that have flooded the market. While many of these companies are transparent in their business practices, there are still quite a few that aren’t. When shopping for hemp products, consider the company you’re interested in.
Who are they? Why did they get into the business of hemp products in the first place? Are test results readily available on their website for each of their products? Do they provide a batch number for their products? What is their protocol in the event of a recall on hemp products? Do they have a customer service number where they can be easily reached in case you have questions or concerns? What is their return policy?
Avoid Companies That Make Health Claims About Their Hemp Products
While hemp products are typically purchased for their wellness benefits, it’s best to avoid companies that make serious health claims about their products. Hemp products aren’t magic cure-alls, and they shouldn’t be considered as such. While there are studies that point to the benefits of hemp products, there simply isn’t enough definitive scientific evidence to claim a product “cures” a specific health problem.
While the FDA “recognizes the potential opportunities” hemp products may offer, companies that make health claims about their products are violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). When the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law, the FDA’s Commissioner made a statement contending “selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of the law, but can also put patients at risk.”
Only Purchase Products From Companies That Offer Third-Party Lab Test Results
When it comes to shopping for hemp products, only purchase products from companies that offer third-party lab test results. While third-party lab testing isn’t required, it offers consumers peace of mind that they’re actually purchasing a quality product.
Third-party lab tests offer information on various cannabinoids present in a hemp product, as well as if the product contains any pesticides, herbicides or chemicals. Remember, the hemp market is still loosely regulated; a company can claim their product is pure and contains a specific amount of CBD when in reality it might only contain a small percentage of what’s on the label. To ensure you’re getting exactly what you’re promised, insist on only purchasing hemp products with third-party lab test results.
Know What to Look for on Hemp Product Labels
Reputable companies use consistent labeling standards that allow consumers to know exactly what’s in the product they’re purchasing. When shopping for hemp products, it’s important to know what to look for on the label. Essential elements of a CBD label will include the type of CBD product it is, ingredients, bottle size, milligram content in the bottle, serving size and batch number.
Shop for Hemp Products With Confidence
Doing some research about the hemp product you’re considering is essential for finding the best product to fit your individual needs. We understand how confusing shopping for hemp products can be and hope this guide helps you have a clear understanding of exactly what to look for when purchasing such products.
At Joy Organics, our goal is simple. We’re here to help as many people as we can. We truly hope that this guide serves you in making the most informed decision possible when it comes to purchasing hemp products.
Still have questions that this hemp products shopping guide hasn’t answered? Please contact us anytime or leave a comment below. We’re always here to help!