The CBD industry is gigantic, and it’s only going to get more significant for the foreseeable future. The CBD industry is expected to exceed £20 billion, it’s understandable that businesses all over the world are trying to claim portions of the pie. That’s not always the best thing for customers. While most CBD firms are unquestionably seeking to deliver the best CBD products to market that they can, there are also businesses using shortcuts – and it's not always easy to tell the difference amongst a reliable CBD brand and a brand that you should avoid at all costs. So, how can you recognise a trustworthy CBD brand?

Where Is the Hemp Grown?

When you purchase a product in the supermarket, its source is distinctly labelled. That’s because people want to know where their product comes from. If you’re going to use CBD, you should also understand where it comes from. Don’t believe that a CBD brand sources its hemp domestically unless the company clearly says that they do. It’s legal to grow hemp in the EU, with the correct hemp licences. Did you know China grows 70% of the world’s hemp? [1]

We source our hemp from the EU (Poland) & Switzerland. European-grown hemp is costly, and farmers aren’t currently capable to grow enough to meet demand. If you don’t know where a CBD company’s hemp comes from, it’s probably safe to consider it comes from China.

Why does hemp’s origin matter?
Soil pollution is a serious problem [2] in China, with heavy elements such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury present in unhealthy levels in virtually every province. One of the answers to that problem is bioremediation – planting hemp to pull pollution out of the soil – and hemp is widely known for that purpose [3]

How Is the Hemp Grown?

There’s a reason why “weed” is a slang term for cannabis; it grows like a weed. Given healthy soil and an adequate supply of water, a hemp plant will grow without any trouble. There’s no need for hemp farmers to use pesticides, herbicides or industrial fertilizers. It is therefore perfectly reasonable to expect any CBD product to come from organic hemp. At the time of writing, organic certifications for industrial hemp are rare – but they’ll become more common in the coming years. In the meantime, you should definitely avoid buying CBD from any company that doesn’t at least claim to be using organic hemp. If a company doesn’t know whether its hemp is grown according to organic practices, it’s likely buying bulk hemp or CBD oil from unknown sources.

How Is CBD Oil Extracted?

There are two ways of extracting the essential oils from hemp. The first way is by exposing the ground plant material to a solvent such as ethanol, hexane or butane. The solvent boils at a lower temperature than the cannabinoids in the CBD oil, so heating the mixture boils the solvent away until only CBD oil is left – in theory, at least. In practice, it’s highly likely that trace solvents will remain in the final product. That’s a problem if the product is something that you’re going to ingest or inhale. Solvent-based extraction isn’t safe, but it is cheap and has a high yield. Some CBD oil producers use solvents regardless of the inherent risks.

The second way to extract CBD oil from hemp is by forcing pressurized carbon dioxide through the plant material. This extraction method leaves no residual solvents, but the equipment necessary to perform the extraction is expensive. CO2 extraction is the gold standard for the CBD industry, and you shouldn’t buy from a company that doesn’t use CO2 extraction.

Does the Brand Use Third-Party Testing?

CBD is a natural product that’s extracted from plants, and that means there can be significant variation from one batch to the next. As you’ve also learned from reading this article, growing conditions can also help to determine exactly what is in a bottle of CBD oil. With all of those variables in play, it’s important for any CBD company to subject its product batches to third-party testing rather than simply trusting that all of the different people in the supply chain are doing their jobs.

A good CBD brand will test its products for cannabinoid content along with the presence of undesirable contaminants such as heavy metals, solvents and pesticides. Through third-party testing, a CBD brand can ensure that its products have consistent cannabinoid content and are free of unwanted adulterants.

Read more about the topics above in the references below
[1] China grows 70% of the world’s hemp?
[2] Soil pollution is a serious problem 
[3] Hemp is widely known pull pollution from soil