Cannabis oil, sometimes called hemp oil or CBD oil, is one of the current top-selling personal wellness products in the country. With CBD legal in a variety of states and THC legal in an increasing number of states, the benefits of cannabis oil products can now be much more freely enjoyed.
However, not all cannabis oil is made equal, despite universal claims of being “Premium” or “Best Quality.” Because of the economic boom in the cannabis industry, many brands have decided to take short-cuts. We have seen such extremes of including making ‘cannabis oil’ that doesn’t have any CBD or THC at all. Some products are weak, poorly made, and some are potentially hazardous if pesticides or curing chemicals are not refined out during the oil extraction process.
So how do you know if you’ve found high-quality cannabis oil or cannabis-scented snake oil? That’s what we’re here to help you tackle today. Each of the following qualifiers can serve as either proof or a general road-map pointing you toward identifying and buying only the highest-quality cannabis oil on the market.
The first thing to do is to check the label for CBD or THC content. Whether you’re shopping for medicinal or recreational cannabis oil, the two primary cannabinoids should be the star players. In hemp that makes CBD, there is a very high concentration of CBD and a low (less than 0.3%) THC concentration. In marijuana plants cultivated for THC content, there will be a high concentration of THC and a low-to-equal concentration of CBD.
Products made with good-quality cannabis oil will have higher concentrations of the two main cannabinoids. Compared to other similar products, opt for those with a higher strength to find premium quality cannabis oil.
The next by-the-numbers way to tell quality cannabis oil from inferior alternatives is lab testing. For every product’s safety, each stage of the process must be tested along with the final product to ensure that it is safe for human consumption. Plants growing with pesticides might translate that poison into the oil, or plants cured with chemicals might relate those into the oil. When mishandling these processes, the chemicals can make cannabis oil toxic and dangerous.
Research a brand before buying. Make sure they have regular third-party lab testing and that you can look into the results of those tests. Brands that advertise rigorous testing and share their resting records are advertising that their products are guaranteed safer and higher-quality than untested competitors.
Next, consider your favorite cannabis strains. Remember that every type of cannabis plant has its unique mix of CBD, THC, and myriad terpenes that provide flavor and augment the effects. If you already know your favorite brands or strains to smoke or vape, then you may enjoy the same unique blend of cannabis components in oil-form.
It’s also worth noting that hemp strains used for CBD oil will be different from marijuana strains because they have been cultivated in entirely different ways. However, if you happen to have noticed that you like a particular set of terpenes, you can look for that blend in many different cannabis products, including cannabis oil.
If you’re concerned about environmental health or pesticides, look into the farms that the cannabis brand sources their products. Most brands will include this information on their websites so that you can look up the reputation of the growers as well as the processing brands and retail stores. For high-quality cannabis oil, we advise only buying from trusted brands that were grown locally. It is legal to import hemp that is processed into CBD oil, but international hemp growing standards are not as strict as our own.
Local US-grown cannabis in hemp or marijuana form will be grown more safely, and you can look up the specs of the growers, including whether they grow in dirt or hydroponics, and whether they use pesticides.
Next, you might feel inclined to research the curing and oil extraction process that leads to your cannabis oil. Curing is done by drying the cannabis plants and sometimes applying specific chemicals that help to preserve or prepare the plants for processing. Oil extraction is how the cannabis oil is removed from the flowers, stems, and leaves to retain the compounds but remove the plant material.
There are several different ways to cure and to extract cannabis oil. But doing it wrong can result in a lousy flavor or even translated toxins. So be aware of how your cannabis oil is processed, along with test results to prove that it’s safe.
Next, consider post-processing. There are several types of post-processing for cannabis oil that determine the price, quality, and contents of the final product. For example, Full-Spectrum CBD oil is the least processed, with all the cannabinoids and terpenes (including THC) still in the oil. Broad-spectrum has been post-processed to remove the CBD and, incidentally, a few terpenes. CBD Isolate is the most post-processed by refining out pure CBD with nothing else.
Post-processing also applies to how the oil was made into a product. Even sold as oil, it might be processed to enhance, color, thickness, or flavor. Cannabis oil products, of course, are also post-processed to make them into creams or tinctures and so on.
Assess the reputation of the cannabis brand and their post-processing methods to help you judge the final quality of the cannabis oil products.
As a special side-note, know the difference between hemp oil (cannabis oil / CBD oil) and hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil is cold-pressed from hemp seeds. It’s good for your skin and is an anti-oxidant but contains zero THC, CBD, or terpenes. Hemp seed oil is sometimes used to cut the production cost (and benefits) of “Cannabis oi” products.
Hemp oil that is not hemp seed oil is extracted from the flowers, stems, and leaves. It has the full load of CBD, THC, and terpenes that the plant had to offer and is potent when processed into cannabis oil.
Fortunately, even if products are mislabeled (and they can be), looking for a percentage of CBD or THC will usually clue you into this little industry blip.
Finally, trust your nose. Your nose is a highly sensitive chemical sensor. Just like it can tell you if the milk has gone off, your nose can also tell you something about the quality of your cannabis oil. If you’ve ever sniffed over-cured bud, you know that chemical smell that can result in bad taste and a bad feeling after use. But you also know the pungent aroma of good natural cannabis. Even if a brand checks out in every other way, give it the sniff-test (if you’re shopping in a store) before purchasing. Your nose will tell you if your body will enjoy or reject using that brand of cannabis oil.
Finding high-quality cannabis oil can be challenging in an industry flooded with products that claim to be “Premium” and “Best Quality.” These label-words mean nothing because there are no regulations like there is with the word “organic” on the packaging. Any brand can claim to be the best premium cannabis oil, but only lab tests and product production will tell the truth of cannabis oil quality.
For more cannabis-related news, tune into our 3Win Corp blog every week.