Cannabidiol, better known by its abbreviated moniker “CBD”, lines the shelves of our neighborhood grocery stores; it boasts an impressive collection of standalone pop-ups in malls, shopping centers and farmers’ markets. We share CBD with our pets. Its mysterious properties help us sleep, calm our anxieties and reduce our inflammation. Some hail CBD for its unprecedented health outcomes, while others remain skeptical. It’s not hard to understand why doubts about CBD’s positive effects are common, given that it’s the primary compound in industrial hemp: a cannabis plant. Given the history cannabis prohibition, any of its derivatives compete with decades of lost time that could have been spent understanding its immeasurable potential. We have a fledgling understanding of cannabis. CBD producers are limited by their own knowledge, much less the knowledge of industry researchers and experts. Unfortunately, because CBD has only recently been liberated from federal prohibition, the government has yet to apply common sense regulations that hold industry members accountable to levels of quality that protect consumers in the same way they do for other agricultural and medical products.
In other words, unless you are a shrewd consumer, you may not be getting the product you believe you’re getting. Having a strong command of CBD knowledge, including its limitations and benefits, its cultivation and manufacturing practices can set you far ahead of the casually informed CBD buyer. In this blog, I’ll share some insider knowledge about CBD products, how they’re produced, what they can and can’t do, and most importantly, I’ll provide you with some questions to ask the friendly face behind the booth at the farmer’s market.
Imagine you walked into a vast library. You are welcomed by the vintage and singular aroma of thousands upon thousands of antique books. You walk to one section of the library at random and select a book without knowing its contents. You begin to read and are delighted to find that this particular book captivates your attention with tales of adventure and romance. Hemp is like that library. CBD is like that book. It is but one powerful compound among hundreds, potentially thousands. Once genetics begin to propagate and experts start experimenting with cannabinoid and terpene production, no one knows what the plant will yield. Just last week, researchers discovered two brand new compounds that may be 30 times more powerful than THC, CBD’s black sheep cousin. Possibly the most important thing you should understand about CBD is that it is a plant derivative. We don’t grow CBD; we grow hemp. For this reason, a smart consumer should be able to trace CBD products back through the supply chain to the manufacturer who extracted the compound all the way to the person who grew it.
As a buying market, we have direct access to anything we could want. We make far less than we ever have before. Products that used to take immense labor now sit and spoil on grocery store shelves. We don’t ask as many questions about the products we purchase because we trust the distributor. But in the case of CBD and other cannabis-derived products, all consumers should ask three questions:
- How was it grown?
- How was it manufactured?
- Where are the test results?
How was it grown?
Hemp is grown outdoors, often hand curated in small plots on farms or even on large farms under massive pivots. It’s grown indoors, curated for specialty flower that can be consumed or processed. Our company grows hemp in greenhouses, to capitalize on access to irreplaceable full-spectrum sunlight while avoiding the downsides of indoor growth like space limitations and high costs of electricity. For the sake of the consumer, the growing method is secondary to the growing practices. You should be concerned with whether any agricultural pesticides or other synthetic materials are in your product. I have heard story after story of growers cutting corners by using round-up on their plants fearing that some fungus will creep through their grows and destroy their crops. Often those plants make their way through underdeveloped labs that fail to test for chemicals or heavy metals. For this reason, you should only buy CBD products that are transparent about the growing practices of the farmer or grower who supplied their hemp. Remember, CBD is just the compound. Hemp is where it came from.
How was it manufactured?
Manufacturing processes are vast and varied. And despite that CBD is a consumable product, the USDA is only beginning to craft current good manufacturing practices for the cannabis industry, which means all the CBD on the market has been produced without federal oversight. So if you want to guarantee yourself a safe product and a product that you know contains what it claims, you have to know how your product was made. If you purchase CBD-infused foods, can the company explain the infusion process, and whether the CBD was produced using organic materials only? Can your local dispensary tell you whether the vaporizer cartridge you’re about to purchase is extracted with CO2 or distilled with ethanol? Companies should equip their employees to talk about these things intelligently, and if they can’t, I would recommend looking for an alternative supply. Some hemp products are made with solvents like butane that may not be the best choice for everyone. There’s definitely a safe and excellent hemp-based product on the market for you. The trick is finding the one you trust.
Where are the test results?
You should have a lot of faith in the company that supplies your CBD products. But you should also be equipped to get information for yourself. Ask your supplier if they have access to certificates of analysis for their hemp supply or from any hemp-derived material in their supply chain. Most CBD manufacturers and growers will make these available to their various distributors and buyers. Our company does not purchase any hemp material without tests from three distinct and reputable testing labs, and we hold ourselves to the same standard.
CBD is an amazing cannabinoid that may have excellent health and wellness benefits. More research is needed to be sure, but limited research is showing positive things about it and other cannabinoids we’re only beginning to discover. Our ability to extract and transform these beneficial compounds in creative, healthful and enjoyable ways is a testament to human ingenuity. Ask these questions and educate yourself to enjoy the best of what hemp-derived products can offer.
About the Author
Dr. Mathis Kennington is a veteran of the mental health industry, having served as a marriage and family therapist since 2009. In 2016, Mathis began his entry into the cannabis market when one of his clients minor children showed unprecedented responses to a CBD tincture that drastically reduced her weekly seizures by more than half. The potential for positive health benefits couldn’t be ignored. Almost as a foregone conclusion, Mathis’ interest in hemp grew to a driving passion when he began to understand the scalable impact of this amazing plant. Mathis is now the CEO of Hye Hemp Co., a company specializing in delivering the highest quality hemp flower that yields robust cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Hye Hemp Co. is based in the Texas Hill Country and specializes in delivering our products to wholesale and retail end users.