How to read a CBD label
All things being equal, there really should be no need for an article on “how to read a CBD label”. Unfortunately in this young emerging CBD industry, all things are not equal and all labels do not read the same.
The incredible popularity of CBD has resulted in a market place inundated with various brands, varying product quality, and very different and quite often confusing CBD labels.
Understanding CBD Labels
In order for you and your family to get the most from this fascinating cannabinoid, it is important that you know how to read a CBD label correctly.
This article will show how to do just that.
CBD Label Requirements
CBD label requirements differ from state to state but most will follow FDA guidelines. The FDA strictly prohibits any mention of medicinal claims but asks that each label contain a:
- Identity Statement
- Net weight statement
- Ingredients List
- Name & address of manufacturer/promotor
This will describe what exactly the product is. This is important as some manufacturers will try to pass off something that is not CBD, like it was CBD. Some might sell hemp seed oil on its own but market it as if it were CBD oil just to confuse consumers for more profit.
Net Weight Statement
The net weight is the total volume of liquid for tinctures which is displayed in milliliters (ml) or ounces (oz). In terms of edibles, the net weight is the total number of edibles per pack.
The ingredients section will be either very small or quite large depending on what you buy.
Gummies will contain numerous ingredients whereas a tincture bottle may only have CBD oil and a carrier oil like hemp seed oil or MCT oil.
Some manufactures may add additional terpenes (natures natural flavorings) or other flavors to give their oil a unique taste. Best advice is to look for manufacturers who add additional natural healthy ingredients such as copaiba oil to their products to further increase its health properties.
Name & Address of manufacturer/promotor
Knowing where exactly your product was manufactured will reassure you of its quality. America for example would have more quality assurance than a product from China where health and safety protocols would be more relaxed.
State Specific Label Requirements
Some states go further asking that a scannable barcode is shown which will highlight even more information such as expiry date, batch date, cert of analysis, and more.
Best Before Date
The best before date tells you it is “best before” a certain date rather than telling you to “use by” a certain date. Store your CBD product away from direct sunlight in a cool place and you can rest assured your product will last a lot longer than the best before date.
CBD oil source
For CBD oil to be legal at a federal level it must be sourced from the hemp plant which contains less than 0.3% of the intoxicating cannabinoid THC. This negligible amount will never result in any high-like feeling so always look for CBD oil from hemp... but not just any hemp!
Always look for American hemp that has been grown using organic practices. This way you know that the farmers did not use any pesticides or herbicides when growing their hemp.
Once you have found a quality American brand you need to decide which type of CBD you want.
Types of CBD
In its purest form CBD oil contains trace amounts of other cannabinoids along with terpenes (natures fragrances). Some manufacturers like to leave these in whereas others like to take some or all of them out.
Types of CBD:
Full Spectrum CBD
Full-spectrum CBD is CBD in its most natural form where nothing is taken away. This oil is considered the best as it is believed the compounds therein have a synergistic effect (known as the entourage effect) where they boost each other’s properties.
Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad-spectrum CBD is where the tiny amount of THC that is in the oil is removed from the product. It still contains all the other cannabinoids and terpenes.
CBD isolate is where all the other cannabinoids and terpenes have been removed leaving only CBD.
CBD Content - Milligrams (mg) of CBD
The amount of CBD in a product (bottle/gummy bear etc) is measured in milligrams. The bigger the number of mg the more CBD is in your product.
The majority of brands will show the total content of CBD in their product on the front package as well as a breakdown of the amount of CBD in each drop/gummy/roll-up etc.
If unsure, simply divide the number of items/drops in a pack/bottle by the total amount of CBD in the product as a whole to find out how much is in each item/droplet.
For example, a pack of 10 gummy bears where the pack states 100mg would equate to 10mg per gummy bear. (Always read the label to guarantee accuracy)
CBD Carrier Oils
CBD is a highly viscous (dense) substance and in its natural form it would be too concentrated and not practical to use. This is why it is mixed with a carrier oil of which there are many to choose from.
Types of carrier oils:
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp Seed Oil comes from pressed hemp seeds. This oil is incredibly healthy for you as it contains a perfect balance of omega 6 and 3 which are needed for overall health.
MCT oil which is similar to fractionated coconut oil comes from coconuts and contains healthy fats which can have powerful effects on your metabolism.
Olive oil is rich in phytonutrients, is high in antioxidant compounds, and contains iron, vitamin K, and vitamin E.
Carrier oils can also help increase the absorption of CBD into our bloodstream. Another clever solution for this is by making CBD water-soluble.
What is Water Soluble CBD?
Water-soluble CBD is CBD that has been scientifically altered to be more water-like and thus is more easily absorbed into our bloodstream to get to work faster and more efficiently.
CBD is a fat-soluble compound and our body finds it more difficult to absorb fat-soluble compounds compared to water-soluble compounds. By encasing CBD in a water-soluble molecule we can bypass many biological functions and allow it to be absorbed straight into our bloodstream.
A bottle (tincture) of CBD oil will show how much CBD is in the entire bottle and also how much you can expect from each drop. CBD tincture bottles contain a pipette which you squeeze to allow small drops to enter your mouth.
Check the size of the bottle too as you might think you are getting double strength when in fact you are getting the same amount per drop only double the size bottle.
Each capsule or edible (gummy bear/stick etc ) will contain the same amount of CBD. For example, you might see a pack of 10 gummy bears and on the front, it says 250 mg. This means there is 25mg of CBD per gummy. Always read the label for clarity.
CBD lotions and balms will show the total amount of CBD contained therein but it can be a little difficult to know exactly how much CBD is contained in each pump.
Some brands will tell you how many pumps you can expect and you would then divide this into the total amount of CBD to see approximately how much is in each pump.
Smokable CBD Products (Hempettes)
Smokable CBD products are the quickest way of getting CBD into your bloodstream and offer up the greatest bioavailability compared to all other methods! (bar intravenous)
Hempettes will contain approximately 50mg of CBD in each - perfect for a chill-out session. They are also available in different flavors such as original, sweet, and pineapple - depending on what you’re in the mood for.
There are no official guidelines for how much CBD you should take as everyone is different and each of us has a unique endocannabinoid system.
The best method is to start small and slow until you find your “sweet spot”. For some, a small dose could be anywhere between 5-50 mg of CBD per day. It all depends!
Always start small and go slow.
Understanding third-party testing of CBD products
The most vital piece of information you should look for after CBD content is third party testing.
This will show the total amount of cannabinoids in the product. Some tests will also show the presence of any unwanted chemicals or heavy metals.
Always ask to see a certificate of analysis (lab report) as this will assure you of the quality and potency of the product.
First and foremost only buy a CBD product that comes with a third-party lab result. This way you can be assured of both the quality and exact quantity of CBD in your product.
CBD products will nearly always show the total amount of CBD in the product on the front. How much is in each drop/gummy will depend on how many drops or gummies are in the product.
When it comes to dosing it is always best advice to start small and slow and work your way up to that “sweet spot” that works for your endocannabinoid system.
If in doubt about anything on the product you purchase contact the manufacturer for clarity. All reputable companies will have some form of contact details.