Cannabis and CBD products are exploding in popularity, but new companies can make mistakes: here are the most important ingredients to watch out for. Here, we reveal to you a break down of all the top CBD oil Ingredients. It's hard to know what you are actually getting, so let us help. CBD Oil Ingredients – How to Find a Quality Product? CBD is a compound in a hemp extract , gaining popularity among people who appreciate natural solutions. However, when you think about
What’s in Your CBD Oil? Here’s What to Watch Out For
The boom in CBD and cannabis more generally is excellent for those of us who enjoy the whole plant and specific cannabinoids, taking the trade out of the shadows and giving us more power over what we buy and from whom. Unfortunately though, with the industry comes a lot of people looking to make a quick buck, and not all of them are knowledgeable or reliable enough to keep you safe. The huge furor over vitamin E acetate in 2019 is a perfect example of this: sometimes companies add ingredients that shouldn’t be in the oil or product.
The good news is that the majority of the industry isn’t looking to add strange ingredients to your CBD oil or vaping liquids, and the increased focus on transparency gives you power as a consumer. But what should you look for when you’re shopping for CBD oil or other cannabis products? Are there some ingredients it’s best to avoid? While we can’t be exhaustive, there are several things you should look out for when you make a purchase.
- For cannabis or CBD oils, it’s best to avoid “hemp extract” or “hemp oil” (this is very low in CBD), and make sure you’re buying CO2 extracted oils from US-grown plants.
- For vaping, avoid thickeners (e.g. vitamin E acetate), MCT or coconut oil, essential oils, polyethylene glycol (PEG), and propylene glycol if you want to be extra-careful.
- For topicals, avoid parabens, perfume/fragrance and artificial colors.
- Generally, it’s best to buy US-grown, with lab reports available and the dosage clearly stated.
CBD Oil and Cannabis Oil – What to Avoid
CBD oil is the most popular way to consume the cannabinoid, and the good news is that there is less to worry about here than in vaping products. However, there are a couple of things it’s important to look out for when you’re making a purchase.
1. “Hemp Oil” or “Hemp Extract”
This product is advertised on Amazon as Hemp Oil. The ingredients show “Hemp Oil Extract” without any mention of CBD or Cannabinoids. This hemp oil can be useful nutritionally but it does not carry the benefits of CBD and should not be advertised as beneficial for insomnia or anxiety.
This is the most likely issue you’ll run into when shopping for CBD oil. While the CBD oil you’re looking for is derived from hemp (in most cases), “hemp oil” or “hemp extract” generally refers to hempseed oil. This would be totally fine if you were looking for a nutritional oil, to use in cooking or even as a carrier for other cannabiniods, but the problem is that the oil in itself contains little to no CBD.
So if you’re looking for CBD oil, you should avoid any product that lists itself as hemp oil or hemp extract, or lists either on the ingredients, without mentioning anything about “CBD oil”, “Cannabidiol”, “phytocannabinoids”, “cannabinoids”, “Full Spectrum”, “Broad Spectrum”, or “Isolate”. The best way to make sure you’re getting actual CBD oil and not hempseed oil is to check the certificate of analysis and look for the amount of cannabidiol in the extract.
This oil from Charlotte’s Web is also advertised as “Hemp Extract” but the ingredients do mention “phytocannabinoids” so the product contains beneficial CBD.
To make sure you’re buying quality CBD oil and not hempseed oil, check the lab results. In this example from Papa & Barkley tincture, you’ll see the “Total CBD” in this oil is tested at 472.49mg which means that’s the amount of cannabidiol in one tincture bottle.
It’s possible to use hemp oil as a carrier oil for a genuine CBD extract, but if anybody is doing this it should be made explicitly clear, and in practice most use MCT, coconut oil or glycerin.
2. Solvent Residues
Of course, a residue isn’t an “ingredient” in the typical sense, but for certain methods of CBD extraction, solvents such as butane or propane are added to help strip the CBD from the hemp. This is supposed to be boiled off during the manufacturing process to leave the pure oil, but the process is rarely perfect. This means that there is a chance there will be residue in the finished product. Reputable companies allow you to see lab results for their oil that specifically test for residual solvents, so you can actually check, but if they don’t, avoiding solvent-based extractions is the safest approach.
Quality CBD oils are tested for residual solvents. This tincture from Papa & Barkley has passed for residual solvents and the results show “ND” (Not Detected).
Luckily, most major companies use supercritical CO2 extraction, which only uses carbon dioxide. While atmospheric CO2 is causing issues for the environment, since it’s totally safe for humans it’s actually a great approach for extracting CBD. If there is any residue from this process in your oil, it’s completely harmless.
3. Heavy Metal Residue
Hemp is a “hyperaccumulator,” meaning that it absorbs basically everything from the soil that it’s grown in. This is a huge benefit in many cases (since it can be used to essentially purify soil), but if you’re consuming products from the plant it can be an issue. If the soil used to grow the hemp contains a lot of heavy metals, for example, the resulting CBD oil will contain more heavy metals too.
This is mainly an issue if you’re buying CBD oil from somewhere like China, where regulations around growing hemp aren’t as strict as in America. The good news is that with the 2018 Farm Bill allowing industrial hemp production, it’s easy to find CBD oil made from American-grown hemp. If you do this, there are specific limits laid down in law to protect you. To be safe, check the product’s lab report to make sure it tests for heavy metals. Some companies may avoid testing for heavy metals to save money or hide unattractive results. If the product’s certificate of analysis doesn’t show heavy metal testing, it’s best to avoid it.
A credible CBD oil will pass for Heavy Metals. You can find this information in the Certificate of Analysis for each product. Organically grown and clean CBD oils will show heavy metals results as “ND” (Not Detected).
CBD and Cannabis Vaping Liquids – What to Avoid
CBD vape juice or THC vape cart is the main area where you need to be especially careful about ingredients. While some MCT or coconut oil in a tincture you just put under your tongue is no issue, if you’re going to inhale the product it’s a very different story. Here are some things to look out for if you’re looking for vape juice containing CBD and/or THC.
1. Thickeners (e.g. Vitamin E Acetate)
The story of the lung illness caused by vitamin E acetate in cannabis vaping liquids drives the point home clearly: inhaling “thickening agents” can lead to serious problems. Vitamin E acetate (also known as tocopheryl acetate) was added to thicken the cartridge liquid and thereby give the impression of purity (since purer cannabis extract is thicker). However, since people are inhaling the product, it led to problems and many deaths.
Of course, this has been identified and removed from vaping products already (and in most cases the products in question weren’t sold legally), but that doesn’t mean that other thickening agents won’t appear in future. If there is a thickening agent in the cartridge or any liquid cannabis product you’ll be vaping, it’s best to avoid it. Some companies test their vape carts for Vitamin E Acetate in their lab reports so you can check for yourself.
2. Essential Oils
Essential oils are fine in many CBD and cannabis products, such as topicals, but again, inhaling them is a different matter. Oils are generally not recommended for inhalation – which is why vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol are used in CBD vape juice – so adding essential oils isn’t a good idea. This isn’t especially common, but it’s something to look out for.
Additionally, essential oils aren’t very well regulated so even in other types of cannabis products they would arguably be better off avoided. For topicals, it’s unlikely to cause an issue, but it is something to keep in mind regardless.
3. MCT Oil or Other Coconut Oil
MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride oil) is basically coconut oil that’s been attempted to have the medium chain fats separated out from the long-chain fats. However, any type of oil or fat is unsuitable for vaporizing, because it can lead to lung damage. They’re the perfect choice for tinctures and other things you take orally, because they bind well to cannabinoids and are generally good nutritionally, but they’re a complete no-no for anything you’ll inhale.
4. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
The use of thinning agents is generally not recommended for cannabis vape oils, but the situation is a little more complicated because the raw extract is generally too thick to use in an ordinary vape pen. The problem is that the chemicals used for this can produce chemicals like formaldehyde (carbonyls) when they reach high temperatures.
Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is one chemical used for this, but regardless of your views on thinning agents in general, in a study this was found to be the worst of the options. Propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG) are used in nicotine e-liquids, and while there are some issues with these too, their carbonyl production is very low at settings you can practically use. However, people who prefer to avoid all of these chemicals can opt for a cartridge that uses terpenes to thin the oil instead.
CBD Topicals – What to Avoid
CBD topicals are lotions you apply directly to the skin, and as such there isn’t as much risk from specific ingredients as there is in vaping products. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to what you’re buying and what it contains, and there are a few things in particular you should look out for.
1. Artificial Colors
While the artificial colors that have been found to be dangerous have been banned (although there are more allowed in products in the US than in Europe, for instance), there is still basically no reason to have artificial colors in a cannabis topical. It adds nothing to the product other than color and there is a chance that some could still pose a risk over the long term. The solution to this is easy: choose products that list “no artificial colors” on the label or don’t include any in the ingredients. Alternatives from things like carrot, beetroot, paprika and turmeric add color in a completely safe way.
Again, most perfumes and fragrances that might be used in a topical are nothing to be concerned about, but there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the specific ingredients included. The issue is that the specific formulations are protected by trade law, so you can basically never find out what specifically is included. This is why it’s best to opt for topicals that use essential oils if you want something fragranced, because despite some issues with the industry, at least many essential oils tell you exactly what you’re getting.
Parabens are a common type of preservative used in cosmetics, but there are some concerns about their safety. They are believed to disrupt hormone production due to their similarity to estrogen, and there is some evidence to suggest that they could be linked to breast cancer. Whether this link is found to be genuine with further research is still up for debate, but if you’re looking for cannabis topicals, it makes sense to choose one of the many paraben-free options out there.
Note that the ingredients may list the name of a specific paraben, such as propylparaben, butylparaben or ethylparaben (you can still easily spot them because they have “paraben” at the end of the name).
Good Buying Practices for Cannabis and CBD Products
Looking out for specific ingredients in the product you’re buying is a good idea if you want to avoid potential risk, but generally you can do pretty well by following some more general guidelines.
- CO2 or solventless extraction is best for CBD: If you’re buying CBD products, look for CBD that uses supercritical CO2 or Whole Plant (Cold Pressed) extraction. As well as a pure extract, any residue from the manufacturing will be non-harmful.
- Choose American-grown hemp: While you might be able to find more affordable products from other countries, it’s much safer to use a product grown in the US because of established manufacturing standards.
- You should be able to view a lab report: On products with extracted cannabinoids, the company you buy from should conduct lab testing for potency and purity (heavy metals, residual solvents, pesticides) and make the information available to consumers.
- Don’t go for the cheapest option: Although following the above tips will likely accomplish the same thing, it’s a good idea to avoid the cheapest products you can find. Chances are, they’re grown overseas and likely don’t have the best quality control.
- Dosage should be clearly labeled: When you’re buying any cannabis product, you need to know how much you’re getting per ml or per edible. If your CBD oil or edible is vague about how much it actually contains, then it’s better to avoid it.
You always have to be careful as a consumer if you care about quality and safety, and shopping for CBD or cannabis products is no different. Thankfully, there are only relatively few ingredients you need to look out for – unless you’re vaping – and most companies are well aware of customer concerns around them, so it’s usually easy to find alternatives. In fact, if you’re careful enough about who you buy from, you can stay safe without even having to scrutinize full lists of ingredients.
CBD Oil Ingredients: What You Need to Know
Have you ever stopped to wonder what’s actually in that CBD oil you’re taking every day? I mean, hopefully the ingredients should be listed on the label, but let’s face it, do you really know what they all mean? Do you know what MCT oil is, for example? Or terpenoids? What about flavonoids or phytonutrients?
In this article, we break it all down for you part-by-part: everything you need to know with regard to the ingredients label on the back of your favorite CBD oil bottle, in one easy guide. (And hint hint: if there are more than two or three things on that label, you may want to start looking for a “new” favorite CBD oil…)
CBD Oil Ingredients: It’s All About the Oil, Baby!
Here’s the thing about cannabidiol (that’s the “scientific” name for CBD): it doesn’t work all that well as a pure isolate.
In fact, when 100% pure CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and dried out, it actually looks a little bit like table salt – a bland, white/clearish crystalline solid that might easily be mistaken for another, far more sinister type of drug.
The reason why pure CBD doesn’t work so great as an isolate all by itself is because it needs to be infused into an oil so the human body can absorb and metabolize it efficiently. If you were to eat a spoonful of 100% pure CBD extract, you would absorb a little bit of it, sure, but the majority of the active compound would simply be passed through the renal system and excreted as waste.
When CBD is consumed as an infused oil, though, things are totally different; because the actual cannabidiol molecule is fat soluble rather than water soluble, it has a high affinity for the lipid content that’s found in essential oils like coconut oil and olive oil. Basically, this means that the crystalline solid will readily dissolve and attach itself to the molecular compounds in the oil, at which point they can be absorbed – and eventually utilized – by the body.
This is why (other than the actual CBD, of course), a high-quality essential carrier oil is the most crucial ingredient to any oral cannabidiol tincture. However, as you’ll soon learn, not all oils are created the same.
What Are the Best Oils to Use for CBD?
The majority of CBD products, in case you didn’t know, are sourced from raw hemp plant material. Hemp is classified under the same species of plant as marijuana (they both belong to the family Cannabis), but the major exception is that hemp is the non-flowering male version of the herb, while marijuana is the flowering, THC-producing female “version.”
In any regard, it’s worth pointing out that the hemp plant actually produces a super high-quality essential oil from its seeds, that, in addition to being filled with therapeutic CBD, is chock-full of other beneficial health supplements like phytonutrients, phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
So you might be wondering, then, why do some manufacturers use coconut oil or olive oil as the CBD “carrier,” if the hemp plant itself produces a good oil?
Well, that’s actually a very good question, and is one that we’ve asked ourselves (and several CBD manufacturers) many times in the past. If you are going to be using a full-spectrum hemp extract, then why not just use the actual hemp seed oil itself as a carrier for the CBD?
Well, as it turns out coconut oil has some specific properties that many doctors and scientists believe aids in overall absorption and metabolism. This fractionated oil is called MCT oil.
Is MCT Oil in Hemp Oil Good for You?
There’s a lot of misunderstanding about MCT oil, so we’ll try and be as clear as possible here when describing why it’s used in CBD oil.
“MCT” itself is actually a natural extract from raw coconut oil, and it stands for medium chain triglycerides. Coconut oil has both “medium chain” and “long chain” triglycerides as part of its natural molecular componentry, but as we just mentioned there have been numerous studies that show MCT to be superior in terms of the efficiency of digestion. As such, a lot of health supplements (medicinal CBD tinctures included) have started infusing their products in MCT oils to try and market them as having “improved absorption,” or something of a similar sort.
What’s the catch?
But here’s the catch; separating the “MCT’s” from the “LCT’S” is not an easy process. In fact, it’s a very, very difficult process that involves highly technical instruments and a massive degree of chemical expertise. It’s assumed, in fact, that a decent majority of products labeled “MCT oil” are simply fractionated coconut oils. This doesn’t necessarily imply a good or a “bad” thing, it just simply just means that you may not be getting exactly what you think you’re getting when you see a label marked “MCT.”
In any regard, the primary reason all of use CBD oil anyway is for the healing effects of the cannabidiol compound — NOT for the enhanced digestive properties of the coconut oil extract. The bottom line, then, is whether your favorite CBD oil is infused in MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil, or some other type of oil carrier, it probably doesn’t make a great deal of difference. The main thing is that you’re using a quality-grade product that’s been extracted using supercritical CO2 methods, and contains no added chemicals, thinning agents, heavy metals, pesticides, or fertilizers.
Why Does My CBD Oil Say ‘Hemp Extract’ on the CBD Ingredients?
Another thing you’ve likely noticed on your CBD oil ingredients label is something that says “Hemp Extract,” or “Cannabis Extract.” Essentially what this means is that the oil is a full-spectrum blend, and contains active hemp compounds in addition to the therapeutic CBD.
A full-spectrum “hemp extract” CBD oil will contain all the natural hemp compounds like aromatic terpenes (which are highly beneficial in their right), flavonoids, omega acids, phytonutrients, and other phytocannabinoids like CBG and CBC.
The reason manufacturers put “hemp extract” on the ingredients label rather than listing each and every individual component is because, in all honesty, they probably don’t know exactly how much of each specific compound is in that exact hemp strain. As long as they label it “hemp extract,” their bases are essentially covered and you as the consumer know that you’re getting more than just your isolated CBD component.
However, it’s worth noting that oils containing “hemp extract” are actually a really good thing; several high profile studies have shown that CBD works much more efficiently in the presence of the “whole” cannabis plant, rather than by itself as an isolate, so it is actually advised to look for a full-spectrum blend rather than something that’s labeled, for instance, “99.9% Pure CBD isolate.”
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil Ingredients
Well, hopefully this article has helped in some way to better understand that confusing ingredients label on the back of your CBD oil or CBD vape juice. Basically, you can expect the best CBD oils to be made with one of three or four things: coconut oil (this is probably the #1 preferred carrier oil), MCT oil (this is just a natural fractionated version of coconut oil), olive oil, or raw hemp seed oil.
If the product that you’re using has anything else in the ingredients other than these things (and possibly some natural flavoring if you’re using a flavored oil tincture), then it’s advised you shop around for something else, because it’s probably not a truly “pure” cannabis product.
If you have any questions at all about what’s in your CBD oil, or would like us to recommend some high-quality CBD tinctures, then feel free to give us a shout either in the comments or on our Facebook page. Also, remember that there are still few regulations in the CBD and hemp industries. While hemp is legal under federal law as a commercial crop, hemp-derived CBD products are (as of the time of writing) not evaluated by the FDA.
CBD Oil Ingredients – How to Find a Quality Product?
CBD is a compound in a hemp extract, gaining popularity among people who appreciate natural solutions. However, when you think about competitive goods and cosmetics, it automatically becomes clear that it is hard to evaluate the ingredients if you don’t understand them. So how to find quality CBD oils? The answer is waiting for you in today’s entry!
CBD oil – is it safe?
To discuss the ingredients of any CBD oil, first, we want to make sure that you understand what it is and how it may affect your well-being and health.
Many people confuse CBD with marijuana and the mind-altering substance – THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). While the latter is psychoactive and can make you feel “high,” the cannabidiol present in the cannabis plant (CBD) doesn’t cause similar sensations.
In a nutshell, cannabidiol is an active chemical compound derived from the hemp plant. It interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system and is recognized as a potential solution for several medical conditions. According to one of the available studies, CBD may help with several issues.
Full-spectrum, isolate, and broad-spectrum CBD – what are they?
When selecting a CBD oil, it’s crucial to consider the abovementioned features, as they have an impact on the ingredients you can find in the oil, apart from the cannabidiol:
- Full-spectrum CBD – it contains all ingredients and compounds naturally found in hemp. However, don’t be afraid that the oil will make you feel intoxicated, as THC doesn’t exceed 0.2% of dry weight when talking about hemp-derived CBD products.
- Broad-spectrum CBD – this variant also comes with all compounds and ingredients naturally found in cannabis, except for THC.
- CBD isolate – it’s considered to be the purest variant, isolated from hemp extract. It also comes without tetrahydrocannabinol. Keep in mind that this form is usually scentless.
Flavonoids, cannabinoids, and terpenes – how to understand them?
Apart from CBD and THC, cannabis plants include cannabinoids and compounds called flavonoids and terpenes.
As mentioned above, cannabinoids interact with our endocannabinoid systems, ensuring that our nervous and immune systems work correctly.
Terpenes are believed to show properties that have a therapeutic impact on the body and boost our general well-being.
And last but not least, flavonoids (compounds also present in products like green tea or certain fruit types) are believed to prevent infections, inflammations and to improve immune response.
How to make sure that you buy quality CBD oil?
Now when you’re familiar with compounds and ingredients that you can find in a CBD oil, it’s time to determine how to verify the label to ensure that you buy a product tailored to your needs.
Below you’ll find a list of tips that should make the task easier:
1. Check if the label mentions CBD (cannabidiol). Remember that it might be listed as a hemp extract in some countries due to regulations.
2. Avoid products that include only hemp seed oil, Cannabis sativa seed oil, or hemp seeds. These aren’t interchangeable with CBD.
3. Double-check the ingredients to see if your selected product doesn’t include compounds you’re allergic to.
4. If you choose the full-spectrum variant, check the THC level to guarantee that it meets your requirements.
5. Check if your CBD comes with a COA (a document proving that the product is trustworthy, as it’s been tested by a trusted accredited laboratory).
6. In the case of full or broad-spectrum CBD oil, verify if it contains compounds like cannabinol (CBN), cannabidiol acid (CBDA), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabigerol (CBG).
Hopefully, now you can safely shop for a CBD oil, that will meet your expectations. To learn more, go to our entry: What is hemp oil?