The U.S. passed the Farm Bill in 2018, which means that hemp extract is now legal and the hemp industry is booming. But with so little regulation, it can be difficult to know what you are getting and to know where to start if you are looking to buy full spectrum hemp extract.
Before you start shopping, you should understand a few basics about hemp products. Full spectrum hemp extract comes in many forms. You can use a tincture, which is ingested orally or absorbed through the gums, a salve, which is used topically on the skin, or you can find a variety of hemp enriched food products.
Whether you are hoping to use hemp extract to treat yourself or your pets, there are a few things you should keep in mind to find the right hemp products for you.
- Choose products that are labeled and contain full spectrum hemp extract, organically grown in the U.S. as outlined in the Farm Bill and containing detectable levels of THC (within the legal limit of 0.3 percent or less). Unlike broad spectrum, isolates, or synthetic cannabinoids, full-spectrum hemp oil contains an array of cannabinoids, as well as many essential vitamins and minerals, fatty acids, protein, chlorophyll, fiber, flavonoids, and terpenes. The products should contain at least 5 mg per serving of Cannabidiol (CBD) to have a meaningful effect. Higher concentrations of CBD per serving typically indicate products that not only have greater efficacy but are also more cost effective. You may need to refer to lab certificate to verify the amount of CBD because the FDA does not allow CBD to be listed on labels.
- Products should be made using super critical CO2 extraction, preferably from the flower, which will yield the richest compounds of the plant (cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids). Try to avoid products which use oil produced using butane or ethanol for extraction.
- Products should have a COA (Certificate of Analysis), produced by a third-party laboratory, which is up to date and matches the batch number or other unique identifier on the product package (e.g. QR Code). Certificates should be easily found on the manufacturer’s website for each product. This will verify that they are full spectrum products by the presence of cannabinoids other than CBD, as well as detectable amounts of THC. Lab certificates or COAs should also indicate that the products don’t contain any harmful pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, metals, or chemicals. The presence of any residual solvents may indicate that the product was NOT CO2-extracted.
- Check the bioavailability/absorption rate of product. Administering tinctures/oils sublingually (via the gums) is the most effective and efficient way to get the medicine into the bloodstream. Capsules and treats are not nearly as effective. MCT oil (made from coconut) and/or hemp seed oil in the product will improve the absorption rate. The emulsification of the oil when it’s produced also impacts the absorption rate. The more the oil is emulsified, which results in reduced molecule size, the faster and more effectively the end product will be absorbed into the blood stream.
- Check ingredients on the manufacturer’s website, in marketing literature, and on the product packaging to ensure the product does not contain any unnecessary or potentially harmful ingredients. Ingredients to avoid include artificial flavoring, sweeteners such as Stevia or Xylitol, preservatives, and fish or krill oil.
- Research the company and choose a product developed specifically for pets by a medical cannabis expert with the oversight and support of a veterinarian. Look for reviews by customers who have tried the products, as well as any case studies, to substantiate the efficacy of the products. The latest clinical research on full spectrum hemp extract medicine and pets can be found at angelaardolino.com/petcbdresearch.
Product labels will tell you much of what you need to know, but you may need to visit each company’s website to find out about extraction and manufacturing practices along with their current COA’s from a third-party laboratory. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Quality Full Spectrum Hemp CBD is not cheap. You probably won’t ever find high-quality, full spectrum hemp CBD in 550-1100 mg for less than $50. If you do, make sure to check the third-party lab testing.
To learn more about choosing the right CBD, visit www.cbddoghealth.com
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years, and operates a rescue farm in Lutz, Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. Angela has five dogs, plus 4-10 at any time that she is fostering or boarding; visit www.angelaardolino.com for more information.