Before we delve into how to spot fake CBD products and low quality CBD oils, we think it’s a good idea to respond to the following question: why do you need to be careful about fake CBD? Why are you, as a consumer, at risk of coming into contact with low quality CBD products? Well, the answer is simple…
Since 2019, the CBD industry has soared. Brands and products continue to pop up from one week to the next, all over the country, offering consumers a wide range of solutions (like our CBD product bundles for the active lifestyle), consumption methods, product flavors and potency levels. Exponential industry growth has, quite simply, provided the perfect breeding ground for low quality CBD products, which means it’s important for you to learn how to spot them.
So, let’s take a look at what you can do to protect yourself…
Have you asked to see the COAs?
All CBD consumers should learn how to tell if CBD oil is real or not. Why? Because regulations change from state to state and the controls to detect poor quality oils doesn’t match the standards in place in established industries. In particular, consumers should be wary of cheap, synthetic CBD.
While all CBD brands should run third-party lab tests, to accurately check for cannabinoid content levels, synthetic components, contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides, and other plant compounds, the sad fact is that not all brands comply. Therefore, before you buy, ask the brand to show you their third-party lab results, or their Certificates of Analysis (COAs).
Any brand that doesn’t want to share third-party lab results with you is a brand to avoid. Short and simple.
Do you know where the CBD was sourced?
As a consumer, you are completely within your right to ask questions related to the origin of the product. We encourage you to find out where the CBD was sourced, how it was extracted, how it was processed, how it was purified, and how the end product was finally manufactured and packaged for consumer enjoyment. You can also ask questions about where the hemp was grown and the cultivation methods used.
Research into the brand, ask about synthetic cannabinoids and avoid brands that make CBD health claims. It’s commonly accepted that CBD has inflammatory properties and that it helps the human body to relax by interacting with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, but when a brand claims that CBD cures cancer, for example, it’s best to disregard their products.
Have you read the product label?
Pay attention to detail when reading the product label. All CBD products are required to display levels of CBD on their labels in mg (milligrams). The level in mg refers to the concentration of CBD contained in the product. You can learn more about understanding CBD potency here.
Again, any product that doesn’t list the CBD content in mg on its label should be avoided. Feel free to report those brands who don’t comply to the FDA.
What kind of visual checks can you make as a consumer?
All CBD extracts undergo a filtering process. It’s this process that determines the color of the oil and, in general, there are four CBD oil colors (and some shading therein) that you can expect to find: green, greenish brown, light gold, and almost transparent.
Raw CBD oil doesn’t go through any kind of processing or filtration, which is why the end product is a green, viscous oil.
Decarboxylated CBD is slightly heated after extraction, which turns it into a greenish-brown oil.
Filtered or distilled CBD oils are even further refined, resulting in a light gold liquid that boasts a higher concentration of CBD, but a lower concentration of terpenes and other cannabinoids. The CBD tinctures we offer at GetEVOKE are distilled CBD oils with high concentrations of CBD.
And then there’s CBD isolate, which is the purest form of CBD possible. Isolates are highly refined and then mixed with a base oil, like coconut or MCT oil. CBD isolates are almost transparent, very light and fluid.
What are the side effects of fake CBD oils?
Fake CBD oil, cheap CBD oil, synthetic CBD, or CBD oil that hasn’t been duly tested by a third-party lab, could generate some fairly nasty side effects. In particular, pesticides, molds, bacteria, aflatoxins, and heavy metals can make us violently sick.
Fake CBD oils can sometimes include high levels of THC that can cause hallucinations and anxiety attacks. Alcohol-based solvent residue, such as ethanol residue, is unsuitable for human consumption, but can linger in poor quality CBD oils after the extraction process and end up in the hands of the consumer if not sufficiently reviewed and regulated.
Does CBD Oil Expire?
Before bringing this blog to a close, it’s a good idea to run over how to know when CBD oil has expired. Yes. CBD, like any other perishable product, does expire, but when it expires depends on the type of CBD oil.
CBD isolates, for example, are highly filtered and then added to the base oil. They’re similar in many respects to any kind of household oil you may happen to have on your kitchen shelf. Like olive oil, or coconut oil, or sunflower oil, you can expect your CBD isolate to last for one to two years without any problems.
But if you have a full-spectrum CBD oil, a whole plant oil, or a raw CBD oil, then your product is less refined and made up of more plant materials and organic compounds. It’s best to make sure you use these oils within a period of six months, once opened.
REMEMBER… Follow the instructions on the product label, ask to see the COA, and if neither are made available to you without any problems, don’t buy the product.