How is it made? Where does it come from? What is in it? Is it good quality?
It would seem that by now, everyone you know has recommended CBD in some shape or form to their family members. You might have suggested to your dad that he puts some CBD drops under his tongue to ease his back pain, or perhaps you asked your mum to take a couple of CBD capsules to help her with a recurring stomach ache. Either way, it is all the rage to get your granny to neck a daily dosage of CBD oil. Making it no surprise that CBD has quickly become the buzz abbreviation for a healthy lifestyle and the consumer market is reflecting exactly that.
There is a whole range of seed banks and health shops with a wide range of CBD products available to consume. It certainly is a buyers’ market when it comes to CBD, but can you be sure of what it is that you are getting?
What is CBD?
For those still in the dark about what it is, CBD was first discovered in 1940 and is the second most commonly found naturally occurring compound found in the Cannabis plant. There are 113 compounds, or cannabinoids, known in the cannabis plant and it is thought that there are more than 120 compounds in total.
Cannabidiol, to give it its full name, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that shouldn’t give you any ‘high’ or ‘trippy’ effect. The reason you may have been hearing about it is that it has consistently been shown in research to have a positive impact on a whole host of medical conditions, from anxiety to epilepsy.
Is all CBD safe to use?
The market gets what the market craves, and with demand comes supply. The current CBD market is being flooded with products, some qualitative and some less so. Therein lays the problem: how do you know if you are getting a safe CBD product or a phony one? You may know your CBD from your THC or your THCA, and you might already have a reliable retailer where you regularly buy from, but if you’re new to the subject you might want to think twice about picking up any old product with a CBD label on it.
If you do, you could end up with a product that is not quite what it’s made out to be. A common trick played by a minority of shady retailers is to advertise a higher concentration of CBD oil than they actually offer. So your bottle might say 10%, but it could, in fact, contain only traces of CBD or, in extreme cases, no CBD at all.
CBD regulations in the UK and Europe
There are many reasonable questions about the product that a first-time user of CBD might want to ask before buying. How is it made? Where does it come from? What is in it? Is it good quality?
A lot of those questions can be answered by the respective laws of the country you are buying it from. Using the UK as an example, CBD was officially recognized in late 2016 to have medicinal benefits. It has been reported that CBD can reduce epileptic seizures in children, and early animal studies have shown CBD to reduce anxiety and have anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition, there is much discussion taking place among people familiar with the subject about the potential of CBD to combat the side effects of living with neuro-diverse conditions such as Autism and Dyspraxia. In the UK, you can now freely discuss the use of CBD with your doctor, as it is classed a medicine.
This also means that any CBD sold in the UK should be subjected to the standards set by the UK’s medicines and healthcare products regulator. These regulations ensure that the products you buy in the UK, whether it is oil or capsules, are safe to consume and of good quality, as you buy them from reliable and trustworthy sources.
However, the same cannot be said for the rest of Europe. Indeed, CBD has not yet been singled out in the drug policies of any European country, and neither is it considered a controlled substance by any European state. Only the industrial production of hemp is regulated, not the products that are made from it. The fact that CBD is not considered a drug or controlled substance is certainly a good thing, but it doesn’t mean that it makes it easier for consumers to get safe quality CBD products. No regulation makes it difficult to check the quality of the products on the market.
On the upside, the lack of specific regulations per country is great, as the EU regulates the cultivation and sale of cannabis plants for hemp products based on the THC being less than 0.20%.
Interestingly, it could change the European farming landscape. Already, a large number of Italian farmers have either switched their crops to industrial hemp or are considering doing so. That law has also enabled many top-quality cannabis breeders with many years of expertise to legally experiment with legal hemp and create a fantastic wave of CBD-only strains, and a wide range of CBD products. What was once considered a ‘seed-only’ scene has become full of oils, gels, creams, sprays, shampoos, vapors and sweets, and they are all rich in CBD…or at least they are supposed to be.
On the downside, what’s not so great is that CBD products are not subjected to any standard regulation. This means that unlike in the UK, CBD products sold in the EU don’t have to be tested according to standards required for selling medicine. As a consequence, the risks of getting a low quality or phony CBD product are higher, as you may have unwittingly bought CBD from a shady or ill-informed retailer.
The problem with using fake or poor quality CBD oil
The UK appears to have foreseen the problem of an unregulated CBD market, and although the UK’s model of regulation doesn’t necessarily stop fake and unregulated products from arriving on the ‘black market’, it goes a long way to prevent consumers using a ‘black market’ source.
It also avoids cases like some of those reported in the USA. In states where CBD is still illegal, there have been reported instances of people using fake CBD oil and experiencing similar symptoms to that of synthetic cannabis (sometimes referred to as Spice or K2). Spice made its bad reputation as a legal high and it was marketed as an alternative to cannabis. The effects of synthetic cannabis have since been well documented.
In Utah, there were at least 50 reported cases of ‘poisoning’ caused by fake CBD oil usage. It left users experiencing ‘flashes of madness’ that are usually associated with Spice. Along with altered mental status, seizures, confusion, loss of consciousness, and hallucinations. Rest assured that all of those symptoms are inconsistent with the effects of actual CBD.
While many of the CBD producers produce high-quality high-end CBD products through years of hard work and expertise, the current lack of regulations allows the opportunity for products of varying quality, strength and, in some cases, safety to end up on the market. Therefore, before buying CBD, you should make sure to know that the industrial hemp used to make it has been cultivated free of chemicals and pesticides and that meticulous care has been taken when producing the CBD you are about to consume.
Amsterdam Seed Center
If you do a little bit of research or find a reliable online retailer, then you will soon weed out the cowboys from the kings. You can eliminate all of those concerns about the source and quality of the CBD product you are interested in by finding a trustworthy and knowledgeable retailer like Amsterdam Seed Center (ASC). We pride ourselves on building long-term relationships with our customers and sharing our many years’ experience for their benefit. We want to give them advice that they know they can trust.
ASC has a dedicated shop to CBD and it is packed to the brim with top quality CBD products. Those products come from companies and organizations that we know and that we trust. We regularly meet with our clients to learn about their products so we can stay one step ahead in providing the latest top quality CBD products on the market.
What we find exciting at the moment is that the CBD conversation is moving on from oils and creams a little bit, and the focus is being shifted onto CBD rich/dominant cannabis strains. We stock only top-quality genetics from the finest seed banks and breeders from around the world and now, after years of spoiling us with THC heavy strains, breeders are treating us to an abundance of CBD dominant strains.
The early days of breeding cannabis strains with no or little THC took on some heavy criticism about the quality of the plants being cultivated along with the taste and flavor of them. Breeders listened carefully and replied with lots of juicy flavorsome CBD strains that have been getting rave reviews from growers and end users. We are seeing first hand in the Amsterdam Seed Center that more and more growers are switching to CBD-dominant strains because of the wide-ranging benefits that CBD brings to their daily lives.
Although the risk of consuming fake or unregulated CBD products is becoming smaller due to the fantastic work of credible industry figures and organizations. Why take the risk of buying a counterfeit or poor quality product when you can deal with a team of people, like at Amsterdam Seed Center, that combined have decades of expertise and more importantly a desire to keep learning and keep loving what they do?
Words by Amsterdam Seed Centre