Healthspan staff September 03, 2018

We operate in a heavily regulated industry, with no room for misleading promises. Unfortunately, not all CBD sellers play by the rules. Here's what you need to know about CBD safety, as well as what to look out for when comparing products.

What is CBD oil?

Not to be confused with hemp seed oil, CBD oil comes from industrial hemp plants that have been bred to contain trace amounts of THC – the ingredient in the marijuana plant that’s associated with a so-called ‘high’. ‘Trace amounts’ of THC means an amount of THC so small that it has no psycho-active effects.

Is CBD bad for you?

The simple answer is "no". Because of its origin, CBD has developed a bad reputation, and is often associated with the drug ‘marijuana’.

However, CBD is an ingredient sourced from certain hemp plants that are bred to provide health benefits, not to provide a so-called 'high'. It’s only recently that research has emerged showcasing this nutritional supplement’s health benefits. Our aim is to spread the word to those who could benefit from CBD and its potential support for their health and wellbeing.

What you need to know before buying CBD

CBD sellers are popping up everywhere, some with product labels that are misleading and, at times, illegal. There are two rules to follow when comparing CBD products. First, the only figure that really matters is the milligram, or mg, figure, which shows you how much CBD is actually in the product you have bought. Of secondary importance is the percentage of CBD in the product, but this can still be useful for comparative purposes.

The second rule is that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Some manufacturers use misleading figures, described as 'whole plant extract', to describe CBD content. These figures are far larger than the product's actual CBD content, and are just not correct.

One study assessed the labelling accuracy of 84 different CBD products from 31 different companies, and found that 43% of products were under-labelled, 26% were over-labelled, and just 31% were accurately labelled. A study with a similar outcome actually prompted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to send warning letters to 14 businesses that were mis-labelling their CBD products.

It’s worth buying from a company that allows you to see a certificate of analysis showing the CBD and THC levels for each batch of product produced. That way you know for sure what’s in your CBD liquid or CBD capsules.

Checklist for buying CBD

  • Cannabis Trades Association: Buy CBD from a reputable supplier who is a member of the Cannabis Trade Association.
  • CBD percentages: Watch out for products advertising whole plant extract percentages of CBD, as opposed to the level of CBD in mgs in the product. Ideally - if you’re buying supplements - the mg per pack and the mg per capsule should be shown.
  • Packing information: Be wary of a supplier that doesn’t show the amount of CBD contained in the product on both their packaging and marketing materials.

Do not use CBD during pregnancy or if breastfeeding

For more answers to CBD questions, see our CBD FAQs.

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Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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