With all the thousands of companies manufacturing CBD and looking to make a quick buck by riding the CBD wave, so many companies have abandoned important quality control practices that make it safe to consume dietary supplements. With a product like CBD, which has so many stops before it makes it to the shelf, there are many ways that companies can cut corners to save costs of manufacturing while sacrificing the quality of the final product. While there are different ways to cultivate, extract, formulate and test that
It all starts with the raw material. In this case, we (Twinlab) use organic, Non-GMO seeds grown sustainably in Europe. The farmers that we partner with have an 80-year history of growing hemp and other crops so they have effectively perfected the art of growing and cultivation. While there are many factors that go into the cultivation of hemp, the main thing that consumers want to look for here is organic, non-GMO hemp that is harvested and cultivated responsibly.
Since CBD is just 1 phytocannabinoid of over 100, and there are over 500 plant compounds within the hemp plant, the phytocannabinoids need to be extracted using an array of different methods. I won’t bore you with the science and specifics of how these phytocannabinoids are extracted, but they are typically extracted using solvents like Ethanol. The problem with using solvents is they leave trace residues that are harmful for human consumption. Twinlab uses a “critical CO2” extraction. Instead of using harmful solvents, carbon dioxide is used which leaves no trace residue to be found. This is considered to be the best method of extraction to date.
3rd Party Testing:
Once the hemp oil is extracted from the raw material, it is encapsulated and sent for 3rd party testing. Once it arrives to the testing facility, researchers and scientists will test the material for Phytocannabinoid content, THC content, heavy metals, pesticides, microbials, moisture and sometimes even terpenes and flavonoids. Essentially, this testing is done for two reasons: first, to ensure what the product says on the label is actually in the product, and to test for harmful trace chemicals and residuals. This step should always be completed by a 3rd-party testing facility and not the company that is marketing the product. The easiest way to check if a product is tested is to request a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from the company. This is basically a resume of the product with summaries on all the different factors that the product was tested for. This is a fantastic way to make sure the company that you’re buying from is accountable. Twinlab includes a QR code on every bottle that can be scanned by any smartphone camera for direct access to our COA’s.
Unfortunately, these processes are not required by law because the FDA is still determining the legal pathways to market and sell CBD. It seems that CBD is a free-for-all, so for now, consumers who are looking to buy CBD need to educate themselves and keep companies accountable.