How to Choose the Best CBD Oil For You

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4 min read

CBD oil got a lot more accessible with the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill. The federal law included a provision to legalize hemp, which for decades hadn’t been distinguished from other cannabis plants. But hemp is different from marijuana, which contains THC, the chemical compound that makes someone feel high, and this recent distinction has opened the door for hemp growers across the country to capitalize on the popularity of CBD oil in the wellness world.

With CBD oil now being sold in mainstream drugstores (Walgreens and CVS recently announced their plans to add CBD oils to their offerings), it’s also inevitably about to get harder to find high-quality, ethically and sustainably sourced CBD products that you can trust. So how can you know if you’re getting a supplement that will actually work for you? We’ve got a breakdown of how to shop for the best CBD oil, in the midst of the pills, creams, tinctures and drinks on their way to the market now.

Choose Full Spectrum CBD Oil

Seek out full-spectrum CBD over the CBD isolate in many (cheaper) brands. The hemp plant itself contains hundreds of therapeutic compounds, from cannabinoids and terpenes, to flavonoids and amino acids, all of which work synergistically with your body to support your health. These compounds work best in unison because they activate each other. A full-spectrum CBD will contain a rich cannabinoid and terpene profile, while one that contains CBD isolate is stripped down to only a single molecule, which has fewer benefits.

Says Adam Grossman, founder and CEO of Papa & Barkley, “Our whole plant philosophy means using processes whereby the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes passes from the plant to our products—the exact same chemical profile.”

Why is that important? “We believe our whole-plant method, and using elements of this amazing plant, results in the most potent, efficacious and cleanest cannabis wellness products possible,” he continues.

Understand the Ingredient List

The other ingredients in a product’s formulation are just as important as the active ingredient. Make sure when you’re selecting a CBD product that you read the entire ingredient list and keep an eye out for potentially harmful synthetic chemicals (or even sugar!) that can undermine the quality. Preservatives are one piece to the ingredient puzzle, so make sure to keep an eye out for parabens and other synthetic preservatives that aren’t great for you.

Another piece is how the broad-spectrum oil is processed. Some companies use chemicals or solvents, including CO2 supercritical fluid extraction which produces a distillate, not a broad-spectrum product. Says Adam, “We do it without chemicals or solvents because we want to make the cleanest and healthiest products possible. Our proprietary lipid infusion technique is gentle and maintains all of the original terpenes, cannabinoids and phytonutrients present in the cannabis plant, unlike most other extraction methods.”

Look for Outside Research to Ensure Dosage and Potency

The industry is still so new and unregulated that companies that put their products through third-party testing are more likely to be trustworthy than companies that don’t. Papa & Barkley is one of the brands that has a Scientific Advisory Board that includes industry-leading researchers like Dr. Orrin Devinsky, who runs NYU’s Langone Center for Epilepsy research and ran the clinical trials supporting the FDA’s approval of CBD for severe childhood epilepsy.

Says Adam, “Being able to access Orrin and the other members of our SAB around new product development and testing is critical for Papa & Barkley to maintain thought leadership and be truly science-driven.”

The brand’s mission is to unlock the potential of cannabis to help people improve their lives, and the team does this by developing new and innovative products, through partnership with their Scientific Advisory Board.

The Papa & Barkley team also highly recommends looking for third party testing from companies such as CannaSafe. “Consumers can also ask the company about lab results of product testing and whether or not the company adds extra ingredients (and why),” says the Papa & Barkley team. “A company that lacks transparency is a not a good sign.”

Choose the Delivery Method That’s Right For You

The natural cannabinoids and phytonutrients found in cannabis plants communicate with CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system to help reduce aches, pains, inflammation and provide a feeling of overall wellness.

Says Adam, “We believe CBD is better for inflammation and full body wellness, and THC or THCa helps reduce the incidence and severity of pain.” That said, given the early state of the science, it’s difficult to make specific claims. Adam says they often suggest people try different products to find their “right ratio” of cannabinoids. And, just like any new treatment option you go after, it’s always a good idea to get the advice of a doctor if you have serious health issues and/or are taking medications.

The good news? So many types of people can reap the benefits of CBD—lots of adults have pain or anxiety. Older people who suffer from chronic pain is a big demographic, but millenials who work out a lot have pain and inflammation can benefit as well, says Adam.

Interested in learning more about CBD? Read our round-up of products to try now, and come check out Papa & Barkley at WELL Summit on October 18 and 19 in Brooklyn.

About The Author

Nicolle Mackinnon

Nicolle Mackinnon

Stemming from her personal journey to treat her celiac disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Nicolle serves as a writer and editor for several leading publications helping women understand how important, stylish and fun it is to commit to clean beauty. By way of her contributions to No More Dirty Looks, Thoughtfully Magazine and numerous beauty brands' blogs, websites and social media, Nicolle has become a trusted voice on the correlation between health and beauty. Follow her journey on Instagram and connect with her via nicollemackinnon.com.

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