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Skeptical about CBD? You should be. Here’s why not all CBD products are created equal.
by Amy Kamin Oct 06, 2020
We are more conscious than ever about what we put into (and onto) our bodies. From organic to gluten-free to vegan and clean labeling, the food industry embraced informative labeling years ago—with regulation from the Food & Drug Administration—in an effort to educate and sell consumers on the superiority of the ingredients in their products. So why should you be skeptical of products claiming to contain CBD?
Not All CBD Products Are Created Equal
All That Glitters Might Be Mold.
A 2017 UC Davis study looked at 20 medical marijuana samples taken from northern California. Among those samples, they found a concerning amount of bacteria and fungi. Some were types that one would normally acquire from hospital exposure or other extreme cause of invasive fungal infections. Pathogens like these pose an increased risk to folks with suppressed immune systems. Like a California man who died from exposure to mold in his medical marijuana that same year.
Unlike medical marijuana, hemp-derived CBD is a federally unregulated product. This means that new brands are free to pop up every day. These companies have no obligation to test their products for actual cannabidiol (CBD) content, consistency among batches, or even safety (metals, solvents, etc.)
It’s completely possible to test an average bottle of CBD oil only to discover a greasy concoction of mold, pesticides, heavy metals, and dangerous chemicals. And in some cases, it may not have any CBD in it at all. Snake oil.
In 2017, Steep Hill, an independent cannabis testing laboratory, found that out of “124 [cloned Cannabis Sativa plants from California] that were tested, only 17 (13.7%) showed no detectable pesticides” and “only 22.6% passed the current California Cannabis Regulations for Pesticide Thresholds in market-ready cannabis” AKA “not fit for human consumption.”
Steep Hill’s analysis came as companies swore publicly their plants were fully organic and never sprayed with pesticides or chemicals. So why did the chemical test say something different?
Consumers may not know, most cannabis plants used for production are cut and cloned from “mother” plants. This ensures they contain the same DNA and desired amount of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids across the crop. However, if the mother plant absorbs chemicals and heavy metals from the water or soil, or sprayed with pesticides during cultivation, those same chemical materials will naturally breed into any clones created from her.
Which is exactly what happened. While the cloned plants grown by these companies were raised organically, without the addition of pesticides or contaminated water or soil, the plants they came from were not. They were actually (however inadvertently) selling a dangerous product.
But how is anyone supposed to know what is really in their bottle of CBD oil? Unfortunately, without federal regulation on labeling, we must rely on the rigor and honesty of CBD companies to give accurate information. To no one’s surprise, few are willing to be so transparent.
“The FDA does not require CBD product manufacturers to list any ingredients whatsoever.”
In 2018, researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University analyzed the liquid found in a popular brand of CBD e-cigarettes. And while the product labels claimed only “100% natural CBD extracts,” they actually discovered dextromethorphan (DXM)—an addictive, psychoactive chemical normally found in cold medicine—and 5F-ADB, a dangerous synthetic cannabinoid.
Some additives like those above are intentional. Often this is either to reduce costs by diluting the actual cannabis content or to give the user a greater feeling of “something happening” in their bodies when they consume the product. While other additives, such as flammable solvents butane, and propane, are discoverable in trace amounts simply because of their contact with the hemp oil during the extraction process.
Most of the time, the product label does not list these ingredients. In fact, the FDA does not require CBD product manufacturers to list any ingredients whatsoever. So as long as some amount of CBD is discoverable in their formula, they may claim “pure CBD,” “100% CBD,” “broad-spectrum CBD”, “full-spectrum CBD” etc. anywhere on their packaging and marketing.
The Dark Side of “White-Labeling.”
Then there is the practice known as “white-labeling.” This is when CBD brands will source their hemp oil from a variety of farms and manufacturers who each sell the exact same product to other brands. So that even if you’re consistently ordering the same CBD oil from the same company month after month, it’s unlikely you’re actually getting the same product every time.
The problem is that the FDA does not require brands to tell anyone any of this. The entire CBD market takes advantage of the “use at your own risk” government stance. And the clueless-but-rightfully-desperate consumer to build their “health-based wellness” platform. This is increasingly problematic if the brand values profit over ethics!
Quality and consistency are everything to us at Equilibria. And we don’t take our commitment lightly. From seed to soil to harvest to extraction and formulation, our CBD is purpose-built to deliver therapeutic benefits. Each batch is traceable back to our own vertically integrated, tightly controlled systems.
Grown by our bioscience team with 30+ years of experience in seed genetics, our exclusive CBD products feature 3-4 times more cannabinoids & terpenes than most of the products on the market.
Cultivated in Sun and Soil
Our industrial hemp is grown and cultivated underneath the sun and sky of Colorado. Enriching the plant with Vitamin D and improving cannabinoid and terpene retention. And we enrich the naturally fertilized soil with local well water, without additives.
Hand-Harvested and Cleanly Extracted
All our organic, full-spectrum hemp oil is carefully harvested from flowers only, the purest source of cannabinoids and terpenes. We never use stalks, stems, seeds, or isolates. To fully respect the integrity of our high-quality harvest, our extraction process uses state-of-the-art technology from Europe. Called advanced phytonic extraction, inspired by the luxury essential oil industry.
Our CBD is fully traceable from our 1,100-acre farm to your doorstep. No recombinants. No fluff. And no fillers, no middlemen.
Each batch of Equilibria CBD is sent to a third-party lab for independent testing, and you can see the report in our publicly available lab results.
“We choose to follow all the strict farming practices that a medical marijuana farm would use—not because we have to, but because we choose to.”
While Equilibria is not the only vertically integrated company (with full traceability back to the seed), it is extremely rare. In addition to insisting on consistency and transparency, we choose to follow all the strict farming practices that a medical marijuana farm would use—not because we have to, but because we choose to.
Since the vast majority of brands out there simply purchase CBD as a white-labeler, they can’t tell you every single step the CBD has been through—from genetics/ botany lab and planting to harvesting, extraction, and formulation.
We, on the other hand, put a lot of care into every single step.
From taking the time to choose only the best plants to the water we use (well water directly from our land), to the fact that our crop is sun-grown (making for happier plants), to the fact that we handpick only the hemp flowers (the highest content of cannabinoids and terpenes).
Everything we do at Equilibria is with an eye towards getting the best product possible. Additionally, as a completely vertically integrated company, we get a level of consistency that most companies simply do not. We provide an extremely consistent product, batch after batch.