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You’ve decided to start adding CBD into your wellness routine – congratulations! You’ve probably read about the benefits or know someone who already uses CBD and has recommended it.
CBD products are booming in the UK, which is excellent. It also poses a challenge for consumers who have so many brands to choose from for their first CBD experience. There is a lot of information to take in—a lot of terms to know. A lot of claims are being made.
Unfortunately, people end up wasting money on low-quality or non-existent CBD oil when they’re going in blind. That’s why it’s so important to know what to look for when you want to buy CBD products in the UK.
We're here to help you know what to look for when purchasing CBD products so that you can find a brand you know you can trust.
THC Levels in Oil
The first step is to make sure you're following the law. Laws in the UK say that any CBD product must have less than 0.2% THC contained in them; this is because THC has psychoactive properties that aren't allowed. Products made from hemp like CBD oil have only trace amounts.
Work Within Your Budget
The price range in the world of CBD is vast, which makes choosing a product even more difficult.
Like with other products you purchase, CBD will cost more if it’s of higher quality, has quality ingredients, is organically grown, at a higher concentration of CBD, and if they use safe extraction methods.
You should be cautious of products that are priced low. Although it could be tempting if you’re just starting with CBD, you also need to be sure you’re taking something safe. To cut costs, some CBD oil producers may use dangerous additives. Don’t break the bank with your first purchase, but do make sure you’re buying a high-quality product.
Company Reliability and Reviews
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Look out for brands that make sweeping health claims with their CBD, like their product can cure everything. CBD has wellness benefits, but making unsubstantiated medical claims is irresponsible and should make you warry.
Brands need to be open with all of their info available online.
A great way to learn more about the brand is to look for reviews. Some have them right on the website where people review their products. You can always do a quick Google search to see if they’re products have been reviewed by outside sources or publications.
If they have social media pages, look for reviews or comments on their posts. If there are any negative comments or reviews, look at how the brand responds. You can't please every single person, and social media is the place where people feel free to complain openly. A company that responds quickly, honestly and in a professional way is usually a good sign.
What Type of CBD is Being Used
When you’re looking for some great CBD oil, make sure you know the difference between the types of CBD extract that is being used. It's important to know this terminology so you can understand what you're getting when you're purchasing CBD.
CBD isolate:This only includes CBD and is the purest form of naturally occurring CBD. It usually comes in a ‘crystal’ like form. This form of CBD is 99% pure.
CBD Distillate: This is a pure cannabis extract that is taken from high CBD hemp flower and hemp biomass. It's one of the purest forms of CBD and contains more than 80% CBD from hemp. We use CBD distillate at Amphora for the benefits created when all the compounds of the plant work together.
Full Spectrum CBD Oil: Full-spectrum CBD extract contains all of the beautiful natural elements found in the cannabis plant including CBD, other cannabinoids, essential oils, terpenes and flavonoids. It also has only small amounts of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. The THC will be no more than 0.2% in full-spectrum CBD oil to be legal in the UK.
Broad Spectrum CBD oil:This type of oil has a lot of the compounds from the plant such as essential terpenes and oils, but THC has been removed. Broad Spectrum CBD is the kind to go with if you want to get the benefits of different parts of the plant and not just the CBD. Amphora uses this type of oil for our products, because of the added benefits of the plant compounds working together without the THC.
Certificate of Analysis (COA) and Third-Party Testing
One of the best ways to tell if the brand you’re looking to buy your CBD from can be trusted is through a certificate of analysis. It’s probably one of the most important details you should look for.
Search for the certificate of analysis on the company's website. A COA means that a third-party outside of the company has tested its product and deemed that it follows best practices and standards. At Amphora we list all of our certificates of analysis right on our site so we can be transparent. This testing helps to verify that it doesn’t contain any contaminants or psychoactive elements.
If you can't find it on the website, reach out to the brand and see if they can provide it to you. If they can't – you should probably buy your CBD products elsewhere. If there is no certificate of analysis, you have no way of knowing if the product is safe or what exactly is in it. It should make you pause and think if a brand isn’t being transparent.
The way a brand chooses to extract CBD from the plant to make the oil is essential to know because it affects the quality of CBD you’re going to be buying. Because of the increasing demand for CBD producers are coming up with new and more efficient ways of extracting large amounts of CBD at a time. This process is exciting but should also make you a bit cautious when choosing your CBD product. You want to make sure you're not getting CBD oil that extracted with anything that could be dangerous or take away from the quality of the CBD.
Carbon Dioxide Extraction
This type of extraction uses pressurized carbon dioxide to separate CBD oil from the plant in a highly concentrated form. They’ve used this method in food industries like coffee or herbal supplements like essential oils. One of the reasons producers like to use this method is because they say it provides a cleaner product.
The way this type of extraction works is that one chamber holds pressurized CO2 and the other has the plant material. The CO2 is turned into a liquid and is then pumped into the plant material. This process causes the oil to separate from the plant material. The CO2 and oil are pumped together into another chamber where the gas evaporates to create CBD oil.
Solvent Extraction is one of the faster ways to extract CBD and more cost-effective. A solvent is used to separate CBD and terpenes from the plant through decarboxylation.
Determining which solvent to use is crucial because it can affect the CBD. IPA is a good option because it has multiple medical uses and is considered to be safe.
Bioavailability is all about how you want to experience CBD – how fast you want to feel the effects and how long you want it to last.
CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is responsible for creating balance in our bodies. If we feel pain, it kicks into action to try and react to that feeling within the body.
The ECS responds to cannabinoids from outside of the body – including CBD. While research is still trying to figure out the exact way CBD interacts with ECS, they do know that it stimulates the system and helps with homeostasis.
Bioavailability is how quickly that CBD starts to interact with the ECS, and it all depends on how you decide to take it. That is why it's vital to consider what bioavailability you want in your CBD product.
Vaping has the highest bioavailability and gets that CBD into your system quickly because it enters the bloodstream through the lungs within 5 to 15 minutes.
Taking CBD edibles would have a low bioavailability because it has to go through your digestive system and be broken down by your liver before it enters the bloodstream. The first effects can sometimes take up to two hours to feel, but they do last longer.
When you're buying CBD, think about how the product would best fit with your lifestyle. Are you someone who is comfortable vaping or would you prefer popping a capsule? It's up to you!
Vaping is an excellent option because of the convenience of it and the bioavailability. Vapes are sleek and can fit easily into a carrying case, backpack or purse. You will also feel the effects fast and can use a discrete method of taking CBD.
CBD capsules are also a convenient way to take CBD. It will enter your bloodstream slower but last longer. You can always pop one in the morning and then feel the effects throughout your day.
We hope this guide helped answer some questions about what you should be looking for when you are buying your CBD in the UK. The most important thing is that the brand you choose is transparent about their product and what is in it.
Choosing your go-to brand is exciting! Once you find one you can trust, you can explore CBD and its benefits confidently and make sure you’re getting the very best of CBD to help with your overall wellness.
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD oil.
Contributors | Angus Taylor + Dr Gaylord Wardell
IPI is a pharmaceutical ingredient company that cultivates cannabis strains curated to extract specific cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids for the formulation of effects-based health and wellness products. Angus is an experienced public speaker, engaging stakeholders, governments and media. Angus was the co-founder of NewLeaf Cannabis, Canada’s most successful retail brand to date, and has been established as a well-known and recognized expert in the field.
Dr Wardell is a practising physician with over 40 years of clinical and educational experience in pain management, medical practices and education. Dr Wardell is past President of the Pain Society of Alberta, and current President of the Alberta Medical Association, section of Pain. He is a popular public speaker, an active blogger on medical and pain-related issues, and proponent for scientific validation for patients experiencing pain.
Infused Amphora “Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.