The beneficial health effects of cannabidiol (CBD) oil are well-known and many of them are documented by scientific evidence. According to the available evidence, this oil can alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, prevent seizures and psychosis, treat skin conditions, or even kill harmful bacteria, either in humans or animals.
With the growing hype and research advances come more tolerant laws, and an ever-increasing market offer in terms of CBD-based products. However, and although CBD products have been legalized in many countries for medicinal use, acquiring pure and safe CBD oils isn’t always easy. Sometimes these products include other substances, like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which may have detrimental health effects and even cause some damage if taken long-term. Even if CBD can counteract some of the effects of THC, the best and safest option is always to choose a product that won’t present any danger to our health.
So, the question remains: how to choose the most appropriate and safe CBD oil?
1. Read the label
There are two different types of CBD oils: pure, or “full spectrum” (also known as “whole-spectrum”) oils. While pure oils only contain CBD, full spectrum oils contain other substances that are thought to aid in the therapeutic action of CBD.
Although the scientific evidence that currently exists regarding CBD effects is almost always conducted using pure CBD extracts and oils at (usually) high concentrations, there are experts who claim that full spectrum oils can boost CBD’s health benefits, and probably cause fewer interactions with other medications.
You can opt for CBD oils that contain substances other than CBD, such as terpenes, but pay close attention to what those substances are. If possible, choose a product that clearly states how much CBD is in a dose (not just the whole bottle), and how much is the content of other substances (if there are any).
For example, a high content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is not advisable (ideally, there shouldn’t be any in the mix), other phytocannabinoids that haven’t been properly studied, any unknown substances, additives, flavoring agents, thinning agents, solvents, pesticides, or others, need to be avoided as well.
Also, make sure the extraction method of CBD (in other words, the method that was used to extract the substance from its source) is clear and, if possible, choose a CBD oil produced using supercritical CO₂ extraction, which is thought to be the most efficient and non-toxic method for extracting CBD.
Always choose food-grade CBD oil. Also, if you have any doubts regarding a product’s label, ask all the questions you need and do your research thoroughly. Always make sure you understand what you’re buying and consuming.
2. Be aware of the dosage
If you don’t know how CBD will affect you, it’s always advisable to choose products with lower concentrations of CBD to begin with. After using the low-dose CBD oil for a while, take note on how you feel and what effects it’s having on your health.
If you’re not feeling the desired effects and assuming the product isn’t affecting you in any negative way, you can then choose to look for a product with a higher CBD dosage, check those effects, and so on; this is known as finding the “therapeutic dosage”. Never start with the highest dosage, work your way up to find the most appropriate dosage for your body.
3. Choose the most appropriate delivery method
Nowadays, CBD oil is available under many different forms, including capsules, sprays, drops, creams, balms, vaporizers, or even foods and drinks. The delivery method for CBD should be chosen according to the specific needs you may have, and how trusted the product manufacturer is.
The fastest way for the oil to be absorbed into your body is through the application of a few drops under the tongue (this is known as “sublingual delivery”), so this can be a useful method if you’re looking for a fast-acting effect.
If you have a skin condition, however, the best way to reach the affected area might be using a topical CBD cream (if the condition is external, i.e., superficial and not inside the body). But if you’re just looking for a way to softly introduce your body to CBD, taking capsules might be a good option.
However, even more important than the delivery method is the quality and safety of the product you’re acquiring.
4. Check the source
Knowing where your CBD comes from is very important. Usually, certified products from trusted distributors and manufacturers within the European Union are the safest option, since they’re put through rigorous quality testing.
If you can, find out where the plants were grown and how the CBD was extracted. Avoid buying shady products from unknown or untrusted sources, which may be using non-food grade CBD that can damage your health, or even contain other substances like THC, pesticides, solvents, or other contaminants.
Above all else, try to be informed about what CBD oil is, what it should or may contain, and how that relates to the results you’re trying to obtain. Also, do not buy from untrusted sources, even if the price is lower or the delivery method seems more convenient; what seems very convenient often comes at a higher price and may have detrimental effects on your health.