How to Choose the Best CBD Oil for You: The Ultimate Guide
Shopping for CBD oils isn’t at all a walk in the park, especially when you’re buying your first. We understand that today’s market is littered with substandard CBD products, so it’s high time we put up a definitive guide for choosing the best CBD oils. Our ultimate guide is packed with tested and proven methods that'll get you the best product on the market. So, if you’re looking for CBD tips that works, you’re in the right place.
Establish A Buying Criteria
Because of the rampart growth of CBD-infused products, you’d be surprised to see a lot of CBD oils and other CBD-based items. You can just drop dough and try all the products on the market but a more practical means of selecting the best CBD oil is by setting a buying criterion. Whether you’re getting topical CBD oils, sublingual CBD oils, or vape CBD oils, a buying criterion lets you compare and contrast your options instead of choosing on a whim.
Here are examples of what to look for when shopping for a CBD oil product.
- Ease of Use
Let’s dive into each line item so we can identify the importance of every criteria.
Remember, these are just the basic (but some of the most important) criterion so feel free to add your own yardstick for a more tailor-fit result.
Taste refers to the overall flavor of the CBD oil. Some, value taste over anything else while others simply see it as an inconsequential upshot.
Taste and flavor make CBD oil more palatable. CBD oils often have a recognizable grassy and earthy aftertaste.
Flavored CBD oils are great options for individuals who want to hide the natural taste of the plant matter where their CBD oil is extracted from.
For many CBD oil consumers, including myself, price plays a huge role in decision making as well as in purchase planning.
It’s best to consume within your means, but remember that the price often determines the quality of the product.
Efficacy and Ease of Use
Both these factors diversify CBD oil consumption altogether.
Let me give you an example, capsules will be easier to ingest compared to vaporizing vape oils, but… vape oils will have faster efficacy than capsules.
Knowing which works for you is the key.
Ease of use and efficacy determines your consumption patterns and usage habits.
It’s the most important factor to consider when setting a buying criterion.
Concentration tells you how much CBD is in your product allowing you to assess its value, strength, and virtue.
Keeping these in mind will help you make an informed decision rather than an expensive mistake.
It’s best to make a note of what you want and need before you start shopping.
- Grab a pen and a paper.
- Select the appropriate criteria (depending on your need) and write them down.
- Go to your local dispensary or browse your favorite online shop.
- Use your list as reference before you make a purchase.
Alright, so that’s a start.
Now let’s get to some CBD oil specific tips…
Select an Appropriate Dose of CBD
All CBD-infused and CBD-based products come in various doses and concentrations. Higher doses of CBD will generally have more distinct and noticeable effects so it’s best to determine a certain CBD dose you’ll be comfortable in. Depending on your need and on your purpose, you can work your way up to higher dosages or you can maintain a particular dosage of CBD. Here are a few tips that’ll help you find and manage your appropriate CBD dose.
Check Product Information
- Check the external packaging of the product.
- If not found, check manufacturer’s website.
- If still not found, contact dispensary or manufacturer.
Assume A Desired Effect
When taking CBD oils, it’s best to set a goal in mind.
Assuming a desired effect will help you check and validate the efficacy of your current CBD dosage.
Once you’ve reached your desired result it’s best to maintain that dosage of CBD.
- Find something you can write on – a paper or any device with a notepad application.
- Start using your CBD oil in small amounts.
- Write the time and the quantity of CBD oil you consumed.
- Work your way up and repeat the same step until such time you achieve your desired result.
- Refer to your list to know how much CBD oil you need.
- Should you require a different effect, repeat the same process to identify the correct dosage.
CBD oils contain very little to no psychoactive ingredients so you can safely increase your dosage depending on the tolerance you can build.
Please note that CBD will have increased results when consumed consistently. It may take a while for your body to adjust to its active ingredients.
Like medicine and dietary supplements, take your CBD oils for 5 to 7 days to experience the full effects of the product.
One of the best ways to manage CBD dosage when medicating is to ask for recommendation.
If you’re looking to casually use CBD oils, ask a buddy out how much dosage they consume in a day.
Or you can…
Talk to Your Physician
You can always talk to your doctor about your CBD medication, make sure to consult your physician when having difficulties identifying the proper CBD dosage.
Different CBD products will have varying standards in measuring CBD dosage.
Some manufacturers use the measurement system “mg.” while others use the “%” symbol.
Your physician can help you decide which dosage is best for you.
Here are some useful tips to consider:
- Look for an appropriate schedule before you book an appointment – you don’t want to just drop by and leave.
- Write down questions you want to ask beforehand.
- Write down any known allergic reactions and discuss them with your doctor.
- Write down desired effect.
- Ask your doctor’s advice on a recommended dosage for your goal.
Once you’ve put your finger on it, here’s what you can do next…
Select the Best Delivery Method
You’ll notice that the market has no shortage of CBD-infused products. It’s exciting to have variety although it can also be overwhelming. So before you plunge into the deep, its best to look at what each product has to offer. Here are some of the most popular CBD oil forms.
- Vape Oils
These products have many applications.
Taken in small doses, it’s oftentimes applied orally or added to beverages and food. Here’s how you do it.
- With a dropper, take small amounts of CBD tinctures.
- Drop CBD tincture to your food or beverage.
- Mix until tincture is dissolved.
Because of its concentrated form, a small glob of CBD tinctures can help you go a long way.
Make sure you dose your food appropriately, consult a dispensary attendant or a physician to help you get your right CBD dosage.
Another way to use CBD tinctures is through sublingual application.
Place a drop of CBD tincture under your tongue and hold it for about a minute. It’ll take roughly 15 minutes for the tincture to take effect.
So, why 15 minutes?
That’s because sublingual consumption involves the absorption of the tincture through the membrane under your tongue and through your sublingual artery.
The active ingredients will travel to the external carotid artery, passing your internal carotid artery, and finally reaching your brain.
The whole process will take about 15 minutes until your brain signals your body that the tincture has finally taken effect.
The effects of CBD tinctures will last anywhere between 2 to 6 hours, depending on the concentration.
They’re easy to use and are easier to dose with.
However, if you want fast acting results you might want to try vape oils.
CBD vape oils are a special kind of CBD product which can be used with vaporizers.
Vaporizers use a heating element which then turns the CBD vape oils into vapor.
Most CBD Vape oils can be taken orally, although inhaling vaporized CBD vape oil has faster effects.
When ingested, your body takes the tedious process of breaking down the active ingredients.
On the other hand, active ingredients from the vapor are absorbed by the lungs, directly transferred to your bloodstreams, straight to your brain.
And it doesn’t stop there.
It’s also believed that sending CBD down your gut reduces its efficacy.
The amount of CBD sent to your bloodstream is decreased when taken orally.
That’s why CBD vape oils are preferred by advanced users who demand faster results and more potent effects.
Don’t worry, if you’re not familiar with vaporizers and vape oils, we’ve prepared simple and easy steps you can follow.
But first, a few things to remember.
- Almost all CBD oil compatible vapes come with cartridges to keep your CBD oil.
- Some cartridges are pre-filled while some are refillable.
- CBD oil vapes are oftentimes straightforward devices with a one-button control.
- Some CBD oil vapes are draw activated.
Here’s how you do it:
- Secure a fully charged vape battery.
- If you’re using a refillable cartridge, load CBD vape oil to the oil cartridge. If you’re using a pre-filled cartridge, proceed to the next step.
- Connect cartridge to the battery.
- Turn vaporizer on and start vaping.
Infused salves and other CBD topicals offer a more targeted approach.
Unlike tinctures and vape oils, topicals can be applied directly to where your body needs it.
It also bypasses your body’s need to digest the product making for a faster means of achieving its therapeutic benefits.
CBD topicals are great in dealing with inflammation and managing pain.
CBD-infused ointments can also be used to combat muscular spasms and reduce skin irritation.
Topicals appeal to consumers who don’t like to inhale vapors from vaporizers or those who can’t handle the bitter taste of tinctures.
Using topicals isn’t exactly rocket science. Nevertheless, here are some useful tips.
- Know where to put your topicals. Some of the most common spots include your joints, temples, neck, and wrists.
- Clean it before you put it.
- Apply as necessary.
- Set a realistic expectation.
CBD capsules are the most used variety of CBD products.
They rival tinctures and topicals in ease of use and they’re at par with vape oils in terms of potency and efficacy.
CBD capsules are also tasteless and odorless. Capsules have varying effects depending on its concentration with results lasting from 6 to 12 hours.
Using CBD capsules is similar to taking your daily vitamins.
Just pop one in the back of your mouth and wash it down with water.
We recommend consulting your physician when finding the right dose since capsules make it hard to find your sweet spot.
Unlike other CBD products that allow you to adjust the dosages according to your needs, capsules require you to take a specific dose per tablet.
The way you’ll consume CBD oil will largely be affected by your preference. Remember to stick to one method to fully experience its benefits.
Understand and Research Various Extraction Methods
Do you know how CBD oil is made? Knowing what happens behind the scenes helps you understand what's in your CBD oil. Your CBD oil may contain harmful contaminants or may be as pure as morning dew. Knowing what method is used in extracting your CBD oil can help you find the ideal product.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction Method
This extraction method uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract CBD as well as other phytochemicals from the plant matter.
It’s considered one of the safest means of CBD extraction with the purest yields.
Under extremely low temperature and high pressure, CO2 acts like a solvent.
It faithfully preserves, isolates, and maintains the purity of cannabidiol.
The process behind this extraction method can be quite complicated, but we’ll try to simplify it for you.
Let’s divide the extraction process into three phases:
Because of all the process used in supercritical CO2 extraction, products made using this method are often expensive.
Supercritical CO2 extractions are oftentimes done by professionals in licensed laboratories.
Olive Oil Extraction Method
Unlike supercritical CO2 extraction, olive oil extraction is simple and straightforward.
And, the best thing about it.
It’s inexpensive and you can do it yourself.
We’ll break olive oil extraction for you into 3 easy steps.
- Decarboxylate the plant matter.
- Steep decarboxylated plant matter into the olive oil.
- Sift, separate, and store.
Decarboxylation only means you need to heat your plant matter to activate its natural ingredients.
You can throw your herbs in the oven or use a decarboxylator for best results.
Next, drop the heated (activated) plant matter in olive oil until it comes to a boil.
Separate the oil from the plant, and store your CBD olive oil.
Make sure you store it in a cool, dark place to preserve as the infused olive oil.
CBD-infused olive oil is perishable so be careful.
Solvent Extraction Method
Pulling CBD oils with solvents extracts the full range of active ingredients from the chosen botanical.
Using high-grade alcohol solvents also produce high-quality oils.
Here’s what to remember when dealing with CBD oils extracted with solvents:
- Solvent extraction involves the use of ethanol and butane.
- Ethanol is “Generally Regarded as Safe” (GRAS) by the FDA.
- CBD oils made with ethanol are generally safe for consumption.
- Ethanol is a food additive and a preservative.
- Butane is non-polar and allows targeted extraction of active ingredients.
- Butane has a low boiling-point so it’s easy to purge CBD oils made with butane.
- CBD oils extracted with solvents have relatively pure yields.
- Their consistency and clarity make them suitable for vaping.
Unfortunately, not all CBD oils extracted with solvents have good quality.
CBD oils extracted with low-quality solvents have shown to have traces of harmful toxins.
Furthermore, bad DIY solvent extractions have led to stories of injuries and explosions.
This gave solvent extraction a bad rap.
However, ethanol extraction proved to be a safe and an efficient method if done the right way.
That said, we discourage home extraction using flammable solvents.
And, always buy from a reputable company.
Consider these extraction methods and select the appropriate one that suit you best.
Here’s what we do before taking extraction methods into account:
- Set a specific budget – Knowing how much you can spend will help.
- Usage – How you consume CBD oils is important.
- Availability – locally sourced products are cheaper.
Know Where Your CBD Oil Source is Grown
While it’s good to know how your CBD oil is made, knowing where your product comes from will also help you choose the best CBD oil. High-quality products are made from relatively high-quality raw materials. Keep that in mind. CBD oils are derived from cannabis Sativa, either hemp or marijuana. Hemps are natural hyperaccumulators. This means that they absorb almost everything from the ground where they grow. This can both be good and bad. Here's why...
While some plants only absorb select minerals, some take in just about everything.
Hemp is a good example.
If you grow hemp in healthy soil, you’ll reap good plant matter.
Growing them in soil rich in heavy metals will give you a polluted material.
Heavy metals such as mercury and led can be found in soil.
These minerals make their way to the plant and make it unsafe for consumption.
This is why it’s important to know where your CBD source is grown.
Here’s how you do it…
Buy From Reputable Brands
Getting CBD oils from established brands has its benefits.
Some reputable brands may occasionally sport a higher price tag, that’s because they use high-grade materials.
Good quality comes with a price but don’t worry, most brands have reasonably priced products.
Try these steps to easily find reputable brands:
- Visit your local dispensary.
- Ask frequent visitors for good CBD oil brands.
- Talk to the representatives and ask the same questions.
If for some reason you can’t visit a dispensary, here’s an alternative.
- Go on your computer.
- Go to online forums discussing CBD oil brands.
- Create an account and join discussions.
- You may also try searching for CBD oil reviews.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Companies who source high-quality plant matter are often proud of it.
Check their website or look at the product packaging for any information relating to where the plant matter is grown.
You can also contact the manufacturer or ask the attendants at the dispensary for such information.
Here are the steps:
- Go on your computer or on your smartphone.
- On the search bar, type the brand name of the CBD oil product.
- This information is usually found on the “homepage” or on the “about us” page of the CBD oil product’s website.
- If you want to know more about the product, head on to the “contact us” page of their website and look for an email address or a telephone number you can call.
Check for THC Levels in CBD Oils
CBD oils are derived from both hemp and marijuana and each will have various levels of THC. THC is an acidic compound in cannabis plants and is the proponent of its psychoactive effects. Studies show that THC and CBD work synergistically with improvements in efficacy and continuity. However, higher levels of THC may cause unnecessary psychotropic effects. Knowing how much THC your product has will help you make a clear-headed decision. Here are a few tips.
Check If Your CBD Is Derived from Hemp or Marijuana
CBD oils extracted from marijuana strains will naturally have a high concentration of THC.
Marijuana strains have THC levels ranging anywhere from 5% to 35%.
Hemp, on the other hand, only peaks at around 0.3%.
Check the label to know more about the raw plant matter used in your product.
The FDA requires an “ingredients disclosure” on the labeling of packaged products.
Most companies with safe and legitimate CBD oils include ingredients list on their product packaging.
While small doses of THC may still produce subtle psychedelic effects, it’s still not enough to make you high.
Adjust THC levels according to your needs.
Ask the Manufacturer or Dispensary
If the information isn’t available, look for the manufacturer’s address and contact number on the packaging.
Some states have strict laws in including this information on the product packaging.
It’s best to reach out to the manufacturer when seeking for answers.
Legitimate and reliable companies often have professionally trained customer representatives.
Contact them by phone or by email.
Test in Gradual Amounts
If you’re unsure of the THC level in your CBD oil but still want to use it, we suggest testing it in small quantities.
Instead of going all in with your product, use small servings as you gradually increase serving portions.
While your THC tolerance plays a huge role in
its upshots, knowing its various effects will give you an idea of its level.
Low to mid-level doses of THC will have these effects.
- Induced sleep
Higher concentrations of THC will display the following results.
- Heightened euphoria
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Short-term memory loss
Use the same method we introduced earlier for assuming a desired effect when selecting an appropriate dose of CBD.
THC and CBD can work hand in hand.
In fact, THC can enhance CBD’s curative properties as CBD can counteract THC’s psychoactive effects.
The proper THC to CBD ratio on your CBD oils will help you maximize its effects.
And while we’re on the subject of synergy…
The proper THC to CBD ratio on your CBD oils will help you maximize its effects.
And while we’re on the subject of synergy…
CBD Full Spectrum or Isolates
Another factor to consider in choosing CBD oils is the overall makeup of the product. The market offers two main types of CBD oils. Full spectrums and isolates. Isolate is purified CBD while full spectrum includes all the active ingredients found in the plant matter. It can be an indication of your product’s quality and its capabilities. Many things separate isolates from full spectrums, let’s start with what’s in them.
Depending on the cannabis strain used in making your CBD oils, full spectrums may include at least 133 different cannabinoids.
Isolate CBD oils on the other hand, will almost always have 99% CBD.
The refined CBD is a result of advanced purification which removes fatty acids, excess waxes, cannabinoids and other plant material.
Below are some of the most common cannabinoids found in isolates and full spectrum CBD oils.
Most consumers believe that full spectrum CBD oils are more beneficial than isolates.
That’s because full spectrums also have terpenes apart from the natural cannabinoids.
All the active ingredients as well as the excess waxes, fatty acids, flavonoids, and cannabinoids work in synergy amplifying the health benefits of full spectrum CBD oils.
Here are some of the known synergistic medicinal benefits of full spectrum CBD oils.
While lacking vital interaction, isolates have few key advantages over full spectrums.
They’re perfect for individuals concerned about drug testing.
Isolates are also ideal for consumers with allergic reaction to cannabinoids.
Isolates can be used to address specific needs, the likes that full spectrum CBD oils simply can’t easily deal with.
Remember to check the product packaging and look for labels like “Full Spectrum” or “Whole Plant” to easily spot these products.
And, if in doubt, always ask the representatives at your local dispensary.
Go for Independent Lab Tested Products
When shopping for CBD oil (especially online), you’ll often come across the word “third party tested.” Independent lab testing is imperative for today’s CBD oil industry. Why? Because the CBD oil market still lacks proper regulation. This means any company manufacturing CBD oils can simply sell their products however they please. It’s a good thing independent companies perform objective tests to protect the consumers. Here are some simple tips to spot “third party tested” products.
Check the Item Packaging
Most companies happily spend thousands of dollars month to month to get their products tested.
And they’re always proud to show consumers positive test results.
We won’t be surprised.
The CBD oil industry is a booming industry.
Building a reputable and a reliable brand is a must.
Consumers use CBD oil products mostly for medical purposes.
So, having the approval of a neutral party is in their best interest.
Always search product packaging for “third party tested” labels.
These labels oftentimes come in bold, bright colors or are embossed on the product packaging.
Check the Manufacturer’s Website
CBD oil testing don’t come cheap.
That’s why companies take every opportunity to show off such an achievement.
Sophisticated lab equipment like High-Performance Liquid Chromatographs (HLPC’s) aren’t easy to come by.
The same goes for professionals with the know-how to use and operate these machines.
To commission a third-party laboratory takes effort and money.
So, companies strategically place them on the product packaging as well as on their websites.
This information is usually littered around the manufacturer’s website but can commonly be found on the pages below.
Dedicated page for lab testing certificates
If you want to check the legitimacy of a product’s lab testing, you can always contact the manufacturer.
They’d be more than happy to talk to you about their product’s lab reports.
Here are some of the tests conducted on your CBD oils before they receive the stamp of approval.
- Terpene profile
- Microbiological pollution
- Heavy metal content
- Pesticide contamination
Legitimate brands hire professional customer service representatives to cater to their customers’ questions and concerns.
We strongly suggest to check their websites using your computer as some functionalities are disabled if you use the mobile version of their website.
Special chat boxes appear on most website desktop versions.
The outlined items in this ultimate guideline will help you choose the best CBD oil.
It’ll also help you understand and find the right product tailor-fit for your needs.
But before we wrap up…
Pay Attention to Purity
You’ll find tons of information in this guide stressing the importance of purity and clarity.
CBD in itself offer abundant advantages.
Unnecessary ingredients that “improve” the quality of your CBD oil might be doing more harm than good for you and your product.
Ultimately, one word separates most CBD oil products from the rest:
Look for organic products.
Organic CBD oils are extracted from organic plant using safe and non-chemical extraction methods.
They contain no additives or preservatives.
They’re totally safe and can even be used for pets.
Watch Out for Flavorings and Other Thinning Agents Used in Your CBD Oil
CBD oils and tinctures can be bitter.
Not everyone can stomach its taste which is why flavorings have become a popular additive for most CBD oils.
When used carelessly, this could be potentially harmful.
Diacetyl, a known flavoring agent have been used on common food like popcorn.
When ingested, it’s totally safe but can be dangerous when inhaled.
Diacetyl can cause bronchitis obliterans aptly named “popcorn lungs.”
Coined after popcorn factory workers suffered damages in the bronchioles after inhaling significant amounts of diacetyl in the workplace.
Most manufacturers of CBD vape oils today avoid including diacetyl in their products.
That’s because the FDA started regulating the e-cigarette industry in 2016.
Although it still pays to check your product if it contains any harmful ingredients.
Here are some easy steps to check your product:
- Check the packaging.
- Look around the box or around the bottle label.
- Usually found under “ingredients,” search for diacetyl.
Be careful of products without any information on them.
Remember it’s your right to know what’s in the product you’re using.
And it’s your duty to keep your body safe from harmful ingredients.