Before you hit purchase, read this.
While CBD’s rise in popularity is obviously something we can get behind, the increased interest combined with ambiguous regulations around producing and selling it has made the marketplace seem like the wild west. Not everything you see and read about CBD is truth, but that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for the first-time shopper.
Bottom line is, if you want trust-worthy CBD, look for products with a label that has the red standardized cannabis symbol (a pot leaf inside a red octagon) – that means your product is regulated by Health Canada. Currently, CBD is regulated in the same manner as THC in Canada regardless of its source (CBD can be derived from either marijuana or hemp), so, a business requires a license under the cannabis act to produce it. Any product you see without that symbol is not Canadian-regulated CBD.
That being said, that Health Canada stamp of approval does confirm your product is legit CBD – it doesn’t mean it’s the all-powerful cure-all you might be hoping it is. It’s important to know what CBD is, and what it is not, so you can have realistic expectations before you buy. Here are a few key things to keep in mind to make sure you don’t feel swindled.
Be wary of buzzwords
We all judge books by their covers and products by their labels, but buzzwords like age-defying, calming, uplifting, pure, etc. don’t necessarily indicate any actual testing or certification. Don’t let those enticing words be what convinces you to go ahead and buy a product.
Besides, if you’re looking for regulated CBD products in Canada, you won’t have much of a chance to be swept off your feet by language. Marketing laws around cannabis makes it so producers can’t use any enticing verbiage to promote product. The Cannabis Act protects consumers from any chance of being deceived.
So… what was that CBD-infused serum you saw at your favourite skincare chain that touted skin-brightening magic? Here’s where you have to be careful. Always read the ingredients list to make sure you really know what’s going into your product.
Hempseed oil (cannabis sativa seed oil) isn’t CBD
The terms aren’t interchangeable – these are two different oils, derived from different sources, which have different benefits. The major difference is, hempseed oil contains no cannabinoids and CBD is a cannabinoid. And this is a big difference: Cannabinoids are the therapeutic compounds that are responsible for a lot of the benefits CBD is typically associated with in wellness contexts – reducing inflammation and pain, inducing calm and reducing anxiety, etc.
Where hempseed oil is a lot like carrier oils jojoba oil or sunflower oil (it’s cold-pressed extract from hemp seeds), CBD requires an extraction process that involves the whole plant. Hempseed oil is known to be rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, so it is good for your skin, but if you want to test out the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids, it’s CBD you want. And you won’t find regulated CBD in your local skincare chain retailer. If you’re in Ontario, buy CBD at any one of these licensed retail stores or online at the Ontario Cannabis Store. Our advice? DIY your CBD-infused products.
Not all CBD is created equal
There is a difference between hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD. Hemp contains a fairly small concentration of cannabinoids and little to no terpenes. Marijuana-derived CBD on the other hand, contains abundant terpenes and a larger spectrum of cannabinoids – so, higher therapeutic potential. A product label will mention THC content and CBD content, and may mention a strain and terpene description, so look out for that.
Be realistic about what you can expect
CBD is not a magic bullet. CBD may be buzzy, and seem like a wellness solution to rule them all, but it’s a natural product, which influences the body to use its own endocannabinoid system more effectively.
Here’s the facts: Much of the research – and a lot of CBD content you’ll find out there is based on its preclinical trials. Scientists are continually finding new ways CBD can be used, especially now that legalization has opened the door to more research, and things are looking promising for CBD as an effective treatment for anxiety, addiction, pain and inflammation. Try CBD and start low, go slow, and explore its effects with an open mind.
To that point, be really careful when it comes to exploring. Over the past year, 52 people have gotten sick from a CBD poisoning outbreak in Utah (31 went to the emergency room), according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The fake CBD product had no info about the manufacturer or ingredients on the package. It contained a synthetic cannabinoid, 4-cyano CUMYL-BUTINACA (4-CCB), and no CBD. Hence: you definitely don’t want to run the risk of ingesting something that’s the opposite of a wellness-promoting. Stay safe.