Care By Design
A wellness company with roots.
Looking for high-quality CBD products? Learn about the brands that support independent CBD education.
A wellness company with roots.
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In June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave its blessing to “Epidiolex,” a purified CBD pharmaceutical, for treating severe pediatric epilepsy. Six months later, Congress passed the Farm Bill, which legalized the cultivation of hemp for many uses, including the production of biomass for CBD oil extraction. The 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp as cannabis with 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or less.
In theory, these momentous developments should make it easier to access safe and effective CBD products. Thus far, however, the FDA has refused to regulate nonpharmaceutical, hemp-derived CBD. Federal policy continues to privilege CBD isolates while discriminating against artisanal, full spectrum, CBD-rich products that may be more effective than single-molecule pharmaceuticals. Project CBD favors policies that afford wide and easy access to high-quality, lab-verified, artisanal CBD-rich products, in addition to expensive pharmaceutical options.
Project CBD encourages consumers to seek out products made from the unfertilized female flower tops of high-resin CBD-rich cannabis, which is much better suited for medicinal oil extraction than low-resin fiber hemp or industrial hemp grown for seed oil and protein. But the debate over sourcing cannabidiol from “marihuana” (any cannabis with more than 0.3 percent THC) rather than hemp is already moot, as most high CBD hemp – or “hemp wink wink,” as we like to say at Project CBD – actually gets 90 percent of its genetics from high resin marijuana, not low resin hemp, according to a 2021 genomics study by the University of Minnesota and Sunrise Genetics. If grown, extracted, and processed well, such plants qualify as decent starter material for producing CBD-rich oil formulations.
But choosing among the many unregulated CBD brands – which “typically have less manufacturing oversight than kitty litter,” as one industry insider put it – can be problematic. Many hemp-derived CBD products are mislabeled. To cite one of several examples, a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that 69% of 85 products surveyed had an incorrect amount of CBD and/or THC on the product label.
Another survey found significant discrepancies among some of the leading hemp-derived CBD brands that falsely claim full-spectrum CBD-rich oil is in their products, while lab tests of several samples revealed only one cannabinoid – CBD – was present, indicating that these products were made with a CBD isolate rather than a more efficacious whole plant CBD-rich extract. Another problem: some overly processed hemp-derived CBD products are tainted with toxic solvent residues, corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, and other contaminants. But good quality CBD-rich products are also available. Which products deserve our trust?
The Project CBD Marketplace is a platform for high-quality brands and stores that support our work. We screen our partners carefully, using several flexible criteria — with an emphasis on safety and transparency — to evaluate their organizations and products.
Here are some of the factors that we consider when evaluating CBD companies:
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