Learn how to identify high-grade CBD hemp oil and explore some of the top brands on the market. Here are a few tricks that you must know! Whether you plan on using CBD oil with other CBD products or enjoying your CBD tincture on its own, there are 10 simple qualifiers you should consider as you search for the highest-quality CBD oil on the market.
7 Ways to Recognize High-Grade CBD Oil
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In 2018, the Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp throughout the US. Because of this, the CBD market has exploded in the last few years and will likely continue to grow.
For reference, in 2015, the CBD market earned $202 million, and in 2016 it grew to $688 million. By 2025, some financial estimations surmise that the market could grow by another 20-23%.
While this is unquestionably exciting news, it is still worth recognizing that the cannabis industry is a relatively unregulated market. Some brands, trying to make a quick sale, may pass off low-quality and unsafe products to unsuspecting customers. Therefore, it’s wise to do thorough research to find the best products on the market because CBD oil isn’t cheap!
In this article, we provide you with seven excellent ways to spot high-grade CBD oil to ensure you have an impactful and positive CBD experience.
How to Identify High-Grade CBD Oil
With so many CBD oils on the market, it’s never been more important to scrutinize quality. Often this centers around the specific brand and how they implement quality control throughout the growing, extracting, and manufacturing process.
Fortunately, there are various ways to identify superior CBD oils. Most, importantly, you should check if the company:
- Sources organic and ethically-grown hemp
- Uses CO2 extraction
- Publishes 3rd party lab reports
Additionally, you can learn more about an oil by looking at its color and cannabinoid content (full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, isolate).
For new CBD users or those who want more information on products, we’ve listed 7 top ways to identify high-grade CBD oil.
1 – Check the Color of CBD Hemp Oil
A surprising number of people are blissfully unaware that CBD hemp oil comes in varying degrees of strength and quality. The oil must be extracted via the supercritical and/or subcritical CO2 extraction method, but that still doesn’t necessarily mean the oil will be pure.
Generally speaking, there are three types of CBD oil:
Raw: This type of oil is almost black in appearance (or dark green) because once it has been extracted from the raw hemp material, no further purification processes have been implemented. Therefore, your oil will contain terpenes and chlorophyll along with other parts of the plant.
Decarboxylated: Decarboxylated CBD oils are similar to raw CBD oils except the active compounds have undergone the ‘decarboxylation’ process. In the raw plant material, both THC and CBD exist as acidic molecules (THC-A and CBD-A, respectively). Still, the chemical process of decarboxylation “drops” the acid, which (some claim) improves bioavailability. Appearance-wise these are also unfiltered oils and have a dark green or black color similar to the raw tinctures.
Filtered: This is the CBD oil that most manufacturers make and that most people consume. It comes in a lovely light golden color and has undergone both decarboxylation and filtering processes. These processes remove the parts of the plant that were leftover from the initial extraction process. If you want to look at things in a more ‘translatable’ way, high-grade CBD hemp oil is like a fine brandy or vodka insofar as it has been triple distilled for purity!
2 – Where Is the Hemp Sourced?
You will notice that most high-grade CBD hemp oil comes from Colorado or Denmark. However, other locations grow extremely high-quality hemp (including Kentucky, Germany, the Netherlands, and other Scandinavian countries). The most important factors include where the plant was grown, how it was grown, and the species of cannabis (whether it’s a Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa, or Cannabis ruderalis variety). The soil, climate, and even the plants growing in neighboring farms all affect the quality of the product.
If you choose CBD sourced from hemp grown under “non-food” conditions, you could be consuming toxic substances.
Also, it is crucial to remember that cannabis is a ‘hyperaccumulator.’ This means it absorbs contaminants from the soil (and the air) that it grows in with ease. If you choose CBD sourced from hemp grown under “non-food” conditions, you could be consuming toxic substances.
European hemp farms (particularly German-certified farms) are notorious for having some of the strictest agricultural regulations in the world. You might say that they represent the “gold standard” in terms of the purest, highest quality raw CBD material. Also, remember that all organic hemp grown in Europe adheres to European Union standards, which are far stricter than in the United States.
3 – How Is CBD Oil Manufactured?
There are many ways to extract CBD from hemp. However, the main purpose is always to isolate the desired phytocompounds (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids) and filter out any unwanted plant material.
Extraction methods include:
- CO2 extraction (typically supercritical carbon dioxide)
- Alcohol extraction (ethanol, butane, etc.)
Generally, CO2 supercritical extraction is considered the best method, despite its high cost. Not only does it gently extract hemp’s compounds, ensuring they aren’t damaged, but it is solventless, which means little risk of contamination.
On the other hand, alcohol extraction is inexpensive and often a more straightforward process. However, companies may run the risk of extracts containing residue, especially if little filtering has been conducted.
When it comes to extraction, safety is paramount, which is why CO2 extraction is often recommended.
4 – Is It Extracted Using Supercritical CO2?
Supercritical CO2 extraction is expensive; despite this, most reputable brands choose this method because it produces high-quality extracts.
Companies either use supercritical, mid-critical, or subcritical. Generally, these methods are very similar and follow the below step-by-step process.
- The hemp material is placed inside an extraction chamber that is slowly filled with carbon dioxide.
- The pressure inside the chamber is slowly increased, turning the CO2 gas into a liquid. During this stage, the liquid becomes infused with hemp’s compounds, including CBD.
- The liquid is transferred to another chamber, where the CO2 is once again turned into a gas, isolating the CO2 from the hemp extract.
- Once the extract is infused, the manufacturers can then purify it until they are satisfied with its purity.
For a greater understanding of the different types of CO2 extraction, please take a look at our overview below.
5 – Is the CBD Hemp Oil Tested by an Independent Third Party?
Since cannabis is not an FDA-approved food or drug, independent third-party testing is NOT a mandatory requirement in the CBD oil industry. As such, some companies avoid it altogether to avoid paying more costs. On the other hand, reputable companies routinely pay thousands of dollars to use independent third-party labs. Lab testing verifies the contents of their products in terms of both purity and potency.
For some of the larger CBD companies out there, the overall cost of third-party testing easily runs into six figures. Only a company with high-grade CBD hemp oil will pay such a large sum to prove the validity of its marketing pitch. Most organizations that pay for the tests post their Certificate of Verification on their website. So be on the lookout for this when you’re shopping around (or if you don’t see one, feel free to call the company directly to ask them where you can view their lab reports).
Do your research and ensure that the third-party lab is genuine and not some fictitious operation made up to fool customers. A simple online search for the analytics lab should take you directly to their website.
Finally, it’s essential to understand that third-party labs test the cannabinoid profile of the oil, along with any potential contaminants. Quality certificates will tell you the percentage of CBD, terpenes, and other phytocannabinoids in the oil and any pesticides, heavy metals, or other microbiological contaminants. In simple terms, independent third-party lab testing means there is nowhere to hide for low-quality CBD oil producers
6 – Beware of the THC Content
CBD hemp oil must contain less than 0.3% THC to be legal to sell and ship across the United States as a food supplement. THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana, but industrial hemp naturally contains very low levels of it. On the other hand, CBD is non-intoxicating and helps relieve pain and deal with a host of other medical issues without being intoxicating.
The trouble is, some manufacturers are less than open about the full ingredients of their CBD hemp oil. As a rule of thumb, it is best not to risk purchasing any oil which doesn’t provide you with the complete list of ingredients, especially the THC and CBD content. It’s imperative if you are worried about drug testing.
Even at 0.3% THC, there is a possibility of failing a company drug test if you consume a large amount of CBD oil. As such, you should be looking for products with THC content as close to zero as possible. A handful of brands sell CBD oils with practically no THC.
7 – Is It Whole Plant Extract?
There are oils made from whole-plant hemp and oils made from isolated hemp. Whole plant hemp is extracted from the seeds, stems, and stalks. Not only does the oil contain CBD, but it also has a full range of other natural cannabis compounds such as terpenes, flavonoids, and “secondary” cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, and CBG-A.
In contrast, isolate CBD oils means that an oil contains at least 70% of pure CBD, with few additional phytocannabinoids. The creators of these products remove all the fatty acids, terpenes, and other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant’s trichomes. The CBD ‘crystals’ are the only remaining component, and the end product resembles a white powder, CBD in its purest form.
Some research shows that CBD oil containing the full cannabis spectrum is more effective than its isolated hemp counterpart.
Isolates are more time-consuming and expensive for companies to produce, as they have to undergo extensive filtering. Therefore, these products will be costly for consumers. Additionally, some research shows that CBD oil containing the full cannabis spectrum is more effective than its isolated hemp counterpart because it produces the entourage effect.
However, opinion is still split, and customers can purchase high-grade CBD isolate and full-spectrum oil.
How to Know if CBD Is Good Quality
Want to know if CBD is good quality? Thinking about the above topics can help you make an informed decision.
Once you have identified a brand that sources premium hemp plant material, conducts thorough manufacturing checks, and offers third-party lab reports, you’ll have to decide which product is right for you.
Important considerations are:
- Product type (oils, topicals, capsules, etc.)
- Strength (what mg of CBD it contains)
- Additional ingredients
Choosing a product that fits your lifestyle and daily routine is an excellent way to ensure you consistently use a product.
Final Thoughts on How to Identify High-Grade CBD Hemp Oil
Research shows the efficacy of CBD in the treatment of a wide range of medical conditions. This versatile cannabis compound is a potential game-changer in the medical field as it produces no high. But to receive its true therapeutic potential, you will need to distinguish the high-grade CBD oils from the host of low-quality ones on the market.
Although the FDA is cracking down on companies that sell low-quality oil, never assume that a company with a professional-looking website and a valid marketing campaign is the real deal. Instead, play detective and make sure it is golden filtered oil that’s grown in the right location and tested by an independent third party (with an exceptionally low level of THC). Nothing else is worth your money.
Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you. Take a look below for some of the best quality CBD oils on the market now.
10 Tips for Identifying High-Quality CBD Oil
You want high-quality CBD oil, but you don’t know how to separate the good products from the bad. There are hundreds of different CBD oil options on the market these days, and at first glance, they all look the same. Under the surface, however, CBD oil products vary widely in terms of ingredients, price, and the type of CBD they contain, so it’s important to learn the ropes before you make your final decision.
Whether you plan on using CBD oil with other CBD products or enjoying your CBD tincture on its own, there are 10 simple qualifiers you should consider as you search for the highest-quality CBD oil on the market. In this guide, we’ll show you what to look for in CBD oil and explain why Secret Nature CBD tincture is better than the competition.
1. Check the ingredients
The first place you’ll want to look when you’ve found a potentially high-quality CBD tincture online is the ingredients list. This simple list of the substances found in CBD oil doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about what a CBD product contains, but taking a look at the ingredients is a great first step.
To make CBD tincture, all you really need is CBD extract and a carrier oil. Preservatives are not necessary, and any additional ingredients should add specific benefits to the tincture. If you see a bunch of hard-to-pronounce, chemical-sounding names in the ingredients list of a CBD oil product you’re considering, it’s time to move on to another option.
Similarly, carrier oils vary widely in terms of effectiveness and safety. In Secret Nature Organic Hemp Flower Nectar , for instance, we use hemp seed oil as a carrier because it has impressive health benefits and, like CBD extract, it comes from the hemp plant.
MCT oil, which comes from coconuts, is arguably just as safe and effective as hemp seed oil, so tinctures with this carrier might be high-quality. Some CBD tinctures, however, contain carriers like propylene glycol, a common ingredient in vape juice that might not be safe for oral consumption . Avoid any tinctures that use anything other than hemp seed oil or MCT oil as carriers.
2. Look for lab results
It’s rare to find a CBD tincture in this day and age that doesn’t come with lab results. If you come across a CBD oil product that doesn’t appear to be lab-tested, therefore, you can be certain that it is low-quality and that its producers don’t even know how to sell their own products.
Lab tests vary, however, in terms of accuracy and reliability. Some companies try to get away with offering CBD oil lab tests from their own in-house labs, but you can only trust tests that were provided by independent, third-party laboratories.
There’s also plenty of variation regarding the types of information that CBD lab reports provide. Thorough lab tests provide information on the concentration of each cannabinoid present in the tested CBD product, and they also test for the presence of common contaminants like heavy metals and mycotoxins.
Lastly, good CBD lab reports should also provide information on the terpenes present in a CBD product. Even though they’re also found in other plants, terpenes provide benefits in hemp that are just as important as the benefits cannabinoids provide, so knowing which terpenes your CBD oil product contains can tell you a lot about how it will affect you.
3. Identify the dosage
If you’re having trouble determining the dosage of a CBD oil product you’re considering, move on immediately. Understanding exactly how much CBD your product contains is essential to calculating effective doses and making sure you get your money’s worth, so any brand that tries to make this information hard to find is not worth your time.
Similarly, look out for brands that advertise their CBD products as containing a certain amount of “total hemp oil.” Most full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD extracts contain anywhere from 25% to 50% CBD, so simply listing the amount of hemp oil is not enough to tell you how much CBD a tincture product contains.
Even worse, listing the amount of “total hemp oil” in a CBD product could be a sign that the product doesn’t contain any CBD at all. To get around the anti-hemp filters put in place by Amazon and other popular eCommerce platforms, some disreputable manufacturers advertise products that contain hemp seed oil as CBD products.
4. Find out the flavor
Even the best CBD product can be ruined by a bad flavor. Some people don’t like the taste of hemp oil, so you might want to consider a CBD tincture product that has added flavoring.
If you choose a flavored CBD tincture, however, make sure that the flavoring ingredients are safe and high-quality. Steer clear of CBD products that are advertised as containing “natural and artificial flavors” since this phrase often refers to dangerous chemical additives. Instead, opt for flavored CBD tinctures that include detailed lists of the exact natural flavoring ingredients they contain.
Our Organic Hemp Flower Nectar , for instance, is available in both flavored and unflavored varieties. We clearly state that our mint-flavored variety is flavored with pure peppermint essential oil, which helps consumers understand that our tincture does not contain any artificial flavoring agents.
5. Determine the consistency
In general, CBD oil products should have roughly the same consistency as olive oil. If a CBD tincture you’re considering has a thicker consistency, that could be a sign that it contains thickeners or other dangerous additives.
Under no circumstances should a CBD tincture have a gel-like or syrupy consistency. Check the reviews of a CBD tincture product you’re considering to determine its consistency, and if you can’t find the information you’re looking for, reach out to the manufacturer directly.
6. Ask about the shelf life
Depending on the ingredients included in CBD oil and the materials used to package it, this hemp extract may have a longer or shorter shelf life. In general, CBD extract has a shelf life of about a year, but that’s only under ideal conditions.
Adding unnecessary flavors or fillers to CBD tincture, for instance, can reduce its shelf life. That’s part of the reason it’s best to stick with natural ingredients and simple bases. Plus, you can reduce the shelf life of CBD oil by putting it in the wrong type of bottle.
Hemp oil oxidizes in sunlight, so keeping your CBD in an area that receives direct sunlight can cause it to oxidize faster. Also, materials that allow light to pass through, such as clear glass, will cause CBD oil to oxidize. To promote the longest shelf life possible, it’s best to store CBD oil in opaque containers like the black bottle we use with our Secret Nature Organic Hemp Flower Nectar.
7. Opt for full-spectrum
There are three different types of CBD extracts that you might find in tinctures: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. While isolate CBD can sometimes offer better purity since it consists of the cannabidiol molecule and nothing else, this type of extract doesn’t provide the entourage effect , which might boost the effectiveness of CBD oil.
Broad-spectrum CBD, which eliminates any detectable presence of THC from CBD oil, is subjected to extra extraction processes that could cause a decrease in quality by degrading cannabinoids and terpenes. Full-spectrum CBD oil, on the other hand, is considered the gold standard in the industry since it keeps all the natural cannabinoids and terpenes in hemp flower intact while containing less than 0.3% THC.
8. Evaluate the pros/cons
There will be benefits and detractors of any CBD oil product you consider. Therefore, it’s necessary to weigh the pros and cons of each tincture to find the best solution for your needs.
For instance, balance the price of your CBD tincture against the amount of CBD it contains and the ingredients it uses. You might find that a less-expensive CBD tincture with lower-quality ingredients might be what you’re looking for.
On the other hand, you may find that the price of a high-quality tincture doesn’t eclipse the benefits of the top-tier ingredients that it contains. It’s also important to consider the trustworthiness of the company that makes the CBD product you’re considering—you might want to avoid low-priced products with few reviews in preference of more expensive CBD tinctures with lots of reviews and excellent lab testing.
9. Calculate the price per milligram
One easy way to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth with your CBD tincture is to calculate the price per milligram that it offers. This calculation is easy to perform, and it will tell you a lot about the CBD oil you’re considering.
First, note the price of the CBD product you’re considering. Then, take the total number of milligrams that the CBD product contains. Divide the price of the product by the total number of milligrams of CBD it contains to get the exact cost, in cents, of each milligram of CBD in the product.
A price per milligram of around $0.05 to $0.10 is standard in the industry. If the price per milligram of the CBD oil product you’re considering is higher than this average, however, you might want to choose a different brand.
10. Read the customer reviews
Every CBD oil product you’re considering should have at least some reviews, and good products will have lots of reviews from both men and women of all ages and demographic groups. CBD companies are limited in what they can say about their products, but by reading customer reviews, you can find out if a certain CBD oil product is good for stress, anxiety, post-workout pain, or any other condition that you think CBD might help with.
Collectively, Secret Nature products have nearly 2,300 reviews to date, which shows that our brand is extremely popular. Out of these reviews, the vast majority are either four-star or five-star, so it’s easy to see that Secret Nature products are high-quality. Read some of these reviews to find out which of our CBD flower, CBD tincture, and CBD bundle products are the most beloved by our customers.
Buy the best quality CBD oil today
We’ve reached the end of our list, and you’re now an expert on how to find high-quality CBD oil. It’s time to finish things off with some more details on our high-quality CBD oil and what separates Secret Nature from the competition:
Secret Nature Organic Hemp Flower Nectar
With black seed oil, added cannabis terpenes, shilajit, and other natural, beneficial ingredients, our Organic Hemp Flower Tincture stands apart from the competition. This tincture includes 1250mg CBD per bottle, and it contains 100%-organic ingredients. Our pesticide-free, lab-tested tincture offers extended shelf life, and it contains around 2mg full-spectrum, organic CBD in every drop.
Taste the Secret Nature difference
Secret Nature is committed to offering the best CBD products on the internet. It would be easy to cut corners and skip steps like the other guys, but we take great pride in the quality and potency of our products. Try our Organic Hemp Flower Nectar today to experience the difference yourself, and save 15% on your first purchase with the coupon code “Secret 15”.