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The Truth Behind the Craze: An In-Depth Look at Quality vs Mislabeled CBD Hemp Extract

Written April 16, 2019 by Kat Merryfield

The Truth Behind the Craze: An In-Depth Look at Quality vs Mislabeled CBD Hemp Extract

As demand for CBD hemp extract explodes, there are growing concerns about product quality, mainly due to a lack of government regulation. 

Theoretically, anyone can create a CBD hemp extract product, filled with questionable ingredients, and start selling it to people. What’s worse, most consumers have no idea that their CBD hemp extract product could be unsafe, which in turn dwindles the trust and perception of the CBD industry.

The mass production of low-quality, mislabeled CBD hemp extract

As someone who takes pride in producing high-quality CBD hemp extract products, you can imagine my shock when I fell victim to this issue. I had received a letter from an analysis lab stating there were fake CBD isolates being mass produced, some even containing heavy metals and paint thinner.

Months later, I ordered 10 kilograms of CBD isolate from a high-quality pharmaceutical grade production company. When the product arrived, I immediately knew something was off. We tested the CBD isolate ourselves, as we usually do with all of our ingredients, and we found that it had a plastic-like consistency. Immediately, I contacted the company questioning them on their pharmaceutical grade production. While the company stated their product was 99.9% pure CBD isolate, it was in fact only 12% CBD.  Later, we discovered that the company had outsourced their production to a third party, who in turn outsourced it to another company.

Fortunately, because we test all of our ingredients and have been in the industry for a long time, we immediately noticed the difference between low-quality vs. quality CBD isolate. However, this situation begs the question: Who didn’t know the difference? Who made products out of this isolate and put it on shelves? Who used this product?

We took this as an opportunity to improve. Since then, we’ve taken additional measures beyond testing to ensure our products come from the purest sources. We only get ingredients from certified organic producers. We work directly with farmers so that we can see how crops are grown. This year we will dry, cure, and process the crop ourselves before sending it to an extractor — and the extraction comes directly back to us, where we then formulate the final product ourselves.

What the media isn’t reporting about CBD hemp extract

Just last year, 52 people in Utah became ill after consuming falsely labeled CBD  hemp extract products. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than half of these individuals either consumed synthetic compounds such as 4-CCB or used Yolo CBD Oil, which also tested positive as a synthetic product. Unfortunately, the company that manufactures Yolo CBD Oil has yet to be determined.

Rather than calling these fake CBD hemp extract companies out, media agencies are using scare tactics to distort the industry as a whole. As the production of these contaminated CBD hemp extract products continues, more and more people will get sick — and this can destroy the CBD industry’s reputation because consumers have no way of knowing which companies are producing mislabeled, low-quality CBD hemp extract products. This ambiguity is why regulation is imperative for the industry.

Where the production of CBD hemp extract can go wrong

Hemp is a phytoremediation plant, meaning its roots reach deep into the ground and naturally absorb contaminants from the soil. 

To overcome this issue, a lot of the farmers plant their crops inside forest areas to avoid overspray from nearby farms. Before getting any plant material, we test to make sure there are no concentrations present within the soil. We also examine the water supply because that is important too. Pumping water from the municipal supply or anywhere that’s contaminated could go directly into the plant.

Our step-by-step process to creating quality CBD hemp extract

Consumers should buy from companies that are transparent about their extraction and formulation process. This insight will enable consumers to know which companies are reputable and committed to providing high-quality CBD hemp extract.

At Kat’s Naturals, we follow a rigorous process to ensure every one of our customers buys the highest quality and purest product possible.

  1. We ensure the farmer’s soil is tested and free of contaminants before planting the first seed.
  2. Once the crop has grown, we test again and look for heavy metals, herbicides, and pesticides.
  3. After we examine the crop, we analyze the cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Before the extraction process, we make sure the plant material is plentiful.
  4. We then jumpstart the extraction process, which transforms the plant material into crude oil, which is the first extract containing cannabinoids, terpenes, chlorophyll and waxes.. After the first extraction, we test again for potency levels.
  5. The Crude is then winterized and distilled to remove the waxes and chlorophyll. Then it is diluted to the correct potency. Once the potency is determined, we start the formulation process. We have now turned the crude oil into a final product.
  6. After we create the final product, we get the product independently tested once again with microbe tests added. This additional care enables us to make sure nothing has changed during processing.  

A company’s commitment to testing ensures their product is pure and true to what it says on the label. Unfortunately, this is how most mistakes and mislabeling happens, specifically with full-spectrum hemp extracts. Each batch may be different, based on growing conditions, when and how it was harvested, and how it was batched during extraction.

Testing of one batch may contain 25 milligrams per milliliter, but another batch may include drastically higher or lower milligrams. This inconsistency means every single batch must be analyzed to ensure the levels of potency are always the same. It is good to note that a lab is allowed a 3 percent discrepancy either on the high or low side because of machine inconsistencies. This is good to note that a few points high or low is not a sign of a disreputable company or a bad batch. You are looking for large discrepancies of 10 or more points per batch.

Producing high-quality CBD hemp extract is expensive to test, but it results in a consistent and pure product that consumers that can rely on every time they use it.

The best ways to find safe, high-quality CBD hemp extract

Because the CBD industry is a relatively unregulated market, it’s crucial for consumers to research companies before buying a product. For those interested in high-quality CBD hemp extract, there are three strategies to implement when seeking a safe product to consume.

  1. Ask for the COA (Certificate of Analysis)

Contact the CBD hemp extract company and ask their team to send the most recent COA (Certificate of Analysis). Then, check to see if the COA test results match past COA results. Some batch numbers may have a different identifier for a date, while the rest of the batch remains the same. Another option is to call the phone number of the lab and ask if the company in question testes with them regularly.

This inconsistency is a result of the COAs not matching, which means the company is reusing the same test results without testing each product. In fact, most companies don’t screen their  CBD hemp extract products before they go to market because it’s too expensive. However, reputable CBD hemp extract brands will always send or showcase a COA on their site to increase credibility and consumer trust.  

  1. Seek information from customer service

Always speak to customer service. Check to see if the company is experienced and educated on CBD hemp extract. Is their customer service team providing the right answers to questions or providing any answers at all? If not, this might not be a reputable brand, which should deter consumers from buying its products.

In a recent report, 92% of almost 1,000 surveyed consumers indicated that three or less negative customer service experiences would prevent them from purchasing products from a company in the future. Consumers should use the same mentality when speaking with customer service teams at CBD hemp extract companies.

  1. Find credible sources

Lastly, It can be helpful visit a website called Remedy Review. This media company has tested a couple dozen companies’ CBD hemp extract products and posted a detailed report of each company for consumers to view. 

Know someone who’s interested in buying a hemp extract? Help them purchase a quality product! Share this article with them so they know how to find the best hemp extracts on the market.