The current CBD industry is largely unregulated. So just about anyone can start their own CBD oil brand and start selling it with little or no oversight. Some of these “mom and pop” brands cut corners due to limited funding and a desire to start selling their products as quickly as possible. This can include not sending their products to a third party lab to check for things like pesticides, residual solvents, or heavy metals.
There are definitely some dangers associated with untested CBD products, and you should be aware of them.
This is a concern with all types of CBD products, but vape products and smokables are especially at risk. While many states and agricultural programs have guidelines on acceptable pesticides to use, they aren’t always followed. Even safe pesticides can become dangerous when the concentration becomes too high. The adage “the dose makes the poison” is especially true here.
Residual solvents are only a concern with processed CBD products. Raw products like hemp flower have not gone through an extraction process, so solvents should not be present. CBD oils and extracts, on the other hand, should be tested for residual solvents.
Some unscrupulous sellers are using rubbing alcohol or even hexane as a solvent, which are big no-nos. Not all solvents are bad, such as food-grade ethanol, but even the “good” solvents should not be present in the finish product. Residual solvent testing lets you know exactly what, if any, are present.
Heavy metals can be present in the soil that the hemp is grown in. Some fly-by-night farms do not do the proper testing of their soils, nor do they do the proper preparation of the land to remove contaminants. Sometimes, it’s impossible to remove all traces of heavy metals. And there are acceptable limits of these metals. But if they aren’t tested for, how would you know?
In addition to pesticides, residual solvents, and heavy metals, third-party lab testing is necessary to ensure that you are getting exactly what the label says and exactly what you paid for. Cannabinoid and terpene potency testing should be done with each and every batch. This is important so you can make sure that you are getting the amount of CBD that is being advertised. Not only is this for accountability of the brand, but it also allows the CBD user to adjust their doses with each batch to account for the natural variability of the plant harvests.
Occasional exposure to many of the things mentioned above is unlikely to lead to significant, or noticeable problems. CBD, however, is typically used consistently, daily, and for extended periods of time. Sometimes, years. This repeated exposure can lead to health problems and complications.
We highly recommend that you always make sure you are buying your CBD products from a reputable brand that promotes transparency via full panel third-party lab tests.