Notes From the Field: Important Tips for Buying & Using Hemp Extract

Last Update: September 27, 2022

Welcome to Notes From the Field, a series of guest posts by brands sold on Thrive Market. While we share many of the same high standards regarding health, quality, and sustainability as our partner brands, all opinions shared in this post reflect the views of the brand, not Thrive Market. In this article, we’re excited to introduce you to Prima, a wellness and skin care company that specializes in premium hemp-based cannabinoid creams, supplements, and elixirs.

The hemp extract (aka CBD) market is a relatively new and underdeveloped one, and the safety standards and quality control systems required to ensure trust and transparency across the industry are still being put into place. For this reason, it can be difficult to determine which products are safe and which brands you can trust. The reality is we need transparency, consistent formulations, professional manufacturing, compliant labeling and comprehensive safety testing. Until then, here are five easy steps to buying CBD safely.

1. Always buy from a trusted source or retailer.

Our number one piece of advice is to always make sure products are tested by a third-party independent lab (meaning the laboratory isn’t owned or operated by the company itself, to ensure unbiased results.) Why? Tests confirm cannabinoid and terpene potency and verify the absence of pesticides (including glyphosate, the harmful by-product of the herbicide, Roundup), residual solvents, heavy metals, and bacteria in both the active ingredient (CBD or hemp extract) and the finished product.

Third-party test results are critical at this time. Because the industry is so new, proper manufacturing protocols and safety standards have not yet been put in place. As a result, many products are not being produced in adequate facilities and some products are being flagged by laboratories for dangerous levels of pesticides and heavy metals, such as lead. Just as concerning, some products on the market do not contain any CBD or cannabinoids. Until testing is a requirement, it’s important to only buy from brands that willingly test their products at an independent lab.

2. Read the label for the actual dose of active CBD (per serving and in total).

Pay particular attention to the product labeling and look for the total cannabinoid or CBD content in the product. Is the suggested amount (in milligrams) of the CBD listed on the bottle? Make sure the suggested amount listed is of total cannabinoids or CBD, not hemp oil. There are many misleading products on the market that consist of hemp seed oil, not hemp extract, which does not contain any major cannabinoids. In order to experience the full benefits of CBD, you need a significant dose (100-750 mg) of cannabinoids per product.

3. Understand the carrier ingredients and how they impact bioavailability.

CBD products are most effective if they are formulated with other ingredients that enable absorption into our bodies. In a typical CBD oil tincture, we digest the product like a food and are only able to absorb a small percentage of the active ingredients, which may be preferable to some people. However, to absorb the most CBD and cannabinoids, look for sublingual products (oral products like alcohol-based tinctures or sprays applied under the tongue) or alcohol-based tinctures instead of oil to optimize for bioavailability.

4. Start slowly and systematically with a consistent daily dose.

Everyone experiences CBD and cannabinoids differently, so there isn’t a “standard dose” that works for all. If you’re interested in trying a CBD product, use the steps above to find the right product for you and start with a small dose (like 5 to 10 milligrams) twice daily. CBD and cannabinoids are cumulative, meaning it takes time for your body to adjust. We recommend trying a small dose in the morning and at night, accompanied by a large glass of water. Effects are individualized and you may feel drowsy so make sure you are in a safe environment.

5. Monitor your results and check in with yourself daily.

Does your body feel different? Are you sleeping better? Do you have more energy during the day? Do you have less negative thoughts? Everyone is different, so you may find that CBD makes you feel sleepy, or perhaps it wakes you up. Honor your individual experience and ask others for advice on best practices. Use products consistently, supported by a healthy diet and lifestyle that includes lots of water, exercise, organic food, quality sleep, limited stress and lots of support. For some people, it may be helpful to monitor what you don’t feel, in addition to what you do feel. For example, you may notice that your body feels less tense or maybe you’re feeling subtle changes that become more obvious over time. Be patient and listen to your body as you figure out what works best for you. If possible, use a journal to record how you feel and track your progress over time.

* Statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your physician before use.

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