What Makes a Good CBD Review

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By Lital Shafir

If you’re looking to purchase a cannabidiol (CBD) product, there’s a good chance you’ve checked out online reviews.

There’s certainly no shortage of them. But there’s one problem — how do you know you can trust a review?

Many give all recommended CBD products excellent ratings regardless of measurable factors such as third-party testing and the concentration of CBD.

Others peddle subpar brands that provide the highest commissions instead of suggesting a high-quality company.

So, how do you know a review can be trusted? Here are six signs of an objective, transparent review of CBD products or brands. 

Considers Third-Party Testing

The first factor to consider is third-party testing. Due to lax regulations, many CBD products contain less (or more) CBD than they should. 

Third-party testing is the best way to verify that you’re getting exactly what you paid for. Done by an independent laboratory, these tests check whether a product is safe and contains the correct amount of CBD.

Any serious CBD company orders third-party cannabinoid profile tests, which check the levels of CBD and other cannabinoids in a product.

An increasing number of brands also order contaminant tests, which look for the presence of pesticides, heavy metals, and other potentially harmful contaminants. 

Consequently, a helpful CBD review should discuss third-party testing. If you don’t see it mentioned, that’s a clear red flag. 

Mentions the Hemp Source and Manufacturing Process

The way a CBD product is made also has a major impact on quality. That’s why a helpful review should make a note of the hemp used to make CBD products. 

High-quality hemp plants are grown organically in places with good agricultural practices, like the states of Colorado, Oregon, and Kentucky, and European countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands. 

It’s even better if the hemp is USDA-organic certified or grown directly by the company in question, as most brands purchase hemp or finished products from other producers.

A product review should also mention the method used to extract CBD from the hemp. 

Although these days most companies use two safe, effective methods — carbon dioxide (CO2) and ethanol — it’s still important for this information to be listed as it signals transparency.

Any other information related to manufacturing, such as whether a CBD company carries any special certifications, should also be mentioned. 

Considers a Brand’s Transparency

A reputable CBD company has nothing to hide. It explains its manufacturing process, makes third-party lab test reports available directly on its website, provides product details, and highlights when the company was founded and by who. 

Consequently, a trustworthy review should consider these factors when deciding which CBD companies to recommend. 

Cites Sources of Health Claims

If you read enough product reviews, you may come away thinking that CBD can cure everything from migraines to cancer. 

While it’s true that multiple research studies have shown that CBD may have beneficial effects on a long list of symptoms and conditions, in most cases, the evidence is far from conclusive.

As a result, any claims about CBD’s health effects should be backed by citations to published medical research and never be stated in definitive terms.

One of the telltale signs of a CBD review that’s trying to get you to buy something rather than offer helpful advice are claims that CBD (or a specific CBD product) can treat or cure some disease or symptom. 

Mentions CBD Type

If you’re new to CBD, you might not know that it comes in three forms: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate.

Full-spectrum CBD is a whole-plant extract containing all of the phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds naturally found in hemp. Broad-spectrum CBD is similar except with all traces of THC removed. 

Meanwhile, CBD isolate is pure CBD (over 95%) without any other compounds. 

CBD products can contain any one of these three formulas.

CBD reviews should mention which kind of extract is used in a product for two reasons:

  • Research suggests that whole-plant cannabis extracts provide greater effects than pure CBD or THC on their own because of the so-called “entourage effect.”
  • Full-spectrum CBD contains small amounts of THC (0.3% or less), so it may not be suitable for people who are highly sensitive to THC or undergo employee drug testing

Considers CBD Potency

A helpful review should also make note of CBD product strength. This factor can mean the difference between a product that works and one that seemingly does nothing.

Also known as potency, strength refers to the concentration of CBD.

In the example of CBD oil, it’s the amount of CBD per ml of liquid. If your CBD tincture has 900 mg of CBD in a 30 ml bottle, it has a concentration of 30 mg per ml. Another CBD with a concentration of 15 mg/ml would be half as strong.

It’s not uncommon to see reviews recommend products whose strength is simply too low for most people, like a tincture providing 10 mg of CBD per ml. 

Mentions the Price

Price is another important consideration.

Although it doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality of a CBD product — there are plenty of brands with low prices that outperform costlier options — it’s still an important factor. Ideally, you want to find a happy medium between price and quality.

That’s why a good CBD review should mention whether the price for a CBD product is considered, low, average, or high.

Finding a CBD Review You Can Trust

To sum up, a trustworthy CBD review should consider third-party testing, hemp source & manufacturing process, company transparency, health claims, and the type, potency, and price of CBD products.

This way, you know that the review is completely impartial and based on the quality and transparency of a CBD product or brand.

Lital Shafir is the head of product at Leafreport, an educational platform that aims to cut through the clutter of CBD information by providing medical-based, peer-reviewed content for consumers. The platform also conducts independent industry testing and conducts transparent and objective reviews of CBD products. 

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