The ABCs of CBD: How to buy it, how to dose it, what to avoid!

A few months ago I heard a rumor that CBD was getting more Google searches than God. I couldn’t prove that, but Google Trends did reveal that interest in CBD outpaced THC two years ago and has yet to peak. Not surprising. But here’s the problem: the world is suddenly awash in CBD, but because the market is unregulated, it’s difficult to know what you’re buying or what’s in the bottle.

Recent reports show that labels on the bottle often bear no relationship to the oil or tincture in the bottle. Some CBD oils have high levels of THC (the standard amount is just .3%, which is too low to cause a high); other brands contain no CBD whatsoever. Too many claim to have a certain number of mgs of CBD but when tested, were shown to be wildly inaccurate.

Other issues to beware: Is your CBD free of contaminants? Much of the CBD that comes from China or Eastern Europe was grown on soils that may have be contaminated by industrial waste. If a product hasn’t been tested by an independent, 3rd party lab, you’ll never know for sure. And if it has been tested, where can you see the results? The most transparent companies post results on their websites.

The terms on the label are also confusing: Here’s a quick guide to an Isolate versus Full Spectrum or Broad Spectrum oil. CBD Isolate is pure CBD extracted from hemp with no other cannabinoids. The oil is dried and crystalized; many experts contend it is less effective than Full Spectrum CBD,  which is extracted from hemp with all of the accompanying cannabinoids, including that tiny amount of THC. Broad Spectrum is CBD is Full Spectrum but with all of the THC removed.

Finally, there’s the price -- a sore spot for anyone on a low or fixed income. At this point it’s not uncommon to find a 1000 mg bottle of CBD costing $60 or above. At 25 mg twice a day that comes to over $1000 a year, which is sky high for a product produced from a plant that grows wild almost everywhere in the world.

 At this point the best way I can contribute to stopping shoddy business practices is through education. That’s why Episode 52 of the Brave New Weed podcast features Martin Lee, Director of Project CBD, the 9-year old nonprofit that has been examining and disseminating research about this cannabinoid long before it was a Google trend. CBD. Martin tackles the challenges of navigating our unregulated market to find, good and reliable product. Our second interview is with Dr. June Chin, who has treated over 10,000 patients with CBD in the last 15 years. She offers practical advice about using it for maximum impact.

Finally, if you know of a reputable CBD brand that is transparent in its growing and extraction practices and affordable, please let us know. Send an to or snap the label, tell us the price, and post it to us on Instagram. This is one area where the wisdom of crowds can be a great service.