Kira Obolensky

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Category Archive : Research and Science

8 Signs Of A High-Quality CBD Oil

As CBD continues to increase in popularity, it becomes ever more important to make sure the CBD you use is high-quality and comes from a reliable source. With it being available pretty much everywhere these days, it can be hard to tell the good from the bad. We take a look at exactly what makes for a good and reliable source of CBD oil.

Here are 8 signs of a high-quality CBD oil:

1. Extracted using CO₂ or alcohol

The best CBD oils are extracted using safe solvents like supercritical CO₂. It ensures a safe extract is produced free of any additives or additional chemicals — which is often the case with other extraction methods.

Avoid CBD oils made using chemicals like propane, butane, pentane, or hexane. They can leave behind dangerous contaminants.

2. Grown in areas that require soil testing

Hemp is a “hyperaccumulator” plant. That fancy word simply means hemp readily absorbs everything from the soil it grows in. What it absorbs can be good like vitamins and minerals, or bad like lead, petroleum, or toxic chemicals.

The safest CBD oil will be grown in an area where the government requires farmers to be certified and have their fields frequently tested for toxic substances. The oil itself should be tested by an ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accredited lab. They’ll make sure it doesn’t contain pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria, fungus, solvent residue, or any other foreign matter.

3. The price isn’t too good to be true

High-quality CBD oils aren’t cheap to make, so if the price is too low, that’s a good sign that it was made from inferior or contaminated raw materials, sub-standard solvents, or it doesn’t contain very much, if any, actual CBD.

You don’t have to buy the most expensive product on the market to be safe. Look for reasonable prices and good customer reviews.

4. The product label includes the amount of CBD

Good CBD oil made by a reputable company will tell you how much CBD you’re getting right on the label. Look for either the concentration or the total number of milligrams in the bottle. Higher numbers mean a more potent product. To be considered effective, the bottle should contain 250–1000mg per 30ml bottle. Anything less and you’re wasting your money.

5. Transparent CBD oil test results

Before buying CBD oil, check to see if the company has its products verifiably tested. A company you can trust will make the results public. The information might be on the bottle, the box it came in, on an insert, or published on the website. If you can’t find it there, then it is time to start asking questions. Most companies with consistently good results are so proud of them that they make the reports easy to find.

Test reports that you can view and verify are important because they will state the levels of both CBD and THC, plus check for any harmful additives. If you can’t find this information, be very wary.

6. Made from “whole plant” extracts, not CBD isolates

CBD oils made from whole plant extracts, also called full spectrum oils, are generally considered to be of higher quality than those made from CBD isolates. The idea of an isolate sounds good; it’s pure CBD, but it’s often made from cheap materials and lacks the other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes that work in partnership with CBD to make full spectrum oils more effective.

7. Contains under 0.03% THC

CBD oils made from hemp may contain trace amounts of THC—usually 0.03% or less—but it’s not nearly enough to get you high. However, sub-standard processing can boost the levels of THC to a percentage that can create a psychoactive effect that can be uncomfortable for some. Not only is this a sign of a low-quality product, it could even make the CBD oil illegal where you live. Check the labels and lab reports for exact numbers before you choose an oil.

8. No outrageous medical claims are made

Research, as well as personal accounts, make it clear that CBD is a remarkable chemical, but it’s not approved as a medical treatment by any government agency. That means it falls into the same category as vitamins and other supplements, and no company can legally claim that it treats or cures any medical condition. If you’re looking at a CBD oil that makes a claim like that, steer clear. It’s probably snake oil.

How CBD Third-Party Testing Works and Why It’s Important

At UrthLeaf, we have 3 main principles which guide us every day: quality, transparency, and authenticity. We think that it is our job to provide quality, pure, and safe CBD oil to our clients. That means we’ll go to great lengths of CBD testing to make sure that our product is of the highest-quality standard.

The fast growth of the CBD field has saturated the market with low-quality, cheap product that is sourced overseas or from biomass centers sourcing from multitudes of farms. Most brands are slapping a “high-quality” label on a cheap, and occasionally unsafe, product. Additionally, specific CBD products have decreased CBD content than advertised. As consumers, we understood that there had to be a better method of shopping hemp-based products which ensure short- and long-range safety. One method of doing this at UrthLeaf, is by sending our CBD oil to a lab in which they test for pesticides, terpene content, heavy metals, solvents, microbial contamination and much more. It’s referred to as third-party CBD testing.

Third-party testing: What is it and why do we have to have it?

Third-party testing is when a private party that isn’t affiliated with the distributor or manufacturer conducts a scientific product analysis. With a lack of federal regulation, there isn’t a standardized process for testing cannabidiol.

CBD Third-party testing offers an unbiased, neutral information source. It’ll benefit the consumer because it is the most transparent technique. With independent testing, the company cannot publish inaccurate information or change in-house results.

If you purchase CBD oil on the internet, or if you ever have conducted any general browsing for CBD oil products, you likely have encountered the expression “3rd party testing.” However, what does that mean, exactly? Are CBD oil manufacturers required to have their items tested before they’re able to distribute and market them?

As it turns out, not exactly. However, that does not mean that businesses still do not have the incentive to do it.

In this post, we discuss what 3rd party testing is. Also, we talk about how reliable it is to separate high-quality cannabis items from items of questionable quality. Of course, we also will cover some things you as a purchaser should be on the lookout for, and what the entire process of testing means for you as the consumer.

Independent 3rd Party Testing: What is it?

The objective behind independent 3rd party lab testing includes having an unbiased, neutral source assess an organization’s cannabis products. It’s vital within today’s market, because the non-regulated cannabis state virtually enables manufacturers to place labels on their items then sell and market them however they want. (In case you weren’t aware, there currently are very few Food and Drug Administration regulations on the industry of CBD).

But, in terms of the federal regulation of the cannabis industry it has always been a little bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, the majority of manufacturers do not want the government getting involved in profits and revenue. In addition, they do not want somebody telling them what they can and can’t distribute, market, sell, etc.

On the flip side, high-quality manufacturers understand that an industry that has no regulations and rules rapidly becomes overrun. False advertising, scams, and out-and-out lies quickly will take their place within the market. Naturally, it makes it difficult for consumers to make a wise purchasing decision or receive reliable, quality information.

Thankfully, that’s where the beauty of transparency enters. Similar to the way that cream rises to the top of a macchiato, honest businesses that offer quality products hopefully will always overcome their competitors and rise to the top. It is what third-party testing achieves. Businesses which are manufacturing quality, good products aren’t frightened of having an outside source check it for them.

Does the Food and Drug Administration Not Regulate the CBD Sector, whatsoever?

Truthfully, this is sort of a hazy topic. Here’s the bottom line: no, the FDA doesn’t maintain any oversight or regulation into this industry.

With that being said, among the inherent purposes of the Food and Drug Administration includes making sure the public isn’t exposed to questionable or dangerous health products. That includes natural medicine such as cannabis. It currently is illegal for CBD to be referred to as a “dietary supplement.” The FDA, past that, still is in the process of creating a regulatory framework for the cannabis and CBD industries.

If 3rd Party Testing Is Not Mandatory, Why Do Businesses Do it?

Analytical lab equipment like HPLC’s aren’t cheap. Nor is the expertise and labor which comes with understanding how to use them. Taking that into account, why do CBD businesses spend thousands of dollars willingly to obtain a “3rd-party tested” label?

It all boils down to transparency. With cannabis products (especially CBD oil) becoming increasingly popular by the day, it is becoming more and more critical for businesses to establish a reputable and reliable name in the industry. Folks understand what high-quality CBD oil is able to do in terms of anxiety, chronic pain relief, as well as insomnia relief, depression relief, etc. Therefore, they certainly aren’t going to spend their hard-earned funds on an expensive brand that isn’t even transparent enough to have their items lab tested.

In short, it’s within a CBD organization’s best interest to have their items 3rd-party tested despite the high cost. Nowadays, the average consumer is able to tell fairly rapidly whether a brand is legit. Also, they’re able to tell whether an organization is selling something short of what is being advertised. As they witness that “3rd-party” label, they understand that they are dealing with the former instead of the latter.

What about Terpene and Cannabinoid Profiles?

One other reason that businesses spend funds on lab testing is to obtain terpene and cannabinoid profiles for every one of their strains. If you ever have visited a marijuana dispensary, you probably have seen terpene or cannabinoid profiles. In the majority of instances, cannabinoid profiles are noticeable on the outside of the bottle for fast reference –at least they ought to be if it is a high-quality dispensary.

For instance, you may purchase a Sour Diesel strain which contains a cannabinoid profile of 22 percent THC and 1 percent CBD. Or you may purchase a full-spectrum CBD oil which contains 28 percent CBD and 2 percent THC. Without 3rd party testing, consumers would have no way of knowing what is in the product they are purchasing.

With an increasing amount of information coming out all of the time about specific cannabis profiles being better for certain medical conditions (like high CBD strains for relief of anxiety), it is all the more critical that sellers accurately check what is in every particular strain.

Third-Party Lab Testing for CBD Products

The last thing you should be spending your money on is a CBD product which does not have any CBD. Given the present unregulated state of the industry, it’s an easy error to make.

Therefore, it is becoming more and more important as a customer to search for edibles, oils, and additional CBD products which have been laboratory tested by an outside, unbiased source. Shop smartly, search for reputable, reliable brands that have excellent consumer feedback, and you should never underestimate the importance of 3rd-party quality tested CBD products.

The Vape Industry: From the Bird’s Eye

Winter was waning in the D.C. adjacent border community of Silver Spring, Maryland on Tuesday, March 5th. While most offices on the East Coast were getting ready to wind down for the day, the office of the Federal Drug Administration had a national spotlight drawn on it. In a press release, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced his resignation. A stormy path had been navigated by Gottlieb, often running afoul of both sides of the vaping debate. But his departure left the vapor industry in a state of flux. As Gottlieb exited his position at the FDA, new draft guidance was issued moving the Premarket Tobacco Authorization (PMTA) period for vape up from August 8th, 2022 to 2021 – and more importantly – proposed ending its tolerance of flavored vape juices.

Further complicating this news was the appointment of Acting Commissioner Norman Sharpless, whom has publicly expressed support for Gottlieb’s approach to regulating vapor products. The FDA’s approach was thrown yet again into deeper chaos in May when a Federal Judge struck down the FDA’s proposed date of August 8th, 2021 for enforcing PMTA applications and demanded they begin reviewing applications immediately. While the FDA has yet to appeal this ruling, it points to a continuing trend of combative governmental oversight of the vapor industry.

This all comes at a critical juncture for the vapor industry. As challenges to vapor packaging emerge from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), external pressure has been pushing on a vape industry trying to quietly continue doing business. Thousands of companies, brands and shops have been struggling to make sense of an increasingly grey visage of the near future. Historically, despite offering compliance deadlines and requirements, the FDA has been loath to stick to any guidance it has issued. Other than letters and incidences of public shaming, the FDA has – seemingly arbitrarily – shift compliance deadlines and failed to enforce any of its proposed policies across the vapor industry. This lackadaisical approach to regulation has left many in the vapor industry frustrated as they sought to comply with the FDA’s exacting standards and expectations for regulatory filings and compliance deadlines.

A natural response to these actions by the vapor industry has seen many vape companies expanding beyond the vapor industry. The passing of the 2019 Farm Bill opened up the opportunity for the sale of cannabidiol (CBD). While this is still very much a legal grey area until outright legalization of hemp and cannabis is codified into Federal law, it has spurred a confidence in vape companies to diversify outside of the vape industry and into CBD. This isn’t possible for every vape company financially, but entrepreneurs in the vape space are in search of stability the vape industry looks increasingly unable to afford. The vape industry however isn’t all doom and gloom however.

Growing Pains

The vapor market has continued to expand among traditional vape businesses, with the American vapor industry pulling in over $13 billion annually. New shops continue to open and the array of products continue to innovate. But that innovation has been disproportionately fueled by the advent of pod systems. The JUUL from JUUL Labs has become a juggernaut in the vaping world. After investment from Altria, JUUL is expected to account for over a 1/5 of the vape market by itself as it is forecasted to hit $3.4 billion in sales. While this performance is impressive, the impact that JUUL has left on the market has been mixed. The modern teen vaping epidemic has been fueled, in no small part, by illegal acquisition of JUUL devices and pods by underage vapers. The rise of the verb “JUULing” has become the most familiar term to consumers outside the vapor industry for vaping. For many, it is the only term they will ever know when it comes to the vapor industry. The public outcry following reporting and studies on the vapor epidemic have done immeasurable harm to the public perception of the vapor industry, with parents and public health groups aggressively conflating the vapor industry as a whole with JUUL’s pod device. It becomes incredibly difficult to see a path forward to reclaiming the public image of vaping as a vanguard for good or a product for smokers looking to transition away from combustible tobacco. This negative public perception may not be the albatross on the neck of the vapor industry it may seem. A central tenet to the vapor industry’s ideology since its inception has always been to appeal to smokers. A public perception of pod systems being a negative force could allow traditional vape companies to focus on converting smokers moving forward.

The nature of vaping looking to convert smokers has long been a successful market strategy. Despite acknowledgements by the FDA regarding the necessity of flavors in vape juices to stop them from returning to smoking, draft guidance was still issued to propose eliminating flavors. While it seems obvious that these fights will be tied up in the courts long past the August 8th, 2021 deadline, there still exists a salient public conversation to be had about traditional vaping and smokers. Those solutions will most likely have to be pursued legislatively and advance action by companies like JUUL doesn’t paint the most optimistic of pictures. Late in 2018, JUUL pulled its flavored pods from retail stores, a proactive action most likely aimed at getting ahead of an expected FDA decision to ban flavors from stores, but likely also a means to tamp down on both governmental and public perception that their selling of flavors in retail stores – particularly convenience and drug stores – was contributing to the perception of JUUL as being a driving force in the teen vaping epidemic. But, even a company as large as JUUL can be bamboozled by the workings of the FDA. Half a year later and no action has been taken by the FDA on the regulation of flavors, nor has the FDA begun to implement any actions on PMTA filings.

The requirements of filings for the PMTA is a testy subject in the vape industry. The reality is that very few vape companies have the expendable capital to explore the process of properly submitting a PMTA. While there is no conclusive literature supporting the material cost of an e-cigarette being accepted by the PMTA process, it is estimated that the process could easily reach into the millions of dollars for all of the requisite lab testing, toxicology reports, registration fees and supporting literature to bring through a successful application for each individual SKU that a company produces. Practically speaking, you could submit a SKU for vapor product for a PMTA for $20,000, but your chances of getting your product accepted are virtually non-existent thanks to the FDA’s ludicrously high standards of the acceptance of what they deem as tobacco products.

The Future of the Vapor Industry

All of this leaves an obvious picture of the future if the FDA sticks to its guns. As vaping companies shut down or transition away from vape into other industries, pod systems supported by the major tobacco manufacturers – colloquially referred to as Big Tobacco – will slowly become the vaping industry in America. The irony of this situation should be lost on no one as the aggressive efforts to regulate the vapor industry to address products that may be unsafe or a potential threat to the public well-being vis-à-vis the teenage vaping epidemic, would ultimately result in the very devices at the center of these controversies becoming the only thing available on the market.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that only multi-billion dollar juggernauts like Altria and JUUL Labs will end up being able to get their products through the expensive and time-consuming PMTA process. As they pare down their product offerings in preparation for future industry changes, they will be able to easily convert their products into FDA approved devices as the country complains about teens “JUULing” well into the 2020s, 2030s and beyond. While this may look grim in the United States, it doesn’t present a fatal outlook of the technology itself. Losing America as a market is a brutal hit for any industry, but the vapor industry remains strong abroad in Europe, Japan and China with markets rapidly growing in countries like Australia, South Africa and South Korea.

As vaping is explored scientifically into the future, additional large markets are primed and ready to open for legal sales in the Middle East (UAE) and Africa (Western Africa and Kenya). Vaping is not on a downswing by any measure globally. Investment in globally focused brands will keep companies founded in America operating internationally for many years to come. But it is hard not to lament the overly aggressive regulatory strategy, that seems almost market-tailored for Big Tobacco’s dominance to enter into the vape space. Vape was founded as a way to migrate society away from combustible tobacco. It was a cultural force for years before being hijacked and branded by the teen vaping epidemic. It seems profoundly sad that an industry born and developed in America could see itself become snuffed out by people rushing to judgements based off of one crisis while simultaneously doing everything but addressing the underlying issues with the crisis itself. But this isn’t to cast a shadow of gloom over the vapor industry. As has been said before, we’ll see the vapor industry continue to thrive for many years to come through legal challenges and protracted court battles from the traditional vaping industry’s largest juggernauts.
The future of vaping remains uncertain, but the genie is already outside of the lamp and vaping will forever remain a globally dominant market-force.

5 Vaping Trends to Try in 2019

It’s strange to think that just a few years ago, vaping was pretty uncommon. Now, it’s hard to get away from e-cigarettes. And the people who vape are passionate about it! Vapers are always looking for vape juices and gadgets to improve their experience. If you’re one of those people, you’ll be pleased to know about the exciting vaping innovations that are happening in 2019. Here are some of the hottest vaping trends right now!

Nicotine-Free Vape Juice

Vaping is a great option if you want to stop smoking. But if you’re using e-juice that contains nicotine, you’re just furthering your nicotine dependence. It’s no wonder that nicotine-free vape juices are on the rise in 2019. If you use e-juice without nicotine, you still experience a sensation that is similar to smoking but without the negative long-term effects of nicotine. This year, expect to see more vape juices with zero nicotine.

Accessible Vaping Mods

Vape mods are nothing new, but in 2019 expect to see more vape pens that are compatible with modifications. This year mods will become more widely available to the average consumer. Some of these mods include ways to change your vape’s temperature and ways to make vaping even safer. Check out Moon Mountain’s store for some cool vape mods to take your vaping experience to the next level!

Vaping On-the-Go

As vaping becomes more common, people are more open to vaping in public around others. Because of this, the demand for smaller vaping pens that are easy to use on-the-go has increased. In 2019, expect to keep seeing smaller vaping pens that lend themselves portability.

More Vegetable Glycerin

One of the major reasons people love vaping so much is the great-tasting flavors. Vegetable glycerin (VG) is one vape juice ingredient you can expect to see more of in 2019. The substance is non-toxic and produces more vapor. It’s usually made from soybean, coconut, or palm oils. VG is a common ingredient in sweeteners. When it’s in your vape juice, you can expect to taste a little extra sweetness. In addition, vegetable glycerin is thick, which makes it more soothing on your throat than most PG vape juices.

Better Vape Designs

The longer that any product is the around, the more time there is to work out any kinks in its design. The same is true of vaping! As more and more people try and enjoy vaping, not only is the quantity of vaping devices going up but so is the quality of vaping products. The standard for what makes a good vape pen continues to rise. People want more out of their vape pens. They want vape pens that last longer and are more efficient. In 2019, vape manufacturers are delivering in full force!

You can get the latest vaping innovations from The Eliquid Boutique vape shop! We are always looking to the latest vaping trends and trying to find the ones that our customers will love the most. Start browsing our wide array of products to find your new favorite vape juice and vape mod today!