Recommended read before purchasing bulk CBD extract
Recommended read before purchasing bulk CBD extract
Planning on putting cannabidiol (a.k.a. CBD) in your products? Ordering the wrong type of cannabis extract poses risks of serious legal problems to your company. This is why before buying and including CBD in your end-client products you need to take into account a few very important points.
Cannabis Sativa L. var. sativa, referred to as ‘industrial cannabis’ or simply ‘hemp’ is the plant used for production of CBD in the form of resinous extracts or isolate crystals. Despite its distinct CBD-rich chemical profile, hemp shares an infamous other cannabinoid with its cousin Cannabis Sativa L. var. indica (a.k.a. Cannabis indica) - tetrahydrocannabinol or THC for short.
Legislation regarding hemp differs around the world, however most all countries either heavily regulate THC or outright forbid the presence of the compound in any product. Thankfully many countries allow controlled farming of industrial cannabis. Government approved hemp varieties are genetically predisposed to produce THC levels of not more than 0.2% (or 0.3% in some countries) and CBD levels around 1% to 5%.
This is good news for extraction companies, however it poses a technical challenge that few in the industry can tackle. This border of 0.2% THC is generally considered by the police and customs as the line between agricultural product and illegal drugs. Regardless of the solvents used, modern extraction technologies naturally concentrate these compounds, resulting in raw hemp extract with CBD levels of 20-60% and THC of 1-5%. To be able to sell the extract, many producers go in one of two directions:
Dilute the crude extract in carrier oil (i.e. hemp seed oil, MCT oil or other) in order to bring the concentration of THC back to under 0.2%. If it finds its way in your end customer product it will still contain THC, a scheduled substance which is a good reason for your products to be pulled off the shelves by the governing agency. Moreover, your customers will test positive for THC on drug tests.
Distilling the crude extract in order to increase the CBD concentration and further isolating the CBD in crystal form of over 90% purity. Even though some producers manage to bring purity to 98%-99%, THC may still remain in detectable quantitates in many crystals on the market.
To conclude, when buying CBD, regardless whether its in crystalline form (a.k.a. isolate) or resinous form (a.k.a. full-spectrum extract or hemp oil) you need to make sure your supplier can offer you proper quality assurance documentation.
Cannabidiol (CBD) can be bought in two distinct forms - (1) resinous full-spectrum CBD extract or (2) crystalline isolate CBD.
(1) Resinous full-spectrum CBD extracts generally have concentration of CBD between 20-40%, where the other components in the extract are the natural substances found in the plant such as minor cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenoids. As far as health benefits go, CBD’s effect is boosted by the presence of these other elements due to the synergetic effect and increased bioavailability. This type of CBD extract is suitable for foods, food supplements, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
(2) Crystalline isolate CBD is marketed as a single compound product due to its high concentration. However there are very few producers that can reach almost absolute purity. Most organic products on the market today offer 90-98% CBD concentration. It is important to get the proper analytical documentation proving traceability, concentration and natural origin when purchasing such products. These CBD extracts are most suitable for incorporation in cosmetic products as they retain almost no color and smell. Moreover, some legislations (i.e. EU) limits the incorporation of CBD isolate in foods and food supplements.
Here is a list of all the quality assurance documentation that should be made available to you when purchasing CBD extract:
Protocols of analysis for CBD and other minor cannabinoids content, showing the product contains no detectable THC as well as no pesticides, heavy metals or other toxic substances.
analytical method for replicating the chemical analysis (ideally validated and/or verified by one or several third party accredited laboratories) in case an authority contests the protocol of analysis. This is recommended especially when working with full-spectrum resinous extracts, as they contain many naturally occurring compounds that can be difficult to discern. For example, due to the uniqueness of each laboratory’s analytical approach some HPLC analytical methods could have problems differentiating THC from other compounds and mistakenly show that the extract contains THC.
professional CBD produces will be able to provide quality assurance certificates such as HACCP, GMP, ISO 22005 and/or other.
Product Specification sheet including classification information useful to customs and other agencies that might require it as well as useful technical information for formulating end customer products.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) - document that lists information relating to occupational safety and health for the use of various substances. SDSs are a widely used system for cataloging information on chemicals, chemical compounds and chemical mixtures.
(when purchasing crystalline isolate CBD) Polarimetric Analysis Protocol (a.k.a. Specific Rotation Analysis) proving that the CBD isolate is of natural and not synthetic origin. With the relatively hight price of natural CBD isolate some suppliers have opted to offer synthetic versions of CBD. Synthetic CBD has shown to have adverse effects on users that could further develop in serious medical problems. There have been cases of companies misleading customers by selling them products with supposed natural CBD, which has later been identified as synthetic compound. There are very few CBD producers that can offer such analysis. This type of analytical protocol is highly recommended when buying CBD isolate.