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Defining the “Pure” in Pure CBD Extract


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Shopping around for CBD products is a confusing endeavor. There are dozens upon dozens of varieties. Some are labeled as “CBD extract,” others as “hemp extract.” There are also those that contain the word “pure.” This is a magic word in the supplement industry. After all, who would prefer an impure product? What exactly does this word entail, anyway? What exactly are you getting when you buy pure CBD oil or wax? Is it more potent, or is it just a fancy word that manufacturers throw around to make their products sound more appealing?

Pure CBD Extract Defined

In most instances, when manufacturers use the word “pure,” it simply means the ingredients contain minimal useless fillers or contaminants. Often, supplement manufacturers will load their products with inferior preservatives and superfluous ingredients with no proven benefits. Sometimes, suppliers list the excess as a “proprietary blend” to make it sound like a sophisticated and secretly guarded formula. This is true of any supplement, whether it be CBD extract or a multi-vitamin. Other times, the fillers are not disclosed on the bottle at all.

If a product is labeled “pure CBD extract,” then that is exactly what you’re getting, an extract with just CBD and minimal to no traces of contaminants or inactive ingredients.

How Pure Is Pure?

Manufacturers may also list purity by a percentage. If an item is listed as 85% pure CBD, for instance, then that means that the extract contains 15% inactive ingredients or impurities.

Now, you may think that 15% isn’t that big of a deal, but additives can affect the bioavailability of the main active compound. It goes without saying that a purity closer to 1oo% the better. Even with a subpar purity of, say, 70%, some brands will still put it on the label just so they can include the magic selling word “pure.”

Common Contaminants and Inactive Ingredients in The Extract

So, if a CBD product is 85% pure, then what specifically is in the other 15%? In terms of contaminants, tests have yielded traces of heavy metals, pesticides, lead, and microbes. Contamination is often due to hemp exposure to affected soils and groundwater.

As far as inactive ingredients go, the items will usually be listed on the label. Common forms include starch, vegetable gum, microcrystalline cellulose, propylene glycol, and silicon dioxide. While these ingredients are harmless, higher concentrations mean fewer concentrations of the active ingredient.

What About CBD Isolate and Full Spectrum CBD?

Some extracts are labeled as “CBD isolate.” This essentially means the extracts contain nothing but specifically the cannabinoid CBD. This doesn’t mean, though, that it’s pure as it may still contain traces of impurities and unwanted elements.

CBD isolate is the opposite of a full spectrum CBD, the latter of which contains derivatives from other parts of the cannabis plant. This means traces of other cannabinoids are also present, such as cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromevarinic (CBCVA), and possibly even some traces of THC.

What about the purity of full spectrum extract? Is it less pure because there are other cannabinoids? Having a diverse active ingredient profile list is not what makes a product impure. Products are less pure when it contains inactive ingredients or ingredients that do not increase the therapeutic effect of the active compound or have any other health benefits of their own.

Is CBD isolate or full-spectrum better? It comes down to what you’re using CBD oil for in the first place. The full spectrum variety may contain other cannabinoids with their own respective benefits. CBN, for example, is known to have a sedative effect, thus beneficial for those wanting a relaxant.

Be Aware of Brand Reputation as Well

We are sticklers when it comes to purity and brand reputation. We need to emphasize the latter because we are well aware that some products listed as pure or organic may not necessarily be such. In a 2015 investigation, a study of several store-brand supplements revealed that many products did not contain the ingredient profile listed on the bottle label.

Supplements like ginseng, gingko biloba, saw palmetto, and St. John’s wort contained unlisted inactive substances, such as wheat, pine, beans, and primrose. Even more disturbingly, one brand was found to only have 4% of the active plant material listed on the bottle. That means the supplement contained a whopping 96% inactive ingredients. Would you trust a product with a measly 4% purity?

Our Product Recommendations

At The Universal Plant, we only recommend pure extract from various trustworthy sites, such as CBD Pure. Our product recommendations only include extracts free of artificial ingredients. This holds regardless if the product is of the CBD isolate or full spectrum variety. This is also why you should choose reputation over price. In the supplement industry, more often than not you get what you pay for.

Visit our page to learn where else you can buy pure CBD oil and other extracts. Whether the products we recommend be in the form of oil, wax, or chewable gummies, all contain zero synthetic fillers, thus earning our approval.

One way brands establish trustworthiness is by obtaining a certificate of analysis (CoA), which certifies that they have submitted a sample of their products to a certified lab for purity testing. You can also look for seal of approvals from certifying organizations, such as NSF International, US Pharmacopeia Convention, or ConsumerLab. Verifying that a CBD brand has a CoA is a good starting point when searching for a reputable supplier.

A Final Word About Purity

If you take any supplement, look for ingredients that are known to treat a specific malady or improve your health in some shape or form. Aside from CBD and hemp extracts, other health products like natural stress relievers and testosterone boosters should contain minimal ingredients that don’t contribute to the supplement’s primary purpose.

CBD and hemp extract in any form aren’t cheap. If you’re going to make the investment and reap the benefits of the proven cannabinoid, then you might as well invest in the highest quality.

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Christopher Walker

Christopher Walker has a degree in Neuroscience from Duke University, and is the research writer for The Universal Plant. He has dedicated his life to helping men and women around the world educate themselves and take action to improve their health with natural plant-based and nutrient therapies. Follow him on Instagram @_christopherwalker