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The federal government considers a plant that contains less than 0.3 percent THC “industrial hemp” and, according to Colorado and most other states, it can legally be made into oils, tinctures, and topicals and sold to consumers. If a plant contains more than 0.3 percent of THC, the federal government considers it marijuana. Even states that allow it is strict about where products can be sold.

Because cannabis plants can absorb heavy metals, pesticides, and other potentially dangerous chemicals from the soil or water. Expert advises that cannabis plants be tested regularly while they grow and that finished products be tested using approved methods to protect against this risk.

Ask for test results

Ask for a COA (certificate of analysis) before you buy a product. This document shows how the product performed in tests to determine the presence of contaminants and CBD levels.

Avoid the online retailer and manufacturer if they don’t have the information or refuse to share it.

All hemp-derived CBD products sold at Indiana stores must now include a QR code on the label. This QR code allows consumers to download a product’s COA directly to their phones.

Expert suggests that you check the COA to ensure the product meets ISO 17025″ standards. This indicates that the laboratory adheres to high scientific standards. You should also check to see if a company uses testing methods that have been approved by one of three respected national standard-setting agencies.

Contrary to hemp-derived CBD products made from cannabis, they must be tested. This is at least for states that allow recreational and medical use of marijuana. Dispensary staff in some states are required to have the COAs readily available and be willing or able to share them with customers. You can go to another dispensary, or get another product if they don’t have the COA.

Expert states that testing is less consistent in states where marijuana has been legalized for medical use only.

Look out for products that list the CBD amount

Experts recommend starting with low doses of CBD products. Dosages are expressed in milligrams (or mgs). Consider tinctures that contain only 10 mg per dose.

However, you should be careful with products that only list the total amount of “cannabinoids” in them, and not the CBD content. These cannabinoids may include more than just CBD and THC, but also dozens of related compounds. Expert says that companies may choose to label their products this way because they believe it will be less scrutinized by the Food and Drug Administration.

These products don’t list the CBD content on the label and are often marketed as “whole-plant” or “full-spectrum” hemp products. They also claim to be rich in other compounds such as various fatty acids. These other compounds may provide additional health benefits. However, it’s not certain. You can check the COA if you have one to see how much CBD and THC they contain.

Learn What Other Terms May Mean on the Label

Some CBD oil for sale labeled with the word “CO2 extraction” may indicate that the CBD and other components were extracted from the plant using high-pressure carbon dioxide gas. This is not a chemical solvent. Expert states that depending on the CO2 extraction method used, it might be possible to extract CBD and other cannabinoids from the plant. This method isn’t necessarily better as it’s not clear if these other compounds offer additional health benefits. Expert states that it might not be safer because some CO2 extraction methods still require solvents.

Some CBD products include or come from “hemp oils.” This refers to CBD oil that is high in CBD, made mostly from the flowers, leaves, and resin of hemp plants. “Hemp oil” is a term that refers to oil extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. It contains very little CBD. This oil is commonly found in hemp-based cosmetics and soaps.

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