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How to recognize good quality CBD?

With nearly 7 million consumers according to a report by the Interprofession des métiers du chanvre (Interchanvre), cannabidiol (CBD) products have become widely accepted in France. Naturally, the craze for CBD has been accompanied by an educational effort on the part of professionals and a learning curve among regular consumers. The latter can, to a certain extent, distinguish good quality CBD from dubious or adulterated products.

In this handy guide, 321CBD lists for you the techniques and tips for identifying the best CBD flowers and oils before and after purchase. Let's get started.

Flowers and oils dominate CBD demand

As the Interchanvre figures show, French consumers are massively stocking up on CBD flowers as well as cannabidiol oils. It must be said that these products, which we will call "raw", combine the advantages.

The CBD flower can indeed be consumed in an infusion, a decoction, a macerated drink or even in vaporization. For its part, CBD oil can be consumed sublingually for rapid action, in particular to promote rapid falling asleep and healthy, restorative sleep. It can also be consumed orally, as a seasoning in a salad or any other daily food. Some CBD oils are designed for topical application, in massage, in particular to relieve joint stiffness or muscle pain.

As you will have understood, CBD flowers and cannabidiol oils are the flagship products of the French CBD industry. This is why the editorial team has chosen to devote this file to these two references. How to recognize a quality CBD flower? How to assess the quality of a CBD oil? We tell you everything to appreciate the joys of a tasty and effective CBD product.

How to recognize a quality CBD oil?

Assessing the quality of a CBD oil can be done in two stages:

  • Before buying: You can rely on the information provided by the seller, or make your own research based on the name of the CBD product you want to buy. This will involve finding out about the organoleptic properties of the hemp variety, the place of production, the CBD concentration, the extraction method used to purify the CBD oil, etc. Unfortunately, this information is not always available. Worse: they are sometimes maliciously erroneous to mislead the consumer.
  • After Purchase: Certain techniques can be used to determine the quality of your oil. CBD that you hold in your hands.

The quality of the CBD oil will impact the achievement of your goals: improve your sleep, relieve chronic pain or joint stiffness, better control stress and anxiety, etc. To help you make an informed choice, we're going to cover both stages of CBD oil quality assessment: pre-purchase and post-purchase.

Recognize a quality CBD oil before buying

Here are the 5 criteria to take into account to recognize a quality CBD oil before buying. Of course, you will rarely have access to all this information. This list is simply intended to guide you in your choice.

#1 The CBD extraction technique

The CBD extracted from industrial hemp, grown legally in France, EU countries and the United States, goes through a long process to end up with a quality cannabidiol oil. Different techniques can be used to extract CBD from the hemp plant, the first step in producing CBD oil:

  • Carbon Dioxide Extraction of CBD. This method is based on a closed circuit extractor similar to that used to extract essential oils for perfumes or food additives. The hemp plant is placed in a chamber filled with CO2. The pressure turns the gas into a liquid which absorbs the oils and aromas of the hemp plant. The final liquid is therefore composed of CO2 and CBD. It will therefore be a question of pumping this liquid to gasify the carbon and end up with a pure and quality CBD oil.
  • CBD alcohol extraction. This method typically uses ethanol, butane, or isopropyl alcohol. This technique is simple, economical and quick, but it sometimes results in CBD oil having an unpleasant taste, in particular due to the presence of solvents which persisted during the evaporation stage.

As you will have understood, the best CBD oils have been obtained using a carbon dioxide extraction technique. Warning: This does not mean that an oil extracted with alcohol will necessarily be of poor quality. Moreover, given the price difference, the overwhelming majority of consumers opt for alcohol-extracted CBD oils (voluntarily or not).

#2 A CBD oil from organic cultivation (or from a reputable farm)

In Outdoor or Greenhouse crops, the hemp plant will actively absorb elements from the soil in high quantities. This is why hemp is referred to as a "hyperaccumulator". The elements of the soil are bound to end up in the foliage of the plant, then in the CBD oil produced from this strain. These can be minerals and vitamins, but also toxic metals such as lead, mercury or arsenic.

This is why it is important to opt for a CBD oil from an organic culture, from a culture that does not use pesticides or, at the very least, from a farm recognized for the quality of his products. Also, try to educate yourself on the carrier oil used in the production of your CBD oil. A simple internet search will tell you about the purity of this carrier product.

If you do not have access to this type of information, the minimum will be to opt for a CBD oil from a French or European culture, especially in countries bordering France such as Switzerland or Italy.

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#3 The label: a decisive indicator of the quality of CBD oil

Serious shops accompany their CBD products with a complete, precise and reliable label to help consumers make their choices. A quality CBD oil will contain between 25 and 100 mg of CBD per millilitre.

So a 10 milliliter bottle of CBD oil will contain between 250 and 1000 mg of CBD. Sometimes the label will mention the dosage of "hemp extract" instead of CBD. In this case, you will have to ask the seller the question or opt for another product.

The label may provide information on the manufacturing process or the place of cultivation, even if this information is generally given on the shop's website (when it is flattering). If the CBD oil bottle label offers a QR Code, feel free to scan it for more information. If the code is not visible on the product sheet, ask the seller who can send you the destination link.

#4 Third Party Tested CBD Oil

The best CBD oils are usually tested by a third-party organization, such as an independent laboratory contracted by the producer or seller. The test results are mentioned on the product label or on the seller's website. In addition to certifying the concentration of cannabinoids (CBD and THC), these tests also inform you about the possible presence of heavy metals.

#5 The cannabinoid profile of broad-spectrum CBD oils

If you opt for a Full Spectrum or Broad Spectrum CBD oil, you will need to consider the quality of cannabinoids it contains. Avoid CBD oils that just say vague things like "hemp seed", "hemp seed oil", "Cannabis Sativa oil". Prefer CBD oils that mention the contents of CBD, THC, COA, CBDA, CBG, CBD, CBC, etc. Do a little research on the effects of each of these cannabinoids to narrow down your choices and find the CBD oil whose composition aligns with your needs and goals.

Recognize a quality CBD oil after purchase

It is complicated, if not impossible, to assess the quality of CBD oil simply by its organoleptic properties. Unlike CBD flowers and leaves, CBD oil has undergone a relatively heavy transformation process, with the presence of alcohol or solvent.

Of course, if you have a very strong alcohol or solvent taste, your CBD oil is probably of poor quality. However, an oil that does not breathe solvent or alcohol is not necessarily of good quality. If you bought your CBD product from a reputable and reputable seller, the only way to assess the quality of the oil will be to consume it and see the effects afterward.

Please note: If your CBD oil comes in a clear or translucent colored bottle, it is poor quality CBD oil at best, poor quality CBD oil at worst. an unidentified liquid. Indeed, the best CBD oils are packaged in amber or dark bottles to protect the liquid from UV rays.

How to recognize a quality CBD flower?

CBD flowers and leaves represent up to 60% of purchases by French cannabidiol consumers. As a result, regular consumers have developed some practical knowledge to identify quality CBD flower by smell, taste, and texture…especially if they have a favorite strain that they buy regularly. As with CBD oil, here's how to recognize a quality CBD flower before and after purchase.

How to recognize a quality CBD flower before buying?

#1 The criteria for growing hemp

Here we use the same criteria relating to the culture from which the CBD flower comes:

  • Opt for CBD flowers from a French or European culture, ideally in a neighboring country such as Italy or Switzerland;
  • Make sure the product has been third party tested for CBD content and especially in THC;
  • Analyze the cannabinoid profile of the CBD flower on its label.

#2 The method of growing the hemp plant

CBD flowers can be grown in three ways, each with its advantages and disadvantages:

  • CBD flowers grown outdoors (Outdoor). It is the most common mode of cultivation, the most economical and the most respectful of the environment. The CBD flower grown outdoors takes on the characteristics of its soil and its immediate environment. So there is a "terroir" side that appeals to purists a lot. Disadvantage: Quality is more uneven.
  • CBD flowers grown indoors (Indoor). It is the most recent, the most complex and the most expensive mode of cultivation. The producer controls all the variables of the environment thanks to various technologies (artificial lighting, ventilation and air conditioning system, etc.). CBD flowers are of excellent quality, with a good concentration of cannabidiol and terpenes, but they are more expensive.
  • CBD flowers grown in Greenhouses, or greenhouses. It is a compromise between Outdoor and Indoor, insofar as the hemp plants grow on the ground but are protected from the vagaries of the weather by the greenhouse. The latter also traps heat, making it possible to grow hemp all year round.

In absolute terms, indoor cultivation produces the best CBD flowers. However, purists prefer CBD flowers from plants that have grown in the open air. It's up to you to make your choice according to your preferences.

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How to recognize a quality CBD flower after purchase?

You have been delivered, and your CBD flowers are finally in your hands. Here are some tips to assess the quality of the product before you even taste it.

#1 The 'quality' of the smell of CBD flower

This is a somewhat tricky criterion that requires some experience. Indeed, each variety of CBD flower is characterized by its own fragrance, especially in terms of top notes. Quality is not related to odor potency, as some varieties are naturally less fragrant than others. There is therefore a learning effect that comes into play. If the citrus scent of your CBD Lemon Haze flower is less marked than last time, it is because the flower you are holding in your hands is of lesser quality. If your CBD Strawberry flower unfolds a smell of wood rather than notes of red fruits, there may be a deception of the goods.

On the other hand, all CBD flowers must smell like weed for at least two meters. It is the famous "Skunk" smell that makes the charm of raw and organic plants. In any case, a bland and odorless CBD flower is probably a flower of poor quality and/or a flower that suffered during drying and ripening. A CBD flower with little or no odor will provide you with very few terpenes. Finally, hay-scented flowers are very poor quality flowers.

#2 The visual aspect of the CBD flower

Quality CBD flowers have a vigorous and dense bud. The flower is bright green tinged with purple, yellow and/or orange. Avoid CBD flowers that feature brown or reddish tones. The presence of trichomes is also a sign of quality.

Here's a well-known handy tip for purists: take a photo of your CBD flower in optimal lighting conditions, in direct sunlight. Zoom in for crystalline, whitish "hairs". If the bud you are holding in your hands is densely covered with trichomes and a thin, frosty film, you are in for a high quality CBD flower. The presence of pistils is an indicator of good maturation of the plant and the sign of a quality crop.

#3 The texture of CBD flower

Neither too dry nor too wet, the best CBD flowers have an intermediate texture, with a minimum consistency to "split" the flower without breaking it. Too dry, the CBD flower breaks easily and is reduced to powder by hand. Too humid, it may have developed mold.

#4 The shape of the CBD flower

The best CBD flowers are dense, tight, and relatively compact. Indoor grown flowers have the best form, with a good amount of product and very few stems or leaves.

To conclude on the quality of CBD…

In this practical guide, 321CBD has listed various techniques and tips for recognizing quality CBD before and after purchase. In conclusion, do not forget that the intensity of the soothing and analgesic effects felt does not depend only on the quality of the product. Several factors come into play, such as the concentration of CBD, the frequency and duration of intake, the mode of consumption which impacts the time between intake and the onset of effects, etc.

CBD flowers that we recommend for relaxation
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