More hemp companies and manufacturers have discovered just how important it is to be transparent with consumers, especially as an influx of brands are popping up every day.
Each company is competing to prove that it offers the best hemp-based product(s) on the market, formulated to perfection for maximum results.
However, the only way to verify this information is to provide insight into the specific nature of the hemp itself, as well as the hemp extract that they use to formulate their products.
That is where third-party testing and source tracing come in.
These practices are slowly becoming standard throughout the hemp market, and for good reason.
They offer unbiased information about the products in terms of safety, quality, purity, and overall effectiveness, and give more insight into the potential of a specific formula than any superficial claims that a company could make.
We will take a closer look at these two practices; explaining their exact meanings, why they are crucial, and how to use this information provided to make the best choice for your consumer needs.
The Importance of Transparency with Consumers
So, why is transparency such an important factor of running a CBD business?
Well, there are a few reasons.
Reason #1: It is a New Industry
CBD is still a pretty new industry, and so companies must go above and beyond to assure customers who are new to hemp that it’s safe and legitimate.
It can be quite hard to do this without providing concrete information about the hemp used in each formula.
Reason #2: Regulation
As hemp is still so new, it still isn’t a regulated industry that must adhere to strict guidelines and restrictions set forth by the government.
This means that there’s a lot of room for suspicious companies to enter the market without any real repercussion.
As a result, a lot of CBD out there is low in quality, ineffective and not even necessarily legitimate.
Reason #3: Proving How and Why that Said Product is the Real Deal
Companies and manufacturers must prove more than ever before that what they are selling is the real deal, and that it’s safe and capable of delivering real results.
Nowadays, business entities that don’t make third-party testing and source tracing accessible are viewed with suspicion.
As it is become such a standard throughout the industry that the lack of this information would imply that a company may have something to hide.
This is something that every company should do because it’s the only way in which a company can provide unbiased information to customers.
What third-party testing is involves testing processes in which each batch of hemp extract a company produces is sent off to a verified third-party laboratory that specializes in analyzing hemp samples.
It means that the hemp plant has been run through an extraction process to produce a concentrate that is easily formulated with other ingredients.
The reason why hemp extract must be tested is because it can pick up impurities during the various manufacturing processes and can destabilize due to poor techniques.
Worse, some companies can use fake hemp extract that doesn’t actually contain cannabidiol or other cannabinoids.
During the testing process, the hemp is analyzed for various factors that imply overall quality.
These are the most important ones to look for.
Impurities (Residual Solvents, Heavy Metals & Pesticides)
Various impurities can end up in a hemp extract, thus ruining the overall purity of the formula.
Impurities can enter during the farming stage, the extraction stage, or the storing stage.
Lab testing searches for traces of any impurities and reports whether or not any are present.
So it's crucial that in addition to the potency of cannabinoids and terpenes, you also look for testing in regards to heavy metals, pesticides, and residual solvents.
Potency and Chemical Composition
Lab reports will break down each compound that’s in the hemp extract, so that you can know what you’re putting into your body.
A hemp company should tell you whether they use full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate in their formulas, as each one has a unique chemical composition.
These lab reports are where you can verify that the information is correct, while getting more insight into the specific configuration of cannabinoids and terpenes.
You’ll also see the potency level of each compound present, by the percentage.
This gives you a good idea of what general effects you can expect, as different levels of specific cannabinoids and terpenes can prioritize individual properties of the hemp plant.
Then, there is the presence of microbes, which are thoroughly tested for.
Not all microbes are harmful, but there are potentially dangerous ones that can make their way into the product.
This is how you can know for certain that there are no dangerous microbes in the formula you intend to take.
Lab-testing is crucial, as you can see, but source tracing is also especially important.
Source tracing is a way to give customers an idea of how their products are made, beginning with the seeds harvested by hemp farmers.
Customers are becoming pickier and pickier about their hemp these days, which is a good thing as it shows that they’re overall becoming more educated on the industry.
Today’s hemp consumers want maximum assurance that what they’re getting will suit their needs.
Source tracing is a great means for giving consumers more insight into how the product is made, so that customers can trust that they are receiving the best value for their money.
Source tracing typically covers the region from which the hemp was derived, along with the extraction process that was used, as both of these factors can play a role in the final product.
Knowing where the hemp comes from matters as some regions produce better quality crops than others.
Knowing the extraction method is also particularly important as some are inferior to others.
Essentially, the CO2 and ethanol extraction methods are two of the most used because they produce a better-quality, purer, and more stable product.
All of the information provided by source tracing gives you a complete picture of the general quality and effectiveness of the product, as consumers are learning more and more about how different aspects of the manufacturing process can yield dramatic differences in terms of quality based on the methods chosen.
How to Find This Information for Assurance When Shopping for Hemp
Now, we can apply this information to practical use.
When shopping for CBD, you should know how to look for third-party lab reports as well as source tracing information.
It’s really on the company to make this information as accessible as possible.
Lab reports and source tracing should be found on either the product description pages or on a separate, designated area. At the minimum all companies should have verifiable 3rd party test results.
If you can’t find this information for whatever reason, you should contact the company and ask for it.
And, if they refuse to provide it, you should look for another company, to put it plainly.
Hemp Information is Power
They say that not all CBD products are created equally, and with lab testing and source tracing, you can find exactly where those inequalities lie.
Both of these pieces of information give you enormous insight into what type of product you’ll end up with, and the experience that they will provide.
The next time you go shopping for CBD, look for this information to make a confident purchase.