Disclaimer: The content within this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Our products are not approved by the FDA to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult a medical practitioner if you have a medical condition requiring attention.
In the matter of a few years, CBD (cannabidiol) has transformed from a relatively unknown plant compound into the darling centerpiece of the wellness world. This unprecedented new industry emerged as a result of United States hemp legalization. The nation’s 2014 farm bill enabled states to run their own Industrial Hemp Pilot Research programs. (Frogsong Farm began under one such program in Oregon). A few years later, the 2018 farm bill legalized hemp nationally.
This is good news for people seeking natural solutions for chronic conditions. CBD, a cannabis extract which comes primarily from hemp flowers, offers many of the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana without getting you high. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound responsible for the infamous cannabis “high” and is the most well-known of over 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids.
The compounds in cannabis flowers interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), though in different ways. The ECS regulates pain, inflammation, immune response, temperature, and more. While most cannabis causes a high, hemp-derived CBD does not. Though technically speaking, CBD is psychoactive. This means that it interacts with the brain and nervous system. Because CBD is not intoxicating, it is a great option for people wishing to reap the health benefits of cannabis without experiencing an altered state.
There are countless products and claims to sort through in the new and under-regulated CBD market. For instance, the term “hemp oil” could mean true CBD oil, or it could mean hemp seed oil, which is a culinary ingredient with no CBD content. Another confusing term is the word “cannabis”, which refers to both adult-use cannabis (also known as marijuana) and hemp. (learn more about the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil in our blog here.)
Oils extracted from adult-use cannabis can only be legally obtained at a licensed dispensary due to their mind-altering effects. In contrast, hemp-derived oils are defined as having less than 0.3% THC and are widely accessible in stores and online.
Benefits of CBD
By now, the benefits of cannabidiol are widely discussed online and are becoming increasingly documented in medical research. It’s important to recognize that CBD is not a panacea. However, thanks to the endocannabinoid system’s complex involvement in the human body, the potential benefits of CBD are diverse and far-reaching. CBD may be useful as a:
- Chronic pain reliever
- Seizure reducer
- Anxiety reliever
- Sleep aid
Read more about the benefits of CBD oil on our blog: How To Use CBD Oil and Get The Most Benefits.
About Cannabis Oil
Extractions from the flowers of the cannabis plant (both hemp and marijuana) result in a thick, sticky oil rich in beneficial compounds. Beyond the most popular cannabinoids, THC and CBD, the cannabis plant produces a suite of other plant chemicals linked to an array of health benefits (these include various terpenes, CBN, CBG, and many more). Hemp plants, by legal definition, only produce a very small amount of THC (unlike adult-use cannabis). The process for extracting the resinous oils from the plant is the same whether producing adult-use oils for a dispensary or high-CBD oils for a grocery store – the difference is in the plant material.
Extraction methods vary widely; while some methods produce a safe, pure product, many others have the potential to leave harmful solvent residues in the extract and the final consumer product. Careful sourcing and third-party lab testing are of the utmost importance when shopping for any cannabis oil.
One popular form of cannabis oil is the tincture, which is a liquid suspension of a therapeutic compound in alcohol, oil, or glycerin. These typically come in a dropper bottle for easy dosing (learn all about cannabis tinctures on our blog here). Frogsong Farm specializes in full-spectrum CBD. Our olive-oil-based tinctures offer a hefty dose of hemp-derived CBD along with a full complement of cannabinoids, flavonoids and aromatic terpenes. This includes trace amounts of THC, which, though not enough to be intoxicating, offers benefits in the form of improved bioavailability, thanks to a phenomenon called the Entourage Effect.
What to Look for When Buying Quality CBD Oil
With thousands of competing hemp oil products on the market, it may be tempting to opt for the most convenient or lowest priced products. This industry is one where research and careful shopping are not only beneficial, but important for safety. Safe products are even more essential for people who are looking to incorporate cannabidiol into their treatment options for specific health conditions. There are a number of factors to consider when searching for safe and high-quality CBD oil. Some of the most important factors are purity, strength, bioavailability, testing, and source.
Purity refers to how clean and uncompromised the product is. Manufacturers are not required to label their products with information on how the CBD extract is produced. Unfortunately, production methods vary widely, and so do the safety profiles of these production methods. Common contaminants to watch out for include residual solvents, heavy metals, molds, and pesticides.
Inexpensive solvents such as hexane, butane, and benzene are widely used for solvent extraction due to their low cost and high availability. These solvents are also known carcinogens and not safe for human consumption. It is common for bargain CBD products to undergo no lab testing whatsoever. These products can have solvent residues which are harmful to human health.
To avoid solvent residues from the extraction process, look for supercritical-CO2-extracted or ethanol-extracted products. At Frogsong Farm, we use organic sugarcane ethanol in our extractions.
The soil in which hemp plants are grown may be the single greatest indicator of hemp quality. Hemp is a phytoremediator, meaning it draws impurities out of the soil through its roots. These impurities, if present, are then stored in the plant. The hemp plants are literally made from the soil in which they grow.
Heavy metals can come from contaminated soil. The most common metals of concern are mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium. These can all have negative effects on human health, especially in concentrated amounts. Imported hemp products, as well as hemp products from low-quality soils in the United States, are at risk of heavy metal contamination. This is why it is so important to know the farm where your hemp is grown.
Frogsong Farm hemp is certified organic. We control everything that goes into our fields (only the best!) and we monitor our soil health with soil testing throughout the year. We even test our concentrated CBD oil for metals every once in a while. Though it isn’t required, we want to make sure nothing shows up in the most concentrated point in our process (20+ times more concentrated than our strongest retail products).
Mold is another factor that can affect the purity of a CBD product. Cannabis flowers are harvested late in the season when summer has turned to fall. Flowers harvested too late, or kept in moist conditions, can develop high levels of molds, mildews, or other fungal growth. Exposure to humidity is inevitable, and mold is a natural part of every ecosystem; however, it can be harmful when consumed by humans.
The first line of defense in avoiding mold in your hemp products is to buy from small craft hemp producers. This increases the chance that the hemp has been handled and processed with attention to detail and in a timely fashion. Hemp from a large company could sit in storage for years before extraction, often not vacuum sealed. Large-scale extraction processes often skip steps not deemed absolutely necessary in the name of streamlining and cutting costs. These can have negative effects on the final product.
The second way to protect yourself from mold is to know your source. At Frogsong Farm we carefully time our harvest to avoid mold contamination. We then attentively cure our flowers and store them in airtight, nitrogen-sealed totes to prevent decomposition. Lab tests have demonstrated that our stored flowers are nearly identical in potency and chemical makeup to our freshly cured flowers.
The third and most important protection from mold exposure has to do with the processing protocol. Frogsong Farm’s CBD extract is completely sterilized a first time by organic ethanol, a second time by heat and pressure, and finally is run through a 1-micron filter which is too fine for mold spores to pass through. This offers an added layer of protection for our customers, and provides peace of mind for everyone.
Pesticides are a final factor to consider. To avoid pesticide residues in your products, choose certified organic hemp growers. A word to the wise: ask the hemp farmers directly whether their flowers are sprayed. Even organic farmers are allowed to use some pesticides. For best results and the safest products, look beyond organic for concentrates from unsprayed flowers. At Frogsong Farm, our hemp plants are unsprayed – no pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. We try to avoid problems, and when we can’t we either work around them or look to nature for some assistance (beneficial bugs, cover crops, etc.)
Strength & Concentration
Many CBD companies are in the industry with the aim of quickly making money. Some companies purposefully cut corners by including only miniscule amounts of CBD in the product. Sometimes this can be tricky to distinguish due to confusing labeling terms. For instance, a product may list “1,000 milligrams hemp oil” without defining what percentage of oil is actual CBD. In this case, you could end up purchasing a product that is mostly just an omega-3 supplement with very low levels of actual cannabinoids.
Avoid products that list “hemp oil” without clear information about actual cannabidiol content. Where CBD is clearly labeled, look for products that have at least 250 milligrams of full-spectrum CBD per ounce (not per container) A four-ounce product, for example, should contain at least 1,000 milligrams of actual CBD.
At Frogsong Farm we are sometimes asked “What percent CBD is your tincture?” The short answer is that our Drops is 1% CBD and our Drops Plus is 2.6% CBD. However, we find that instead of percentage it is far more important to understand the concentration of a CBD product in terms of milligrams of CBD per ounce.
For example, Frogsong Farm’s Drops line has 300 mg CBD per ounce. Each ounce has thirty 1 mL servings, so each serving contains 10 mg of CBD. The same process can be applied to our higher strength line, Drops Plus, which has 750 mg of CBD per ounce, or 25 mg CBD per serving.
The droppers is labelled incrementally, making it easy to adjust and control your personal CBD dose.
By contrast, pure CBD extract is extremely concentrated. For instance, a month’s supply of CBD at 70% could fit on a very small kitchen spoon. Using a product that is 70% CBD would make dosing a challenge since such a tiny amount is needed to deliver the daily dose of 10-50 milligrams. Frogsong Farm tinctures are formulated to provide a simple and effective way to manage your CBD intake. While the amount of total CBD in the bottle matters, with regard to concentration, the information to look for is how many milligrams are in the product, not what percentage of CBD the product is.
An interesting note: the amount of cannabidiol in a majority of CBD products is miniscule compared to the other ingredients. This is why the carrier oil of a tincture matters- because the bottle’s predominant ingredient will be the liquid in which the cannabidiol is suspended.
Many oils on the retail market today are simply low-grade CBD isolate suspended in a cheap carrier oil like MCT or glycerin. While there may be some benefit to products like this, results from CBD isolate are often inconsistent or altogether undetectable. This is because our bodies are not well-equipped to process CBD on its own. THC acts like a key, unlocking the binding sites where CBD can then interact. Read more about this phenomenon at ProjectCBD.org
Understanding how cannabidiol works within the ECS empowers you as an informed consumer. Look for full-spectrum CBD products to get the most out of your purchase. Frogsong Farm products have an approximately 25:1 ratio, meaning that for every 25 milligrams of CBD you receive, you’ll also receive about 1 milligram of THC. While within the legal limits and not enough to have an intoxicating effect, this small amount helps make CBD more available to your body and thus more effective.
Companies can make all kinds of claims, and there is currently little oversight holding them accountable. At the end of the day, the best and most reliable way to know a company’s products are safe is to examine their third-party lab results. These should be available on their website.
Source & Company Ethics
Also consider the company’s reputation. What are customers saying about them? Do they have any third-party certifications? How are their product reviews, not only on their own site, but on their social media pages and other unaffiliated websites? Can you glean information about the company, its team, their hemp sourcing, and extraction/production processes? The closer to the source you buy, the more confident you can be in the consistency and quality of the product.
Frogsong Farm is certified USDA Organic, is a Certified B Corporation, and is Better Business Accredited. We are humbled to have many five-star reviews and a strong following of loyal users on our social media pages. Much of our business growth comes from word of mouth, which began years ago with friends and colleagues who had visited our farm and know us personally. As word spread about Frogsong Farm and happy customers began to multiply, our reach expanded nationally. We now serve CBD users all across the USA. If you haven’t tried our products, we hope you will consider us for your CBD needs. If you already use our products, thank you for your support!
Becca Recker is Director of Communications for Frogsong Farm. With a background in organic farming and permaculture design, Rebecca has been writing about soil health and local food access for nine years. The author of several blogs, she has contributed to articles for Oregon Leaf and Green Living PDX magazines, as well as the following websites: Civilized, Splimm, Miss Grass, and Flowertown. She has been a featured guest on the Periodic Effects and Your Highness podcasts.