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If you’ve ever tried searching for CBD products online, you know how confusing it can be. Actually, ‘crazy’ might be a better way to describe the experience! There are now zillions of brands peddling CBD in every form imaginable — and more are popping up every day.
Google isn’t doing a great job of surfacing the most reputable CBD companies (at least not yet), so I decided to dig in. I spent two full weeks wading through pages and pages of Google and Amazon search results to figure out some answers to two key questions:
- What should I look for in a quality CBD product?
- How do I distinguish the brands that really know what they’re doing from those who are just jumping on the CBD bandwagon?
I ended up writing a full-length guide on how to buy and use CBD, so I won’t go into the full details here. But I’m happy to share my key takeaways below. And in case it isn’t obvious, I’m featuring Charlotte’s Web, because they meet all these important criteria… and more.
In this brand spotlight:
- Meet Charlotte’s Web
- The bottom line on buying CBD
- Why Charlotte’s Web?
- Which CBD product should you buy?
- Quality + Transparency = Trust
Meet Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte’s Web is a family-run company started by the Stanley Brothers (7 of ’em!) on a mission to help a little girl, Charlotte, who was suffering from constant life-threatening seizures. Their research and determination led to the first and (as of this writing) the only cannabis-derived product (Epidiolex) that’s been approved by the FDA.
Since then, the family business has grown into a pretty large team that manages their own farms in Colorado — and also partners with sustainable hemp growers in Oregon and Kentucky. I enjoyed hearing from the folks who make it happen, and I think you will too…
The bottom line on buying CBD
Based on what I’ve learned, this is ultimately what I look for in the CBD products I buy and why:
- The hemp plant has hundreds of amazing compounds that work together synergistically to provide benefit… CBD is only one of those compounds. For that reason, I’ll always choose full-spectrum hemp oil that includes CBD over an extract of only CBD oil.
- Soil remediators love hemp because it naturally soaks up toxins from soil and groundwater. This is awesome if the hemp will be used for making sustainable rope or hempcrete! But these contaminants can end up in the extracts we consume. So, I’ll only buy CBD extracts if the hemp was grown on clean land and without chemical inputs (pesticides, fungicides, etc.).
- The only way to know for sure that a product is pure is to test it. I’ll only buy CBD extracts that have been rigorously tested to be free from heavy metals, pesticides, and other pollutants.
- Hemp-derived CBD is supposed to come from cannabis plants that have less than 0.3% THC content so that users don’t get high. But at least one independent study has shown that a surprising amount of CBD products on the market have enough THC to be intoxicating. I’ll only buy CBD products that test every batch for THC content.
- Lots of CBD brands test their hemp for THC and contaminants, but they don’t always tell you the results. Transparency is key. I’m wary of any CBD brand that doesn’t share their test results and will only buy from those who do.
Why Charlotte’s Web?
Charlotte’s Web sells full-spectrum cannabinoid extracts that (of course) include CBD… alongside dozens of other phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and beneficial plant compounds.
The company isn’t certified organic just yet, but (as of this writing) they are in the process. As such, they already grow their hemp to organic standards and practice sustainable farming methods that improve the health of the soil and their plants.
In fact, before they even began cultivating hemp on their own Colorado farms, they fully remediated the soil to make sure it was clear of heavy metals and other contaminants. That was smart!
And still, they test their extracts more than 20 times throughout the production process to fully ensure the consistency and purity of the final product. The packaging is then stamped with a batch number, so you can easily find the test results for your particular product. (If you can’t read the stamp, you’ll also find the batch number labeled as “lot no.” on your packing slip.)
Which CBD product should you buy?
Excellent question! I didn’t know which product to buy either, so I took their quick 3-question quiz to see what they’d recommend. In fact, just for fun, I took it a few times and answered their questions differently each time just to see how their recommendation would change. Give ‘er a try to see!
That said, based on my original (not playing around) test results from their quiz, I realized that my post-exercise body needed something a bit stronger. So, I ended up buying (no freebies!) their 60mg oil as well. It’s only been a week, but I’m loving it so far.
All their products are full-spectrum hemp extracts (no CBD isolates), so you get the full benefit the hemp plant has to offer. (Read the Ultimate Guide on Buying and Using CBD to find out why that’s important.)
Here’s what they’ve got…
These tinctures are in a base of fractionated coconut oil (not alcohol), which I prefer because alcohol-based supplements tend to burn my mouth. Servings-wise, these range from 17mg to 60mg per mL and flavors include chocolate mint, olive oil, lemon, and orange. (I’ve only tasted the olive oil and lemon so far — both are delish.)
Charlotte's Web CO2 Extracted Hemp Oil with CBD
CBD for Dogs
They have both oils and gummies for dogs, all chicken-flavored. They also have a balm for dogs with sensitive skin. Each of these is intended for mature dogs, not puppies.
Charlotte's Web CO2 Extracted CBD Oils for Dogs
In addition to 10mg of CBD, their “sleep” gummies also contain 3 mg of melatonin, the “calm” gummies also have lemon balm, and the “recovery” gummies also have ginger and turmeric.
Charlotte's Web Gummies (Full-Extract Hemp Oil with CBD)
I prefer the oils to capsules — just a personal preference. But with oils, the dropper doesn’t pull an exact amount from the bottle every time. So, if you want a precise serving every time, the capsules are the way to go. They range from 8mg to 25mg per serving.
Their lotion and balm each contain 300 mg of hemp extract per oz. Both also have menthol and cinnamon, which can feel soothing on the body… but a bit strong for the face.
Quality + Transparency = Trust
If you are still new to CBD and aren’t sure what to buy and why, I highly recommend reading this Ultimate Guide to Buying & Using CBD. I did a lot of research before I decided to feature Charlotte’s Web and I’m glad I did.
CBD is big business these days, and there are a lot of brands jumping on the bandwagon that don’t seem to understand the power of what they’re really selling. They’re diluting their oils, adding harmful synthetic ingredients to make them more affordable, and they aren’t testing for impurities or THC content. Not only can that make the CBD less effective, but it can also make it harmful.
You have to be careful to buy from a reputable brand that knows what they’re doing and is thoughtful about how they manufacture their products from farm to bottle. With that in mind, I very much appreciate the stringent quality control that Charlotte’s Web holds over its entire supply chain. They’ve built a reputation for transparency and quality and, having dug in to learn more about how they do what they do… I can absolutely see why.