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Apr 25, 2019

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A few months ago I heard a rumor that CBD was getting more Google searches than God. I couldn’t find any evidence verifying that, but Google did reveal this surprising trend:

Google search - CBD vs THC

In the last two years interest in CBD outpaced THC and has yet to peak. The world is awash in CBD, but because the market is unregulated, it’s difficult to know what you’re buying. Confusion abounds.

And for good reasons. Recent reports show that labels on the bottle sometimes bear no relationship to the oil or tincture inside. Some CBD oils have high levels of THC (the standard amount is just .3%, which is too low to cause any sort of high); other brands contain no CBD whatsoever. Too many claim to have a certain number of mgs of CBD but when tested, are shown to be wildly inaccurate.

Other issues to beware: Is your CBD free of contaminants? Much of the CBD from China or Eastern Europe was grown on soil that may be contaminated by industrial waste. If a product hasn’t been tested by an independent, 3rd party lab, you’ll never know for sure. And if it has been tested, where can you see the results? Transparent companies post results on their websites.

The terms on the label are also perplexing: Here’s a quick guide to an isolate versus a full spectrum or broad spectrum oil. CBD Isolate is pure CBD extracted from hemp with no other cannabinoids. It is dried and crystalized, and many contend it is less effective than Full Spectrum CBD,  which is extracted from hemp with all of the accompanying cannabinoids, including that tiny amount of THC. Broad Spectrum is CBD is Full Spectrum, but with all of the THC removed.

Finally, there’s the price -- a sore spot for anyone on a low or fixed income. It’s not uncommon to find a 1000mg bottle of CBD costing $60. At 25mg twice a day that comes to over $1000 a year, which is sky high for a product produced from a plant that grows wild almost everywhere in the world.

The best way I can contribute to stopping shoddy business practices is through education. That’s why this episode features Martin Lee, Director of Project CBD, the California-based nonprofit that has been disseminating research about this cannabinoid long before it was a Google trend. Martin tackles the challenges of navigating the unregulated market to find good, reliable medicine. Our second interview is with Dr. Junella Chin (featured several times in previous episodes on our podcast), who has treated over 10,000 patients with CBD in the last 15 years. She offers practical advice about using it for maximum impact.

If you know of a reputable CBD brand that is transparent in its growing and extraction practices and affordable, please let us know. Email or snap a pic of the label and post it on Instagram. Be sure to tag us and tell us the price!. This is one area where the wisdom of crowds can be a great service.