CBD oils come in a vast array of carriers, qualities, sizes and concentrations – and it can be impossible to know which is ‘best’, or which ingredients to avoid altogether!
To help you out, the Adio team has collated lists of the most common ingredients you might see on your CBD oil, what they mean, and which are ideal.
If you need any help choosing the best quality CBD oil, as a quick takeaway, look for as few ingredients as possible!
Adio oils contain two, simple ingredients – pure, organic CBD and refined hemp seed oil as a natural, potent carrier oil with no nasty’s, chemicals or additives.
Let’s look at why simplicity is best, and what other ingredients are widely used in UK CBD production.
Common CBD Oil Carriers
Carriers are most often an oil extracted from a plant, and so choosing a natural, organic carrier is ideal. The following are all commonly used carriers, with hemp seed oil being our preferred choice.
1. Hemp seed oil (or hemp oil).
Cold-pressing hemp seeds make this oil to extract a high-quality concentrate, that is an ideal carrier for CBD. It comes from the same plant, is natural and delicately nutty, and is commonly used in health foods and cooking.
Why do we choose hemp oil? It’s said to have benefits for your skin health, and reduce sebum production to help achieve a flawless complexion. It is packed with Omega-6 fatty acids that are great for a vast range of ailments and is popular in many skincare products.
As a carrier, hemp seed oil is as organic, natural and lovingly manufactured as the CBD itself, and lends itself harmoniously to create a premium tincture.
2. Grapeseed Oil.
Not quite as common, but grapeseed oil is another natural oil that has inherent benefits. Like hemp seed, it is rich in omega-6 fatty acids and may be an antioxidant (although medical research hasn’t yet quantified this).
Grapeseed oil is healthy and an effective carrier. It’s more commonly found in perfumes and beauty balms, but can be used as a CBD carrier.
3. MCT Oil.
While it might be one of the most commonly used CBD carriers, MCT can be produced from palm oil, so it’s important to be cautious about the sourcing of your CBD product.
Palm oil production is known to be hugely costly to the environment, so we would never recommend purchasing a product containing MCT unless it states that it is sourced in a responsible way – such as from sustainably farmed coconuts.
Ethically sourced MCT can also offer benefits and stands for medium-chain triglycerides – a type of fatty acid.
4. Olive Oil.
We’re all familiar with olive oil in cooking and salad dressings, but it can also be used as a CBD carrier. Olive oil has a good ratio of unsaturated and saturated fats and is a lower-cost option that is widely produced.
5. Avocado Oil.
With a similar nutty flavour to hemp seed oil, avocado oil is a slightly thicker carrier, so more often used in creams and balms, rather than in tinctures.
However, it does offer natural health benefits and can assist in soothing skin conditions due to natural properties.
Shop Our 100% Organic CBD Oils
We only use CBD extracted from 100% Certified Organic Hemp.
Explore the exceptional power of Mother Nature, with our unique CBD tinctures crafted from only the highest-quality organic ingredients.
What Harmful Substances Should I Look Out for in my CBD?
The best preventative to avoid ingesting any harmful chemicals is to purchase 100% Organic Certified CBD from a reputable, independent manufacturer.
You can expect to find plenty of information about sourcing, licenses, extraction methods and third-party lab tests, usually available online.
However, there are cases where chemicals slip through the net – or are permitted.
This scenario often occurs when purchasing CBD from an international seller on a marketplace, so it pays to check the ingredients and know what they mean before you add to basket!
- Dextromethorphan (DXM). This is a cough syrup and one that is known to be highly addictive, which often leads to substance abuse issues. DXM has been identified in multiple lab tests mainly in CBD vape fluids and can be lethal in high doses, so never use a CBD with this ingredient on the labelling, or on the lab test (no matter how far down it is).
- 5F-ADB. This compound is very similar to the drug K2, also known as Spice. 5F-ADB is synthetically produced, and a very strong substance that is designed to act as THC although with a more potent effect.
- You do not want to be ingesting this chemical – it is designed to kill microorganisms, and is used as a water treatment in ponds, canals and wells. Acrolein has been found in vape oils and can cause extreme harm to your nose, throat and lungs. You’ll discover Acrolein in car exhausts and cigarette smoke.
- Lead and Nickel. Both these metals are carcinogens, which make it more likely that you will develop cancer. Heavy metals are identified in cannabis extracts grown in non-organic conditions, where the hemp plants absorb such substances and minerals from the ground around them. Both of these substances are highly dangerous and toxic.
- This is another metal, found in the soil and naturally occurring. Cadmium has been found in farmed vegetables, including potatoes. High dosages can be fatal, but exposure in a CBD oil may also cause organ damage.
- Microbial Contaminants. Again, a risk from non-organic CBD, where the hemp plants may have absorbed contaminants during the growing process. Microbials include dangerous elements such as e-coli, salmonella and plant pesticides. These toxins can be fatal, and so it is crucial to buy an Organic Certified CBD grown in the EU or UK where the organic certification rules are the most stringent.
- THC is the other primary cannabinoid compound found in hemp and cannabis plants. It is illegal in the UK, and plants grown for CBD extraction must be licensed at less than 0.2% concentration. EU accredited growers abide by this rule, so reputable CBD products will contain zero, or only trace elements of THC. However, CBD purchased online from abroad may well have higher concentrations, and result in the potential failure of drugs tests, or intoxication.
- Vegetable Glycerin. This sounds harmless but is a common base used – outside of the natural oils we’ve listed above, which are all non-toxic. Vegetable Glycerin is produced from soybeans, palm oil and coconut oil – but there are concerns about its use in therapeutic products. Glycerin is a key ingredient in dynamite and is often used in vape oils since it produces thicker smoke. However, there is potential for lung damage, and although this isn’t definitive, we would avoid a CBD, including this as the carrier.
- One of the best performing anti-smoking campaigns run by the UK health authorities featured an explanation about formaldehyde – most well known as an embalming fluid. This carcinogen is used in many modern products, and should not be used in CBD products. Vape oils containing formaldehyde can cause dangerous changes to the cells of your mouth.
While this list of chemicals isn’t exhaustive, it can be alarming to learn about the potentially lethal side effects of ingesting dangerous substances – particularly with long-term use.
However, the positive aspect is that using reputed CBD producers ensures you avoid any exposure to harmful chemicals and synthetics.
We often talk about the value of buying organic, and it can, perhaps, seem like a needless expense. We’re all familiar with the price difference between a bag of organic and standard tomatoes in the local supermarket!
But, when it comes to cannabis-derived products, buying organic is not a compromise we would ever suggest making. As we’ve mentioned, cannabis and hemp plants are bio-accumulators. That means they absorb minerals from the soil they are grown in, and non-organic farming means exposure to countless pesticides and germicides that are not suitable for human consumption.
Organic CBD isn’t a luxury, but a necessity, to guarantee you are buying a therapeutic product that will deliver health benefits, as opposed to containing dangerous chemicals that can be extremely harmful.
How Can I Make Sure I Buy Safe CBD Products?
Given the lack of regulation in the CBD market, the onus is on the consumer to be aware of what you are buying, and do your due diligence in making sure you don’t ingest dangerous substances.
You may also notice that many of these chemicals have been most often found in CBD vape oils – so using a tincture is not only more effective, but reduces the risk of exposure.
Adio always recommends only purchasing CBD from licensed sellers who provide transparent third-party lab testing, so without this information, you are unable to verify what is in your CBD – and if any of the substances listed above are present.
The issue is that it is much cheaper, and therefore more profitable, to dilute CBD products using synthetics. As the CBD market expands, many retailers are keen to find ways to cut costs and drive up margins to take advantage of the potential to obtain market share.
While you are unlikely to see immediate or short-term effects from pesticides, for example, there is potential for them to build up over time and cause severe health side effects.
So it is critical to research your CBD ingredients, and until regulations come into play that prevent products from being sold where harmful chemicals have been detected, be extra vigilant when buying on any marketplace.