Does the label match the CBD product inside?
Posted on September 7th, 2020 to Cannabis
“I’ve tried CBD for my dog and it didn’t work”.
That’s a statement I hear quite often from pet parents who are hesitant to start using Full Spectrum CBD products. And I always ask to see the label of the product they have tried and 9 times out of 10, I can tell you why it didn’t work. Sadly, according to a recent study, the majority of companies’ labels don’t reflect the actual product. Let’s learn more!
CBD IS AN UNREGULATED INDUSTRY
Unfortunately, the CBD industry is self-regulating and has no real oversight. By this, I mean there is no one – including the FDA – checking for accuracy of labeling or safety of the hemp products sold in the United States.
In some cases, products have been found to contain no CBD at all! The only way to know that the product you are purchasing is safe and contains the cannabinoids like CBD and THC is by looking at a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from a third party.
In a study done by the Department of Clinical Sciences, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, researchers analyzed 29 pet CBD products that were labeled “Full Spectrum,” (meaning it has .3% THC or less) to determine if what they claim on their labels was in fact found in the product. Only 10 of the 29 products were within 10% of the total cannabinoid concentrations of their label claim and four of them were contaminated with heavy metals. Only 18 of the 29 were appropriately labeled.
“Cornell Study Conclusion: The products analyzed had highly variable concentrations of CBD or total cannabinoids with only 18 of 29 being appropriately labeled according to current FDA non-medication, non-dietary supplement, or non-food guidelines. Owners and veterinarians wanting to utilize CBD-rich Cannabis sativa products should be aware of low-concentration products and should obtain a COA enabling them to fully discuss the implications of use and calculated dosing before administering to pets.”
This research study illustrates the importance of having a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for any CBD pet products you purchase.
Another study done with human CBD products showed that 40% of the products had less than the labeled amount.
This is why you should always have access to a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from a third party!
WHAT’S IN A COA?
A certificate of analysis, or COA, is a document that shows you exactly what is in your product and what’s not. This report will give you a quantitative measurement for each cannabinoid, like CBD and THC. This is how you can be sure that you are indeed buying a full spectrum hemp extract with naturally occurring cannabinoids including CBD and THC, which research has shown is the most effective type of cannabis medicine.
For example, a study conducted by UNICAMP in Campinas, Brazil found that full spectrum, CBD-rich extracts are more beneficial to people and pets when compared to a CBD isolate. The study states:
“Adverse effects were more frequent in products containing purified CBD than in CBD-rich extracts. CBD-rich extracts seem to present a better therapeutic profile than purified CBD, at least in this population of patients with refractory epilepsy.”
For even more evidence of this, take a listen to Dr. Sanjay Gupta explain this perfectly-
The COA is also valuable as it can prove the product is free of pesticides, heavy metals, pathogens, and other nasty things that could harm your pet.
The COA should always be issued by a third-party lab. That means the company has paid to have an independent, outside company analyze the contents of their product and generate a report that tells you everything you need to know about it. Without this document, there is no way to prove that what is printed on the label is indeed true of what is in the product. When we are dealing with something as serious as a health supplement, the importance of transparency cannot be overstated. A reputable company will gladly provide a COA – because they have nothing to hide.
WHO CAN YOU TRUST?
In the last few years, I’ve seen animals who could barely walk start to run like puppies. I’ve seen seizures stop, all levels of anxiety calm down, extreme pain goes away in minutes and so much more. This all-natural medicine has the potential to improve the quality of life of so many animals so Angela and I have committed ourselves to always having the animal’s needs in mind – FIRST. With that in mind, I decided to do a little investigation experiment of my own and check in on some CBD companies to see what was going on.
FULL SPECTRUM WITH NO THC
Cannabidiol, (CBD) is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant (including marijuana and hemp). CBD and THC are the two primary phytocannabinoids in the plant. Full Spectrum Hemp Extract (or Full Spectrum CBD) refers to whole plant medicine complete with terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, and most importantly – THC.
A CBD oil without THC is called Broad Spectrum. Research has proven that Full Spectrum is the most effective way for any human or animal to take the medicine. Sure, you can extract isolates and blend them together to create your own cannabinoid profile, but this is not a natural process!
Many companies have labeled their products “Full Spectrum CBD with no THC.” I’m here to tell you – that doesn’t exist. The definition of Full Spectrum CBD includes other cannabinoids, especially THC.
See this labeling as an example:
This was taken directly off the website. So which one is it? Full Spectrum or Broad Spectrum? After taking a look at the Certificate of Analysis for this product – I determined that it’s NEITHER!!!!!
This COA shows that the only cannabinoid in the product is CBD which leads me to believe this product is in fact, an isolate. CBD Isolate contains none of the other beneficial cannabinoids or other essential therapeutic compounds and means that only CBD was extracted from the original plant material. Isolates do not offer the full benefits that full spectrum oils offer because they do not have the ‘entourage effect’. They lack all the other 114 cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids, which work synergistically to make the product effective. In most cases, companies who use isolates have chemically extracted the CBD and left everything else out, which research has proven to be much less effective than a Full Spectrum Product.
RAW FORM COA OR FINISHED PRODUCT COA
There is a BIG difference between these two COA’s. Many companies are providing the certificate of analysis for the raw crude extract instead of the COA for the final product at the bottling stage – which is often diluted by carrier oils and contains other additives or ingredients.
The first time, a company will test the raw crude extract, before any process has been done. This ensures that the plant was grown to the total cannabinoid profile desired, full of the acidic versions like CBDA and THCA which later, through what’s called decarboxylation, turns into CBD and THC. Many other steps in the journey from raw crude extract to the final product. Steps such as, CO2 extraction, winterization, decarboxylation, fractional distillation and finally mixing in the distillate with essential oil and carrier oils. After these processes, you have a very different oil that how it started.
So why would you, the consumer, want the COA for the raw product if it’s going to change so much during formulation? Good question! Always make sure you are provided with the COA for the actual final product because that is all that matters!
When working with whole plant extracts, there is naturally a lot of variability. That’s why testing products in various forms is so important. For example,
A quality company completes three COA’s per product:
- On the full spectrum crude.
- Again when it’s bottled at the manufacturer.
- Once they receive shipment, they send it back out again for testing.
HEMP SEED OIL
Because CBD and Hemp seed oil are both derived from the cannabis plant, they are often mistaken to be the same thing, even though they are VERY different. Full Spectrum CBD oil is extracted from the hemp flower, while hemp seed oil is derived from the seeds. Hemp seed oil contains incredible fatty acid and other powerful nutrients, but it does not contain any of the cannabinoids like CBD or THC. Hemp seed oil is an amazing carrier oil for your Full Spectrum CBD, but it’s important for a consumer to understand the difference.
Easy to get confused right? Take a look at this example.
A pet parent purchases a CBD product for their animal who is suffering from seizures, but what they think is a 1700mg of CBD PER bottle only contains 500mg of Full Spectrum CBD, so they don’t see enough of a difference. We’ve had so many pet parents contact us confused as to why CBD didn’t work for their dog before and a good amount of the time, the problem was the dose.
So when purchasing a Full Spectrum CBD product for you or your pet, make sure you’re looking for the total CBD, not the hemp oil.
Search Amazon for CBD products and you see tons of products come up, right? That’s interesting because Amazon bans the sale of CBD in ANY product.
Listings for products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are prohibited, including but not limited to:
- Full spectrum hemp oil.
- Rich hemp oil.
- Products that have been identified as containing CBD by LegitScript.
So what are those products that you’re seeing in the search results?
Most likely hemp seed oil.
Companies are aware of consumers’ confusion. This is an easy way to mislead consumers and lead them to believe that they are buying an amazing natural medicine when in reality, there’s no CBD in it at all.
If you’re serious about purchasing CBD for you or your pet, I would stay away from Amazon.
As I said before, a study done with human CBD products showed that 40% of the products had less than the labeled amount. So when someone thought they were purchasing a 1000mg bottle of Full Spectrum CBD, it could have only 100mg. This is another reason that reading a certificate of analysis is SO important!
Companies should make it easy for you to find this information. If their lab test results are not clearly transparent, listed and accessible, they are likely hiding something.
Confusion within the Industry
Even within the industry, there has been some confusion on terminology. Confused by old labels of products I’ve seen I reached out to some companies to hear what they had to say. Here is one response…
Thank you for reaching out. We have always been full spectrum. Because of legalities with verbiage, we have been through a few packaging changes and have had to use synonyms. We are members of the National Animal Supplement Council and have acquired an organic status with the FDA. If you are concerned about its efficacy, it is the same high quality, non-toxic and non-psychoactive CBD we have always sold.”
Full Spectrum CBD products are all-natural, plant-based products. As such, there may be variations in color or fragrance of the finished products, as the appearance and scent of the plant extracts themselves may change naturally from harvest-to-harvest. This is also evidenced by variances in the measurement of plant compounds, like CBD (along with other cannabinoids, terpenes, etc.), from between batches of the same product. Despite such cosmetic or aromatic variances in plant products over time, companies should select their ingredients carefully to ensure that they are obtaining at least the minimum CBD potency guaranteed on their packaging. This is also why we believe so strongly in having independent third-party lab testing conducted on ALL of our products, to ensure that our customers are getting the potency that they need and expect.
Cannabis has been kept from us for the last 70 years and now we have the chance to reintroduce it to the world and we refuse to take the easy way out of it. It has changed my life, it has changed my family’s lives, my co-workers lives, and of course, my dog’s lives. This is personal.
Take a look at some of the following websites for reputable CBD brands for pets!
Thanks for joining us on this adventure on healing our pets NATURALLY!
About Hernando Umana
Father of Blanche, and 8-year old Shih Tzu and senior rescue Linda, Hernando Umana is a Broadway performer in New York City and works tirelessly to share the benefits of CBD with pet parents across the country. He graduated from Dr. Sulak’s Healer Cannabis Dosage Protocols and Methodologies. Despite his confidence and talent, Hernando found himself struggling after graduation. In a profession where anxiety is absolutely crippling, he wasn’t getting the kind of work he knew he should be getting. Thankfully, during one of his many visits to Angie in Florida, she introduced him to CBD and he has never looked back. Four years later, he had opened two first national tours, been on Broadway, worked with Cyndi Lauper, Brendan Urie, Andrew Loyd Webber, and many others. And now – Hernando is Co-Owner of CBD Dog Health. CBD was life-changing for both of them, and he could not be happier to be in a business doing something he loves so much that helps dogs like Blanche live a happy, stress-free life.
About Angela Ardolino
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years and operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. Angela has seven dogs, Odie a 12-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina an 8-year-old Doberman. Jolene a 7-year-old mutt, Maza a 7-year-old mutt, Rhemi an 8-year-old poodle, Potato a 15-year-old shih-tzu, and Miss Daisie a 15-year-old black lab, plus 4-10 more at any time she is fostering or boarding. She uses Full Spectrum Hemp Extract on all her pets at her rescue farm every day, and has since 2016. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the Veterinary Cannabis Association and has trained hundreds medical doctors and veterinarians about the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals. Visit www.angelaardolino.com for more information.