The comparison between buying CBD and the Wild West has been made many times and for good reason. The industry is booming and evolving constantly and with that we have seen some practices that just do not work for us.
Issues we witnessed happening in our industry…
- Anyone who has enough money can purchase products, put their own label on them, and put those products on a website for purchase.
- New companies are popping up each day all claiming they have the best CBD on the market.
- Companies claim to be “different” but really just use tactics designed to overwhelm their buyers with a ton of not helpful information.
- News stories breaking about products not having the amount of CBD claimed to be in them, undermining trust of companies, even the ones doing things right.
All this “noise” makes it hard for buyers to understand what value they are getting for the cost of the products they are purchasing.
- Is this product’s low cost because it is low quality?
- Is this product’s high cost really a result of sleek marketing?
- Does this low price mean the company has an efficient production system?
- Is this product made with “better” raw materials?
- How do I know I am buying what I think I am buying?
This is why we decided to start DirectHemp.com
We wanted to help online consumers navigate the murky waters of the CBD industry and provide some clear decision-making points when purchasing products. Many companies hide behind a fancy website and claim they have quality products, which is why we take things many steps further and fully vet brands before deciding to carry them on our website.
We designed this buyer’s guide to help empower YOU to make informed decisions about the hemp products you buy.
First, what is CBD and what is the difference between CBD from Hemp and Marijuana?
CBD is a naturally occurring compound that can be found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. A compound like CBD is called a phytocannabinoid because it is a cannabinoid found in nature, in a plant.
*Fun fact: We make our own cannabinoids in our bodies and these are known as endocannabinoids.
Both types of cannabinoids work on an internal system all mammals have known as The Endocannabinoid System, or ECS for short. To learn more about this system you can view our History of The Endocannabinoid System article.
Essentially, our ECS is in place to be our homeostatic regulatory system. This means that its’ responsibility in our body is to bring us into homeostasis or balance. People looking to purchase CBD are typically wanting to use it to stimulate this system to bring something that is out of balance in their system into balance.
With that said, it is important to know that THC (the molecule from the Cannabis Sativa plant known for having psychoactive effects) is also a phytocannabinoid.
THC is the main thing to look at when determining whether a Cannabis Sativa plant is legally classified as hemp or marijuana. A Cannabis Sativa plant containing less than 0.3% THC is classified as hemp. A Cannabis Sativa plant containing more than 0.3% THC is classified as marijuana. You can learn more about this in our article Hemp Vs. Marijuana.
CBD taken from a hemp plant can be made into products and sold legally across the United States thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. CBD taken from a marijuana plant is still treated as a controlled substance and must be purchased from dispensaries in states where marijuana is considered legal.
All DirectHemp.com products are made from CBD extracted from hemp plants and are legal throughout the US.
Now we know about CBD and that we want it to come from hemp, but are there different types of CBD?
Another confusing part of searching for CBD is all of the different terminology used throughout the industry. To simplify this terminology, we have created a glossary of terms you can use for quick reference.
For now, let’s just talk about the different hemp extracts that can be used to make a final product. To get CBD into a finished-good, manufacturers typically use one or a combination of three different extracts. These extracts are known as “Full-Spectrum”, “Broad-Spectrum” or “Isolate”.
A Full-Spectrum hemp extract contains most of the ingredients that will be found in the hemp plant itself. This includes other cannabinoids like THC, CBG, and CBC. This will also have the highest amount of terpenes, omegas, and other plant constituents. Customers looking for the heavily marketed “entourage effect” will want to look for products made with a full-spectrum extract. Customers that get drug tested or want to avoid THC altogether will want to avoid products made with a full-spectrum extract.
A Broad-Spectrum extract is an extract that is rich in CBD and that contains no THC but still has other minor cannabinoids in it. This is for people who want the benefits of other cannabinoids and still want to ensure their product has no THC in it.
Isolate is an extract from hemp that has been refined to the point of being pure CBD. Most CBD isolate tests out around 99%. This means that you get between 990mg and 1000mg in 1 gram of CBD isolate. Isolate contains no other cannabinoids or terpenes.
Understanding the difference between the “types” of CBD products can help you decide which products you should buy.
So, we understand how the products are made and the extracts that make them, but where do those come from?
The extracts and products that make up all the items found here at Direct Hemp come from the hemp plant. This is important to note because hemp can be grown in many ways and can come from areas all around the globe.
One reason why this is important is because hemp is great at a process known as Phytoremediation. Phytoremediation means that when hemp is grown, it can clean up the soil that it is grown in. In some cases, this can be great! When hemp is specifically grown to clean up areas of soil that may have been exposed to radiation or other harmful chemicals.
In other ways, phytoremediation can be harmful for a consumer. Take, for example, China who is the largest producer of hemp in the world. China is heavily industrialized, and a lot of China’s soil contains heavy metals because of that. So, when you grow hemp in soil with heavy metals, the hemp can absorb the metals in the soil and that can transfer to end products.
Therefore, it is so important to consider the source and make sure that all your hemp products are grown using organic farming practices. Sourcing is a huge deal for Direct Hemp and is a criterion point we vet all brands by. All products that make it to DirectHemp.com come from hemp that has been grown using organic farming methods.
Direct Hemp is vigilant about sourcing for all the products we carry on our site.
Now that we understand the basics, what do you need to look for when buying CBD products?
Let’s talk about price first. For consumers, it’s often assumed that a higher priced product equates to higher quality. In the CBD industry, that is not always the case.
Many companies have huge markups on their cost to try to convince a buyer their product is higher quality. Here at Direct Hemp, we have insider knowledge about how much products cost to create and only work with brands that price their products fairly for our customers. We also list the PPM (price per milligram) on each product so you can compare and find a product that fits your needs. *There is a caveat here though! The caveat being that PPM is a metric that looks at only the CBD content in comparison to the price of the product. This metric does not consider other ingredients, or adaptogens that may be included that can account for a higher price point on a product. Make sure to take that into consideration when deciding which product may be right for you. *
The next thing to look for are COAs for each product. We explain what COAs are more in depth, but for now we just need to understand that COA stands for Certificate of Analysis and is a test to ensure a product contains what a company claims it contains. At Direct Hemp, all of our products will have 3rd party testing.
Direct Hemp ensures that all of our products have been 3rd party tested.
You can probably tell, there are a lot of things to look at when purchasing CBD products.
We know it can be overwhelming. That is why we started DirectHemp.com! We wanted to simplify things for consumers so that they could get the best quality brands at the best prices in the most convenient way. You can read more about the Direct Hemp Difference, but let’s talk about it briefly here as well.
When DirectHemp.com considers a brand to bring into our marketplace, we first do a deep dive into the company and vet them based on a list of criteria. We meet with the people behind the brands in person and get a full tour of their operations. We then vet the companies and their products on a list of six criterion points.
These six points are:
If a company passes the vetting process we then bring them onto our marketplace to be available to our community. We plan on updating our product offering as new and exciting products come from our brands so we have put things in place to make it easy to shop at directhemp.com.
Along with the PPM that we talked about earlier, we include a list of icons with every product. These icons are put in place to help you easily identify key factors of products that may be important to you when purchasing. Check out the full list of all vocabulary that we use and all icon definitions below:
This icon defines products made using hemp sourced from American Farmers.
This icon defines products made from hemp sourced from European farmers.
This icon means that the product uses a “Full-Spectrum” extract. We define full-spectrum as an extract that contains many cannabinoids including THC.
This icon denotes products that have been made with a broad-spectrum extract. We define broad-spectrum extracts as those with many cannabinoids but contain no THC.
This icon denotes products that have been made with isolated CBD extract. We define CBD isolate extracts as those with only CBD, and contain no other cannabinoids.
This icon is used to let you know when a product contains trace amounts of THC in it. The products that contain this icon will always have 0.3% THC or less in them to comply with all legal requirements.
This icon lets you know when a product has a THC level that is non-detectable by the third-party testing labs. Customers that want to avoid THC for personal reasons or because they are drug-tested by their employer want to look for products that have this icon.
This icon lets you know when a product is considered water soluble. CBD is a hydrophobic compound by nature, so by making a water soluble CBD compound you can get more bio-available products than CBD that is not water soluble.
This icon lets you know when a product is made using only vegan ingredients.
This icon lets you know when a product contains absolutely no gluten.
This icon lets you know when a product is manufactured using raw materials that were extracted with C02.
This icon lets you know that someone at DirectHemp.com calls this product their favorite in our collection of products.
This icon lets you know you are paying less than $.06 per milligram of CBD.
This icon lets you know that the product has been produced in a facility that has earned its’ GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification. A facility with GMP certification has demonstrated a strong regulatory commitment and compliance to international GMP standards.
These are just some of the ways we try to make your shopping experience as easy as possible! Make sure to check out the reviews on the products from other customers. For additional questions/concerns, please check out our FAQ page.