As a result of all these variables, CBD oils can vary dramatically in color, consistency, and flavor, even before taking strength into account. And strength largely depends on how a CBD oil is formulated. At one end of the spectrum, there’s CBD isolate , the strongest and purest form of CBD available. Using solvents or supercritical gases, manufacturers extract cannabidiol from every part of the hemp plant , producing a crystalized form of CBD that’s typically above 99% pure. CBD isolate isn’t an oil, per se. Instead, manufacturers suspend it in a carrier oil until it reaches the desired concentration.
The boundaries between isolates, distillates and full-spectrum CBD oils aren’t always so clear. For example, a strong CBD oil made with a 99.7% pure isolate may also contain a range of minor cannabinoids and terpenes because it uses a broad-spectrum hemp seed oil as a carrier.
What is CBD Oil?
High-potency CBD oils in particular amplify concerns about contamination. As Ronay explained, concentrating for potency involves concentrating everything else in and on the hemp plant, too. “How do you know what’s in it or what’s safe? People are looking for a cure and for health and facing the unknown,” Ronay said.
“No matter how much CBD isolate you’re taking, it’s not going to be as therapeutically beneficial as a broad-spectrum product,” Rae said.
Makers of cannabidiol (CBD) oils have not settled on a standard measurement for concentration. Some labels will list purity, while others will list percentage by volume (Photo by Shutterstock)
See our CBD information page for a table comparing Healthspan’s CBD products.
CBD is now classed as a novel food by the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA). Here's how this affects the status of CBD as a food supplement.
What is the maximum dose you can take?
If you are subjected to drug testing, for example at work or because you take part in an elite competitive sport, it’s important to know that any CBD product can contain a trace of the cannabinoid THC. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has banned all cannabinoids except for cannabidiol (CBD). 2
A potential substitute for those worried about drug testing is the ‘CBD alternative’ PEA: Healthspan sells these under the names Alt-CBD and Elite Levagen+ Sport (batch-tested for competing athletes).
Ultra Strength CBD oil drops are usually more than twice as potent as Super Strength drops and typically have a 10-11% CBD concentration. These are ideal for experienced users who want to increase their dose or take fewer drops or capsules during the day.