Are you curious about how we rate and filter our recommended products? When it comes to CBD, customers are often faced with an overwhelming amount of choices. Out ratings system is designed to provide you with all the information you need to choose a CBD product that is customized to your own needs. Through meticulous research, we have pinpointed 5 critical areas from which we have chosen to base our ratings.
Source and Quality of Hemp
Hemp is a bioaccumulator that absorbs chemicals from the earth. In fact, it is often planted intentionally to clean contaminants from the ground. While this is ideal when you need an environmentally-friendly option to remove toxins and chemicals from your soil, it is not conducive for growing hemp that is intended to create products made for human consumption.
This is why we insist on knowing the location and source of the hemp used in the products we represent. Companies utilizing CBD sourced from hemp that has been organically and sustainably grown in clean and verifiable locations receive a far higher rating than companies who cannot confirm where their crop originates from.
Extraction and Manufacturing
To source CBD from the hemp plant requires an extraction process that takes raw material and turns it into CBD oil that can be consumed. There are various ways of extracting CBD from cannabis, but not all of them are safe. Some methods are dangerous to implement, pose a threat to the environment, and result in an inferior product to the consumer.
Wherever possible, we support the clean and resource-efficient subcritical CO2 extraction method. It is the safest method available and it produces an extremely pure product. This method also ensures that all the other beneficial terpenes, flavonoids, cannabinoids remain intact as well, resulting in a full-spectrum formulation.
However, CO2 extraction requires costly equipment and specialized training to implement. Smaller companies who operate seed-to-shelf operations might not have the resources to use the CO2 method.
For certain cases, the ethanol extraction method is acceptable, provided that it meets high-quality standards. First, only pure and organic ethanol should be used. Secondly, because of the inherent dangers of working with a highly flammable substance, strict safety protocols should be in place for the sake of the workers.
Transparency and Third-Party Lab Testing
Because the CBD industry is still largely unregulated, it is left to the consumer to conduct their own research when seeking out the best CBD products. Without formal guidelines, laboratory testing by an unbiased and independent company as to the potency and purity of a product is a must. We represent many companies who provide these results up-front, and they will stake their reputation on the lab sheets of their products.
Third-party lab reports should be easy to find and accessible to the average consumer without needing to hunt them down or sift through pages of content to uncover them. Many of our retailers are so transparent that they place their lab results directly on their product description pages, simplifying the process. Others have tools that make the process even easier. The more simple these reports are to access, and the more recent and relevant they are, the higher our rating is for this category.
The best companies in the world have responsive and empathic customer care. Whether we are looking at a small cottage industry creating CBD topicals or a large company with a vast line of products and an established reputation, we look closely at how they interact with their customers and take into account factors such as:
- Accessibility: Are they easy to get in touch with?
- Response time to queries: How long does it take to answer a support ticket or email?
- Overall concern and willingness to resolve issues: Are they pleasant to interact with?
- Do they have reasonable shipping and return policies?
An exceptional user experience is essential to shopping online. While it doesn’t always reflect on the quality and integrity of a company, it is an important component that can make or break consumer decisions. We ask questions like:
- Is the site easy to navigate?
- Are there adequate avenues to contact support either through email, chat, phone, or mail?
- Is the checkout process uncomplicated and easy to understand?
- Does the company provide reliable information about each product?
- Does the website load quickly and provide answers to the most common questions?
How Does a Company Acquire a Rating in These Categories?
We do a careful review based upon the above criteria before giving our rating. Our rating system is based on a maximum of 5 points, and for each category we have a series of criteria that reflect each rating point. We review our rating on a monthly basis and if we found that the rating has changed, we update it immediately.