Degrees of Quality:
This mostly has to do with the way CBD is distilled. It's cheaper to high heat distill with high pressure. Many companies vertically steam to produce their oils. This way it never overheats the plants being distilled and the therapeutic qualities are not denatured. Many companies are using too much pressure try to squeeze out as much oil as they can. This is not because its going to be wasted oil if they don't squeeze it out, its the profits they will lose because they had to buy those plants. If they spent 50,000 dollars on plants, and 20% of it is wasted, thats $10,000 profit. So, they use high pressure to get the oils out and its now just denatured, good smelling oil. Smells good but therapeutic value totally destroyed.
The quality is measured by how many constituents are lost. As the pressure and heat increases, the weakest constituents are lost one at a time. Just like overcooking food, the plants when being distilled can also be overcooked.
Ethanol is one of the cheaper ways to extract CBD. This has a different type of quality in that the chlorophyll is still in it. This has the worst taste of all the CBDs. It also has a green color. Some companies are using ethanol because it's cheaper than super critical CO2 that the companies that make CBD can afford. The richest blend is the black because it still has all the constituents left in the mix. It is not as popular as gold because of its strong test and unattractive visual presentation. Some companies are adding constituents that didn't even come from the hemp plant. Like adding limonene from lemons to raise the constituent count. If a company says they use Ethanol, then the pricing must match it and be a very low price for the strength and amount of "very low spectrum" constituent profile it has.
The highest degree of quality is Super Critical CO2 extraction -
NOTE: SOME COMPANIES GOT BUSTED SAYING THEY USE THIS WAY OF EXTRACTION THAT DON'T HAVE LAB REPORTS BUT SOUND TRUSTWORTHY ON THE PHONE. THESE COMPANIES ARE SLOWLY GETTING WEEDED OUT AS MORE PEOPLE KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR.
The equipment that extracts CBD with CO2 is very expensive and if a company is selling really cheap they probably aren't extracting their CBD with Super Critical CO2. And if they are the same price as the next cheapest way then they are usually one of the huge pioneer companies that has very large economies of scale.
Note: I don't care what anyone says about this but THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE A FULL SPECTRUM CBD OIL IS BY SUPER CRITICAL CO2 EXTRACTION. If someone is telling you something different put me on the phone with them and you listen and get involved.
A full spectrum cannabinoid CBD oil also has a distinct look. It is amber colored and mostly transparent. There are only a few pioneer company brands that have nearly this identical look. Some brands are more consistent than others. Also, the quality of summer grown hemp is totally different than the winter grown quality in greenhouses in artificial light or even natural lighting. The sun is missing. We cannot perfectly recreate the sun's energy like they say we can just to sell me their CBD products.
Note: I also buy full spectrum CBD and compare it to see if it's consistent. Also most terpenes from hemp are not water soluble in the body. I strongly recommend lecithin. I use the micronized sunflower lecithin.
Another question to ask a dealer for CBD is how many terpenes their lab report said their CBD product has. Closer to 120 terpenes is the highest number to look for. One company said they have over 500 terpenes. That's so BS because hemp doesn't even have that many individual terpenes. I stopped dealing with that company before I even started with them. You can't BS a person that is doing a freakin review site who is talking to those that have master degrees in horticulture and know the ins and outs of hemp.
Some of these companies that are not using super critical CO2 absolutely do not have close to 120 terpenes in their CBD product. There are dozens of more valuable terpenes in hemp and this is way way way more expensive and this reserve grade CBD is by special order. The early summer harvest is the type that I always look for. If you have to ask the price it is probably too expensive. Lol.
So, if someone is concerned over the quality of their CBD product, I urge people to consider how it's made, how its winterized, how they separate the waxes out, what temperature it was frozen at in the freezers and every in and out. Some people will never realize they are getting ripped off and will continue to use the same CBD product for a long time until they know the differences.
Grading of Quality
Grade AA prime
This grade is from zero to minimal pressure distillation, although much of the oil is lost and stays in the hemp. The price is much higher due to this low temperature oil. Hemp is grown only on indigenous land, nothing lab raised. Grown in the sun only. There are no greenhouse CBD products in this category. Pressure is only used if manadatory for certain plants. Super high pressure will not be used to extract what won't come out with low heat distillation. This grade is harvested in prime season
Grade A Grown with organic practices. Grade A is processed with minimal pressure and heat. This grade is also harvested in prime season. Grade A CBD is usually from companies that own their own farms, not subcontracted from other vendors.
Grade B: This grade is made with low to medium pressure. This grade is processed longer than Grade A. There are no harmful solvents used and this grade can be conventional. This grade may or may not have had peak growing time. Most of the constituents are still intact although not as therapeutic as Grade A.
Grade C: This grade contains conventional, usually non-sun raised plants. These are not grown indigenously and the soil may have been depleted. This grade is good if you want CBD products but not for therapeutic uses. This grade usually has been high heated with high pressure. Light solvents may have been used. I do not recommend this grade for most people. Many constituents and terpenes are destroyed in this grade but can work for certain people.
Grade D: This grade is known for using harmful solvents to suck the plant dry of its terpenes and constituents. This grade does a one time high heat/high pressure run or a first processing, then followed by 3 to 4 more processings so they get as much out without killing all the properties. The 2nd processing is a little more potent than the 3rd, and so on. The CBD in this grade is what I consider bunk after trying grades up to Grade AA. Funny thing is no company has ever told me they redistill their hemp plaints but when you get them you can tell. 90% of the CBD I tested show me otherwise.
Trying to get information from the manufacturer about what processes were used is near impossible. Usually the 2% of CBD products that are exclusive high grade are totally honest about this because they are proud of the methods they use. After all it costs 5 to 20 times more to use certain extraction processes!
When trying to decide on quality, knowing if the cbd product I am getting is a total constituent or a select constituent is the first thing I look for. The type I don't want has way less of the therapeutic constituents left after it's processed too much. The type that is created at low pressures will have most of its components left intact. Processing it at higher pressures will add more constituents (this is just about pressure, not high heat and pressure).
Take my CBD oil quiz. If you don't know which grade you need, I will pick out the brand based on your answers. The highest quality CBD product will have the most complex terpene and constituent profile.