Heavy Metals in CBD Oil

Are there heavy metals in your CBD oil?

Hemp is one of the most versatile plants on earth. For thousands of years, many cultures used hemp to make textiles, food, and medicine. Today, it’s used to make CBD oil, a popular consumer product in the health and wellness space. After using it, many consumers have expressed positive improvements to their health, even though more scientific research and testing are needed to uncover the benefits and risks.

Hemp’s greatest proven superpower, however, is its ability to clean up the soil. It’s good at removing pollutants while absorbing nutrients from the ground. It can also restore areas where there have been toxic accidents. Most consumers don’t realize that whatever the hemp plant absorbs ends up in the products derived from it, including most CBD oils currently on the market.

This article will give you insight into why testing for heavy metals in CBD products is inconsistent and what it will take to fix this problem. We’ll also highlight how consumers and CBD oil companies can address this concern.

Hemp can absorb heavy metals from the soil

If you want to know if your CBD oil has heavy metals or why this is even possible, it’s essential to understand the hemp plant and its nature. Hemp is what’s known as a bioaccumulator. That means it’s good at absorbing everything that’s in the soil. If the ground has radioactive elements, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, explosives, fuel, or heavy metals, hemp can absorb it. The fact that hemp can not only grow but thrive in toxic, unhealthy soil is scary. Suppose the hemp plant absorbs everything in the ground. In that case, those same chemicals and metals will eventually end up in CBD products.

Without the requirement of proper testing at accredited labs or growers choosing to commit to sustainable farming practices, CBD companies will continue to sell products unaware of their quality, effectiveness, or safety for the consumer. Until proper testing is standardized, the consumer has to educate themselves about the testing practices of these companies before they purchase and consume their products.

Most consumers don’t realize that whatever the hemp plant absorbs ends up in the products derived from it, including most CBD oils currently on the market.

The CBD industry has a lot of growing up left to do 

The CBD industry is still very young. The current popularity of CBD products is primarily due to the internet and social media, which isn’t the most reliable source. Governments in some of the biggest markets, namely the US and China, are working hard to keep up with the demand from growers and entrepreneurs to let the industry grow. To protect the consumer, laws, and regulations have to be established for quality assurance and safety purposes.

Suppose the industry wants to earn consumer trust soon. There are three areas the industry needs to address: the growers’ commitment to sustainable farming practices, the lack of accredited labs for testing, and the necessity for standardization throughout the supply chain.

Growing hemp indoors reduces heavy metals in the final product

Most CBD companies rely on outdoor farming for the hemp supply used to produce their CBD oil. Soulsome, on the other hand, uses indoor farming to grow its contaminant-free hemp supply. What does this have to do with reducing the presence of heavy metals in your CBD oil? Unlike outdoor farms, indoor farms have controlled environments. This means they don’t have to combat pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, the absorption of outdoor pollutants, or the weather. Indoor farming is advantageous to hemp growers because it can control the environment and soil.

Heavy metals that end up in the soil come from animal fertilizers, vehicle exhaust, pollution from coal-fired power plants, to name a few sources. Outdoor growers will struggle to produce crops low in heavy metals with so many variables to battle daily. At the very minimum, they’ll need to commit to eliminating high-risk inputs (i.e. fertilizer, animal feed, and water) to reduce the chances of their crops containing high levels of heavy metals. Compared to the proven indoor farming methods, it’s a lot harder to guarantee the quality of the hemp grown. Until the thresholds for failing heavy metal testing are higher, relying on outdoor growers will remain risky business for consumers.

Accredited labs will add credibility to the CBD oil industry

The lack of regulations and available accredited labs is casting a giant shadow of doubt on the industry. The only way to combat consumer doubt is through testing and transparency of test results. Until more labs are in place, heavy metals in CBD products on store shelves will continue to be a significant risk consumers will have to assume.

Soulsome tests each batch for heavy metals and provides these test results on their website. You can access the report for their latest batch here.

CBD oil companies should self-regulate

Consumers are putting a lot of trust in producers of CBD oil products. If the CBD companies want to keep that trust, they need to set a higher standard for themself instead of waiting for new laws and regulations to pass. As Derek Du Chesne, a writer for Hemp Industry Daily put it, “It starts with picking the right land…by planting the right seed…with self-regulating and pushing for higher industry standards [and]…with transparency. Most importantly, it starts with the right decisions from the people at the ground level of the cannabis supply chain.” In short, CBD companies need to set and meet the highest standards possible at every stage of the production process, starting with the growers of the hemp being used to make their products.

Suppose companies choose to do their due diligence and put safety protocols in place throughout their supply chain. In that case, this will not go over well with consumers. If they don’t commit to higher standards and do so transparently, public perception will likely conclude they’re more interested in profits than the health of their customers.

Become an educated consumer and ask questions

The health risks are just too high when considering the problem of heavy metals being present in most CBD oils. High concentrations of heavy metals can cause anything from headaches to organ failure. It can even cause cancer due to prolonged exposure. As a consumer, it’s vital to ask companies for as much transparency as possible about the hemp they use to make their CBD products, how they make their products, where they do their testing, and for a certificate of analysis to show test results. If a CBD company is unwilling or unable to show credible proof of what’s in the products they offer, keep looking until you find one that will.

As the industry grows, the health benefits of hemp-derived products will become clearer. Let’s all do our part to ensure the future of the CBD industry remains healthy and bright.

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