In the wake of the FDA crackdown that occurred in the last quarter of the year in 2019, which saw many CBD companies receive a letter from the regulatory body, instructing them to have to pull their products from the shelves, due to their products either not stacking up to FDA quality standards or because they made unsubstantiated medical claims. Fifteen of the largest and most popular CBD companies received such a letter, which in the interest of promoting higher standards, prompted us to develop a standard by which all other hemp oils could be measured. This standard of measure of quality is known as THE GOLD STANDARD. This standard is the standard that all our full spectrum oils must meet before they are deemed fit for sale to the customer.
In recent years the CBD market has grown exponentially with consistent growth projected right through into 2024, where experts believe it will start to plateau. This surge in market growth has led to many unscrupulous operators racing to get in on the action and flooding the market with substandard and in some cases toxic products, which tarnishes the industry and produces mistrust amongst users and causes skepticism over the effectiveness of a high quality CBD oil to relieve many serious health conditions. To illustrate our point some hemp product producers have even used the term THE GOLD STANDARD as a brand name, whilst not able to meet even the first criteria for a gold standard level oil.
The first criteria of a gold standard oil as Mr Daniel Huerter, the chief operating officer of Pure Spectrum, a well-known organic CBD company said in an Article, on why it was so hard to find USDA organic certified brands, is “The USDA certification is basically the gold standard of verifying a farm’s organic growing practices”.
We agree with Daniel Huerter, that this certification is an effective measure by which we can gauge a farms organic growing practices, however when considering the end result of a product in terms of quality, many other factors not adequately addressed by this certification have an important role to play in the quality and effectiveness of a finished hemp product. This is why we have defined the gold standard into a five star rating system for hemp oil, consisting of the five main things we believe produces superior hemp products and definitely important indicators to consider when buying any CBD product.
The Gold Standard CBD oil
- USDA certified organic (or equivalent authority certification)
Did you know? USDA certified means, not only clean organic (non-GMO) sustainable renewable practices are involved in the production of a product, but also indicates that the following criteria has been met before a brand can be considered eligible to lodge an application with a third party certifier to obtain USDA certification. Therefore it is clear that whilst this is an indicator of an organic product, it does not account for many brands who may operate under strict organic procedure but do not qualify for certification as they are lacking in one of these criteria. Whilst this is true, we also believe that a certification like this, demonstrates a brands particular commitment to produce a consistent level of quality and to their customers who can then rest assured as each product label must by law bear the official USDA seal.
To legally produce hemp, you must be licensed and or authorized under either one of the State hemp programs, Tribal hemp programs, or the USDA hemp program itself. Which program you are licensed under is dependent upon the location of your hemp growing facility. If the State or Tribe does not have approved or pending hemp production plans, you can apply for a USDA hemp production license.
USDA certification requires that growers and handlers produce and sell more than $5000 per year; many small cultivators aren’t able to meet that sales threshold to qualify.
Another hurdle many companies face in the pursuit of USDA certification is that the land that they produce from cannot have had any prohibited substances in the last three years applied to it. Therefore those who wish to change from conventional practices to Certified Organic methodology will have to invest a few years of work before they can apply.
Why is it three years you may ask, well this is due to the special ability of the Hemp plant to clean the soil it grows in by sucking up any toxins present in the soil, through a process called Phytoremediation. This important characteristic of the hemp plant means that inferior preparations of hemp oil may contain trace elements of unwanted potentially toxic chemicals that may have been present in the soil. Furthermore these synthetic chemicals are introduced into the environment, which may be related to the proliferation of toxic algae in the oceans due to global warming and fertilizer run-off.
Another indicator of the quality and safety of a product containing cannabinoids, the USDA organic certification serves to ensure is that no product which bears the seal may contain any GMO ingredients. Many inferior oils contain synthetic cannabinoids which are dangerous and unnatural to our bodies’ endocannabinoid system.
Only hemp produced in accordance with the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program and or the 2014 Farm Bill may be certified as organic, as long as it is produced in accordance with USDA organic regulations.
- Certified Organic By Organic certifiers.
Organic Certifiers are our third party Organic certifier. Going with a third party certifier often means a stricter standard of organic certification must be achieved to obtain accreditation. Our Products are certified Organic by Organic Certifiers of California, thus ensuring a high level of certification. California is well known for its stringent control and superior levels of organic certification. Organic Certifiers is California’s third largest certification agency and was one of the first accredited by the USDA in early 2002. You can visit Organic Certifiers of California for more information.
Now that we have the organic aspect established, we then look at other factors impacting the quality of a hemp product.
- Full Spectrum
A full–spectrum CBD oil is a product that contains all the cannabinoids that hemp has to offer. For other products, like broad–spectrum or isolates, the specific cannabinoids have been targeted and isolated to produce a pure isolate of a particular cannabinoid. The very reason a full spectrum product is superior to an isolate is that it offers what is known as the entourage effect. This effect is well documented in scientific journals where isolated and broad spectrum preparations have been compared to full spectrum oils and were found to be less effective in that they exhibited a “bell curve” affect. In summary the bell curve effect is an affect associated with CBD and or other isolated cannabinoids which when tested for their effectiveness to treat or relive many symptoms such as pain and inflammation on their own, exhibit a curve in effectiveness as the dosage is increased, shaped like a bell, that is to say that isolates are effective at medium dosages, but tend to taper off at lower or higher doses, whereas full spectrum oils will become more effective with increased doses. For a more comprehensive look at full spectrum vs isolate see this article.
- Whole Plant
To ensure that all the many fragile specific terpenes and cannabinoids are retained and to promote efficacy and quality, we employ CO₂ extraction as the method by which we produce our full spectrum products. Strict control over the entire processes throughout production establishes the integrity of the final product, and how much of an “entourage effect” you expect. The entourage effect is critical for boosting the natural therapeutic properties of CBD oil. Our Farmers have bread strains of hemp Cannabis Sativa plant, that have the optimal cannabinoid profile for the production of hemp oil. This allows us to make use of the whole plant during the extraction process which means you get the full delicate profile of all the cannabinoids together with all its many healthy terpenes ensuring maximum entourage effect and potency.
- Third Party Laboratory tested.
The rationale behind having a third party laboratory test your products is that it promotes trust in your product and brand as a whole, for the fact that a third party laboratory will seek to conduct an independent analysis of the sample provided, compiling a detailed report on the quality, purity, and potency of a CBD sample. An independent third party authority has a reputation and license to maintain, making it less likely to manipulate results. The rapid growth experienced in the hemp sector has unfortunately demonstrated that many brands are willing to market their brands falsely or hype an inferior product as a GOLD STANDARD OIL in order to capitalise on the demand. This is where testing conducted by a third party is particularly useful. Third party testing will help a customer understand exactly what they are buying, as any thorough test will provide important data on the Cannabinoid and Terpene profile and their concentrations, the amount of heavy metals and if there are any organic solvents or other known biological contaminants. 11:11CBD is committed to producing the highest standard of hemp CBD oil available on the market, which is why we have made our test results available to our customers on our website. Our results speak for themselves; each product can be traced back to its batch test, conducted by a trusted third party Laboratory. We are proud to claim that our full spectrum products excel in all these five criteria, which is why we are known as THE GOLD STANDARD.