At the time of this post, we are preparing to launch our USDA Organic certified CBD products. We expect them to be available in the near future.
The CBD market is still maturing. This means the industry is full of misinformation and shady practices where many brands are simply pursuing profits, not health and wellness. This makes it hard for consumers to know which products are safe and which are not. So, we decided to invest in our supply chain to gain USDA Organic certification for our full spectrum phytocannabinoid rich oils.
Having the USDA Organic seal on our bottle is a big deal. When many brands are using statements such as, “Organically Grown” or “Organic”, but fail to include the USDA Organic seal on their products, it’s really hard to trust them. It may be true that they are using organically grown hemp, however making an “organic CBD” claim is illegal without the proper certifications and carries with it some hefty penalties.
Having a full certified USDA Organic CBD oil requires a robust supply chain.
1) The hemp has to be USDA Organic certified (which is a big deal)
- Land must have no prohibited substances, such as pesticides, applied to it for at least three years
- Soil fertility and crop nutrients will be managed through approved methods, including animal and crop waste and some synthetic materials
- Pest management must be through management practices or substances that are already approved
- Organic seeds must be used, when available
- Genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge are not allowed
2) The hemp to CBD oil extraction needs to be done at a USDA Organic certified processor
3) The carrier oils used to blend the CBD oil need to be USDA Organic certified
4) The bottle filler needs to be USDA Organic certified
There are no ways to bypass these steps legally if the product includes the USDA Organic seal on the label.
Cannabis is a great phtyoremediator. Phytoremediation consists in growing plants in polluted soil so that they will absorb the heavy metals and other pollutants, ending up with soil decontamination. Meaning, if the hemp in your CBD oil is grown in bad soil, the plant may include toxins, heavy metals, pesticide residue, etc. If processed poorly, these dangerous and harmful elements can end up in your CBD oil products without your knowledge.
The other main reason why USDA Organic CBD matters is that the USDA Organic seal is one of the most recognized certifications among USA consumers, providing insurance to shoppers who may orient towards organic products or those who are concerned about the safety of organic products. Being USDA Organic certified also assures the consumers that practices carried out by CBD companies maintain or improve soil conditions, minimize soil erosion, are environmentally sustainable, and, of course, that no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides are used.
First at Vitalibis, we’ve established our own relationships with our supply chain. We don’t take other’s words for granted. We never use brokers, wholesalers or agents. We go direct to the source so we know exactly what is happening with our products.
Second, we source two strains of USDA Organic certified hemp. Why? Because we care about the taste and health benefits. The two strains offer different terpene and cannabinoid profiles. This is by design because we care about the oil we sell. Many other brands take the word of the filler and don’t really know where their hemp or oil comes from. That may sound crazy, but that’s the truth for this industry. A bottle filler / white label company may fill 40 to 100 brands using the same drums of CBD oil, just replacing the brand labels on the bottles. And that same bottle filler / white label company is purchasing their CBD oil from brokers, wholesalers or agents who are focused on prices over sustainable quality.
Third, and where we really set ourselves apart, is how we extract our full spectrum CBD oil. We never use harsh chemicals, dangerous solvents, CO2, etc. We believe in the purest and safest method available and that’s by using hot air, not solvents with high temperatures and pressure over long durations of time. We believe sustain temperature, pressure and solvents strip the hemp plant of many amazing wellness benefits and can cause the oil to have a bitter taste.
Solvent Extraction typically involves ethanol, low-grade alcohol or butane. Ethanol extracts the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant which makes the end product safe for consumption, but it also may lead to some unpleasant side effects. You can further process the oil, but this can significantly reduce the oil’s potency. Butane produces a stronger oil than ethanol, but it is more likely to contain solvents which most consumers are not interested in ingesting. Solvent extraction is highly flammable, and these extracts can contain harmful ingredients.
CO2 Extraction has become the most common in the industry. It requires expensive machines and those machines have a high learning curve, so operator expertise is very important. This form of CBD extraction is actually divided into two main categories: supercritical and subcritical. Supercritical is the most commonly used process.
Supercritical CO2 extraction uses pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) to pull the phytochemicals from the plant. CO2 acts like a solvent at certain temperatures and pressures. Once the CO2 is in liquid form, the next step is to increase the temperature and pressure past the point where the liquid becomes ‘supercritical.’ This term means the CO2 is now capable of adopting properties halfway between a gas and liquid simultaneously. The supercritical CO2 is capable of filling a container (like gas) while also maintaining density (like a liquid). When CO2 is in its supercritical state, it is ideal for chemical extraction because it won’t cause the denaturing or damage that would make it unfit for human consumption.
Subcritical CO2 Extraction involves lower temperatures and lower pressure. It takes longer than supercritical extraction and also produces a smaller yield. While it retains the terpenes, essential oils and other sensitive materials, it doesn’t extract larger molecules such as chlorophyll, omega 3 & 6. Subcritical extraction is less likely to damage essential terpenes than supercritical.
Both supercritical or subcritical CO2 methods use carbon dioxide under sustained pressure and temperature to isolate the oil. Since CO2 processing involves many complex steps, oil variability, taste and quality can be impacted greatly by the extractor and skill sets of the operators.
Vitalibis uses a proprietary extraction process – not solvent or CO2 – way better (in our opinion). Traditional solvent extraction was a non-starter for us based on the potential inclusion of harmful ingredients and CO2 extraction oils tended to have less efficacy, while also requiring flavoring systems due to the taste. Our extraction process uses precise bursts of heat, versus sustained temperature and pressure procedures. The extraction process we use yields a robust oil, full of cannabinoids, terpenes, etc. for a premium, safe, great tasting and highly efficacious full spectrum oil. Our hemp strains and extraction process we use are major differentiators for us.