You know the story of why Vitalibis was started. Our CEO went on a mission to find the best, highest quality, most terpene rich full spectrum oil he could find for his daughter Julia. There is more about this story on the CULTURE page of our website. He spent 18 months putting together the Vitalibis supply chain before preparing to launch the company. During that time, the industry exploded.
Bottom line, Vitalibis was created to provide our customers premium, safe wellness products. Vitalibis was not created to chase the CBD dollars. Our supply chain and commitment to quality is one of the major differentiators for Vitalibis.
As a result of the recent CBD trend, a bunch of brands and organizations have entered into the space for only the money. This BE WELL blog post is all about helping with some FACTS of the industry. Things you might not be aware of and things many brands probably don't want you to know. But, we take education seriously because we know that leads to trust and trust leads to community.
The FACT Sections below are to help with education and building trust that we are beyond the hype. Our brand promise is to never compromise when it comes to safety and quality.
The majority of the CBD oil in this industry is coming from 5 to 7 major extractors who are supplying a network of wholesale brokers. These brokers are filling bottles for many brands, changing out the labels in their warehouse depending on how many bottles each brand purchases. There is nothing different or special about the products - regardless of what the brand is saying. Most brands have never visited a hemp farm or an extractor.
This doesn't mean that there aren't several smaller, local extractors. However the main extractors are pumping out a bunch of oil which is flowing through a variety of brokers and white label fillers. Due to this infrastructure, not every brand claiming they are organic, seed to sale, etc. is marketing the truth.
For instance, we know of a brand that makes a claim of "100% organic from seed to sale. Our oil comes from the most advanced and sustainable Oregon farms." This is simply not true. Our team has seen that brand being bottled and labeled by a wholesaler in an urban warehouse alongside 30-40 other brands.
So why are wholesale brokers pushing out so much commodity product? Last we read (unverified), there were over 2,000 CBD brands chasing the same retail opportunities. 2,000!!!! There will only be a handful of brands who land the retail shelf space with big box retailers. With most of these brands buying the same commodity products from wholesale brokers, it'll come down to pricing, connections and branding. Hopefully the retailers will dig deeper into these brands before making their decisions.
1) Put aside all the marketing claims you're being presented with. See if the brand you are purchasing from posts their oil test results for their CBD products online. If they do, is the brand's name listed on the Certification of Analysis (CofA)? If this information is not available, think twice about purchasing the product. You do not know what's really in your product and if what is being claimed on the label is accurate. Also, brands who test their own oils will post a full test package - cannabinoid, terpene, heavy metal, microbial and pesticide residue testing. Read out BE WELL blog post on phytoremediation to know why those tests are important.
2) Look at the brand's website for their product mix - look for unique formulas and differentiation. If they offer similar products to everyone else, they are most likely purchasing from a wholesale broker. Typical products are oils with flavoring, vape devices, THC free oils, soft gels, pet products, bath bombs, patches, pain creams. Look at these product ingredients. And think about it, did they really make all these products with their own product development, supply chain and manufacturing teams? Probably not. They probably bought 250 units of each of these and put up a website to sell them as a "high quality" CBD brand. Creating individual formulations from scratch costs tens of thousands of dollars in addition to the tens of thousands of dollars needed for minimum runs of inventory (2,500 units or more).
To the consumer, "organic" sounds amazing and trusting. Buyer beware. To truly make an organic claim, the brand needs to also include a certification icon on the label (e.g., USDA Organic, CCOF Organic). To date, we've not seen a CBD brand include a USDA or CCOF icon on their products. Why?
To be certified organic, the entire supply chain needs to be cerfified organic. Meaning, the farm must be certified organic, the extractor must be certified organic and the bottle filler must be certified organic. This does not exist today - we know because we've been trying to make it happen.
There are very few hemp farms in the world certified organic by the USDA. We've never found an extractor who's certified organic, however we do know bottle fillers who are certified organic. So there are a few missing steps. And think about it, if the majority of the oil is be supplied to brands in this industry by wholesale brokers, they are filling the bottles themselves out of drums of oil and they are not certified organic.
1) If a brand is making a lot of claims such as "100% Organic" or "Organic" on their website or labels, take a closer look. Is the symbol on their lable? Claiming "organic" is not legal from a regulatory certification standpoint. Think about what else the brand might be telling you which might not be true. It's all marketing or just not being educated.
2) There are several farms which use organic practices, however they are not certified and therefore the brand should not be making an organic claim. Again, the majority of brands are using wholesale brokers and they've never visited the farms. The brands probably have no idea what farms are producing the hemp to begin with, so the brand might be taking the word of the wholesale broker. This is not a best practice in building trust with the consumer.
There are two main types of extraction: traditional solvent and CO2. Traditional solvents are typically ethanol, butane, propane, etc. You can Google this and find out more of the pros and cons. These traditional solvents were a non-starter for Vitalibis. CO2 is another standard form of extraction, one most the industry will claim as the "purest" method. We don't think so, but we are different.
We believe both traditional solvent and CO2 extraction damage the delicate hemp plant. With this damage, we've noticed the taste of the oil being bitter or off. This happens either with the solvents of the sustained temperature and pressure of CO2. Because of this, the elements of the plant (e.g., terpenes) are damaged which causes the oil to taste bad.
Vitalibis uses a proprietary extraction process. Think of our approach as more of craft beer. We use a process which takes a while and costs a bit more. The output however if safe, efficacious and authentic. Our process retains more of the beneficial elements of the plants - it's more terpene rich than other products on the market. None of the wholesale brokers sell oil like ours. You can taste and feel the difference.
1) If a brand claims to use solvent free extraction, but then lists CO2 as their method, take note...CO2 is a solvent. Many of these brands are just stating what they've been told and have not done the research for themselves.
2) If a brand lists terpenes on the label of the product (happens a lot in soft gel products), that means the terpenes were added back into the product. Either the terpenes were damaged during the extraction process or they wanted more in the product to better efficacy.
To further provide education, we have a BE WELL Blog post called: CBD 101. There are some great bits of information in this post as well.
Be informed. Be well.™