Keeping CBD Products Clean And Contaminant-Free

My own recent experience with some, shall we say, less than optimal “CBD water” has prompted this post giving a bit of insight into how to keep your CBD microbe free, and how to identify products that have gone bad.

First, a great way to ensure the safety of your CBD product is to properly store it so that you’re getting the most out of your CBD. However, because there’s still such minimal regulation in the CBD arena by government agencies, it’s important to be able to identify troubling products before you purchase them as well. Be your own FDA.

In the case of my gnarly CBD water, I’d went into a smoke shop looking specifically to try some of the options they had available that I’d seen on their website. Having an idea of what I wanted to buy already, I simply found the bottle and checked out at the register--in and out. By the time I got home, however, I was able to get a good look at the bottle in proper lighting (they always keep those smoke shops super dimly lit) and found what can best be described, in layman's terms, as floaty things suspended throughout what should have been a perfectly clear bottle of unflavored CBD water. It looked a little like dead skin peeling off from a sunburn was brushed off right into my water bottle. In short, incredibly gross.

Having a bit of experience with CBD infused water, I knew this was likely one of two things. Either this was microbiological and something was growing inside my water, or the emulsion keeping the CBD “water-soluble” had broken. Since there was such a small amount of CBD in the bottle to begin with, though, (only 10 mg in a full 16 oz bottle) I was fairly certain the large number of unidentified floaties were some sort of mold or bacteria growing and not the CBD coming out of solution.

When I returned to the store to get a replacement, or my money back, I was told that they didn’t offer returns except in the case of damaged electronic devices and that the floaters in my water were “just the CBD.” Excuse me, what??

Now, working in the industry and having made CBD products myself, I know what these products should look like, and particularly what water-soluble CBD looks like so let me give you a brief rundown.

Any CBD in water needs to be emulsified as it is fat-soluble in its natural state. The bottle in question boasted “nano-emulsified” CBD, meaning that the CBD particles should have been so small that they’re invisible to the naked eye and seemingly dissolve right into the water. All nano emulsified CBD water should be relatively visibly clear and look like normal water depending on the concentration and the volume of water it’s dissolved in. It should never, under any circumstances, produce visible floating particles-- at least, not when done right.

This is true of oil-based CBD tinctures as well. Since CBD is an oil, it easily dissolves in other oils like MCT or olive oil without need of an emulsifier or surfactants.  Because of this, finding anything floating in your oil tinctures is a big red flag as well. Most CBD tinctures look purely like the solvent it was dissolved in, especially if there are no other additives. Any odd colors or color changes, clumping, or separation happening should signal you to take a closer look. Anything packaged in totally clear bottles or not sealed/airtight should be avoided altogether.

Now that we’ve gone over the identifiers of a concerning product, here are some tips for keeping your safe and potent CBD safe and potent.

  1. Always keep your product capped and/or sealed whenever not actively in use.
  2. Avoid transferring your tincture, water, oil, etc. to another bottle or container than the one it came in.
  3. Be careful not to let the dropper touch your tongue when dropping it directly into your mouth (so it won’t come in contact with the bacteria in your mouth). 
  4. Always store CBD in cool, dry areas away from direct light, like in your fridge!
  5. Always give your CBD tincture a good sniff before taking it to make sure nothing has gone rancid.
  6. Always buy your CBD from reputable sources.
    • CBD on Amazon, for example, may not actually contain CBD at all as you can’t explicitly state your product contains CBD, so a lot of companies substitute with the phrase “hemp extract.” While in some cases this does actually mean CBD, in others it’s simply hemp seed oil or the like, so make sure to investigate the company or check out their site to find out if it’s a fake CBD product or the real deal.


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