Three key ways to measure quality in CBD ingredients

In these uncertain economic times, adding CBD to your product line is looking more and more like a sound investment strategy. Indeed, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, consumer demand for CBD products has remained mostly steady or even increased, with promising future growth. In a survey conducted by the Brightfield Group in March, 39% of CBD consumers indicated they expected to use more CBD during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among Millennials and Gen Z consumers, the ratio was even higher: nearly half (49%) said they planned to use more CBD in the weeks and months to come.

But at the same time, it’s becoming ever more clear that choosing quality CBD ingredients is a critical decision. As more and more consumers are trying CBD, with more and more products to choose from, their experiences with your products must be fully positive ones. It’s imperative to earn their trust right from the start, with highest-quality ingredients that deliver the consistent product experiences they’re looking for.

Here are three critical measures to look for as you consider your own CBD products.

Quality sourcing and testing.

Since highest-quality CBD begins with highest-quality hemp, look for suppliers who are fully transparent about where their hemp comes from, as well as proof that their products have been tested by third-party laboratories. Key measures are potency—the amount of CBD, as well as any other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other bioactive ingredients—and certification that the CBD ingredients meet the strictest test standards for pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents, and microbials.

A Certificate of Analysis (COA) is an important assurance that these steps have been taken, but it’s only as good as the laboratories who stand behind it. Since the FDA doesn’t regulate cannabinoid testing, it’s imperative that you do your due diligence to check where the numbers come from. Make sure the supplier you choose not only provides full documentation, but also works only with accredited laboratories.

At Caliper, we work exclusively with U.S.-grown hemp, sourced from suppliers who operate within USDA-compliant state regulatory structures. All our third-party testing is conducted by laboratories that meet the gold standards in cannabinoid testing, including ISO/IEC Standard 17025 certification as well as state-specific testing requirements. Our in-house testing laboratory is Emerald-Proficiency Program verified—the most rigorous cannabinoid certification programs in the market today.

Consistency.

Working with standardized, consistent ingredients is the foundation of CPG products—but in the unregulated hemp marketplace, there’s no such thing as a “standard” hemp ingredient, and consistency is a huge challenge. Consider that the hemp plant comprises hundreds of compounds, each with their own structures and functions—and concentrations of these compounds will vary from batch to batch, and even plant to plant.

Cannabinoids are bioactives, and bioactives have health effects. That makes product consistency important not just for brand protection, but for consumer safety. Consumers are already suffering from the CBD market’s lack of shared standards. A 2017 analysis found that nearly 70 percent of all CBD products sold online contained more or less CBD than claimed—and some 21 percent contained detectable THC.

With all these inconsistencies, it’s more important than ever to work with a CBD ingredients partner that operates with highest product specifications, and built-in QA and QC procedures to ensure a consistent product from start to finish. Also critical are ongoing sensory and shelf-stability testing to confirm consumers will have a great experience with your product the first time—as well as the twentieth time.

At Caliper, our R&D and QA personnel bring over 50 years of CPG and ingredients experience, and our GMP-compliant facility follows FDA guidance for food production, monitoring and labeling. Our Supplier Assurance Program also requires our suppliers meet rigorous quality standards, and we continuously monitor quality at every production step. The result: consistent CBD ingredients you can use to formulate with confidence.

Credible science, not wild claims.

The “wild west” atmosphere of a largely unregulated CBD marketplace has allowed some manufacturers to make sweeping claims about their products, from the sublime (“cures insomnia”) to the ridiculous (“effective treatment for COVID-19.”). Lately the FDA has been cracking down on some of the worst actors, but many others are still falling through the regulatory cracks. Look for manufacturers who not only avoid making unsubstantiated medical claims, but also back up their product efficacy with real science.

At Caliper we’re committed to ongoing research partnerships to provide meaningful clinical evidence about our products. For example, we formulated Caliper CBD to be highly water-compatible, in order to make it more bioavailable (more easily absorbed by the body)—and put it to the test in human subjects.

A 2019 Colorado State University study with 10 healthy volunteers determined that Caliper CBD was absorbed faster and had 4.5 times greater bioavailability than oil-soluble CBD. That same study determined that 6.5 times more Caliper CBD was absorbed within the first 15 minutes, compared to oil-based CBD.

That clinical proof of absorption means that when you formulate your products with Caliper CBD, you can provide a more predictable experience for consumers, with reliably fast onset and consistent absorption. Most importantly, they’ll know your product is one they can count on—and consider buying it again.

In the CBD space, similar to other consumer packaged goods, quality is key; it’s an imperative to building trust. In a marketplace that’s largely unregulated, with imminent regulatory crackdowns ever-looming, finding a quality-centric ingredients partner is a critical first step in formulating products that perform consistently and earn repeat purchases. With so many uncertainties ahead, prioritizing quality is simply the best insurance policy.

Caliper Ingredients is committed to providing you with highest-quality cannabinoid ingredients, backed by unparalleled expertise in CPG and ingredients. We’ve collectively launched more than 50 new products, from benchtop formulation to worldwide distribution. We look forward to showing you how we can help you build your winning brand. For more information, visit www.caliperingredients.life.