More and more people incorporate CBD products into their wellness routines — but many refuse to choose between caring for themselves and caring for the planet.
The good news? You don’t have to.
If reducing your carbon footprint and living a green life are important values for you, you have plenty of options. However, not all CBD oils and other cannabidiol products are produced sustainably, so you’ll want to take a proactive approach to product selection.
We’re here to help.
How Are CBD Products Produced?
CBD products are derived from cannabis or hemp plants — which means your favourite CBD oil, gummies, vape pens, or capsules have been through quite the journey before making it to your home:
- The Cannabis sativa plants that form the basis of your CBD products (classified as hemp or marijuana, depending on their THC levels) have to be grown first.
- Manufacturers extract cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, from the buds and flowers next. Multiple extraction methods exist.
- CBD oils may be “winterised” or distilled to further purify the CBD.
Once the final CBD product is ready, it has to be packaged and transported.
Each of these vital steps has significant environmental implications, starting with hemp farming. The testing of CBD products is another factor to consider — consumers who care about the environment are likely to want to opt for cruelty-free CBD products, too.
What Does it Take to Grow Ecologically-Responsible Cannabis?
Growing hemp or marijuana plants sustainably is no easy feat — and the cannabis industry hasn’t always been the greenest. Fortunately, as interest in cannabis and hemp products, including CBD, continues to grow, so do efforts to make the field more sustainable.
That’s good news for everyone! Consumers who choose ecologically sustainable cannabis products aren’t just doing their bit for the Earth. They’re also getting high-quality products. While traditional farming methods allow cannabis plants to absorb heavy metals, an environmentally-friendly approach creates healthier plants.
Sustainable growers have to consider everything, whether the plants are grown outside or in a greenhouse.
Consumers who are determined to make sure their CBD products are green will probably know that organic certification is an important thing to look for. Organic farming practices rely on natural pest control, pay close attention to soil health and biodiversity, and steer clear of genetically-modified crops (GMOs).
Growers committed to sustainable farming also take steps to prevent land erosion, conserve water, protect the local plant life, and create an eco-friendly waste management plan. In addition, sustainable growers aim to rely solely on renewable energy, especially if they grow cannabis in greenhouses and rely on artificial light.
Should CBD Extraction Methods to Green Consumers?
CBD can be extracted from marijuana or hemp plants in different ways:
- With carbon dioxide in closed-loop extractors.
- With ethanol (alcohol), which acts as a solvent.
- With other liquid solvents, including butane, hexane, and isopropyl alcohol.
- With an oil infusion, a process home growers can try without needing industrial equipment.
The chosen extraction product has an impact on the carbon footprint a CBD product leaves, and recent research published in 2019 found that deep eutectic solvents are one of the most environmentally-friendly ways to extract cannabidiol from industrial hemp plants.
Supercritical CO2 extraction is another extraction method with a low environmental impact. Few CBD manufacturers use this process, which avoids chemical solvents altogether.
How to Choose Environmentally Friendly CBD Products
Learning a bit more about what goes into making your favourite CBD products might be fascinating, but you shouldn’t need a PhD in organic farming to shop for green CBD oil and other environmentally-friendly cannabidiol products. You certainly shouldn’t have to research precisely who grew the hemp that went into your CBD, and how.
That’s where trusted certification schemes come in. As a savvy shopper, you can look for these labels and know that the certifying bodies did their research (so you don’t have to).
Let’s take a look at the labels that should be on your environmentally-friendly CBD products!
Buying GMO-free products is an important step in the right direction, and a few different bodies issue GMO-free certificates. These include the Non-GMO Project, the NSF, and SCS. Third-party verification adds an extra level of trust, but any GMO-free product can be labelled as such.
Issued by the SGS, the V-label mark is an instantly-recognisable logo that confirms that your CBD product is vegan-friendly. Choosing vegan products can be another way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Many are concerned about how parabens, commonly-used preservatives, may impact their health. However, recent research has uncovered that parabens may also have a lasting negative environmental impact. Choosing CBD products certified as paraben-free is a healthy and sustainable choice.
A cruelty-free certificate shows you that a CBD oil, cream, ointment, or other product has not been tested on animals — something that remains common in the cosmetics industry and the pharmaceutical field.
Organically-grown hemp products are among the most environmentally-friendly ones by definition. Organic certification can be issued by the USDA (in the United States), the Soil Association (in the UK) and a range of other bodies. Buying CBD products made with organically-grown hemp is one of the best ways to enjoy cannabidiol sustainably and responsibly.
More Tips for Green Shoppers Looking for Quality CBD Products
Choosing eco-friendly CBD products gets a whole lot easier when you take the time to familiarise yourself with the relevant certifications. Want to go the extra mile? You can do more.
Take a look at the manufacturer’s process, and see what the company says about its CBD extraction methods. Companies that make premium CBD products are proud of their process and will be eager to tell you all about it.
Choosing Environmentally-Friendly CBD Products: Final Thoughts
The hemp industry hasn’t always prioritised sustainable farming and manufacturing practices. That’s changing!
You may have a little extra work to do if you’re committed to choosing environmentally-friendly CBD products. It’s worth it, though — and the same manufacturers who focus on sustainable practices also often produce top-quality CBD products.
Look for organic, GMO-free, cruelty-free, vegan, and paraben-free certification, and read up about the manufacturer’s process before you buy to ensure that the CBD products you choose meet your high standards.