Dietary restrictions can make life difficult — whether you’re embracing a vegan lifestyle for ethical reasons or you need to remain gluten-free for medical reasons.
CBD enthusiasts who are vegan or gluten-free can run into trouble selecting cannabidiol products that meet their needs, and that’s a shame. How can you improve your shopping experience and ensure the CBD you choose doesn’t contain anything you don’t want it to?
Wait, What? Why Would CBD Products Not Be Vegan? Why Would Your CBD Contain Gluten?
Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive, non-addictive cannabinoid extracted from Cannabis sativa plants. Low-THC strains, classed as industrial hemp, are the most common source of CBD products. Hemp doesn’t contain any gluten, and the plant itself is (clearly) vegan. Some people may wonder why CBD products wouldn’t be vegan and gluten-free.
The most obvious answer is that some CBD products contain a wide range of other ingredients. CBD gummies, capsules, and other edibles like mints and energy drinks are just some examples of CBD products that may not be vegan or gluten-free because animal products and wheat may be added during the manufacturing process.
It gets even trickier, though:
- Crop rotation (a practice in which different crops are grown on the same land, successively) is beneficial for soil health and biodiversity. Hemp is frequently grown in rotation with wheat, which can cause cross-contamination — and problems for gluten-free people.
- In some cases, the same machines used to harvest hemp may also be used to harvest wheat.
- It’s also possible that hemp products, including CBD products, are processed in a factory that also processes wheat.
Some vegans purely avoid eating animal products — including honey, which is quite a common ingredient in CBD edibles. Others also have ethical concerns about pesticides, which intentionally harm insects and may pose a threat to other forms of life, too. If that is a concern for you, you may want to choose CBD products derived from organically-farmed hemp products.,
What to Look Out for When Selecting Vegan and Gluten-Free CBD Products
CBD consumers who want to know exactly what’s in their products should always take the time to read the ingredient list. If wheat, gelatin of animal origin, or honey are listed as ingredients, you’ll instantly know that your product is not gluten-free or vegan.
Because the ingredient list can never tell the full story, it can help to rely on certifications issued by reputable third parties that have thoroughly vetted the CBD product you are considering buying.
CBD Products and Vegan Certification: What Should You Know?
A number of different vegan certifications exist. Nearly all of them are instantly recognisable because they include a “V” symbol. Still, vegans who are determined to choose CBD products that meet their high ethical standards may benefit from a quick guide.
The vegan labels you may come across in the UK include:
- The V-Label, issued by the European Vegetarian Union. This symbol is a “V” with a little leaf on the right-hand side. Vegan products are yellow, while vegetarian products are green. The words “vegan” or “vegetarian” are usually printed underneath the label.
- Certified Vegan, by the Vegan Awareness Foundation. This logo is a “V” in a heart.
- The Vegan Trademark, issued by the Vegan Society. Its logo is a “V” with a leaf on the right side and a flower sprouting from the centre.
- BeVeg, issued by the NSF (which also offers a range of other important certifications).
Vegans may also want to look for a “Cruelty-Free” label, which means that CBD products have not been tested on animals.
Gluten-Free CBD Products: What to Look Out For
Gluten-free products must also be clearly labelled as such. Some of the most reputable gluten-free certifications include:
- The gluten-free label issued by the Gluten-Free Certification Organisation. Its logo displays the letters “GF” in a circle, or it may spell out “Gluten Free”, with a purple “G” and lime-green borders.
- The gluten-free certificate offered by Beyond Celiac looks like a simplistic representation of a happy person with raised and spread hands.
- The NSF offers a gluten-free certification as well.
Which CBD Products Are Most Likely to Contain Gluten or Animal Products?
The CBD market is booming — which means your options seem to expand with every passing day. That’s exciting if you’re hoping to explore the best ways to enjoy cannabidiol. The downside? Each additional ingredient could pose a problem.
We’ve already explored the fact that even CBD oils, whether full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolates, may contain some gluten due to the risk of cross-contamination during every step of the growing and manufacturing process.
The same risk is present for vegans concerned about pesticide use — they will want to look for organic CBD products.
However, CBD products with longer ingredient lists are more likely to be a problem:
- Gummy candies often contain gelatin from animal sources. Honey may also be on the ingredient list.
- Softgel capsule shells, of the kind you see in CBD capsules, are not always vegan. They do not usually contain gluten, but should be clearly labelled as gluten-free.
- Some vape liquids, including CBD vape liquids, contain products of animal origin.
- Creams and lotions are usually vegan, but are sometimes tested on animals. Vegans may want to look out for a cruelty-free label.
Checking if Your CBD Products Are Vegan and Gluten-Free: Some Final Advice
CBD is derived from industrial hemp — a plant that contains no gluten. Hemp is often rotated with wheat, however, and gluten may also be introduced during other stages of the manufacturing process. That can potentially make even products that don’t feature wheat on the ingredient list, like CBD oils and tinctures, problematic.
Vegans will mostly want to be on the lookout for ingredients derived from animals in more complex CBD products like CBD gummies and capsules.
Looking for CBD products with reputable third-party certifications is your best bet in both cases. You can trust that a product is gluten-free and vegan if a trusted third party has tested it.
Shopping for CBD products that meet your high standards takes a little extra work. However, it’s really not that hard once you know what to look out for!
We hope this guide has given you the confidence you need to choose CBD products suitable for your unique needs and that you enjoy your cannabidiol without worrying whether you’re consuming gluten or animal products!