“Clean CBD” is not just a buzzword. Here’s why it matters and a list of five leading organic brands to choose from.
Many CBD brands use words like organic and pesticide-free to hype up their products. Some may even use the ambiguous term “clean.” But what exactly does this mean? Is there such a thing as clean CBD?
Thankfully, this is more than just marketing speak. The terms organic and pesticide-free usually refer to hemp — the non-intoxicating variety of cannabis that CBD is sourced from.
High-quality hemp is grown organically and sustainably in clean soil without the use of pesticides, while the final CBD product is independently tested for contaminants.
Here’s why this matters and a look at the five cleanest CBD brands on the market.
Most reputable companies source their CBD from high-quality hemp cultivated in the United States or Europe.
Still, there are some advantages to choosing brands that go an extra step to ensure their hemp and other ingredients are organic, free of pesticides and other contaminants, and otherwise “clean”:
With this in mind, we set out to find the five cleanest CBD companies.
We recently put together a standardized rating system to compare CBD brands.
Our database gives each CBD company a score out of 100 based on its transparency, product variety, customer experience, and other categories.
This ensures that the ratings we give to brands are completely impartial and based on real, measurable criteria. It also makes it easy to compare companies.
For more information on how we calculate these scores, check out this page.
To find the cleanest CBD brands, we looked at the companies that scored the highest on two specific rating categories: hemp quality and third-party testing for contaminants.
For hemp quality, we assign a total of 25 points based on whether a brand uses sustainable farming practices, holds organic hemp certification, doesn’t use pesticides, and sources organic, non-GMO hemp.
Meanwhile, for third-party contaminant testing, we assign 5 points each for third-party tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and microbials for a total of 15 points. Only companies that order and pass these tests for all of their products receive the full points here.
Taken together, these two categories add up to a maximum of 40 points.
Here are the five CBD brands with the best scores: RE Botanicals (40/40), Green Gorilla (40/40), Lazarus Naturals (37/40), Medterra (37/40), and Charlotte’s Web (36/40).
RE Botanicals is one of the most eco-friendly CBD brands out there.
The company uses 100% USDA organic-certified ingredients at every step of the process, beginning with the hemp grown on its South Carolina farm. In comparison, most CBD brands source their hemp from other producers.
Next, this hemp is extracted with organic alcohol and blended with organic coconut MCT oil, peppermint, lavender, and other botanicals.
RE Botanicals also has its products tested for pesticides, heavy metals, and other contaminants, and is certified glyphosate-free. We looked at these tests ourselves to confirm that the products passed all contaminant testing.
On top of that, RE Botanicals donates 1% of its sales to support farmers and promote regenerative agriculture.
If you’re looking for a clean CBD brand, Green Gorilla should be on the top of your list. This California-based company grows its hemp on a 1474-acre farm in Arizona.
More importantly, this farm is one of the first to be certified organic by USDA: the gold standard of organic agricultural products.
According to Green Gorilla, its farm doesn’t use any chemical fertilizers or pesticides and focuses on regenerative growing techniques that protect the local environment.
Green Gorilla also sends its products for third-party testing to verify their lack of heavy metals, pesticides, residual solvents, microbials, and other potential contaminants. The company passed all the tests, confirming that its products are safe.
But the company also does much to provide clean, safe, and sustainable products. Another vertically integrated CBD brand, Lazarus Naturals grows the majority of its hemp on a farm in central Oregon, giving it complete control over the manufacturing process.
This hemp is grown organically without the use of pesticides and Lazarus Naturals is working to complete its USDA organic certification in 2022.
Additionally, the company composts the remaining plant material after CBD extraction and uses other sustainable, eco-friendly farming methods such as cover and rotational crops.
Lazarus Naturals also provides third-party test documents verifying that its products are free of pesticides, heavy metals, microbials, and other contaminants.
Medterra is another top-tier CBD company. All of its hemp comes from organic family farms in Kentucky, where it’s grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides.
Medterra is certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority, which verifies that the company adheres to stringent quality standards for growing hemp and manufacturing CBD products.
Its products are tested by a third-party lab to check for pesticides, heavy metals, and other contaminants. Medterra passed all of these tests, receiving the full 15 points on our contaminant testing category.
One of the first and most recognized CBD brands, Charlotte’s Web stands out for high hemp quality.
The company started with its own organic hemp farm in Colorado but soon began working with other family farms. Charlotte’s Web even tests the soil and water to make sure there are no contaminants.
The company also holds U.S. Hemp Authority certification, verifying that it follows strict quality standards for hemp cultivation and CBD product manufacturing.
Charlotte’s Web tests its products both in-house and through a third-party lab to confirm the lack of pesticides and other contaminants.
However, we weren’t able to find pesticide tests for some products, which is why Charlotte’s Web lost a point in that category.