How We Rate Products and Brands

We have two ranking systems we rank the actual CBD product and we rank the company “brand”. Each of these two ranking systems has a set of criteria where we award points based on how well each company does within that criteria. This way, you, the consumer, can compare products based on this standardized ranking system and the total number of points awarded.

Table of contents

 

Brand Rating System

Variety of Products (18 points): CBD companies can have a wide range of products including CBD oils or tinctures; edibles, including gummies; vapes and e-liquids, capsules; creams or other topical products; pure CBD (isolates); and pet products such as tinctures, oils or edibles. As a general rule of thumb, we believe that a greater variety of products is better for the consumer because more choice allows the consumer to buy what will work best for them.

Transparency, Accuracy and Reputation (30 points): This category covers a lot about how a company does business.

  • Transparency gives the consumer an idea of how open the company is about the way it works (6 points)–
    • Do they have a physical address or do they only have an online presence?
    • Do they have a board of directors and do we know who they are?
    • Do they provide detailed information about the company, it’s leadership and the employees?
    • Is the company easy to contact—and how quickly they respond to a customer?
  • Accuracy relates primarily to the accuracy of the label and if the company provides easy access to 3rd party lab testing:
    • Are they pesticide – microbial and heavy-metal free and do they provide this information (max 20 points).
  • Reputation refers to how well the company is perceived in the industry.
    • Do they have a money-back guarantee? (2 points)
    • Do they have a quality assurance program implemented?
    • How long has the company been in business?
    • Finally, we try to assess the reputation they carry in the CBD industry (2 points).

Hemp Quality (25 points): The quality of the CBD product goes back to the quality of the plant, how it is grown and how it is harvested. Same as detailed above.

Price and Discount (12 points): This is based on the price per mg of CBD for the brand as well as any discounts provided.

  • We use a 3-tiered ranking system for price per mg of CBD:
    • A – “Bargain grade”– prices in this category range from $0.01-$0.079/mg CBD
    • B – “Market grade” – prices in the market grade category range from $0.08-$0.149/mg CBD
    • C- “Pricy grade” – prices were those above $0.15/mg CBD
  • Pricing in the CBD industry can have a huge range, making it difficult to compare. It is not necessarily true that the “pricey grade” is the best grade. It is also not always true that a “bargain grade” has lower quality. Some price differences are due to different costs in extraction — ethanol extraction is cheaper than CO2 extraction and not everyone agrees that one is better than the other. Other reasons for price differences can include potency, delivery method (eg. oil, capsule, gummy, topical) and whether it is a full or a broad-spectrum extract. Another factor in cost is how the product is packaged– on theory at least, you can get glitzy packaging for an inferior product, so while pricing remains an important factor,it shouldn’t be the only factor.

Customer Experience (15 points): How you experience buying CBD can differ from one company to the next.

  • We rank the following parts of an average customer’s experience:
    • How easy the web site is to navigate?
    • Does the company answer questions promptly and reliably?
    • Are the customer service reps
      • Polite?
      • Helpful?
      • Knowledgeable?
      • How helpful is the company if problems arise?
      • How is the product shipped?

We don’t get to personally test the products from every company– but we still try to rate them objectively!

For those companies, we rate by:

  • Shipping metrics such as :
    • How long a shipment takes
    • Shipping price.
  • Customer service metrics such as:
    • How the company communicates with the consumer– do they use a live chat, email, phone or a selection of a few communication methods
    • How accurate and knowledgeable are the customer service reps
    • How quickly does customer service respond?

Product Rating System

Extract type (20 points): Hemp contains over one hundred different cannabinoids. Companies which sell CBD have three main types of extracts. These vary depending on the presence of other cannabinoids, including THC.

  • Full spectrum CBD may contain up to 0.3% THC (20 points)
    • Full spectrum products contain the full range of plant substances including terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and a wide range of other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN and others, but less than the 0.3% THC.
  • Broad spectrum CBD should contain little or no detectable THC (16 points)
    • Broad spectrum products contain much less than 0.3% THC and may also have lower amounts of other cannabinoids– this is because of the process removing the THC to an undetectable amount.
  • CBD isolate contains only one cannabinoid – CBD (12 points)

For many general purposes, full and broad spectrum CBD is considered more useful because it also contains the range of plant constituents such as other cannabioids, flavonoids, amino acids, terpenes and others. These various constituents are believed to support, enhance and moderate the effects of CBD by what is known as the entourage effect.

Additional Ingredients (10 points):

The cannabis plant contains over 100 different cannabinoids. While research is in its very early stages, evidence is growing that these cannabinoids may also have significant health benefits. The terpenes found in cannabis give it its distinctive aroma– and have health benefits on their own! Full spectrum products are closer to the original plant and may offer additional health benefits.

CBD can be combined with a variety of supplements to support various health goals. For example, CBD can be combined with melatonin, the sleep hormone, to help sleep. Some companies add other herbs or other natural products to support the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD while others may add nutrients to support calm, energy or exercise recovery.

Quality Assurance (40 points): To ensure that you are buying a quality product, each batch of CBD should be tested for:

· CBD levels (19 points): It is important that the consumer knows that the amount of CBD printed on the label is what is truly in the product. The acceptable variance is of up to ±10% of CBD listed on the label and what an independent lab test determines. So, if the label says that a dropperful of CBD oil contains 10mg, we accept that label as accurate if the lab assay finds between 9-11mg of CBD (10% of 10mg is 1 mg).

· Pesticides (7 points): All products consumed should be pesticide free. Pesticides are chemicals used to kill off pests that can infest naturally growing plants. These pesticides can produce known -and unknown- harmful effects when ingested.

· Heavy metals (7 points): Heavy metals such as mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), thallium (Tl), and lead (Pb) can be present in hemp plants. All CBD products should be tested for these potentially dangerous metals.

· Microbials (7 points): This is a general term and can include bacteria, mold, fungi and other organisms. It is important to know that the CBD is free of these contaminants.

Hemp Quality (20 points): Here at LeafReport, we also believe that you should know if your CBD product is

  • Sustainably grown (3 points):
    • Sustainably grown hemp means that the grower takes care of the soils, rotates crops and support the environment responsibly
  • Organically grown (5 points):
    • This is a way of knowing that the product is derived solely from the plant without adding extra chemical-based fertilizer. It also means that the grower uses natural methods (as opposed to pesticides) to keep the hemp free of pests
  • Organically certified (2 points):
    • Organic certification is a long and complicated process, but with certification comes the knowledge that the product is pure. Some growers may use organic methods, but don’t seek certification because of the expense in time and money.
  • Pesticide free (5 points):
    • As described above, pesticides have some known and many potentially unknown negative health effects. We want to ensure all CBD products are pesticide-free
  • Non-GMO (5 points):
    • Non-GMO indicates that there are no genetic modifications to the hemp plant– they have been traditionally bred to produce higher levels of CBD but there has been no artificially induced genetic change.

Price (10 points): Price is obviously an important criteria for you, so we let you know how much the CBD costs per mg and we also let you know if the company offers any discounts—and what these discounts are for. Some companies provide discounts for veterans, for those with a qualifying low income or those with a qualifying disability, but not all do.

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