Synthetic vs. Real Urine: Why TestClear Human Urine is Superior to Competitors

If you’re trying to pass an upcoming urine drug test, you’ve probably seen plenty of urine substitution kits ranging from synthetic to the “real deal,” powdered and premixed human urine, with lifelike (though that may be a bit generous, given some of the kits we’ve seen) prosthetics or specialized dispensers for supervised tests. There are dozens of products available on the market, but which one will ensure a passing result 100% of the time (when used correctly, of course)?

While the differences between kits may not be immediately evident (or may not seem like a big deal in the face of substantial cost savings or a major time crunch), not all urine substitution kits are created equal. When you’re facing a drug test for something as significant as a new job or the outcome of a legal situation, there’s too much on the line to gamble with inferior products. So how do you, as a consumer, discern which products will help you pass and which to pass on?

Here, we’ll break down the science of urine substitution, discussing the general purpose of these products, the chemical differences between synthetic and human urines, and the risks and benefits of each type. We’ll finish with a brief discussion of our experience with TestClear Powdered Human Urine and why we prefer it to other substitution kits out there. 

Selecting Urine Substitution Kits

synthetic vs human urine drug test

If you’ve spent any time researching urine kits, you’ve probably noticed something a bit, well, peculiar: the labeling of some products for fetish purposes. Some urine substitutes are marketed as being for the purpose of fetish fulfillment, largely to sidestep regulations that restrict advertising of a product to “cheat” a drug test. We’re not trying to kink-shame (different strokes and all), but a fetish urine kit is not necessarily going to help you pass a drug test.

In a way, this marketing can be helpful, as it can serve as a signal that this is not the right product for you. This is because urine substitutes marketed this way have a tendency to be less rigorously formulated than others. In a way, this makes sense; after all, they’re theoretically marketed towards human urine fetishists and not laboratory equipment, meaning they likely won’t help you pass your drug test. 

With this in mind, in our experience it’s a good practice to skip these kits in favor of those formulated with the specific compounds tested for in urine drug tests (more on that in a moment). You need a kit intended to be read by modern drug tests as human urine, not flavored to taste like it.

Science of Urine Substitution: Powdered vs. Premixed Kits

synthetic vs human urine drug test

Another difference between kits you may notice is that some urine kits will come premixed, as a liquid, while others will be packaged as a powder meant to be mixed with water soon before your test. Sometimes “fetish kits” are sold premixed, which may serve as a hint when choosing a urine substitution kit: powdered is the way to go.

This is for a couple of reasons, the main one being that, essentially, there isn’t exactly an official regulation stipulating the expiration date of substitute urine in terms of how long it can legally sit on a shelf before being sold. The premixed urine kits lose some of their “freshness,” and therefore raise your risk of your test being flagged for tampering or a false positive.

From a consumer standpoint, this means that a premixed kit purchased at your local smoke shop may have been collecting dust for over a year before you bought it. During that time, compounds in the urine substitute have chemically changed, shifting the molecular profile of the sample and raising your risk of a false positive. This isn’t to say that it’s completely impossible to dupe a test with a premixed kit (depending on its starting composition, freshness, and other factors), but it does raise your risk of your sample being flagged for tampering — thereby failing you.

For this reason, we prefer to stick to powdered urine kits that you mix yourself shortly before taking your test. Since urine doesn’t stick around for days, weeks, or months inside your body, it just makes sense that you should mix your sample shortly before you take your test. So, now that we’ve gotten the major differences out of the way, there’s still one more to discuss: synthetic urine versus the real deal. 

Composition of Synthetic Urine

synthetic vs human urine

Synthetic urine uses the chemicals usually present in human urine to create a sample that, while not of human origin, contains all the markers read by drug tests to indicate that the sample is legitimate (and clean!). This can be achieved in a number of ways (and each company has their own patented formula for doing so), so no two products will be exactly identical. 

Generally, these products contain urea, creatinine, and potassium, magnesium, and calcium chlorides, along with sodium sulfate and ammonium phosphate and/or diphosphate. B vitamins or yellow dyes may be added for color, and chemicals called heat activators that bring the sample to temperature when water is added. A urine substitute formulated this way stands a good chance of helping you pass a drug test, but these ingredients are unlikely to be labeled, meaning there’s no knowing for sure what you’re getting.

To add to the uncertainty, a much simpler formula for substitute urine involves urea, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and sodium phosphate. The resulting liquid will look and smell very similar to urine (making it an adequate substitute for many experiments and, yes, fetish purposes), but won’t be convincing enough to fool even the most outdated of drug tests. 

Composition of Human Urine

synthetic vs human urine

Human urine, by contrast, varies from person to person depending on diet, metabolism, and other factors. It’s a complex liquid that contains about 91-96% water and both organic and inorganic substances. The approximate ratio of organic to inorganic solutes (the technical term for stuff dissolved in a solvent — water in this case) is 7:5, or 7 organic molecules to every 5 inorganic molecules.  

In this context, organic means simply that the compounds in question contain carbon molecules, while the inorganic particles do not. These chemicals are largely leftover traces from the foods and beverages we consume, but can also contain waste products from cellular metabolic processes. All these compounds combine to create a complex liquid that differs strongly from its synthetic cousins. 

Since human urine comes directly from the source, it won’t be missing any of the key markers tests look for to determine the authenticity of the sample. It also won’t contain any “red flags” that might raise eyebrows at the testing site — with human urine, you don’t have to worry about the yellow dye or heat activator raising the alarm that your sample isn’t genuine. This adds a peace of mind to the testing process that no synthetic urine can offer. 

Risks of Synthetic Urine in Drug Testing

synthetic vs human urine drug test

So, can you use synthetic urine to pass a drug test?  The short answer is: sometimes. This depends on a couple of factors, including the synthetic urine that you’re using and the rigor of the test you’re taking. 

Through diligent research and thorough examination of the product (and perhaps even direct conversation with the company providing the synthetic urine replacement), you may be able to determine that a product contains all the necessary compounds required to pass a drug test without flagging the sample for tampering. However, that’s a serious amount of work for a regular person to undertake, and it may not fully guarantee a passing result.

This is because drug tests are advancing all the time, getting better and better at filtering out the fakes from the real deal. Drug test companies and the people trying to beat them are locked in a sort of arms race, with each side constantly inventing better products to try to get past the other. 

With any synthetic urine substitute, there is always a non-zero chance (however remote) that the sample may be flagged for being fraudulent or having been tampered with. Such a result will trigger an automatic failing result for you, meaning you can kiss that dream job at your perfect company goodbye. While the risk may be numerically small, we feel that, with the stakes so high, it’s notable.

Benefits of Powdered Human Urine 

synthetic vs human urine drug test

When you use a powdered human urine like the urine substitution kit from TestClear, you can be confident that you will pass your test. We like the TestClear kit for its ease of use — simply add water to the powdered urine in the included plastic vial, then use one of the included warmers to bring the sample to the appropriate temperature for testing. When mixed about an hour before testing, the sample has plenty of time to reach its ideal temperature, and the slim vial is easy to store close to the body to avoid arousing suspicion on the way into the test.

The human urine powder within the kit will reconstitute to create a urine sample indistinguishable from other human urine by modern drug tests. Since the powder contained within the kit is of human origin, you don’t need to worry about the concentration of the compounds within. You can test with your head high, knowing that you will pass every time. Even against the most sensitive of drug testing apparati, TestClear human urine achieves a passing result 100% of the time. 

Takeaway

While it is technically possible to pass a drug test using a synthetic urine substitute, choosing and using a product is fraught with unnecessary risks that can compromise your chance of passing. With the stakes of a drug test being so high, we prefer to use the powdered human urine kit from TestClear. Using clean urine of human origin ensures a passing result and grants peace of mind when testing. 

 

10 Fast-Paced Jobs That Don’t Drug Test

There’s a good chance that you’ve had to take a drug test for employment purposes at some point in your working life — or that you may have to in the future. An estimated 56% of American employers require some form of drug testing and, while the continued expansion of cannabis legalization has helped facilitate a conversation surrounding pre-employment drug tests, they’re still a reality for millions of American workers. Jobs that don’t drug test used to be limited to cash gigs and some types of shift work, but that’s starting to change.

The tide is beginning to shift — New York City just passed legislation prohibiting employers from testing for THC, and other cities and states with legal cannabis markets are considering similar laws. Furthermore, drug testing is on the decline, largely because there’s very little evidence to support its effectiveness (not to mention the immense cost: American companies spent over $3 billion on drug testing in 2017 alone. With the cost and inefficacy of drug testing, jobs that don’t drug test are on the rise.

The legalization of cannabis has helped spur the conversation around the efficacy and benefit to drug testing, and American companies are beginning to take notice. That said, there’s still a long way to go before progressive attitudes toward drug testing for cannabis become the rule rather than the exception. 

While most states (and the federal government) are dragging their metaphorical feet about adapting Regan-era drug testing laws, some industries and companies are revisiting the attitudes that made drug testing so prevalent to begin with. Here, we’ll talk about 10 major companies that do not require a drug test when hiring. We’ll examine companies and jobs that don’t drug test, what’s good about them, and who they might be especially good for.

A Few General Notes

Before we get started, we need to note a couple of potential exceptions: warehouse, loss prevention, and asset management positions. Regardless of the company you’re applying with, these types of jobs are substantially more likely to be drug tested, both prior to hiring and during employment. 

For warehouse workers, this makes a lot of sense: employers want to make an effort to ensure that employees responsible for operating heavy machinery aren’t doing so under the influence in order to avoid accidents on the job. Some companies, like Amazon, predominantly use saliva tests for their warehouse employees, but others use urinalysis or hair testing.

For loss prevention and asset management positions, the concern is less about causing injury or property damage and more about ensuring that employees do not use their position or level of access to steal from the company. While employers are generally looking more for drugs like cocaine or opiates when testing these positions, a positive result for THC could be of concern.  If you are considering applying for one of these positions, be prepared to take a drug test of some kind — it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Additionally, you may be asked to submit to a drug test if you are injured on the job and file for worker’s compensation. This is to ensure that you were not intoxicated at the time of the accident, as that could allow your employer’s insurance to deny payment. If you are involved in an accident at work, be prepared to take some kind of drug test (most likely a urine or saliva screen). Even for jobs that don’t drug test prior to hiring, one may be needed if there’s an accident.

Google

While it’s notoriously difficult to get hired on at the tech giant, Google does not drug test its employees. This is in part to do with the fact that their headquarters is located in cannabis-friendly California, but also because the company would rather employ the most innovative people than the “straightest.” If your portfolio is strong enough to get you in at Google, you won’t need to worry about a positive drug test standing in the way of your dream job. Your work is more important to them than what you choose to do in your free time.

Chipotle

The ubiquitous burrito chain employs over 64,000 people at hundreds of US locations and drug tests none of them. While Chipotle may not be everyone’s ideal workplace, the company has made Forbes’ list of best companies to work for multiple times, providing health benefits, education, and bonus programs that are more generous than competitors in the industry.

The company also makes an effort to use sustainable ingredients where possible, utilizing non-GMO produce and pork raised without antibiotics. If you need a position with a flexible schedule and opportunities for advancement, consider dropping an application at Chipotle. The employer is a strong contender in the industry and offers an abundance of positions and jobs that don’t drug test beforehand. 

Apple

In keeping with its compatriots in the tech industry, Apple has no known drug testing policy for its employees — from retail employees to high-level management positions. Apple wants to hire people who excel at their jobs, and the company recognizes that zero-tolerance drug testing policies further limit an already small talent pool. So long as your habit doesn’t affect your performance (and provided you aren’t injured on the job — unlikely, but not impossible), you’re very unlikely to ever be tested at Apple.

Starbucks

The massive coffee retailer does not utilize drug testing for any of its workforce, from its thousands of retail employees to store managers to regional directors. The company is also permissive when it comes to “alternative” body modifications like visible tattoos, piercings, and unconventional hair colors or styles. In addition to a competitive benefits package, Starbucks also offers substantial employee discounts on their products, making them a potentially ideal workplace for coffee and tea enthusiasts with a knack for customer service.

Microsoft

Not to be outdone by competitor Apple, Microsoft does not drug test its employees — again, they’re after innovative thinkers, so as long as you come bearing a strong portfolio or resume, a positive drug test won’t keep you from working for the tech titan. Employees tend to rate the company very positively and, while there’s a large pool of people aiming for a spot, careers with Microsoft appear worth the intense competition it takes to swing them.

Whole Foods

No drug test required here, just a love of food and a willingness to educate yourself — and others — about it. If you’re into food and beverages but aren’t vibing with a traditional restaurant job, a position at high-end grocery chain Whole Foods might be perfect for you.

Based in beautiful (and surprisingly progressive, for the state) Austin, TX, Whole Foods has a reputation for taking good care of their employees, both with competitive benefits and a supportive company culture that values employee advancement and morale. If you’re a wine aficionado, an organic produce enthusiast, or a connoisseur of cheese, Whole Foods may present an ideal work environment for your skills to shine — no drug test needed.

Michael’s

For the artistically inclined, Michael’s offers a relaxed atmosphere working around varied crafting materials — no drug testing required. A position with the creative supplier might be appealing to people who prefer a quiet, easygoing workplace — or want to use the substantial employee discount to finance their own artistic endeavors. This makes the company ideal for prospective employees needing jobs that don’t drug test.

For those with the ability and desire to teach, Michael’s also offers the opportunity to host classes in everything from woodworking to cake decorating to sewing to crochet. Whether you’d like to share your knowledge of crafting with others or just enjoy the idea of a quiet, relatively relaxed workplace, Michael’s will allow you to get your foot in the door without a drug test.

Petsmart

At Petsmart, you won’t need to pass a drug test to spend your workday with animals of all shapes, sizes, and species. The store offers a wide range of positions, from retail associates to stockers to grooming specialists. An ideal career for animal lovers, a position at Petsmart will allow you to learn on the job while getting to interact with and care for a variety of animals, from lizards to birds to cats. If you connect well with animals and the people who love them, a career at Petsmart may be worth checking out. With positions ranging from stocking to management, there are plenty of jobs that don’t drug test available with the company.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

If you’re the type to routinely opt outside by camping, cycling, kayaking, fishing, hiking, or other outdoor activities, a job at Dick’s offers the opportunity to work closely with like-minded individuals in an active environment. The diverse array of products at the sporting retailer will allow you to work in your area(s) of expertise while learning more about sports and activities you may never have thought to try — perfect for people with a sense of adventure. 

Target

The familiar supermarket has made some big changes to their drug testing program in recent years: aside from warehouse and loss prevention employees, Target does not require drug testing for any of their workers. This makes the company an excellent resource for jobs that don’t drug test. The company also tends to pay a higher starting salary relative to comparable chains and offers significant benefits for full-time employees. The employee discount is enough to save you money on your grocery bill and there are positions available for everyone, from the most sociable among us to the least extroverted.

Takeaway

While drug testing is a formidable presence on the employment market, it isn’t ubiquitous — attitudes toward drug testing are shifting, and there are many companies who have made the decision not to test their employees for illicit substances. This is especially true in legal states, but an increasing number of national companies are opting to skip drug testing and focus their hiring process on what employees do at work, rather than penalizing them for things they do off the clock. The number of jobs that don’t drug test is starting to outpace the number of positions that do.

 

How to Use Detox Drinks to Pass a Drug Test

 

Urine drug tests are the most common type used by employers and legal authorities nationwide, largely because they’re some of the hardest tests to fake. Lipid-soluble compounds (like THC and its main metabolite, THC-COOH) stick around in urine for a very long time, making it difficult to flush the body of undesirable chemicals prior to testing.

Difficult, however, doesn’t necessarily mean impossible; while it’s true that you cannot successfully cleanse your body of THC without abstaining and detoxing for an extended period of time, it is possible to introduce water, electrolytes, and other substances to the body in such a way as to produce a temporary passing result. 

This is the aim of detox drinks, a popular-but-risky way to pass a drug test on very short notice. We tend to prefer to use the substitution method to pass a urine drug screen, but this may not be an option for supervised testing. If this is your situation, a detox drink might be just what you need — but there are some important things you need to know before starting your cleanse.

Here, we’ll break down how to use your cleansing drink of choice to maximize its cleansing power, helping rid your system of THC for the prescribed window and allowing you to produce a clean sample. We’ll also talk about what to look for in a detox drink before wrapping up with a couple of our favorite cleansing beverages for different usage levels. 

Before We Begin: A Few Possible Caveats

Before we get into the science of detox drinks and how to use them, we need to make an important clarification: detox drinks will only work to help you pass a urine drug test. They will not be effective at cleansing your system in advance of hair, blood, or saliva tests. Bear this in mind when choosing a detox product that’s right for you and the test you’ll be taking.

Second, detox drinks are similar to other cleansing products in that they won’t be effective if you don’t abstain from cannabis during your cleansing period. Your results will be better the longer you are able to abstain before your test. We recommend at least 48 hours of abstention for moderate to heavy consumers, though more time is always better. 

Finally, you’ll need to drink a lot of water with any detox drink you choose, and we mean a lot of water. Most detoxes ask that you drink a minimum of 32 fluid ounces of water after consuming the drink, but some request amounts as high as 48 ounces. As a general rule of thumb, more water is better (just don’t overdo it and send yourself into hyponatremia, a potentially lethal overhydrated state. It’s pretty difficult to get there, but not totally impossible), and be sure to urinate as many times as you can before you plan to test. 

How Detox Drinks Work

We need to open with an important distinction: it is not possible to truly eliminate all THC and its metabolites from your body in a protracted period of time. The only way to cleanse your body of THC (in the strictest and truest sense of the word) is to detox naturally, which can take anywhere from a few short days to a period of months, depending on how frequently you use cannabis. 

So, if these drinks aren’t zapping the THC from your cells, how do they help you pass a drug test using your own urine? We’ll cover the science momentarily, but the short answer is that detox drinks use a combination of chemical actions in your body to help you produce urine that will test clean during a certain window of time. After this period, you’ll test positive again — the cleansing effect isn’t lasting, but it will get you through your drug test unscathed.

Detox products work by a combination of a couple different mechanisms: first, they dilute your urine, and therefore any THC or its metabolites that might be present. Second, they adulterate your urine with compounds to help mask the presence of THC and give some of your dilute urine its color and chemical properties back. 

Finally, many detox drinks contain compounds that are believed to encourage the flushing of THC from your cells, removing the molecules from the superficial layer of your internal tissues. Note that this only takes place at the surface — your deeper tissues will still harbor THC and THC-COOH for as long as you continue to consume cannabis. That said, it can help improve your chances of testing clean. The effectiveness of these substances is improved by frequent urination.

First & Foremost: Use Exactly As Directed

Even the best detox drink won’t be effective if you don’t follow the instructions. This is because you need to drink not only the beverage itself, but also plenty of water — expect to refill and drink the container 2-3 times before testing per most instructions. 

You’ll also need to give your body the best chance possible to flush THC and THC-COOH from your renal system, which means that you’ll need to pee as much as possible before your testing. We recommend going at least three times between drinking the beverage and testing, but more is always better. 

Finally, be sure to replenish your electrolytes after testing. While detox drinks do contain necessary salts and ions to keep you from suffering the effects of dehydration, you may need to reup your body’s supply, especially if you’re an active person. Avoid caffeine and other diuretics, focusing instead on rehydrating and resupplying your body with necessary nutrients.

Ingredients to Look For

There are many different ingredients that are commonly used in detox drinks. Here, we’ve broken down the most effective and safest by category according to their purpose. The following ingredients are generally considered safe and effective for cleansing purposes when used as directed:

  • Diuretics, or ingredients designed to cause you to urinate more frequently, serve to help dilute your urine while promoting the flushing of THC from surface tissues. These ingredients include compounds like:
    • Caffeine, a well-known stimulant 
    • Ginseng, a naturally-derived supplement commonly used in energy drinks to boost focus — with the side effect of increased urination
    • Guarana, another plant-derived stimulant 
    • Taurine, a compound extracted from the livers of cattle that’s been found to increase energy (and urination, lots of stimulants have that effect) 
    • Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is often used to dilate blood vessels, invigorate the body, and speed up the body’s metabolism. This is the molecule responsible for the “niacin flush,” or reddening of the skin, that accompanies energy drink consumption in some consumers, and may induce a type of short-lived “head rush” when taken very quickly in large doses.
    • Cranberry extract. While it’s been shown to be ineffective at treating a UTI, cranberry may help cleanse the urinary tract of non-bacterial chemical elements and assist in flushing “surface” THC from the body
  • Adulterants, or ingredients included to help replace vital compounds in your urine to compensate for dilution while masking the presence of any residual THC. Many of these compounds are contained within your urine naturally; these ingredients are intended to put back together the chemical profile that’s distorted through the dilution process.These may include:
    • Creatine, a precursor to creatinine, a compound found in urine naturally and one of the most important markers for a testing lab that a sample is genuine and untampered with
    • Vitamins B6 and B12 are often used to return color to diluted urine, as are folate, or vitamin B9, and thiamin, or vitamin B1
    • Biotin, a compound necessary for healthy hair, skin, and nails 
    • Zinc, chromium, selenium, and manganese are trace minerals typically found in urine

A Cautionary Note About Herbal Extracts

While most herbal supplements are safe for consumption when used as directed, it is wise to be aware of the herbs included in your detox of choice and any interactions they could have with medications you take. For example, burdock root extract can be very helpful for flushing the kidneys, but could cause a reaction in people allergic to daisies or chrysanthemums. Milk thistle extract works well to protect the liver and soothe potential digestive discomfort resulting from using a detox drink rich in minerals, but could reduce the effectiveness of estrogen-based birth control pills. 

As with anything else, it’s important to consider the potential risks an ingredient might carry for you before making an informed decision. There are entirely too many potential ingredients and corresponding interactions for us to list here, but we’d like to present a few general precautions to minimize any risk of a negative interaction.

Firstly, please exercise caution with detox drinks if you are currently taking any diuretics or blood pressure medications. This is because detox drinks are quite diuretic on their own and could cause dehydration when combined with a similar medication. Secondly, be cautious if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and considering a detox drink. Most ingredients are fine, especially for one-off use, but may cause problems for high-risk moms or those with sensitive systems. 

We don’t mean to incite panic or scare you off of buying that detox, we just want to encourage you to be mindful of what you put into your body. The risk of adverse side effects is vanishingly small, but still non-zero; consequently, we feel we owe it to you to mention it as you consider the right detox drink for you.

The Day Before Testing

On the day before you are scheduled to take your test, make sure to eat sensibly and keep yourself amply hydrated. We recommend skipping out on fatty or fried foods during this time, opting instead for plenty of fiber and protein. Leafy greens, grilled chicken or fish, fresh vegetables, and fiber-packed root veggies like sweet potatoes or beets are good choices.

You’ll also want to take any pre-cleanse pills that were included with your detox on this day. Taking the pre-cleanse pills will help prime your system for tomorrow’s detox and remove residual THC from your system. Take them as directed with plenty of water — if you need something with flavor, try to opt for tea, coffee, or juice over sugar-packed sodas. 

Immediately leading up to your test, we advise avoiding strenuous exercise. If you already have an established exercise habit, keep it up! However, if you’re a habitual couch potato, now is not the time to take up jogging. This is because too much fat-burning during this time can cause THC trapped in your body’s fatty tissues to return to the bloodstream, becoming detectable in your urine. To avoid this, keep novel exercise to a minimum in the few days before testing.

The Morning of Testing

On the morning of the big day, make sure to have a big glass of water or two with your morning coffee — though perhaps limit yourself to one cup today. Keep breakfast low in fat and high in fiber (egg white veggie omelet, perhaps?) and wear comfortable clothes. Don’t fast until your test; not only will depriving yourself of food not help your chances of passing, but you’ll be cranky and more prone to unnecessary anxiety. 

Be sure to take your detox drink with you! You may remove the label if you’d like, or place it in a large water bottle or thermos for discretion. Make sure that you know the time and place you are supposed to take your test, as the next steps will depend on the timing.

Hours Before Testing

Since detox drinks give you a window of time during which you will test clean, time is of the essence. Your detox will be most effective three hours from the time of consumption (unless otherwise specified), with the window of effectiveness extending for up to 5 hours. For this reason, we advise taking the drink as close to 3 hours from your test as possible.

When it comes time to take the detox, down the whole thing as quickly as you can. We don’t mean you have to chug it (unless, of course you want to), but try to finish the bottle within 15 minutes or so. Then, immediately fill the bottle with water and drink that — again, doing your best to finish it within about 15 minutes. 

After that bottle is gone, go ahead and fill it up again — and don’t worry, you can take your time drinking this one. You’ll probably need to urinate pretty quickly after finishing the first bottle of water, so don’t fight the urge. The more you are able to go before your test, the better off you’ll be. Stay hydrated leading up to your test by refilling that water bottle frequently. 

The Test Itself

When collecting your sample for testing, use urine from the middle of your stream, as opposed to the beginning or the end. This minimizes the risk of trace THC ending up in your sample and gives you the best chance of providing a fully clean sample and passing your drug test. 

To do this, allow yourself to urinate for about 4-6 seconds before beginning to collect the sample. Once you’ve obtained an adequate specimen, clean up the cup (it’s just polite) and head out, being sure to wash your hands thoroughly. 

Takeaway

 

A detox drink like Mega Clean or XXtra Clean from TestClear can help you pass your drug test with flying colors, but these beverages aren’t bulletproof. Make sure that you follow the directions on the product that you choose, abstain with plenty of time to spare, and keep yourself well-hydrated throughout the process. 

 

Best CBD Companies of 2019

Perhaps you’ve been taking CBD for months or even years, or maybe you’re just beginning your foray into researching the cannabinoid for yourself. Regardless of your level of familiarity with CBD, you’ve likely heard a lot about it recently, and seen even more. But where can you find the best CBD companies and products in such a crowded market?

CBD is growing in popularity among the health-conscious community, especially as people seek alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs laden with side effects and potential for abuse. This surge in popularity has companies rushing to get while the proverbial getting is good, but how do you differentiate the substandard cash-grabbers from the best CBD companies with quality products?

While research is still ongoing, existing studies support broad potential applications for CBD; thus far, it has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, antidepressant, antipyretic, and hypnotic (sleep-inducing, not trance-inducing) properties. Of course, more studies are needed (there is hardly such a thing as too much data), but the preliminary findings are compelling.

There is good evidence to support the efficacy of CBD against a wide range of symptoms, but these benefits can only be achieved with a quality CBD product. Therein lies the problem: with so many manufacturers out to make a quick buck off of health-conscious consumers and little to no regulation of CBD, it’s up to the consumer to do their homework before selecting a product.

That sounds nice in theory, but it works out to a lot of work for consumers. You can spend a lot of time sifting through companies selling garbage in a bottle before finding one that’s worth your while, and most of us just don’t have that kind of free time. To help take the guesswork out of your CBD search, we’ve compiled our list of the top 3 absolute best CBD companies out there. Here, we’ll briefly outline our selection criteria before detailing what we love about each company, our favorite products from each, and what makes them stand out from the competition. 

Our Selection Process

best cbd companies of 2019

In the interest of full transparency, we want to begin by outlining our criteria for selecting the best of the best of CBD providers. After all, it’s only fair that we’re all operating under the same definition of “best.” First, each of the companies here uses only domestically sourced, organic, non-GMO hemp for their products — and a few go so far as to grow their own hemp entirely. 

Second, the CBD used in the company’s products must be extracted using a safe and effective method. This includes an organic ethanol wash, as well as both subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions, but not hydrocarbon extractions, which utilize potentially harmful chemicals like butane or propane to strip plant matter of its CBD. 

Third, the carrier oils used in the products must be safe and effective. These may include MCT oil, coconut oil, hemp seed oil, olive oil, or grapeseed oil. If a product does not contain a carrier oil (and isn’t formulated to be water-soluble), it doesn’t stand a chance against your symptoms, as the body cannot absorb CBD efficiently unless it is dissolved in an oil or fat, like MCT or coconut oils.

Fourth, each product the company produces must be batch tested for quality, purity, and potency. This means that every bottle should be 1) traceable to the batch it came from, 2) contain the level of CBD and other active ingredients it claims, and 3) free of harmful compounds like heavy metals or pesticides. Furthermore, these results should be confirmed by an independent (not affiliated with the company or any of its subsidiaries) laboratory — we’re all for in-house testing, but it must be confirmed through independent analysis to be considered valid.

Finally, as a vapor-specific consideration, any vapor products the company creates must be free of PG. Because of its tendency to degrade into known carcinogens like formaldehyde, arsenic, and benzene at high temperatures, we avoid PG (the abbreviation for propylene and polyethylene glycol) in vapor products altogether and encourage our readers to do the same. Each vapor product from the brands listed below is free of PG and other compounds currently understood to present health risks.

Joy Organics

best cbd companies of 2019

Joy Organics is a standout among CBD providers for a couple of reasons: for starters, they’re part of a movement among the CBD community committed to creating products entirely free of THC. Joy Organics accomplishes this through a proprietary technology which removes THC from their extracts while leaving CBD and other cannabinoids, along with the hemp’s terpene and flavonoid profile, intact. 

The result is a “broad spectrum extract” that’s somewhere between full spectrum and isolates. For people concerned about the potential impact of CBD on a drug test, choosing THC-free products like those from Joy might be the perfect solution. Joy’s line packs an intensive therapeutic punch, from their softgels and oils (the lemon flavor is seriously delicious) to their high-end skin care line.

Oh yeah, did we mention that Joy Organics makes a complete line of CBD-infused products for your skin? While there are CBD skin care products out there, many do not live up to the hype or don’t contain the same ingredients and concentrations their labels claim. Joy’s line is different — each product contains an intense dose of CBD (triple or even quadruple the amounts in competing products) combined with organic, botanically-derived supporting ingredients to improve the look, feel, and general health of your skin.

While it’s true that the line is a little pricey, our bougie side enjoys the indulgence — and the products don’t play. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD really shine when applied to the face, reducing redness, hyperpigmentation, and puffiness while improving skin texture and condition. We especially like the Day and Night Creams, and the CBD Sheet Mask is the perfect skin pick-me-up before a big event. If you’re into high-end skin care, slide the Tatcha and La Mer to the side for a week and give Joy Organics a try. 

Based in Colorado, Joy uses organic, non-GMO hemp and a food-grade ethanol extraction process (one of the only companies in the world to use food-grade ethanol) to produce their broad spectrum extracts. That extract is then pressed to remove undesirable plant solids like waxes or resins, then subjected to a nanoemulsion process that substantially improves the bioavailability of the finished product. Then, the resulting extract is used to formulate their oral, vapor, and topical products. In the case of their vape oils (which are some of the best we’ve tried to date), a proprietary blend of terpenes is added to enhance the flavor of the CBD oil within. 

Joy Organics’ founder, Joy Smith, created the company in response to the lack of regulation that dominates the CBD industry. Joy holds her company to exceedingly high standards of quality, purity, and potency, using organically derived, all-natural ingredients in support of the therapeutic doses of organic CBD in each product. We’ve had exemplary results with Joy’s products and, while they’re on the higher end of the CBD pricing scale, they’re well worth every cent.

Canna Comforts

best cbd companies of 2019

Where most CBD companies focus their efforts on extracting CBD from hemp to make their products, Canna Comforts seeks to give it to their customers straight from the source as hemp flower that looks, smells, tastes, and smokes just like the top-shelf, high-THC strains that inspired them. Organically grown in Colorado using sustainable agricultural practices, each of the strains offered by Canna Comforts are surprising in the best way — we’ll admit, we were skeptical going in, but our opinion changed in a hurry.

Jamie Evans founded Canna Comforts in Colorado after using high doses of cannabinoids to defeat a cancer that doctors had told him would require him to be on chemotherapy for the rest of his life. Rather than resign himself to life in and out of a hospital, Jamie went to Colorado and teamed up with medical and cannabis experts to treat his cancer with cannabis, monitoring his condition and the cannabinoid profiles of the treatments they were using. 

The intensive treatment process got Jamie interested in the therapeutic benefits of not just CBD, but CBN, CBG, and CBC, as well as the terpenes and flavonoids that make up the complete profile of the hemp flower. As he healed, he began to create his own strains of hemp flower, focused on a broad-spectrum terpene profile and an unparalleled smoking experience. 

Each of Canna Comforts’ strains (Wife is a favorite of ours for general purposes, with Special Sauce for pain and Elektra for anxiety) delivers an enjoyable user experience and a powerful dose of therapeutic cannabinoids. While they also make an excellent range of extract-based products (check out the bath bombs or the grapefruit salt scrub for an indulgent and restorative soak, or have a gummy to soothe pain), their flower is exceptional and one of our favorite ways to quickly and effectively alleviate pain without the intoxicating effects of THC.

Canna Comforts tests each harvest of their flower, as well as the finished products they make with it, and holds their products to high standards of quality. The company is also committed to sustainable business and cultivation practices, operating in a way that is ecologically conscious. 

A bowl of hemp flower from Canna Comforts guarantees a flavorful, pleasurable, medicinal experience packed with beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. The diverse array of cannabinoid profiles provides the opportunity to match your strain with your needs and symptoms, creating more variety and the chance to customize your CBD experience. Canna Comforts’ products are organic, sustainable, potent, full-spectrum, effective, and affordable — the total package.

CBDistillery

CBDistillery CBD Vape Pen Grand Daddy Purp Product Review

CBDistillery was founded by a group of Colorado natives (are you noticing a pattern here?) to provide affordable, high-quality CBD to patients everywhere. Focused on providing safe, organic, potent, plant-based medicine at a price that makes it possible for everyone to safely and effectively treat symptoms associated with a wide variety of conditions, CBDistillery carries both full-spectrum and isolate-based products in a wide variety of formulations — there is, perhaps literally, something for everyone.

CBDistillery’s process begins with organic, sustainably farmed, US-grown, non-GMO hemp, which is tested for cannabinoid content and any contaminants prior to extraction. After extraction (using an organic ethanol process for isolate-based products and supercritical CO2 extraction for full-spectrum products), the resulting concentrate is used to formulate CBDistillery’s wide array of oral and topical products.

CBDistillery is interesting in that it has so many different products available. There are the usual suspects like CBD softgels and tinctures, along with topical pain creams and PG-free vape pens (disposables here). However, their line also includes Terpsolates, a blend of 99% pure CBD isolate and beneficial terpenes, both wax and slab CBD dabs, and even a CBD suppository (which we giggled at to begin with, but could actually be a hugely beneficial way to alleviate severe symptoms very quickly in some consumers). As an added bonus, CBDistillery has a discount program for veterans and active duty military personnel (find details on the program here).

For those seeking potent, pure, organic, botanically-derived medicine, CBDistillery is an excellent source of therapeutic products at a reasonable price. Their attention to detail and customer-focused product line creates many opportunities for customizability and allows you to choose the perfect product for your needs and symptoms. The CBDistillery team is committed to helping their customers change their lives for the better with CBD they can trust.

Takeaway

With so many different brands and products vying for your dollar, choosing the best CBD brands can be difficult. We at Key to Cannabis seek to help narrow the field, making choosing the best CBD company easier for our readers. Whether you’re in need of CBD tinctures, softgels, topicals, or organic hemp flower, our top CBD companies have everything you need to take charge of your health and wellness today.

 

Best CBD Gummies of 2019

We are firm believers that, while CBD possesses well-documented therapeutic properties, not all CBD products are created equal. So, just how should consumers discern what is of high quality and what is potentially useless — or even actively harmful? What are the best CBD gummies of 2019, and what are just, well, the rest?

With very little federal regulation for CBD companies, we have made it our mission to make brand accountability a priority by independently testing all types of products from a consumer’s perspective. We have a strict vetting process that brands are required to pass before we recommend them to consumers to ensure their CBD is not only safe, but of top notch quality:

  1. Companies must use an organic starting material.
  2. They must implement safe and effective extraction methods.
  3. Carrier oils must also be safe and effective.
  4. Companies must batch test their products for potency and safety.

Using the above criteria, as well as testing every product ourselves, we are able to curate a list of what we believe are the best CBD gummies of 2019.

What is a CBD Gummy?

best cbd gummies of 2019

Like other ingestible forms of CBD, gummies are an easy way to get your daily measured dose of CBD that lasts for several hours – perfect for managing pain and acute flare ups, as well as for regulating mood. However, because effects come as the body metabolizes the CBD, it will take about an hour or two to start feeling the full benefits of relief.

Moreover, CBD gummies are a delicious and fun way to ingest CBD. Gummies come in all different shapes, sizes, doses, and flavors, so odds are there’s a CBD gummy out there to fit your needs. We suggest taking one to two gummies every morning as a daily supplement to encourage overall health and well-being.

Our Favorite CBD Gummies:

Canna Comforts Full Spectrum CBD Gummies

best cbd gummies of 2019

Why We Love It:

We love Canna Comforts as a company for their commitment to responsible, sustainable policies throughout their business model. The strains they grow are organic and non-GMO, and loaded with medicinal benefits and cannabinoids.

As for the Full Spectrum CBD Gummies, the onset of effects is a smooth transition, as gummies are a relatively small dose of 10mg of CBD. If you’re looking for stronger effects, it’s perfectly safe to take two gummies together – you’ll notice more uplifting effects that last a few hours longer.

Unlike many CBD products, these gummies are full spectrum, meaning they include a wider range of cannabinoids present in the hemp plants rather than a pure CBD isolate. Cannabinoids offer different medicinal effects, meaning that full spectrum products can provide greater relief than just CBD, depending on the ailments you’re trying to treat. This varied cannabinoid profile, combined with their delicious taste and conscious creation, make these some of the best CBD gummies of 2019.

Best Used For:

Keep in mind that these Full Spectrum CBD Gummies will take about 90 minutes to take effect. They can be useful for insomnia or easing pains that prevent sleep, but make sure to take them far enough in advance that effects are felt at the desired time. While these are great for all-day relief, Full Spectrum CBD Gummies are not recommended for patients who need immediate relief.

Because it doesn’t offer targeted relief like topical applications of CBD, these gummies are felt in about 60 minutes and can last for about eight hours. If you take one in the morning and feel the effects wear off come afternoon time, feel free to take another gummy to keep you going.mmies are great for managing multiple conditions thanks to CBD’s anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and relaxing effects that last half the day or more.

Nature’s Script Hemp Extract CBD Gummies

best cbd gummies of 2019

Why We Love It:

Nature’s Script’s products easily pass our vetting process, thanks to their quality and effectiveness. The company’s products are made of pure CBD isolate and contain no THC, making them legal in all states. They also use organic hemp grown sustainably and responsibly by experienced hemp farmers.

When it comes to the Hemp Extract CBD Gummies, they’re not only delicious, but also have noticeable effects even after ingesting just 15mg. Nature’s Script also adds white and willow bark and turmeric, which are known for their natural pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.

Best Used For:

These gummies are particularly useful for anxiety, depression, and stress, offering an overall sense of well-being and calm. Besides mental wellness, they also helped to ease chronic pain and inflammation associated with conditions such as arthritis, muscle tension, and menstrual cramps.

Pure Relief Cannabidiol Night-Time Gummy Bears

best cbd gummies of 2019

Why We Love It:

Pure Relief’s entire line of products also come with the full-spectrum benefits of a complete cannabinoid profile. Everything they sell is legal, and their potent CBD offers lasting relief from a variety of ailments and symptoms.

Their CBD Night-Time Gummy Bears are great for providing an overall sense of relaxation, while helping to easy aches and pains to aide you in drifting off to sleep. They’re loaded with 30mg of CBD per gummy – a strong dose that will offer intense relief.

Best Used For:

CBD Night-Time Gummy Bears contain melatonin – a hormone naturally produced in the body that helps to regulate the sleep cycle. In this way, they are definitely best used to help you get a good night’s sleep. Effects will take one to two hours to kick in and last for over four hours. If you plan on incorporating these into your daily bedtime routine, be sure to take them as you would a regular sleeping pill, about an hour before bedtime.

 

Best CBD Capsules of 2019

As a company, we believe that while CBD has demonstrable health benefits for many, not all CBD products carry equal therapeutic potential. Through the use of different extraction methods, varying soil conditions, and certain corporate values, CBD comes in all sorts of qualities. How do you discern the best from the rest? Here, we examine the best CBD capsules available on the market.

Because there’s very little federal regulation for CBD companies, we have made it our mission to make brand accountability a priority for this industry. We independently test all types of products from a consumer’s perspective, using a strict vetting process that brands are required to pass before we recommend them to consumers. By following these guidelines, we ensure that CBD is not only safe, but of top notch quality:

  1. Companies must use an organic starting material.
  2. They must implement safe and effective extraction methods.
  3. Carrier oils must also be safe and effective.
  4. Companies must batch test their products for potency and safety.

Using the above criteria, as well as testing every product individually, we have created a list of the best CBD capsules of 2019. We’ll talk about what makes them special, where to find them, and how they can help you achieve your wellness goals. 

What is a CBD Capsule?

best cbd capsules 2019

CBD capsules (or gelcaps) typically use an organic medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) coconut oil carrier along with a CBD extract. The MCT oil allows cannabinoids to more easily and quickly interact with the body. Like a tincture, CBD capsules are ingested orally – however, gel caps can be considered simpler to take, similar to taking a multivitamin every day.

The effects of CBD capsules last for several hours and can be felt throughout the day. However, it should be noted that relief is not usually felt for at least an hour. While relief is long-lasting, it is certainly not immediate.

Our Favorite CBD Capsules

NutraCanna CBD Daytime Tablets

best cbd capsules 2019

Why We Love It:

As a company, we appreciate NutraCanna for their commitment to working with small, sustainable family farms and their focus on minimizing their environmental impact. They use locally sourced hemp from organic, non-GMO farms that is held to rigorous testing standards.

When it comes to their CBD Daytime Tablets, we think they’re particularly useful first thing in the morning. Each tablet comes with 10mg of CBD and should be thought of similar to a cup of joe – while they won’t make you jittery the way caffeine will, some of us require more coffee than others to begin feeling the effects. Because it is virtually impossible to overdose from CBD, feel free to experiment with the number of tablets that provide you with desired effects.

Unlike traditional gel caps, these CBD Daytime Tablets are fast dissolving, and effects can be felt in about 15 minutes. We started to feel an enhanced sense of focus as well as more energetic. When taking just one tablet, CBD was effective for about five hours – giving you plenty of time to ease your way into the afternoon. And if you find you still need a little boost come lunch time, it’s perfectly safe to take another dose and still make it to bed on time.

Best Used For:

As implied by the name, the CBD Daytime Tablets are best taken as a morning supplement. Keep in mind that they kick in faster than most CBD capsules, making them a scent-free, non-inhaled alternative to products such as CBD flower or vape carts.

Tablets are made using CBD isolate rather than a full-spectrum product, meaning they are completely THC-free and will not show up on a drug test.

Biofield CBD Gel Capsule

best cbd capsules of 2019

Why We Love It:

Biofield uses only organic, US-grown, non-GMO hemp to extract a CBD isolate used for all products. Everything they sell is certified THC-free, proven through batch testing by an independent laboratory.

Compared to the NutraCanna CBD Daytime Tablets, these CBD Gel Capsules are much stronger at 25mg of CBD in each dose. The effects of CBD can be felt within an hour or two and last for up to six hours.

Best Used For:

Due to their strength, these CBD Gel Capsules are extremely helpful when it comes to stress and anxiety, offering patients an overall improvement of mood. Moreover, they can help with full-body pain relief when a topical CBD application would be ineffective.

As a gel capsule, it’s also an efficient way to give a precise dose of CBD – which is particularly useful with conditions such as autism, epilepsy, and neurological and inflammatory diseases that require constant monitoring.

Joy Organics CBD Soft Gel

best cbd capsules 2019

Why We Love It:

As a brand, we proudly support Joy Organics  for their organic, sustainable CBD growing techniques. Their domestic, locally-grown hemp is extracted using an organic, food-grade ethanol wash for safety, purity, and potency before being lovingly formulated into therapeutic products like these.

These CBD Soft Gel capsules are available in both 15mg and 25mg strengths. Effects can be felt after about 45 minutes and last a bit longer than the other two CBD capsules we’ve mentioned – up to eight hours, depending on your metabolism.

Best Used For:

These CBD Soft Gels are great for mood enhancement and relaxation – while you may feel tension release from your body, they are not quite strong enough to make you feel sleepy or sedated.

These Soft Gels are also good for treating chronic, constant conditions, such as anxiety, depression, inflammation, PTSD, and pain. Because effects last so long, we suggest taking one in the morning and redosing only if necessary throughout the day.

 

Best CBD Pain Salves of 2019

We firmly believe in the therapeutic potential of CBD, but we also understand that not all CBD products are as effective as they claim. So, how do we discern the best from, well, the rest? How do you separate the best CBD pain salves from the ones that aren’t worth your time or money? 

With very little federal regulation for CBD companies, we at Key to Cannabis have made it our mission to make brand accountability a priority by independently testing all types of products from a consumer’s perspective. We have a strict vetting process that brands are required to pass before we recommend them to consumers to ensure their CBD is not only safe, but of top notch quality:

  1. Companies must use an organic starting material.
  2. They must implement safe and effective extraction methods.
  3. Carrier oils must also be safe and effective.
  4. Companies must batch test their products for potency and safety.

Using the above criteria, as well as hand-testing every product individually, we’ve put together a list of what we feel are the best CBD pain salves of of 2019. We’ll tell you what we like about them, where to find them, and who they’ll benefit most.

What is a Pain Salve?

best cbd pain salves of 2019

Salves are CBD infused creams or gels that get applied directly to the skin, or “topically.” They offer relief to specific areas of the body that may be suffering from pain and inflammation, and even chronic conditions such as eczema.

Patients opt for pain salves when treating muscle and joint pains in specific, localized areas of the body. Relief from CBD in this form can be felt in 10 to 15 minutes – significantly faster than the 45 to 60 minutes it can take for ingested CBD in the form of an edible or gel capsule to take effect. Relief from pain salves can last for hours, and because there is no chance of overdosing on CBD, they can be re-applied throughout the day as necessary.

We suggest pain salves for patients suffering from general aches and pains, as well as those suffering from more serious chronic conditions such as arthritis, cancer, or autoimmune disease.

Our Favorite Pain Salves

Joy Organics CBD Salve

best cbd pain salve of 2019

Why We Love It:

As a brand, we proudly support Joy Organics for their organic, sustainable CBD growing techniques. They use Colorado-grown organic hemp for each product and easily passed our strict vetting process.

The effects of their CBD salve are strong and noticeable. Effects can be felt in as little as five minutes, with full effects delivered after about 20 minutes. We suggest applying a good amount of the salve on the affected area – the more you apply, the longer the effects will last.

Unlike some CBD Pain Salves, this one does not produce an icy/hot sensation – making it less noticeable but just as effective. We also appreciate that this salve uses organically grown hemp as a starting material. Further, all ingredients are plant derived, meaning there are no chemicals involved in the making of this product.

Best Used For:

We like to use the CBD salve rub on strained and tired muscles. Whether returning from a tough workout at the gym or simply feeling the effects of aging, this product offers quick, lasting relief to targeted areas on almost any part of the body.

While salves that include THC as well as CBD have been found to be more effective, we still stand behind the CBD salve from Joy Organics and appreciate the fact that it is a CBD-only product.

Biofield CBD Rapid Cooling Pain Cream

best cbd pain salves of 2019

Why We Love It:

Biofield is committed to using organic, US-grown, non-GMO hemp and ensures that the CBD isolate it uses is at least 99% pure. Their products are completely THC free, and the CBD they use is legal in all 50 states because it’s sourced through a federally protected hemp program that requires third-party testing.

As for their Rapid Cooling Pain Cream, we love this product because it uses menthol, which offers additional relief in the form of a cooling, analgesic effect. It also uses aloe, making it effective not only as a strong pain reliever, but also useful for flaky, dry skin. Effects are felt almost immediately and last throughout the day, as CBD is absorbed into the skin and goes to work on specific affected areas.

Best Used For:

Not only is the Rapid Cooling Pain Cream useful as a strong pain reliever, but it also helps with rashes, dryness, and other skin conditions that cause inflammation. It’s full of hydrating ingredients, making it useful for conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and even bouts of poison ivy.

We suggest using this product for bodily aches and pains where and when it’s needed. Due to the use of menthol, it is particularly effective in helping to reduce joint pain and sore muscles.

cbdMD CBD Recover Inflammation Cream

best cbd pain salves of 2019

Why We Love It:

cbdMD also uses hemp that’s organically grown in the United States. When plants are harvested and transported for testing, cbdMD carefully tracks each batch in order to ensure every product it produces meets their strict quality standards. Moreover, cbdMD encourages responsible cultivation that produces the lowest carbon footprint possible, making them sustainable as well.

As for the CBD Recover Inflammation Cream, we love this product for how gentle it is on damaged skin. It contains aloe vera and coconut oil, which help to soothe the skin and lock in moisture for severely dry and irritated skin. Relief can be felt within just a few minutes, leaving targeted areas feeling refreshed and pain relieved for up to six hours.

Best Used For:

Because it doesn’t give off a cooling sensation offered by products with menthol, like the Biofield Rapid Cooling Pain Cream, it is particularly useful for sensitive ailments like burns, healing scrapes, and irritated skin rashes caused by different medical conditions.

No product should be applied to open wounds, but we find this product particularly useful for dulling itchy, inflamed skin around healing cuts and sores. The CBD Recover Inflammation Cream also helps to reduce redness and swelling, and best effects are reached when applied regularly.

 

Best CBD Tinctures of 2019

At Key to Cannabis, we believe in the therapeutic power of CBD. At the same time, we also recognize that the explosive growth of CBD in health and wellness spheres has encouraged all kinds of companies to enter the market — including some that are less than reputable. How are you supposed to separate the best from, well, the rest? Through the use of different extraction methods, varying soil conditions, and certain corporate values, CBD comes in all sorts of qualities. How, then, can you be sure you’re using the best CBD tinctures, salves, gummies, and other products?.

Due to the lack of comprehensive federal regulation for CBD companies, we have made it our mission to make brand accountability a priority for this industry. We independently test all types of products from a consumer’s perspective, using a strict vetting process that brands are required to pass before we recommend them to consumers. By following these guidelines, we ensure that CBD is not only safe, but of top notch quality:

  1. Companies must use an organic starting material.
  2. They must implement safe and effective extraction methods.
  3. Carrier oils must also be safe and effective.
  4. Companies must batch test their products for potency and safety.

Using the above criteria, as well as testing every product ourselves, we have created a list of the best CBD tinctures of 2019 We’ll discuss what makes them stand out, why we support the product, and who might benefit the most from it.

What is a CBD Tincture?

best cbd tinctures of 2019

A CBD tincture is a liquid CBD concentrate that is taken orally with an under-the-tongue application. While some tinctures use an alcohol base, we recommend products that use a coconut or MCT oil base that allows for easy and quick absorption of CBD into the body.

Tinctures are applied under the tongue because it’s the quickest way for CBD to absorb into the bloodstream. Hold the liquid under the tongue for a few seconds before swallowing. While it starts getting to work within seconds, effects of CBD usually take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes to fully kick in – and they can last anywhere from four to eight hours.

Our Favorite CBD Tinctures:

Canna Comforts CBD Iso Oil 1000mg

best cbd tinctures of 2019

Why We Love It:

We love Canna Comforts as a company for their commitment to responsible, sustainable policies throughout their business model. The strains they grow are organic and non-GMO, and loaded with medicinal benefits and cannabinoids.

When it comes to the CBD Iso Oil, we love this product for its strong, long-lasting effects. It’s suggested that you start with a half dropper-sized dose to start, or 20mg. Relief is strong for over an hour, with lingering effects for several hours to follow. It can easily be taken along with your morning orange juice or coffee to help you get your day started.

While there are other CBD isolate products on the market, we like the Iso Oil for its easy and mess-free application compared to powdered forms.

Best Used For:

As a 1,000mg tincture, this CBD Iso Oil is stronger than many products on the market, so its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects are very noticeable and hard-working. It’s great for many chronic conditions thanks to its strength, and patients can distribute accurate dosages with the dropper.

Because it uses a CBD isolate as well as added terpenes for more medicinal benefits, the product is completely THC-free and won’t show up on a drug test.

CBDistillery CBDrop Full Spectrum CBD Oil

best cbd tinctures of 2019

Why We Love It:

As a company, we recommend CBDistillery for their high-quality, affordable, hemp-derived CBD products. The hemp they use is grown organically outdoors according to sustainable agricultural practices. All plants are free from pesticides and herbicides and are non-GMO.

The CBDrop Full Spectrum Oil utilizes the whole-plant hemp extract, meaning it offers slightly different and arguably stronger effects than a CBD isolate product. However, CBDrops contain no more than 0.3% THC, so don’t expect any psychoactive effects. It’s also flavorless, making it easy to add to drinks or smoothies for a more tasty application.

Best Used For:

Effects are felt within 30 to 90 minutes and last around 6 hours. Effects are both calming and uplifting, offering an overall sense of mental wellness and relaxation.

Moreover, the Full Spectrum Oil helps to relieve chronic pain and soothe inflammation that topical creams cannot help with. Effects are felt all over and for several hours, and patients can re-dose throughout the day as necessary. CBD tinctures are easy to use, making this a viable option to treat chronic illnesses such as neurological disorders as well as cancer-related pain and sickness.

Joy Organics CBD Tincture 500 mg

Why We Love It:

We appreciate Joy Organics for their commitment to the diligent testing of both extracts and finished products. Everything they sell is organic, non-GMO, and made from American-grown hemp.

This 500mg CBD Tincture offers a relatively lower dose compared with other products (about 17 mg per dropper dose), but it’s perfect for some patients who only need subtle relief to keep them going throughout the day. 

Best Used For:

Effects can be expected slightly sooner than some tinctures of higher dosages, with relief felt in about 30 to 45 minutes and lasting for around eight hours.

While it’s not a turbo-strong tincture, its effects are definitely noticeable. It’s great for mild pain and inflammation, or for helping to relieve symptoms of anxiety. The CBD Tincture can be taken first thing in the morning to help get you through the day, or before bed to help ease you into a peaceful sleep.

 

 

How to Choose the Best CBD Company

CBD is a huge topic of discussion among the health-conscious community; as many Americans look for alternatives to opioids, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and other pharmaceuticals, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid has garnered attention for its efficacy and safety. Finding the best CBD company, however, can be daunting.

While there are still many questions to be answered about the specific mechanisms by which CBD affects the body’s systems, current research indicates that CBD possesses anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic, antipyretic, antidepressant, and neuroprotective properties that may be used to treat a wide variety of symptoms (for more on the effects of CBD on the body, check out our in-depth article on the molecule’s uses and applications). 

Because of its potentially broad application, many people are eager to cash in on their corner of the CBD market. If you’ve searched for CBD online, you’ve likely noticed an overwhelming abundance of retailers, each claiming that their product is going to cure you whatever is ailing you. However, many of those slick marketing campaigns are not to be believed — inside that spiffy packaging are often inferior products, and even ingredients that could be harmful to consumers.

Since CBD is treated more like a supplement than a medication (and therefore not regulated by the FDA for purity and potency), it’s not advisable to trust what you see on the label or a company’s website. But if you can’t believe what you see or hear at face value, how can you be certain that you’re receiving a product that is safe, effective, and lives up to its label?  

Here, we’ll lay out our top criteria for choosing a CBD supplier. We’ll give you insight into what specific words and phrases to look for, how to use independent lab results to learn more about the product, and potentially problematic practices and ingredients to watch out for. We’ll also lay out the “why” for each of our criteria, so that you are able to make an informed decision based on what is most important to you.

First: Use Only Domestic, Organically Grown Starting Material 

how to choose the best cbd company

We list this criterion first because it is important for several different reasons: first, the use of only organic hemp material minimizes your risk of exposure to potentially harmful pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals in the finished product. By choosing to purchase organically-grown CBD over products of questionable origin, you are protecting yourself from trace compounds that could be harmful to you or your family and selecting a safer product. 

Secondly, organically grown plants are better for the environment and more sustainable than industrial farming. This is because these plants are grown without pesticides and herbicides, which often necessitates more natural forms of pest and weed control that are gentler on local ecosystems (or even work to actively support them). Organic farming helps to incentivize the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, helping companies reduce their impact on the environment and the communities they serve. 

We always appreciate when a company demonstrates their commitment to sustainable agriculture and energy sources, but simply choosing to grow hemp organically (or to only purchase hemp from certified organic farmers) is an excellent way to reduce a company’s environmental impact — and therefore the carbon footprint associated with consumption of their products. 

While it’s true that 71% of carbon emissions are produced by just 100 companies in the world  and no level of responsible personal consumption is enough on its own to offset that impact, choosing organically derived products (CBD included) helps keep you and your loved ones safer while supporting companies that are working to address sustainability concerns. 

We specify that the hemp should come from a US grower because the standards for organic produce in China and the EU (the two most commonly listed sources for CBD products) are not as rigorous as those of the United States. Hemp from these places may be contaminated with substances disallowed under US regulations, potentially raising your risk of an adverse reaction. We prefer not to gamble with our health and opt for domestically sourced CBD every time.

Second: Employ Safe & Effective Extraction Methods

how to choose the best cbd company

This is a big one, though it might take a little bit of research to find (and you should absolutely be wary of a manufacturer who is cagey about answering directly): what method does the company use to extract the CBD from its hemp material? While it might seem a bit nitpicky on the surface — surely extracted CBD is the same, right? — it’s actually a very important question to answer before placing your order.

What you’ll likely see frequently is the phrase “hydrocarbon extraction,” and it should be a red flag. We’ll explain: if you’re a cannabis consumer, you might be familiar with BHO, or butane hash oil. These THC concentrates (which include wax, budder, shatter, honey, and other dabbable substances) use butane — or another hydrocarbon like propane — to separate the THC from the organic solids and plant waxes, resulting in a thick, gooey concentrate. 

While these icky sticky substances produce intense highs, they’re nearly always contaminated with residual hydrocarbons. In layman’s terms, this means that when you use one of these products, you’re also consuming the leftover butane (or propane, methane… y’know, the type of compounds used as lighter or camp stove fuel) in every hit. While the exposure to trace hydrocarbons may not cause adverse effects 100% of the time, we’re not convinced that it’s fully safe, either — and, consequently, we think it’s best to skip these products.

So, if hydrocarbons are out, what is the best, safest way to extract CBD from hemp? There are two different methods we consider acceptable for CBD products: organic ethanol wash extraction and supercritical (or subcritical) CO2 extraction. An organic ethanol wash strips the organic material of its CBD and dissolves it into the ethanol. Next, the ethanol is evaporated away completely (unlike hydrocarbons, which remain trapped within the extract), leaving behind only CBD and other cannabinoids, which may then be processed further and purified into different types of extract.

CO2 extractions work similarly, though the results are subtly different. Both supercritical and subcritical extractions are executed using CO2 (carbon dioxide) that has been heated and pressurized so that, in simplified terms, it possesses the properties of both a liquid and a gas at the same time. This allows it to enter porous materials, extracting CBD and the hemp plant’s trichomes and terpenes. The CO2 then evaporates completely, leaving only the extract behind. 

The two methods are generally comparable, though subcritical CO2 does a better job at leaving the terpenes and trichomes of the hemp material intact. Ultimately, choosing among ethanol and CO2 extraction is mostly a matter of preference; each of these methods will produce an extract that is potent and free of any residual solvent. So long as you avoid products extracted using potentially harmful hydrocarbons, you’re on the right track.

Third: Products Formulated with Safe, Effective Carrier Oils

how to choose the best cbd company

This one requires a little basic chemistry to explain, so bear with us — we’ll keep it brief. Molecules, just like the earth or a magnet, have poles, or areas with a positive or negative electrical charge. The polarity of a molecule (the difference between the strength of its charges) determines what it can and cannot dissolve in, and solubility has a lot to do with how nutrients are absorbed by the body — CBD included. 

Polar liquids can dissolve polar molecules (like salt in water, for instance), but nonpolar molecules will not dissolve in a polar solvent (hence the separation between the nonpolar oil and polar vinegar of a salad dressing). Since your body is mostly water, a polar liquid, it’s hard for it to absorb CBD, a nonpolar molecule, effectively. 

So, how do CBD manufacturers resolve this dilemma? Easily: with carrier oils. Carrier oils (often MCT or fractionated coconut oil, hemp seed oil, or olive oil) are able to bond to CBD, and their chemical structure creates a kind of fatty “handle” that your body can grab onto and metabolize, bringing the CBD along with it. Carrier oils are included to ensure that you are able to absorb as much of the CBD in the product as possible (often discussed as having high bioavailability).

At a cursory glance, it might seem like most any oil would work. After all, all oils are nonpolar and will get the job done, right? While that’s technically true, there are definitely right and wrong oils to use. MCT oil is preferred (also sometimes labeled as fractionated coconut oil) because its medium-length molecules are easier for the body to metabolize (as opposed to longer, more difficult to process molecules from other fats). That said, hemp seed oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil are also relatively common carrier oils that are perfectly safe and effective, so don’t despair if you have a coconut allergy — there are plenty of other options.  

However, steer clear of products that do not list the carrier oil they use, or utilize PG (more on that in a moment) to dilute their products. Transparency is key when choosing a CBD supplier, and any manufacturer who won’t be candid about the ingredients they use isn’t worth your money.

We should note that some CBD products are specifically formulated to be water-soluble. While these products contain CBD that has been made easier for your body to absorb compared to oil-based products, they tend to be a bit pricey compared to their old-fashioned counterparts. However, the tradeoff may be worthwhile for you, and that’s okay. If you choose water-soluble CBD products, you won’t need to worry about carrier oils the same way.

Fourth: Products Are Batch Tested for Quality, Purity, & Potency

how to choose the best cbd company

This final note is exceedingly important, as you can use it to verify the information you gathered earlier: all products should be batch tested for quality, purity, and potency. When we say “batch tested,” we mean that each product should be traceable to the batch it was produced in, and the lab testing results for that batch should be publicly available. An independent lab is one not affiliated with the company or any of its affiliates — in-house testing is wonderful, but nothing beats independent analysis.

While more thorough tests are obviously preferable, a good lab report will contain the product’s CBD, THC, and THCA content, as well as any contamination with heavy metals. If the product is listed as being THC-free, then the lab report should reflect that result. The lab should also list its credentials and certification status on the report for full accountability. Some reports may choose to list other cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, or CBC, but this is not necessarily a requirement unless you’re looking for a highly specialized cannabinoid profile.

A Specific Note About Vapor Products

how to choose the best cbd company

Vaping is growing ever more popular among the cannabis community, and CBD is no exception. There are literal tons of CBD vape products out there, with oodles and oodles of oils in every flavor under the sun (and a few we think they just made up). However, just like with their nicotine-infused cousins, there’s a problematic ingredient that’s very common in CBD vape oils: PG.

PG, the standard abbreviation for propylene or polyethylene glycol (both behave similarly under conditions of regular use, so we’ll treat them as one entity for simplicity’s sake), is often used as a thinning agent for vape oils and juices. Since it’s generally considered safe for use in food, beverages, and cosmetics, it’s been largely assumed that the same must be true for vaping.

Emerging research, however, shows that PG may not be as safe as we thought. At the high temperatures needed to vape, PG begins to degrade into known carcinogens like formaldehyde, arsenic, and benzene. These compounds are not only known to cause cancer in humans after prolonged exposure, they can also produce toxic effects at high doses. 

While the scientific community is still uncertain about the long-term effects of PG and vaping, we feel it’s best to play it safe. We prefer to use vaporizers that contain only CBD and a carrier oil, with perhaps a terpene blend or essential oil for flavor. That said, products containing vegetable glycerin, or VG, are not shown to be unsafe at this time and are also acceptable in CBD vapor products. 

Takeaway

Sifting through all the different CBD manufacturers out there can be daunting, but don’t sweat it — there are simple criteria you can use to separate the good from the bad and the downright ugly of the bunch. It may take a little research, but we promise that your efforts will be rewarded with potent, pure, effective CBD. Don’t gamble on a shady product for the sake of a bargain — your health is worth more than what’s essentially a coin toss. Vet your CBD supplier thoroughly; your body will thank you.