Updated on November 19, 2020

What's in your CBD oil?

Fact Checked
WHY CBD OIL MUST BE HIGH-QUALITY AND ULTRA-CLEAN More and more CBD product manufacturers pop up every day, but not all of them should be trusted to give you a product you plan to put in your body. You're paying for cannabinoids that should support restful sleep, mood balance, and your body's cellular health, but are you sure that's what's in your bottle? Third-party research has uncovered some unsettling discrepancies in a composition that you should be aware of before choosing a brand.

What are you paying for?

There's an important reason for the price difference between cheap and high-end CBD oils. You pay for the extraction and handling of pure, effective cannabinoids. If you're buying an excessively cheap product, you're typically only receiving a small amount of those compounds mixed in with whatever else the manufacturers decided to serve you, which is not always natural, healthy, or even safe (see below). If you spend money on a product, the product needs to work in the ways it claims to work. For hemp extract, that means there needs to be enough of the natural, active ingredients in the tincture to deliver the results you're looking for - and an absence of anything that could potentially harm you


If you're buying CBD oils and extracts, chances are you're not looking to get high, which means you're not looking for high levels of THC in your tinctures. For a while, people thought that THC provided the same effects as CBD, along with the psychoactive effect. Today, we understand enough to know that THC might provide temporary relief from certain symptoms and might support some health-related functions like sleep and appetite, but it can make certain conditions like anxiety worse in the long run because of the way it acts upon your endocannabinoid system. Hemp extract naturally contains a very small amount of THC, which is negligible because of the high level of CBD inhibits the THC from acting on your endocannabinoid system. Cheaper products that don't display third-party testing results for each batch might be taken from other types of cannabis besides hemp and might contain excessive amounts of THC, which will reduce the effects of your CBD and can cause you physiological (and legal) issues down the line. A pure, high-quality oil will tell you exactly what's in it because it has exactly what you want in it.


As far as we know, it's not very common for manufacturers to substitute other supplements for CBD in their extracts and oils, but it has happened. One brand was third-party tested, and it was discovered that CBD was actually a secondary ingredient to what was mostly melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep aid that probably helped users fall asleep faster when taken before bed, but it's also a fairly cheap and common supplement that customers wouldn't have paid those prices for had they known what they were buying.


As far as substitutions and additives go, melatonin is probably one of the best you can hope for. Other brands whose products were tested by interested third parties were found to have supplemented their CBD in other, more dangerous ways. The CBD industry is not yet regulated to the extent that it probably should be, so buying a cheap or low-quality product isn't just a risk for your wallet. It's a risk for your health and safety as well.

Cough Syrup

Hemp extract should be a product that you can use safely at any time during the day or night, but what if your hemp extract contained the drowsiness-inducing agent found in cough syrup? Would you want to take your cough syrup CBD oil and then drive a car, operate heavy machinery, care for children, or give a speech? That's exactly what happened to users of a popular brand that was putting dextromethorphan (DXM) in their CBD oil. The reason for this additive is not clear. The leaders of the company claimed it was an issue with quality control, but it's possible they were taking advantage of the effects DXM provides to make their product seem more effective than it was. DXM is not a compound found in cannabis plants. Dextromethorphan causes drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, decreased respiration, changes in mood, anxiety or excitement, shakiness, and sometimes severe nausea and vomiting. In small doses, like what was found in the CBD oil, it might make a person feel sleepy and generally slowed down. The issue is that DXM is a potent drug, and prolonged use can cause cognitive malfunctions and other serious physiological effects.

Synthetic Marijuana

Anyone who has experience with synthetic marijuana like Spice or K2 can tell you it's not anything like cannabis and is probably extremely harmful to your health. In 2016, there were about 2,700 calls to poison control regarding synthetic marijuana. In 2011, almost 30,000 emergency room visits were related to synthetic marijuana. It's an addictive and potentially lethal substance manufactured in Asia where there is no regulation, and one variety has been found in multiple samples of a popular CBD oil. The compound found in the CBD oil was 5-Flouro MDMB-PINACA (5F-ADB). Compounds used for synthetic weed are continuously changing to get around the legislation that bans each one shortly after it's released. In the same vein as DXM, 5F-ADB was likely added to the CBD oil in order to feign a stronger effect. Laboratory testing has shown that 5F-ADB causes confusion, psychosis, headache, mydriasis (abnormally dilated pupils), agitation, and vomiting, and the long-term effects can be devastating.


Compared to cough syrup and synthetic psychoactive drugs, flavoring might sound pretty tame. Many natural and artificial flavors are even FDA-approved, though some are known to contain carcinogens like BHA and are designed to be addictive, which might be something you want to avoid in your hemp extract. Some additives are chemically identical to Silly Putty or come from questionable sources like the Kerria Iacca (an insect in Thailand) or the anal secretions of beavers. Some cause symptoms similar to ADHD. The primary concern is simply that it's not what you want to put in your body when you've paid for a "pure" CBD product.

Nesas Hemp

The best thing to do for yourself before you buy a CBD product or hemp extract is to check for third-party testing information. This will let you know exactly what's in the product and whether it's likely to be effective for your applications. To get the biggest bang for your buck, look for a full-spectrum product that's free of additives and sneaky substitutes. The THC level should be less than .3%. In an industry with spotty regulation, we believe in total transparency. Nesas hemp provides extremely thorough and accurate third-party lab results with a full composition breakdown for every batch number, so you can see how much THC, CBD, CBDa, and other natural cannabinoids are in your bottle and that there's nothing else hiding in there.

Want to Learn More?

  1. Is Your CBD Oil Damaging Your Body?
  2. How CBD Helps with Holiday Stress
  3. Hemp Extract for Athletes
The content on Nesa's Hemp blog is for educational purposes only. We meticulously research and cite our sources, but advise consulting a professional before making decisions based on our information. We derive our content from reputable studies and publications, but individual circumstances may vary. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of our content to every situation. Nesa's Hemp blog and its authors are not liable for any loss or inconvenience resulting from reliance on our information. By using our blog, you waive any claims against us regarding the accuracy or completeness of our content.

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