Organic vs. Natural CBD: What's the Difference?
You may have heard the term “Natural CBD Oil” and wondered whether or not it’s organic. The truth is the term “organic hemp” often doesn’t mean what consumers think it does, and the difference can lead to some confusion when choosing the best CBD products for your body’s needs. While it seems simple enough on the surface, the organic distinction is a term that is regulated in use by the United States Department of Agriculture, and like any government program, the application of the distinction can be much more complex in practice than in theory.
While most people who use CBD are familiar with the FDA taking a hand in the health and wellness products people choose to use for themselves, they may not be aware of the USDA’s role. While the 2018 Farm Bill gave the FDA power to regulate the sale and trade of CBD, standards relating to the actual growing of hemp crops fall to the USDA. This includes the hemp used for natural CBD oil, organic products, and standard hemp.
The USDA organic certification program is meant to set a standard for what meets the criteria of organic in the United States, certifies products that meet that standard (and pay the hefty application fees the USDA requires) and give consumers confidence that when they buy an organic product, it is truly organic. There are several levels of distinction a company can claim under USDA guidelines.
- Made With Organic Ingredients—Any product can be made with organic ingredients, but to claim that phrase as a distinction on labeling, a product has to be made with at least 70% of its ingredients having achieved at least organic status.
- Organic—For a product to claim organic status on its label, whether organic hemp, corn, or breakfast cereal, at least 95% of its ingredients have to meet organic standards with no synthetic chemicals, GMO ingredients, irradiation, or artificial additives. In addition, the USDA has to inspect the facilities where the products are grown, processed, and manufactured to ensure they meet guidelines. This distinction is often mistaken for the next category.
- USDA Organic Certified—This more stringent category starts with not just inspections, but certification of stakeholders throughout the product’s lifecycle. These certifications come with increased scrutiny, but the standard remains that 95% of a product’s ingredients must meet at least this standard before it can gain this distinction.
- 100% Certified Organic—The USDA’s highest distinction for organic foods requires that all ingredients meet or exceed the USDA Certified Organic Standards. This includes not just their own ingredients, but every ingredient purchased from other manufacturers or suppliers.
Why Organic Isn’t Always Natural
Reading the above, some people might think that natural CBD oil was organic, and it can be. Not all organic hemp, however, is naturally grown. Organic certification has several flaws that can mislead consumers into thinking they’re avoiding synthetic chemicals and substances altogether, and that is not always the case. That’s why we prefer naturally grown hemp, as it’s a more specific term.
To start with, while the organic standards say they do not allow synthetic chemicals, the reality is that they can’t use synthetic chemicals that aren’t on a list. The USDA maintains a list of approved synthetic and non-synthetic chemicals that may be used while still being certified as organic products. While they may be deemed safe by the USDA, they are most certainly not natural and have no place in natural CBD oil.
In addition, certain levels of chemicals that are not allowed on the list are allowable in organic products. While this is done to avoid penalizing producers with crops neighboring non-organic fields that have contaminated the groundwater or have sprayed chemicals that have been carried onto the organic crops by wind, the end result for the consumer is the same. They’re being exposed to chemicals they believe they’re safe from.
Finally, there’s no way to account for the potential exposure offered by the 5% of a product allowed to be non-organic in organic hemp. Even a 100% Organic product can be made up of ingredients certified to 95% organic, leaving you multiple routes of exposure. While choosing natural CBD oil may not alleviate every issue with the USDA’s organic standards, we believe it is more honest and offers you better protection from the chemicals you are trying to avoid.
Since “naturally grown” doesn’t have a certification standard from the USDA, it would help if we explain to you what we mean. Naturally grown crops avoid the use of chemical insecticides, herbicides, and pesticides. Instead, crops are managed via nutrition and biological means. As an example, to avoid some pests, another insect may be released to control the population, such as when a home gardener may release ladybugs to fight off an aphid infestation.
Once the hemp plants are ready for harvest, the leaves, flowers, and stems are shipped to a processing facility for extraction of the natural CBD oil. While some CBD oil is extracted using harsh chemicals that them must themselves be isolated and removed, state-of-the-art machines in medical-grade facilities can produce a high-quality oil with less risk of contamination. This oil is then formulated with premium ingredients into a variety of products, from tinctures and edibles to lotions and salves. Testing is done at every step of the process, from growing the crop, through harvest to the processing, formulating, and packaging, to ensure you’re getting a safe, healthy, natural CBD oil to promote better health and wellness in your body.
Give Your Body the Best
We’ve curated our CBD selection from suppliers who offer reliable products, great potency and have shown they put their customers’ needs first. If you have any questions, contact our CBD experts at (888) 519-2445. Order your natural CBD oil products online from CBD Choice today.