What it takes to get each COR badge
We evaluate every company the way any consumer would: through the information they provide on their websites. We call this “front line QC” (QC = Quality Control) and it’s how we aim to empower consumers with objective scrutiny and unbiased evaluation – using the information companies themselves provide.
Not All CBD Oil Companies are Created Equal
This is why we’ve created a simple system of badges:
Each badge earned is worth one star or point. The best score possible is 5.
Broad claims like ‘the most potent,’ ‘from the best source,’ or ‘the highest quality,’ are simply not sufficient to put consumers’ minds at ease.
Although only using industrial hemp and providing recent certificates of analysis are together ample to qualify for this particular badge, we give special shoutouts to those that go above and beyond by implementing the practices mentioned below.
Priority 1: 100% organic hemp
To be awarded the Quality badge, we need to know whether organic (or otherwise sustainable) farming practices are in use with the hemp crops selected for product creation. Organic certification is a virtually foolproof way to ensure that CBD products are truly free of residual toxins common to agriculture: pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, GMOs, and synthetic fertilizers/soil additives.
- Up-to-date certificates of analysis that show the source material is free of the contaminant categories listed above and/or up-to-date organic certification documents.
Priority 2: Conscious agriculture
We also look for the region in which the plants originate; certain regions like Northern California, Colorado, and Scandinavia tend to have higher quality control and more experienced growers. We are thrilled when we learn of a company using high-CBD hemp cultivars – and even more so when they speak of biodynamics.
- Proof of origin through various means of national and international certification
A primary concern we have at COR is ensuring we do our best to promote the health and well-being of all those with which we co-inhabit the Earth. This passion for optimal health is why the criteria for the Safety badge are perhaps the most rigorous of the lot.
Priority: Detailed and recent certificates of analysis
We look for a company to publish full certificates of analysis (CoAs) for each product/batch that is currently for sale. Simply having a CoA from a batch of source material tested a year ago doesn’t prove anything – except that it’s time to renew your CoAs! Simply claiming to manufacture in a ‘GMP-certified facility’ or claims of ‘high quality’ without evidence will never be sufficient for us.
While this might sound excessive, there is a good reason for such strict policies: the most common contaminants found in cannabis/hemp all have the potential to cause serious bodily harm. This unfortunate reality is why we do our best to inform consumers about which brands can be enjoyed worry-free. Safety first!
- Full and recent certificates of analysis for source materials as well as for specific batches.
- CoAs must test negative for: heavy metals, residual solvents, microbial and fungal contaminations, and excessive THC (generally >0.3%).
The Mission badge is a tricky one, as businesses don’t often publish a compelling, outright mission statement. However, most CBD companies qualify for this badge, so it is especially troubling when not a single positive intention appears on a company’s website.
Priority: Having a clear mission and/or vision
Although it makes our job easier when companies publish a clear statement of intent, much of the time the motives behind the founding of a company are incredibly difficult to decipher.
Certain phrases like ‘creating the highest quality cannabis medicine possible’ or ‘setting the bar for quality and safety in the CBD industry’ are fine jumping off points for the Mission badge – but ideally we like to see something with a bit more gusto.
- A compelling mission and/or vision statement, demonstrating goodwill towards consumers (as opposed to profit or prestige motivations) and the planet.
The Charity badge is perhaps the best indication that people with hearts of gold are running the show at any given cannabinoid company. If a company clenches the Charity badge, rest assured that compassion and mindfulness are top priorities.
Priority: Verifiable charity
To be awarded the Charity badge, we require clear communication from the company as to their charitable endeavors.
- Openly stating on their website that they make contributions to a verifiable non-profit organization of their choosing.
- Alternatively, ‘compassionate care’ programs also suffice to receive this badge; some CBD companies offer discounts to those who are verifiably disabled, suffer from a chronic condition, or to those who have a child who may benefit from cannabinoid products. As a general rule, we prioritize these companies and do our best to support such selfless efforts.
Although this badge is handed out to a majority of the companies we review, it is still an essential qualification we track for CBD businesses. If we see a company offering only the most basic products, with no discussion about advanced techniques or any other discerning factors, we they will not qualify for the Innovation badge – no matter how much a company may claim to be innovative.
Priority: Thinking about the future
There are many ways to go about being innovative. Making progress and advancements is crucial to this industry, and that’s why we award this badge – to try to encourage CBD companies to think outside of the box and blaze the trail forward.
Quite a few things will qualify one for the Innovation badge, including (but not limited to):
- Offering a water-soluble/microencapsulated CBD.
- Utilizing advanced extraction techniques (such as organic ethanol or supercritical CO2).
- Using advanced systems to monitor environmental conditions in a grow room.
- Blending terpenes/botanicals/nutraceuticals with CBD in a novel way.