We will be discussing whether or not it is a good idea to buy CBD products from retail giants like Tesco Love Hemp Group PLC (AQSE:LIFE) (OTCQB: WRHLF), the brand-led consumer goods company focused on CBD health and wellness solutions, revealed that TESCO PLC, (OTCQX: TSCDY) (OTCQX:
Tesco CBD: Yay or Nay?
We will be discussing whether or not it is a good idea to buy CBD products from retail giants like Tesco. Some of the main reasons why you might be best avoiding these huge supermarkets for your CBD products include their lack of expertise, and the fact there are often no lab test certificates with products. Tesco and other giants like it are opportunistic; they often jump on popular trends. As such, it’s better to opt for specialist brands or companies with expert knowledge of CBD.
When the British Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reclassified cannabidiol as medically useful rather than a dangerous substance some years ago, the number of CBD consumers doubled in the United Kingdom, jumping from 125k in 2016 to 250k in 2019, according to research conducted by the Cannabis Trades Association. When there’s demand, there’s supply. Even the UK’s largest retail chains like Holland & Barrett and Tesco found places on their shelves for cannabidiol-enriched commodities. But should we be trusting these retail giants with our CBD products? We’re going to be answering that very question, but not before revisiting the basics.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of more than 100 chemical compounds, called cannabinoids, found in the hemp plant. CBD is a non-psychotropic component of cannabis that doesn’t intoxicate a user, no matter how much is taken. Taking some CBD will not bring on the same effects as smoking a joint. On the contrary, this substance has been historically used for therapeutic purposes due to its anti-inflammatory and other beneficial properties. For instance, it has been used for symptoms such as pain , insomnia, seizures, multiple sclerosis tremors, inflammatory skin, anxiety , arthritic joints , and so many others.
Today, the CBD market is inhabited by an enormous array of different CBD formats and delivery methods. The consumer can choose just about anything, from sublingual oils, to capsules, tinctures, edibles, topical creams, e-liquids, transdermal patches and even suppositories. In summary, there are dozens of ways to get this substance into your system.
The way that cannabidiol is retrieved is via extraction from the hemp plant. It then gets diluted with a carrier oil, such as hemp seed oil or MCT (coconut) oil, to produce CBD oil. Scientists and researchers have been thoroughly studying this compound for a number of years and have thus far only known it to be well-tolerated by the human body, with occasional minor adverse side effects. What’s more, CBD has been found to be non-addictive and entirely safe, a contrast to its cannabinoid-relative tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is another chemical constituent found throughout the cannabis Sativa subspecies. It is the cannabinoid responsible for the “high” that one feels when using marijuana recreationally.
Both CBD and THC can have an immense impact on us, but in very different ways. Exactly how they have their impact comes down to their interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for daily functions and processes that go on in our bodies, such as our moods, sleep , memory, motion and pain – to name but a few.
The ECS consists of:
- cannabinoid (CB1 & CB2) receptors located on the surface of cells;
- endocannabinoids that are small molecules responsible for the activation of cannabinoid receptors; and
- metabolic enzymes, the functions of which are to break down endocannabinoids when they are used.
The main task of the cannabinoid receptors sitting on the surface of cells is to receive the signals from other organs that are located outside the cells. There are two major cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system), while CB2 receptors are situated around the immune system, particularly in the spleen.
When a person takes THC-rich marijuana, the THC binds with our CB1 receptors and produces a reaction in the brain, which is known to most as a “high”; this slows down reaction times, causes anxiety and paranoia, affects judgment and the memory, too. It may also have other effects- this depends on the individual. CBD’s interaction with CB1 receptors is not as direct as that of THC. It does not necessarily bind to CB1 receptors, but engages with them in a different way. CBD does not cause intoxication as THC does. Cannabidiol is also able to stimulate and activate CB2 receptors, as well as CB1 receptors.
It is legal to produce and sell CBD products in the United Kingdom if their THC content is below 0.2%. Manufacturers are permitted to extract CBD oil from industrial hemp plants approved by the European Union. Unlike marijuana, hemp is high in CBD and low in THC, which allows the companies to meet the THC content requirement. To sell CBD-enriched goods, vendors should be licensed medical distributors or sell the products as nutritional supplements. In the latter case, cannabidiol-containing products must be properly labelled in line with the Food Supplements (England) Regulations of 2003 .
The shadier facets to the CBD market
Unfortunately, not all CBD manufacturers and distributors observe the rules. A shocking study conducted by the UK Centre for Medical Cannabis and PhytoVista, a British leading CBD testing laboratory, revealed that 45% of the samples exceeded the legal THC limit of 0.2%. The tested products were bought both online and in stores.
Excessive levels of THC wasn’t the only thing the researchers found in the products they were testing. Only about 38% of the samples had the concentration of CBD they claimed to have on their label. Moreover, a whopping 38% of the products tested had less than 50% of the amount of cannabidiol that they should have had. One of the products purchased in-store actually contained 0% CBD.
In another case study, Phoenix citizen Tammy Allen lost her job after purchasing a mislabelled CBD product online. Allen took a cannabidiol-based product to relieve her migraines and seizures, under the assurance that her product carried no THC. She even received the lab toxicology reports from the vendor, claiming the absence of THC. When asked to take a drug test at work, she was horrified to discover that the drug test revealed a positive result for tetrahydrocannabinol. Allen decided to test the product on her own, sending it to an independent lab. The results were different from those that were given to her by the vendor.
Another egregious case where a CBD product had been wrongly labelled was when an ex-federal agent from North Texas bought CBD oil to alleviate his back pain . He managed to solve his problem but lost his job because a random drug test turned out to be positive for marijuana. The former agent stated that he had bought CBD oil labelled as THC-free. When specialists scanned the barcode on the bottle, they found a more detailed lab report. It demonstrated that the oil contained a trace amount of THC, which was below the legal limit, but enough to appear in a urine test – and enough to end his career.
In the worst case of all, Jay Jenkins succumbed to his friend’s persistent urging for him to vape CBD to relax. After doing just that, Jenkins slipped into a coma and found himself in the emergency room. Instead of cannabidiol, the cartridge of blueberry flavoured CBD vape oil he had inhaled, which was bought by his friend, contained synthetic marijuana. This type of CBD has been held culpable for at least eleven deaths in Europe. Fortunately, Jay Jenkins returned to consciousness and was released from the hospital the following day.
As we’re sure you’ll agree, these case studies are highly disturbing and don’t reinforce much faith in the consumer when it comes to CBD brands. That said, these cases are extremely rare – not that that makes it okay that they happen. Naturally, it saddens us that there are noncompliant and exploitative companies out there, casting a bad light over those who do follow the rules and take your safety very seriously, like ourselves here at Alphagreen . Indeed, before we allow a CBD brand onto our website, we perform several stages of checks and only accept companies who stringently comply with regulations and produce products of the highest quality. Call us elitists, but your safety is our priority.
And should you decide to get your CBD elsewhere, we believe in giving you the tools to make informed, educated decisions before buying CBD products. So, how can one avoid such dodgy companies?
The cases above demonstrate the need to be extra careful when purchasing CBD products, whether online or in-store. The costs of making a cursory decision when it comes to CBD products could be great, so putting in the time and effort to your CBD purchases will undoubtedly pay off.
Less than ten years ago, CBD users who were ahead of the trend were limited to a few different CBD formats from a handful of brands. Nowadays, consumers have hundreds of vendors to choose from and a flurry of different products, such as edibles, beverages, e-liquids, topicals, and so many more. CBD purchases are far too often based on pretty-looking bottles or promising claims on the labels. These kinds of purchases are best avoided. So what is the solution? The answer is simple: research and education.
Given the exponential growth in CBD sales and the sheer number of CBD companies sprouting from nowhere, it’s becoming increasingly important to understand how to choose products of high quality and how to perform due diligence as a consumer in order to be able to discern the genuine, trustworthy brands from those who cut corners and bend the rules, in a market so pervaded by the latter.
Know exactly what you’re buying
No purchase should be made before a consumer knows about the three types of CBD refinement available on the market today:
- Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all the original chemical compounds found in the hemp plant, typically including cannabidiol, other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. The THC content in full-spectrum CBD products is usually below 0.2% if we’re talking about the UK and many EU products (some EU countries have a higher THC threshold, others lower). All these phytochemicals from the hemp plant work together to enhance the therapeutic benefits of one another, in what is known as the entourage effect. Despite the fact that full-spectrum CBD oil is non-psychoactive and will not make you “high”, it can, in some cases, produce a positive drug test. If you are in a profession that requires you to take regular drug tests, it’s better to choose one of the THC-free CBD refinements, which we will now move onto.
- Broad-spectrum CBD is free from THC but contains CBD and all other compounds from the hemp plant. The THC is completely removed during the refinement processes, which allows consumers to use products without the worries that might be associated with THC. is the purest form of this CBD. The batch of CBD oil undergoes further purification and refinement processes in order to isolate it from all other cannabis components. As such, CBD isolate products contain no terpenes or flavonoids, making most of these products odourless and flavourless. CBD isolates are the number one product for those who like adding oil or powder to their foods, without affecting the taste and aroma.
COAs, labels & reviews
Another important point to tick off the checklist is a certificate of analysis (COA). A reliable manufacturer will send each of its CBD products to a third-party laboratory for certified testing. A COA should outline the cannabinoid and terpene profile of a product, as well as the CBD and THC concentrations. Additionally, there should be a heavy-metal and pesticide analysis. If a certain contaminant was detected, the COA should state that it’s within a safe limit for ingestion. Finally, the status column should say “pass”.
A trustworthy company will publish this report on their website or be ready to provide it on request. If there is no certificate of analysis available, this could mean that the product was never tested, or that it doesn’t contain the amount of CBD stated. It could also mean that the product contains harmful contaminants that were never removed during the extraction processes. Some businesses provide certificates of analysis only upon receiving a formal request or after someone has purchased their product(s) – these companies should be avoided . If a company refuses to provide a certificate of analysis or simply doesn’t respond to a request, these companies are also better off avoided.
Carefully reading labels- particularly the list of ingredients- is another crucial tip. On the label, CBD may appear under a number of guises: hemp CBD, cannabidiol, full-spectrum hemp, PCR (phytocannabinoid-rich) or PCR hemp extracts. It may also be called hemp or hemp extract. What it won’t be called, however, is “hemp seed oil”. Confusingly, hemp seed oil does not contain any CBD and is used like olive oil or sunflower oil. As well as all the ingredients you might expect to find in a refinement (terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids), sometimes manufacturers also add other ingredients for taste, odour or consistency.
The label should also provide information about the dose of CBD per drop, as well as where the hemp was sourced. It’s also a sign of a good, reputable company if the hemp was grown in compliance with EU organic standards and in fertile, pesticide-free soil. Non-GMO hemp is also a reassurance of a reputable company, as is the use of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards. In addition, knowing which method was used to extract the CBD is another useful tip. CO2 extraction is the safest- and one of the most expensive- methods. The cost of a CO2 extraction machine ranges from $4,000 (which will only serve small-scale businesses) to $445,000 (which is one of the most expensive models). That said, other methods of extraction are also fine. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and we encourage you to do your research on the various CBD extraction methods .
If it is a sublingual oil you’re looking at, you should also look out for the carrier oil. Some examples of common carrier oils include:
- MCT oil
- Hemp seed oil
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Pomegranate seed oil
If it is a CBD vape oil or e-liquid that takes your interest, watch out for potentially harmful additives, such as propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), Vitamin E acetate and polyethene glycol (PEG).
Finding out what your fellow consumers had to say about the company or products you are interested in is critical. In terms of checking reviews, thankfully, there are a myriad of platforms that enable the consumer to do just that. Simply looking at the brand’s website may not be enough. Trustpilot or other trusted review sites like it are also good indicators of reputability (or lack thereof). LinkedIn and other social media may also be useful sources. Naturally, if a company is mysteriously absent from these platforms, it isn’t a good idea to purchase their products.
CBD & the giants
Even giants sometimes miss the mark. Despite the fact that large companies often have enough money, they may choose to save on testing and on raw materials, instead relying on their big name and robust reputation to promote and sell CBD products.
When it came to light that the largest chain of British health food stores, Holland & Barrett , was selling CBD oil that exceeded the legal limit of THC, it sent quakes through the CBD world. This CBD oil was manufactured by a popular Dutch brand, Jacob Hooy. So, why did Holland & Barrett not check their products for purity? Unfortunately, not all large players do. By contrast, another UK retailer, Tesco, adopted a serious and responsible approach to their choice of supplier.
Tesco, Britain’s largest supermarket chain, made a deal with Vitality CBD in 2019. Vitality is a British company producing cannabidiol-based products like CBD oils, sprays, and creams, which have become available to customers in 378 pharmacy stores belonging to Tesco. Tesco doesn’t, however, sell CBD products online- they are only available to purchase in the physical stores.
Vitality CBD is a British premium brand offering a wide range of CBD-infused products, including oils, topicals, e-liquids, edibles, care kits, cosmetics and supplements. The company’s team consists of many professionals who have a wealth of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Vitality CBD is a recognised UK market leader that brings CBD products of the highest quality to the market, thanks to their use of gold-standard, organic hemp. Their impressive quality has earned them loyal customers and a well-deserved 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot . Naturally, every product has an appropriate certificate of analysis to match, and their products are available in more than 1000 stores across the country, including our own online store. Vitality continues forming strategic partnerships with the leading UK pharmacies and retail chains.
What’s the verdict?
It can feel tempting and easy to go with a CBD brand standing proudly on the shelves of a retail giant. Since Tesco and other giants feel safe and familiar, you assume their products are well-sourced. Ultimately, it’s important to do what makes you feel comfortable. That being said, with a CBD brand you find in a retail giant, you cannot be certain of the quality. Cases like that which happened with Holland & Barrett (and need we remind you of Tesco’s 2013 horsemeat scandal? ), just go to show that even the big retailers get it wrong sometimes.
For this reason, we believe it’s important to rely on yourself, rather than on the big health chains and supermarkets we so instinctively trust. We’re sure you’ll agree that when cruising through the supermarket with your trolley, there is much less scope to do your due diligence than at home or in a specialised store, where at the very least, the shop assistants will (hopefully) be able to help you with their expertise in CBD. At home, you can sit and do some thorough research on a brand, seek out those all-important certificates of analysis, and look at reviews and social media comments associated with the products and company you’re interested in. Furthermore, you can properly read labels and take the time to check ingredients, all without feeling the burning gaze of a shop assistant. Doing this kind of research will enable you to prioritise the quality and purity of CBD products rather than fall into the trap of convenience, a trap into which retail giants selling CBD are essentially trying to lure you.
Verified by a Healthcare Professional
Anastasiia Myronenko is a Medical Physicist actively practicing in one of the leading cancer centers in Kyiv, Ukraine. She received her master’s degree in Medical Physics at Karazin Kharkiv National University and completed Biological Physics internship at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Germany. Anastasiia Myronenko specializes in radiation therapy and is a fellow of Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists.
Love Hemp Launches CBD Products In UK Tesco Supermarkets
Tesco will initially stock a range of six Love Hemp products across more than 200 Tesco stores including “Tesco Extra” in the UK. Tesco Extra stores are larger, mainly out-of-town hypermarkets that stock nearly all of Tesco’s product ranges, although some are in the heart of town centers and inner-city locations. The Love Hemp products will also be available online on Tesco’s website. The Love Hemp products available include CBD oil drops, sprays, chocolate balls and a new sugar free, gluten free plant-based CBD gummy product.
The company expects to launch its latest range of benefit driven, functional products in calendar Q4 2022. The range will be available in various delivery forms such as capsules and edibles. The company expects that the new products will open further revenue streams across direct-to-consumer sales, marketplaces, and other major retailers.
Tony Calamita, CEO at Love Hemp stated: “I’m delighted that Tesco have chosen to stock Love Hemp products. Tesco is a major British household name and we are very proud to work with them. It has always been our mission to make CBD accessible and available to as many consumers as possible, and having our products stocked in the vitamin aisles of Tesco brings great visibility to our products and brand. We anticipate that Tesco is the first of several new launches in major UK retailers since the publication of the Novel Foods register on March 31 st .”