Why Quality Matters
Quality Matters with CBD
The quality of a finished CBD product is determined by many factors, and we have 100% control of them from soil to oil. We started working with CBD genetics in 2013 after decades of working with other cannabis strains. While we had always recognized the benefits of THC dominant genetics, we decided at this point to try something new. We threw ourselves in head first and began experimenting with CBD dominant cannabis genetics.
At first we made our products for ourselves. After discovering the tremendous benefits those products provided, we started giving them to our friends and family to see if they garnered the same benefit. They did! Since day one, our goal has always been to make the safest and most effective products that we can take pride in: products that we’re confident to take ourselves, and also give to our friends and family.
Why We Care
The creators of 4 Corners Cannabis were some of the first people in the World to focus on CBD genetics. Since then, over 10,000 brands have emerged. Many of these brand owners have never even seen a cannabis plant in person, let alone grown their own. Because of this, not all CBD is created equal. It can be extremely difficult for consumers to understand the difference between good and bad CBD since every company claims they sell the best CBD, or the purest CBD.
The vast majority of these brands white-label their products. “A white-label product is a product or service produced by one company (the producer) that other companies (the marketers) re-brand to make it appear as if they had made it.” ~ wiki. In other words, there are giant growers that produce ‘brands’ for 100’s and even 1,000’s of marketers to sell. As a marketing tool, these white-label companies claim they have the best products on the market and pass this idea down to the companies that market their work. If you have tried 10 plus brands and got similar results each time then that is most likely due to the fact that most CBD on the market is actually coming from only a few mass producers. Much of the current CBD landscape is really just marketers trying to make their generic product stick out more than the other generic products for the sole purpose of making money. Would you rather buy a CBD product from a marketer that is selling mass produced CBD? or a company that spends their resources on trying to better understand Cannabis Science in order to advance safety and efficacy?
In the past, 4 Corners Cannabis has conducted experiments to test other companies against our own. For example, we acquired roughly 10 flower samples from 10 different growers across the Country. Keep in mind, we had already narrowed this list down from well over 100 “professional growers” to try to find the absolute best that the market had to offer. We then took these samples to get lab tested. The result? Not a single sample passed. Issues with these samples ranged from failing pesticide confirmation, to samples containing high amounts of mold, and everything in between. And consider this: these lab results were from the best flower we could find on the market.
Now imagine what these giant hemp growers that white-label products are growing. They are farming 1,000’s of acres at once. If their plants produce over .3% THC then they are forced to destroy their crops. This is extremely risky when using good genetics with high cannabinoid and terpene content, so they choose to grow using substandard genetics instead: genetics that stay well below the federal THC threshold with ease, but lack the beneficial compounds to make an effective CBD product.
Many of these fields have fallen victim to irresponsible farming practices as well. For instance, some fields have been sprayed with RoundUp, which can easily leach into the plants since hemp is great at removing toxins from the soil. Many of these fields also neighbor farms where pesticides are sprayed, which inevitably blow into surrounding fields. We have even seen and tested samples that have been contaminated with mosquito spray from nearby farms.
Nevertheless, contaminated plants containing toxins are often still used by many companies. Not all CBD products on the market are tested for safety. And some labs will give a passing grade to products that aren’t necessarily healthy to consume.
An effective product starts with powerful genetics that are given the organic nutrients needed to flourish and reach their full potential. These genetics should be grown free of pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxins. From there, the flower needs to be dried and cured correctly to avoid mold development and, equally importantly, so that fragile and beneficial volatile compounds stay intact.
We do Things Differently
At 4 Corners Cannabis, we do things differently than other companies. We choose not to grow more than we can harvest by hand. Our human grade consumable products all contain extract that comes from trimmed flower. This ensures maximum Cannabinoid, Terpene, and Flavonoid profiles. Another huge perk of harvesting by hand is that we can guarantee the proper drying and curing of our flower .
Conversely, processing by machine (like large scale producers do) entails pressing wet plants together. This creates mold, fungus, and microbial (relating to or characteristic of a microorganism, especially a bacterium causing disease or fermentation) issues. These are some reasons why our plants do not fail tests for toxicity while many do.
Now that we’ve covered genetics, growing practices, and harvesting, let’s talk about extraction.
When creating a quality CBD product, the main goal in the extraction process is to avoid destroying the integrity of the harvested plant material to the greatest extent possible. Extraction techniques can’t improve a low quality harvest, but there are many techniques that will diminish the quality of even the best plant material.
CBD Isolate is a perfect example of a very imperfect extraction method. It reduces everything from the plant down to one cannabinoid. In actuality, the chief use for this extraction method is to clean up cruddy, toxic crops. Many companies that sell CBD Isolate brag that they have the “purest” CBD on the market. When plants are contaminated, this option is employed to strip all the toxins away and retain the CBD from those plants. By doing this though, you are also stripping all the other beneficial compounds away that contribute to the effectiveness of quality CBD products. When all is said and done, this extraction method leaves you with CBD in powder form known as CBD Isolate. This is the easiest product to make from dirty hemp but is easily the least effective as CBD on its own has few benefits.
CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) extractions are often bragged about by companies. This is only because many white-label products are made using this technique and the white-label marketing companies are told this is a positive. This is a classic case of “monkey see, monkey do”. Other than the lack of compounds that CO2 extracts, an even more important issue is that CO2 extracts different compounds at different times, ripping apart the constituent molecules of the cannabis plant. CO2 can also cause products to become rancid if not purged properly.
Other extraction methods use hexane, pentane, propane, butane, etc. The body outright rejects toxins (and whatever comes with them) so think about the damage that is doing to the bio-availability of CBD products that contain residual toxins.
Another problematic practice: many companies use denatured alcohol during their extraction process. Upon bringing this up at a Colorado Hemp meeting, the coordinators of the event were blown away to hear that this has become common practice. Denatured alcohol is alcohol that has had poisons added to it, so that it can not and should not be consumed. Consumption of denatured alcohol can cause blindness and death among other things. However, the FDA does allow for the use of denatured alcohol for extractions, hence the issue. Since denatured alcohol is not taxed the same as “non-poisonous” alcohol, it creates a cheaper shortcut for companies whose leaders lack integrity. That’s why this practice is so popular in the CBD industry. Many companies cut every legal corner they can since many people turn a blind eye to it. Unfortunately, they follow the “profits over people” model.
Our Extraction Method
We choose to extract with Organic Sugar Cane Alcohol at 4 Corners Cannabis. We actually source this from Brazil as it is the best quality we have been able to find. Think of spirits like Vodka but with the concentration of Everclear (190 proof or 95%) and made from Organic Sugar Cane instead of GMO grains, potatoes, etc. It is impossible to remove 100% of any solvent used during extraction, so we use this kind of alcohol to make sure that we aren’t adding any toxins to our products.
The use of Organic Sugar Cane Alcohol for extractions is not only great because of the nontoxic nature, but also because it extracts polar AND non-polar plant compounds at the same time. Other means of extractions don’t measure up to this standard. They either extract polar OR non-polar plant compounds OR extract compounds at different times. This breaks up molecular bonds in cannabis compounds and destroys the integrity and value of what might otherwise be great genetics. Alcohol extracts the compounds simultaneously and gently, keeping the benefits of any given cannabis genetics intact. Let’s unpack WHY it’s important to preserve all of these compounds in extractions.
Why Care About Quality CBD Products
There is a term for how cannabis compounds synergize to create a “whole” that is much more beneficial than the sum of the individual parts; this phenomenon is called The Entourage Effect. When the “whole” is broken into individual parts you essentially destroy the Entourage Effect and are left with a lackluster product. This is why labs can look good even on a product that isn’t very effective. Lab results should only be used to protect yourself from false advertising about what is in your product.
Most CBD companies know about the Entourage Effect, but don’t understand it correctly. In some cases, they even willfully ignore the Entourage Effect in favor of profits. For example, in the last few years there has been an overwhelming surge of products geared toward different ailments. Companies will offer CBD products for daytime, focus, sleep, etc. The problem is that you can’t add cannabinoids and terpenes to a blend and expect it to become part of the Entourage Effect. This is bad, misleading science, and is used for marketing purposes.
To create a good CBD product you must start with powerful genetics. Your plants must then be given the proper nutrient regimen to be able to develop to their full potential, delivering a wide spectrum of beneficial compounds. The soil must be free of heavy metals and other toxins because cannabis is known for cleaning soil by absorbing those toxins. Use or exposure to and use of toxic pesticides should be avoided like the plague. Plants need to be dried correctly so the beneficial, volatile compounds don’t evaporate. Plants also need to be dried and cured correctly so that molds and other toxic compounds don’t form. In order to keep the Entourage Effect intact the plant material should be extracted in a way that doesn’t break the bonds and extracts both polar and non-polar plant compounds.
Dr. Allan Frankel, who formed GreenBridge Medical in 2007, concluded that high quality CBD can be 100 times more effective than low grade CBD. This means that it can take 100 mg of low grade CBD to be as effective as 1 mg of high quality CBD. Just because the statistics of a label look good for the price, you might not be getting a good deal!
Another term thrown around in the CBD industry is The Honeymoon Effect. However, this term is not widely known by the general CBD consumer. It is known more so by the Epilepsy community, with individuals wondering why CBD seems to be so beneficial at first and then slowly dwindles in effectiveness. This is an issue with tolerance but doesn’t follow the exact same rules. If you’ve consumed marijuana, you may remember that there was a time that you got the giggles with every use, and that after a certain amount of time and sustained use(that is different for everyone) that slowly stopped happening. Strangely enough, this is linked to the current diet that Americans eat.
The average human used to consume a diet containing a 1:1 ratio of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s before processed foods became widespread. This balance is very important. You will even find it on most packages of dog food. The current diet for humans in the 21st century differs drastically, hoveings around a 1:15 ratio of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s.
One of the side effects of this current diet is the development of mutated cannabinoid receptors. These are the receptors that process cannabis compounds and make them available for your body. To explain this receptor mutation, let’s say that cannabis compounds are keys that fit into the keyholes (Cannabinoid Receptors). When any of these keyholes are deformed, keys can get stuck. When flimsy keys (low grade CBD) are put into these key holes they start breaking off and make it so that these keyholes are no longer compatible with normal keys.
This is where tolerance increases and the Honeymoon Effect can quickly wear off. You are not doing yourself a favor by consuming higher amounts of cheap CBD when the benefits begin to diminish. That just shortens the Honeymoon Effect. It also costs more since it takes much more CBD to get the same effects as it would with quality CBD. It’s better to have a drawer of master keys than a tub of flimsy keys that don’t do their job correctly.
The ceiling of effects with low grade CBD are not nearly as high as with our grade of CBD. You can only get so much relief from CBD that has not been created properly. Once you hit the ceiling, consuming more of this type of CBD will actually decrease the effects.
If you want to get the most out of your CBD journey, quality is worth the price. It’s worth it and will save you money in the long run. This is because you won’t have to take as much nor will you build a tolerance to it as quickly. You will also get better results with a higher ceiling. Our products are clean and incredibly effective. The statistics on the label mean very little in regards to how a product will affect you. Try to eat a healthy diet and it’s never a bad idea to get outside and get some exercise as well.