Rating System - CBD Validator

Our Rating System

Working with a team of scientists, farmers, and extraction experts we’ve created a proprietary 50-point rating system for CBD oils/tinctures.

Excellent   39 – 50 points

Products that receive an Excellent rating by CBD Validator reflect that the manufacturer is extremely transparent by providing essential and readily-available product information, follows best practices in hemp growing and extraction methods, prices its products competitively and delivers an effective dose of CBD.

Good   27 – 38 points

Products that receive a Good rating by CBD Validator indicate that overall, the manufacturer shows transparency and follows quality manufacturing practices. However, products in this tier may lose rating points because either not all of the criteria are met, or the product information is not made readily-available for the consumer

Average   15 – 26 points

Products that receive an Average rating by CBD Validator usually miss multiple criteria and have manufacturers that are generally less transparent about their practices and their product information for consumers.

Poor   0 – 14 points

Products that receive a Poor rating by CBD Validator do not disclose important product information and fail in a number of categories and criteria regarding quality and transparency. Consumers should take more precaution purchasing products that fall in this rating category.

Each validator score is determined by how it meets critical criteria, outlined below.

Type of CBD 12 points

Full Spectrum (12 points)
Full Spectrum CBD extract contains as many of the beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes found in the original plant as possible. These components work together to magnify the therapeutic benefits, an interaction commonly referred to as the “entourage effect“.

Broad Spectrum (10 points)
Similar to Full Spectrum CBD, multiple cannabinoids found within the plant are preserved in the extract; however, it is lacking in some of the original botanical components and most of the terpenes. It can deliver many of the benefits of the “entourage effect,” but it doesn’t have the same therapeutic potential of full spectrum.

Isolate (7 points)
CBD isolate is the pure, crystallized form of CBD. CBD Isolate is typically refined from crude oil extracted with ethanol. It contains no THC.

Hemp oil (2 points)
Typically the term “Hemp oil” is used in online marketplaces where the term “CBD” is currently forbidden. These products may contain CBD, but do not disclose what type. This is not to be confused with Hempseed oil which is a culinary product pressed from seed and does not contain relevant amounts of cannabinoids.

Not Specified (0 points)
The type of CBD is an essential detail. If a manufacturer does not readily communicate on their website the type of CBD used, they receive 0 points.

Extraction Method 3 points

CO2 (3 points)
CO2 is an extraction method that manipulates the pressure and temperature of carbon dioxide so that it performs like a solvent. CO2 is non-toxic and very “tuneable” as a solvent, meaning that extraction parameters can be adjusted to target specific cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant.

Ethanol (3 points)
Ethanol extraction involves soaking plant material in ethanol. The saturated liquid is then distilled to remove ethanol, leaving just the cannabinoid rich oil behind. Ethanol extraction is able to process large quantities of hemp in a shorter amount of time, but it can require post-processing to clean up the final product and remove residual solvents.

Lipid (3 points)
Lipid extraction typically involves steeping plant material in a fatty oil such as coconut oil or butter to remove the cannabinoids. It is effective in pulling a whole plant extract, containing chlorophyll and many of the botanical compounds that other methods exclude.

IPA (1 point)
Isopropyl extraction is an alcohol extraction method similar to ethanol. However, isopropyl alcohol is significantly more toxic than food grade ethanol, so it is essential that residual isopropyl alcohol be completed removed during the extraction process.

Not Specified (0 points)
If a product omits an essential detail on how their product is manufactured, they receive 0 points.

Assurance 12 points

Independent studies show a majority of CBD products sold are mislabeled. That is why it is critical that you purchase CBD products from manufacturers that are fully transparent. Companies should provide a certificate of analysis that measures CBD content, presence of pesticides, and presence of heavy metals, readily available on the company’s website or through a QR code on the label. Many companies claim independent analysis but either provide no certificates or make it difficult for you to review one. That is why these companies are given a “0” rating. Other companies provide a less than complete certificate of analysis. Here are the full ratings:

1. Complete Certificate of Analysis that is readily available and includes:

  • CBD levels
  • Presence of pesticides
  • Presence of heavy metals

    (12 Points)

2. Complete Certificate of Analysis that is readily available and only includes:

  • CBD levels
  • Presence of pesticides

    (9 Points)

3. Complete Certificate of Analysis that is readily available and only includes:

  • CBD levels
  • Presence of heavy metals

    (9 Points)

4. Complete Certificate of Analysis that is readily available and only includes:

  • CBD levels

    (6 Points)

5. No Certificate of Analysis or Certificate of Analysis is not readily available

     (0 points)

Quality 8 points

Each quality category has a point value associated with it, with a maximum cumulative value of 8 points.

Certified Organic (+3 points)
Certified Organic CBD products have been made with hemp grown under strict organic standards by a farm that has been certified by the USDA or another certifying body. In addition, it has been extracted and processed in a certified facility that is inspected and monitored. With the lack of regulations from state to state, this certification connotes that the product has been made by farmers and processors that are vetted and inspected. These products typically display the USDA Organic label. Given the relatively low supply of USDA Organic certified hemp farms in the US, this is a particularly noteworthy distinction for manufacturers.

Lab ISO Certified (+2 points)
This product was tested by a third-party lab with ISO 17025 certification. ISO 17025 is the international standard for testing and calibration laboratories. It’s a set of requirements those laboratories use to show that they operate a quality management system and that they’re technically competent to do the work that they do.

Non GMO (+1 point)

USA Sourced (+1 point)

USA Hemp Certified (+1 point)
This hemp was certified by an independent certifying agency, The US Hemp Authority. Their seal ensures certain standards and best practices around hemp production.

CBD per mL 5 points

Similar to any functional supplement, effectiveness is directly correlated with dose. Many products currently marketed deliver a dose of CBD which is considerably below what studies have shown to be an effective dose. CBD Validator has established a sliding scale:

≥ 29 mg per mL = 5 points
15 – (<29) mg per mL = 4 points

10 – (<15) mg per mL = 3 points

7 – (<10) mg per mL = 2 points

4 – (<7) mg per mL = 1 point
< 4 mg per mL = 0 Points

Cost per mg CBD 10 points

In addition to having a safe product that is accurately labeled consumers should also expect to pay a fair price. Many marketed CBD products are grossly overpriced. To help consumers insure that are receiving value the CBD validator has set up a sliding scale based on the cost per dose. Our scale is as follows:

< $.06 per mg CBD = 10 points
$.06 – (< $.07) per mg CBD = 9 points

$.07 – (< $.08) per mg CBD = 8 points
$.08 – (< $.09) per mg CBD = 7 points
$.09 – (< $.10) per mg CBD = 6 points

$.10 – (< $.11) per mg CBD = 5 points
$.11 – (< $.13) per mg CBD = 4 points
$.13 – (< $.15) per mg CBD = 3 points

$.15 – (< $.17) per mg CBD = 2 Points
$.17 – (< $.22) per mg CBD = 1 point
≥ $.22 per mg CBD = 0 point

How did we arrive at this system?

Dr. Robert Portman, founder, headed up a team that conducted a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of hundreds of CBD studies, most of which were peer-reviewed. The data generated from these published studies formed the basis of the CBD Validator Rating system. CBD Advanced Science takes a manufacturer’s own data from its website and product labels, and then evaluates how this information scores against the collective criteria generated from these studies. To learn more, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

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