When you purchase supplements for yourself, chances are good that you look for organic products. Likewise, you might shop for organic food both for yourself and for your pet. Is it worth it if you are shopping for CBD to look for organic CBD oil for your dog?
This question actually does not have a simple, straightforward answer. The reason has to do with regulatory considerations.
It Is Very Hard to Find Organic-Certified CBD Oils
When discussing the term “organic,” say that we are referring specifically to the actual regulatory certification which is available to producers.
In terms of certification, there are very few companies which are producing organic CBD oil.
As an example, Charlotte’s Web explains in their FAQ:
“Although we are not organic certified, we practice as such in hopes of becoming organic certified in the future.
All pesticides, mildewcides, and herbicides used on our plants are 100% organic (Hemp is a fibrous plant that holds on to everything put on it so we are very careful of spraying harsh chemicals on the plants).”
It is common to find notices like these on the websites of CBD oil manufacturers. Many will also add that they are seeking official certification, but still have not obtained it yet.
Previously, I had heard that there is actually no way to get this certification, but it seems that the situation is a little more complicated.
You probably know that it was the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill which made it legal to produce hemp in the United States. Hypothetically, that means that hemp producers in this country should be able to seek certification and obtain it successfully.
Indeed, it should not be a challenge for the USDA to implement this, since hemp products produced internationally have been able to receive organic certification from the USDA for quite some time now.
But the USDA does not seem keen on following through with domestic producers. In fact, in 2016, they even went so far as to forbid accredited certifiers from offering organic certification to producers of hemp in the United States.
Later that year, USDA changed its mind. CBD Hacker explains, “They released a second document saying that domestic hemp could in fact be certified organic. But it could only qualify for certification if it was grown in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill, through a state pilot program.”
You may also know that there was 2018 Farm Bill as well. This bill was great for the industry overall, and should theoretically open more doors in terms of certification.
Nonetheless, you will find that the vast majority of domestic hemp producers still do not have certification.
The bottom line is that even though it is possible to obtain organic certification from the USDA for domestic hemp, in practical terms, it appears to be a highly convoluted and challenging process.
Practices Arguably Matter More Than Certification
You now know one reason why you probably do not want to prioritize organic certification all that much when you’re shopping for hemp oil for your dog (or for yourself, for that matter).
Another reason not to make a big deal out of it is that is not the most meaningful measure of quality and purity in a product.
According to Scientific American, “Organic farming, just like other forms of agriculture, still uses pesticides and fungicides to prevent critters from destroying their crops.”
Furthermore, the article adds, “Not only are organic pesticides not safe, they might actually be worse than the ones used by the conventional agriculture industry.”
So even if the product has obtained an organic certification, there is still a chance that using it could expose your pet (or you) to dangerous, unhealthy substances.
Meanwhile, there are non-certified producers of hemp-based that not only follow organic practices which would qualify them for certification, but actually go a step further.
Instead of simply focusing on following the rules, they care about providing what customers who shop for organic products actually expect.
That means that they may not only use organic-only substances to protect their crops, but they may also use only substances which are actually safe for consumption.
So really, in the end, what a company stands for and how their practices reflect that matters more than a USDA seal.
How Can You Find Out if a Company Follows Organic Practices?
Because CBD companies have a very hard time getting USDA certified as organic producers, they usually go out of their way to describe their practices to customers in detail on their websites.
This is actually a good thing. Ironically, you probably can learn more about what a company stands for this way than you could if all they did was post their certification.
Here are some common places to look for this information:
- FAQ: Because many customers ask whether or not a manufacturer’s products are organic, there is often an entry in a company’s Frequently Asked Questions regarding this.
- A dedicated page on the topic: Some companies detail their harvesting and processing practices in depth on a dedicated page.
- Blog post: Alternately, there could be an entry in the company’s blog concerning organic practices. There may even be a series of them.
- The homepage: The homepage is a pretty good place to look for information on how a company produces its CBD products. Businesses which work hard to bring customers high-quality CBD oil products usually want this kind of information to be easy to find at a glance.
- Product pages: Individual product pages will sometimes include detailed information on how the product was sourced and manufactured.
- Contact customer service: Finally, if you are unable to find any information regarding organic practices, you can always contact customer service directly with your questions.
Conclusion: It Is Worth Shopping for “Organic” CBD Oil
Let’s wrap it up by reviewing what we have learned about “organic” CBD oils for dogs.
In principle, it makes sense to want to shop for organic products which are completely natural, safe and healthy.
But there are a couple of limitations when it comes to shopping for organic CBD oil:
- Firstly, it seems to be stupendously difficult to get a USDA certification for being an organic hemp or CBD company.
- Secondly, this certification does not necessarily prove that a product is 100% healthy and safe.
For both of these reasons, I would not recommend prioritizing searching for a USDA certification for dog CBD oil (or for human CBD oil).
Instead, I would suggest simply looking for detailed descriptions of the farming, harvesting and manufacturing processes used to produce the CBD oil. See what you can glean both about the methods and the company’s underlying philosophy and principles.
Ultimately, this will probably go a lot further than a USDA seal in ensuring that you are getting a high quality, safe and healthy CBD oil for your dog.