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Charlotte’s Web Review: Are Their Products Legit?

Presented by CBDStudy, a CBD research publication. CBDStudy may earn a commission from purchases made from the links in the article. However, all reviews are based on transparency and reviews are not influenced by monetization.

If you’ve been paying any attention to the CBD market—or even casually browsed for CBD at any point in the last five or so years—you have no doubt heard of Charlotte’s Web CBD. Though it is not the first company to create a CBD oil available to the average consumer, it’s one of the most famous.

Named after Charlotte Figi, who suffered from a rare and severe form of epilepsy, Charlotte’s Web started out as a project to help one little girl in need. It has since ballooned into a multimillion-dollar company that is traded publicly on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE).

The company’s growth has been due to the diligent research and development it has maintained over the years, and the level of consumer and industry trust is incomparable. The company is highly transparent (though we do have a couple of minor complaints that we will address later in this review). It has an excellent reputation and is a pioneer in the area of research and development. The formulas are all carefully controlled and tested at every step of the way, and the company offers a personal feel to its branding that supports the communities it has built around its products. Charlotte’s Web even created its own strain of hemp to deliver a formula specifically supporting neurological health.

Prices, however, are among the highest in the industry. Products are expensive even for a premium brand. The quality and the reputation Charlotte’s Web can rightfully boast about certainly add value that is difficult to calculate. It’s up to customers to decide if they are worth the extra price they will pay for the company’s products. Fortunately, you have 30 days to get your money back if you decide you have spent more than is justified by the results.

Some consumers who are new to the CBD market have a tendency to think that higher prices are synonymous with better quality. However, it’s important to understand the difference between a company that charges more because of the expense and care that goes into the product it has made, and one that simply charges more because it can. Charlotte’s Web’s products seem to sit on the border between these two concepts.

Pros:

  • Leading brand with stellar reputation
  • Potent proprietary formula
  • Hemp is hand-tended and closely monitored
  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee
  • Focus on research, development and consumer advocacy

Cons:

  • Products are expensive
  • Selection of THC-free products is lacking

About Charlotte’s Web

The Stanley brothers knew about Charlotte Figi’s uncontrollable seizures, and they wanted to help. This group of seven brothers knew that CBD was starting to get some attention among people looking for help managing their seizures, and in 2011 they went to work finding the formula that would get little Charlotte’s seizures to a more manageable level.

2011 was long before the CBD or even the hemp industry was established, and those who chose to dabble in hemp-derived extractions took legal and financial risks. That didn’t stop the Stanley brothers, though. They worked to develop a strain of hemp that would make it possible to extract the right balance of cannabinoids to support neurological health, reducing the frequency and severity of Charlotte’s seizures.

In the next couple of years, word got around about what seemed to be a miracle substance—and Charlotte’s Web was officially founded in Colorado in 2014. The Stanley Brothers have continued to drive the industry forward, sustaining their hemp-derived development with CW Labs—a new branch of Charlotte’s Web dedicated to perfecting the extraction process for specific terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids.

Points of Interest

Charlotte Figi and her improvement as a result of that original CBD formula were featured years ago on a special segment with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN [1]. This started the national conversation around CBD and the medicinal properties of cannabis, partially contributing to changes in legislation. The Stanley Brothers have been leaders in the process, and they have been featured in stories by the New York Times, Time Magazine, The Today Show and Forbes.

The industry is still working to support better advocacy, regulation and legislative change, and the Stanley Brothers now have their own holdings company dedicated to the development of all things cannabis. Their most recent campaign has focused on a more controversial leg of alternative wellness products: THC. In 2018, the company released a new brand, ReCreate [2], with a mission of helping customers seeking not a “high, but a higher function.” 

Charlotte’s Web’s Process

One of the most impressive (and labor-intensive) elements of Charlotte’s Web’s operation is the fact that the hemp plants used in its products are tended by hand. The company has forgone mechanical cultivation in favor of the pursuit of perfection down to the last detail. It has developed strong relationships with its family-owned farms in Kentucky, Colorado and Oregon, and it closely monitors every step of the process.

In addition to carefully selecting strains of hemp that will create the right concentrations in each type of soil, Charlotte’s Web performs extensive in-house testing to ensure that plants are pure and free of toxins. The company is strongly aware of hemp’s biosorption capabilities, and it has responded by holding its farmers and processors to the highest standards.

Testing and Extraction

Customers generally prefer a smoother, lighter flavor for their CBD oils, and for this reason, Charlotte’s Web uses a CO2 extraction method for most of its products. This gives the finished product a cleaner flavor and reduces the bitterness of the oil.

For customers who want the original formula, however, Charlotte’s Web does still offer it. This one is made with an ethanol extraction process, and the results make it quite apparent that you are getting a whole-plant product.

The company performs in-house testing from seed to shelf, and it sends its final product off to a third-party lab to confirm its purity and potency one last time before packaging and shipping.

Lab Results

Remember when we mentioned that we had a couple of minor complaints that we would address later? Well, here is one of them: You have to either make a purchase or contact the company directly in order to actually see the third-party lab results. They are not conveniently displayed on product pages, and the COA lookup is only meant for people with SKUs or batch numbers in hand.

Additionally, the certificate of analysis is a Charlotte’s Web document, rather than an actual lab report. Reports do note which labs the results came from, however, which adds a level of credibility.

Generally, a lack of lab results would be a major complaint, but Charlotte’s Web’s reputation means the company gets a partial pass on this one. We would, however, like to see the official lab results made available on every product page, along with the easier-to-read Charlotte’s Web document.

Charlotte’s Web: Product Lineup

Charlotte’s Web has a comprehensive list of products that will likely cover whatever format you prefer. The company’s oils and capsules all contain CBD emulsified with MCT oil, except where noted. Its gummies are specially formulated for targeted effects, and Charlotte’s Web has recently expanded its topical line to include products that contain additional ingredients for specific benefits.

The company even makes pet chews that provide focused relief for Fido as well. Most products are made with a full-spectrum formula; however, Charlotte’s Web does make a CBD isolate oil, and some of its topicals are made with broad-spectrum CBD.

CBD Oil

  • Full-Spectrum CBD Oil: Charlotte’s Web CBD oils come in three bottle sizes. The 30mL and 100mL sizes are available in four flavors: orange blossom, lemon twist, mint chocolate and olive oil. All flavors are made with MCT oil, except, of course, for the olive oil option. Choose between concentrations of 7mg/mL, 17mg/mL and 60mg/mL. Some concentrations have limited flavor options. The smaller size, 10mL, is only available in the olive oil and mint-chocolate flavors, with concentrations of either 17mg/mL or 60mg/mL.
  • Original Formula CBD: The original formula is a whole-plant extract with a denser concentration of minor cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids suspended in MCT oil, and it only comes in a 50mg/mL concentration. Choose between 10mL, 30mL or 100mL bottles, in olive oil or mint-chocolate flavors.
  • CBD Isolate Oil: This is the only product that Charlotte’s Web makes with CBD isolate. Each 30mL bottle contains CBD isolate with a concentration of 20mg of CBD per mL.

CBD Capsules

  • CBD Oil Liquid Capsules: Kosher, vegan and allergen free, these capsules come in 15mg and 25mg strengths. Bottles contain 30, 60 or 90 capsules.

CBD Topicals

  • Hemp-Infused Balm: This balm is made with menthol, peppermint oil, turmeric oil, ginger oil and 450mg of full-spectrum CBD. It comes in a half-ounce travel size and a 1.5-ounce size.
  • Hemp-Infused Cooling Gel: Infused with 510mg of CBD, menthol and arnica, this gel is formulated to help soothe muscle soreness and inflammation. It isn’t clear whether the pump that this gel comes in contains 1.7 ounces or 2 ounces because both are mentioned in the product description.
  • Hemp-Infused Roll-On: These roll-ons contain 100mg of full-spectrum CBD and come in a .34-ounce bottle. Choose between a relaxing blend of lavender, bergamot and chamomile, or a refreshing blend of peppermint oil, menthol, eucalyptus oil and rosemary oil.

CBD Gummies

  • Calming Gummies: Made with L-theanine and lemon balm, these gummies are lemon flavored. Each gummy contains 5mg of full-spectrum CBD, and you can order a jar of 30 or a jar of 60.
  • Recovery Gummies: Calming gummies are made with ginger and turmeric, and they are ginger flavored. Each gummy contains 5mg of full-spectrum CBD, and you can order a jar of 30 or a jar of 60.
  • Sleep Gummies: Made with melatonin and raspberry flavoring, each gummy contains 5mg of full-spectrum CBD, and you can order a jar of 30 or a jar of 60.

CBD for Pets

  • Pet Drops: Each bottle contains 30mL or 100mL of full-spectrum CBD in a concentration of 17mg per dose, suspended in MCT oil for easy digestion. Choose between chicken-flavored or unflavored drops.
  • Hemp-Infused Pet Balm: Rub this balm into tender paws or other sore spots on your pooch. Comes in a 1.5-ounce tin and contains 450mg of full-spectrum CBD.
  • CBD Chews: With 2.5mg of full-spectrum CBD in each chicken-flavored chew, these treats come in three different formulas. Calming chews contain a blend of valerian root, passionflower extract and chamomile for anxious pets. The hip and joint formula contains glucosamine, turmeric and chondroitin. CBD chews for seniors help keep your pet’s mind sharp, with elderberry, vitamin E and DHA. Choose between a container of 30 or 60.

Lab Results and CBD Quality

We sent a sample of Charlotte’s Web’s full-spectrum oil—in a concentration of 17mg per 1mL—to a third-party lab for testing. We were happy to find that the company’s formula is quite potent but were a little concerned that the labeled amount was nearly 20 percent less than what was actually in the bottle. While there is always an acceptable margin of error, this is above the 10 percent that we generally overlook.

Fortunately, it was more CBD than labeled, rather than less, but when it is off by this much it makes accurate dosage difficult to determine. To see the full lab results and a more in-depth analysis, visit CBDStudy’s review of Charlotte’s Web.

Our Charlotte’s Web Shopping Experience

Charlotte’s Web’s website is clean, organized and easy to use. You can find the products you want with no hassle, and the company’s homepage features its most popular items as well as its most relevant information. The branding leans toward agricultural themes, and the company’s messages of sustainability and reliability are clear.

If you are uncertain of the products that are right for you, you can get help with your selections by answering just a few simple questions on the site’s product finder. Their “CBD 101” page is also prominently displayed, and you can click on a link to learn the basics of what CBD is, how it works and what each product is best for.

Earlier, we mentioned we had two issues with Charlotte’s Web, and here is the second one: While all of the company’s product descriptions are thoroughly detailed, there are no true ingredient lists accompanying any product page.

Some photos of the packaging do include pictures of the ingredient list on the box or bottle, but this is not the case for all products. Additionally, some of the photos are difficult to read. We would like to see full ingredient lists on product pages so customers can be completely informed about what is in their lotions and gummies.

Shipping and Returns

Charlotte’s Web offers free ground shipping for all orders over $74.99, and the company promises you will get your shipment within seven business days. For any orders under $74.99, shipping is a flat fee of $8.99.

You can also order your products for next-day air or second-day delivery for an additional fee, and the warehouse will get your package out in the mail by the end of the business day if ordered by noon. The company ships to the U.S. and Canada, and there are distribution sites in various other locations around the world. If you are interested in having your order shipped internationally, you can contact customer service for support.

If you are not completely satisfied with your products for any reason, you can return your items for a full refund as long as it is within a 30-day window. You will be asked to return the unused portion, however, and the company does not cover shipping.

Final Thoughts on Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte’s Web is one of the leading companies in the CBD industry, and the company’s care and compassion are the driving forces behind its success. You can see the attention to detail in everything the company makes, its customers are part of a community of loyal fans, and it never stops innovating and improving.

The fact that Charlotte’s Web does not directly share its third-party lab results is a bit troublesome. This is generally a huge sticking point when we are evaluating a company and deciding whether to recommend it. However, Charlotte’s Web’s reputation and its obvious obsession with quality give us reason to believe that the company is making an effort to make its lab results more accessible by offering a document that is easier to read.

Despite increased accessibility through simplified packaging and product descriptions, Charlotte’s Web’s products are prohibitively expensive for some. There is no denying that this company is not only in a league of its own, but that it defines what that league is with its constant focus on research, advocacy and development.

So, do Charlotte’s Web’s quality and reputation justify its prices? We think they do, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide for yourself. Fortunately, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee if you don’t feel like the results match the cost. If you are still undecided about whether to give this company a try, check out CBDStudy’s review of Charlotte’s Web.

There, you can find a more detailed analysis of the company’s products, as well as comprehensive lab results from a sample of the company’s CBD oil.

References

[1] CannaTech Team. (2016). WEED – A CNN Special Report by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Canna-Tech.co. Retrieved from: https://www.canna-tech.co/uncategorized/weed-a-cnn-special-report-by-dr-sanjay-gupta/

[2] ReCreate. (2020). Hemp Industry Pioneers The Stanley Brothers Launch New Low-Dose THC Brand ReCreate. PRNewswire.com. Retrieved from: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/hemp-industry-pioneers-the-stanley-brothers-launch-new-low-dose-thc-brand-recreate-301079481.html




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