While most people simply look at the subject of making CBD oil kosher, the bottom line is that it is complex. CBD is a derivative of the Cannabis sativa plant. It is one of the 113 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Even though they are found in the marijuana plant, they are not psychoactive. The element that gives the “high” effect is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD, short for cannabidiol, is now being used as a popular natural remedy for many common ailments. It’s gaining significant momentum in the health world. Such treatments include seizures, anxiety and chronic pain.
CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil. This is where the concern comes for being certified kosher.
Generally, there are two requirements for making a product kosher. The first is determining the raw materials. All raw materials must come from kosher sources or sources where it has been verified that it doesn’t need certification. The latter are items labeled in the kosher world as a “category one.” These items include such things as salt and refined sugar.
Once all raw materials have been established in a product, the second requirement pertains to what the equipment to be used is dedicated for. This means that the equipment the product is being produced on is only used for that specific kosher product. If there is co-packing with another product or another product is being produced on the same equipment, this could cause the equipment to become non-kosher or “contaminated” by the non-kosher substance. If such a situation occurs and the equipment becomes contaminated, this will cause the kosher product that you want to produce to become non-kosher. Mind you, there are many details that go into this but this is just the basics. For example, to produce simple beans would seem to be kosher and it technically should not require kosher certification. However, because the producers of beans also manufacture pork on the same equipment, this would render the standard beans which you are producing to be considered non-kosher.
That being said, the same situation occurs with oils. All oils, except for extra virgin olive oil, require kosher certification. The reason being, as stated above, since in many facilities that produce oils, non-kosher oil is processed on the same equipment as the vegetable oil. This would cause the vegetable oil to become contaminated from the equipment.
Therefore, in a situation where CBD oil contains olive oil or MCT oil (Medium Chain Triglycerides) or any other type of oil, kosher verification would be required. The certification would determine whether only kosher oils are mixed or infused within it and whether the equipment on which it is produced is dedicated to only kosher products.
Along with oils, flavorings are also mixed in the CBD product. Flavorings are a big issue as far as kosher is concerned. Especially when it says “natural flavors”. They present a problem because many sources of flavorings come from non-kosher substances such as sperm whale intestines, beaver glands, deer glands or grapes.
So far to my experience and knowledge, I can safely assume CBD oil on its own is kosher. It is produced on dedicated equipment and the cannabis plant is also inherently kosher. The situation only occurs if or when it is mixed with other ingredients.
If you or someone you know is interested in Kosher Certification on a cannabis-related product, please let us know or contact Samuel Kronman at Whole Kosher Services – firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-305-9768 and he will gladly assist you.