Populum CBD Review: Quality and Limited Products (2020)

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Populum. That’s an odd name for a company making any consumer products, let alone CBD.

Companies specializing in CBD products are more likely to choose a name that includes a positive marketing term like “organic” or “natural.” At the very least, most choose one that sounds scientific, has medical implications, or includes the founder’s name to “personify” the brand.

In truth, there’s a good story behind the name Populum, which fits this company perfectly. We’ll get into that story in more detail during our review. The important fact, though, is that “populum” comes from the Latin phrase “ad populum,” which means “for the people.” And it sums up the company’s mission quite nicely.

Naturally, there’s much more to a CBD producer than just its name. Whatever sort of grandiose or meaningful name the company chooses, it has to be able to back up the image by creating high-quality products that match the implied commitment – in this case, a commitment to “the people.”

That match is one of the first things we look for when reviewing a cannabidiol producer; it’s a very good sign as to whether the company is honest and legitimate or simply led by good marketers. (Cannabidiol, by the way, is the full name that scientists and botanists use for CBD).

Most importantly, of course, we evaluate the products to figure out how they’re made, what’s in them, and whether they’re worth purchasing.

Let’s get started.

Populum: The Background

It may be a bit of an overstatement to say that this producer is fully devoted to spreading the word about the many benefits of CBD. After all, the company wants to make money, too.

But there’s more than a little evangelism involved in Populum’s operations. Founder Gunhee Park was introduced to CBD oil at a farmer’s market in 2015. He was dubious at first, but then did some research, tried it – and was blown away.

After additional research, Park realized the vast potential of cannabidiol and decided to start Populum in order to demystify CBD, share information on its benefits, and naturally, produce and sell high-quality CBD products. Thus, the basis for the company name: “for the people.”

Park has made his company an advocate for healthy lifestyles through educational programs – and a robust social media presence aimed at making people aware of both Populum and the benefits of CBD.

Transparency has also been a hallmark of Populum’s approach to doing business. For example, it’s one of the only companies that doesn’t make you search its website to find third-party COAs (certificates of analysis done by outside testing firms). A COA is included with every package sold.

Good intentions, education, and transparency are all terrific attributes, but the most important factors in evaluating a CBD company are the quality of its products and the processes by which they’re made.

The news there is good as well.

Populum: The Approach

We have to give props to Populum. Lots of CBD companies tout the fact that they source their cannabidiol from organic hemp, but fail to mention that it isn’t certified organic. There’s no shame in that; government certification is a nightmare to obtain and it’s not really essential.

In the spirit of transparency, however, Populum makes it clear that their hemp plants (all sourced from Colorado) are grown with “organic farming practices” in soil “akin to FDA Certified Organic standards.” That’s the same standard that most high-end companies use, and we feel it’s just as good as being certified as organic. But Populum actually spells it out. We call that real transparency.

We were a little disappointed to learn that the company uses an ethanol extraction/steam distillation process to extract cannabidiol from hemp. It’s a perfectly safe method that retains all of the hemp’s additional components, but it doesn’t preserve as much of the CBD’s potency as does a state-of-the-art process like supercritical CO2 extraction. In other words, the CBD’s still good, just not quite as strong as it could be.

We were pleased to see, though, that Populum’s products all contain full-spectrum cannabidiol. That means that it contains all of the extracted components of the hemp plant: its other cannabinoids (including a tiny amount of THC, way below the amount that would make anyone high), terpenes, and flavonoids. They all work together to boost the potency of CBD in what’s called the entourage effect. Eliminating the other components to produce CBD isolate – as many producers do – creates a less-effective product.

It’s also a good sign that the company is committed to using all-natural ingredients (only one topical has anything synthetic in it). They’re not necessarily organic, but it’s more important that they’re not artificial or harmful. Populum does take one approach that differs from that of most premium-level companies, however; they add extra ingredients to just about all of their products, even their natural CBD oil.

The company says it does that either to provide extra health benefits or cover the raw taste of hemp, and it does use premium ingredients like MCT coconut oil as a carrier in many of its products. But the presence of ingredients like Stevia (used to sweeten the CBD oil) is an important fact for consumers to be aware of.

Populum keeps its product line lean and mean. There aren’t many varieties of CBD oil available, and you won’t find many of the topicals, CBD-infused beauty products, and edibles that producers usually offer.

What they do produce and sell, though, is manufactured in keeping with most of the industry’s best practices.

Populum CBD Oils

populum 500mg cbd oil bottle on white background

There are two versions of Populum’s full-spectrum CBD oil. The primary product is flavored with orange oil, one of four different natural oils added to the cannabidiol during production. The others are MCT carrier oil, hemp seed oil, and grapeseed oil; the last two are intended to provide extra fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Nothing is wrong with that, it’s just unusual. The natural sugar substitute Stevia is also added to make the oil even sweeter.

Four potency options are available for Populum’s CBD oil: 8mg/ml, 17mg/ml, 33mg/ml and 66mg/ml. We did note, though, that the product labels cite slightly higher potencies than the company’s website. That’s a pretty good lineup; they offer low-strength oil for those just starting out or looking to ease mild pain, all the way up to a strong dose for those with serious pain.

The second version of the company’s full-spectrum oil is unflavored, so it doesn’t contain orange oil or Stevia. Only hempseed oil (used as a carrier) and grapeseed oil are added to the cannabidiol to create the unflavored product, and it’s only available in 20.8mg/ml potency.

Populum CBD Capsules

populum 750mg cbd capsules bottle on white background

There are also two versions of this producer’s CBD capsules. The first version contains 18 milligrams of full-spectrum cannabidiol and MCT oil in a non-vegan softgel; the second (and vegan) variety contains 25 milligrams of CBD and MCT oil, as well as corn starch, sorbitol, and the controversial gelling agent carrageenan.

Populum CBD Topicals

populum cbd topicals on white background

You may be noticing a trend here: Populum sells two CBD topical products.

One is a CBD-infused cold therapy rub, which (as its name implies) cools the skin as soon as it’s applied. That gives the cannabidiol time to take effect while the cream moisturizes the skin and eases irritation. Among the other ingredients in this cream are arnica, aloe vera, and chamomile, along with menthol, alcohol, and several safe-but-synthetic carriers. It’s a paraben-free and vegan product.

The second topical option is a CBD-and-lavender face cream. Hempseed, grapeseed, and lavender oils are the skincare ingredients intended to provide minerals and vitamins to the skin for revitalization and anti-aging effects.

Populum CBD for Pets

populum cbd products for pet

All together now: Populum offers two different CBD products for pets.

The pet CBD oil is clearly formulated with dogs and cats in mind since the potencies are much lower than those produced for human consumption: 3.3mg/ml and 8mg/ml. The lower potency is particularly appropriate for smaller pets. This oil contains MCT coconut oil and hemp seed oil in addition to full-spectrum cannabidiol. Populum markets this product as “calming oil,” but there are no extra ingredients that would provide that benefit. We assume they’re referring to the natural benefit of giving CBD to your pet.

The first thing we noticed about Populum CBD chews is that they come in a big bag, good news for pet owners who continually find that they’ve run out of treats. These are organic soft chews with three milligrams of full spectrum cannabidiol. They’re flavored with wild Alaskan salmon and apple, and also contain lentils, grapeseed oil, and several natural extracts.

Populum: The Verdict

This is a CBD producer that knows what it does well and sticks to it while being fully transparent about its motives and methods. Instead of bombarding consumers with a huge laundry list of products, there are relatively few to choose from. However, each is thoughtfully designed and well-executed.

We may disagree with some of Populum’s manufacturing choices, like using a less-effective extraction method, adding a number of other ingredients to its CBD oil, and including Stevia as a sweetener (some studies have shown that overconsumption could potentially have a negative effect on the kidneys). The company made each of those choices in order to create what it considers the best possible products, though – and what’s most important is that the products are all effective and reasonably-priced.

Populum may not be the very best CBD on the market, but it’s certainly in the upper tier.

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