A recent study conducted by the market research company Brightfield Group predicts that CBD will become a $22 billion dollar industry by the year 2022. Other studies aren’t quite as optimistic as Brightfield, but all industry researchers and suppliers agree that CBD sales, estimated at nearly five billion dollars in 2019, will continue to grow at an enormous rate over the next few years.
So it’s easy to understand why there’s been a gold rush, with hundreds of companies pushing to stake a claim in the market ever since the sale of CBD products to consumers was legalized in 2018. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of all the newer entrants into the CBD market and to be honest, it’s not really worth paying attention to a lot of them – since many are more interested in quick bucks than high-quality products.
That’s why one recent entrant stands out.
Vida Plus (the company prefers the graphic identifier of Vida+) hasn’t been selling CBD products for all that long. Even so, this small California firm has made some waves with its focus on natural, organic cannabidiol (the full name for CBD) and its advanced quality control testing procedures.
Are Vida+ products as good as they sound? Let’s find out.
Vida Plus: The Background
Vida+ is based in San Diego but has a large presence in Colorado as well. The company has partnered with Folium Biosciences, a large hemp R&D and extraction company located in Colorado; it’s not clear, but apparently, Folium is actually responsible for the extraction of cannabidiol and the production of Vida+ CBD products.
The company doesn’t disclose the details of its origin, but it seems to be grounded in natural and homeopathic medicine since Vida+ belongs to two different associations of licensed acupuncturists, and has an in-house integrative medicine specialist as a clinical advisor. It also claims to have “the help of FDA-trained professionals” in producing its products, although we’re not quite sure what that means.
The stated goal of Vida+ is to help customers reduce their use of prescription drugs and enjoy healthy lifestyles, through the combination of plant-based medical traditions and “modern naturopathic science.” To us, that sounds like a fancy way of saying that they make CBD products.
That leaves it up to customers (and reviewers) to dissect the way they do it.
Vida Plus: The Approach
There are no federal laws or mandates specifying best practices for cannabidiol producers. So CBD manufacturers have a number of manufacturing processes to choose from, even if they’re creating high-quality products.
When we do our reviews we look carefully at those choices, because they often make the difference between good and great CBD oil, capsules, and topicals.
The best CBD products are created with cannabidiol extracted from organically-grown, American hemp. Organic crops, of course, haven’t been exposed to pesticides or other hazardous chemicals; hemp grown in America is usually of higher quality because farmers have to adhere to U.S. growing regulations.
Vida+ scores a top grade here. Their CBD is sourced from organic hemp grown on Colorado farms.
There are a number of ways that cannabidiol can be extracted from the hemp plant. Almost all of them are safe (extraction with hydrocarbons or chemical solvents are the exceptions). Most methods, however, preserve less of the CBD’s potency than the optimal extraction method known as supercritical CO2 extraction. Producers use other methods because they’re less expensive.
It’s difficult to be sure whether Vida+ uses supercritical CO2 extraction. They claim to, but they also claim to use cold press extraction, a less-expensive and less-efficient option. Our guess is that they do indeed use the superior method because they produce a potent product.
Cannabidiol products generally require the inclusion of what’s called carrier oil, which helps to effectively distribute the CBD. The best choice is an MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil like coconut oil.
Vida+ uses hemp seed oil as a carrier. It’s perhaps the second-best choice, but not quite as effective as MCT oil.
Some manufacturers add artificial ingredients to their CBD products, often as a flavoring agent to hide the raw natural taste of cannabidiol. The best producers use all-natural ingredients, or even better, don’t add anything to their products except carrier oil.
As we expected, Vida+ passes easily this test. There’s nothing extra added to their CBD oil, only natural herbs are added to their capsules to enhance medicinal benefits, and almost all of the ingredients in their topical products are completely natural.
Full-Spectrum vs Broad-Spectrum Cannabidiol
There are two schools of thought when it comes to the production of CBD products. Full-spectrum cannabidiol retains all of the components of the hemp plant, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Broad-spectrum is almost the same, but the tiny amount of psychoactive THC naturally present in hemp is removed during the production process.
The minuscule THC content (<0.3%) isn’t enough to get the user high, nor is it usually detected on drug tests. It does, however, contribute to what’s called the “entourage effect,” in which all of the hemp’s contents boost the effectiveness of CBD. That’s why full-spectrum CBD (with the THC included) is believed to provide more medicinal benefits than broad-spectrum cannabidiol.
Vida+ only produces broad-spectrum CBD, with the THC removed during processing. Some believe that’s a “safer” way to make CBD products, and Vida Plus subscribes to that theory. Are the company’s broad-spectrum products a better or worse choice? Only you can make that decision.
All reputable manufacturers submit their CBD products for third-party testing, to ensure they contain the promised amount of cannabidiol and no hazardous substances. It also proves that broad-spectrum products contain no THC.
Vida+ goes to great length to emphasize the types of tests performed on its CBD product line, with lots of scientific explanations and technical terms. But in truth, all of the language and explanations simply mean that the company has its products third-party tested before sale and the results are available to buyers – the same as with any other reputable CBD company.
The bottom line: Vida+ makes quality products and appears to use industry-standard best practices. The products might be a bit better if a different carrier oil was used, but that’s really just quibbling.
Vida Plus CBD Oils
Vida+ doesn’t have as many CBD product lines as some competitors do, but the company offers a good choice in CBD oil (which the company refers to as tincture).
There are no added ingredients in these oils, just broad-spectrum cannabidiol, and hempseed carrier oil. And aside from the use of hempseed oil instead of MCT oil, the quality criteria we’ve discussed previously are all met. It’s a very good CBD oil.
There are three potency choices available from Vida+: 20 milligrams per milliliter, 40 mg/ml, and 60 mg/ml. The lowest option is a bit strong for some conditions, and a few patients with serious pain might want a higher potency than 60 mg/ml, but 20-40 mg/ml is usually the sweet spot for most people. All of the CBD oil choices are unflavored, so they have the natural, raw taste of hemp.
The company also emphasizes its use of brown bottles, which it says are designed to protect botanical oils from UV rays that could cause the oil to degenerate over time. It’s not a big deal, but it’s certainly a thoughtful feature.
Vida Plus CBD Capsules
The same broad-spectrum cannabidiol used to manufacture Vida+ CBD oil is used in the company’s CBD capsules. It’s combined with what’s described as a “proprietary blend” of botanical ingredients; they include MSM, a natural supplement believed by some to fight inflammation, and turmeric, which is commonly used by naturopaths to help people suffering from pain, inflammation, and depression. Those are all conditions that can benefit from the use of CBD, so the goal of the additives is to provide extra relief.
The capsules are sold in “regular” and “advanced” form; the only difference is that the regular capsules contain 10mg of CBD, and the advanced contains 20mg. Vida+ does not say what the capsules are made from, so there’s no way to know whether they’re vegan or vegetarian-friendly.
Vida Plus Topicals
Right now, Vida+ only sells one topical CBD product. CBD lotions and serums are on the drawing board, but the company’s CBD face serum is the only topical for sale at the moment.
This serum contains broad-spectrum cannabidiol along with a host of natural oils, extracts, and vitamins designed to moisturize and smooth facial skin. Green tea, grapefruit oil, mandarin oil, and aloe vera are among those ingredients. But be advised that while the Vida+ face serum is paraben-free and vegan, it also contains substances like carrageenan and ethoxydiglycol (ethoxylated alcohol), which some people prefer to avoid.
Vida Plus: The Verdict
Vida+ produces a moderately-priced line of CBD products that are quite good – perhaps not in the very top tier of cannabidiol products, but pretty close.
While the company doesn’t offer low-dose oil or capsules and doesn’t have some of the super-potent choices you’ll find sold by a few competitors, it does produce CBD oil and capsules that are the right potencies for most regular CBD users. Combine that with Vida Plus’s quality manufacturing practices and solid third-party testing, and you have a very good line of CBD product lines – as long as you prefer THC-free cannabidiol, rather than slightly more-effective full-spectrum CBD.