This is the first time we are reviewing a topical product, which slightly modifies our evaluation process, since there is no flavor to test. However, because of the fast growing interest in balms and other topical treatments, we knew it was merely a matter of time before a product would reach our review team. Before we proceed with our usual process of having the company introduce themselves and their product via their website or other medium, here is a quick overview of how our scoring system works.
We recently tweaked our scoring algorithm to allot greater weight and value to our third-party test results. This, the product’s potency, is the most important of our four categories, and the scoring should reflect that importance.
The four categories in which products are evaluated are as follows:
- Potency – this, the most important factor when judging a product, reflects the accuracy of their CBD content claims; we allow a 20% variance from the total claimed on the package, but begin shaving points off the 10-point maximum score once variance exceeds 10%
- Effects – this is how our testers experienced the product
- Taste – again, each tester will report on their opinion and experience of the product’s taste (will not apply for this current review, a topical treatment)
- Packaging – our testers also weigh in on and pick apart the packaging, determining how well it reflects, presents, and holds the product
As mentioned before, the potency factor is given greater weight, as this is the only factor which is objective instead of subjective. While each of these four factors earn a score between 1 and 10, the weight of the potency is factored at 5, while the other three categories are each given a weight of 1, for a total 8-point weighted system.
For full details on how the scoring system functions, please visit our CBD Scoring System page.
Now on to our latest review, this time of Hemptotally’s THC-Free Organic CBD Balm (1000 mg)…
We found the Hemptotally website to be a mixed bag of good information about their products, but with a huge gap when it came to learning more about the people and the company behind this line of hemp products. The home page of the site is broken into three general sections:
- The topmost area highlights the products which they manufacture, some of which are unique, like Pure CBD Isolate Powder and even a Weighted Black Basalt Massage Stone (the only non-CBD/Hemp product offered)
- The next section was designed to attract affiliates who wish to promote their products and earn commissions
- The final section promotes wholesale and private label branding of their product line
Their About page only offers a handful of articles (four at the time of writing this review), subsections on wholesale and private labels, and a Contact Us link. The Contact Us page shows their physical address (they are headquartered in Irwindale, CA), business hours, an email address (unlinked), and phone number. Beneath this is a picture of what we assume to be their storefront, along with a paragraph about hemp. The closest thing we could find which revealed anything about the company and people behind it was this statement found in that paragraph: “…we’ve made it our mission to make wholesome products that provide all the benefits of the hemp plant.” From our perspective, that is a rather broadly generalized mission, commendable as it might be.
Finally, you find a contact form which you can complete and send off to them if you want a personal reply.
Our initial response to the overall company presentation was lackluster, simply because we had no real or actionable information about the company which might influence our opinions or beliefs!
Our next step was to examine their own product presentation, so off we went to the THC-Free Organic CBD Balm page…
THC-Free Organic CBD Balm
Our visit to the product page for the THC-free Organic CBD Balm (which we would be soon testing) was much better and more informative than the company itself, for which we were appreciative.
At the top of the page is the shopping cart selection for the balm, so those who already know about it can select their strength (in mg) and quantity, add it to their cart, and place their order.
For those curious to learn more about the balm, just start scrolling down the page. First, you will find a general information paragraph about the balm, suggesting a few uses (for muscular aches, stiffness, and even sunburn, to name a few), along with mentioning a few ingredients and other information.
Most impressive to us were the five doses they offer for this two-ounce (60 ml) tin of balm, which are:
- 200 mg – suggested usage for this, the lightest dosage, is for minor discomforts
- 500 mg – a mild dose, it’s recommended for daily use, particularly to keep flare-ups at bay
- 1000 mg – this medium dose is good for either skin outbreaks or tired, aching muscles
- 2000 mg – for allergic reactions, intense itching, or deeper pains and soreness, the moderate-strength dose is suggested
- 3000 mg – those with burns, strained muscles, and minor injuries find the highest strength most effective
The ingredients are more numerous than many CBD products we review, but this is because it is a balm. With this topical product, the following ingredients are used in its manufacturing:
- Hemp Extract (Aerial parts) – this means that only parts of the hemp plant are used in extracting CBD, not the hemp seeds
- Emu Oil – from the fat of the emu bird, it works as both a topical treatment and carrier oil, eases aches and pains, helps wounds heal faster, and even is an effective sunscreen
- Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil – produces a strong, sweet, woody scent, helps with respiratory issues, and alleviates colds
- Ozokerite – is a paraffin wax which makes up the basic balm and is a regular ingredient in cosmetics and other personal care products
- Methylparaben – this paraben is added to extend the shelf life of the balm
- Isopropyl Myristate – an emollient used in topical preparations to aid absorption of the balm’s healing ingredients
- Ethylene/Propylene Styrene Copolymer – helps create a gel-like consistency and stabilizes the formulation
- Hydrogenated Cera Microcristallina – is one more emollient used in the balm preparation
- Petrolatum – aka petroleum jelly, this is a moisturizing agent
- Mineral Oil – used in skin care for centuries, this famous emollient locks moisture into your skin, perfect for retaining the CBD dosage
Once you parse out all the scientific names, you can see that these are standard ingredients used by many balm manufacturers (sans the CBD, which is what makes this balm of interest to us and you, our reader). Also, in the short informational paragraph above the ingredient list, they mention a light scent which is not too overwhelming, which would originate from the eucalyptus oil mentioned above.
Finally, and rather oddly, an 8-second silent YouTube video shows the product box at every possible angle. We’re not sure how it enlightens us further about the balm, but we admit to watching it three times in a row because a) it was short, and b) it was weird!
Anyway, after reading about the product, we were much more encouraged and interested in getting an outside evaluation and giving this balm a go ourselves!
The CBD Informative Testing and Rating
Regular readers of our reviews know this drill, but here’s a quick recap for any newcomers.
To maintain consistency in lab results, we work with one specific and highly professional, third-party testing group, Level One Labs in Arizona, and pay them to run their own independent and unbiased analysis. It is this result which gives us the information we require to tabulate an accurate and fair potency score, our most important factor.
Third Party Test Results
In this instance, the Certificate of Analysis released by Level Ones revealed a total CBD cannibinoid count of 1177.20 mg, in comparison with the product label claim of 1000 mg. Even though this is more than the claimed amount, the variance is a very high 17.72%, well beyond our acceptable 10% range. Consequently, this knocked the potency score down to a 9.23 out of 10.
CBD Informative Assessment
Now it is our turn to give you the team assessment of the company and how the product affected them personally.
The Manufacturer – Hemptotally
While we still feel their website could use some personalizing, particularly sharing the success story of the company and driving philosophy of the founders, our direct interactions with Hemptotally have been great!
As you know, we are sticklers for packaging and design. In this category, Hemptotally came through with flying colors, beginning with the outside of the shipping box which emblazoned their positive and thought-provoking tagline “Rediscover the Miracles of Hemp” clearly across the packaging and which literally gave us chills upon first glance. Those excellent vibes beamed even stronger after opening the box and being struck by the careful and thoughtful display of the product and the inclusion of a personally-written Thank You note!
The entire packaging and presentation screamed “Class!” and “Quality!” loud and clear, earning it an indisputable and solid 10 out of 10 in the packaging category.
The Product – THC-Free Organic CBD Balm (1000 MG)
After such a positive and impressive presentation of and introduction to the balm, of course our team members, who each have their own unique aches and pains from the trials of daily life, were ideally prepared for a positive experience.
To each and every tester’s delight and amazement, this balm delivered real and noticeable results, helping relieve back pains, shoulder pains, arm pains, neck pains, and even more. There was no doubt in the minds of our testers, along with unanimous agreement, that this is an amazing product which delivers true relief from aches, pains, and other discomforts. For this reason, the product scored a perfect 10 out of 10 for effects, a difficult achievement which few of our reviewed products accomplish due to the highly subjective nature of this factor: this stuff really worked for everyone!
The CBD Informative Overall Rating for Hemptotally THC-Free Organic CBD Balm (1000 MG) – 9.52
All things considered, Hemptotally’s THC-Free Organic CBD Balm (1000mg) earned a solid score of 9.52. The only ding against them was the extra-high CBD content as detected by Level One Labs.
(Some may wonder why we would complain about results coming in showing a higher-than-expected CBD content; our reasoning is that as a medical treatment, it’s important to have accurate dosages. Recognizing that it’s impossible to overdose on CBD, this is not an alarming concern but rather one of accuracy and transparency.)
Our unhesitating and strong recommendation is to definitely try their THC-Free Organic CBD Balm yourself. You will be amazed and very likely physically relieved! By the way, check out our companion product review of Hemptotally’s Vegan CBD Gummies (200 MG) to see how they fare with edible products!