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The BSCG was established in 2004 to protect athletes and consumers from unknowingly ingesting banned substances. Since then, the program offering has expanded to cover quality control and compliance concerns. They now offer the Certified Drug-Free Program, the Certified Quality Program, and the Certified GMP Program.

For those interested in CBD, it’s their fourth and most recent fourth certification that is the most exciting as it brings some much-needed quality control and transparency to the industry.

While the use of CBD continues to grow in the UK, with as many as 8 million Britons using CBD-infused products, the lack of regulatory oversight has meant that there are thousands of CBD products on the shelves. But they are all of varying quality and telling the good from the bad is close to impossible for end consumers.

When you take a closer look at the CBD industry, and the adherence to quality controls, the need for an independent certification program becomes apparent. A recent report submitted by the FDA to the US House Committee revealed that:

  • 50% contained more THC than the legal limit
  • 18% contained less than 80% of the indicated amount of CBD
  • 37% contained more than 120% of the amount of CBD indicated

A study done by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis in the UK showed even more concerning results:

  • Over 60% of the products did not contain the advertised level of CBD
  • Almost 50% contained THC or CBN levels above the legal limit
  • Several products contained solvents and heavy metals

With this in mind, the BSCG’s CBD program offers a more transparent path to purchasing high-quality, ethical CBD products that will provide the full benefits associated with the cannabinoid.

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What is BSCG, and how do they work?

BSCG stands for the Banned Substances Control Group. It’s an international certification program that operates independently. The programs they offer have been explicitly designed to test products to ensure that they are 100% drug-free. Their commitment to health and safety for all has led to them developing a reputation for offering the gold standard in dietary supplement certification.

As a leading third-party company, they specialise in accrediting a range of products including functional foods, homeopathics, medical devices, natural products and nutritional supplements.

BSCG ensures the quality of both the ingredients and the end dietary supplement products. They also work to protect the products against contamination (either with drugs or other agents), to prevent positive drug tests and other health concerns.

To do this, they work with ingredient suppliers, manufacturers, brands, and individual athletes and teams.

What do they protect against?

The BSCG Certified Drug-Free ® program protects against a very long list of 485 drugs. This includes 274 drugs that are on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. It also covers another 211 over-the-counter, prescription or illicit medications that aren’t banned in sports. This makes the certification the most comprehensive certification program in the world and protects users against more potentially harmful drugs than any other.

What programs does BSCG offer?

BSCG offers four different programs, namely:

Certified Drug-Free Program

This is an industry-leading screening program that tests for banned substances. Each lot is tested for more than 496 drugs including those on the WADA Prohibited List and other OTC, prescription and illicit drugs. It also includes an initial review of labels, claims and GMP compliance. (You can read more about it here).

Certified Drug Free® covers:

  • A 21 CFR 111 Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) quality control process review
  • Raw material and supplier review
  • A general toxicology assessment. This means BSCG protects against more potentially harmful drugs than any other program available.

Certified Quality Program

This program is focused on:

  • Verifying ingredient identity and label claims
  • Testing for contaminants (such as heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, or microbiological agents)

Certified GMP (Good Manufacturing Processes Program)

This program consists of onsite audits conducted for GMP compliance with the relevant standards based on the product’s type of product.

Certified CBD Program

For CBD manufacturers committed to producing only the highest quality products, this program ticks all the boxes. It’s a complete solution that covers the other three programs, tailored for the CBD industry. It includes:

  • Drug testing protection
  • Quality control testing
  • Product claim review
  • GMP compliance review

What does BSCG CBD certification mean?

CBD, along with other hemp-based products, have become increasingly popular, often used as an ingredient in dietary supplements, cosmetics and even food. But, worldwide, quality control and regulatory oversight from governments has continued to lag, resulting in the proliferation of sub-standard, even potentially dangerous CBD products being sold to end consumers.

The certification was initially developed to protect athletes and professionals by testing supplements for banned substances. Since the creation of the BSCG accreditation, the scope has broadened to focus on testing drugs of concern for end consumers and animals, not only athletes.

According to the BSCG website, the BSCG Certified CBD™ program is “the first broad-spectrum third-party CBD and hemp product certification program available internationally”, and it provides a much-needed answer to the most critical questions and concerns.

This certification offers these important benefits:

Safety and Risk Management

Because the program ensures that only products that meet the strict requirements become certified, users are assured that they are not at risk of experiencing psychoactive effects or a positive drug test. Therefore, as a consumer, you can follow the recommended dosages of your BSCG-certified product with full peace of mind knowing that it is both safe and within the stipulated THC levels.

Awareness and Education

Many CBD companies are making outrageous claims, but there’s no independent way to verify that what they say is true. With the BSCG CBD certification, you know what you’re getting because it covers hemp supplier verification, contaminant testing, a daily dose limit for THC (for drug testing protection), a review of the claims and a quality control purpose. Their batch certification reports are also publicly available for full transparency.

Confidence and Trust

The certification offers protection for athletes and consumers (such as those who may undergo workplace drug testing), and you can get all the answers you need, including:

  • Could the level of THC present cause psychoactive effects or a positive drug test?
  • Am I using a product derived from legally grown hemp?
  • Are there any harmful contaminants in the product (such as pesticides, solvents, heavy metals or microbiological agents)?
  • Does the product I’m using meet the quality control guidelines for the industry?
  • Does the brand follow good manufacturing processes as defined by the dietary supplement industry?
  • Are there any synthetic cannabinoids present in the batch?
  • Are there banned substances in the product?

Why is it important?

As the number of CBD products on the shelves continues to grow, it isn’t easy to work out which products and brands to choose. The fact that you’re looking at CBD to boost your health and wellness indicates that you’re investing in your own wellness journey, making it essential to know what is in the supplements you take.

You want to know that what you’re choosing is right for you, so it becomes more important than ever to have the assurance that the product you take is certified drug-free and has been rigorously (and independently) tested.

Very few CBD companies have achieved BSCG certification because of the testing process’s thorough nature. Therefore, a brand certified by BSCG communicates their commitment to their clients by submitting themselves to this intensive process.