The Oracle Review Criteria

Your path to an easy (or not so easy) high, simplified.

We understand choosing the perfect CBD product isn’t easy. There are thousands out there, each with varying degrees of quality, safety, effects, benefits, and uses. Some products are mind-blowingly excellent, while others are undeniably shitty. 

Differentiating between the two is the ultimate struggle, so here’s where we come in. 

We like to think of ourselves as your second sight. A microscope into the world of cannabis, providing you with untethered access to the good, the bad, and the downright ugly in the industry. 

From innovative and forward thinking cannabis products to shady brands selling cheap knock-offs at extortionate prices, we’ve seen it all — and then some. We want to share our experiences and expertise with you. 

With our insight by your side, we want to make the purchasing process a little easier for you. Taking half a century of cannabis industry experience, as well as academic backgrounds in science and technology, we compile objective and balanced opinions with scientifically-backed research, all written by experts who love the beauty of cannabis and its ability to heal your body.


Personal guidance, practical advice

You’re a human being. Our CBD reviews treat you like one. We don’t see you as site traffic, nor do we see you as just a number. We see you as someone who needs our help navigating the CBD industry. 

Our goal is to simplify the CBD purchasing process through personalized guidance and practical advice. We make sure each of our reviews speaks to you.

When we say “personal guidance”, we don’t just mean throwing some cannabis terminology onto a page hoping you follow it. We’re passionate about healing, growth, and self-improvement through cannabis, and we believe a step-by-step approach is the best way to introduce more people to this amazing plant. 

So, if you’re stuck on which CBD oil to purchase, unsure of what cannabis strength is best, or you’re just totally lost and in need of help, don’t fret. We make things as simple as possible. No industry-specific terms. No fluffy words. No bullshit. 


Product Selection Process

Our product selection process is rigorous. We don’t just review any company or product. We make sure they’re credible and reputable, not only because we want our reviewers to be testing safe and above-board products but also for you to learn about the very best in the industry.

For cannabis reviews (not hemp-derived CBD), we purchase the products ourselves from legitimate cannabis dispensaries. No illegal black market knock-offs. For hemp-derived CBD products, we do our own shopping and sometimes we receive samples from the vendor. 

In order for us to maintain a fair and impartial rating system, none of our reviewers have any contact with the companies they review. They simply receive the products, give them a spin, and let you know what they think of them without any outside influence.


The Oracle Rating System: How We Evaluate Products and Brands

The Oracle Rating System (ORS) is designed to identify quality, consistency, and integrity across the board. We test 3-6 of the most popular products a cannabis company offers and give them a combined score, as opposed to individual ratings. Why? Because we believe this is the most effective way of evaluating extract quality, manufacturing integrity, adherence to safety, and overall credibility. If 3-6 of the products are decent, we believe the entire range is almost certainly decent as well. Likewise, if 3-6 of the products are poorly made, the chances are the rest will be pretty terrible too.

The Four Fs

Function 

Ever bought a product that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to? Yup. It sucks. We totally understand the feeling. When we judge a CBD product’s functionality, we cover all aspects e.g. how it works, how easy it is to use, and whether it lasts as long as promised. If it’s a CBD vape kit product, we ask “is it built well?”, “do the interface buttons operate correctly?”, and “how long does each battery cycle last?”. Likewise, if it’s a CBD edible, we ask “is the quality up to standard?”, “is it easy to eat?”, and “will it melt in 50-degree heat?”. The same goes for all other CBD product types. 

Finish 

Picture this. Your CBD product arrives. You’re filled with excitement. You rip open the packaging and it looks like shit. Bummer. One of the first things we look at is the finish of the CBD products we review. We evaluate the packaging, build, aesthetics, and labeling i.e. the overall presentation of the product before it lands on your doorstep. If the packaging is flimsy, we’ll tell you. If the colors are slightly boring, we’ll let you know. If the labeling is incorrect or misleading, we’ll give you a heads up. We got your back. 

Flavor

We fully appreciate everyone has different flavor preferences. Some people enjoy the natural taste of CBD hemp extract, while others prefer the more fruity side of things. One thing’s for sure, you don’t want a CBD product that tastes unpleasant, nor do you want it to have a completely different flavor to what’s advertised. When we evaluate the flavor, we don’t just look at how nice it tastes. We look at flavor strength, flavor ingredients, after-taste, and who it’s best suited to. 

Feeling 

Your CBD experience hinges on how your chosen product makes you feel. The experience of CBD and all the other beneficial plant compounds is one of the main reasons you purchase cannabis and CBD products in the first place, right? When we evaluate the “feeling” of the cannabis product, we look at several things. 

  • Effectiveness — Does it provide you relief? Will it alleviate your symptoms? 
  • Potency — Was the product strength enjoyable or overwhelming? Is it suitable if you’re a beginner? Is it sufficient if you’re an experienced user? Does it cause a high?
  • Onset — When does it begin to work within your body? When will you start to experience its valuable benefits? Immediate effects or slow-releasing?
  • Duration —  How long does the experience last? Are the effects long-lasting? 
  • Overall experience — How were the overall effects? Will it provide you an enjoyable experience from start to finish?

All these combined help us paint a fuller picture of not only its value but if it’s right for you and your requirements. 

Potency, for example, is a key factor when purchasing cannabis products. Marijuana potency primarily comes down to THC, which causes the high. 

If the THC content is too much and you’re a beginner, it’s probably not a good idea to use it before a family dinner or a work event. A good THC potency is one you can reasonably handle without negative effects and embarrassing outcomes. Hemp-derived CBD products with less 0.3% THC guarantees no high and no unwanted side-effects but enough cannabis qualities for subtle therapeutic benefit.


Breaking down the scores

9-10 = Oracle Approved 

A rating reserved only for the best. Any brand or product with a 9-10 rating goes above and beyond even our wildest expectations. Sometimes our reviewers cannot put the greatness into words. The kings and queens of the cannabis industry. Worth every single cent you spend. 100% Oracle Approved across every single rating. 

7-8 = A Must-Have

A must-have addition to your cannabis arsenal. One to show off to all your friends and family. Ticks all the right boxes. High-quality, effective, great flavor, and works as it should — and then some. 

5-6 = A Decent Purchase

A decent brand with equally decent products. Worthy of space on your shelf. Maybe some minor flaws but performs well, tastes great, works as it should, and comes in great packaging. 

3-4 = Approach With Caution

If you want a so-so, below average product that kind of does what it’s supposed to, a 3-4 rating is sufficient for you. Certainly not the worst offender. Some products are OK but the majority are a bit shit and forgettable. Don’t expect anything mind-blowing. 

0-2 = Don’t Waste Your Money

No excuses for this. Terrible across the board. Our expert reviewers have deemed this unsatisfactory on every level. Not worth spending your hard-earned money on. Very poor quality. Into the garbage it goes. 


Technical Details

Availability

Availability means where you can purchase your cannabis-derived product and whether it’s legal for you to do so.

Not all cannabis-derived products are available (or legal) across the US. Marijuana and marijuana-derived products above 0.3% THC aren’t federally legal and only limited to US states where they’re legalized. Hemp-derived CBD products are federally legal in the US but some states prohibit them. Sound confusing, doesn’t it? No worries. Our reviews simplify this. 

The reason why it’s good to know your cannabis product is legal is you don’t want to get on the wrong side of the law. You’ll also find out whether it’s purchasable nationwide online (hemp products) or in select cannabis dispensaries (marijuana).

Price 

CBD products don’t all have the same price tag. Lower-end products are cheaper, while premium offerings are more expensive (generally). However, there are so many variables at play, such as strength, size, and ingredients used, as well as the type of product and hemp extract. It’s also worth remembering a higher price doesn’t equal high-quality and a lower price doesn’t equal poor quality. 

The way we judge the affordability of a brand is simple. We average out the cost per mg for each product the company offers, which gives us the final total average. We then evaluate whether the price reflects the value, and whether products are worth spending your hard-earned money on. 

  • $ = $0.05 per mg
  • $$ = $0.10 per mg
  • $$$ = $0.15 per mg
  • $$$$ = $0.20 per mg
  • $$$$$ = $0.25 per mg

Strength 

CBD and other cannabis-derived products come in various strengths. Some are designed for beginners, while others are created for seasoned cannabis veterans. The biggest mistake many users make is choosing the wrong strength for what’s required. We make this easier for you. 

When we look at strength, we analyze the minimum and maximum strengths offered across the entire brand’s range. We then determine whether the strength is suitable for a beginner, intermediate, or experienced CBD or cannabis user e.g. 250mg for beginners, 750-1000mg for intermediates, and +1200mg for experienced users. We also evaluate what each strength is useful for e.g. pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, general relaxation, etc. 

Extract Type 

There are three extract types: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate extract. Knowing the difference between the three is crucial.

Full-spectrum extracts carry CBD and THC, as well as a full range of other valuable plant compounds (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids), Broad-spectrum extracts contain everything full-spectrum does minus THC. CBD isolate extracts are highly refined extract with no other plant compounds but CBD. 

It’s important for us to know you’re purchasing the right hemp extract type. Each extract type has its own unique benefits but we generally consider broad-spectrum and full-spectrum the superior choices. 

  • CBD isolate = Just CBD and no other plant compounds (sometimes terpenes are added back into the formula)
  • Full-spectrum extract = All plant compounds (CBD, CBC, CBDV, etc) + THC + terpenes + flavonoids
  • Broad-spectrum extract = All plant compounds minus THC

THC Content 

THC content refers to how much THC is present in the product you want to purchase. There are three main categories: THC-free, less than 0.3% THC (<0.3%), and more than 0.3% (>0.3%). 

  • 0% = THC-free. The company uses an isolate or broad-spectrum hemp extract. No detectable THC present. 
  • <0.3% = Full-spectrum CBD hemp extract. Some (or all) of the brand’s products carry less than (but also no more than) 0.3% THC. 
  • >0.3% = Medical cannabis (marijuana) containing more than 0.3% THC. Only offered in licensed medical cannabis dispensaries. These dispensaries are located in US states with legalized medical or recreational cannabis. 

Cannabis Type

Cannabis type determines whether your product is hemp-derived or cannabis-derived. Knowing the distinction between the two is crucial. You don’t want to purchase a full cannabis product with more THC than you bargained for. Likewise, you don’t want to purchase a hemp-derived product if you require a higher amount of THC. Legality is also the issue. Full cannabis isn’t federally legal and only available in certain US states. 

  • Hemp = Hemp-derived CBD. Very accessible. Federally legal to use, possess, and distribute in all 50 US states. Less effective than full cannabis (marijuana). Non-intoxicating. No “high”. Effective for general health and wellness, relaxation, anxiety, pain, and inflammation. 
  • Full Cannabis (Marijuana) = Products derived from high-THC marijuana. Federally illegal in the US. Less accessible. Only available in US states with legalized medical or recreational marijuana. Solid in licensed marijuana dispensaries. Most effective for medical conditions.

Extraction Method 

Here we ask what type of extraction method is used for the company’s extracts. There are several methods of extracting CBD and other beneficial compounds from varieties of cannabis. Brands commonly go for carbon dioxide (CO2) and ethanol extraction. Both very clean and effective ways of extracting all the good stuff from cannabis, resulting in a high-quality extract full of beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, waxes, and lipids. 

  • CO2 Extraction = Arguably the best and most versatile extraction method. Uses CO2 as a chemical-free solvent. Very little (if any) contamination. Retains a large number of valuable plant compounds. Useful for all cannabis product types. 
  • Cold-Press (Whole Plant) Extraction = A very simple but superior extraction method now used by many cannabis brands. Similar to squeezing orange juice or how olive oil is produced. Manufacturers crush hemp into small chunks and squeeze it through a machine. Very low heat and no solvents involved. 
  • Ethanol Extraction = Another popular extraction method. Uses grain alcohol you find in everyday liquor as a solvent. Can be extracted via warm or cool temperatures. Cooler ethanol extraction is useful for preserving cannabinoids in their precursor acid form. Warmer or hotter ethanol extraction causes less precursor acids but more fully-fledged cannabinoids such as CBD, THC, etc. In general, ethanol retains a large range of plant compounds. May cause unnecessary terpene loss, however. 
  • Live Resin Extraction = Commonly known as the best and most natural extraction method. Freshly cultivated and trimmed varieties of cannabis are instantly frozen for 24-36 hours then extracted. No drying, heat, or oxidization. No degradation of plant compounds. You get the full cannabis experience. Perfect for cannabis concentrates with very high plant compound content. 

Cannabis Origin 

It’s important for you to know where your hemp comes from. Not all cannabis is sourced from one location. Many US states grow and cultivate it.

Some locations are better than others. California, Oregon, and Colorado are considered to produce the highest grade cannabis. Optimal weather, excellent growing conditions, and strict regulations regarding safety, purity, and quality. We thoroughly investigate the company’s website to find out where specifically the cannabis comes from. If it’s imported, that’s a red flag. If no information is publicly available, that’s a red flag also. We believe brands have a responsibility to be transparent here. If they’re not, we’ll let you know. 

Product Types 

Here we look at a cannabis company’s range of product types. This is important. There’s no point looking at a review and not finding what you need. Need a cannabis gummy? Looking for a cannabis oil? Pulling your hair out because you can’t find a semi-decent cannabis topical? Don’t worry. We list all the product types to save you the hassle of searching yourself. 

  • CBD + Cannabis Oils = Very versatile and useful for a range of different ailments, mainly suited to beginners but seasoned users find use for them as well
  • CBD + Cannabis Edibles = Slow-absorbing and slow-releasing, best-used for gradual relief throughout the day
  • CBD + Cannabis Concentrates = Highly-versatile, can be used for a whole range of applications from vaping to oral consumption. High potency. Great for overall health and wellbeing, as well as relief from specific ailments
  • Vape Products = Instantly effective (roughly 5-10 minutes), good for indoor use (no smell or aroma)
  • Smokable Products (Pre-Rolls, Joints, etc) — Instantly effective, better for outdoor use (stronger aroma), mostly used by seasoned cannabis users

Disclaimers:

  • We make money from certain reviews through affiliate commissions. However, we don’t let this cloud our judgment. If we love a product, we’ll let you know. If we dislike a product we’ll let you know. Money doesn’t influence our honesty or impartiality. 
  • We never accept payment for writing a review, no matter how much is offered. This is unfair on you and completely goes against what we’re about. Editorial integrity is our priority. 
  • We may receive free samples from vendors for testing purposes. Our reviews aren’t affected by this. Our reviewers focus on fair, impartial, and honest feedback for you and only you. Pleasing companies won’t ever come into it.