By now you’ve heard that CBD is all the rage right now. CBD helps people with anxiety, inflammation, pain and more!
If you’re looking to buy CBD oil for the first time and not sure where to start, here are a few pointers to get you on the right track so you don’t get scammed into buying a product doesn’t live up to what the company is claiming.
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. If you click through and purchase a product, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
What is CBD?
Before I dive into this CBD buyer’s guide, if you’re asking yourself, “What is CBD?”, then you may want to read up on what CBD is, and how it works. It’s truly amazing!
To summarize, CBD is an acronym for Cannabidiol and is one of many Cannabinoids found in both the cannabis and hemp plants.
CBD interacts with a neurotransmitter system inside our bodies known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system has very important functions to maintain homeostasis.
When CBD interacts with the human body, its properties help with all types of ailments including arthritis, pain, inflammation and anxiety, just to name a few.
So if you’re suffering from any sort of discomfort and you’re looking for relief, you’ll definitely want to give CBD a try.
Buy CBD Oil
It seems like in the last several years, a TON of new companies selling CBD oil and other products such as vape, edibles and salves, have popped up onto the scene out of nowhere.
With all the influx of new CBD products from newer companies, it’s sometimes difficult to know what is considered an outstanding and effective CBD product and what is considered sub-par, at best.
Unfortunately, like all other industries, there are many “snake-oil salesmen” who are trying to pawn their crappy “CBD” product onto new and unsuspecting customers who are trying CBD for the first time or looking to try a different brand.
If you’re looking to buy CBD oil and you’re not sure where to start, here are five things to keep in mind before making your first purchase so you can steer clear from scams and potentially dangerous products in the marketplace.
1. CBD Source: Domestic vs. International
The originating plant source (biomass) of CBD is one of the most important factors in determining whether or not you should use a particular brand’s CBD product.
The hemp plant is a bio-accumulator, meaning it quickly absorbs everything in the soil. Soil can contain toxins, heavy metals, pesticides, and nuclear fallout.
If the hemp grower is located in a country where there aren’t many regulations for soil safety, then the hemp plant is at risk for containing poisonous toxins that are hazardous to your health.
With the recent high demand for CBD products, many companies are using growers located in other countries, such as China, to purchase inexpensive plant source or CBD extract.
Unfortunately, many of these overseas growers and extractors are not regulated and/or are extracting CBD from their plant source as a secondary use of their harvest – meaning, no care for soil treatment is given to these crops when their primary source for harvesting is for industrial purposes such as fiber for clothing.
How do you avoid purchasing from a company who doesn’t source from other countries?
The best case scenario is to buy commercial CBD where the hemp is grown local to you. For instance, I use a hemp oil extract that is locally sourced in my state of Oregon (Bend, Oregon to be exact). You can check out Bend Scientific for more information on their oil.
However, buying from locally sourced plants is not always ideal or realistic.
Look for a CBD product from a known grower and from a country that regulates and monitors its soil conditions.
Primary sourced material grown and extracted here in the United States or in Canada has had the soil, the plant material, the resin, the carrier oil, and the final product all tested for pesticides, fungicides, heavy metals plus any type of contaminants or other materials that could be present in the water.
Stay away from brands that use hemp sourced from countries such as China and Eastern Europe where hemp-growing or extraction practices are not up to the same safety standards of the United States.
2. CBD Extraction Method
Try to find CBD companies who use the CO2 extraction method rather than using solvents to extract CBD from the hemp plant.
The CO2 extraction method is very safe because it doesn’t leave a solvent residue behind. However, it does have some drawbacks – CO2 extraction method has a difficult time pulling beneficial terpenes (essential oils) from the organic plant structure.
What you gain in a more pure product from the CO2 extraction method, you also lose by not capturing the whole essence of the entire plant.
The alternative methods are butane or ethanol-based extraction. Both of these chemicals may end up in your CBD product, so be mindful of this when shopping around.
You’ll know if a CBD product contains either butane or ethanol based on lab results or otherwise known as Certificate of Analysis (COA).
The great thing about technology, is that there are always new and and innovative extraction methods being created as the market grows and evolves.
The extraction process if definitely a combination of art and science and look for companies who are on the leading edge of safe CBD extraction methods.
3. CBD Certificate of Analysis (COA)
Every reputable CBD company should be testing their products from seed to shelf.
At the very minimum, they should be testing the hemp extract they’re using all the way to the finished product. The contents of COA tests may likely vary from state to state depending on local compliance statutes.
It’s always ideal to find CBD product companies who utilize the services of a third-party lab for their testing. This isn’t always the case, and some CBD companies use their own internal testing methods, such as Joy Organics. You can check out the lab results of Joy Organics CBD products.
A CBD Certification of Analysis (COA) will tell you many things about the product you’re using including the following:
- Potency Analysis (all present Cannabinoids including CBD and THC)
- Residual Solvent Analysis (levels of solvents present such as butane, ethanol, etc)
- Pesticide Analysis
- Microbiological Contaminates (presence of mold, bacteria, etc)
- Terpene Profile, if applicable
When you’re reviewing a COA of a product already purchased, make sure you ask the company for the COA that matches the batch number on your bottle as test results may vary from harvest to harvest.
Many companies will post links to their latest COA on their website. If they don’t have a COA readily available, ask the company to send you a copy via email.
If they refuse to send you a lab test, move onto the next company. Transparency is extremely important in the CBD industry.
4. CBD Product Label
There are a few things you want to look for when buying a CBD product. Check to make sure all the following items are listed in a clear and easy-to-understand format on the product label:
- Serving size and amount of mg of CBD per serving
- Servings per bottle
- The amount of mg of CBD present in the entire bottle (make sure this matches what the COA is telling you for that particular batch)
- Batch number (so you can compare to the COA, if needed)
- Ingredients used (stay away from any types of carrier oils such as canola or soy)
- Recommended serving size and/or instructions on how to use CBD oil
Unfortunately, the CBD market is not heavily regulated by any one government agency. Any company can claim whatever they want on a label. You as a consumer should try all you can to decide if a company is making a solid claim on their product (i.e. the amount of CBD milligrams per bottle).
It’s like the vitamin/supplement industry – labels should always have a disclaimer that reads that the FDA has not evaluated what is in the product (among other statements).
As a consumer, we can investigate label claims as much as possible, but like vitamins, we come to a point where we must trust that what we’re getting in a bottle of CBD oil contains the amount of CBD the company is claiming on the label.
5. Hemp Seed Oil vs. Hemp/CBD Oil
Don’t be fooled into buying a product that only contains Hemp Seed Oil.
Now, don’t get me wrong, hemp seed oil is a nutritious oil used for many purposes (cooking, skin care, etc).
However, Hemp Seed Oil contains very little or no CBD at all and is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, whereas Hemp Oil (or CBD Oil) is made from the stalks and flowers of either the hemp or cannabis plant.
When you read CBD product labels, you might come across Hemp Seed Oil in the ingredient list. As long as there is Hemp Oil/extract in the ingredient list and CBD levels are present in the COA, then you’re mostly good to go.
Hemp Seed Oil is commonly used in CBD products as a “carrier oil” – basically a Hemp Oil or Hemp Oil Extract is added to a carrier oil for delivery.
If the only oil listed in the ingredient is Hemp Seed Oil, know that you’re likely getting a nutritious oil rather than an oil containing CBD.
At the end of the day, it’s important for companies to provide transparency to the consumer buying CBD. Knowing what to look for is key and will save you a ton of time and money.
To summarize, the 5 things you should watch for when you buy CBD Oil so you don’t get scammed are the following:
- Source of your CBD
- Extraction Method
- Certificate of Analysis
- CBD Product Label Claims
- Understand the difference between Hemp Seed Oil and Hemp/CBD Oil
If a CBD company you’re investigating doesn’t at least meet the bare minimum requirements listed in this buyers guide, it might be best to move onto the next company.
After all, it’s crucial to know what you’re putting into your body and you want to make sure you’re using a good quality CBD product that has the amount of CBD in each serving as the label claims.
Remember – knowledge is power.