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What to Look for When Buying CBD Online

Ever since the rising popularity of CBD, a rush of brands and products have flooded into the market. And for those who’ve been wanting to try CBD, this can cause frustration, confusion, or overwhelm. Before buying any type of CBD product, there are many factors that you should take into consideration, some of which include what type of CBD product will work best for your needs, how potent that product is, and the reputation of the brand that makes said product. Finding the best quality CBD product that best suits you doesn’t have to be a difficult process. As long as you do your research and arm yourself with knowledge, you’ll be an informed consumer who shops smartly. 

What are Some Things to Look for When Buying CBD?

This simple guide will help to lead you in the right direction by giving you some of the most important things to be aware of when buying CBD products online

1. Narrow Down the Reasons Why You Want to Use CBD and the Form You’d Like to Use it in 

A man sitting in an office chair applies CBD salve to the back of his neck

Before you buy anything, you need to figure out why you want to use CBD. Once you decide what you’re trying to accomplish by using CBD each day, this will help guide you to the product that will best suit your needs. For example, if you’re targeting specific areas of the musculoskeletal system, then you’ll want to go with a CBD topical cream or salve. If, however, you’re looking to ingest CBD but have a busy lifestyle, then a CBD gummy may possibly fit the bill. The type of product you’ll want to go with will easily be decided once you sort out what you want to use CBD for in the first place. 

2. Confirm the Amount of THC the CBD Product Contains

The amount of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, that’s in a product is very important, as it delineates whether that product was created from hemp or marijuana plants — both varieties of the cannabis plant. Under federal law, only hemp-derived products containing 0.3% or less THC can be legally bought and sold within the United States. Marijuana-derived products that have well over that amount of THC are only legal in states that have medicinal and/or recreational marijuana laws on their books. For those who are new to CBD products, THC is one of the main cannabinoids in the hemp and marijuana plant. Unlike CBD, or cannabidiol, (the second main cannabinoid in the cannabis plant), THC can cause people to feel euphoric when taken in high amounts. Because the THC levels are so low in hemp-based products, there’s no way that you’ll get “high” from using them. So, if you’re looking for hemp-derived CBD products, then you should read the labels and third-party lab reports to confirm that those products have at or below the federally legal limit of THC.

3. Know Your State’s Cannabis Laws

Knowing your state’s laws regarding hemp and marijuana products is key to not getting caught up in any legal issues. As stated earlier, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-based products are legal in all 50 states, providing they contain 0.3% or less THC. Marijuana, however, is only legal in states that have medicinal and/or recreational marijuana laws in effect. Another caveat to using CBD is that if you plan to take your products along with you in your travels, then you may want to either look up the cannabis laws in the states that you’ll be traveling through as well as your destination state, or call the airline or railway you’re booked with to see what their rules and regulations are regarding CBD. 

4. Know Where the Brand’s Hemp was Grown

Hemp plants growing in a greenhouse

It’s of utmost importance to know where a brand sources its hemp. Most hemp that’s grown and used in the United States comes from Colorado, Oregon, or Kentucky. If a brand sources its hemp from overseas, then you should be aware that hemp grown in Europe is not held to the same regulations as hemp that’s grown domestically. Sadly, hemp that’s grown overseas is not subject to state or federal testing. Within the United States, Colorado has one of the most robust hemp programs of any other state. Therefore, it makes sense that a lot of reputable brands source their hemp from there. In fact, Colorado’s agricultural hemp program runs spot-tests on hemp plants while they’re still growing in the field to monitor THC levels. These tests also look for any illegal pesticides that potentially could be used by the hemp farmer. Reputable brands, like FAB CBD, will list their hemp source on their websites and/or on their product packaging. 

5. Read All Third-Party Lab Reports

If you’re buying CBD in a brick and mortar location, ask the employees to see a product’s COA, or Certificate of Analysis. Conversely, if you’re shopping for CBD online, then the brand — if reputable — will post those third-party lab reports right on its website where you can easily find them. Some brands also post a QR code on its products that customers can scan in order to read the product’s lab report. The COA, or third-party lab report, will list the cannabinoid levels in products, as well as the presence of any contaminants like solvents, fungicides, herbicides, heavy metals, and other chemicals. Not all brands will use a third-party lab to test its products or post results on its website. This should raise a red flag for you. Avoid any brands that do not test their products and that aren’t transparent. Reputable brands are highly transparent, take pride in their products, have nothing to hide, and want their customers to know exactly what’s in their products. When it comes to marijuana-based products, these must also undergo testing in the states where recreational and medicinal marijuana sales and use are permitted. If you’re looking for the COA of a marijuana-derived product, then the staff at your dispensary of choice should be able to provide them with you. 

6. Learn the Meaning of Other Terms on the Label

Two young friends hold up their favorite CBD products to the camera

Along with a list of ingredients, there’s other terminology that’s used on product labels. If you don’t know the meaning of a term, don’t hesitate to look it up. As we said earlier, an educated consumer is a well informed and smart consumer. For example, some brands say that they use the industry preferred CO2 extraction process to obtain their extracts. This simply means that the CBD, phytonutrients, and terpenes in the hemp plant were extracted or removed from the plant using a high-pressure carbon dioxide instead of harmful chemical solvents. To date, this is one of the most preferred ways to get the cleanest and purest extracts out of the hemp plant. When looking for CBD products, you’ll notice that a lot of reputable brands use the CO2 extraction process, and FAB CBD is no exception

You should also learn the difference between products that are made from hemp seed oil vs CBD oil. Products made from CBD oil contain cannabinoids, phytonutrients, and terpenes that were extracted from the stems, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant. Products made from hemp seed oil do not contain any cannabinoids, terpenes, or phytonutrients in them at all. These types of products were made by pressing the seeds of the hemp plant, which naturally do not contain any of the components listed above. This is why it's important to read product labels. Nothing is more disappointing or frustrating than finding out the oil you’ve purchased has no CBD in it at all. 

7. Steer Clear of Brands that Make Outlandish Claims

Brands that make sweeping health claims about their products should be avoided at all costs. Furthermore, any brand that boasts that its products can cure any type of illness or diseases should also be avoided. When brands make these kinds of incredible claims, not only is it false advertising, but you’re also being set up for potential disappointment down the road. Because FAB CBD is a respected and reputable brand, we avoid making claims about our products that are too good to be true. Instead, we present facts that are backed up by science, verified customer reviews, third-party lab reports, and the words of distinguished industry journalists. FAB CBD, as well as other well-regarded brands in the industry, use an independent lab to test all of our products, are truthful and transparent with our customers, and never mislead our customers with too-good-to-be-true claims or advertising. Therefore, it pays to always go with a respected brand that’s honest, open, and transparent. 

Putting it All Together: Use Discernment when Buying CBD 

A citrus flavored CBD oil bottle and box sit in front of an open laptop

You should always use discernment when buying CBD products. Take as much time as you need to research brands and products so that you can find one that best suits your goals and needs. Remember, not all brands and products are created equal, so equipping yourself with knowledge will go a long way in helping you avoid cheaply made products from lesser known brands. When shopping for CBD, always go with a product that has a third-party lab report connected to it, as this will give you a detailed outline of the cannabinoids the product contains and any chemicals that may be lingering in it. Researching, shopping, and buying CBD should be a fun learning experience with the excellent end result of a product that you’ll love and feel good using. And it can be exactly that kind of experience if you know what to look for ahead of time when buying CBD.