The CBD market is new, and still largely unregulated around the world. This means that consumers need to be extra careful when shopping for CBD products, be it in physical stores or online.
More: Medical cannabis’ power couple – why we need both CBD and THC
The good news is that while some care is needed, finding trustworthy sellers isn’t that hard. Producers are well aware that there is a trust issue associated with CBD. That’s why legitimate sellers go through great lengths to prove that their products are safe and effective.
All you need to stay safe as a consumer is a bit of information, and a healthy dose of skepticism. Here’s what you should look for when shopping for CBD online.
1 – Has the product been tested?
The best way to ensure the quality of a CBD product — be it an oil, tincture, or an isolate — is to have each batch tested by a third-party laboratory.
Look around the seller’s page. Do they display certificates that prove that their CBD has been tested? Those certificates are often located in either their home page or the product page for each item on sale. If you can’t find such certificates, that’s a red flag.
2 – Does the shop have a reputation?
Look for the store’s social media profiles, and read customer reviews around the web. If neither exists, that’s a sign that the store is very new, which is another red flag. Scam sites often have no reputation because the owners rebrand every few weeks to dodge customer complaints.
3 – What is the extraction method utilized?
You can’t just stick a needle into hemp and suck the CBD out of it. Extracting cannabinoids out of hemp is a complicated process. If done wrong, it can lead to products that have varying concentrations of CBD, or no CBD at all. Look for companies that extract CBD using supercritical CO2. Powerful solvents like butane and octane can get the job done and are cheaper to use, but these solvents may contaminate the final product.
4 – Where does the hemp come from?
Hemp is very resilient. It’s known to have deep roots and to suck a lot out of the soil around it. Which is great for farmers, since it means the plant can survive in harsh conditions. However, if the soil happens to be contaminated, all those contaminants will be soaked into the plant and stay on its biomass. That’s how heavy metals, pesticides, and funguses end up in hemp, and then in CBD products around the world.
Ideally, the seller you are considering should disclose the source of their hemp. And you should look for stores whose hemp plantations have their soils tested regularly for heavy metals and other contaminants.
5 – Is the price too good to be true?
CBD is expensive to extract, and the market is very competitive. Meaning that if someone is selling their product way cheaper than everyone else, then there’s likely something wrong with it. Not always, of course, but prices that seem too good are definitely a red flag. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, Cibdol’s CBD Encyclopedia has a good guide on CBD oil quality.