CBD products have definitely gone more mainstream since the 2018 Farm Bill decriminalized hemp, but there are still dangers to be aware of when looking for reputable cannabidiol–especially when purchasing online. It’s more common than you might think. This Penn Medicine study from 2017 found that almost 70% of the CBD products they tested had different cannabinoid levels than advertised on the label.
Hemp-derived CBD is a largely unregulated industry, which means there are plenty of bad actors out there trying to take advantage of people. It doesn’t help that industry jargon can make deciphering what’s actually in the hemp tincture your purchasing complicated. Fear not, just follow these simple tips and you’ll be purchasing CBD online safely and with confidence in no time!
Avoid Third-Party Sellers Like Amazon for CBD
One of the best and easiest things you can do when buying CBD is to purchase straight from a trust-worthy manufacturer.
For one, middlemen sellers will usually hike up the price in order to turn a profit, so if you do buy from these sellers, you may end up paying more than you actually need to. They also have less liability and incentive to make sure the products are safe and accurately labeled.
Amazon should be avoided in particular. There’s no denying that the one-stop shop online retail giant makes ordering everything from cooking oil to decorative garden gnomes super convenient. Still, when it comes to CBD, you should definitely look elsewhere. Amazon technically doesn’t even allow vendors to sell any form of the cannabinoid on their platform, but that doesn’t stop shady manufacturers from selling hemp seed oil disguised as CBD oil.
Look for the COA (Certificate of Analysis)
When it comes to any cannabis byproduct, lab testing is absolutely crucial for determining the quality, safety, and dosing guidelines.
To find out if a company has lab tested their products, just go to their website, which, if you listened to our first step, you should be at already. In almost all cases, companies that have spent the money and time to rigorously lab test their products will display their certificate of analysis somewhere on their website. The COA shows what was tested, what the results were, and who did the testing. E1011 Labs keeps ours right here, and each package of stelo™ and Ari53™ has a scannable QR code that allows you to see the results of your specific batch quickly and easily.
Keep in mind; not all lab tests are created equal. Be wary of companies that do all their testing in-house. The conflict of interest is too great to get trustworthy results. Testing for cannabinoid content allows consumers to administer doses accurately, but that’s not all the lab should be testing for. Heavy metals, mycotoxins from mold, and leftover pesticides can wind up present in harvested hemp and can present a huge health hazard to consumers. Make sure the lab results in the COA of your potential products also include testing for these potentially harmful chemicals. Notice on our COA where these results are listed prominently on the summary section.
Understanding the Label
Sometimes CBD labels look like they’re written in another language when you’re unfamiliar with cannabis. Even the name of the product itself can be surprisingly deceptive.
Hemp seed oil is often marketed in a way designed to trick naive consumers into thinking they’re getting a CBD product. In actuality, hemp-seed oil only contains CBD in incredibly trace amounts–not nearly enough for someone to get any benefits from. Hemp oil is questionable as well since it could refer to hemp-seed oil or CBD oil. If you’re purchasing a tincture labeled as hemp oil, look for a specific amount of CBD–it will usually be measured in mg.
One way to avoid this confusion entirely is to purchase full hemp flower. Not only is hemp flower more natural than extracts or tinctures, but the inhalation methods used to consume it are far more efficient than with CBD edibles or oils. This means that you can actually get more useable CBD from hemp buds than hemp oil, even if they technically contain the same amount. It’s about bioavailability and the way our bodies process cannabinoids.
Follow these three tips, and enjoy CBD safely and conveniently!