Since the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized hemp, CBD products have been showing up all over the place. You can find the cannabinoid in convenience stores, pharmacies, and many major retail chains. There are even Whole Foods CBD products!
But just how trustworthy is this CBD? Is it safe to buy CBD from the corner store? Keep reading to learn some simple tricks to make sure the CBD products you purchase are safe and effective.
CBD Is Largely Unregulated
The CBD industry is largely unregulated. That means that there’s no legal entity requiring manufacturers to test for the amount of CBD and other cannabinoids present in their products. Worse yet, these companies aren’t required to test for pesticides, heavy metals, mycotoxins, microbials, or other potentially dangerous foreign materials.
While not all CBD companies shirk the responsibility of testing their products, it’s up to consumers to make sure they are buying quality CBD that has been adequately tested. Unfortunately, you can’t assume that because CBD is being sold in a legitimate retail establishment, that the products are safe.
Best Places To Buy CBD
That being said, not all CBD retailers are created equal. The CBD oil they sell at the seedy gas station across the street is very likely going to be of a lower quality than the CBD oil sold from a licensed dispensary.
When buying from national chains or a CBD store online, always be wary of products labeled hemp oil or hemp seed oil. Hemp seeds don’t actually contain a meaningful amount of cannabinoids, and neither does the oil derived from them. CBD laws can vary drastically from state to state. Rather than trying to navigate this complex legal minefield, big chain stores often opt to stock hemp seed oil instead of CBD oil.
Your best bet is to do a search for CBD stores near me, online sellers who specialize in CBD products, or dispensaries near me to find a store dedicated to cannabis products. Think about it like dining: the best Italian food comes from an Italian restaurant, and you don’t want to order lo mein noodles from a taco stand. Likewise, the best CBD comes from stores that focus on cannabis. However, look out for illegal dispensaries—especially if you live in the state of California. The state is currently plagued with cannabis businesses operating outside of the state’s regulatory board. If you see large amounts of cannabis in glass jars instead of in pre-packaged bags, or budtenders weighing out grams in front of customers, this may be a sign that you’re in an illegal dispensary.
Lastly, if you are buying from a third-party seller such as Amazon, make sure that the third-party seller allows for the sale of CBD. Amazon does not allow for the sale of CBD on their platform, such that any CBD products listed on Amazon are falsifying their CBD content.
Certificate Of Analysis
Regardless of where you choose to purchase your CBD, the most important thing to do is make sure it has a certificate of analysis. A certificate of analysis, or COA for short, is a quality assurance document that indicates the CBD has undergone lab testing. Companies that spend the time and money to ensure their products have been tested will usually prominently display the COA on their website. E1011 Labs keeps ours right here.
There are levels to lab testing, and not every lab test ensures that a CBD product is safe. That’s why it’s crucial to not only check for a certificate of analysis but to read it as well.
First, you’ll want to make sure the product was third-party lab-tested. If the company conducts its own lab testing, there’s an obvious conflict of interest. The temptation to fudge results makes these kinds of tests not very trustworthy. Look for CBD companies that use accredited labs that aren’t associated with the business itself.
Next, you’ll want to check and see what the lab actually tests for. Just testing for potency isn’t enough to ensure a product is safe. At E1011, we test not only for potency and terpenes but also for:
- residual solvents
- heavy metals
- foreign matter
This comprehensive testing makes sure that we are selling products safe for consumption. Here is an in-depth guide with more information about how to read and decipher a COA (Certificate of Analysis).