If you want to know what to look for in a quality CBD product and how to select the right CBD product, this article is for you.
However, CBD is new and there is very little regulation and oversight governing the CBD space, which leads to the rise of many companies selling sub-par and mislabeled CBD products in the market and the consumers have no clear way of distinguishing between the bad CBD product from the good ones.
Consuming a poor quality CBD product can do more harm than good, that is why we have created this CBD Buyers Guide, to tell you everything you need to know about buying CBD, so you can make an informed decision when selecting a CBD product.
What to Look For When Buying a CBD Product?
There are certain things you have to check when shopping for CBD:
1 - Is CBD from Hemp or Cannabis?
According to the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD that is extracted from Hemp plants and contains less than 0.3% of THC is legal at the federal level in the United States, but the CBD extracted from Cannabis is still illegal.
Most of the CBD products you see in the market are extracted from Hemp plants and are widely commercialized in the United States, however, there are certain CBD products available that are from the Cannabis plant, they are only legal in states where recreational cannabis is legal.
If you live in a state where Recreational Cannabis is legal then you have nothing to worry about, however, if Cannabis is illegal in your state then make sure that the CBD product you are planning to buy comes from Hemp.
2 - Source of Hemp
Hemp is one of the most important raw ingredients used in making a CBD product that is grown everywhere in the world. Canada is the biggest producer of Hemp in the world followed by China, France, and the US.
However, the quality of Hemp from other countries is questionable and they are not always grown with the best farming practices in mind as compared to the US.
And it is relatively cheaper for a company to use the hemp imported from a country like China to produce CBD than using the quality hemp from the US, and a few CBD companies do so, which can negatively affect the overall quality of a CBD product.
While shopping for CBD, make sure that the raw hemp used to make the CBD is grown on the farms of the US.
3 - CBD Extraction Process
After the source of Hemp is considered, the next thing to look for in selecting a quality CBD product is the CBD extraction process.
CBD can be extracted from Hemp in many ways, however, to extract CBD in such a way that it does not contain any harmful residue or contaminants and all the goodness of the CBD remains intact is a tough job.
Amongst the many CBD extraction practices, the two of the best ones are:
In the CO2 Extraction or Supercritical CO2 extraction process, the CO2 gas gets compressed until it converts into liquid form, then this CO2 liquid is mixed with Hemp or Cannabis plant materials, which reacts and removes the cannabinoids like CBD from the Hemp.
Later the constituents are brought to room temperature which dissipates the CO2, leaving only the pure Cannabinoids.
In the solvent CBD extraction process, alcohols like Ethanol, Propane, or Butane are used in which the alcohol is soaked with the Hemp plant constituents making a solvent, which then releases the Cannabinoids and Terpenes from the plant.
Later the solvent is heated and cooled to evaporate the alcohol and remove the impurity, leaving only the Cannabinoids.
CO2 extraction is a little better than Ethanol extraction, but both extraction methods are considered safe for producing the highest quality of CBD.
4- COA (Certificate of Analysis) of a CBD Product
COA or “certificate of analysis” is a piece of document that is made by a third party lab, that tests a CBD product against certain parameters to make sure that it contains the optimal quantity and quality of CBD, THC, and other ingredients as advertised by the manufacturer and mentioned on the label of a product.
Another section of the COA also mentions that a CBD product is free from pesticides, heavy metal solvents, microbes, and other harmful contaminants.
COA is one of the most important things to consider when selecting a CBD product and it must come from a reputable third party lab that is not connected or biased towards the manufacturer of the product.
Due to limited regulations from the government in the CBD space, providing an up-to-date COA is one of the most important ways a CBD brand is looking to build trust with their consumer.
COA is one of the first things you should consider when selecting a CBD.
5 - Brand Reputation and Customer Reviews
CBD is still new but certain CBD companies have quickly built their reputation in this space by doing everything right and selling the best quality CBD products at considerate prices.
These top CBD companies also have a huge number of satisfied customers and reviews of their products making them more popular and trustworthy than the rest of the CBD companies.
When selecting a CBD product, make sure that the CBD brand has a good reputation amongst its peers, has positive reviews, and has higher customer satisfaction rates.
6 - CBD Concentration
CBD concentration or dosage is amongst the most important things to consider when shopping for CBD.
If you are planning to use a CBD product to treat a certain condition, you have to make sure that you are getting the appropriate concentration of CBD that can effectively address your needs.
A high concentration of CBD isn’t necessarily the best product, while a low concentration of CBD may not be able to address your condition.
However, it is advised that you start with a low concentration of CBD product and take it at a similar dosage for at least a week to see how it works for you. If you don’t feel the desired effect, increase the dosage by 5 to 10 milligrams and again observe for a week.
Repeat this process till you reach the desired result.
For more information about choosing the right CBD concentrations read the CBD dosage guide.
What Type of CBD Product to Buy?
All the available CBD products in the market can be classified into three types:
1 - Full Spectrum CBD
Full Spectrum CBD contains all the plant extracts that are naturally found in Hemp or Cannabis Plants, including hundreds of Cannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, and more), Flavonoids, and Terpenes.
It is the most effective type of CBD because the wide range of Cannabinoids and Terpenes works together in synergy to create an entourage effect in your body that further increases the benefit of CBD multifold.
However, Full Spectrum CBD also contains THC (less than 0.3%) which can lead to a false positive on a cannabis drug test screening.
2 - Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad Spectrum CBD is a type of CBD extract containing almost all of the whole plant constituents including a wide range of Cannabinoids, Flavonoids, and Terpenes. But it’s missing one key factor: THC.
The Cannabinoids and terpenes of a Broad Spectrum CBD product also lead to entourage effects, however, due to the lack of THC, it is less potent than a Full Spectrum CBD.
3 - CBD Isolate
CBD isolate is 99% pure CBD. It lacks all the other Cannabinoids, Terpenes, or any other plant materials.
Due to the lack of Cannabinoids and Terpenes, CBD isolate does not exhibit an entourage effect and is odorless and tasteless, unlike the Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD.
When choosing the perfect types of CBD to buy, one key fact plays an important role in it: Drug Test.
If you are prone to a random Cannabis drug test, avoid Full Spectrum CBD. Consider Broad Spectrum and CBD Isolate. However, if getting tested for drugs is not one of your concerns then Full Spectrum CBD can be your best bet because it’s the most potent and effective of the bunch.
What Kinds of CBD Products to Buy?
There are so many different kinds of CBD products available in the market and choosing one can be a hassle.
However, if you are new to CBD or confused about buying, then focus on only the most popular kinds of CBD products, like:
- CBD Gummies are one of the most popular kinds of CBD products, due to their being discrete, affordable, and tasty. Plus they’re easy to take, and their dosing is pretty accurate.
- CBD Oils are also the most common kind of CBD product that can be consumed by placing a few drops in your mouth for 30 seconds before swallowing or they can also be mixed with your food or drinks.
- CBD Capsules are another method of CBD consumption that is pretty popular in medical communities since they can be consumed like CBD gummies and similarly dosed with a very precise amount.
- CBD Flowers or Prerolls is the most fast-acting kind of CBD, that can be smoked like any other Cannabis flower, however, to dose it accurately is the tricky part.
Ultimately, what kind of CBD product you select depends only on your personal preferences, but try to explore different options before choosing one.
Where to Shop For CBD?
CBD is available everywhere, however, due to limited regulations shopping for CBD is not safe everywhere.
For starters, don’t buy CBD from local gas stations or convenience stores because they have the most chances of having poor quality CBD products, plus you can rarely find an updated COA of a CBD product in any of these locations.
If you live near a licensed CBD dispensary or a CBD brick and mortar store, get your products from there, however, I find them to be a bit costly and less reliable as compared to shopping for CBD online, and it’s impossible to read a customer review of a CBD product in any physical shop.
The best place to select and shop a CBD product is from a reputable brand, online. Because it gives you a wide variety of choices and all the information is available at your fingertips like the source of Hemp, CBD extraction process, COA, and the positive customer reviews makes the shopping experience a lot better.