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Cannabidiol products are everywhere! As fun and exciting as it is, shopping for CBD can be rather daunting. How does one know what to look out for?

If you make sure to look out for a few key things, your CBD shopping experiences can always be pleasurable and you’ll end up with good products every time. Everything from growing principles such as where the plant was sourced, to more advanced factors like the manufacturing process all come into play when choosing the best CBD products. So, what else do you need to look out for? While everyone may have some personal preferences, following some basic guidelines – like those listed below – will make a world of difference.

Sourcing

Let’s start at the beginning of the operation with sourcing. CBD comes from the hemp plant, but what do you know about the plant itself? Where and how was it grown? If possible, look for locally grown hemp as many countries have certain regulations that growers need to adhere to. For example, in the US, hemp farmers are required to get certification through their state’s department of agriculture.

Shopping for CBD? Look for the best sourcing.
Shopping for CBD? Look for the best sourcing.

You’ll also want to make sure the hemp was grown in a safe, healthy, and sustainable manor. Some plants may be grown in polluted soil. Others might be doused in dangerous pesticides. Regardless of the specific type of contamination, whatever is in the plant will undoubtedly be in the finished CBD product, which then goes into your body! Make sure it’s safe and as close to organic as possible. You can usually find this info on the manufacturers website.

Whole Plant or Isolate?

Although this can boil down to personal opinion (some people prefer strictly CBD), experts agree that good quality CBD oil typically uses the whole plant. It’s cheaper to manufacture CBD products from isolates, and while it’s not harmful in any way, you’ll be missing out on many of the additional plant compounds that are beneficial as well.

Terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids all work in tandem with CBD to create the most holistic healing effects possible. And don’t worry, you can find whole plant oils that are still free of THC, as many people don’t want the psychoactive effects and can’t risk failing a drug test.

Manufacturing Process

Another important aspect to consider when shopping for CBD is the manufacturing process. This information will either be noted on the companies website or you can find out by calling and speaking to a customer service representative. Companies that sell bargain basement CBD products probably use cheap extraction methods too.

Ideally, you’ll want to look for CBD processed via supercritical CO2 and/or ethanol extraction. Some alternative methods companies use to keep their costs down are propane, hexane, pentane, and butane; all of which are toxic solvents that happen to be found in propane and it almost goes without saying that smoking, vaporizing, or otherwise consuming these poisons is hazardous to human health.

Third Party Lab Testing

Shopping for CBD? Don't forget to check lab results.
Shopping for CBD? Don’t forget to check lab results.

A respectable CBD brand (or any cannabis brand for that matter) should have recent lab results readily available for their customers. Some companies have them on their websites but it’s more common to see lab results directly on the product packaging.

It’s important to pay attention to whether the company did the labs themselves or if they sent their products out to a third-party, independent lab for testing. There are labs designed specifically for this, and it’s to make sure the finished CBD products are safe, untainted, and of course, high in CBD and low in THC.

Other Ingredients

Many products are made by combining CBD with other ingredients. Make sure you check what’s in the products you’re considering buying. It’s best to avoid anything with chemical additives and unnatural ingredients, and this applies to all CBD products including but not limited to vape oils, dietary supplements, topicals, etc.

For example, many companies produce their vape oils with propylene glycol—the same stuff used in antifreeze. A lot of people are highly sensitive to it and can have problems such as allergic reactions and asthmatic symptoms. Topicals and hair care products on the other hand, may use phthalates in their products. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors and have become extremely controversial in the beauty industry over the last few years.

What are the Company’s Best Practices?

Best practices refers to the company’s ethics and how they choose to run their business. When possible, look for companies that comply with FDA regulations. If that’s not an option, given the nature of current hemp regulation in the US and throughout the word, make sure to do your own research

What kind of ingredients are in their products? Does the packaging include clear and concise labeling that has information about proper storage, usage, and dosage? Is it easy to understand and can you verify the accuracy from an external source? It’s also important to steer clear of products that promise to cure specific ailments, since more than likely, those claims haven’t been substantiated.

Online Footprint

Lastly, you should do a google or Facebook search of the company and see if they have a strong online presence. This is often overlooked but a significant social media presence and numerous consumer reviews can definitely tell a story about a company and their products. Clearly a retailer or manufacture with loyal customers and a large following is more transparent than a company that guards their information and silences their customers’ views.

And this doesn’t apply only to well-established companies. Even startups can offer enough information on their sites and options for open discussions. This should be enough to make customers feel safe shopping there.

What are some things you look out for when shopping for CBD? Do you have a general checklist for buying products? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line in the comment section!

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