There’s no doubt that CBD is the fastest growing wellness product the world has seen since the multivitamin. Now with the Coronavirus causing mass lockdowns, almost all CBD sales have shifted online.
If you were confused by the sheer number of products on the store shelf, it pales in comparison to the thousands of CBD products you’ll be searching through online. Hundreds of brands, with dozens of products from topicals and oils, to beverages and gummy bears.
So much choice isn’t always a good thing. When it comes to buying CBD online, it presents some challenges, especially for people new to CBD shopping.
The reason is that not all CBD products are created equal. That bears repeating.
Just like most things, there are high-quality products, low-quality products, and all thing in between. But without trying every product out there, how do you know how to choose the good products over the bad ones?
Most people don’t. Most folks are buying CBD the way they buy wine – based on a pretty label and a sale price. And just like with wine, labels are an easy way to disguise low-quality products as high-quality.
Unfortunately, this kind of marketing not only leads to consumers wasting money on products that don’t work, but it can even be dangerous if there are any unsafe ingredients contained in a low-quality product.
It’s a big problem. But there is a simple solution.
As more products hit the market, it is getting much more important for consumers to understand what to look for when shopping for CBD online.
In this article we’ll go over everything from how to read lab reports to determining the quality of a product―this article will arm you with the knowledge you need to buy CBD online.
The first thing to look for when buying any CBD product is if the product was tested by a 3rd party lab. Make certain that lab reports are listed on the company’s website. If they aren’t, that’s a huge red flag.
It could be that the labs came back showing high levels of contaminants, or that the product doesn’t actually contain the ingredients listed on the label. That’s why it’s so important to look for a valid Certificate of Analysis (COA) before purchasing any CBD product online.
The COA from a 3rd party lab is your window into the quality of the product. When shopping online it is much easier to access these reports than while standing in the aisle of a store. Look for a link on the company’s website that says “Lab Results”, “Testing Results” or “COA”. If you can’t find it, Google the name of the company and the words “lab test results”.
Once you’ve located the COA for the product, check to see if the report comes from a reputable, ISO accredited, lab. Labs accredited in accordance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) meet the highest standards and operate under supervised guidelines.
Next check for the testing date. If it’s older than a year move on. Cannabinoids degrade over time and the labs are no longer applicable after a year.
Check for harmful contaminants such as heavy metals, mold or bacteria. Safe products will list “Pass” next to specific contaminant’s “status”. If you see the word “fail”, then that product has just failed to meet your quality standards.
Make 100% sure you are getting all the cannabinoids promised on the product’s label. If the label says the product contains 1,500mg of cannabinoids, then the report should also reflect that number. It’s normal for the numbers to be a little bit off, but any significant difference would be another red flag that something isn’t quite right with this product.
Don’t forget to verify that it’s a legal product. For a CBD product to be considered federally legal it must contain 0.3% THC or less. If the COA shows the presence of any more THC than that, you could be in legal trouble for possessing the product in some states.
Just like anything else you are going to put into or onto your body, when it comes to CBD you should always, always, always check the ingredients.
Does the product use organic, natural ingredients or is it a long list of additives you can’t pronounce?
You’ll also want to look for ingredients added to enhance the effects of the product. Many CBD brands add other herbs to cover up using low-quality CBD, so it’s important to know exactly what you are getting.
This is one time you don’t want a mystery origin story. CBD products are only as good as their source and that source is the Hemp Plant. But where was that plant cultivated? Who grew it? How was it bred? Harvested? All of these things play a significant role in the final product you are buying.
The brands you should trust have a direct relationship with the farm growing their hemp. Otherwise it’s nearly impossible to know what you are buying.
Hemp usually comes from either Europe, China or the United States. Guess which one has the best quality? The U.S. feeds the world for a reason. We have the most nutrient-rich soil, best weather and highest cultivation standards. Always look for the familiar “Made in the USA” while shopping for CBD online.
Also, while shopping online for CBD, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is choosing between “Full Spectrum CBD,” “Broad Spectrum CBD,” or “CBD Isolate” products. Knowing the difference between them is probably the most important factor in your purchase decision.
The difference between full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate CBD refers to the cannabinoid extraction process. Basically, how they turned the plant into the product.
High-quality CBD products will use what’s called a CO2 extraction process.
This method uses pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) to extract the cannabinoids from the plant matter and compress them into a cold liquid state, while preserving the terpenes. Because CO2 extraction maintains the purity of the cannabinoids while not contaminating the final product with solvents, it’s by far best extraction method and the standard for any quality CBD product.
Now that you are satisfied with the quality, it’s time to figure out how much CBD you are actually getting in your product. It sounds simple enough, but many product labels can be confusing and it can be difficult to figure out how much CBD is in each dose.
CBD tinctures, for example, are dosed using a dropper. Bottles contain either 15ml, 30ml, or 60ml of liquid, with each dropper holding 1ml of liquid. (15ml bottle = 15 servings, 30ml = 30 servings, etc.). In order to figure out how much CBD is in each dose just divide the total CBD content in the bottle by the number of servings.
For instance, a 30ml bottle with a total CBD content of 1500mg would contain 50mg of CBD per dose/dropper (1,500mg ÷ 30ml = 50mg).
This is especially important to know when evaluating the value you are getting from the product.
When buying CBD online, you want to make sure you are getting the best value for your money. Check the price and see how it compares with the cost of other similar CBD products. If it’s less than or equal to comparable products, then congrats. Looks like you’ve found a winner. Just be sure you calculate any additional shipping costs, discounts or rewards first.
Pricing can be deceiving, especially on the internet. A product may seem less expensive at first but can end up being pricey when additional costs are tacked on.
If you have done your due diligence, it’s likely the product you’ve found is a little bit higher in price than the average. That’s not a bad sign.
The price might be justified by high-quality ingredients, unique features or being born of a company with an outstanding reputation. (Or it could be just fancy packaging.)
One advantage you have shopping online for CBD versus being in the store is your ability to source the crowd. That is, to see what others are saying about the product or brand.
Check out the reviews section of the website, or even better, follow their social media and see how they handle dissatisfied customers, if any. You’ll gain useful insights into how others felt about the product and you could avoid potential problems you may have missed.
Now that you know how to shop for CBD online, don’t forget to educate someone else about CBD. One of the silver linings to the self-quarantines across the world is more people sending gifts to loved ones. While you’re shopping for the best CBD products, why not share one with someone you love.
It feels good to help others feel good.
That’s why we put so much of ourselves into our products at Provida. People are what makes the difference. Being able to provide only the highest quality cannabinoid products is a privilege we take very seriously at Provida. It’s an ethos that goes into every product before it makes it’s way to your medicine cabinet.
We feel good when you feel good.