When you go to the store or farmer’s market to pick up produce, it’s easy to choose a quality product. If you’re buying bananas, you can look at the color to pick the sweetest one. If you’re choosing an avocado, you can squeeze the outside to find one that is the right firmness. If you’re buying berries, you can give them a whiff to see if they’re ripe.
It’s a little tougher to choose a quality product when you can’t see, feel, or smell it, though. Yet that’s the leap of faith we take every time we buy CBD products online. Fortunately, there are tips for choosing quality CBD products that you can follow, so you can make a good purchase.
Brush Up on CBD Lingo
Thinking back to our school days for a second, many of us can relate to needing to write a paper about something we haven’t read. In this scenario, you sprinkle your (probably lousy) piece of writing with jargon to make it sound high-quality. Your friends might have been impressed—even if your professor wasn’t. Similarly, you can be led astray by a company that fills its page with official-sounding lingo if you don’t know what it all means.
Broad-Spectrum vs. Full-Spectrum
When you go to buy CBD oil, you will typically see two different options: broad-spectrum CBD oil and full-spectrum CBD oil. The main difference between them is the THC content. Broad-spectrum oil has absolutely no THC content, while full-spectrum oil has trace amounts of THC in it (though, typically, still below the legal 0.3% limit).
While neither product will get you “high,” knowing whether there is any THC is important for choosing the CBD product that’s right for you. For those who have THC sensitivities or are afraid of the THC showing up in a drug test, broad-spectrum is the way to go.
CBD oils don’t just contain CBD. They contain cannabinoids, flavonoids, and, if you’re using a full-spectrum tincture, trace amounts of THC. CBD isolate is different. Isolate comes in the form of a powdery substance and is almost purely the CBD itself—no cannabinoids and certainly no THC. This may make it a good choice if you are new to CBD, but if you are looking for an oil and the entourage effect, you will want to look to another product.
Bioavailability refers to how quickly something gets absorbed into your bloodstream. In other words, this illustrates how much CBD you’ll absorb and how long it takes for it to “kick in.” The bioavailability of CBD is mostly determined by how it’s consumed. For instance, if you take an oil under the tongue, you will usually absorb far more of the CBD into your bloodstream than you will if you take a gummy.
With that said, if a company is making super inflated rates such as 100% bioavailability, consider choosing a different company. Even vaping—which is the consumption method with the highest bioavailability rate—usually caps at 56%, though typically it is between 34% and 46%.
Review the Certificate of Analysis
A certificate of analysis is the closest thing we have to pinching an avocado when it comes to shopping for CBD online. This is the document that tells you everything from how much THC is in a product to if there are any heavy metals or pesticides present. Since there is not a lot of regulation as far as CBD advertisement goes, companies can claim a lot of things about their product. However, the certificate of analysis can’t.
But not all certificates of analysis are made equal. When looking at the certificate of analysis, double-check to see who performed the lab testing. If it is the company that’s selling the product, there may be some bias in the results. That’s why good companies will have a third party come in to test their lab results, so consumers like you know the results are legitimate.
Look at the Hemp Growing Standards
The thing about hemp is that it can grow practically anywhere. This is awesome for hemp farmers, but it makes things a little more complicated for you the consumer. That’s because hemp’s ability to grow anywhere means that it can grow even in soils that contain toxins.
The best way to avoid slightly toxic hemp products is to look at where the hemp is sourced. A CBD company may source its hemp from anywhere in the world, and not all countries have the same growing standards as we do here in the United States. Buying products sourced more locally will increase the chances of getting quality CBD. Ours is grown in beautiful (and toxin-free) Colorado.
Check the Extraction Method
There are multiple ways of extracting CBD from hemp. The two most common that you will see in commercial CBD are CO2 and solvent. CO2 extraction involves taking CO2 and bringing it into a supercritical state to extract the CBD. Solvent extraction involves treating hemp in chemicals such as ethanol, butane, or propane.
Even though solvent extraction is generally safe and has been used by plenty of companies, the thought of solvent extraction makes some consumers nervous. If you are one of these people, that’s okay. Just research the extraction method favored by the company you are considering.
Research the Brand
When it doubt, Google is always there to help you make good choices, right? If you’re not sure about a brand, feel free to look into some product reviews. Are people complaining all over the internet about how awful the product is? If no, it may be worth a shot. If yes, maybe look elsewhere.
It’s important to note, though, that if you research reviews for any product online, there will be outliers. One person will say it’s the best thing since sliced bread and another person will claim that the product is the worst thing to ever happen to them. The best practice is to look at the rule and not the exception.
The expression “let the buyer beware” is especially true in the virtual CBD supermarket. Even so, choosing quality CBD products isn’t impossible. It’s simply a matter of putting products you see online to the test. If you’re looking for a product to test, then we have CBD products for sale that are ready for your inspection.