Now that industrial hemp and hemp-derived products are legal to produce, sell, and consume – thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill – it may seem like CBD products are popping up everywhere, even at the grocery store and your local gym. But unfortunately, CBD products are more widespread than information about CBD is, which can make it hard for the average consumer to become an educated buyer.
Thankfully, any good online CBD store worth its weight in salt will have a plethora of information at the ready to answer any questions you may have. This brings up some interesting questions:
- Is it easier to shop for CBD online or in-person?
- Which is cheaper?
- Are the products sold at a brick-and-mortar store better than an online CBD store?
- Which one can best provide me with the information I need?
Online CBD Store vs. The Brick and Mortar
If you’ve found yourself Googling “where is the closest CBD store near me” and “where to buy CBD oil,” then this is probably the right article for you. While online shopping has steadily become a more normal practice, the number of online shoppers has skyrocketed in recent years, creating a booming online industry for everything from CBD products to clothing and cars.
But for those who prefer to physically touch or hold a product in their hands before choosing to make a purchase, online shopping can seem daunting. However, when it comes to buying CBD, having all the information you need at your fingertips is a massive advantage for finding a reputable company and quality products.
Before we get into it, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of shopping at an online CBD store:
Online CBD Store Pros
- There’s never a line.
- You can shop from the privacy of your own home.
- You have all the information you need at your fingertips.
- There is no embarrassment in asking questions.
- Time is money – and you save both when ordering from an online CBD store.
- Online CBD stores rarely have sold-out products.
- You can be sure you’re getting quality products.
- Reputable online CBD stores provide third-party testing results.
Cons of Shopping Online:
- If we could teleport the product to you, we would. But unfortunately, when ordering online there’s no way to physically hold the product in your hands before buying (unless you’ve bought it before, of course).
- While shipping times are vastly improving from what they used to be, there is still often a two- to three-day shipping period before you receive the product. Unlike physical CBD stores, where you leave with your purchase.
The Full Breakdown
One of the biggest benefits of shopping at an online CBD store is that more often than not if you have a question you’ll find the answer somewhere on the website. But even if you can’t find it, and there’s still something you don’t know, there is never any embarrassment in asking questions. In cases like this, there’s something to be said for the anonymity of the internet and shopping from the comfort of your home.
Speaking of which, any avid online shopper will tell you that shopping online saves you both time and money. At least an hour, considering how long it takes the average person to search “find a CBD store near me,” get to the store, shop, order, and return home. Maybe more if you’re the kind of person who prefers to add items to your cart and then take a few days to think about it before hitting “purchase.”
But when you do, you’ll be happy to find that the average price of CBD is often lower when purchased online than in-store. This change in cost is due to several reasons, including lower overhead, inventory, and location costs. Plus, you are much less likely to come across a sold-out product online than you are at a brick-and-mortar CBD store.
Ultimately, when it comes down to it, local CBD stores are focused on selling as many products as possible. What this means is that they will often offer various CBD products from many companies, some of which may not be as reputable as others. The more companies they stock, the less likely the CBD store is to be able to guarantee you’ll be purchasing a reputable product.
Because their sole focus is on increasing their profit, they won’t discourage you from purchasing something from a less reputable company. Even if one of the products on the next shelf over is of higher quality. These companies, in turn, may not produce all their products in the same manner. And because you’re not purchasing from that company directly, the CBD store likely won’t be able to provide you with testing results for every company or product.
Of course, that’s assuming you purchase from a dedicated brick-and-mortar CBD store. This isn’t taking into account the CBD products you may find at the grocery store, health foods store or other locations that may sell a handful of CBD products. The employees of such stores are unlikely to be able to answer any specific questions you may have.
That being said, there are some in-person CBD stores out there that are extremely knowledgeable about their products and more than happy to answer any questions you may have. You should be able to determine what kind of CBD store you’ve found after a few minutes of conversation with the employee behind the desk.
We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again: you should never trust a CBD company or product unless they can provide independent third-party testing results for every product. Otherwise, there’s no way you can know what you’re using.
Not Every Online CBD Store Is Reputable
Although the chances of an online CBD store having more readily available information and a larger selection of products are high, not every online CBD company is as reliable as the next. Above all else, we want to make sure you’re receiving a quality product that follows and abides by US regulations. So when it comes to choosing the right CBD store for you, here are a few questions you should keep in mind:
- Where was the CBD sourced?
- Is the website straightforward?
- Does the company mention whether their products are full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, or made from CBD isolate?
- Do they provide third-party lab results?
- Do they have positive endorsements, press coverage, or user reviews?
The best way to be assured that the CBD you use abides by US regulations is to find out whether or not the industrial hemp that created it was sourced from the US. American-made CBD companies are more likely than foreign CBD companies to comply with US regulations in regards to the legal amount of THC (less than 0.3 percent) and growing standards.
A confusing or overly complicated website is a major red flag. If a CBD company is a reputable one, then they will want to show that by clearly providing a large amount of information about them and their manufacturing process. Transparency is key when it comes to determining whether or not to trust a particular CBD company. Online CBD stores that comply with US regulations and produce quality CBD products have no reason to hide any information from you.
The top CBD stores often encourage you to interact with their website’s chat function, email them, or call their customer service line. How they respond can tell you a lot about who they are as a company, and where they place customer happiness in their values.
Why the Details Matter
While there are several obvious benefits to buying from an online CBD store, there are quite a few hidden benefits as well. By this, we mean the product details that might not be completely clear just by looking at the product’s box or label. The devil is in the details, after all.
What CBD companies, especially unreputable ones, may not point out right away is whether their product is made with pure hemp oil or CBD oil, made with broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD and whether their edible products are infused or coated with CBD. Just to name a few.
Pure Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil
Although they both originate from the same plant, hemp oil, and CBD oil are not the same thing. Hemp oil is derived from hemp seeds, which contain no CBD, while CBD oil is made from compounds extracted from the hemp plant’s leaves, flowers, and stalks.
Hemp oil contains a variety of vitamins and nutritional antioxidants and is often used to maintain overall cardiovascular health. But what hemp oil doesn’t do is interact with your endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The main benefit of CBD oil is its ability to trigger the entourage effect and work with your ECS to help your body maintain homeostasis. The entourage effect boosts the impact of various cannabinoids when they are used together, rather than individually. Thanks to the entourage effect, when CBD oil interacts with your ECS, it promotes a sense of calm and relaxation, improves your mood, and so much more.
Broad Spectrum CBD vs. Full Spectrum CBD
Although broad-spectrum CBD and full-spectrum CBD have many similarities, they also have one very important difference: THC content. While both CBD formulas contain a range of cannabinoids and terpenes, broad-spectrum CBD is THC-free,* while full-spectrum CBD contains the federally legal amount of THC (less than 0.3 percent).
This difference may seem negligible, but it is a very fundamental distinction. Depending on how often and how consistently you use CBD oil, you may want to avoid using full-spectrum CBD if drug tests are a concern for you.
This is why it is paramount that you know which CBD formula you’re using. So if a CBD store doesn’t specify whether their product is broad-spectrum CBD or full-spectrum CBD, either somewhere on their product or their website, you might want to think twice before using it.
CBD Infused Gummies vs. CBD Coated Gummies
Not every edible CBD product is created equal, with the most important distinction being whether they are infused or coated with CBD. What’s the difference?
CBD-coated gummies, for example, are sprayed with CBD oil at the last stage of production, coating the outside of the gummy before being rolled in sweetener. CBD-infused gummies, on the other hand, are saturated with CBD oil during the manufacturing stage, before being formed into gummies. CBD-infused gummies, therefore, have a more reliable CBD content and provide more accurate results when tested by a third-party lab.
Does CBD Concentration Matter?
You bet it does!
But when it comes to buying CBD at your local health store or the gas station on the corner, they may only offer one or two different concentrations or volumes, if that. What that means for you is that unless you’ve used that particular product before, there’s a good chance you won’t understand how much CBD you’re taking.
When a CBD store offers the same product in multiple concentrations, what they’re doing is giving you the option to choose the best product for you in terms of your needs and the benefits you hope to receive. This is exactly why at cbdMD, we offer almost every CBD product in a range of concentrations. Our 30 mL CBD oil tinctures , for example, come in 300 mg, 750 mg, 1500 mg, 3000 mg, 5000 mg, and even 7500 mg CBD concentrations.
This means that if you want to raise or lower the amount of CBD you receive in a single 1 mL serving, you have quite a few options to work with. The tinctures you might find at the gas station, on the other hand, probably come in only one or two options, which means that to receive the benefits you want, you would have to increase the serving size.
The CBD serving size listed on a product’s label is designed with your best interests in mind, which is why we do not recommend taking more CBD than the recommended serving size at one time.
How to Protect Yourself from Online CBD Scammers
Unfortunately, fraudulent CBD advertising, false CBD claims, and mislabeled, fake, or contaminated CBD products are all too common. Offering a free trial bottle of CBD, as long as you pay to ship, is one of the most common CBD scams. While it may seem like a good deal upfront, your credit card may be charged more than once, or you could get charged monthly for a “club” you didn’t know you signed up for.
Thankfully, all you need to do to debunk false advertising claims is take a few extra minutes to Google that claim, such as a celebrity endorsement. It should be pretty clear within the first few results whether or not that claim is reliable.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to CBD product claims is that if it seems too good to be true, unfortunately, it probably is. Reputable CBD companies can not and do not market their products the same as drug companies, meaning they won’t make claims that their CBD product will treat or alleviate any sort of disease or condition. As a general rule, you should only purchase from companies that can back their claims with scientific research.
As we mentioned a few times above, if a CBD store doesn’t readily offer third-party lab results for every product, then that’s a huge red flag. Especially since the easiest way to determine the legitimacy of a CBD product is through third-party testing results from independent labs, or Certificates of Analysis.
These documents should be easily accessible, but if you’re having trouble finding them, try requesting the lab results from their customer service contact. If they can’t or won’t provide them, then that’s probably not a company you want to purchase CBD from.
For more information on navigating online CBD stores and all the information, they can provide, stop by our frequently updated blog. Interested in staying up to date on the latest news and special offers? Make sure to connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!