The ability to safely buy CBD oil may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of finding CBD oil for sale online, but it should be. Between the copious amounts of misinformation, counterfeit products, and false claims out there, it can be hard to know what you’re looking at. But what you should be looking for are transparent manufacturing processes and independent reviews.
And that misinformation we mentioned? There are quite a few red flags you should be on the lookout for as you sort through all the products on the market today.
How to Spot Red Flags When Buying CBD Oil Online (or in Person)
Above all else, cbdMD wants to make sure you’re staying safe, no matter whether you’re using our products or not. Which is why we’ve compiled a list of the most common red flags you’ll find when looking to buy CBD oil online or in person. No matter where you shop, you should always check up on a CBD company and their products to make sure that they’re safe and following federal regulations.
So without further ado, let's get to those red flags.
Sift Through the Misinformation Before You Buy CBD Oil Online
There are a couple of factors you should consider before you buy CBD oil, including the source of the CBD, ISO-certified third-party lab testing results, and how much information the company provides about their products. Unfortunately, not every online or brick-and-mortar CBD store is reputable, and in order to find a trustworthy, transparent company, you may need to weed through some misinformation.
First and foremost, not all hemp-based products are grown and cultivated equally, but a good place to start is by certifying that the CBD products were made from US-sourced hemp. That being said, the only surefire way to make sure you’re abiding by US regulations is to confirm it with a company’s third-party testing results. And if you can’t easily find their Certificates of Analysis (COA) on their website proving their claimed test results, that is a clear red flag.
The beauty of online shopping is that all the information you could possibly need is at your fingertips, including product pages and the product process specific to each company. But more importantly, so are specific product descriptions, benefits, ingredients, and frequently asked questions for each individual CBD product. This allows you to easily compare various products or companies with ease, and without the usual headache that comes from staring at various product-packed shelves.
Speaking of which, although you can quickly look up a company’s website to verify their product that you picked up off a grocery store shelf, it may be simpler, and safer, to purchase CBD directly through a company’s website. This is for two reasons, the first being that a reputable CBD company will have copious amounts of information on their site to answer any question you may have.
The second is that if you can’t easily find the answer you’re looking for, many CBD companies offer numerous options for you to get in touch with someone who will be more than happy to help you out, whether that be through email, phone call, or live chat. A company that is not willing and eager to answer your questions is probably not one you want to do business with.
When it comes to the Certificate of Analysis or any information on a company’s website for that matter, there are a few things you’ll want to look for, including:
- Clear, concise, and upfront information
- THC content, which should be less than the federally legal limit (0.3 percent)
- The source of their CBD
- The type of product (i.e. full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate)
- Whether a product is made from pure hemp oil or CBD oil (hemp oil actually doesn’t have any CBD in it since it’s made from the seeds of the plant)
- The concentration of CBD and recommended serving size
If Something Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
No matter how amazing the benefits of CBD are, CBD is not a magical cure-all. And if a company online appears to be claiming otherwise by making assertions that their CBD products treat, cure, or prevent some sort of disease, then that is a huge red flag. Whether these claims are made on purpose or through ignorance, they point toward a lack of qualified professionals.
And the last thing you want to do is buy an ingestible or topical product from someone who doesn’t understand what they’re talking about. So when it comes to beneficial claims, what you should be looking for is research backed studies and evidence either performed by the company or an accredited university.
Identifying Fake CBD Oil Online
Like we mentioned above, it’s paramount that you pay very close attention to what you’re purchasing, or more importantly, what you’re putting in and on your body. Because when you buy CBD oil online or in person, it’s because you want to reap the benefits. No more, and no less.
But unfortunately, not all CBD products are what they appear to be. Take hemp oil, for instance. Depending on whom you ask, hemp oil is either made from hemp seeds or the leaves, stalk, and flowers of the hemp plant. But if it's the former, spoiler alert: hemp seed oil doesn’t actually contain any CBD. None, at all.
CBD develops within the hemp plant as it ages; it doesn’t originate from the seed. So while it’s possible to make a product with both CBD and hemp seed oil in it, they will be listed as separate ingredients on the label, because the CBD extract would need to be infused in the hemp oil. If the ingredient list just says “hemp oil,” you can assume there’s no CBD.
While the lack of CBD can be a disappointing consequence of buying fake CBD oil online, that’s not the worst of it. The real risk of harm in purchasing and consuming a fake or counterfeit CBD product is that it could contain an illegal and harmful level of THC. Which could lead to anything from accidental intoxication to a failed drug test. Not only that, but poor cultivating practices could lead to contamination, which wouldn’t be detected without a COA.
What Does the FDA Say?
As of right now, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working on a plan to regulate the production and sale of CBD products. And until they’re regulated, CBD companies can get away with a lot of things that many other supplement companies can’t.
In the meantime, another hemp cannabinoid has made its appearance in the CBD market: delta 8. Slipping through the cracks of the 2018 Farm Bill, delta 8 (a.k.a. delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol) is another form of THC, albeit a milder version. But because the Farm Bill specifically dictates THC as delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol, delta 8 is technically legal. However, it should be viewed in the same light as traditional THC since it causes the same intoxicating effects.
While many companies have begun to produce full spectrum CBD products containing less than the federally legal maximum amount of THC, these products are quite different from those containing delta 8. And as delta 8 isn’t federally recognized as THC, let alone federally regulated, you can bet that the companies producing it aren’t concerned with quality assurance.
So without federal regulation, for the time being examining a CBD product’s COA is the closest you’ll be able to get to trusting a CBD company and its products. Granted, when performed by an ISO-certified third-party lab, it will be a pretty accurate and trustworthy report.
How to Find Quality CBD Oil for Sale Online
No matter what you’re purchasing online, you should always make sure to double check that you’re ordering from quality, transparent, and reliable companies.
Don’t let all the red flags we mentioned above deter you from experiencing all the amazing benefits CBD has to offer! There is still a slew of trustworthy products available on the market, and we’ll show you how to find them.
Read Independent Reviews Before You Buy CBD Oil
While the reviews listed on a company’s website are a great place to start, what you really want to look for are independent reviews listed on non-affiliated websites. And preferably, more than one outside website. Sometimes, external reviews can actually tell you more about a company’s products and services than the company itself.
What you’re looking for is a majority of positive reviews, and especially any reviews that mention a company’s customer service, return, and replacement policy, and the overall benefits of their products.
Trusted CBD Companies Are Transparent
A reputable CBD company doesn’t hide their manufacturing practices, product ingredients, or any other facet of their production process. Oftentimes, the information you’re looking for is right on the home page. And if not, there should be a clearly labeled tab or point in the drop-down menu to lead you where you need to be.
For more information on how you can safely buy CBD oil online, or more specifically sift through the misinformation out there, keep an eye on our frequently updated blog. Interested in staying up to date on the latest CBD news and cbdMD’s upcoming special offers? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or chat with someone live today!