Available in stores and online, CBD is for sale everywhere; buying it can be a confusing experience to the uninitiated
Knowing how to buy cannabinoid (CBD) for the first time isn’t simply a matter of walking in and plunking the money down. There is such an overwhelming number of online and brick-and-mortar retailers (and that number seems to be increasing on the daily) that merely choosing a retailer is a daunting task.
It will help considerably to understand the federal CBD laws, as well as any restrictions in your state. The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp-based CBD legal commercially—even transporting across state lines. The US Post Office allows manufacturers to ship CBD through the mail. The THC content (the psychoactive cannabinoid component) must be no higher than 0.3% by volume.
Forty-seven states have laws on the books regarding cannabis, whether marijuana or hemp. Restrictions vary from limited medicinal uses to recreational use. Depending on the state you live in, CBD oil or tincture is widely available.
Even hemp-based CBD is illegal in Nebraska, Idaho, and South Dakota, despite the Farm Bill’s provisions. Know the law and use care with online purchases in these states. Ask your online manufacturer about the legality of shipping to any of those states. The USPS’s policy on US mail delivery of CBD may be at odds with the laws in those states.
If you’re planning to ship internationally, that’s more problematic. It depends entirely on the laws of the destination country. Be sure to check carefully.
What to look for when buying CBD
To be sure you are buying cannabidiol and not hemp seed oil, you’ll need to understand the difference. CBD is derived from the mature plant—flower, stem, and leaf. Hemp seed oil, sometimes called hemp oil, is cold-pressed from hemp seed. Hemp oil contains very little CBD and no THC.
Depending on your needs, you’ll want either full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate. It will help to know the difference between these forms of CBD.
Full-spectrum CBD has all the compounds and cannabinoids, including 0.3% THC or less. Users tout the entourage effect of full-spectrum CBD as making it the most effective form. However, because it does contain THC, if you have concerns about drug testing, you should choose another type.
Research has found that the combined effect of all the cannabinoids in CBD acts synergistically to enhance the benefits of CBD. For instance, the anti-emetic effects of THC can help CBD users combat adverse reactions to cancer treatment.
Aside from the issue of passing a drug test, full-spectrum CBD is an excellent all-round choice for many illnesses and conditions. Research indicates that full-spectrum CBD can be helpful with anxiety, nausea, epilepsy, cancer and cancer treatment symptoms, inflammation, insomnia, and pain.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil has the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes of full-spectrum CBD, except the THC, which has been removed. Using a broad-spectrum CBD will give you most of the benefits of the entourage effect.
CBD isolate is the purest, most potent form of cannabidiol—it has no terpenes, flavonoids, or other cannabinoids. It is more than 90% cannabidiol; the additional 10% is mostly a carrier oil, such as MCT.
How to buy CBD
Whether or not you are a first-time CBD buyer, you should have questions—lots of them. We’ve tried to provide the answers about how to buy CBD that you’re looking for.
You’ll want to ask what process was used to extract the CBD. Beware of any process that uses solvents. The preferred method is CO2 extraction; it produces the most measurable concentrate. Steam extraction is another method. With steam, there’s a risk the CBD has been degraded by exposure to excessive heat.
The recommended daily dose is 20 – 40 mg. You’ll not only want to know how much CBD (by volume) is in the whole bottle but also how much CBD you get per dose (typically, a dose is a full dropper). A reputable manufacturer should be able to tell you that information.
Also, watch out for brands that list only total cannabinoids instead of explicitly stating the amount of CBD. Hemp and marijuana contain hundreds of cannabinoids. If you’re buying full-spectrum CBD oil or tincture, you’d expect to see other cannabinoids, as well as terpenes, listed. If you’re buying CBD isolate, it should only contain CBD as the active ingredient.
Ask to see a certificate of analysis (COA) from a third-party lab. Don’t rely on labeling alone; in 2017, a study found 70% of CBD products are mislabeled. A third-party lab will provide a complete chemical analysis of the CBD product.
Also, ask about the plant origin—is it organic? Pesticide-free? A reputable CBD manufacturer can tell you everything about their supply stock.
Where to buy CBD products
Medical marijuana dispensaries sell CBD, as well as marijuana. The advantage of a dispensary is that the staff is usually very knowledgeable about the products they sell.
Major pharmacies, such as CVS, Walgreens, and even a Pennsylvania gas station/convenience store chain, Sheetz, sell CBD products, but you can’t always be sure of the quality or CBD content.
Natural & health food stores also often sell CBD products. Those that do typically keep their CBD products under lock and key. Don’t buy hemp oil—it’s not the same as CBD oil. Check the label for CBD content. At this writing, Whole Foods, an Amazon subsidiary, is considering the sale of CBD, while grocery chains in Oregon and New York are actively selling CBD products.
There are hundreds of sites online, and it’s literally the Wild West of claims. Look for customer reviews and online product reviews of a site’s products. A reputable manufacturer will provide a way for you to ask questions and offer a certificate of analysis.
Beware of buying from Amazon or online retailers like it; you’ve got a 99.9% chance of buying hemp seed oil (hemp oil), despite vendor claims to the contrary. Anyone selling a product that has 15,000 mg of hemp oil for $20 is selling hemp seed oil, not CBD.
Do your homework and look for information about all the things we’ve discussed above. Hint: If you’re reading this blog, you’ve arrived at the website of an online manufacturer that sells cannabidiol (CBD), not hemp oil.