How To Shop For CBD Oil – Get Educated Before You Buy

With Google searches in the millions every month for CBD oil, there is no denying its popularity. There is still so many that are uncertain about it though, and don't know how to properly research what they need to know. 

People everywhere are using CBD oil for all sorts of ailments, but unfortunately it isn't regulated yet. What this means is that companies can pretty much say anything they want about their products, and stick any label on it, regardless if it is a quality product or not.

This is where this ultimate guide for how to shop for CBD oil comes in. Whether you are ordering CBD oil online, or getting it from a local shop, there are a few rules that you should follow.

Get the facts and arm yourself with the information that you need - before you make a purchase you'll regret.

Third Party Testing and Lab Reports

This is by far the most important thing to be on the lookout for when you're buying CBD oil online or in shop. 

A COA(Certificate Of Analysis), is where you are going to check for the cannabinoid content of your products, including THC. This one is especially important if you are drug tested

This report should also go into detail on the terpenes that are in the product. Terpenes are what give cannabis its scent and flavor profile, but they also provide many health benefits on their own.

Each terpene has its own distinct benefits and characteristics, and choosing a CBD oil or product high in terpenes may be more beneficial to you. Different methods of extraction may result in different terpenes, cannabinoids, and other important vitamins and nutrients being left out of the end product, so research these carefully.

COA's also should show the levels of any toxins, mold, pesticides, heavy metals, and any other chemicals or unwanted additives that may be lurking within. You want to be sure that what you are buying is a pure, clean product, and isn't something that is going to potentially make you sick.

This report HAS to come from a third party lab, and have no affiliation with the company requesting the testing. It's fine if the company also performs in house testing, but that needs to be backed by a source that isn't biased. Make sure to look and see if the lab's name is different than the companies on the report, and if isn't, look elsewhere.

We are starting to get to a point now where the majority of companies are going to have this available to view, but there are still plenty out there operating with no lab reports published and readily available for consumers.

Where the Hemp is Sourced

This is another important part of buying CBD oil.

The hemp plant is a bio accumulator. What does this mean? It has the ability to suck up anything that it comes into contact with. Soil, water, pesticides.... you name it, if its around the hemp while it's growing, it's going to be in your products.

One really cool thing to know about hemp is that by working in this manner, it actually has the ability to clean and rid tainted soil of toxins. This process is called phytoremediation, and hemp is a great plant for the job. 

Once it has, however, it should not be used in any food, medicine, or be consumed in any way. It is very important that any product you buy is made from hemp that has been organically grown and manufactured, without the use of pesticides.

Without knowing where the hemp was sourced from, there's a good chance that you could be ingesting a whole lot of dangerous chemicals, definitely not something you want.

Choosing a CBD oil that is made with organically sourced hemp is the ONLY way to go.

How is it Extracted?

There are a few different ways that CBD can be extracted from hemp. Here's a breakdown of the most popular ways:

  • Subcritical CO2 Extraction. This process involves using pressurized carbon dioxide to extract everything from the plant. Acting as a solvent, but without any of the risks or dangers of actual solvents. By far one of the most popular ways to extract CBD, but also one of the most expensive. Companies that use this method will have more expensive products in general, but you get what you pay for.
  • Ethanol Extraction. While this method extracts all the beneficial parts from the plant as well, it also extracts chlorophyll, which can definitely have some unwanted side effects. This can be removed after extraction, but the end product is much less potent
  • Olive oil Extraction. This one is completely safe, not expensive, and can be done at home if you choose to. The end product needs to be stored in a cool, dark place though, as it is perishable when carried in olive oil
Amount of THC - Yes, it Matters!

Depending on where you are in the world, THC may not be legal, or may only be legal in very small amounts. The industry standard for THC content is 0.3%, and you're going to want an oil that is at or below this level. At this amount, there is absolutely no way that it will cause a "high".

Full Spectrum - The Whole Plant Makes a BIG Difference

Scientists have coined the term "Entourage Effect". This is when all parts of something come together and work as a whole to provide greater relief than just any one part by itself. Full spectrum oil contains absolutely everything that the plant has to offer, and has been shown to provide greater relief than Broad spectrum or Isolate.

Ultimately it is up to you to decide on, and be aware that full spectrum oil does contain trace amounts of THC. While a very minuscule amount, this can still cause a drug test fail.

Amazon for Everything Else... Just Not This

Amazon has a policy that prohibits the sale of CBD oil. So why are there so many on there claiming that they have CBD oil for sale? Sellers are marketing their CBD oils under the label's hemp seed oil, or hemp extract. While hemp seed oil does provide benefits, it contains no CBD whatsoever.

Read the post on the differences between the two if you would like more clarity here. Always read your labels and check out those lab reports!

Concentration of CBD Oil

The actual amount of CBD in your product matters as well. If I have a 500mg bottle of CBD oil, that means I have 500mg total in the bottle. In a one ounce bottle size, each drop will contain approximately 1/2 a mg of actual CBD.

So say i have a two ounce bottle of 500mg oil. This now means that I'm getting only 1/4mg of CBD oil per drop! At these levels you are going to have to take a lot more of it as compared to a higher concentration CBD oil.

​​​​Proper labelling

All of your products should be clearly labelled with all ingredients listed, including the CBD content.

Generally speaking, CBD oil will contain CBD, the carrier oil used, flavoring, and sometimes a few other ingredients to target specific ailments(like melatonin for sleep formulas, or arnica in pain cream).

What you don't want to see are a bunch of unnecessary things like preservatives or other harmful chemicals.

Follow these tips on how to shop for CBD oil and you'll end up with a great product. Don't, and you'll likely end up wasting a lot of money to try and find one that works.

Have questions? Leave a comment below!

About Mallory Milne

Mallory is a mom of two, as well as the main content writer and owner of CBD Handle. She has been a consumer advocate and CBD user since 2018, and strives to relay accurate, easy to understand information and to educate others on the health benefits of CBD.

27 thoughts on “How To Shop For CBD Oil – Get Educated Before You Buy”

  1. Hi, Mallory, the more we read articles like yours the better we will have the ability to separate the contenders from the pretenders; in other words, expose and get rid of those fraudulent companies that make false claims regarding their product. I commend you for doing your research and helping expose these companies as well as pointing us toward the honest companies whose products will stand the test of time over the long haul. If we, the people can regulate CBD in this regard, those low-quality companies won’t stand a chance in the long run.

    • I have no doubt that there is going to be stricter regulations come into play soon, and that is a good thing. In the meantime all we need to do is spend a little time doing research, the low quality products reveal themselves pretty quickly if you know what to look for!

  2. yes, thanks for the information. It is probably advisable to follow your guidelines here when buying CBD oil, so you avoid either being tricked or getting a product of poor quality. When the market is little regulated, there are probably many rogue players out there. But thanks to you and the good work you’ve done here, it’s easier for people to make smart and safe choices when buying CBD oil.

  3. Great Information! I always appreciate such information. Most marketers dont care much of what they are selling as long as they make the profit.
    Thnaks for the post.

    • Glad to know it’s helping. With the amount of mistakes I made when first starting out, if I help even one person be more informed about this, I’ll be happy.

  4. Great post Mallory and it is comforting to know that the CBD oil I use hits all of the high marks you talk about in this post. The oil I use comes from Organic non-GMO Industrial Hemp grown in both Northern Europe and in the U.S. They do third party testing and use a super critical CO2 extraction.

    When doing research before I bought some I had seen a video of an ex-NFL football player who uses CBD for his CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) and swears how good it works. I wanted to try it for a couple of reasons and I was blown away at how well it worked. This post is going to help many find quality CBD oil.

    • We would recommend going with at least 1000mg or higher. The higher you go generally means the more concentrated it is, so you don’t have to take as much at a time. It also drops the price per mg.

  5. Thank you for the useful information. There are so many products and companies out there. I have had mixed results with those that I have tried already. It makes me hesitant to invest any more money into trying new products.

    • It’s so hard to pick a quality company, especially with how flooded the market is right now. The prices are on a downward trend though, you should start seeing better and better deals from companies. It will be nice to see it come down to a level that is affordable for all who wish to use it.

    • You definitely want the 3rd party labs to be listed on site. Cost is another factor as well, the price of CBD is going down, and expected to go even lower this year. Make sure you’re not over-paying. All of the other stuff to look for is listed here in the post.

  6. This was a great article. There’s a lot to know about CBD usage and types! I was wondering if it is true that CBD should always be sold in dark brown or blue bottles because light causes it to degrade? I’ve seen so many retail stores that sell CBD in clear bottles and it makes me wonder if it’s at all effective after all that light exposure. Thanks.


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