What to Know When Shopping for CBD Online

Pulling out Credit Card To Buy CBD Online

The CBD industry is only getting bigger by the day – a multibillion-dollar market already, it’s getting global attention across all walks of life. CBD shops are cropping up everywhere, with even more CBD websites advertising that they have the highest quality cannabidiol products on the market. With so many different choices available just at our fingertips, we wanted to touch on what you should know when shopping for CBD online. 

Let’s dive in to show the most important things to keep an eye on when purchasing CBD through an online brand – and signs to tell the low-quality brands from those that go above and beyond.

Decide Why CBD is For You – and How You Want to Consume

Before you ever look into the different CBD companies that advertise their products on the world wide web, you should first decide why you want to use CBD in the first place. From there, you can decide what form or method you want to take the CBD in, which can narrow down the companies you look for right out the gate.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is being touted for a massive plethora of health benefits and medical properties, including just promoting general wellness – but what’s the biggest reason you’re considering trying it? 

Everyone has their own personal reason, even if they get the other benefits along the way. There are some brands and CBD products that specialize in certain needs or symptoms, from pain to anxiety, so there may be a cannabidiol product better suited for your individual needs if you can dig deep and find the main reason you have for trying CBD.

The method or form you use plays a role in how well cannabidiol will benefit you for a certain symptom, as well. For example, inhaling CBD may be the most effective for anxiety or muscle cramps. You can inhale through either a vape pen or just standard smoking, both of which provide the fastest relief. 

On the other hand, placing drops of CBD oil under the tongue for about 90 seconds can make the effects kick in in just a few minutes, and it’s usually considered more intense than inhaling. 

For target areas across the body that are inflamed or in pain, topical CBD creams may help, though the time it takes varies greatly from person to person; you could feel relief immediately, or you could feel relief in a few hours.

The Different Forms of CBD

Once you pinpoint your “why,” looking at the different forms CBD comes in becomes a little easier to decide on. There are topical creams, capsules or pills, CBD oil that goes under the tongue, tinctures that can be added to your favorite beverage or food, outright edibles that are infused with CBD, and so much more. There are pros and cons to each form, however. 

Hemp Flower

CBD Hemp Flower

In its most natural form, you can purchase CBD-rich hemp flower that starts as a base for any other form. If you want to make a CBD product yourself from scratch, you could do so with CBD-rich hemp flower. However, many also simply grind up the hemp and smoke or vape it themselves. Using a dry herb vaporizer, hemp paper to roll, or any number of other smoking or vaping methods, the biggest benefit to this method is how fast the effects can be felt. On the downside, the effects may not be felt as long as other methods.

CBD Oil

CBD Vape Oil

When you shop for CBD online, “CBD oil” can mean a few different things. Check the label carefully to make sure the CBD oil you purchase is safe for everything you plan on using it with. CBD oil could be just oil that goes in a vape pen, or it could be a food-safe oil that’s designed to go under your tongue. This is known as a “tincture,” which can also be added to a beverage or food, though the effects will not be felt as quickly.

Still, other CBD oils can do both, giving you options when it comes to feeling relief. CBD oil is the most popular method on the market next to topical treatments, so finding a high-quality CBD oil isn’t as difficult a task as, say, finding a high-quality CBD capsule.

Edibles

CBD Edibles

There are a tremendous variety of different CBD edibles on the market now; CBD-infused alcoholic beverages, coffee, honey, gummies, chocolates, candies, and so much more. Infused with varying levels of CBD and with massively different digestion levels for your body, everyone reacts differently to edibles. 

Likewise, while effects can sometimes be felt as early as 30 minutes in, the peak of the effects are not likely to kick in for 90 minutes or longer. In some people, it can even take up to 6 hours before they start feeling effects, though this is a little more uncommon. Most people don’t use edibles as their main treatment form for CBD, but it can help on particularly difficult days.

Capsules or Pills

CBD Pills

Tablets, capsules, and everything in between – they’re all a little different, and those differences can affect you on a much wider scale. When you’re shopping for CBD capsules online, pay close attention to if anything on the label reads, “extended release” or “rapid release.” Extended release tablets can take much longer to take effect, though CBD users can experience benefits for 8 to 12 hours with the right ones. Rapid release capsules don’t take as long to take effect, though they’re more likely to peak for only 6 to 8 hours.

More Isn’t Always Better

The CBD industry is wildly underregulated currently, which means CBD brands frequently get away with mislabeling how much cannabidiol is in their products. They do this through one of two ways. First, the number of milligrams contained in the bottle may not be of CBD. 5,000mg of hemp, of cannabinoids, or of anything other than strictly “CBD” is not a genuine cannabidiol product. 

If you’re shopping for CBD online, look at the product photos – is there a photo of the back of the bottle, where the nutrition facts should be labeled? Look at how much CBD is in each serving. A full-spectrum brand will also feature other cannabinoids or phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil, but there should be a specified section for CBD as well.

Always Check the Lab Results

We said that CBD brands get away with mislabeling how much cannabidiol is in their product through one of two ways; the first is the mislabeling of how many milligrams are pure CBD. The second, however, may be much worse.

Under US regulation, every batch of CBD product should be tested through an independent, third-party lab to confirm that those products have an accurate reading of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids depicted on the label.

If a CBD brand does not have third-party lab results on their website, or they don’t appear to test every batch of their products, it’s likely that the cannabinoid content level is mislabeled. Since CBD formulas are inconsistent, that means you could wind up with far more than the 0.3% THC legal limit, or far less than the amount of CBD labeled on the bottle. 

This dastardly fact is what’s causing some CBD users across the country to now fail their drug tests at work – without even knowingly consuming THC, they consumed enough because they went with a brand that doesn’t test all their products.

Always check the third-party lab results before you use a new CBD product. It’s up to every CBD company to be honest and transparent with their customers, but the responsibility of making sure you’re dealing with a reputable CBD company is up to you.

Check Their Sources

Where did the CBD brand you’re considering source their hemp? All hemp-derived CBD products should be made from hemp that’s cultivated and treated in the United States, but some companies like to cut corners. It’s cheaper to source hemp from other countries – but that doesn’t mean it’s safer.

Make sure that the CBD company you want to purchase CBD online through sources their hemp from US farms and double-check which US farms those are. When you look at their lab results, you can also see if they passed all tests that verified their products are free of heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, contaminants, and any other pollutants. This further confirms that they source from US farmers that put care and effort into their hemp-extracted CBD.

Isolate, Full-Spectrum, or Broad-Spectrum?

We mentioned full-spectrum earlier, but what does that mean? There are CBD isolate products, full-spectrum, and broad-spectrum CBD products – so what’s the difference? It boils down to the cannabinoids that come with the CBD on its journey.

A CBD isolate has been stripped of all other terpenes, flavonoids, or cannabinoids, leaving 98 or 99+% CBD in its rawest form. A broad-spectrum product undergoes less of a refining process, though it has been stripped of any THC compounds. 

Finally, a full-spectrum CBD product is what we generally recommend. It contains the fullest variety of flavonoids, terpenes, and other cannabinoids, which some researchers believe causes an “Entourage Effect,” heightening the experience and maximizing the benefits you feel thanks to cannabidiol. 

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide helped you better evaluate which CBD brand you want to shop with. When you’re shopping for CBD online, you always want to make sure you’re choosing a brand that doesn’t cut corners. Using the tips above, we’re excited to hear about the CBD companies you found that met your standards.

Author Profile Picture

Rachel Sims | Author

Rachel Sims is a passionate CBD and cannabis writer. A huge proponent for marijuana legalization across the country, Rachel's proud to be on the ground floor of an industry making history. Her goal is simple -- help spread awareness and destigmatize cannabis. Rachel regularly writes for companies in the CBD and marijuana industries, as well as on her own website, Hashing It Out.

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