CBD is taking the wellness world by storm. The market brims with dozens of innovative CBD products from protein powders to lubes and bath bombs. You don’t even need to hunt around for a local dispensary that will sell you CBD products — CBD is legal all over the country. You have your pick of the best CBD brands on the internet.

You need to be careful when buying CBD products

don’t rush

While the internet puts the best CBD brands from around the country within your reach, it’s important to remember that the CBD industry is currently an unregulated one. As with dietary supplements, these products aren’t scrutinized by the FDA for safety or performance.

While there is considerable innovation at the best CBD manufacturers in the industry, the industry attracts a number of fly-by-night operators, as well. The FDA recently conducted a study on a number of CBD products on the market, and found that many examples contained no CBD. Until the government begins to regulate the industry, it’s up to consumers to stay aware.

A study that came out in the JAMA medical publication (jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2661569) in 2017 reported that one in four CBD products on the market contained far less CBD than stated on their labels. When you use weak CBD products, you can’t be sure that you will come by the medical benefits promised.

NBC recently published a report (nbcnewyork.com/news/local/CBD-Products-Tested-505762921.html) on commercially available CBD products, as well, with similar findings. Testing products like CBD gummy bears at third-party labs, they found that only one in two products contained as much CBD as advertised. They also found that some products had far greater levels of lead than legally allowed, and more pesticide than is safe.

Since the CBD industry is new, the rules of safe shopping aren’t yet properly established. When you decide to buy CBD products, you need to remain alert to the presence of red flags that tell you that all is not as it should be. What follows are tips that can help you find products that you can rely on.

1. Buy from reputable brands

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When it comes to buying reliable CBD products, it’s important to do your research on different brands. You need to check out their websites to see if they offer more than a bare minimum of information. Detailed insight into their farming practices and production methods is important. You need to actually read the information presented to see what it says.

CBD businesses that do their own research are the best ones to buy from. Rather than add CBD to random products, they need to have done their research to prove that their products actually do users some good. You should also look for evidence that a company is fully involved in its CBD production, exerting control over every step of the production process from the farm to the store.

2. Check for the Certificate of Analysis

example CBD certificate of analysis

It isn’t enough to look at the label on a product to see how much CBD it contains. A label could say anything. You need to look for a certificate of analysis by a trusted third-party. Such certificates are usually available on the websites of reputable CBD manufacturers. You need to make sure that you see a certificate for the specific batch that a product belongs to. Certifications are performed on individual batches and specify CBD content, and proof of absence of pesticides and contaminants.

3. Check to make sure that your CBD products are made of domestic hemp

hemp farm

It’s important to look at product labeling for information on where a manufacturer sources their hemp. Hemp is a bio-accumulator — it absorbs toxins and contaminants from the soil. Unless hemp is grown in soil that is tested to be free from contaminants, it isn’t safe for consumers to use. In general, hemp that is grown in the U.S. is safer than plants grown elsewhere.

Finally, it’s important to remember that many of the most reputable brands no longer label their products CBD. Instead, they use the term hemp extract on their labels. They do this because the FDA and the DEA require products marketed as dietary supplements to not contain the term CBD in their names. To know how much CBD a product contains, you should simply look at the list of ingredients on the label.

Many products on online stores such as Amazon are marketed as CBD oil but are really hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil may be nutritious, but it contains little CBD. While it should be simple to buy a health product, it can get complicated when it’s a product that belongs to a new market. At this point, it’s important to make sure that you stick with reputable brands, and read what it says on the label.