Learning about CBD and the whole endocannabinoid system itself can be so overwhelming, and on top of that, you have to look through the hundreds of CBD products that are out there. Navigating through all the websites, trying to figure out what a cannabinoid is vs cannabidiol, and decoding CBD dosages can leave you feeling even more stressed and exhausted.
That’s why our team of CBD specialists compiled together this all-inclusive shopping guide to help you easily spot safe and high-quality CBD products. Skip the frustration of spending your hard-earned money on the wrong CBD and follow these tips to find the best product that’s right for you.
What to consider when choosing your CBD
The most important factor of taking CBD is that the product provides you relief without the addition of damaging, substandard ingredients that will cause you to harm in the short or long term. This is why the source of ingredients, brand transparency, and legitimate lab test results are all features that you should clearly see on any CBD company’s website. Cannabinoid content, CBD potency, the reason for CBD use, and cost are other key elements that will all play a role in determining which product meets your specific needs.
Types of CBD
There’s a lot of jargon in the CBD world that can make your research more confusing in the beginning. However, once the proper vocabulary is understood, it makes the process a whole lot simpler. Here is a list of some words/key differences you’re likely to see or hear when shopping for CBD:
- Cannabinoids: these are the group of compounds found in marijuana or hemp plants that can interact with your body’s natural endocannabinoid system to exert an effect on several biological pathways. Your body actually produces its own cannabinoids, which are called endocannabinoids.
- Cannabidiol: This is the specific cannabinoid that you’re shopping for – CBD.
- CBD vs THC: While both are cannabinoids and have an effect on your endocannabinoid system, the two compounds are vastly different. THC is one of the more infamous cannabinoids, known for its psychoactive properties that give you that ‘high.’ CBD on the other hand, is not intoxicating and does not impair your cognitive function. Instead, CBD can help your mood, body pains, inflammation, etc. to make you feel more mellow and comfortable throughout the day.
- Full-Spectrum vs THC-Free: The cannabinoid content within the CBD product determines the difference between these two options. Full Spectrum CBD includes all the naturally occurring components of the hemp plant, such as other cannabinoids (CBDV, CBC, CBG, CBN, THC, etc.), terpenes, and flavonoids that will work synergistically to provide greater benefits than CBD alone. THC-Free (also known as ‘CBD isolate’) CBD is pure CBD with other components of the hemp plant removed.
Knowing these differences is essential for determining which product would best support your wellness goals and lifestyle. If you’re someone who’s sensitive to THC or is just starting their CBD journey, a THC-Free/CBD-isolate may be preferred to slowly ease into the habitual use of these products. An experienced CBD user or someone who would like the maximized benefits of CBD should consider a Full Spectrum product to feel the enhanced effect.
Potency and cost
Once you’ve determined what type of CBD would complement you best, it’s time to think about the strength and potency you require. If you’re not familiar with your CBD dosage, it may take some trial and error to get it right – but we always recommend going low and slow. Start out with a product that contains a lower mg concentration of CBD and try taking about half the recommended daily intake. From there, if you feel like you could benefit from a stronger amount, slowly increase your intake over the course of a few days to see if you notice a difference.
Along with the potency, it’s always a good idea to consider the price of CBD. Some brands may be more tempting with a cheaper product – but cheaper isn’t always better. Their cost may be lower due to a smaller-sized product, lower mg concentration of CBD, or simply due to the use of lower quality ingredients and unsustainable production methods.
Label and ingredient list
A tell-tale way of knowing whether a brand is transparent or not is to look at its product label and ingredient list. The CBD mg concentration should be clearly marked, as well as the THC content which should be less than 0.3% for a Full Spectrum product and 0% for a CBD isolate. Look out for any ingredients in the product that may be an undesirable filler or toxic additive that lessens its overall quality. Other indicators of a healthy and environmentally-sustainable product include organic, non-GMO, vegan, solvent-free, and cruelty-free labels.
Third-party lab-test results
Labels and claims from the brand should always be backed up with legitimate proof – tested and certified by a reputable, third-party source. Third-party laboratory testing can be proven with a Certificate of Analysis (COA), which confirms the potency and safety of the product. The COA is the only definite way of knowing that the brand’s claims are true and that the product is safe to consume. Third-party labs test the presence and potency of cannabinoids, terpenes, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, microbiological contaminants, and residual solvents which are all listed on the COA. Ensuring that the brand’s products are all authentically tested gives extra peace of mind that what you’re putting into your body is healthy and that you’re getting the proper value of what you paid for.
Source of ingredients
With the drastic rise of environmental issues, we continue to face, it’s important now more than ever to support local farms. The import of hemp and other ingredients means more excessive transport – thus increasing CO2 emissions and the need for more preservatives to keep them ‘fresh.’ Sourcing ingredients locally reduces our environmental impact, helps out our neighboring farms, provides economic opportunities, and allows ingredients to maintain their true freshness and nutritious value without the use of harmful chemicals. If you’re inclined, we think there is some value to taking the extra step to find out the source of ingredients and sustainability practices of the brand.
The Plant of Life difference
You shouldn’t have to become a detective just to know whether a brand is being honest. That’s why at Plant of Life, we take pride in being openly transparent and truthful with our community. We value your wellness above all else and strive to communicate how we follow through without any hassle on your part. By developing all our products in controlled, small batches using locally sourced ingredients, we ensure that each one is actually what we say it is: organic, non-GMO, vegan, solvent-free, and cruelty-free. The contents of each product are third-party lab tested and supported by a COA to verify the absolute purity of our CBD. We label our products in an easy-to-read manner – with dosing and serving guides on our website to save you the headache of doing the calculations yourself.
As with any health supplement, every user has different needs and personal preferences. Our comprehensive CBD buying guide is aimed to help you spot some red or green flags when shopping around for CBD products, but we still recommend you to do your own research specific to your own concerns. At the end of the day, we want you to be comfortable with the CBD products you put into your body for you to get the pure relief and healing that you deserve.