There is no shortage of CBD companies, and it seems as if they are just popping-up over night. However, there is a lack of transparency and accountability in this un-regulated industry. So..we wanted to give you some quick-tips on what to look for when buying your CBD.

1. Certificates and Analysis (COA)

Companies should be able to provide up-to-date lab-results for a final product, as well as the same analysis on the raw ingredients that make up the overall product. CBD, after all, isn’t the only substance present in hemp-derived products, such as pills, salves, tinctures, dog treats, etc. It takes other ingredients to make up the overall product, and having a good look at the breakdown of the product puts you further in the know about what you’re actually buying. Third-party laboratories offer services that use ‘fancy-pants’ science to reveal the chemical makeup of a product and the ingredients used to make it. These tests are typically run on Chromatography-style machines. This process shows what is present, and what is not. Firstly, other cannabinoids; hemp and other cannabis plants produce a vast array of chemicals specific to cannabis. THC & CBD are the most well-known, but there are at least 113 different cannabinoids who all carry unique properties of their own. Flavonoids and terpenes also make up a fair portion of the overall chemical makeup of this plant. Second: It can show if there are any mold issues, mycotoxins, residual solvents, and more.

Many products are made with a CBD isolate, and contain no other compounds from the cannabis plant. This type of product is typically sought after by people who either don’t want, or can’t have THC, either for personal or work-related reasons, but still want to reap the benefits that cannabis has to offer. Taking the time to read further into your favorite CBD product gives you a much clearer understanding of what is actually happening further beneath the surface.

2. Where was the hemp grown and processed?

Seriously, where? Ok, if you’re taking CBD for health reasons, you should know this. Hemp for CBD is grown all over the world, with vast amounts coming from china. Just like anything else we put in our bodies, having a little understanding goes a long way. Was it grown in the US, what state? Does the company use pesticides you wouldn’t want to ingest?  Do they have a good reputation? This last one is very important, and I’m not talking about the flashy ads you see all over the place, I mean real reputation. You can normally find hemp producers at trade shows and festivals like Seattle’s Hempfest. Putting in the effort, again, comes in handy. Especially, if you’re looking to accurately use this plant as a medicine or medicinal supplement.

3. Accountability

This one is a struggle, and I have friends on the lab side… but according to a 2017 Penn Medicine study, over 70% of all CBD products are inaccurate. Another recent study done by NBC Miami showed similar results. Accountability in the wild west, this final frontier of cannabis legalization, is abyssal. Get to know a little about the company that makes your products, again, you can find a lot at trade shows and events. Accountability doesn’t just fall on the shoulders of the source of testing, but do know that almost every one of your friends who’s selling those CBD gummy candies is part of a multi-level marketing scheme. Are you getting your products from an MLM distributor that can’t confidently tell you about the company’s process (because they have not actually see the process, or have never even been to the facility where its made), or directly from the source that can truthfully answer every question you have about the product?  Not every company that employs the ” MLM” business model is prone to using sub-par products, but a great number of them are using CBD that may have been tested poorly in sub-par labs and imported from countries who have different standards than the FDA.

4. Due Diligence

The final bit of work you’re going to have to do (until things eventually smooth out) is getting in touch with the producer of your favorite products. So, while you’re at that trade show or event we mentioned earlier, go chat with your companies reps. They should be in the know on their products, just like the labs, fields and processing facilities reps will be. Get to know them, find out what they’re all about. This route will also give you access to a greater understanding of the overall product: Is it all organic, raw, vegan? Whatever your flavor, this gives you an opportunity to learn more about a plant that is getting more and more attention in regards to its medicinal uses.


In conclusion, the proverbial wild-west poses some challenges to the consumer, so you are going to have to dig in and spend some time doing your research. Right now, due to legislation throughout the states, the nature of finding any product is on a state-to-state basis. Are you on the west coast, where bong water flows like the Columbia River, or a more conservative State waiting to catch up to the times? In Washington State, for instance, you can find CBD products tested by people and labs alike, complete with anecdotal references to the overall effects of the product. Not everywhere has this luxury. Basically, right now, with every other company offering CBD infused coffees, beer, and pretty much anything you can imagine – This unique cannabinoid is trending, and you can stay ahead of the curve by taking a little time to know your grow.

- 4  Things To Consider When Buying CBD
Written by: Aaron Cain