CBD is all the rage — and for good reason. This safe, natural compound is proving to be incredibly useful in managing stress, alleviating pain, relaxing muscle tension and so much more. Though more research is warranted to truly understand what CBD is doing inside the human body and brain, science is already demonstrating that CBD is an indispensable tool for managing a variety of serious and life-threatening disorders.
The United States recently legalized CBD at the federal level, and though individual states have the power to restrict CBD access, CBD is more readily available around the U.S. than ever before. You can find CBD products in pharmacies, grocery stores, health and wellness stores, cannabis dispensaries, department stores, beauty stores, dedicated CBD shops, and more — but is there any difference in the quality of CBD available at all these different locations?
Essentially, yes. Here is a guide to finding the best CBD from the most reliable retailer near you:
Understand the Difference in CBD Quality
Not all CBD is created equal. Because CBD is not regulated by any government agency, CBD manufacturers are creating CBD products essentially without any oversight — and in some cases, it shows. Research on CBD has found some products to contain toxic heavy metals, like lead and arsenic; other products failed to contain as much CBD as advertised or any CBD whatsoever. Because you are most likely interested in taking CBD to improve your health, not worsen it, you need to know the signs of a trustworthy, high-quality CBD product. These include:
The CBD quantity. Though this isn’t a guarantee that a product contains CBD, it is a good indication that the manufacturer understands CBD science and wants to meet consumer needs. You need between 250 and 1000 milligrams of CBD per 10-milliliter bottle of oil for the product to be effective.
The extraction method. Trustworthy manufacturers will explain how they extract CBD from cannabis, either on their packaging or on their brand website. You should look for CBD produced from naturally grown hemp and extracted using supercritical CO2.
The price. CBD isn’t an easy or inexpensive ingredient to acquire, so products that contain sufficient amounts of CBD are likely to have higher price tags. Though you shouldn’t inherently trust the most expensive CBD products, you definitely shouldn’t waste money on the cheapest options in the store.
The claims. We know a little about what CBD can do in the human body, but the compound is by no means a cure-all. If the product is making outrageous claims, like that it will instantly alleviate all pain or help hair grow on your chest, you know that product is bogus.
The testing. Though government agencies don’t require specific testing of CBD products (yet), many respectable CBD manufacturers pay independent testing centers to verify their claims, to assuage consumer fears. Test results should be available on the packaging or on the brand website.
Prioritize CBD Shopping at These Locations
While you should take the time to investigate any CBD product you might put in or on your body, there are a few retail locations that tend to have more experience evaluating CBD quality and thus are more likely to stock better CBD products on their shelves. These locations include:
Dispensaries. Dispensaries are managed by those intimately familiar with all things cannabis, including non-psychoactive CBD. In places like Chicago, dispensaries are accessible to all adults over 21, but in other states, you might need a medical marijuana card to enter a dispensary and make purchases. If you can visit a dispensary, you should take advantage of the knowledge and experience of the budtenders, who can point you to the best options for CBD in their store.
CBD Stores. As the market for CBD has grown, businesses have opened to cater specifically to those interested in CBD. CBD stores have every CBD product you could imagine, from oils and tinctures to topicals to edibles to vape liquid and more. Though you have a wider range of products to consider in a CBD store, you should be able to trust a higher percentage of the products for sale — and you can always talk to store associates for guidance.
Health Stores. Though almost all grocery stores have some CBD options these days, you can find higher-quality CBD at stores that are branded as focused on health. This can include health food stores, like Whole Foods, as well as stores dedicated to selling vitamins and supplements, like GNC.
Just because CBD is trendy doesn’t mean you can trust every CBD product you find. By evaluating product quality and purchasing only those items that offer true opportunities for healing, you can help guide the industry toward safer, more effective CBD.