Buying CBD in a Retail Store (What to Look For)

CBD is popular not only in the cannabis community but in the wellness space, and we’ve seen an increase in CBD products in stores unrelated to cannabis. As the popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) continues to grow, we expect CBD products to pop up in more retail stores across the country. 

Shopping for a CBD product in a store is a bit different than when you buy CBD online. Online, consumers can compare products and research questions. In store, the information needed is not so readily available. It is exciting to see more retailers embrace the benefits of CBD; however, it is just as important to research in store products as it is online.

While the same basic principles of shopping online apply to shopping in store, there are a few items to consider. When shopping for CBD in a store, remember the following questions (or print them out if you need!) 

 

CBD Products retail store shelf

 

Note: this guide refers to hemp-derived CBD sold in retail stores. If you are buying CBD from a dispensary, ask the budtender if the CBD is derived from hemp or marijuana. This will determine the levels of THC (the intoxicating cannabis compound) in the CBD product. Hemp-derived CBD contains less than 0.3% THC, which is a negligible amount that will not get you high. 

 

Where does the hemp come from? 

The quality of hemp-derived CBD starts with the farming of the plant. As a general rule, hemp from Europe or the United States can be considered as quality sources. European farmers have had years of experience growing hemp and, for many years, hemp was imported from Europe to the U.S. when it was illegal to grow. Then, in 2014, hemp pilot programs were made legal in the U.S. under the 2014 Farm Bill. U.S. farmers are acclimating to the hemp crop well.

While we name these two locations as quality sources, it is still important to discuss farming practices. The hemp plant should be grown without pesticides or herbicides as these chemicals can be present in the final product. The process of growing hemp is a major indicator of the final product’s quality. 

 

industrial hemp field with clouds landscape

Be wary of hemp sourced from China, which is often grown with the use of pesticides. Additionally, incredibly inexpensive products should raise a red flag. The prices of reputable sources are a reflection of safe processing and quality ingredients. 

Read More: Should Hemp be Certified Organic? 

 

How is the CBD extracted from the hemp plant? 

In a previous blog, we discuss methods of CBD extraction. As a reminder, CO2 extraction is considered the leading method of extraction. During this process, hemp is subject to high pressure and low temperature to extract the CBD oil. This is a clean and safe method and is used by the leading manufacturers in the industry. 

 

How much CBD is in the product? What about THC? 

When determining serving size, it is important to take note of the cannabinoid levels. High levels of CBD do not necessarily indicate a better product, as each of our bodies process compounds differently. A lower amount of CBD may be suitable for some while others may require a higher serving. To learn more about serving sizes, check out this blog: How Much CBD Oil Should I Take? 

Hemp-derived CBD products should contain no more than 0.3% THC. If a product lists higher levels of THC, then the product is a derivative of marijuana and is only legal in states that have medicinal or recreational marijuana laws.

CBD Products with strengths

[Pictured left to right: Tasty Drops, Hemp Oil Care, PHE Gold, Alternate Vape Cartridge, Abinoid Botanicals Moisturizer]

Is there a COA? 

Reputable manufacturers will provide a certificate of analysis (COA) for each batch of product. A COA will confirm the cannabinoid levels listed on the label. 

While it is not usually standard to include the COA on the label (due to space constraint), reference to a COA should be made on the label/packaging. If it’s not on the label, ask the store if they have one. 

 

What other ingredients are added? 

While unrelated to CBD, it is important to note the other ingredients added to a CBD product. Chemicals, preservatives, and non-natural substances are largely unnecessary and negate the all-natural benefits of hemp-derived CBD. 

 

Buying CBD in a retail store 

A CBD retailer should be an expert on the CBD products carried in their store. A reputable retailer will be transparent and well-informed. Still, we can’t expect others to know everything, so it is important for us to do preliminary research online before making an in-store purchase. 

Have you purchased CBD in a retail store? What was your experience like? Leave a comment below!