If you’ve ever walked into a shop to buy a specific product, stood looking at the many different options on the shelves for what feels like hours then, feeling completely overwhelmed, walked out again empty-handed, you’re not alone. Or, maybe instead of walking out empty-handed, you made a snap decision and chose an option based on pretty packaging, or it’s price point. Again, you’re definitely not alone.
This approach isn’t a problem if you’re choosing a new shampoo but, when it comes to making choices that will affect your health, the stakes go up significantly.
CBD is a bit like that. There are thousands of products, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores, all promising to offer amazing benefits. And CBD really does have the potential to deliver. But if you don’t make the right purchase decision up-front, or get your dosage right, you could easily be left with very little to show for your purchase.
The most important things to look for if you’re buying CBD for the first time is:
There are many fly-by-night operators in the CBD space who will take your money and deliver a product that, at best, may not be up-to-spec, and at worst, could even be harmful. To find a reliable site that offers consistently good quality products, you should:
Look at where they are based
A locally based UK website or store will offer quicker turnaround times on orders and are more likely to adhere to stricter quality regulations.
Trustpilot is an excellent place to start as the reviews published here will give you an indication on the level of service you can expect and the brand’s ability to deliver on their promises. The websites themselves are not necessarily the best place to look as sites are not allowed to publish reviews that feature medical claims according to the MHRA guidelines.
Consider your options
Look at more than one option; don’t make a rash purchase. After looking at a few sites, you’ll get a feel for what’s out there and find one that you are comfortable with before you click ‘add to cart’.
There’s no way to get around the fact that everyone is jumping onto the CBD bandwagon hoping to profit from its growth in popularity. This makes it essential that you verify the claims that the brand makes, rather than just choosing the first one you come across.
When you’re making your choice, look at:
Because industrial hemp is a bio-accumulator (it absorbs chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides at a faster rate than it excretes them), it is essential to be able to trace the product from seed to shelf. This includes an organic, non-GMO farming and harvesting process, an effective extraction and purification process, as well as ethical testing, packaging and shipping so that you have complete confidence in the end-product.
Third-party lab tests
Many websites choose not to publish their lab results on their websites, although most will provide the information if you ask for it. But it shouldn’t have to be so complicated. If you’re comparing a few different options, you need immediate access to those results at the click of a button. It’s, therefore, a good sign when the certificates are available on the product page itself. As the results are on a per-product, per-batch basis, so you know that the results you’re reading are for the exact product batch that you’re purchasing from.
To get the full benefits from CBD, you need to know how it works and what dose to take. This makes working with a reputable CBD seller is worth its weight in gold as they will have:
A resources section on their website
This should have up-to-date information on the latest developments in the CBD industry, which continues to change and improve as more research into the benefits of CBD becomes available.
A FAQ section on their website
When it comes to CBD, you may have questions, and the site you’re using should have the answers. Whether it’s related to traceability of ingredients, the shipping and returns policy or the ingredient list, you need to be able to get quick answers to your most pressing questions.
If you’re purchasing CBD for the first time, you may want to speak to a real person at the company before you checkout. A reputable website will have a responsive customer service team that you can email or phone to get support.
Essential questions for first-time buyers
Is CBD the same as hemp seed oil?
No, hemp seed oil is made from hemp seeds that contain no cannabinoids at all. CBD oil is made from the leaves, stems and flowers of CBD plants and contains a range of cannabinoids, chief among them CBD.
Can CBD get you high?
No. Depending on the type of CBD, the product will either contain trace amounts of THC or, often, none at all. THC is the active compound found in marijuana that gives users a ‘high’. Because the THC levels in CBD are so low, it is non-psychoactive.
Is it legal in the UK?
CBD oil derived from industrial hemp is legal in the UK, which is why it’s so widely available. In order to be sold in the UK, the THC level needs to be below 0.2%.
Is it organic? (and is that even important?)
It should be easy to check whether the CBD product you are interested in is organic or not. Brands with a transparent sourcing and manufacturing process will be clear about where they source their CBD extract from, so you have full peace of mind that the product you are purchasing is pure and high quality.
How do you use CBD?
For first-time CBD users, many opt to start with CBD gummies or CBD oil. Both are easy to ingest and monitor your dosage. It’s best to follow the instructions on the label to ensure that you are using the product correctly, and to start with a low dose, gradually increasing until you experience the desired effects.
If you’re new to CBD, hopefully this has helped with how to go about purchasing CBD (as well as clearing up a few questions at the same time).
While CBD is legal in the UK, it is not strictly regulated, so it’s essential to do your homework before making a decision. Always consider the brand’s reputation, the quality of the product and the resources that they provide for their customers.