Last updated on June 12th, 2020
In this CBD guide, we are going to go through exactly what you need to know before buying CBD so you don’t waste your money or risk your health.
As mentioned on every page, we are not medical professionals and nothing here is intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease or ailment. Hempanion is about helping people make their own choices and not to make medical claims about these products. Although we test all the products we have, they are not currently tested by the Food and Drug Administration. Laws do come in on March 31st 2021 which you can find out about in the guide to legality of CBD in 2020.
We do provide advertorial links to products on our site in this guide but the content applies to anywhere you choose to buy your CBD.
With the rise in popularity of CBD, there was a lot of people trying to cash in on that popularity, and there still are.
This was a big part of why we started Hempanion, we saw the brands ripping people off and it was becoming harder and harder to tell the difference between good and bad products. That’s why we check every product we have to make sure it meets our strict standards for quality and ethics, hence why we are the trusted place to buy CBD. But the other reason we started, was to educate so that you can make more informed choices on what works for you.
It’s a whole complicated world of CBD out there so without further ado here are the 10 things you must know before buying CBD.
1. Is the CBD Safe?
The first thing you need to look for is whether the CBD is safe to consume. Companies making quick profits, selling low quality or even dangerous CBD oils and products to people around the world are putting a bad light on cannabis-based products, and ultimately putting peoples health at risk. So how do you know if a CBD product is safe or not?
Buy CBD from a Trusted shop
One of the best things you can do is buy from a trusted CBD shop like Hempanion.com which is an independent seller of CBD. We don’t make our own products, so we have no sales pitch or bias towards a brand. We take every brand for what it is, if a brand doesn’t fit the standards and ethos that we set, then we don’t sell it, simple as that. Only after a brand meets all our standards, then we will show it to our customers. No bias, just an impartial look at what is quality on the market right now.
Check if there are Quality Lab Tests
The second main thing you can do to see if a product is safe is to check it’s lab tests. All reputable brands should have quality third part lab tests, that is why it is one of the many factors that we use to determine if we will sell the CBD product on our shop.
But even if the company claims it has lab tests, how do you know if it is legitimate?
How to read CBD Lab Tests
First of all, take a look on the company’s website and see if it claims to have lab tests or certificates of analysis for its products, if it does then great, we can now see how true the claims are.
The next thing to do is to see if it’s legitimate. It is very hard to be 100% sure that a lab test is accurate, but here is what you need to check to be as confident as possible.
Companies should do separate tests for each of their products so compare the information on the lab test with the product you are looking at. Does the cannabinoid level match what is described on the website? Note, it is normal for the percentage to be half a % or even a bit more over or under the described level. So if you are looking at a 15% CBD oil then don’t be alarmed if it says 14.86% or 15.86%.
The above example is a 4% CBD and CBDa Oil so if you add up the CBD and CBDa content percentages then it makes roughly 4%. It is also a full-spectrum CBD oil so it contains a little bit of each cannabinoid which is why you see the other ones in there. Further down we go into more detail about this.
The next thing to look out for is the information on the actual lab test. Below we have an example of some common information you should be seeing on a lab test. You should be able to see the date the test was done, the name of the test, who it was more and the product it was done for.
The next thing you should do, is to check for heavy metals and other contaminants in the product. This is usually either at the end of the lap report or in a separate document. What it is checking for is the levels of harmful contaminants like heavy metals or mould and bacteria that are harmful to you. This normally shows in a simple Pass or Fail for each contaminant the test is checking for.
The final thing you should look for is that the test was done by a reputable third-party lab. One of the things you can check is that it is an accredited lab. One of the big providers is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). So look out for the logo below.
There are other accreditors as well so have a look on the report for any signs of accreditation, or go to the lab’s website and find out more about the lab and its accreditation or reputation on their website.
2. What is in the product?
The next thing to look at is what is actually in the product. The main thing that affects the quality and impact of the product you are thinking of using is, of course, the ingredients in the CBD Oil or product. This is particularly important for any CBD oil, capsule or product you are ingesting. CBD Topicals typically have many more ingredients and are more complex to understand as they are usually a typical moisturiser or other product that had been mixed with CBD for its effect.
Hempanion is one of the only places to clearly show all or our products ingredients so you know exactly what is in it. We have been talking with brands to make this accurate and as easy to find as possible.
If you are in a shop then check the label and see what it says on there.
The main ingredients in CBD oils to look out for
If we take CBD oils, most have only a couple of ingredients. First is the actual cannabinoid extract which is the isolated cannabinoids which we go into a bit more in the next section. And second is the carrier oil, this is what dilutes the isolate and makes up a large part of the contents. The ratio of the isolate to carrier oil depends on the strength of the CBD oil.
There are many types of carrier oil and they have a large impact on the taste of the CBD oil in general. So if you find an oil you like the taste of, see what carrier oil it uses and you can try others with that same type. Most commonly the carrier oil is either Hemp Oil (Made from hemp seeds), Olive Oil or MCT oil. In theory, any type of oil can be used but those are the most common.
Make sure the oil actually contains CBD. There are some confusing names in the CBD world and you can find hemp oil which may seem good for much cheaper but it is not necessarily the same thing even though it is still good for you. Another reason to check the ingredients. You can find out more in our guides about the difference between CBD oil and Hemp oil.
Read the ingredients closely and if there is anything you don’t recognise, google it. Make sure the ingredients are natural and there is nothing bad inside.Top Tips
You can be sure all products on Hempanion are checked for anything we don’t like.
Other benefits that can be added to CBD oils
Alongside the CBD isolate and carrier oil in the CBD oils, you may find some other ingredients which can be good for health potentially and also flavour. Terpenes and other flavonoids are often removed in the extraction process to make the isolate but they can be good for many things including creating a more rounded flavour. So if you don’t like the raw taste of CBD then look out for them.
The other thing that is becoming more common is the addition of vitamins and nutrients into CBD products. This is because the reason many people take CBD is to help them in some way, and unlike many claims on the internet, CBD is unfortunately not a one-stop-shop for all time healthiness. Our health is made up of many influencing factors like our fitness, nutrition and many other things. CBD is just another tool in our belt.
That is why we are getting more CBD brands with nutrients added in so that it is easier to balance these things out. We don’t want to be taking loads of supplements each day so if you are taking vitamins anyway then it often makes it cheaper and easier to get a CBD oil with these already combined.
The other thing you will find added to some oils is flavour. This can be achieved in many ways but some people do not like the taste of CBD oil so flavours are a great way to go if you are of that opinion.
I would suggest that if there is ever any ingredients that you don’t recognise, then give it a google and see what it is. We would always advise getting products with only natural ingredients. It is one of the big things we take into account when deciding to stock on Hempanion. So be sure you won’t find any bad eggs on here!
3. What Cannabinoids are in the CBD Product?
We keep referring to everything as CBD products but in reality, there are loads of cannabinoids that make up the cannabis plant that CBD is extracted from. Including the famous THC which in larger amounts, gets you high.
It is important to know what cannabinoids are in the product so you can tailor it to your needs if you need to. We will go through the four main groups of cannabinoids in CBD oils so you know what is best for you.
A full-spectrum CBD oil is one that contains the whole spectrum of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. So this includes CBD, CBN, CBG, THC, CBC and many others. You can find out more about the cannabinoids in our CBD guides.
There is a thing called the entourage effect and it basically just means that all the cannabinoids can help more if combined together. So the more you have then the greater cumulative effect they will have together and the more benefit you can potentially get. There are a lot of studies suggesting this and it is widely believed to be the case. None of the CBD oils in the UK have enough THC in them to make you high.
If you are wanting to try CBD products and don’t have any restrictions then usually a full-spectrum CBD oil is the way to go.
CBD only oils have used an extract that removes everything apart from the CBD. This is great if you just want the benefits of pure CBD it’s self or just want to get started and see what CBD on its own does.
Another major reason people take CBD only oils and products is that they may work in a job where they get drug tested. Full-spectrum CBD oils contain only a tiny amount of THC to be legal here in the UK and will not have any psychoactive effect, but on rare occasions, if used for a long time it can show on blood tests. So if you get drug tested for work then it is probably best to avoid THC, just in case
Broad-spectrum CBD oils are the best of both worlds from the above. They contain all the cannabinoids you get from full-spectrum oils but with the THC removed. This is great for getting the majority of the entourage effect but without the risk of THC showing up on any drug tests.
Specialist CBD oils
Finally, we have Specialist CBD oils where there is a combination of CBD and one or two other cannabinoids. One common one is CBD and CBG mixed together with nothing else. These types of oils are great if you want to target the specific benefits of each cannabinoid. You can learn more about those in our CBD Guides.
4. What Strength is the CBD oil?
You can read our full guide on how much CBD to take in our guides but getting a CBD oil the right strength for you is important to get the most out of it.
Unfortunately, many companies show the cannabinoid content in different ways which can make it more confusing to work our the strength. That is one of the things we have worked hard to make simple on Hempanion. By working out the maths we have made it easy to compare strengths of oils between CBD companies.
It is important to know the strength of your oil so that you can tailor the dose to what you need, or help you find your perfect dose. We are all different so there is no single answer for how much you should take and it even changes depending on how oy take it. Find out more about that in our bioavailability of ingesting CBD different ways guide, but the main thing knowing how much you are talking so you can adjust if need be.
The other reason you want to know the strength is so you are not wasting your money. If you are just starting out, there is no point spending loads on a 40% CBD oil. Similarly, if you have had it a while and know your dose or want a bit more then there is no point in getting a 2.5% CBD oil because you will get through it really quickly and end up buying more bottles.
Capsules are easier than oils to get the right dosing as one dose is usually one capsule and it is always the same, however, most oils come with a pipette to accurately get the right amount of CBD via the number of drops you take.
5. Where is it made and how was the CBD made?
The next thing to look at is where it is made. Hemp is known for growing virtually anywhere and also for many other things like cleaning up soil. Here is our guide to hemp.
There are three main places hemp and cannabis are grown, China, Europe(plus the UK) and the USA. China is the worlds largest hemp producer currently, creating most of the industrial hemp used for clothing building and other things. China also is known for using a lot of less than healthy farming methods. Also with one of the great things about hemp being that it cleans up the soil of chemicals pollution, that means it can only be going one place, the hemp plant.
It is because of this that most of the Chinese hemp is not very good for ingesting for health reasons. even though it is very cheap, it is often grown with pesticides, contaminated soils and GMO’s. That is not to say all Chinese hemp is bad but we would recommend it being used more for clothing and other uses opposed to ingesting.
Europe, UK, and the USA have much stricter growing standards for growth so it is usually where you want your CBD oils to be made. But still doesn’t mean it is definitely the best as there are other things to look out for that we go into below
Is it organic?
The next thing you should look for is whether it is organic. Being is organic is one of the big things we look for when deciding to stock a brand which is why we make it easy to filter for organic CBD oils. We make sure each companies claims to being organic are true, or if they are awaiting organic certification.
Your product does not have to be organic but its something we certainly prefer. Any products that are not organic on Hempanion are grown in ethical and safe ways.
Is it GMO free?
The other thing we look for and make it easy to filter by on Hempanion is for any genetically modified plants. We much prefer the natural plant and its benefits so if that’s what you are looking for then we have you covered for GMO-free CBD.
It is really what you prefer when it comes down to these things. a lot of us eat modified fruit and vegetables that are not organic and a lot of us choose to so if you want to be as healthy as possible then look for these attributes of your CBD.
How is it extracted?
The next thing to look for is the way the CBD was extracted in the first place. There are three main ways of extracting CBD, CO2, BHO and Alcohol.
CO2 is the top dog for these methods as it leaves no trace of the extraction process. It is why almost all of the products on Hempanion are CO2 extracted, but we have made it super easy to filter down those options so you can be sure.
The other methods are not always bad for you and they are much cheaper to do which is why the cheapest products often use them but if you are looking for the best then go for CO2 extraction.
You can read more about the advantages of CO2 extraction in our guides.
The next thing to look at is the price, after all, it is one of the factors we all look for when buying anything. Prices range massively in CBD products which can often make it confusing as to why you would pay more, but there are many factors involves and cheaper is not necessarily better value for money.
The first things you want to do is to compare the CBD you are looking for by filtering down by your requirements. it is one of the reasons we spend so much time adding all the little details to the products we stock so that you can filter down to see just what you are looking for without scrolling through pages and pages.
Select the things you want by picking things we have talked about above like the strength, whether it is organic, how it was extracted or grown, size of the bottle/pack and so on until you have a set of results you like the look of.
Then you can compare the prices and there are a few things you can look for to work our the best value for money and that may affect the value of the product.
Does it have premium ingredients?
Added ingredients like nutrients or terpenes will make a product more expensive and if that is something you are looking for then it may be worth paying the extra.
Is it high quality CBD?
One of the advantages of hempanion is that you know all our products are high quality, but if you are buying elsewhere then look out for whether its a high-quality product with the things we have talked about in this article.
Is there some extra features that are great for what you need?
There are some features that make a product more worthwhile like the ease of use, extra precise measuring, may be coated in chocolate or extra nice flavour or something, but sometimes there are features worth paying for if it is what you want. Be careful not to get trapped into something just because of super nice packaging or it being endorsed by your favourite celebrity though as the steps in this guide are much more important than that.
7. Does the company have a good reputation?
The last thing on this list is the companies reputation, is it a fly by night scam or a well-established company with a good reputation. Once again All the products here on Hempanion are from reputable brands that are quality and here to stay. But if you are buying elsewhere then lookout for a few things.
Take a look at the companies website and look at it’s reviews, see how complete it all looks and find out more about the company, how it started and why it started.
Reviews can be faked so look for a large number and also search the web for any reviews or complaints of their products that are not on their website. These can be in blogs, Reddit posts, Facebook posts/comments and a whole host of places.
The other thing you can do is ask your friends if they have tried it, recommend it or have heard of it.
Thanks for reading through and we hope you found this useful. We certainly could not find a guide with everything we thought was needed which is why we made this one.
We would really appreciate a share if you found this useful as well so we can show as many people as possible and help stop people being scammed by low-quality products.
As always if you have any questions about anything, whether you are looking to buy or not then just get in touch.