All over the world, people are preaching the potential health benefits of CBD. However, although this supplement has taken the world by storm, it is still a relatively new concept – one that is hard to moderate, especially online.
It seems that while the CBD market is still in its infancy, many disingenuous companies are looking to profit from the growing value and popularity of it, taking advantage of unsuspecting buyers and offering products that contain little to no trace of cannabidiol.
And with so many CBD sellers saturating the market, how can you figure out which products are genuine, and which are a con? We spoke to some experienced CBD users to find out their tips for spotting scams online.
How to tell If a CBD site is a scam
- They have no certificates of analysis
- The seller makes medical claims
- The product dosages and strengths are unclear
- The seller/product has negative reviews online
They have No certificates of analysis
CBD writer and reviewer Tim W. Shaw from Health And Wellness Review told us he would be concerned if he couldn’t find the seller’s certificates of analysis on their website. “I don’t use any products that I can’t check a third-party lab test. And you’ll also want to be sure that it matches the label.”
For instance, at Curated Wellness Co., we ensure all of our customers can view any verified, third-party lab reports and testing via a handy QR code found on each subscription box.
Kelly Martin is also a CBD advocate, writing about her experiences with the product over on her mental health and wellness blog, Kelly Martin Speaks. As well as the seller’s website lacking certificates, Kelly says another red flag is “when the seller doesn’t give details of how and where the product was produced”, as you want to be able to verify exactly where it was formulated and how.
The seller makes medical claims
“I would also be concerned if the retailer made any medical claims,” says Tim. “CBD retailers in the UK can only sell CBD as a food supplement for general health benefits. They mustn’t make any specific health claims.”
So, if a seller is guaranteeing that their product can cure a wealth of illnesses and complaints, it’s wise to move along.
The product Dosages and strengths are unclear
Kelly says one big red flag she looks out for when researching CBD products is if the seller is unclear or misleading about the dosage or strength of the product on their website. “Some sellers state they are high strength when they are actually very low in strength, which manipulates the novice buyer into buying a product that probably will do very little to help them.”
If the seller isn’t being transparent about the strength of the CBD product you’re looking to purchase, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
The seller/product has negative reviews online
Kelly says the first thing she does is Google the seller to see what she can find out about them online. “I look to see if the seller is established, to see if they have been supplying the product for some time and to see their customer satisfaction ratings, paying particular attention to the negative ones.” If the bad reviews outweigh the good, or they don’t feel genuine, you should probably keep looking.
How to tell if a CBD seller is genuine
- They are usually a member of the Cannabis Trades Association
- They have third-party certificates of analysis
- They have a good online presence
They are a member of the Cannabis Trades Association
“Look for sites that are members of the Cannabis Trades Association,” says Tim. “They are an official body who are working with the best retailers to set their own standards and self-regulation.”
They have third-party certificates of analysis
Tim says a sure-fire way to see if the seller is genuine is to look at the third-party certificates of analysis. “These are tests carried out by an independent lab on every individual batch. They will tell you exactly what levels of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids have been found in the product. They also check for toxins and heavy metals. These certificates should be available on the product page. Always check that the certificates are up to date and relate to the batch you are buying.”
They have a good online presence
Lifestyle blogger and CBD advocate Stephi Lareine says that when buying CBD, it’s “super important to research the company you’re buying from before you commit”, and that can mean checking things like their social media as well as online reviews.
A great online presence can speak volumes about a company and its legitimacy. Are they posting frequently? What is the quality of their content like? These are all things that can add to the credibility of a company. Also, don’t forget to check their comments section to see if people are positively engaging with the brand.
Things to know when buying CBD products
- Start with a low dosage and work your way up to find your perfect dosage
- There are legal limits on THC levels
- ‘Full spectrum CBD’ means the product contains other natural properties
- CO2-extracted CBD is a favourable production process
Start with a low dosage
“My best tip is to always start off on a low dosage before jumping into expensive, higher percentages,” says Stephi. Although it may be tempting to opt for the higher strength products to ensure they could work for you, realistically, you only want to be taking the amount of CBD you require.
If you’re not sure where to start, our Intro CBD subscription box is perfect for beginners, offering a wealth of products to help you find what products you do and don’t like.
There are legal limits on THC levels
“You should also be aware that any product containing more than 0.2% THC or 1mg per container is illegal,” says Tom. Companies promising to give you more value for money by offering a higher percentage of THC are either not following the legal guidelines or lying about what’s in the product – so stay away!
‘Full spectrum CBD’ means the product contains other natural properties
“Following hundreds of studies, it has been generally accepted in the industry that CBD is more effective when it is accompanied by small amounts of other substances naturally found in the hemp plant,” says Tim. “Products that contain other cannabinoids and terpenes are referred to as ‘full spectrum’. However, this can refer to anything from one extra cannabinoid to the full range found in the plant.
CO2-extracted CBD is a favourable production process
When it comes to the production of CBD, Tim says: “the best products are cold-pressed, supercritical, CO2-extracted, whole plant extract.”
CO2 is becoming a more popular method of extraction of cannabidiol because it is considered to be more environmentally friendly, safer, cleaner, cheaper and less toxic.
Kelly also believes CO2-extracted CBD to be the most favourable. “The most important thing for me is that I check out the process by which the CBD was extracted. I favour those that use the CO2 process rather than those that use chemical solvents.”
Not only are all the products featured in the Curated Wellness Co. subscription tried and tested, but we are also committed to complete transparency. This means we ensure all suppliers include access to their verified, third-party lab reports and testing. You can access these reports via the QR code on your box, where you will be able to review levels of the various cannabinoids, including THC, which will be under the legal limit at all times.
Want to learn more about our CBD subscription boxes? Our specially-curated boxes contain only the finest hand-picked CBD products, tried and tested by our knowledgeable team.