It doesn’t quite matter what we’re purchasing these days, marketplace clutter is the consumer’s worst enemy. Whether in-store or online, we are constantly bombarded with new products draped in clever marketing and catchy slogans. Underneath, however, many of these attractive goods are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They’re poorly made, lacking quality or potentially even harmful. 

This has become especially concerning in the health and wellness space, where influencer marketing has taken hold. Non-experts hold up beautifully-packaged items and name them the “holy grail,” encouraging viewers to buy without any mention of the sizable kickbacks or ad contracts that support their sponsored posts. Today, it’s up to the consumers to be vigilant and fact check their purchases to be sure they’re getting high quality products that deliver.

When buying CBD, especially for beginners, knowing what to look for is highly important to achieving the results you’re looking for. CBD offers users powerful properties with a wide range of applications, which is why the substance has earned such high acclaim. 

With that in mind, there are virtually endless options to choose from, and for beginners that can be daunting. “Where do I even find CBD, and which providers can I trust?” “How do I know what I’m looking for?” Well, to help you get started, here’s a guide of what you might need, what to look for, and how to get started when buying CBD.


A quick refresher course on CBD oil

Before setting out to buy your first bottle of CBD oil, let’s remind ourselves what CBD oil actually is. Cannabidiol, as it’s formally known, is a naturally-occurring substance derived from the plant Cannabis Sativa and is one of its two major properties. The other most commonly known substance is THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is notorious for its ability to get you high. CBD, fortunately, is the plant’s non-psychoactive substance, so you’ll reap all the benefits without any mind-altering properties. Once absorbed by the body, CBD molecules tend to bind to cannabinoid receptors in the body, allowing you to feel the effects of the substance.


What to look for in a manufacturer

The first step is knowing where your CBD comes from. And, of course, that starts with the plant. Look for a plant that is grown in an area where it is subject to high quality controls — like in the U.S. — so you can be assured that the plants have limited exposure to pesticides and, thus are getting better growth quality as a result. Look for manufacturers that sell “Broad Spectrum CBD” products, since these are natural and contain all the cannabinoids that are naturally occurring in the cannabis plant.

Reputable companies are typically upfront and transparent with their manufacturing processes, so look for providers that take you through their method of plant growth, harvesting and oil production. There are plenty of suspect businesses who simply use hype words to market their products without insight into their methods. This should raise a red flag. 

While the hemp industry continues its significant growth, regulation is still catching up to the boom. There have been significant issues in the past with labeling, and consumers have been deceived by discrepancies in accuracy. Be sure to double check providers to make sure that they are reporting the correct amount of CBD in their products. Most reputable companies should have lab reports readily available on their websites indicating that their products have been tested by a third party, confirming the amount of CBD contained in each product and serving size. If lab reports are not available, it could mean that the product did not contain the stated amount of cannabinoids, an obvious issue for buyers.


Selecting the right concentration

Once you’ve found a provider you’re comfortable with, and you’re ready to select a product, it’s then time to refer to that number on the front of the bottle. This number measured in milligrams (mg) — typically ranging from 300 mg to 10,000 mg — refers to how strong the product is, also known as the concentration or potency. In simpler terms, this is the amount of CBD contained per product, or the entire bottle. On the back, you can break this down further by looking at the serving size. So, if a bottle has a concentration of 500 mg with 10 ml of drops and a serving size of 1 ml, then you would be taking 50 mg per serving. With gummies, other edibles and topicals, the milligrams per product and serving size will be clearly indicated on the bottle to easily determine the amount per product and serving size. 


Determining the right amount for your needs

Understanding the appropriate concentration and amount for you and your needs is often a process of trial and error. The right quantity depends on many factors, from desired effects and symptoms, to body weight and health and wellness goals. Generally, it’s suggested to start off with smaller amounts and concentrations and to maintain CBD use for at least 30 days. Each individual reacts differently to CBD at first and as it builds in the body over time. As adjustments are needed, gradual, slow increases are typically recommended until you feel the desired effects. CBD supports a wide range of health and wellness applications, and as its use becomes more common, the discovery of possible benefits continues to grow. 

As always, remember to do your due diligence when purchasing a new product, especially when it comes to your health and wellness. And, when purchased from a trusted, reputable manufacturer, CBD is a valuable tool with a range of benefits and applications for everyday use. 

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