Charlotte Figi’s story shared in the 2013 CNN documentary “Weed,” is at the heart of the CBD oil industry’s explosive growth. One forecast by The Hemp Business Journal estimates a growth rate of $2.1 billion by 2020.
Unfortunately, fast-growing industries, especially those with minimal/unclear regulations like the CBD industry, attract individuals/companies looking to make quick money. This poses a problem for consumers truly in need of their products. As such, knowing where to buy CBD oil and what to look for when doing so is key to getting your money’s worth.
CBD oil can be purchased locally in-store or online. Online purchasing is currently preferred. However, both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Buying CBD Oil Online
Advantages of buying CBD oil online
- Saves time and requires minimal effort.
- Able to shop discreetly
- A wider variety of products to choose from
- Access to discounts/lower prices
- Able to compare products from different brands prior to purchasing
- Online stores are open 24/7
Disadvantages of buying CBD oil online
- You have to wait to receive the products and may have to deal with delays
- Unable to examine or verify products prior to purchase
- Communication issues with the seller
- Increased potential for fraud and identity theft
- Cannot use cash
Buying CBD In-store
Advantages of buying CBD oil in-store include
- No wait times
- Items can be inspected prior to purchasing
- Able to speak to sales/customer service individuals in person
- Using cash to purchase items
- Enjoy a more interactive shopping experience
Disadvantages of buying CBD oil in-store
- Currently only a few vendors to choose from
- Fewer variety of products to choose from
- Lack of privacy whilst shopping
Things to keep in mind when buying CBD oil online or in-store
- Types of CBD oil
There are three different types of CBD oil – raw, decarboxylated, and filtered.
- Raw (Green) CBD Oil – Unheated and filtered CBD oil. It’s dark green or black in color and comes in a thick, sticky paste. It has a strong earthy taste and is the most affordable type of CBD oil.
- Decarboxylated (Blue) CBD Oil – CBD oil heated at either low or high temperatures. Heating activates inactive cannabis components making the oil more effective than when it’s in raw form. It’s also dark green or black in color like raw CBD oil but the consistency is not as thick.
- Filtered (Gold) CBD Oil – CBD oil where plant compounds such as lipids and chlorophyll have been filtered out. It’s gold in color and has the consistency of a gel. It’s the most potent form of CBD oil and thus the most expensive.
- Extraction Methods
CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant using various techniques. The technique impacts final product elements such as quality, taste, effectiveness, price and shelf life.
- CO2 extraction – Pricey yet preferred. It preserves the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids while maintaining the oil’s purity.
- Solvent extraction – Cheaper but they destroy certain plant compounds reducing final product effectiveness. Additionally, residual solvents may be present in the final product.
- Oil extraction – Safer than solvent extraction though it can increase the perishability of the final product.
Cannabis is a “hyperaccumulator.” Hyperaccumulators absorb trace elements from the ground via their roots and store them in their above-ground plant parts. This impacts the quality of the products they are used to make.
Knowing where the hemp is sourced from is therefore important as growing practices and associated regulations vary. For instance, European organically grown hemp has stricter standards to adhere to than organically US grown hemp.
There is no mandatory testing requirement for CBD oil. Testing, however, helps distinguish high-quality CBD oil from those that are less than. Additionally, it enables users to determine the exact cannabinoid and terpene profiles that are crucial for establishing product effectiveness for various uses
Unfortunately, CBD oil prices are not regulated. Despite this, price, should not be the driving force behind one’s purchase. If you go by price alone, you may end up with the short end of the stick.
- Sizing and CBD concentrations
CBD oil comes in different forms and different concentrations. Where possible, first-time users should opt to buy sample sized products first. This allows them to get a feel for the product and determine what works best for them before committing to full-size options.
CBD oil consumers are strongly encouraged to perform their own thorough due diligence prior to choosing either an online-or in-store CBD oil vendor or brand. This includes but is not limited to reviewing a company’s website for product, testing, and shipping/refund information as well as independent company/brand reviews.