The primary goal of our website and our CBD Oil Users Group on Facebook is to educate consumers about safe and reputable CBD brands. The education that we provide enables consumers to make their own buying decisions based on their needs. We want you to be able to go out into the world informed about what CBD is, what to look for, and how to pick out products yourself.
Our website and group provides a curated and vetted list of recommended CBD brands to get you started. But it’s by no means an all-inclusive list. Just because a brand isn’t on our list doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not safe and reputable.
You may find yourself in a local store looking at CBD products and come across a brand you’re unfamiliar with. One that isn’t on our list. How can you tell if it’s safe and reputable? In this article, we’ll discuss what you need to know to determine if a CBD brand is worth a try.
Third Party Lab Testing
The most important step is determining if they do third-party lab testing of their products. This means that they send their products, or even raw materials, to an independent lab for testing. The lab checks for potency of cannabinoids in the products in addition to other testing, such as for residual solvents and heavy metals.
Check these lab tests to make sure that the amount of CBD aligns with the amount listed on the packaging. You can often even call the lab that did the testing and verify that it’s a real report. There have been instances in the past of lab reports being copied or falsified.
If the brand does third-party lab testing, you’re off to a good start. If they don’t do lab testing, or won’t provide the lab reports, steer clear. There is no way to know what is in the product you are consuming if they don’t do lab testing. For all you know, you may not even be getting what you’re paying for.
Furthermore, don’t just stop at checking for lab testing. Check to see that they test each batch of their products and that they have a consistent, recent history of it. It doesn’t help you much if the most recent lab test is from over a year ago.
Website and Contact Info
Is the website current? In fact, does the brand even HAVE a working website? Do they have a working email, phone number and a physical address? Is the address coming up as someone’s private home when you search it?
These are all things to consider when seeking out a new brand. If the website has misspelled words or their product pages have little to no information, you may want to consider another brand.
Buying from a company with good customer service is also important. If they never respond to emails or pick up their phone, that’s usually a pretty good indication of things being amiss.
Public Feedback and Company Reputation
This may seem like a no-brainer, but look for user reviews of the brand and try to determine if they’re legitimate. All too often we come across brands that ONLY post positive reviews on their website and delete any negative ones.
Other times, the reviews are all by people invested in the product, such as brand ambassadors, employees or affiliates. Our Facebook group is especially useful for this since discussion of all brands is allowed. We also have in-depth CBD reviews for all major brands posted on our website.
Even if it’s not something that we have personally vetted and recommended, there’s a good chance that it has been discussed or reviewed by other group members. So take advantage of that search function in the group!
Source of Hemp
Who’s actually producing the hemp that they’re using for their products? Sometimes the brand has their own farms that they own and operate. Sometimes they partner with local farms. And other times, they import their hemp from overseas or are a “white label” of another brand.
This is especially important since imported hemp, such as that from China, tends to be extremely low-quality, low in CBD and high in potential dangerous things like heavy metals or pesticides.
Transparency tends to be something that’s lacking with a lot of brands. Sometimes it’s understandable and other times it can seem like they may be hiding something.
If the brand has their own farm, are they willing to discuss their harvesting and processing practices? Do they regularly post photos or are they active on social media? Would they be willing to let you visit their corporate office?
You don’t necessarily have to go that far and we’re not suggesting you go fly states away to visit them. But the key takeaway here is transparency and being willing to communicate with their customers.
This tends to go hand-in-hand with public feedback. If you see even so much as an inkling of reports indicating the product may contain synthetic cannabinoids, we highly recommend steering clear. Third-party lab tests do not test for synthetics, so it’s not something that will show up in those.
Unfortunately, synthetics have to be specifically sought out and tested for independently. We know of some brands that have tested positive for synthetics and we have no doubt there are others out there.
If a hemp-derived CBD product is getting people “high” or intoxicated, there’s a chance that it contains synthetics and it should be avoided.
Summary of How to Identify Safe & Reputable CBD Brands
There’s a lot that goes into determining if a brand is safe and reputable. Lab testing, batch testing, sourcing, public reputation, customer service and transparency are all things to consider and look into if you’re thinking about trying a new brand.
Our vetting process goes even more in-depth than just the things mentioned above. So if this all seems like too much work for you, our recommended list is a great place to start!