What to Look for When Purchasing CBD Products
The grey regulatory status of CBD and low barrier of entry have created thousands of new hemp-CBD companies over the past five years. New to the market, many companies that produce and sell CBD often struggle to navigate compliance, marketing, and regulatory issues to make their products viable dietary supplements.
These companies range from cottage industry brands, making products in their kitchen, to well-established brands investing in safety studies and third-party certifications. It’s difficult to know who to trust.
As an executive and consultant in the dietary supplement industry with 20 years of experience, I’ve seen the boom of CBD products firsthand. Here’s my hard-earned advice for researching and choosing the best CBD product for you.
1. Start with the Obvious
Look for signs of quality. Spend a few minutes researching the company website. Read the consumer reviews and third-party reviews. It’s never a bad idea to call or email the company to ask for more information. Are they responsive, professional, and transparent?
2. Does the Company Stand for Values You Respect?
Ask yourself: Do I resonate with this company? Do they invest in social justice programs? Are they a certified B Corporation that values the environment and legal accountability, while balancing profit and purpose? Today’s new and progressive business models combine doing good with doing business. This helps attract customers while helping to make the world a better place.
3. Look for Certifications
Such as third-party GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) or US Hemp Authority. Both require on-site quality audits of facility and significant infrastructure investment. Trade association membership with an organization like American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is another indicator the company cares about quality and compliance. (Full disclosure: I’m chairman of the American Herbal Products Association’s Cannabis Committee.)
4. Does the Company Make Any Claims to Cure or Treat Illnesses or Conditions?
Dietary supplements are not FDA regulated drugs. This means discussing allowable product benefits for supplements are generally limited to “quality of life,” aka structure/function claims—how the product affects the structure or function on the body. For instance, a claim that the product helps “happy mood support” may be allowable; but stating that it “cures anxiety” is not. All claims must be truthful, not misleading, and backed by competent scientific data. Mature companies with quality products do not make specious claims on their labels, website, or social media presence.
5. FDA Food Facility Registration Is Required
For Companies Making Ingestible Dietary Supplements and Hemp Products, this is completely required. Ask your CBD supplier if they are FDA food-facility registered. If they push back or don’t know what you are talking about, run to other more reputable options.
6. Hemp-CBD Supplements Are Not FDA Approved
An FDA-approved logo on the company website is a sign the company likely does not understand the rules and can be an indicator of poor quality processes.
7. Stay Off Amazon
Hemp/CBD products are officially not allowed on the Amazon platform at this time. The current ban on CBD products has led numerous no-name brands of dubious origin to sell questionable products labeled as hemp extract. Until more rigorous quality standards are implemented on Amazon, I suggest buying CBD products elsewhere.
8. If the Price Is Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is
Use good purchasing judgment, and don’t just chase potency and price. Quality and purity are more important. You’re putting these products in and on your body, after all. Hold these companies to high standards. Your health depends on it!