woman using cbd products


New to CBD? While there’s a lot of enthusiasm over the health and wellness benefits of this plant ingredient from industrial hemp, you still should do your homework before choosing a product, whether you prefer in-store purchasing or online shopping. There are a number of things you’ll want to find out as part of your retail CBD research. They include:


  • Read the label for ingredients
  • Check to see if the product has Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Know your desired dosage
  • Make sure the hemp the CBD is derived from was grown in the US
  • Ask if the product Certificate of Analysis (COA)


Read the label

Read the label to understand what other ingredients are in the product. You want to be sure to avoid any chemicals that will be harmful. By the same token, a product may include ingredients that are of no value in addressing your health needs.

Also, with so much opportunity for CBD, there is the risk of poor-quality or mislabeled products entering the market. “Over the past several years, FDA has issued several warning letters to firms that market unapproved new drugs that allegedly contain cannabidiol (CBD). As part of these actions, FDA has tested the chemical content of cannabinoid compounds in some of the products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to contain.”[1]

This is why you also need to check the label to see how much CBD the product contains. The amount of CBD will be stated in milligrams, and it means the amount of CBD in the entire container of the product. Also consider the size of the bottle – 10ml, 30 ml and so forth. For example, 500mg of CBD in a 30ml bottle is a lot stronger than 500mg in a 60ml bottle. In fact, it would be double the strength. Another red flag is products that list only the amount of total “cannabinoids” they contain, not specifically how much CBD is in them. Such products could include not just CBD but other related compounds.[2]


Does the product have THC?

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gives you a high. As you look across the landscape of CBD products, you’ll find hemp CBD versus marijuana CBD offerings. Hemp-derived CBD coms from industrial hemp plants and marijuana-derived CBD is sourced from marijuana plants. The molecular structure of the plants is the same. However, federal legal issues apply. The federal government classifies hemp-derived CBD as legal if it contains 0.3 percent THC or less while marijuana-derived CBD is illegal and classified as a controlled substance regardless of the amount of THC.

At the state-level, the legality of CBD-derived products is a different issue, which can lead to confusion. States where medical marijuana is legal allow for the use of CBD extract in products. States that haven't legalized medical marijuana allow limited use of cannabis oils if they contain a low level of THC and a high-level CBD.[3]

Also, if you are applying for a new job and required to take a drug test or if your current employer routinely tests for drugs, you want to be sure that the CBD product doesn’t have any trace amounts of THC. Workers have failed company drug testing because of THC, which can exist in low amounts in some CBD products and remain in the body for weeks.[4]

Therefore, when evaluating retail CBD offerings online or in-store, whether it’s at a grocery, foodservice or drug store, or if you are shopping at one of the CBD stores, be sure that you know if there is THC in the product and how much.


Determine your desired CBD dosage

How much CBD you need depends on your condition and the CBD delivery. The potential for your body to absorb CBD depends on the delivery method. You may need to experiment with the CBD dosage to find out what works best for you.

  • Ingestion and Sublingual Application: Whether in capsules, food or liquid, CBD that is swallowed is absorbed through the digestive tract. With capsules, the effective dose already has been established. CBD can also be absorbed directly into the bloodstream bypassing the digestive system by holding liquid from a spray or tincture (a liquid dosed by a dropper) under the tongue (sublingual) for 60 to 120 seconds. The effects may be felt within 15 to 45 minutes.[5]
  • On the skin: Topical products, including creams, lotion, balms and gels are applied to the skin over the area where there is pain. Since topical CBD use is localized, there is no need to dose too much. Assume a little cream goes a long way and start with a small amount on the problem area. After an hour or so, try reapplying. Any of the topicals that have Camphor, Lidocaine or Menthol can be applied up to 3-4 times a day.
  • Inhalation: CBD can be inhaled via a vaporizing, or vape pen. Inhaled CBD tends to enter the bloodstream faster than other forms. However, controlling dosages can be difficult because how much CBD is absorbed depends on how long and hard the inhalation is.[6]


Source of hemp

CBD products are highly regulated under the U.S. Farm Bill.  That’s why you’ll want to buy CBD products that use hemp that is sourced in the United States.


Certificate of Analysis (COA)

A Certificate of Analysis, or COA, is a document issued by an accredited laboratory that includes a full composition of a product. A CBD Certificate of Analysis should include a total list of cannabinoids, microbiological levels, terpenes (aromatic plant compounds found in high concentrations in the cannabis plant), and possible contaminants such as pesticides, solvent residue or heavy metals.[7]

Lab+Blends provides Certificates of Authenticity (COA) on request for of all of our products. Available on request. The COA ensures that the product was made with a CBD Isolate (Isolates are the purest form of CBD because all of the other compounds and impurities have been removed from the cannabis plant during the extraction process) and that the Isolate has been tested and shows no traces of THC.



[1] “Warning Letters and Test Results for Cannabidiol-Related Products, FDA, accessed July 30, 2020. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/warning-letters-and-test-results-cannabidiol-related-products
[2] Gill, Lisa L., “How to Shop for CBD,” Consumer Reports,” September 27, 2018. https://www.consumerreports.org/cbd/how-to-shop-for-cbd/
[3] Nagele-Piazza, Lisa, “The ABCs of THC: What Employers Need to Know about Marijuana Laws,” SHRM, January 30, 2019.  https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/what-employers-need-to-know-about-marijuana-laws--.aspx
[4] Downs, David, “Does CBD show up on a drug test?” Leafly, November 21, 2019. https://www.leafly.com/news/cbd/does-cbd-show-up-drug-test
[5] “CBD for Arthritis Pain: What You Should Know,” Arthritis Foundation, accessed September 12, 2020. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/managing-pain/pain-relief-solutions/cbd-for-arthritis-pain
[6] Gill, Lisa L., “How to Safely Use CBD: Should You Inhale, Spray, Apply or Eat It?”, Consumer Reports, August 26, 2018. https://www.consumerreports.org/cbd/how-to-use-cbd-inhale-spray-apply-eat/
[7] Alphagreen Team, “The Complete Guide to CBD (Certificate of Analysis),” November 18, 2019. https://medium.com/alphagreen/the-complete-guide-to-cbd-coa-certificate-of-analysis-d37cddd9b570