Cannabidiol (CBD) was still an illegal substance until the 2018 Farm Bill made industrial hemp, and therefore, hemp-derived CBD, legal for production across the country. Salons, spas, online retailers, health stores, and even major pharmacies are filling their shelves with an ever-growing variety of CBD-infused products.
The CBD market is growing rapidly and doesn't seem to show any sign of stopping. Unfortunately, until regulations for testing and labeling are in place, the CBD market is still “buyer beware” and there are no regulations in place for safety, purity, or optimal dosage.
It is possible to find trustworthy CBD products, especially when the necessary precautions are taken. Here's a quick beginner's guide to buying CBD oil including terms to know, cost, and how to read a CBD oil label.
What is CBD oil?
The term “CBD oil” is used to describe several formulas and products that are either concentrated or infused with CBD, a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Most commonly, quality CBD oil will refer to oil containing pure CBD and no other cannabis compounds. CBD hemp oil is extracted from hemp, which is legally defined as containing less than 0.3% THC. Full-spectrum or whole-plant CBD oil includes more than CBD, such as cannabis-derived terpenes as well as trace amounts of THC and other cannabinoids. Broad-spectrum contains a similar spectrum of cannabinoids but without any THC. CBD oil and other CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC, but it's highly unlikely to produce an intoxicating effect or show up on a drug test.
Is CBD oil legal?
While the 2018 Farm Bill (or Agriculture Improvement Act) removed hemp-derived CBD from the list of illegal drugs, it also left the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in charge of oversight. The agency has been clear that CBD-infused products are not approved for sale or use in humans or animals, but that hasn't stopped some states from creating their own laws.
Consult your state's local cannabis laws and regulations to find out if CBD products are considered legal to buy in your state.
How much does CBD oil cost?
CBD oils are popular and therefore not cheap in the current market. A 1-ounce, or 30-milliliter, bottle of CBD oil can cost between $30 and $200. While it's difficult to say what's a fair price for CBD, a lab-tested product typically costs $50 to $60 per 1,000 milligrams.
What to know about CBD oil labeling
Until federal agencies determine final and enforceable regulations, the potential for mislabeled and poor-quality products is high. Knowing what to watch out for on a CBD oil label can improve the odds of finding a high-quality CBD oil and other related products.
CBD oil labels should not make any medical claims. The FDA monitors and regulates claims of medical efficacy related to any unapproved substance. The agency has sent warning letters to several companies that sold CBD products with labels claiming the contents could prevent, treat, and cure serious diseases. Yet plenty of companies voluntarily follow FDA standards and prohibit unverified claims on their labels. Words such as “cure,” “prevent,” “reduce,” and “treat” can be red flags that a seller isn't operating with integrity.
Some CBD oil labels are fraught with marketing terms and buzzwords that appear to signify medicinal value. Terms such as “organic,” “all-natural,” and even “pure” have no scientific meaning, and shouldn't be considered a sign of a trustworthy CBD oil. Products claiming to contain hemp or hemp seed oil aren't the same as hemp-derived CBD oil, and won't necessarily contain any CBD. Cannabis-derived CBD oil is produced from cannabis plants that contain THC above 0.3%.
Key indicators of quality CBD oil
Most reputable CBD oils include the following information on their labels:
- Amount of CBD as an active ingredient per serving
- Supplement Fact Panel, including other ingredients
- Net weight
- Manufacturer or distributor name
- Suggested use
- Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate
- Batch or date code
The information contained in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any illness. Please consult with your physician and discuss any prescription medications you are taking before using CBD products.
Best CBD oils to buy
There are a few helpful hints to know if you want to buy CBD oil or other CBD products. If an isolate is 99.9% CBD or more, it's highly unlikely that it will have trace amounts of THC. Purity ranges of 99.5% or lower may still have trace levels of THC. Avoiding trace amounts of THC may be important due to personal preference, or as a precaution against failing a drug test. If using CBD to treat inflammation, it may be helpful to note that a 2015 study showed that CBD oil with low THC may be more effective in treating inflammation than a CBD isolate.