Top 5 Things to Look For When Buying CBD

Hemp, CBD — all household names, but only in the very recent past. In an industry that lacks government regulation and well-developed approval processes, how do you know that you’re buying high-quality CBD (or, quite honestly, CBD at all)?

featured image

By Medterra Wellness

- 5 minute read

Top 5 Things to Look For When Buying CBD

Before you swipe your card, confirm your purchase, and take your first dose, look for these five essential factors. If your CBD checks these boxes, then it checks out!

#1 Transparent, Straightforward Labeling Standards

Before you start scrutinizing the ingredients list or examining the net weight and potency, you have to look for one key requirement: all of that information is readily available.

“No news is good news” doesn’t apply to CBD. In fact, if any of the products you’re looking at doesn’t include these details, put it back on the shelf and walk away:

Having this information is one thing, but does the bottle say what you want it to?

  • Potency – The amount of CBD as an active ingredient, which will be listed in milligrams (mg)—mg per gummy, capsule, or dropper (usually included with CBD oils)
  • Ingredients – A full ingredients panel, whether active or not
  • Suggested use – Recommended serving size, when and how often to take it
  • Type of CBD – “CBD” isn’t enough information when there’s a discrepancy between broad-spectrum, and isolates

Having this information is one thing, but does the bottle say what you want it to?

#2 Organic, All-Natural Ingredients That You Recognize

A full ingredients list is a great start. However, you’ll get lost pretty quickly if every item is some foreign, unfamiliar, potentially toxic substance.

Instead, some companies will specify natural ingredients for your peace of mind. A simple ingredients list is usually best, but there’s bound to be a few items you don’t instantly recognize. These standard ingredients are no cause for concern:

  • Stabilizing carrier oil – There are two primary components of CBD oil: CBD and—you guessed it—oil. Common carrier oils include grapeseed, MCT (often coconut-derived), olive, or hemp seed oil.
  • Flavors and colors – Ideally, your CBD products will be flavored and colored with natural ingredients, but you may spot a few artificial flavors.
  • Other active ingredients – If you’re buying sleep-promoting gummies, you may find Melatonin, chamomile, and other calming agents. Similarly, with energy-boosting products, you’re likely to see caffeine. These serve to enhance the CBD’s effects.

#3 The Type of CBD Being Used

If you don’t know what type of CBD you’re buying, then it’s hard to say what you’re actually purchasing. Broad-spectrum, and isolates are three distinct categories—and each one might make you feel different, too:

  • If you’re looking for CBD in its simplest, purest form, you’ll want to purchase a CBD isolate. As the name suggests, the CBD is isolated from the plant without any of the other compounds.
  • If you’re looking for more of the hemp plant’s benefits without the psychoactive compound THC, look for broad-spectrum CBD. This contains everything but the THC, including terpenes and minor cannabinoids, which have their own health benefits. These products may also be labeled as “0% THC.

#4 Made With Home-Grown, Contaminant-Free Hemp

With CBD, the what can be just as important as the how and where—how and where it was grown.

Cannabis plants absorb their nutrients from the soil and water, which means they can also absorb any undesirable chemicals and pesticides. If you want pure, safe CBD, you need it to come from equally pure and safe hemp plants.

How can you guarantee that? Luckily, there are a number of regulatory boards and certifications that show you just how safe and compliant a company’s CBD is. Keep an eye out for these stamps of approval as you browse the shelves or scroll through sites:

  • Follows the strict guidelines of the state’s Department of Agriculture and any regional hemp pilot programs
  • Certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority; includes verified farming best practices, compliance with all applicable regulations, and adherence to a high standard of quality
  • Uses GMP-certified (Good Manufacturing Practice) suppliers and distributors

Now, you may think all U.S.-cultivated hemp is the same—the farmers must adhere to the same national standards, right? There’s more to it than that.

In reality, hemp plants grow best in certain climates. The ideal environment for growing hemp includes:

  • Mild temperatures
  • Humid atmosphere
  • High moisture, especially during the first six weeks, then decent rainfall throughout the season—at least 25-35 inches annually
  • Deep, nutrient-rich soil, with moisture-holding potential

#5 Certificates of Analysis for Third-Party Lab Testing

The lack of governmental oversight and legal regulations doesn’t mean you can’t trust CBD manufacturers. It just means they have to earn your trust.

Any company that won’t go the extra mile to prove its safety and purity isn’t worth buying from. Here’s what to look for in a Certificate of Analysis or COA (starting with the fact that they actually have one):

  • Where – Make sure the company uses an independent, third-party lab that’s been ISO-certified (the International Organization for Standardization).
  • When – Check that they have recent lab results and, ideally, more than one. Having multiple certificates shows consistent purity, not just a random one-off.
  • What – Confirm that the product is pesticide-free, has 0% THC, and any other claims the company has made about the ingredient list.

As a general rule of thumb: no COA = no CBD.

Finding CBD You Can Trust

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying CBD, but chances are, you’re a pretty good judge of character. So, check the labels, do a bit of research, and always trust your gut when it comes to red flags.


Healthline. Reading a CBD Label: How to Find a Quality Product. 

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design, North Carolina A&T State University. A Review on the Current State of Knowledge of Growing Conditions, Agronomic Soil Health Practices and Utilities of Hemp in the United States. 

Hemp Industry Daily. Hemp Report: Top 10 U.S. States.