When buying CBD online or at a store, it’s important to take steps to ensure you are getting a quality product. The recent CBD gold rush has led many sellers and producers to cut corners and even outright lie just to make a quick buck.

Just how bad is it? Well, in February of 2019, a joint investigation performed by FOX 11 Los Angeles and the Dr. Oz show tested dozens of different CBD products. The products were purchased around Los Angeles and New Jersey, and the results were more than worrisome.

The products were tested by Nascient, a third-party laboratory that specializes in cannabis byproducts. They found that “one CBD product was contaminated with a deadly strain of E. Coli bacteria, two samples contained potentially dangerous levels of ethanol, five samples had no detectable traces of CBD, and only one of the products actually contained what was claimed in its labeling.”

“If you have a consumer that’s trying to take it medicinally, then it’s basically snake oil,” said Dr. Leah Shaffer, Chief Operating Officer of Nascient.

How can you avoid sneak oil and buy quality CBD? Well, there are a few steps an informed consumer can follow to help ensure the quality of what they’re buying.

1 – Avoid prices that seem too good

Producing quality CBD products and ensuring their quality costs money. If the price of a product seems too good to be true, the producer is probably cutting corners.

2 – Find out if the product was tested by a third-party

All legitimate CBD producers end up having to charge more than unscrupulous competitors. They also understand that there’s a trust issue associated with CBD products. Therefore, legitimate sellers have every incentive to make their test results visible and easy to find. It drives up sales, after all.

If test results for a particular CBD brand are hard to find or not present at all, that’s a red flag.

3 – Look for customer reviews

Reviews are a good way to find out if a company delivers the quality they promise. Look for reviews hosted on third-party review websites, like TrustPilot. Those can help ensure that the reviews are unedited, and even help verify that the reviewer has indeed purchased the product in question.

4 – Find out where the hemp is grown

After reading the results of Nascient’s tests, you might be wondering how heavy metals make their way into CBD products. Is it from industrial contamination? Not necessarily. More often, the source of this contamination is the soil itself.

Hemp is known as a super aggregator. Its roots reach deep, and whatever it finds goes up into the plant, becoming part of its biomass. If the deeper layers of the soil are contaminated with fungus, pesticides, or heavy metals, all of that goes up to the hemp and ends up inside your CBD oil.

Look for sellers who disclose who grows their hemp. Then find out if the hemp and the soil beneath it are tested regularly. That will help you find products that are free of contaminants.

If you’d like to learn more about CBD, check out Cibdol’s post about CBD absorption and bioavailability.