With a multitude of strengths and forms available, the world of CBD can be a confusing place for those looking to make their first purchase. So, let’s explain what to look for and what to be aware of when buying CBD oil.

The first choice one needs to make when buying CBD oil is where to buy it from. Online is of course a very popular option, as this is the first port of call for most CBD companies to sell their products. However, if you want to buy CBD oil from a physical store, there are plenty of specialist health food shops around the UK that will stock CBD products. As CBD oils popularity continues to grow in the UK, even major pharmacy chains and supermarkets are now selling it.

Due to the advent of COVID-19, online has naturally become the primary if not only place for many customers to purchase CBD products like the Love CBD Entourage Oil.

A good website will clearly detail the strengths and product type you are getting, as well as explain the differences in products. Some will even give a brief overview of what exactly CBD and other cannabinoids are, along with a FAQ section to help you make an informed choice.

However, buying CBD oil online can often feel as if you are buying blind since it can sometimes be difficult to gauge the reputation and quality of a brand. A good indicator is to check their social media profiles to see their following and reviews, as these will largely be coming directly from independent customers, so you will get a reasonably fair and unbiased assessment. The size of following is important here – a small following of perfect 5-star reviews could easily be finessed or even outright faked, whereas positive reviews from a large sample base will make this very unlikely, so can probably be relied upon.

Trustpilot has become one of the most popular independent websites for business reviews, so it is always worth checking to see if a brand’s profile is on there. Trustpilot will offer a clear overall rating of the company, with user reviews and testimonials to vouch for them. Again, a large number of positive reviews will likely mean you won’t be disappointed. Love CBD currently has over 4500 reviews and an average 4.8 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot which is more reviews than any other UK CBD brand or website.

Good CBD brands will also provide the lab reports for their products on their website. This ensures that what you are getting is as described. Ideally, these results will come from tests conducted at reputable third-party laboratories, and will have the date of the test and the batch number corresponding to the one on your product. Love CBD uses Eurofins who are fully accredited within the UK to conduct cannabinoid and other relevant testing.

The readouts will often contain rows of various cannabinoids – the main one being CBD, but also others such as CBDV and CBG – and a column for their percentage and/ or milligrams in the product.

As far as legality is concerned, the most important measurement to look out for is the THC delta 9 and CBN content. There may be various types of THC that you see, but if this is the case, then their combined total is what counts. THC delta 9 is the compound with psychoactive properties typically associated with cannabis and is a controlled substance under UK law. The Home Office stipulates that no more than 1mg of THC may be present in a single product on the market in the UK.

It is unlikely you will see a straight 0% on most lab results. Often, it will read as ‘<’ followed by a very low percentage in the hundredths or thousandths, which translates as being below detectable levels. It is important to understand what the detection limit that the lab who has undertaken the testing work to, as the product may still have more than 1mg of THC if the threshold for detection is not sensitive enough.

Therefore, being aware that even trace amounts of THC may still exceed the legal limit of 1mg per product. For instance, <0.05% is what is officially recognised as a trace amount – it is what the alcohol industry uses as the standard to classify non-alcoholic beers. However, a standard size CBD product could quite conceivably contain THC below this percent, yet still be over 1mg. <0.0025%, on the other hand, would be below 1mg in most standard size bottles (if the THC content was exactly 0.0025%, then the bottle would need to be 40ml for it to exceed 1mg; nearly all oils are sold in 10-30ml bottles).

Full-spectrum products, by their very nature, will almost certainly have more than 1mg of THC in as a standard bottle size, making them essentially illegal in the UK. This is because they use extracts from the whole plant and filter nothing out, so the full spectrum of cannabinoids remains, including THC.

It is not practically possible to cultivate a cannabis strain that would naturally have low enough THC to be legally viable in the UK.

A viable alternative are CBD isolate products, which are quite common today. These are made from extracts in which only the CBD compound remains from the plant after being processed, and nothing else – all the other minor cannabinoids and THC are usually removed. The problem with this is that for cannabis oils to be effective, they rely not just on the CBD compound in isolation, but in its combination with other chemicals found naturally in the cannabis plant. This is the principle of the Entourage effect and what the Love CBD Entourage Oils have been developed around.

This is where a high-quality broad-spectrum extract comes in. They contain no THC, so are legal in the UK and when extracted carefully contain minor cannabinoids, terpene and flavonoids. These compounds are known to aid in the effectiveness of CBD oil, interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system in a more profound way. Most people will recognise terpenes from their smell rather than their name, as they are what lend the cannabis plant its distinctive aroma.

Whilst the majority of CBD products incorporate a dropper as the delivery method, Love CBD moved overly entirely to CBD/cannabis spray oil delivery method in 2018 due to greater convenience and ease of use. CBD spray products also don’t have the same problem as droppers, which is that you can’t spill the oil from a cannabis spray oil device, which is not only an expensive but also very messy accident waiting to happen.

The variety of products has expanded greatly in recent years, with CBD being added to everything from bath bombs to beer and even clothing. Therefore, whilst you may want to entertain buying this type of product, be realistic about the end result likely to be achieved as they are often novelty products that do not contain a substantive amount of CBD or really have no purpose as an ingredient other than as a marketing tool.

Ksenia Sobchak
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