You’ve decided that you’re ready to try CBD, but with so many CBD brands available in today’s market, shopping for CBD can be confusing and overwhelming. From dozens of national brands to thousands of local brands, such as Harbor Hemp Company’s New England-made, small batch CBD products, it seems there are endless options to choose from.
Whether you’re looking to switch to a new CBD brand or are just beginning your CBD journey, here are 5 things to consider to help you find a CBD brand that you can trust.
Research the company behind the CBD brand
When considering your CBD options, it’s a good idea to do your research on the company behind the brand before making a purchase. Here are few things to look for:
- Company Website: Hopefully, the company has a website. If they do not, this might be your first red flag that the brand you’re considering is not legit. If they do have a site, does it look professionally designed and is it easy to use? Look for information about the company along with informative FAQs, easy-to-access lab reports, educational content, such as a blog, and easy ways to contact the team.
- Emails & Newsletters: A great way to get to know a brand is to sign up for their email list. This can be a quick way to connect with a company and gain access to special offers and educational content.
- Social Media: Check out the brand’s social media pages to see the types of content they share. If the pages appear to be professionally done with original content, this is usually a good sign that you’re dealing with a company that is excited to engage with its customers. Beware of brands that have social feeds filled with posts that look blurry or content that seems to be mostly made up of pirated memes.
- Google Reviews: CBD companies may publish customer reviews on their own site, but these reviews are not always legit. Google Reviews, on the other hand, are designed to be neutral and cannot be deleted or altered by a company, making them a great place to get real feedback.
Understand the brand’s CBD manufacturing practices
When you’re researching the company behind the CBD brand that you’re thinking about trying, take a close look at the company’s manufacturing practices. Here are some things to look out for:
- Manufacturing or Production History: The CBD industry is so new that there aren’t many CBD brands that have been around for more than a few years. However, it’s a good idea to look for companies or leadership that have experience in manufacturing or production. Ideally, you want to look for brands that have years of experience serving similar industries, such as food and beverage. For example, Harbor Hemp was founded in 2018, but our family-owned brand has been sourcing oils and plant extracts since 1936. And today, we’re leveraging generations of industry knowledge to create the highest quality CBD products on the market.
- cGMP Certified: Some CBD brands may claim to follow GMP or “Good Manufacturing Practices,” a set of regulations issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. But if they have not completed a third-party audit to become cGMP certified or “Current Good Manufacturing Practices Certified,” there is no documented proof that they are in fact following best manufacturing practices. Audits can be expensive and time consuming and require cGMP certified brands, like Harbor Hemp, to prove that they are using the strictest internal controls, procedures and documentation when manufacturing CBD products.
- Hemp Licensing: Some states, such as Connecticut, require hemp manufacturers to be licensed. Whether this is a requirement in your state or not, it’s a good idea to make sure that any brands you’re considering are manufacturing in a licensed facility with the documentation to back it up.
Inspect the packaging
Don’t be fooled by pretty packaging. Attractive packaging may draw you to a particular brand, but with CBD products, safety can hide in the details. When comparing different brands, it’s important to look for key compliance and safety information on the packaging including:
- Professional Label: Does the label look professionally designed and printed? Is it printed on water-resistant paper? If the label looks “handmade” or like it was printed on an old inkjet printer, it’s probably a good idea to pass.
- Tamper-evident Seals & Child Proof Packaging: Since CBD is a product that is used for wellness, it’s important that the brand takes certain safety precautions. Look for packaging with safety features such as tamper-evident seals on caps and child proof tincture tops.
- Batch or Lot Number: High-quality CBD brands lab test each and every batch of products for quality and purity. Look for batch or lot numbers on a product’s label that corresponds to easy-to-access lab results on a brand’s website. If the brand you’re considering does not have lab results posted by batch, or worse, only has one “sample lab report,” this could be a red flag.
- QR Code: QR codes have become industry standard allowing consumers to easily access lab reports. When comparing bottles from different brands, look for the one that has a QR code. If you have a QR code scanner app on your smartphone, you can even test out the code to make sure that it successfully links to current lab tests.
- Best Buy Date: CBD levels in a product may lose potency over time, like most consumable products. Look for “Best Buy” or “Use By” dates stamped onto the label or bottle. Note that CBD products generally have a shelf life of 6 to 12 months as long as the bottles are properly stored.
- Review the Ingredients: Truly transparent brand will publish the product’s ingredients on the label as well as the website. Watch out for anything that says “hemp seed oil” and look for brands that use CBD derived from US-grown hemp that is non-GMO and pesticide-free.
Contact the company
If in doubt, contact the company directly with any questions you may have. A trustworthy CBD brand should have no issues openly discussing any of your concerns. And if they can’t provide you with answers to all of your questions or you get a strange vibe, it may be a good idea to move onto a different brand.
Still have questions about how to select the best CBD brand?
Our team of CBD specialists is always here to help. Just drop us a line.