CBD Buyer’s Guide – How and Where to Buy Legal, Organic CBD Oil

There are literally hundreds of CBD retailers – but only a few sell CBD products with any medical efficacy. There are some very important questions to ask before deciding where to buy:

Where was the starting material (hemp) grown? Is it organic?

Correct Answer: In the United States – all products should derived from organic hemp grown in the United States. Hemp grown in the European Union (EU) is acceptable (although less preferable than US-grown) ONLY if it is grown using organic methods and the company can prove the lack of pesticides, mold, and heavy metals through current test results (see below).

Watch Out For: Hemp grown in China. Even in countries with agricultural regulations, the list of approved pesticides is far from safe. Thus you are really relying on the specific company’s ethical standards when it comes to hemp cultivation. The reason this is such a big deal with hemp when compared to other plants, is that hemp is a dynamic accumulator plant. Dynamic accumulator is a term used to describe plants that gather minerals – both good and bad – from the surrounding soil and store them in its tissues. So if you’re growing a hemp plant with petroleum-based pesticides in soil that contains heavy metals…you’re inevitably going to have a hemp plant containing both toxic pesticides and heavy metals. This is why many people have poor experiences when first trying CBD – you buy your vegetables organically, why not your hemp? The presence of these toxins is not regulated by any agency and they will end up in your CBD oil if you don’t purchase from the correct company. We like Joy Organics because they ensure that all of their CBD productsare produced from organically and sustainably grown hemp without the use of pesticides.

Is the company vertically integrated?

Correct Answer: Yes, this is the only way to ensure top to bottom quality, consistency, and safety. All hemp should be organically grown on-site and final the extracted products should be produced in-house with sustainable practices. This is important because it gives the company full control over all the inputs in their tinctures, salves, and other products.

Watch Out For: Companies that won’t or can’t tell you where their plant material is sourced. If they wholesale the material from a farm, can they ensure the product is free of pesticides and mold via a laboratory test?

Does the company provide test results?

Correct Answer: Each batch of flower AND finished product should be tested by a state certified testing facility for potency, legality and safety. These test results should also be made available to any patient that requests them. These tests should certify 3 things: the amount of CBD contained in the product, the amount of THC in the product (the starting hemp plant material must test below 0.3%), and the lack of mold or toxic pesticides.

Watch Out For: Companies that do not have test results or refuse to give them to customers. Also be wary of companies who only test one batch of finished product and then assume that all future batches will be the same – big mistake. Hemp is a product of nature and thus, no two batches will ever be identical – even in the most regulated environment. The company must provide you test results for the actual product you intend to purchase as well as the plant material used to make it – otherwise you are jeopardizing your safety and the medical efficacy of the product.

How is the CBD extracted?

Correct Answer: Organic ethanol wash – this is one of the oldest and most natural way to derive a full spectrum extract from the cannabis plant. Critical CO2 extractions are also acceptable and produce a full spectrum CBD extract. A full spectrum extract strips all the beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant – in this case, without the need to use any toxic hydrocarbons. Ethanol washes and CO2 extractions produce a CBD extract that is 100% safe and solvent-free. Full spectrum extracts utilize the whole plant which results in an extract with greater medical efficacy than isolating and administering CBD, for instance, on its own.

Watch Out For: Companies who won’t disclose their extraction method or utilize hydrocarbons like butane and propane. These substances are toxic in high amounts and even with proper purging, most hydrocarbon extracts contain residual solvent. Other extraction methods do not result in a full spectrum extract – meaning they were not able to extract all of the beneficial compounds from the hemp plant (i.e. you don’t get the full range of benefits).

What carrier substance is used in the CBD oil to deliver the CBD extract?

Correct Answer: Ingestible CBD oil should be comprised of coconut MCT oil and full spectrum hemp extract (the part that contains the actual CBD). It’s important that the carrier oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), like coconut oil, because it is easier for the body to digest. Remember that cannabinoids are best delivered to the body in either fat or alcohol as a carrier.

Watch Out For: Companies who use cheap oil carriers that don’t contain MCTs. Also look out for products that don’t clearly and accurately state the ingredients used. It’s important you as a consumer can identify all inputs – especially if the product is being used for medical or therapeutic purposes.

CBD Vape Oil:  What Exactly Is In the Product?

Correct Answer:  Any CBD vape oil you purchase should consist of a very short list of ingredients:  a carrier oil (such as MCT oil, hemp oil, grapeseed oil, or coconut oil) and CBD or hemp extract (depending on how the company labels its CBD concentrate), with a possible ingredient or two added for flavoring, whether it be a proprietary terpene blend or a natural or artificial flavoring. Another possible  addition is vegetable glycerin, a common thinning agent that has not been shown to be harmful when vaporized. That’s it. Anything else should raise an eyebrow.

Watch Out For: Anything containing propylene glycol or polyethylene glycol. These compounds have been associated with the formation of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, and acetaldehyde that can cause cancer and other disease in humans.  Steer clear of any product intended to be inhaled that contains these ingredients.

This is something we’re very particular about, and for good reason: propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol are two common thinning agents used by many manufacturers to ease the flow of the finished product.  While both of these ingredients are generally recognized as safe for topical application and oral consumption, multiple studies  have shown that they become toxic when heated to the temperatures required for vaporization, and especially in high-temperature vaporizers designed to create big clouds of vapor (you know, the popular kind!).  For this reason, we avoid all vape products containing propylene glycol, CBD or otherwise.

Red Flags:

  • No phone number
  • No indication of where plant material is sourced
  • Can’t speak to a real person – even via email
  • No test results
  • Not organic
  • No clear indication of dosage (or of which cannabinoid)

A Quick Note About CBD & Drug Testing

If drug testing is a part of the conditions of your employment, you might be concerned about the potential of CBD to cause you to test positive for THC. This isn’t an unfounded concern — however, there isn’t exactly a cut-and-dry way to answer it.

Much of the data we have about CBD is anecdotal, and its potential impact on drug testing is no exception.  There are very few peer-reviewed studies on the subject, but there appears to be a small risk of a false positive for some users. Avoiding full-spectrum products containing traces of THC can reduce your risk of a false positive, but that may not eliminate the risk entirely.

If you are concerned about passing a drug test, you should consider this potential risk when deciding whether CBD is right for you. To learn more about the science of CBD and drug testing, check out our article for a more thorough discussion of how to minimize your risk of a false positive.

Who Do We Trust?

We have visited Joy Organics’ greenhouse facility in Colorado and seen their organic, sustainable cultivation methods first hand. We’ve viewed their test results and experienced great personal success with their products. If you’re interested in truly high quality, organic plant-based medicine, we only recommend Joy Organics.

How to Buy Cannabis: The Differences Between Sativa, Indica, & Hybrid Strains

Seemingly uncontrollable feelings of anxiety and paranoia? Melting into the couch? Zoning out for hours at a time? We’d venture to guess that nearly every cannabis consumer has experienced an uncomfortable feeling associated with being high.

The good news is, you can avoid this! Weed is like wine – every strain has a history, a unique cannabinoid profile, and different terpene compositions — the funny names you hear in the movies actually mean something!

You may have heard the terms indica and sativa used in conjunction with cannabis. These terms are used to describe the two major species of the cannabis plant capable of inducing markedly different effects.

Most people never have the chance to choose, they get the bud that they can find and hope for the best. However, legalization has created an opportunity for customers to make informed decisions about the strain they consume. Choosing the right strain for you and your body can make all the difference when trying to calm down, spur your appetite, fall asleep, or find creative inspiration.

Different Types of Weed

Indica Weed

Cannabis plants of the indica variety grow short and bushy. Their leaves are short, broad, and deeply serrated at the edges. Cannabis indica plants typically mature in 6 to 8 weeks, a relatively short period.

Commonly known as the ‘nighttime’ variety, the effect of cannabis indica is typically described as a body high. This is in reference to the physical relaxation and euphoria produced by indicas (likely due in part to the higher concentrations of CBD, CBN, and other soothing cannabinoids).

Indica strains have strong sedative properties and induce feelings of deep relaxation and even sleepiness.  If you’re looking for a strain for insomnia, an indica may be just what you need. Cannabis indica provides stress & anxiety relief and soothes nausea and pain. Oh, and the munchies? Those come from cannabis indica too.

If you are someone who is prone to anxiety or paranoia when consuming THC, an indica or other high-CBD strain might help moderate those effects.  CBD is shown to act as an antagonist to THC, mitigating its effects and reducing anxiety in many people.


Indicas slow you down and are categorized as ‘relaxing weed.’ Ask for:

Granddaddy Purp, Bubba Kush, Northern Lights, Afghan Kush/Afghani/Afgoo, Hash Plant, Sensi Star, MK Ultra, Herijuana, Kosher Kush, Master Kush, Blackberry Kush, Shishkaberry


Sativa Weed

Cannabis plants of the sativa variety grow tall and lanky, much more than their indica cousins. Their leaves are long and narrow, with fine-toothed serration at the edges. Cannabis sativa plants typically take longer to mature than indicas, about 10 to 16 weeks.

Commonly known as the ‘daytime’ smoke, the effect of cannabis sativa is often described as a cerebral, or “head” high. Sativa strains induce feelings alertness, creativity, focus, and increased energy, which can help some people feel inspired, productive, and motivated.

Unfortunately, these same characteristics can induce racing thoughts and feelings of paranoia in certain consumers (especially new consumers who get a bit overzealous starting out). This may be able to be mitigated with CBD, so adding a bit of raw, organic hemp flower to your bowl or joint might help ease anxiety and paranoia associated with cannabis use.

Because of the euphoria and energy boost it provides, cannabis sativa may aid in managing symptoms of depression.  That said, it’s not a one-size-fits-all, so talk to your care provider to learn more about using cannabis to treat depression.


Sativas get your mind moving and are categorized as ‘creative weed.’ Ask for:

Sour Diesel, Green Crack, Jack Herer, Durban Poison, Super Silver Haze, Super Lemon Haze, Purple Haze, Island Sweet Skunk, Ghost Train Haze, Acapulco Gold, East Coast Sour Diesel, Strawberry Cough


Hybrid Weed Strains

We must clarify that the above descriptions address the extremes, i.e. 100% indica and 100% sativa strains (the reality is a bit murkier, as sativas and indicas sit on more of a spectrum than in distinct categories). The majority of cannabis strains available today are really hybrids that can lean heavily in one direction or the other.

These ‘hybrid’ strains of cannabis selectively combine elements of both the indica and sativa species through the breeding process. Hybrids are popular options, as they maintain the most favorable aspects associated with each of their parents and are a diverse class of cannabis cultivars.

As a general rule, hybrids can be heavily sativa- or indica-dominant, or somewhere in the middle. We recommend consulting with your local budtender or caregiver for strain specifics when searching for the right hybrid for you.


The majority of cannabis strains available today are really hybrids that can lean heavily in one direction or the other.


How to Choose:

Choosing between indica and sativa varieties of cannabis (and the associated THC and other cannabinoid content) is dependent on the consumer’s symptoms and desired effects.

Those seeking an upbeat, focused, and creative experience, should select a sativa dominant strain. Alternatively, those looking for relaxing, appetite inducing, and sedative effects should choose an indica dominant strain.

When using cannabis therapeutically, you can use the following chart to determine which THC to other cannabinoid ratio is best suited for your symptoms and needs. Follow our consumption and dosage guides for more on how to use cannabis safely and effectively.

What is CBD-rich cannabis?

THC can be combined with other non-psychoactive cannabinoids for maximum relief from persistent pain, inflammation, and anxiety. High-CBD strains of cannabis and raw hemp flower (another member of the cannabis family that produces high levels of CBD, CBN, CBG, CBC, and others, with only trace amounts of THC)

A compound with a myriad of therapeutic benefits that will never get you high, CBD is growing in popularity as people seek more natural pain management alternatives to opioids that do not carry the pharmaceuticals’ notorious risk of addiction. In fact, many athletes actually use CBD in place of Ibuprofen for athletic recovery and pain management.

While high-CBD cannabis strains are available (look for indicas in this case, and check the CBD content), organic hemp flower makes an excellent alternative for consumers seeking fast-acting relief without the high associated with THC.

We enjoy the hemp flower from Canna Comforts, a hemp grower based in Colorado committed to producing potent, organic, non-GMO raw hemp strains that look, feel, smell, taste, and smoke like the top-shelf marijuana strains that inspired them.

We personally enjoy a bowl of Lifter topped with a bit of Elektra kief (shown in image below) for intensive symptom relief or a Wife Palm Wrap hemp preroll to unwind, but their diverse catalog of available batch-tested strains ensures the perfect whole-plant medicine for anyone.

Canna Comforts meets our CBD Buyer’s Guide criteria for quality, potency, and purity, and their products are federally legal in all 50 states.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS
If you need to be productive all day and seek some extra energy and creativity, try a sativa strain
If you’re looking to settle down and relax — mentally and physically — for the evening, grab yourself an indica strain
If you want a great anytime smoke and a balanced high, try a hybrid strain that stays
If you are seeking therapeutic benefits without the high, try a strain of organic hemp flower rather than cannabis