If you’ve been experiencing stress, anxiety, or any number of other symptoms, and you’ve heard enthusiasts shouting “CBD” from the rooftops, you may be thinking about giving it a try.
CBD products are now so widely available that it can seem like a no-brainer to hop online and snatch up whatever’s on sale that boasts of fast and effective relief. On Groupon, if you sort for the CBD category, you’ll find over 400 CBD products from around 100 different brands, with the top hit featuring a big, green “View Deal” button.
Like Amazon and other large online marketplaces, Groupon makes this environment very alluring and seemingly cheap and accessible. However, if you inspect who the product is coming from, you’ll find that it’s often a distributor or third party seller rather than the brand itself. This makes it difficult to know the source and content of the product, the legitimacy of the brand or seller, and whether you’re getting a counterfeit product or the real deal. So, before you hit “add to cart,” here are a few things you should know.
One of the first questions you should ask yourself when shopping for CBD is: Where is this product coming from?
To answer it, you’ll need to research the long chain of events it takes to go from seed to bottle. The more transparent sellers are about this process, the more you can trust them. On Groupon, there are a lot of products from a lot of brands, but they’re mostly provided by distributors and wholesalers. This makes it harder to understand who is doing what to the product. It’s better to keep things simple and order straight from the brand.
One important stage early in hemp production is contingent upon where the plant is grown. We recommend buying CBD made from American-sourced hemp so you can know what sorts of rules and regulations the crop is subject to. Cannabis plants may absorb other chemicals or compounds, so good soil conditions are important. If you buy directly from a brand, you can research the source of their products and the precautions they’re taking to ensure what you’re buying is safe to use.
As far as what’s available on Groupon, there may be some legitimate brands or sellers using the site, but many companies will use the lack of regulation and high profitability potential to make a quick buck. When shopping for CBD, it’s best to find reputable brands who sell the kinds of products you’re interested in taking and buy from their website.
Good brands make educating consumers a priority, and they will be honest with you about where their products are coming from. You’ll also be able to look at reviews and ratings you can trust, and use other consumers’ experience with that brand to inform your decision.
One of the key markers of legitimacy in the CBD market is a certificate of analysis for the products. Brands who participate in regular third party lab testing sell products that are more likely to contain what’s on the label. Third party labs are important because they can test for the presence of any harmful solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals, and they also determine the cannabinoid content in a product. You can read through a product’s certificate of analysis to make sure it doesn’t contain any chemical substances, and ensure it has the compounds that can offer your desired form of relief.
On Groupon, you may find some products with certificates of analysis, but it’s better to hear from the brand themselves and clearly see the ways they’re attempting to self-regulate. If you order from a reputable brand who invests in testing, you’ll know that they’re not selling you counterfeit products or anything that’s mislabeled. This is especially necessary if you’re looking for a specific kind of product that has no THC content (like a CBD isolate) or contains other cannabinoids and terpenes that will produce a stronger, whole plant effect (like full-spectrum products).
Because the CBD market is unregulated, there’s a lot of room for error—especially if companies aren’t taking the right safety precautions. Do research on different brands and buy from one that you believe to be trustworthy that sells something that will meet your needs.
Keep in mind that mislabeling is very common and many products might have a much higher potency or be lacking some of the stated contents. Some of this is affected by application method. CBD gummies, for instance, may vary in concentration per gummy. While it can be tempting to buy something more cost effective, it’s worth investing in a quality product that costs a little more but performs as you want it to.