- More people stumble across CBD and might give it a go, to discover the power of natural therapeutics.
- As interest grows, international organisations and medical facilities have a more significant stake in conducting studies and research to quantify what CBD can do for our health.
- Increased use in CBD is positive for a growing industry and may expedite the need for regulation to prevent unethical product sales. As CBD usage becomes increasingly popular, UK supermarkets have joined the bandwagon, and you can now buy CBD from pretty much any British grocery shop! You’ll also find CBD in pharmacies, independent shops, vape retailers and health food outlets. In this guide, we’ll look at how quality standards vary, why verifying your CBD source is critical, and whether the CBD you can buy on a supermarket shelf is anything near the quality of products available online!
Supermarket CBD Oil – The Facts
Of course, the Adio team sells CBD tinctures online, so we’re always going to advocate the flexibility and range of options that digital commerce stores offer.
However, it’s not just about explaining why you have a greater choice and better product options online.
It’s about dispelling myths and untruths that surround CBD usage and sharing our knowledge with our users to ensure you don’t part with your hard-earned cash for a product that isn’t quite what you’re expecting.
In many ways, it is a positive for the industry to have CBD available for public sale in such high profile outlets:
As with many aspects of our sector, unfortunately, the introduction of extremely low-priced CBD isn’t a way for more users to experience the benefits.
What Quality is the CBD Sold in Supermarkets?
Last summer, The Mirror reported that B&M, a nationwide low-priced retailer, had launched a range of CBD products from just £1.
If you’re an existing CBD user, you will spot many issues and problems with this launch; and the difference between what people think they’re getting, and the reality.
Let’s look a little closer at what is on sale.
Rather than CBD oil, these are ‘tongue shots’, each box containing four foil sachets – currently for sale as low as £0.50. The packs claim to have 15 ml of ‘CBD rich hemp extract’ – which equates to 100 mg per 15 ml in the low strength product and 400 mg per 15 ml in the medium strength.
We need to understand here that one ml is equivalent to 1,000 mg. Hence, 100 mg per 15 ml might sound good, but it’s actually a concentration of just 0.667%. Medium strength, at 400 mg per 15 ml, works out as 2.67%.
Not only is there very little information about the sourcing, whether the CBD is organic, how it is extracted – and therefore, whether it is safe to use and contains the concentration it claims.
But also, and crucially, the concentration levels are so low as to render them ineffective. The lowest strength usually found throughout the industry is 5%.
So, whilst it’s good news in many ways to expand the retail access points of CBD, the quality of a product you buy in-store should be carefully considered.
Of course, this is only one product, and there may be others of an excellent standard. As an anecdotal example of a high-profile CBD launch, it does demonstrate that cheap products are unlikely to work.
Are there any Benefits of Buying CBD Online?
There are many reasons why CBD is best bought online; let’s summarise the most critical factors:
CBD is a therapeutic health product created from natural plant compounds. It does, though, have potential side effects, and it is wise to seek advice about dosage and concentrations before trying CBD for the first time.
One of the key issues with purchasing a CBD product in a supermarket or pharmacy is that the staff will not have any way to provide advice – and will not have any training or experience in the optimal ways to use CBD, nor when or why to use it.
We wouldn’t expect a retail assistant to have any knowledge of CBD, and yet supermarkets sell such products without any access to advice or recommendations.
Buying online from independent, licensed retailers ensures that you have easy access to ask questions, explore different product types, and discuss which CBD might be best for you.
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2. Variety of Choice
You can purchase CBD in multiple formats, strengths and concentrations. From face creams to sports drinks, there are vast numbers of emerging products all claiming to offer potent CBD, although often without supporting lab tests.
The issue with buying in-store is that you are confined to what is in stock on the shelf. It might be tempting to choose a CBD gummy over a regular chew – but are you spending money on a low-quality product that is, in effect, a highly-priced gummy bear?
Buying online allows you to review different retailers, and research products in your own time and at your own pace. We’d recommend:
- Looking at reviews, particularly those through verified review schemes. Take note that free products often compensate marketplace reviews, so it’s best to take them with a pinch of salt!
- Checking which retailers offer lab test results, share information about their sourcing and growing techniques and explain which methods are used to extract the CBD. For example, a product purchased in-store might use solvent extraction. While this is cheap, and therefore produces lower-cost products that can be sold at more affordable prices, the solvent process itself usually damages the CBD and can even leave behind potentially harmful residues.
- Compare prices, support, guarantees and products. Adio always recommends a tincture, since this is the fastest and most effective way for your body to absorb CBD. Even so, everybody will have their own preferences, and if you’re looking into CBD, take your time to browse websites, check out what information is available, and choose a retailer who you are comfortable will offer you any help you need.
3. Pricing Benefits
Quality is vital, but the price is equally important. Many health food stores sell CBD products, but these tend to be off-brand purchases from third-party sellers, rather than something the brand manufacturers and authenticates itself.
In these cases, it is very common to pay much higher prices in a specialist store than you would online.
Remember that even extremely good quality products sold in a store will have the retailer’s mark-up added onto the price! If you’ve found a CBD in a shop that you really like, have a look at the original company’s website – you’ll likely be able to buy an identical product direct from the source at a much lower price.
Why Marketplaces Might Not Be the Best Place to Buy CBD
Online marketplaces dominate the digital e-commerce landscape and are an excellent way for smaller retailers to publicise products to a much larger audience, and to ensure price competition delivers fair value to buyers.
However, we’d issue a word of warning about purchasing CBD from a marketplace.
- Sellers on a marketplace are responsible for their own products, not the marketplace itself. That means that as long as the product listing meetings the image rules, and the description rules, it will be available for sale. No checks are carried out, the marketplace is not liable for product quality or authenticity, and you are at a greater risk of buying a counterfeit or low-quality product.
- Many marketplaces allow, or even encourage, international sellers. The marketplace earns commission from every product sold and allowing cross-border trading is a lucrative opportunity. But CBD rules vary significantly between countries, and regulations in the UK and EU are strict. Most products shipped from overseas will not conform to legislation, and therefore may contain illegal quantities of THC, and will not conform to labelling requirements. There is no guarantee of the substance you are buying.
- Misleading wording is rife. We have lost count of the number of times a ‘hemp extract’ or ‘CBD Oil’ product has been tested by our independent labs and found to be solely hemp seed oil. This is very common, and if you buy from a marketplace, you are unlikely to be offered lab-testing reports, sourcing information, or dedicated support as you would from an independent retailer.
- Organic standards are not universal. Adio always stresses how essential Organic Certified CBD is – hemp plants absorb minerals from the soil around them. So non-organic CBD can contain dangerous substances such as heavy metals and pesticides. Even organic certified products from overseas are not reliable, since standards, for example, in America, fall short of those in the EU.
There you have it – CBD is available in any number of stores, or online, and choosing where you purchase from depends on your budget, and what you hope to achieve from using CBD.
Our purpose here isn’t to persuade you to buy from Adio (although we are confident we sell the best quality CBD in the UK!) but to provide you with the information you need to make informed choices about where, and whom, you buy from.
If you need any information or advice about verifying the authenticity of a product you have purchased or want to compare different products and the quality on offer, check out our ranges online, or get in touch!