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What to Look for When Buying CBD Oil: A Guide

What to Look for When Buying CBD Oil: A Guide

Shopping for CBD oil can be an exhilarating endeavor. But with so many choices available, the process can quickly go from fun to overwhelming. Should you go with full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or an isolate? 

Are you wanting to know which CBD oils are legit and how to spot fake CBD oil? 

We’re here to take the guesswork out of your pursuit. Keep reading our CBD buyers guide as we unpeel how to choose CBD oil, no matter your reasons for hitting the cannabidiol shelves.

Consider the Different Types of CBD Oils and Your Wellness Goals

When zeroing in on what to look for when buying CBD, keep the unique forms of CBD oil in mind.1

CBD products—including its ever-popular oils—are broken down into three types:

Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD products correspond with their name. They contain the entirety of the plant from which they’re derived, whether it’s hemp or marijuana (quick aside: you might want to shoot for the former to dial down your chances of experiencing intoxication).2 

This includes the plant’s:

  • Terpenes and terpenoids
  • Flavonoids
  • 100-plus cannabinoids, including CBD
  • Trace elements of THC

Full-spectrum CBD oil and broad-spectrum CBD oil are believed to work by encouraging the entourage effect in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS)—a biological grid that influences everything from mood to appetite. The theory is that CBD has a more profound impact when it’s paired with other cannabinoids and additional components of the plant.3

It’s Best For: 

Full-spectrum CBD oil may have the potential to promote a healthy mood and better sleep.4

If you work in a profession that requires a drug test, however, full-spectrum CBD oil should be avoided. Federal law dictates that every CBD product must contain less than 0.03% of THC, but it can build up in your body and lead to a positive result.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum—it includes all of the constituents of the plant except for THC. Extraction processes “rake through” the product to omit CBD’s psychoactive sibling but leave its phytochemicals like flavonoids and terpenes in place.

It’s Best For: 

A broad-spectrum CBD oil may be optimal for those who want to take advantage of the benefits of the plant’s other ingredients without the risk of exposure to THC. Like full-spectrum CBD oil, preliminary research indicates that it may foster a better night’s rest and improve skin health5.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is the purest of the bunch. With a CBD isolate oil, only CBD is present. THC, terpenes, and flavonoids are all removed to give you a super-distilled CBD product. Since it doesn’t contain the other compounds of the plant, pure CBD doesn’t induce the entourage effect.

It’s Best For: 

CBD isolate is an excellent option if you’ve experienced adverse side effects to other cannabinoids in the past. Pure CBD is also a popular choice for athletes searching for targeted post-workout relief.6 

cbd oil without thc

Search for a Certificate of Analysis (COA)

The uptick in CBD’s popularity has led to a slew of fly-by-night CBD retailers. A certificate of analysis (COA) can help you determine if a CBD company is the real deal or counterfeit. 

A COA demonstrates that a quality CBD oil product has undergone objective, third-party screening by an authorized lab for:

  • THC levels 
  • CBD content
  • Contaminants, such as pesticides and heavy metals

A COA will also include the product batch number, information on how tests were performed, an expiration date, and other key data. If you come across a CBD oil that doesn’t provide access to this info, walk the other way. This indicates (if not shouts) that it’s a fraudulent product.

Weigh Where the CBD Oil Was Sourced and How it Was Processed

A CBD retailer’s transparency is vital, particularly when it comes to where their plants were sourced and the extraction methods they used to produce their product. Search for a high-quality CBD oil product that’s sourced from industrial hemp and has been:7

  • Organic and sustainably farmed
  • Grown in the United States
  • Harvested in proper soil—hemp is known as a “bio-accumulator” and can absorb impurities that are present in soil, including herbicides and heavy metals8

Additionally, ensure the CBD company has complied with Good Manufacturing Practices.

Assess the Product’s Carrier Oil

With the exception of CBD isolate, keep an eye on the product’s carrier oils when making a decision. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are typically considered the golden standard for carrier oils, partially because they may inhibit bacterial growth and prolong a CBD oil’s shelf-life.9 

While this is the case, it is also important to know that if your CBD oil is not stored properly, its expiration date may not be accurate. Learn how to store CBD oil here. 

Evaluate the CBD Oil’s Potency

We all have a different responses to CBD, and what worked like magic for your S.O. might be too strong for your sensitive system. But with potencies ranging between 300mg and 4,000mg, how can you choose the ideal match?

CBD oils are generally broken down into three strengths:10

  • Low strength – 300mg
  • Medium strength – 600mg
  • High strength – 1000mg

  • New to CBD oils? Start with a low dose to gauge how your body reacts and gradually build up from there.11

    Simplify Your CBD Oil Selection with Peels

    With the abundance of CBD oils on the market, choosing the best CBD oil can feel like a straight-up task—and a dizzying one at that.

    Peels CBD helps take hesitation and Google-fueled research sprees out of the equation. Whether you are choosing between our CBD oil vs gummies, you know precisely what you’re getting—a product that’s made with the terpenes naturally present in orange peels. Each CBD gummy and oil is bioidentical to CBD but without the possibility of THC and additives that could compromise your wellness wises.

    Find peace of mind by knowing exactly what you’re putting into your body with Peels.


    1. Healthline. Full-spectrum vs. broad-spectrum cbd: comparison and best products.
    2. Real Simple. The 5 key questions to consider when shopping for cbd products.
    3. Healthline. How cbd and thc work together: the entourage effect.
    4. British Journal of Pharmacology. Taming thc: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid entourage effects.
    5. Medical News Today. Broad-spectrum CBD: uses, types, benefits, and products.
    6. Pharmacology & Pharmacy. Overcoming the bell-shaped dose-response of cannabidiol by using cannabis extract enriched in cannabidiol.
    7. Forbes Health. Where to buy cbd oil & what to look for.
    8. CFAH. 76 incredible real-life products made from hemp.
    9. Healthline. 7 science-based benefits of mct oil.
    10. CFAH. CBD oil strength: how to choose the right one for you.
    11. Medical News Today. Different cbd types: brands, products, and forms.