The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill last December opened up a new frontier for the flourishing cannabidiol, or CBD, market when it legalized the cultivation of hemp and the production of hemp-based goods, distinguishing the plant from other forms of the cannabis plant. Since then, CBD products have been cropping up everywhere as this new trend in health and wellness sweeps across the nation. However, when people are trying to buy products such as topical CBD pain relief cream, they can run into confusion because of a lack of standardized labeling.

Here are some things you should be looking for when trying to buy CBD oil to make sure you’re getting a legal product worth your money.

Amount of CBD

One of the principal things to look for on a label when purchasing a CBD product is the amount of CBD, in milligrams, contained within. These amounts represent the amount of CBD in the entire bottle, and usually will come in 250, 500, 750, and 1,000 mg increments.

Some products will tell you the amount of hemp extract in the product, rather than the amount of CBD. Sometimes, when hemp extract is a direct substitute for CBD, the amount of hemp extract is the same amount of CBD in the product. However, if the hemp extract represents total cannabinoid content in the substance, the CBD content in milligrams is most likely around 70 percent of the milligrams of the hemp extract.

To determine what kind of hemp extract you’re dealing with on a product such as this, checking with the manufacturer is a good place to start.


Bottle Size

Bottles of CBD hemp oil for pain normally come in a few standard sizes. 15 ml or .5 ounces, 30 ml or 1 ounce, and 100 ml or 3.38 ounces are common incremental sizes used. It’s important to use the size of the bottle to determine the potency of the product or the amount of CBD per milliliter.

It’s a common misconception that if a bottle is larger, it is more potent. This simplistic calculation will not accurately allow you to gauge the potency of your CBD. For example, a 15 ml bottle with 500 mg of CBD has exactly the same potency as a 30 ml bottle with 1,000mg of CBD.

Calculating the potency of your CBD products might take a little extra brain power, but it’s crucial to know how much CBD you’re actually paying for.

Spectrums and Isolate

Spectrums and Isolate

The label on your CBD item should indicate what kind of product it is. There may not be a clear-cut label showing that the product is either full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate, but it should be relatively clear based on context.

Full spectrum products contain a wide range of cannabinoids, most notably terpenes and trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient found in the cannabis plant.

CBD-specific products cannot be sold nationwide if there is more than 0.3 percent THC in the formula. Most full spectrum products that contain THC do so because it is naturally occurring in the source strain.

Broad spectrum products still contain a large range of cannabinoids and terpenes, but do not contain any THC at detectable levels.

Isolate products contain only pure CBD oil and contain no other cannabinoids or terpenes.

Ingredients list

Every bottle of CBD oil you purchase should have an ingredients list. Aside from the CBD or hemp extract in the bottle, there are often other “inactive” ingredients that are listed.

Other ingredients in these products can include carrier oils, additional herbs, flavors, sweeteners, and any artificial colors. With regard to carrier oils, don’t be alarmed if you see MCT oil, coconut oil, or hemp seed oil listed as inactive ingredients. Some people may think this means they’re not purchasing a CBD product, but in reality, these oils are just used to dilute and optimize the CBD extract.

Final Thoughts

When examining a CBD product, look for these elements on the label to determine whether it’s worth buying!