Cannabidiol (CBD) has exploded in popularity over the past few years, thanks to its medical benefits and lack of psychoactive effects; it shows great potential for treating anxiety, pain, inflammation, seizures, sleeping disorders and neurological conditions. According to a 2017 study by the Hemp Business Journal , CBD sales from products derived from hemp and marijuana more than tripled from 2014 to 2017, going from $108.1 million to $358.4 million in just three years. By 2020, CBD sales are predicted to reach $1.153 billion.
That is, if people can figure out how to buy CBD oil and concentrates. Most often used for medical reasons, these products can be purchased through a number of platforms...but often not easily, thanks to the murky laws surrounding marijuana and hemp. The murk is so thick that police departments in Tennessee and Indiana have even gotten lost in the confusion. To help guide you through this new shopping journey, here are five ways to purchase CBD oil and concentrates.
Obviously, you can only do this in a state where commercial marijuana is legal, but if you're lucky enough to live in such a place, dispensaries are your best option for in-person retail. Although every CBD product in a Colorado dispensary must have some THC, extractors are coming out with concentrates and oils containing less than 5 percent THC.
Why is it worth a trip to a dispensary? On top of the added medical benefits of THC, CBD oil derived from marijuana, not hemp, has been shown to be of better quality and likely have a slower rate of increased tolerance. In Colorado, the efficacy of hemp-derived CBD isn't regulated by a state agency, while dispensaries must have all of their products lab-tested for contaminants and potency.
No dispensaries in your state? Even in states where recreational pot is legal, many head shops carry a variety of medical and recreational CBD products. If you come across a store down with the cause, your options will largely be vaporizable concentrates, such as CBD oils in pre-filled cartridges and purified CBD isolate, which can reach upwards of 99 percent purity. Some smoke shops also carry CBD tinctures, topicals and even foods.
Health Food Stores and Wellness Boutiques
Boutiques and shops that focus on wellness, healthy eating and alternative healing don't carry CBD products as frequently as head shops, but when they do, staffers are generally more knowledgeable and can provide more detailed advice about what might help with anxiety, pain, skin conditions and so on. Just be sure not to confuse hemp-seed products — a common fixture at health-focused stores — with CBD. They aren't the same.
Some stores in the Denver area, such as Flora's Mercantile & Hemp and ArenaLife, focus almost entirely on hemp and CBD products, and are happy to teach beginners about the science and history behind them. Flora's even hosts events with free hemp tea and educational speakers at the end of each month.
The easiest and most convenient way to buy CBD products is online — and you don't have to worry about the Drug Enforcement Administration breaking down your door, despite the ambiguity surrounding CBD's legality. If the item is produced in America, considered a health supplement and makes no claims not substantiated by the Food and Drug Administration (basically all of them), CBD manufacturers have generally avoided law enforcement prosecution, and that includes those that ship products through the mail.
A quick Google search for "CBD products" will bring up dozens, if not hundreds, of websites that will sell you hemp-derived CBD and ship it right to your door. But does that mean it will always show up? Not necessarily, as we've had reports of CBD products from foreign countries being seized by United States Customs and Border Protection, and in-state shipments to certain cities consistently failing to show up.
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Make Your Own
This option carries the most personal risk, and is mostly recommended for those in states where recreational marijuana or industrial hemp is legal. Still, creating your own CBD oil isn't just badass, it's ultimately more affordable. Buying hemp seeds online is just as easy as buying CBD oil, but growing hemp is little harder. You have to learn the cultivation and extraction processes, as well as how to keep the THC content under the legal limit of 0.3 percent. But once you master all that, the savings could be huge, as 100 milliliters of CBD oil can cost upwards of $100.
Making CBD concentrates is largely the same as making traditional hash with THC; ice-water, solvent and rosin-press extractions are all options to pull out as much CBD as possible. These once off-the-grid techniques can now be learned online or through books.