You can find the cannabis-based compound in everything from gummies to bath salts, but how do you know what’s good and what’s not-so-good? We asked an expert how to shop safely.

By Melanie Mannarino
August 24, 2020

These days you can buy CBD products at national retailers (including Walgreens, CVS, and Whole Foods Market), your local street fair, or even the gas station. I asked Chris Martinez, president of the cannabis-testing facility Kaycha Labs (and chair of the Florida Hemp Council), how to make sure you purchase quality stuff.


“Any reputable seller should have had a full compliance panel test done by a third party,” Martinez says. A store or vendor may show copies of lab results upon request. If there’s no hard copy, look for a QR code on the product. If you’re buying online, look for a direct link. No lab results? “Do not buy it,” Martinez says.


A lab will test for potency, pesticides, microbes, residual solvents, and heavy metals, to protect consumers and patients from taking harmful contaminated products. “The test should clearly indicate that the product has passed each segment for cleanliness and potency, with a tested date and expiration date on the report,” Martinez says.


Look for watermarks on the lab results, Martinez says, and be wary of documents that look photoshopped.

They Put CBD in That?

Aside from oil tinctures (which come in small bottles with a dropper) and body balms, the ingredient is making its way into a wide array of items. The FDA has approved only one CBD product, the prescription seizure drug Epidiolex, and it’s illegal to market CBD products as dietary supplements or add it to foods meant for animals or humans. But that hasn’t stopped creative entrepreneurs from putting CBD anywhere they can think of (including food products that violate FDA restrictions):

  • Bath salts
  • Blemish cream
  • Body butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Dog treats
  • Energy drinks
  • Eye serum
  • Gummies
  • Hair pomade
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lip balm
  • Lollipops
  • Mozzarella
  • Powdered beverage mixes
  • Pulse-point roll-ons
  • Soap
  • Toothpicks