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Navigating Cannabis Online: Tips for safely purchasing hemp-derived products

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Navigating Cannabis Online: Tips for safely purchasing hemp-derived products


Navigating Cannabis Online: Tips for safely purchasing hemp-derived products


With the growing popularity of hemp-derived products more people are turning to online shopping for convenience. However, ensuring the safety and quality of these products is crucial, especially in light of recent news stories about incorrectly labeled pills and sleep aids being purchased online with devastating effects. These incidents highlight the importance of shopping safely when purchasing hemp-derived sleep aids, gummies or pills online. As part of Sherpa’s goal to make hemp-derived products as safe as possible, here are some of our top tips for making sure you get the products you’re expecting online. 

1. Verify Certificates of Analysis (COAs)

One of the most important steps in purchasing hemp-derived pills online is checking for Certificates of Analysis (COAs). COAs are lab reports provided by third-party laboratories that test the product for cannabinoid content, pesticides, heavy metals, and other contaminants. Any reputable hemp-derived brand will have COAs clearly posted on their website. If they don’t, it might be best to look elsewhere for your gummies, edibles or pills. Here’s why COAs are essential:

  • Transparency: COAs offer a transparent view of what is inside the product, ensuring that you are getting what you pay for.
  • Safety: They confirm that the product is free from harmful substances and safe for consumption.
  • Quality Assurance: They verify that the product contains the advertised amount of CBD or other cannabinoids.

How to Check for COAs:

  • Look for the COA on the product page or the company’s website.
  • Ensure the COA is from an independent, third-party lab.
  • Check that the COA matches the batch number of the product you are purchasing.

Understanding the COA

When examining a COA, pay attention to the following details:

  • Cannabinoid Profile: This section should list all cannabinoids present in the product, including CBD, THC, CBN, and others. Ensure that the levels match what is advertised.
  • Contaminants Testing: Look for results on tests for pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and microbial contaminants. These should be below the detectable limits.
  • Batch Number: Make sure the COA matches the batch number on your product to ensure it has been specifically tested.

2. Buy Directly from Reputable Company Websites

As the popularity of hemp-derived products grows, more online “stores'' are popping up. While many of these are legitimate, some are either scams or offer sub-par or possibly dangerous products. Remember, discounts from these online stores might seem attractive but buying direct from the manufacturer significantly decreases the potential for contamination, shipping issues and poorly made products. When you find a brand you like, it’s usually best to buy from that brand directly on their website. Here are a few more reasons its best to purchase from a company directly:

  • Authenticity: Direct purchases ensure that you are getting authentic products straight from the manufacturer.
  • Customer Support: Reputable companies often provide better customer service and support for returns or queries.
  • Product Freshness: Products bought directly from the source are less likely to be expired or mishandled.

Identifying Reputable Companies:

  • Research the Company’s History and Reputation: A company with a long-standing positive reputation in the industry is a good indicator of reliability.
  • Look for Clear Contact Information: A professional website should have clear contact details, including a phone number and email address.
  • Responsive Customer Service: Test their customer service by asking questions about their products. Prompt and knowledgeable responses are a good sign.
  • Comprehensive Product Information: Reputable websites will provide detailed information about their products, including ingredients, usage instructions, and benefits.

Red Flags to Avoid

  • Lack of Information: Be cautious of websites that provide little to no information about their products or the company itself.
  • Too-Good-To-Be-True Deals: Extremely low prices can be a sign of counterfeit or low-quality products.
  • No Third-Party Testing: Avoid companies that do not provide COAs from independent labs.

3. Read Reviews

Reviews can provide invaluable insights into the quality and effectiveness of hemp-derived pills. Here's how to use reviews effectively:

  • Quality and Effectiveness: Look for consistent positive feedback about the product’s quality and effectiveness.
  • Customer Experience: Pay attention to customer service, shipping times, and return policies as mentioned by other customers.
  • Red Flags: Be wary of products with numerous negative reviews, especially concerning safety and side effects.

Where to Find Reliable Reviews:

  • Company’s Website: Check for verified buyer reviews. These are typically more trustworthy as they are from actual purchasers.
  • Third-Party Review Sites: Websites like Trustpilot or forums dedicated to CBD and hemp products provide unbiased reviews.
  • Social media: Look for user experiences shared on social media platforms. Authentic reviews often come with photos and detailed personal stories.

Analyzing Reviews

When reading reviews, consider the following:

  • Overall Rating: A high overall rating is a good sign but read individual reviews to understand the context.
  • Detailed Experiences: Reviews that detail the user’s experience with the product are more helpful than generic positive or negative comments.
  • Consistent Issues: If multiple reviews mention the same issue, it’s likely a genuine problem with the product.

Additional Tips for Safe Online Purchases

  • Understand the Product: Know what you’re buying. Hemp-derived gummies, edibles and pills can vary in their cannabinoid content and additional ingredients. Understanding the specific benefits and uses of each product can help you make an informed decision.
  • Check Legal Status: Ensure that the hemp-derived products you are purchasing are legal. The 2018 farm bill made products that contain less than 0.3% THC by dried weight federally legal. To stay within the law, only buy products that state THC content is 0.3% or less on their COAs. Also know that some US states have regulations on hemp in addition to the federal law. Check your state regulations before purchasing. 
  • Start Small: If you are new to hemp-derived products, start with a small purchase at a low dosage to see how your body reacts before committing to a larger quantity. This can help prevent wasted money if the product doesn’t work for you.

The Importance of Educating Yourself

Given the incidents involving mislabeled hemp products, it’s clear that educating yourself is vital. Stay informed about the latest news and research related to hemp-derived products. This knowledge can help you make better purchasing decisions and avoid potential risks.

Safety First

Purchasing hemp-derived products online can be safe and convenient if you follow these guidelines. Always verify COAs, buy directly from reputable companies, and read customer reviews to ensure you are getting high-quality, safe products. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the benefits of hemp-derived pills with peace of mind.

Shopping safely not only protects your health but also helps support reputable businesses in the industry. Happy shopping and stay safe!



By Sherpa Explore



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