When buying CBD products online, there's a difference between going through individual retailers and a marketplace.


Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year or two, you've probably noticed that CBD oil is having a moment. We're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in sales growth over the last year alone, and forecasts of 40x growth by 2022.  


Between this eye-popping growth, an emerging body of research supporting CBD's medicinal value, and the passage of the historic 2018 Farm Bill legalizing CBD cultivation, you might say we're entering the era of CBD oil.


For consumers, all this means an explosion of options. Buying CBD-based products online is widely considered safe, and the Farm Bill even expressly protects interstate transportation of CBD and CBD-based products. That's great news for consumers and farmers alike!


But this recent "growth spurt" has put the CBD market in a strange state of transition. Wildly diverging state laws mean that therapeutically useless CBD products- some predating the Farm Bill, others just joining the bandwagon-are littering the market. Even Amazon has cold feet about transparently carrying CBD products, hiding behind confusing loopholes that don"t help consumers make informed choices.


And then there's the hemp plant itself. With varying strains and multiple extraction methods, it's obvious why many hemp shoppers aren"t sure where to start.


We believe consumers deserve better. In an effort to bring clarity to your online CBD shopping experience, let's explore the two principal ways to buy CBD products online.


Buying CBD products from an individual online retailer


In a complex marketplace, it helps to start with a recommendation: from a friend, medical professional, or simply Google. Perhaps someone you know is successfully managing anxiety with CBD products, or a trusted social media personality plugs a CBD company.


Once you perform some due diligence on the product, a recommendation is as good a place to start as any, and there's no question that some CBD brands have already distinguished themselves as outstanding members of the marketplace.


If you find a product you love that provides a therapeutically effective experience, great! But with thousands of new products flooding the market, and no brand holding more than 4% market share, it just doesn"t make sense to get "married" to one brand. In fact, loyally sticking to the first and only CBD product you try is a little like going to McDonald's and declaring, "this is it! I've found my hamburger!"


The modern CBD consumer has literally thousands of options, a diversity that could only be dreamed of a few short years ago. There are simply too many products, too many delivery systems, and too many potential benefits of CBD to stop at the first thing you try.


You can, and should be, a choosier customer.


Buying CBD products from an online marketplace


At first thought, a marketplace might seem like an unnecessary middleman between you and your CBD products. "Why would I want that when I can go straight to the source?" you might reasonably wonder.


If you look at your actual consumer choices, a different trend emerges. In fact, we routinely seek out middlemen when they deliver convenience and value we couldn"t otherwise enjoy.


There's a good chance, for instance, that your last online purchase was placed through Amazon. More than likely, you purchased a product that Amazon doesn"t produce themselves. If so, why didn"t you go directly to the website of the seller to make that purchase?


We think good marketplaces-like Newegg for computer parts, or Amazon for, well, nearly everything-tend to provide better experiences for consumers: bigger selections, stronger consumer protections, and customer service that often exceeds what individual brands can provide themselves.


In the CBD industry, a good marketplace is a great way to capitalize on the explosion of options available. Even the best CBD companies must specialize in certain products and are necessarily biased toward their particular products and delivery systems. Emerging companies can"t always afford to invest in amazing customer service from the start, even if they have an amazing product. By handling these services for qualified and well-vetted brands, a well-functioning marketplace is a win-win for buyers and sellers.


Our mission is to perform this function for CBD products. It's why we created our own Seal of Approval, which we back with a five-point check on every product line we offer. Because we only partner with responsible brands performing in-house and third-party testing to begin with, this means our customers effectively enjoy a triple-check on their products. And all this is in addition to the industry's best guarantee.


Choose wisely and enjoy CBD


Far from being a fad, we believe CBD is a new frontier in health whose potential is only just being unlocked. With the prohibition on CBD research and commerce finally ending after decades of prohibition, we are just now beginning to complete the picture of CBD's restorative potential and applications.


We'd say that's a green wave worth riding. We hope you agree.