Before You Buy CBD Capsules Read This

Jason Mueller

October 16th, 2017


Close up image of herbal medicine

Cannabis legalization is favored by over 60% of the US, according to a new poll: it is no wonder that cannabis products for medical use are selling hand over fist.  Given that easing restrictions on cannabis in many states, it is unsurprising that you can find hemp extracts on Amazon and CBD capsules with an internet search.  Before jumping on a purchase of CBD or hemp capsules online, take note of the following warnings; CBD medicine ranges greatly in effectiveness and there is a tremendous amount of disinformation about CBD extracts and capsules.

The DEA Won’t Budge

Despite court rulings in favor of the Hemp Industries Association against the DEA that provide the loophole by which CBD and hemp extracts are sold “legally” online, the DEA has maintained their stance that CBD, regardless of whether it is derived from hemp or marijuana, is illegal in all 50 states according to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  Hemp oil has been an import to the US for decades: the difference now, is that extracts made to include high levels of CBD are claimed by the DEA to be illegal, as the only way CBD could be derived from legal hemp, is if illegal marijuana pollens were to “stick” to hemp in fields.  This position is absurd, as spectrometer tests on hemp stalks have shown that trace amounts of CBD are present within, and it is possible to extract that compound and refine it for potency.  Nonetheless, the DEA is committed to maintaining the illegality of CBD, even when derived from industrial hemp (less than .3% THC).

Little, to No Oversight on Industry

Though CBD does have medicinal properties, many unscrupulous internet dealers market their CBD as medicinal despite it being so low in potency that the medicinal benefits won’t clearly manifest through normal use.  As mentioned, industrial hemp contains less than .3% THC: though certain strains of hemp have higher amounts of CBD than THC, the potency and percentage amount of CBD within hemp will always fall short of marijuana, or “whole plant” derived CBD.

Due to the DEA’s stance of CBD capsules and products still being illegal under the CSA, purveyors of hemp extract and hemp-derived CBD use legal loopholes to market and sell their products online.  This double-standard of legality leaves ambiguity when it comes to consumer protections.  Despite arguing its illegality, the DEA is correct that marijuana-derived CBD is potent whereas hemp-derived extracts only contain a small percentage of actual CBD.  Naturally, companies that sell CBD capsules claim that their hemp-derived CBD extracts are 99% pure and that they contain under .3% THC, making it legal to buy and sell.  They also claim all of the medicinal benefits of CBD as benefits of their product, despite hemp-derived CBD being inferior to marijuana-derived CBD as medicine.

Bioavailability of CBD: How Well the Body Absorbs CBD

In addition to the wide difference between potency of CBD derived either from hemp or marijuana that may leave some consumers with no benefit for taking hemp or CBD capsules, the uptake of CBD into the human body varies tremendously depending on how the capsules are taken.  According to, oral consumption of CBD allows only 6% of the compound to be processed into the body.  While dogs can process 13-19% of the CBD in the same dose, humans do not orally process CBD nearly as well.  When inhalation is the method of intake of CBD, such as in vaporized form, 31% of the compound makes it into the endocannabinoid system.  Though some CBD capsules will contain oil that can be vaporized with the right equipment, inferior quality CBD capsules and oil can be contaminated, resulting in adverse effects to the lungs if vaped.  In the form of sublingual delivery, CBD uptake to the body was higher than when taken orally, but not as effective as inhalation. For rectal intake, roughly 13.5% of the compound makes it through the body’s processes in order to be medicinally effective.


CBD capsules may seem like a medicinally sound and non-toxic way to mitigate a handful of ailments ranging from inflammation, pain relief, quitting smoking, treating cancer, managing epileptic outbursts, or treating mental illnesses and anxiety disorders: before jumping to buy any old hemp-derived CBD capsule, do your research first. Trust reputable brands that have plenty of positive reviews online.  Ideally, find spectra-analysis results of the CBD product that you’re considering purchasing: it is possible to determine whether a product contains high or low levels of actual CBD, so research before buying to ensure that you get the most “bang” for your buck.

Don’t get sucked into deceptive marketing tactics and exaggerated promises: know before spending your hard-earned money on CBD capsules that marijuana-derived CBD oil and capsules will always be more medicinally valid than hemp-derived CBD, and that hemp-derived CBD products vary tremendously in potency and effectiveness.

Jason Mueller

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