CBD is showing up everywhere these days: infused in drinks and food at your local neighborhood haunts, discussed in New York Times headlines, and even featured in a starring role at Kim Kardashian’s baby shower.
Health professionals (backed up by hard science) prize CBD for its pain-fighting, anti-anxiety, and anti-inflammatory capacities. Wellness advocates love it as a plant-based, holistic remedy with few side-effects that’s an alternative to pharmaceuticals. And it’s gaining popularity — consumed in all forms — as a supplement promoting calmness, focus, and mental clarity.
Add it all up and you’ve got an industry primed for massive growth: worth half a billion dollars in 2018, the CBD market is expected to reach $1.8 billion by 2022. In short, CBD is blowing up.
But the legal status of CBD remains in limbo. A mishmash of contradictory federal, state, and local laws have left establishments confused and often outright scared to sell CBD products. Local and state law enforcement still selectively targets establishments that sell CBD of any kind (and sometimes even CBD users as well).
The end-result of all this: despite its current and increasing popularity, tracking down CBD products isn’t as easy as you might think. There are likely places in your city that sell CBD oil, and restaurants or cafes that sell CBD-infused food or drinks, but how do you find them?
We wrote this article as a general guide for finding CBD near you, no matter where you live. We give you the tools and info you need to track down CBD products and get involved in your local CBD community.
The Awkward Reality of Finding CBD Near Your Home
Much of the confusion about CBD’s legal status stems from its close association with marijuana.
While hemp-derived CBD was legalized federally in 2018, the FDA still prohibits adding CBD to food and drink. Furthermore, CBD is still wholly illegal according to state law in many places, including possession. In a number of high profile cases, both establishments owners selling CBD products and CBD users have been arrested and faced felony drug charges.
San Francisco and New York — two liberal cities with massive CBD market potential that you would expect to welcome the stuff — have both ordered crackdowns on CBD-infused food and drink in accordance with FDA ruling.
Given the lack of government enthusiasm, it’s not overly surprising that store owners are still very nervous about selling CBD products.
Finding CBD Locally vs. Online
That’s why online is still the best place to find CBD products. Online CBD stores are easy to find and have the best selection, but there are downsides to online CBD shopping.
For one, if you want to buy CBD-infused products like drinks, buying online isn’t ideal. You typically have to purchase an entire case, so you better be damn sure you like it before you buy it.
And let’s be honest: buying CBD online isn’t quite as fun as buying in person. Most people use CBD as a remedy for ailments, and when searching for a remedy it’s nice to chat with someone who knows their stuff (as the folks at CBD-focused stores often do).
Also, people are passionate about CBD, and we’re starting to see local CBD-centric communities spring up organically all over the country. For many people it’s not just a supplement, it’s a godsend that helps them break free of dependence on pharmaceuticals.
Others are turning CBD consumption into a daily habit and ritual like coffee, something consumed and treasured every single day. Point being: it’s fun to be part of your local CBD community!
But it starts with finding out where the local spots are. So let’s get into it.
Who Is Likely Selling CBD Locally?
CBD products — whether it’s pure stuff like oils and tinctures, CBD-infused food and drink, or CBD topicals — are still only congregated in certain types of stores.
Check out this chart summarizing the best places to find CBD, and then we’ll get into the details of each.
|Stores that often sell CBD||Type of CBD Product|
|Smoke shops||Oils, vapes, flower, tinctures|
|Marijuana dispensaries||Oils, vapes, flower, tinctures|
|Health and wellness, grocery, and convenience stores||Oils, tinctures ,CBD-infused food and drink|
|Restaurants and cafes||CBD-infused food and drink|
1. Local CBD-focused Stores.
CBD-specific shops are relatively uncommon now, but expect to see more as the legal haze around CBD clears up. If your city has one, then this is the best place to start your search.
Austin, Texas, for instance, has a nice selection of CBD-focused stores (e.g.: Restart CBD, Greenwave Naturals, and Rawsome). San Francisco, on the other hand, currently has just one (Sidewalk Wellness).
We love these stores because they often locally-source their own CBD and offer a range of high-quality products. CBD-focused stores are definitely the place to go if you are a CBD newb, since the workers tend to be knowledgeable about their products and can help you find a first remedy.
And in our experience local CBD stores tend to pay the most attention to detail and quality in sourcing their CBD (example: nearly all of Austin’s most prominent local CBD stores that we visited use only organic, lab-verified CBD for their own housemade brand).
Local CBD stores also foster a local CBD community. They often host events, marshall support for legislation, and help educate locals on the value of CBD. They’re an indispensable part of any local CBD scene.
2. Smoke Shops.
After CBD-specific stores, smoke shops may be the best place to consistently find CBD products. In particular, smoke shops are the main destination for CBD vape equipment like vape oils, pens, cartridges, or “tank style” vaporizers. They often also sell CBD flower, edibles, tinctures, and oils.
However, smoke shops typically won’t apply the same scrutiny or care to the products they carry as a CBD-focused shop. So when looking for CBD at a smoke shop, always make sure that you buy products with CBD content that is verified by a third-party lab. Choose full-spectrum CBD derived from organic hemp as well if you can. Read labels closely before buying!
3. Local Grocery Stores, Health and Wellness Stores, Convenience Stores and Gas Stations.
CBD is starting to pop up more frequently in health and wellness stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, and even gas stations. Expect the quality of the CBD at these stores to be more or less in line with the general quality of the store: high-end health and wellness stores tend to source high-quality CBD from organic hemp, while the gas station at your street corner may not be so discriminating.
At these types of stores you might find:
- CBD-infused food and drink
- Oils and tinctures (usually only at grocery, or health and wellness stores)
Relatively cheap CBD-infused drinks like Sprig are currently being sold in minimarts and gas stations across the country. For instance, Arlan’s Market and Sunrise Minimart in Austin, Texas both sell Sprig CBD drinks. Finding products that use full-spectrum CBD from organically sourced hemp is usually more difficult (in San Francisco, we only found such products at certain Whole Foods-esque high-end grocery stores, like Gus’s Community Market in the Mission).
If you’re looking for a quick CBD fix, gas stations are now starting to sell CBD shots (sort of like 5-Hour Energy, the chilled out version). Again: look for lab-verified CBD content in anything you buy.
4. If It Is Legal – Marijuana Dispensaries.
Unsurprisingly, another great place to find CBD products is in marijuana dispensaries. Most dispensaries have a selection of CBD vape oil and pens, and regular CBD oils, tinctures, edibles, and drinks are easy to find at dispensaries as well. We found one of the best selections of CBD drinks and edibles in San Francisco at a popular dispensary: Harvest on Geary.
Of course, this is only an option if:
- Your state has legalized recreational marijuana,
- Or, your state has legalized medical marijuana and you have a permit.
5. Restaurants and Cafes
Keep a look out for CBD add-ins at restaurants and cafes. Sometimes these businesses advertise their CBD offerings with a sign. We most commonly find CBD add-ins at high-end smoothie joints and coffee shops, though you can even find CBD-infused waffles or ice cream if you know where to look.
Tips For Finding Local Shops To Buy CBD Oil
So now that you know the types of places to look, how do you find out which places ACTUALLY DO sell CBD oil? At Remedy Journey we’re always intent on finding the latest CBD joints in town; here’s how we do it.
1. Ask People.
The old-fashioned way is still maybe the best way to find CBD. We’ve found that anywhere you find CBD being sold, just asking the owner or clerk if they know of any other places selling CBD is often fruitful. CBD users AND sellers are passionate, and they tend to stay updated on the newest spots that CBD has popped up. Anytime you come across someone who’s passionate about CBD, pick their brain on local spots.
2. Keep Your Eyes Open for Signs.
This is another very straightforward way that we find local CBD: by keeping our eyes peeled for “CBD sold here” signs. Establishments often advertise that they sell CBD like this; it’s a sly way of signaling to your customers without putting it in print on the internet (as some stores in certain places are still scared to do).
3. Utilize the Internet.
Speaking of the internet, many places that have CBD offerings DO advertise it on their website. Google “CBD in [your city]” and see if there are any lists of stores that sell CBD, like on Yelp. There may be articles by a local newspaper or website compiling the restaurants that offer CBD-infused food and drinks in your city.
Just keep in mind that the CBD market is new and fast-changing. Finding accurate information can be difficult, since local city officials and even law enforcement still sometimes force businesses to stop selling certain CBD products.
Do Your Research Before Pulling Out Your Wallet
Lack of industry regulations has led to a CBD market rife with poor-quality products: one recent study found that 69% of CBD products are inaccurately labelled. That’s why doing your research and only choosing high-quality brands is critical.
Here are a few key questions to always keep in mind before purchasing:
- Is this product full-spectrum CBD? Studies indicate that full-spectrum CBD may have more therapeutic benefit than CBD isolate.
- Is the CBD content verified by a third-party lab? If so, it will say on the label.
- Does the brand use industrial or agricultural hemp? Industrial hemp is generally considered of lower quality than agricultural.
- Does this brand derive their CBD from organic hemp?
- Does this brand use CO2 or ethanol extraction? These are the two highest-quality methods of CBD extraction.
Much of this information will be on the label, but some (like extraction method) may not be. If you want more information on a brand, research online! The more transparent they are about their extraction methods and sourcing, the better.
If you still can’t find all the information you want, then visit a CBD-focused store, if possible. Local CBD-focused stores usually have the most detailed information on the CBD products they carry (versus, say, a gas station that sells CBD shots), and they can direct you to the brands with the highest standards and quality.
So what about CBD near ME?!: Announcing RemedyJourney’s CBD city guides
This is all well and good, but all that matters is CBD in YOUR location. That’s why we’re releasing a series of heavily researched, locally-infused deep-dives on CBD market in major US cities.
- Austin, Texas
- San Francisco, California
- Los Angeles, California
- New York City, NYC
- Portland, OR
- Chicago, IL
- San Diego, CA
- Dallas, TX
- Barcelona, Spain
The current hazy legality makes selling or even using CBD a little fraught with risk, but there’s a flipside to that unpleasantness: it helps build a sense of community, and even (if we’re being honest) a sense of excitement. It’s like when people needed to know about secretive local speakeasies during prohibition to get a drink: you need to know the spots, and there are tricks for finding them.
Hopefully the situation will change as the legal situation evolves, but for now, we still gotta find CBD on the sly. Now you’ve got all the tricks (or at least, all the ones we know of) and can set out on your quest to find CBD hotspots near you. Good luck!