Shopping For Legal Cannabis

The Value of Legal CBD

Products high in CBD are growing in popularity, largely because CBD doesn’t tend to produce intoxicating effects the way THC does. But does that mean it’s okay to buy CBD products from an unauthorized source? The short — and definitive — answer is no. Here’s why buying legal CBD matters.

Image of glass bottles of cannabis oil and a dropper

Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t typically produce psychoactive or intoxicating effects. But CBD can have an effect on both the mind and body — and just like THC, it is a highly regulated controlled substance in Canada. In Ontario, products containing CBD can only be sold to adults age 19 and over through legally authorized sources, such as Authorized Cannabis Stores and OCS.ca.

Regulation guarantees cannabis products are produced, manufactured and packaged in a consistent and transparent way that keeps you safe and helps you make informed decisions about consumption. Read on to discover more about the benefits of buying legal.

First, what is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the most common cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and is extracted from the trichomes on the flower. It can be applied topically, inhaled or ingested in dried flower, or ingested as an oil, capsule or edible product.


Discover the differences between CBD derived from hemp and cannabis


Cannabinoids are produced naturally in both plants and humans; in the body, they’re called endocannabinoids. When consumed, CBD slows the production of an enzyme that regulates and destroys excess endocannabinoids. This action leads to an increased presence of endocannabinoids, which can have many physical effects. Recent studies show that CBD may also influence other chemicals in the body, including serotonin (which regulates mood), vanilloid (manages pain) and adenosine (impacts our sleep-wake cycle). Much more research is needed to fully understand the effects of CBD.

Why is it important to buy legal CBD?

Legal CBD products are tested for safety

A federal licence is required to legally produce and sell CBD products, which are subject to the same strict Health Canada testing and requirements as those that contain THC. Illegal CBD products are not tested or controlled and may contain less or more CBD than advertised — along with other unknown, undesirable ingredients. A 2022 study by the Ontario Provincial Police and the OCS found that 19 of the 22 illegal products tested contained at least one unauthorized pesticide — many of them in amounts several hundred times above the Health Canada limits for cannabis.

Federally licensed third-party labs rigorously test a sample from every batch of legal cannabis for harmful and unapproved substances, such as certain pesticides, E. coli, salmonella, staphylococcus, yeast, arsenic, lead, mercury, fungus and mould. To ensure Licensed Producers are complying with all requirements, Health Canada may visit their facilities and collect other samples.

The amount of CBD is guaranteed

When you purchase a legal CBD product from an authorized source, you can trust that the cannabinoids are present in the quantity stated on the packaging. Testing of legal products also ensures the amount of CBD is consistent among individual units in a package, which reduces the potential risk of overconsumption. This is especially important for edibles — each piece will have the same amount of CBD and THC.


Cannabinoid content is a top consideration when choosing cannabis products — here’s how to tell how much THC or CBD they contain


The quality is certified

Once a product sample is approved by a third-party lab, it’s given a Certificate of Analysis and a Statement of Attestation, which outline the lot number and acceptable test results. If a product or production practice is found to be unsafe, the product may be recalled and/or the Licensed Producer may be fined — all in the name of consumer safety.

The OCS quality assurance department also double-checks each product to confirm the Certificate of Analysis is present and legitimate, and that damaged products are not sold. The OCS also informs consumers of all product recalls.

Packaging is child-proof

Legal CBD products are packaged according to the Cannabis Regulations, which include requirements intended to prevent accidental consumption. Products purchased from unregulated sources, such as vape shops, pet stores and illegal websites, cannot be guaranteed to have child-proof packaging.

The origin is traceable

All legal cannabis products have a traceable supply chain, and the label includes valuable information such as the packaged-on date, the product’s weight, the lot number and contact information for the Licensed Producer. If you have a concern about a product, you’ll be able to find out who made it and where.


Find out what all the symbols and numbers mean on legal cannabis labels — and how they can help you understand what’s inside


Where can I buy CBD legally?

Knowing where your cannabis product was produced and under what conditions is an essential part of managing and reducing the risks associated with consumption. You can purchase legal CBD products, including capsules, topicals and edibles, through OCS.ca or an Authorized Cannabis Store.

When you buy legal CBD, you know exactly what you are (and aren’t) getting inside the product. The same goes for other cannabis products. Find out more about why buying legal matters.

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6 Game Changing Moments in
Cannabis History that Every
Canadian Should Know