First, Walmart currently doesn’t sell any CBD oil.
While ‘hemp oil’ sometimes refers to CBD oil, in the case of Walmart, ‘hemp oil’ refers to hemp seed oil.
Hemp seed oil and CBD oil are two fundamentally different products. Hemp seed oil doesn’t contain CBD in any meaningful concentrations.
As CBD hasn’t gotten FDA-approval as a food supplement yet, it’s unlikely that Walmart will sell CBD oil in the near future.
However, if the time comes that the FDA approves CBD as a food supplement, it’s highly likely that large chain stores like Walmart will start selling CBD oil.
When we look at the quality of other food supplements in large retail chains like Walmart, does it make sense to buy CBD oil from such a chain store, if and when CBD products become available?
Let’s find out.
The Average Quality of Food Supplements at Walmart
In 2015, New York Attorney General’s Office, led by Schneiderman, investigated herbal supplements sold by various retailers, including Walmart (1). They DNA-tested various products to see whether the listed ingredients matched with the tests.
The overall results were pretty bad.
The retailer with the worst test results for DNA matching ingredients/compounds listed on the label was Walmart.
Only 4% of the Walmart products tested showed DNA from the plants listed on the products’ labels. This means that if you took one of these herbal supplements at the time of this test, you literally weren’t taking what you think you were taking.
In some cases, the products contained plant material that wasn’t even present on the label. Some of the contaminants were allium, pine, wheat/grass, rice mustard, citrus, dracaena (houseplant), and cassava (tropical tree root). It’s unclear whether these contaminations can produce unexpected side effects.
It’s unclear whether Walmart improved the quality of its sold supplements.
However, the fact that they sold these supplements in the first place, and needed a cease and desist order from the New York Attorney General’s Office doesn’t instill a lot of trust in the quality of their supplements.
While the average quality of supplements like vitamin supplements isn’t the worst, it’s also not the best.
The Average Quality of Mass-Produced CBD Products
Mass-produced CBD products are usually extracted from hemp ‘biomass’.
Biomass is a term to specify all the parts of a hemp plant. It includes the stems, the chalks, the leaves, the flower, literally every part of the plant.
Why does this matter?
Well, the hemp compounds that are associated with the most well-researched benefits are cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Not every part of a full-grown hemp plant contains these compounds in the same concentrations.
The flower parts of a hemp plant contain significantly more cannabinoids and terpenes than the other parts (2).
If you compare the cannabinoid- and terpene-profile of CBD products that are produced from biomass to a CBD product that’s produced from hemp flower, you’ll see that a hemp flower-produced CBD product contains significantly more cannabinoids and terpenes than a hemp biomass-produced CBD product.
This matters because the effectiveness of a CBD product is dependent on its complete cannabinoid- and terpene-profile (3). CBD is just a part of the equation. CBD has more benefits when it's combined with other hemp-derived compounds.
Mass-produced CBD products contain not many more beneficial compounds than CBD.
True full-spectrum CBD products with great cannabinoid- and terpene-profiles, while being the most effective type of product, are not well-suited for mass production.
Producing true full-spectrum CBD products is simply a labor-intensive process because:
- You need to cultivate your hemp organically;
- You need to use the flower parts;
- You need to use delicate extraction techniques that may not be suitable for large-scale operations, and;
- You need to use post-extraction filtering processes that may not be suitable for large-scale operations.
Large retail chains like Walmart will never stock up on these types of labor-intensive CBD products. In the future, all you could expect to buy in Walmart are mass-produced CBD oils with subpar cannabinoid- and terpene-profiles.
Why the Highest-Quality CBD Products Won’t be Available in Large Retail Chain Stores like Walmart
As explained, producing high-quality CBD products is a labor-intensive process.
Large retail chains like Walmart only sell mass-produced supplements.
Because Walmart is so big and they have so many stores, and the highest-quality CBD products are not available in such large quantities, it’s logistically simply impossible for Walmart to fill their stores with these types of products.
They need CBD products that are mass-produced and cheaply available.
Another reason why Walmart will never have the highest-quality CBD products is because that what characterizes Walmart is affordability. Walmart is one of the cheapest retail chains in the U.S., and while this sounds great on paper, Walmart consistently dominates lists of stores with the most complaints when it comes to food quality and variety (4).
Cheap generally doesn’t go hand-in-hand with quality.
The highest-quality CBD products aren’t cheap. Although there are very affordable and high-quality CBD oils available, they’re still more expensive than the cheapest CBD products.
The cheapest CBD products generally don’t score high on effectiveness. Based on Walmart’s current inventory of supplements, it’s likely that if CBD products ever become available at Walmart, they will be very cheap and thus low quality.
Where You Can Find the Highest-Quality CBD Products
The best way to verify whether a CBD product is ‘high-quality’, is by checking the cannabinoid- and terpene-profile.
By checking the cannabinoid- and terpene-profile, you will know how effective the product is. If a CBD product has a great cannabinoid- and terpene-profile, you know it must come from high-quality hemp flower and must have been produced with delicate extraction techniques that preserve volatile compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes.
But what exactly is a ‘great’ cannabinoid-profile or terpene-profile?
Well, a great cannabinoid-profile means the presence of a variety of hemp-derived cannabinoids in meaningful concentration (more than 0.1%) like CBG, CBC, CBDV, CBDA, CBN, THCA, or THC, in addition to CBD.
When we review CBD products, we always scrutinize and compare the cannabinoid-profile of a product to other products.
When calculating the rating of a CBD product, the cannabinoid-profile has the most weight.
We have listed the best CBD oils that we have reviewed in a separate article.
We can guarantee you that none of these oils will ever be for sale in large retail chains like Walmart.
Go to our CBD Hub to learn more about CBD-related topics.
- A.G. Schneiderman Asks Major Retailers To Halt Sales Of Certain Herbal Supplements As DNA Tests Fail To Detect Plant Materials Listed On Majority Of Products Tested | New York State Attorney General. (2015). Retrieved from https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/2015/ag-schneiderman-asks-major-retailers-halt-sales-certain-herbal-supplements-dna
- Bertoli, A., Tozzi, S., Pistelli, L., & Angelini, L. G. (2010). Fibre hemp inflorescences: From crop-residues to essential oil production. Industrial Crops and Products, 32(3), 329–337. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2010.05.012
- Nahler, G. (2019). Cannabidiol and Contributions of Major Hemp Phytocompounds to the “Entourage Effect”; Possible Mechanisms. Alternative, Complementary & Integrative Medicine, 5(2), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.24966/acim-7562/100066
- Stanger, B. T. (2017, June 13). Grocery Gripes: Supermarkets With the Most and Least Complaints. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/grocery-stores-supermarkets/supermarkets-with-most-and-least-complaints/