Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the cannabis plant that, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), doesn’t produce that intoxicated feeling you might associate with cannabis. Its mild effects and promising health benefits, like pain relief, make it a popular product for treating different conditions.
Norwalk, California’s Koi CBD made its debut in 2015. Unfortunately, they’ve been involved in a few legal issues since then.
Most recently, in 2019, Koi CBD was sued in a class-action lawsuit alleging fraud. Why? The lawsuit alleges that customers weren’t made aware that Koi CBD products were illegal in the United States based on the way they were labeled and advertised as dietary supplements. The case was dismissed in 2020.
Another lawsuit from 2019 involved a customer alleging she was let go from her job after she failed a drug test after taking a Koi CBD product. The plaintiff is currently in the process of dismissing the case.
FDA warning letters
While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t guarantee the safety or quality of over-the-counter CBD products, it does regulate the market by sending out warning letters to companies that fail to follow FDA rules.
Koi CBD received one of these letters in 2019 because they branded products as drugs or dietary supplements and made disease claims about their products on their blog. Since then, they’ve taken down the offending content from their website.
Koi CBD claims that their CBD products are manufactured in a facility that’s certified compliant with the FDA’s current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs). This is great in theory, but we couldn’t verify this claim.
Koi uses the carbon dioxide (CO2) method to extract its CBD. The process uses no solvents, leaving behind no chemicals in the final result. That said, CO2 extraction can leave behind fewer terpenes, which may decrease CBD’s therapeutic effects and potential.
One upside is that Koi CBD provides certificates of analysis (COAs) from third-party ISO 17025-accredited labs. These COAs are intended to let you know exactly what’s in the products.
However, some of the COAs don’t show the limit of quantification (LOQ) or limit of detection (LOD) for THC. It’s difficult to verify the amount of THC in your product without being able to see the LOQ and LOD the lab is using.
That said, the COAs differ in terms of what information they contain. Ones from Niva Labs have LODs and LOQs, while the COAs from Green Scientifics Labs don’t show LOQ or LOD.
Both products listed below have up-to-date COAs that show the LOQ and LOD for THC.
Also, potency info doesn’t always match up between product labels and COAs — the discrepancy varies from product to product. Some have more CBD than is listed on the product label.
Sourcing and ingredients
The company claims that their hemp comes from the United States, but there’s no information about locations or specific farms and vendors. You can, however, find full ingredient lists on product packaging and in product page descriptions.
- balms and pain relief gels
- pet products
- skin care products
- bath and body products
The company offers a rewards program and a discount program for veterans. You can also save money by subscribing to recurring deliveries.
Reviews on the website are generally positive, with no products having less than 4 stars. We couldn’t find any reviews, positive or negative, on third-party websites like Trustpilot.
Koi CBD offers free shipping on orders over $35 and delivers items in discreet packaging.
Customers who want to return a product are asked to call or email the company within 30 days of receiving a damaged product. They also offer returns and exchanges for people who aren’t happy with their purchase. You can find a detailed rundown of the return policy here.
- $ = under $20
- $$ = $20–$80
- $$$ = over $80
Koi Naturals Broad Spectrum CBD Oil
This CBD oil comes with a dropper for easy application. The blend of cannabinoids and terpenes found in broad-spectrum CBD produce the entourage effect, which research shows may heighten the effects of CBD.
If you want to give a Koi CBD product a whirl but don’t know which to try, you’ll need to decide on its intended use.
And don’t be afraid to experiment. You might hate one flavor and love another. Similarly, you might prefer one method of taking CBD over another.
Most CBD products come with handy packaging suggestions and directions for how to use them. However, if you’re new to CBD and ingesting it, expect a bit of trial and error to find the right dose for you.
You’re better off starting with the smallest amount and working your way up than taking a potent dose right off the bat. Pay attention to how you feel and increase the quantity if you don’t notice any effects. Do it little by little — and be patient. If you need more guidance on CBD dosage, check out our dosing guide.
Dosing is a bit more challenging with topical products. Using the same amount as you would any other topical skin care product should be fine. If you don’t notice any improvement after a little while, use more.
Research shows that CBD is pretty safe. But that doesn’t mean you can’t experience side effects. Potential adverse effects include:
- changes in weight
- changes in appetite
There’s also evidence that taking CBD with fatty foods or meals may increase the amount of CBD in your blood, which can boost your risk of side effects. That means that if you’re popping a CBD capsule with breakfast, you may want to skip the cheese toast and bacon.
It’s also important to talk to your doctor before taking CBD, especially if you’re on any medications. CBD can interact with certain medications, including those with a grapefruit warning. Your doctor, assuming they’re knowledgeable about CBD, can also help you with dosage and product selection.
Be careful with topicals, too. Do a patch test on your skin before applying to a larger area by applying a small amount and waiting 24 hours before using more. If you have a reaction to the CBD product, stop using it.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.