But because all these products are illegal according to the federal government, cannabis advocates are cautious. “By and large, the federal government is looking the other way,” says Paul Armentano, deputy director of the Washington, DC–based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), but until federal laws are changed, “this administration or a future one could crack down on people who produce, manufacture, or use CBD, and the law would be on its side.”
Quality CBD oil comes from a quality source. CBD oil can be extracted from the hemp plant in a variety of ways. The safest, and most efficient methods, use carbon dioxide or ethanol as a solvent to separate the CBD from the hemp plant. All of the tinctures below are extracted from pesticide-free hemp grown on local farms in the United States, all of which are registered with their state’s industrial hemp pilot program, or organic-certified farms in Europe.
Weight plays a role in the effects of CBD oil, and bottle size should be selected based on how much you weigh. Let’s say you weigh less than 130 pounds and desire light CBD oil effects; this means that 11 mg or less will probably suffice per dose, giving roughly 40 doses from a 450-mg concentration. If you weigh more than 230 pounds and desire strong effects, then this same concentration will supply roughly 10 doses.
CBD topicals: Many people take CBD to manage chronic pain. These folks may find  CBD topicals particularly therapeutic, as they can massage the CBD into the skin of the area causing them pain. Dosing can be more imprecise with CBD topicals, and you may need to reapply often to continue feeling the effect. CBD topicals describes a broad category of products including CBD balms, lotions, chopsticks, and creams.
Cutting-edge science has shown that the endocannabinoid system is dysregulated in nearly all pathological conditions. Thus, it stands to reason that “modulating endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans,” as Pal Pacher and George Kunos, scientists with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), suggested in a 2014 publication.
Transparency: Moon Mother sends each batch of product to a third-party lab to be tested for potency as well as other contaminants. You can find all of these lab reports on the company’s website. They also added more information about their company processes to the website, so it’s easier to find important information about extraction and manufacturing.
SabaiDee entered the CBD industry looking to make a difference. The company’s founders wanted to help people live happier and more productive lives by sharing the benefits of CBD. But they were shocked by many of the bad practices rampant in the CBD industry—misleading labels, questionable manufacturing processes meant to maximize profits, and a lack of transparency about sourcing and quality testing.
Transparency: cbdMD seems to be going through a transition with their third-party testing practices. Until recently, they only released a lab report for the CBD concentrate they use for all their products, but would not show potency testing for individual products. That seems to be changing. Currently, the only lab report on the website is for their concentrate (and it’s over a year old). But if you contact customer service, they’ll send you a lab report for any product. 
NuLeaf only offers one concentration of CBD oil, 50 mg/ml, and the ingredients are as simple as it gets: USDA Certified organic hemp oil and full spectrum hemp extract. NuLeaf essentially has only one product. But this strategy allows them to keep their prices reasonable and offer bulk buying options—you can buy a bottle of NuLeaf CBD oil containing 240 mg total CBD all the way up to 4,850 mg.
But even though it's infiltrating pretty much every corner of the wellness world (hi, vegan CBD brownies!) many people still find CBD a little confusing—especially when it comes to figuring out the right way to use it and how to make sure the stuff you're buying is, you know, actually legit. Below, we asked experts to answer the most pressing questions about CBD.
CBD Essence is another brand we’ve had plenty of experience with over the past 18 months or so, and my partner particularly likes his 600 mg Medicinal Grade tincture for quickly easing her anxiety. I haven’t tried them so much for may pain, but I do recall that a 30 mg dose was quite effective the last time I did take it. Also, the main reason they’re this high up on our list is because they’re a fair amount cheaper than Elixinol and PureKana. Their tinctures come in larger 2 oz bottles, but on a CBD-per-mg basis they’re about 20% less expensive than other top-quality brands.
The main reason we like Kat’s Naturals CBD oils are because they use hempseed oil to infuse 1,500 mg of CBD isolate. While the hempseed itself doesn’t contain any actual CBD, it is chock-full of phytonutrients, plant protein, and other nutritious compounds. The only reason other companies use coconut or MCT oil to infuse the CBD instead of hempseed oil, is because hempseed is lower in saturated fat so it doesn’t have as great a bioavailability. In other words, taking a CBD oil infused in MCT oil will allow more of the active compound to reach parts of the body that you need it to. For combining the natural therapeutic elements of CBD with the nutritional benefits of hempseed, however, Kat’s Naturals is a great product. I would recommend using it as a daily health supplement moreso than an actual therapy to treat any kind of condition or ailment.

Not all CBD is created equally. Some tinctures are created with little regard to overall consumer safety, and may contain harmful chemicals and pesticides. Other CBD products have been shown to differ from what the label says, either with way more cannabidiol, or way less. In some cases, the THC content was elevated above the federal legal limit for hemp extracts.


When it comes to CBD oil, NuLeaf Naturals is practically a veteran of the industry. Founded in 2014, this company has been offering simple, no-nonsense legal CBD for five years. NuLeaf uses specially bred therapeutic hemp plants that contain high levels of CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids like CBC, CBG, and CBN while maintaining low levels of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC.
Over the last couple of years, CBD oil has become a popular form of treatment for pain management. While CBD is not yet FDA-approved for pain relief, more and more doctors are looking into it. The major advantage of CBD oil compared to traditional cannabis is that it doesn’t cause the “high” feeling. Under updated hemp legislature in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, CBD is sold in all 50 states.
Green Gorilla marks itself out by simply blending its flagship line of CBD oils with organically produced extra virgin olive oil – and nothing else. And, as the company states, there’s a benefit to this beyond assuring the product’s purity. In particular, olive oil “has synergistic effects in combination with CBD,” and according to Green Gorilla’s website, it’s “also able to deliver the CBD to the parts of [the] body that need it most.” The products are certainly affordable, too: its 150 mg pure CBD oil comes in at $25.99, for instance, making it a smart choice for new users. And anyone still uncertain about the potential effects of Green Gorilla’s products may have their questions answered by the convenient “science” section of the manufacturer’s website, which neatly explains the difference between THC – the cannabinoid that makes people “high” – and CBD.

CBDPure oils are made with non-GMO hemp, grown in Colorado by local farmers. Our hemp oil is minimally processed by following the highest organic standards at every step of our growing, harvesting, and bottling process. When you buy a CBDPure product, you are buying the purest CBD oil from natural sources, that is 100% free of any synthetic or artificial ingredients. We test every batch of oil that we process to ensure that it meets the purity standards that we demand.
Although CBD oils aren’t regulated by the FDA, purchasing products stateside from one of the nine states where recreational and medical cannabis use is legal will likely result in a higher-quality product than buying one made with hemp-derived CBD oil imported from abroad, says Martin Lee, director of Project CBD, a nonprofit that promotes medical research into CBD.
Insomnia: The anxiety-alleviating and sleep-prolonging qualities of CBD oil make it a good option for many people with insomnia. Those who experience insomnia due to pain or discomfort may also find that using CBD oil alleviates their physical symptoms to a noticeable extent. CBD oil may also promote daytime wakefulness when taken in small amounts; people with insomnia can use it as a pick-me-up if they feel excessively tired due to lack of restful sleep.
CBD Infusionz ticks off all of the things you want to see in the best CBD oil, but my favorite thing about them is they include an updated lab report in the packaging of every product that they ship. With other brands, you’ve got to go digging through the website to view the reports, and usually they’re well outdated. Also, CBD Infusionz is a brand that puts a lot of R&D into coming up with fun, new, and unique CBD products, and I legitimately appreciate that. They’ve got stuff like hemp joints (that you can actually smoke like a regular joint), CBD chewing gum, CBD lozenges, and a variety of candies, healthy vegan edibles, pet products, and topical lotions. In fact, you’ve just got to check out their website in order to see for yourself all of the various CBD goodies they’ve got on offer.

CBD American Shaman’s extensive array of products ought to satisfy even the pickiest customer, ranging as it does from flavored tinctures to CBD-infused under-eye serum – and even, for horse lovers, an “equine ointment.” Furthermore, its inventive, water-soluble hemp oil supplement means that users can get their daily dose of CBD just by quenching their thirst. They’re all ways through which CBD American Shaman, as the website states, aims to “[bring] wellness to the world.” The company has a philanthropic streak, too, with a pledge that it frequently gives to non-profit organizations, while its “Compassionate Care” scheme cuts the prices of its goods for those with long-term health conditions. Plus, the company asserts that it uses only organic, non-genetically modified hemp in the making of its CBD oil products, with no insecticides used in the growing process.


Los Angeles-based PureKana stresses that it extracts the CBD oil for its products from hemp plants that have been cultivated without the use of herbicides, pesticides or other agro-industrial chemicals that may impact upon crops. What’s more, the company states, no solvents go into the extraction process other than carbon dioxide. And to further put potential customers’ minds at rest, PureKana presents the results of third-party testing of its CBD oil tincture on its website – a welcome nod to transparency. That tincture can be found in the company’s own blend of CBD oil drops – the three varieties of which have elicited highly complimentary reviews from users – as well as its capsules and cooling topical ointment. Meanwhile, for anyone with a sweet tooth, PureKana’s CBD isolate-containing gummy bears may just do the trick.
From what I can tell from all of the reading/research I’ve done online, CBDistillery has a very loyal following and a large amount of people who swear by their potent effects. I’ve tried their 500mg CBD oil and also the Pure CBD Isolate Slab in a dab rig, and I’ve got to say that both of them immediately eased my back pain. The effects weren’t maybe as long lasting as other brands, but in terms of potency I would say it was easily comparable. If you’re into traditional cannabis/marijuana culture and appreciate all the “standard pastimes ” like smoking, vaping, dabbing, etc, this is a brand for you. Along with Hemp Bombs, they hugely appeal to a younger crowd and have got the “modern” range of products to keep up with them.
CBD oil alleviates physical pain and anxiety – both of which can have a negative impact on sleep. Additionally, CBD oil can actually prolong sleep for some, leading to more rest from night to night. Most medical experts agree that marijuana is not particularly beneficial for individuals with medical conditions and/or mental health disorders, as the THC can increase their symptoms; this makes CBD oil a good alternative option for people with the following sleep disorders and medical conditions.
CBD oil products needn’t be expensive, as Canabidol proves. The company’s pure cannabis oil drops, for example, sell from $28 for 10 ml, making them an affordable choice for new users still unsure about what CBD could do for them. That’s not to say that Canabidol’s goods aren’t up to scratch, though, as the business aims to ensure their quality through both its own bespoke method of analysis and by sending its oil to third-party labs. Among the products on offer, meanwhile, are innovative CBD Gel-Tabs, which feature a specially developed slow-release system designed to improve the body’s absorption of the active ingredient. And this, Canabidol claims, is “now the best-selling CBD cannabis oil product in the U.K.”
Yes, the words “CBD tincture” and “CBD oil drops” are used interchangeably to describe drops of CBD oil that users place under the tongue. For optimal results, we recommend that you hold the drops under your tongue for up to 60 seconds. This process allows the CBD oil to absorb sublingually into your bloodstream through the mucous membranes in your mouth.
Unlike THC, CBD will not make you high. That said, this doesn’t mean CBD is not at all psychoactive, as many assert, says Jahan Marcu, PhD, director of experimental pharmacology and behavior at the International Research Center on Cannabis and Mental Health in New York City: “CBD does change cognition. It affects mood, which is why people take it for anxiety. And some find that it makes them more alert.”
Lisa Hamilton, a jeweler and doula in Brooklyn, NY, knows about the side effects. She recently tried CBD for the shoulder pain that plagued her five years after an accident. Her doctor certified that she was in chronic pain, which under New York State law allowed her to buy from a state dispensary. One Friday, she swallowed two 10-mg capsules, the amount recommended at the dispensary, then took another two on Saturday. “By Sunday, it felt like I’d gotten hit by a truck. Every muscle and joint ached,” Hamilton says. She cut back to one pill a day the following week, but still felt hungover. She stopped after that.
Dispensaries: In states where marijuana is legal for recreational use, dispensaries are a common sight. They are much rarer in states with more restrictions. In states that permit the use of medical marijuana, hemp-based CBD oils do not normally require a prescription but marijuana-based oils do. Like brick-and-mortar locations, dispensaries offer more customer service. However, as noted, this may not be an option depending on the buyer’s state of residence. Also, CBD oil prices tend to be significantly higher at dispensaries.
CBD derived from marijuana is a different story, and the law varies from state to state. But as long as you’re using CBD oil that contains less than 0.3 percent THC, you have nothing to be concerned about anywhere in the United States. On the other hand, if you want to take your CBD on a trip outside the country, definitely look into local laws to avoid getting into awkward situations while you’re away.
According to Ananda Hemp’s website, it’s something of a trailblazer in the CBD world, for it possesses what it maintains to be the U.S.’ first officially authorized hemp farm. Ananda Hemp also claims to be the earliest business to have legally imported its own hemp seeds – taken from what is said to be the most extensive privately owned cannabis seed bank in the world. This, the company says, “stands in contrast to many of [its] competitors, who are sourcing questionable, non-certified and untraceable CBD sources.” In any case, people who wish to see how Ananda Hemp’s process impacts on its products can see for themselves by using its full-spectrum extracts, softgels and topical salve. Those goods have themselves, it seems, been through the testing process a minimum of three times to ensure that their levels of potency live up to what’s written on the labels.
There are many reputable brands on the market and American Shaman is certainly one of them. It’s understandably confusing because as you said, pretty much every company will say that theirs is the best. The approach that you are taking is very common…trying several different brands until you find the one that works best for you. It’s also great that you can take advantage of the assistance programs that many brands offer to help you reduce your cost. One final thing to note that is often overlooked by folks is the importance of finding your “sweet spot” serving size or dosage level. Contrary to what some people assume, the amount that you take for best results is different by individual. People tell us that they have the most success by starting low and increasing slowly as needed until they find that sweet spot. CBD oil also doesn’t work immediately for most people. It can take some time to build up and activate your endocannabinoid receptors so patience is also important. Best of luck to you on your CBD journey!
Dispensaries: In states where marijuana is legal for recreational use, dispensaries are a common sight. They are much rarer in states with more restrictions. In states that permit the use of medical marijuana, hemp-based CBD oils do not normally require a prescription but marijuana-based oils do. Like brick-and-mortar locations, dispensaries offer more customer service. However, as noted, this may not be an option depending on the buyer’s state of residence. Also, CBD oil prices tend to be significantly higher at dispensaries.
CBD Infusionz ticks off all of the things you want to see in the best CBD oil, but my favorite thing about them is they include an updated lab report in the packaging of every product that they ship. With other brands, you’ve got to go digging through the website to view the reports, and usually they’re well outdated. Also, CBD Infusionz is a brand that puts a lot of R&D into coming up with fun, new, and unique CBD products, and I legitimately appreciate that. They’ve got stuff like hemp joints (that you can actually smoke like a regular joint), CBD chewing gum, CBD lozenges, and a variety of candies, healthy vegan edibles, pet products, and topical lotions. In fact, you’ve just got to check out their website in order to see for yourself all of the various CBD goodies they’ve got on offer.

Several weeks after a hysterectomy last spring, Bo Roth was suffering from exhaustion and pain that kept her on the couch much of the day. The 58-year-old Seattle speech coach didn’t want to take opioid pain-killers, but Tylenol wasn’t helping enough. Roth was intrigued when women in her online chat group enthused about a cannabis-derived oil called cannabidiol (CBD) that they said relieved pain without making them high. So Roth, who hadn’t smoked weed since college but lived in a state where cannabis was legal, walked into a dispensary and bought a CBD tincture. 

Lisa Hamilton, a jeweler and doula in Brooklyn, NY, knows about the side effects. She recently tried CBD for the shoulder pain that plagued her five years after an accident. Her doctor certified that she was in chronic pain, which under New York State law allowed her to buy from a state dispensary. One Friday, she swallowed two 10-mg capsules, the amount recommended at the dispensary, then took another two on Saturday. “By Sunday, it felt like I’d gotten hit by a truck. Every muscle and joint ached,” Hamilton says. She cut back to one pill a day the following week, but still felt hungover. She stopped after that.
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