Under federal law, cannabis (from which both CBD and marijuana are derived) is illegal everywhere, although the laws against it aren’t generally enforced in states that have legalized marijuana. Some manufacturers claim that CBD culled from legally imported industrial hemp, which has little to no THC, is fine to ship across the U.S., but many experts disagree, noting that because hemp comes from the same species as marijuana, cannabis sativa, all CBD falls under the DEA’s Schedule 1 designation. “This creative interpretation of the law runs afoul of reality,” says the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC, think tank.
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.
In addition to acting on the brain, CBD influences many body processes. That’s due to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which was discovered in the 1990s, after scientists started investigating why pot produces a high. Although much less well-known than the cardiovascular, reproductive, and respiratory systems, the ECS is critical. “The ECS helps us eat, sleep, relax, forget what we don’t need to remember, and protect our bodies from harm,” Marcu says. There are more ECS receptors in the brain than there are for opioids or serotonin, plus others in the intestines, liver, pancreas, ovaries, bone cells, and elsewhere.
Given CBD’s reputation as a popular, artisanal remedy, one would think that Epidiolex would command a lot of “off label” attention. After all, physicians often prescribe pharmaceuticals off label to treat conditions that were not the actual focus of clinical trials. But the costly price tag for Epidiolex (more than $30,000 annually) precludes off label prescribing as well as affordable access for tens of millions of Americans without health insurance.
Kat’s Naturals not only takes the quality of its products seriously, but it also ensures that their contents are produced in a way that’s as environmentally friendly as possible. The essential oils in its best-selling Heal CBD Hemp Oil, for example, are harvested in a sustainable manner, while the hemp that goes into its range more generally is completely organically grown. And in a customer-friendly move, Kat’s Naturals provides CBD oil blends specifically tailored to users’ needs, whether they want to boost metabolism, get a good night’s rest or simply feel freer from muscle pain. Perhaps the most innovative Kat’s Naturals product, though, is its CBD-containing capsaicin cream. This topical owes its heat in part to a component commonly found within chili peppers, and the company’s website claims that it also helps give respite to neuropathy sufferers and those with Raynaud syndrome.
In 2016 Louisville, Colorado-based Bluebird Botanicals was selected as the leading CBD oil company in the U.S. at that year’s Cannabist Awards, and that accolade came only four years after the business’ founding. In that time, though, Bluebird Botanicals has, according to cannabis industry market researchers Brightfield Group, grown to become the third-biggest selling producer of its kind in America. Perhaps that’s down in part to the stringent quality control measures that Bluebird Botanicals maintains – the results of which can be seen when looking at the certificates of analysis for each batch on its website. And the company’s “assistance programs,” created to aid disabled people, veterans and those on low incomes, also speak to an altruistic approach to customer care. People eligible can receive discounts on Bluebird’s classic and signature hemp extracts, vape oil and CBD isolate.
All this talk about THC lands us nicely in the whole “Full Spectrum vs. Pure Isolate” debate. Once you begin shopping for CBD products, you’ll notice a lot of jargon that gets thrown around without much explanation. Now that we’ve introduced THC into the conversation, we can talk about the difference between, and relative benefits of, Full Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate (and the lesser-known contender: Broad Spectrum).

Like Premium Jane, Fab CBD is another newcomer to the industry, and they made this list simply because of how affordable they are. We received some samples quite awhile back, and while they weren’t the most potent products in the world, they absolutely did work and if you were to buy them from the online store they are about 15% cheaper than other top brands. ($79 for a 600 mg bottle compared to the average $95).

People taking other medications: When side effects are reported, it’s often by this group. CBD appears to have a similar effect to grapefruit on the liver’s ability to metabolize certain drugs, which can lead to adverse side effects. Generally, if a medication has a grapefruit warning, you should avoid taking CBD. Although, if you are on any medication you should talk to your doctor before starting CBD, to ensure you won’t expect any negative interactions.


The endocannabinoid system is spread throughout your brain and body, but primarily throughout your central nervous system. The interaction between cannabinoids and receptors is what produces effects like the regulation of mood, pain, appetite, inflammation, and memory. Plant-based cannabinoids, found in cannabis plants, also interact with the receptors (whimsically named CB1 and CB2) in the endocannabinoid system, and each affects your body in different ways. CBD and its infamous cousin THC are the 2 most well-known cannabinoids.
Most products labeled “hemp oil” do not contain any CBD. Those are typically hemp seed oil which is more commonly used for cooking or to make salad dressing. If you want to buy CBD oil, you’ll want to look for products that are labeled “CBD oil” or “hemp extract.” To confirm that a product you’re interested in has CBD in it, you’ll want to look at their third-party lab reports. All reputable companies selling CBD oil products will make third-party lab reports available to you to confirm the presence of CBD.
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.
All of NuLeaf’s hemp plants are grown on licensed farms in Colorado using sustainable and 100% organic farming practices. Nuleaf’s CBD oils are made using whole plant extraction. That means the final product is a full-spectrum rather than CBD isolate. Moreover, NuLeaf doesn’t include any additives like preservatives, emulsifiers, or even flavors so the final product remains in its purest form.
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.
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