At the top of our ranking is Portland-based Lazarus Naturals, which has honed a reputation for high-quality, affordable CBD. Their consciously crafted CBD is sourced from organic, Oregon-grown hemp which the company controls from seed to sale. With low prices, a robust assistance program, free shipping, and a 30-day, no questions asked return policy, you really can’t go wrong with Lazarus Naturals.
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.
What exactly is cannabidiol (CBD) and more importantly, what does it do? Those questions and more are at the heart of this comprehensive guide to one of the most fascinating and important compounds of the cannabis plant. Cannabis plants are chemical powerhouses that produce more than 400 different compounds. Not all of those compounds are unique to marijuana, of course, and appear in many other species of plants. That’s why marijuana can smell like pine trees or taste like fresh lemons. But of those 400 compounds, more than 60 of them are totally specific to the plant genus Cannabis. Scientists call these special compounds “cannabinoids.” However, not all cannabinoids are created equal. One of them, cannabidiol, or CBD, holds the key to the wide variety of medicinal and therapeutic effects marijuana offers.
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.

Sadly, there are unscrupulous companies out there looking to take advantage of people wanting to try CBD oil. A free trial bottle of CBD oil sounds like a great deal. They say you just need to pay a small shipping and handling fee. But what really happens is that they will send you a very low quality product. They’ll also keep charging your credit card every month for as much as $90 per month until you cancel your “subscription” with them. This is an outright scam that you want to avoid.
Additionally, PlusCBD oil is incredibly rigorous and transparent when it comes to testing their products and sharing the results. They perform thorough in-house testing to verify potency and screen for contaminants. PlusCBD Oil also validates its own in-house testing with independent third-party testing via DB Labs to ensure all products are free of pesticides, fungicides, residual solvents, heavy metals, and microbiological contamination.
You should only use CBD products if you are willing to accept at least some risk of testing positive on a drug test. Not everyone who uses hemp-derived CBD oil tests positive. But it does happen. The risk of testing positive is lower if you’re using a broad spectrum or isolate product. These products have non-detectable levels of THC based on manufacturer testing.
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a phyto-cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. However, it does not cause the same psychoactive effects as other naturally occurring cannabinoids (such as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC). CBD induces feelings of sleepiness and tranquility, making it suitable for insomnia and other sleep disorders; CBD can be used to alleviate symptoms of epilepsy, diabetes, and anxiety disorders, as well. Legality is an issue for some; all 50 states have laws governing the sale, possession, and use of CBD, and they vary significantly (see the table below for a full analysis).
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.
Many expect easy answers and fast results. But as many who have achieved success can attest, there’s no substitute for doing your own research, accepting that there will be some trial and error, and having a good deal of patience to find what works well for you. The good news is that when you buy from one of the companies listed above, you know that you are getting a quality product from a reputable company. Many users have had success with each of these companies for a variety of conditions.
Vaporizers – Many state-licensed cannabis dispensaries offer high CBD strains of cannabis flower. This allows for reduced risk of paranoia while allowing for a high medicinal dose of CBD. Vaporizers are used to heat up the flower and remove the properties or compounds of the plant that you are looking for without combustion or smoking. Vaporizers use convection much like a convection oven. CLICK HERE to see our favorite vaporizer.
This is a confusing one for many people. "A lot of brands don't do a good job of clearly instructing their consumer on the dosing," says Chris Roth, CEO and co-founder of Highline Wellness. When thinking about dosing, also consider whether your CBD is full-spectrum or isolate: Full-spectrum could include other cannabinoids like cannabidivarin or cannabigerol (this is important, since "there's something called the 'entourage effect' when all together, they're more effective than any one of them alone," Roth explains), while isolate is 100% CBD. "Some people might only need 10 milligrams of full-spectrum CBD, but with isolate, even taking 80 or 100 milligrams might not have the same effect," he says.
Transdermal Patches – Remember those patches people put on their bodies to quit smoking? These patches allowed for a slow release of nicotine over the course of a day? Well, the same idea exists with CBD patches. This is a convenient way to get CBD into your body and endocannabinoid system over the course of a day. CLICK HERE to see our favorite patch.
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