Historically, hemp could legally be grown and cultivated for academic research purposes only. However, the legality of hemp growth has changed in the past year. In April 2018, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky introduced the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, a piece of legislation that proposed legalizing all hemp products at the federal level. The act was incorporated in the 2018 United States Farm Bill, which passed in both the House and Senate in December 2018. Per the farm bill, industrial hemp will be descheduled as a federally controlled substance.
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.”
CBD may be best known for its relaxing, calming effects. CBD reduces autonomic arousal, having the inverse effect of THC on the body. CBD’s anti-anxiety effect is why many in the cannabis community talk about how CBD relieves paranoia, although that is not scientifically proven yet. CBD is also known for its anti-nausea and pain relieving effects. It really depends on why your body’s specific needs and the quantity in which you take CBD.

CBD is a chemical found in marijuana. CBD doesn't contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that produces a high. The usual CBD formulation is oil, but CBD is also sold as an extract, a vaporized liquid and an oil-based capsule. Food, drinks and beauty products are among the many CBD-infused products available online.
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.

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.”


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.

CO2 extraction is one of the most common ways CBD is extracted from the hemp or cannabis plants. This method uses expensive equipment that adjusts temperature and pressure to extract the cannabinoids from the plant material, without damaging them. The other common method is to use solvents like ethanol or butane to extract the plant material. These solvents have to be burned off the final product which may damage the cannabinoids or terpenes in the process. There is also a risk that these solvents may not have burned off completely and could end up in your end product.
NuLeaf Naturals markets themselves as “the world’s premier CBD oil company” – I don’t know if I’d quite go to that extent and say that, but I will say that my partner Josh and I have both tried their full-spectrum tinctures, and they do work incredibly well. Also, they main reason they made it on my list here of the best CBD oils online is the fact they offer one of the most potent oral tinctures on the market: a 1,450 mg super highly concentrated oil that wiped my back pain out in less than 20 minutes. To be clear, that’s 45% more potent than PureKana’s strongest oil (1,000 mg). Why don’t I use NuLeaf Naturals all the time then, you might be wondering? Well, I can get away with much smaller doses than that, so there’s no reason to take such a potent dose if I don’t need to. If you’ve been scrounging around the web trying to find a super strong CBD oil, or have otherwise not had great results with other products, I definitely recommend trying some of NuLeaf Naturals’ stuff out. Be advised, though, that it ain’t cheap!

At the top of our ranking is Utah-based Kanibi, which is on a mission to create high-quality, science-based CBD products with total transparency. Their consciously crafted CBD is sourced from organic, Kentucky-grown hemp which is farmed with organic farming methods. With great tasting products, free shipping, and a 30-day, no questions asked return policy, you really can’t go wrong with Kanibi.
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.
We’d be lying if we said costs didn’t matter. As in all things, with CBD oil tinctures you generally get what you pay for. Some of the products we recommend below are small and inexpensive (so you’re not sacrificing quality to buy inexpensive CBD oil, but rather, are just getting a smaller overall amount at once). Other products contain a higher potency formula, so even though the amount of liquid in the bottle may be the same, the amount of cannabinoids will vary greatly. Overall, prices range from as low as around $30 to over $400.
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. 
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.
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.

Research on CBD and anxiety has generally looked at cannabis as a whole product including THC, not as CBD as a standalone compound. Some studies suggest that it can help with anxiety: like this 2011 study that suggests CBDcan reduce social anxiety or this 2015 review that says CBD could be promising for many forms of anxiety. It’s also important to consider whether the CBD comes from the cannabis plant and therefore may include THC, a cannabinoid that for some, induces anxiety. Read our comprehensive article on CBD and anxiety, here.


Along with PureKana and Premium Jane, MedTerra CBD is one of the few companies that has a commercialization agreement with hemp farms under the Kentucky Pilot Research Program. My partner and I really like this brand because it’s clear that they’re much more focused on health and science rather than creating gimmicky promotions and web advertisements to try and build their “brand.” The CBD industry definitely needs more companies with this mentality. We haven’t tried them a whole lot, but we did receive a couple of samples of their “Medoil Tinctures,” and they worked particularly well for my partner’s anxiety and sleep issues. They also were OK for my back pain, but not quite as potent as some other brands I’ve used.
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.
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. 
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