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.
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. 

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.
Dr. Cohen has found that chronic conditions including autoimmune diseases and pain syndromes can be helped with a 6-mg under-the-tongue tincture (the fastest delivery system) or a 25-mg capsule taken twice a day. Dosages for topical products like lotions are especially hard to determine—there’s no clarity on how much CBD gets into the system through the skin.

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.
Elixinol has a wide range of products, but their CBD Tincture does the trick. It’s the cream of the crop regarding CBD oils and that reflects in its price. One dropper (1mg) from the 300 series contains 10mg of CBD. This allows you to get precise amounts of CBD and no guess work is required. Elixinol has received numerous awards for their products and extraction process.
Drops (also referred to as tinctures) are the most popular way to take CBD oil. They are typically sold in glass bottles with a built-in dropper. The drops are placed under your tongue and held there for at least 60 seconds. This drop process allows the CBD to absorb sublingually into your bloodstream. Other popular ways to take CBD include vaping, gummies, capsules, and topical creams. How you take it is a personal decision based on your preferences. Many experienced users take multiple different products at the same time.
Fab CBD offers an extensive line of deliciously flavored full-spectrum CBD oils in a broad range of potencies. You can choose between citrus, vanilla, mint, berry, and natural flavors and potencies of 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, or 80 mg of CBD per serving. And like all of our favorite CBD brands, Fab CBD uses minimal ingredients with no additives—just hemp extract, coconut oil, and natural flavors.
When it comes to bang for the buck, Lazarus Naturals is the industry leader. They’ve built a loyal customer base because of their low prices, high-quality products, and compassionate assistance program for those in need. In fact, they’ve been voted the Brand of the Year by members of the CBD Oil Users Group on Facebook for the last 3 years. We particularly like their dedication to posting third-party lab reports on their website by batch. Their 30-day money-back guarantee speaks to the confidence in the quality of their products which clearly makes them one of the best CBD oil brands on the market.
CBD has proven neuroprotective effects and its anti-cancer properties are being investigated at several academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere. A 2010 brain cancer study by California scientists found that CBD “enhances the inhibitory effects of THC on human glioblastoma cell proliferation and survival.” This means that CBD makes THC even more potent as an anticancer substance. Also in 2010, German researchers reported that CBD stimulates neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells, in adult mammals.
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.
Since 2014, NuLeaf Naturals – our Editor’s Pick – has been committed to creating high-quality CBD oil products. As one of the oldest and most reviewed companies in the industry, NuLeaf Naturals has established themselves as a trustworthy CBD manufacturer. All of their products are tested by third party labs and their cannabinoid profile is impressive. They offer a unique range of concentrations for their organic CBD products ranging from 240mg to 4,850mg.
The company’s second strength is trust. The CBDistillery has done a lot to build trust with its customers, including transparent, third-party lab testing, quality control over every step of its manufacturing process, and no gimmicks. CBDistillery CBD oil is made using U.S. Hemp Authority-certified, non-GMO, industrial hemp grown in America using natural farming practices.
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.
Koi CBD probably should be higher up on this list given their popularity, but since they’re geared more towards vaping and CBD vape oils, and I have never really used them too much. People who do use them everyday though say that they’ve got the best flavors of any CBD vape oil on the market, and I can say personally that their CBD gummies and spearmint CBD oil work decently as well. I would recommend Koi CBD if you’re big into vaping and have yet to find a CBD vape oil that you like, and/or if you’re looking for a reputable brand that sells high quality oral CBD tinctures as well as edibles and vape products – might as well order everything in one place.
Success stories like Oliver’s are everywhere, but there’s not a lot of data to back up those results. That’s because CBD comes from cannabis and, like nearly all other parts of the plant, is categorized by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a Schedule 1 drug—the most restrictive classification. (Others on that list: heroin, Ecstasy, and peyote.) This classification, which cannabis advocates have tried for years to change, keeps cannabis-derived products, including CBD, from being properly studied in the U.S.

The human body has an endocannabinoid system — a natural system that maintains homeostasis or balance, in the body. The endocannabinoid system has CB1 and CB2 receptors. These are found throughout the body. CB1 receptors are generally located in the central and peripheral nervous system and CB2 receptors are generally found in the brain, immune system, and gastrointestinal system. CBD binds to these receptors creating changes and effects in the body


And now, onto the thorny issue of legality. The simple answer to the question is yes — if it is extracted from hemp. The 2014 Farm Bill established guidelines for growing hemp in the U.S. legally. This so-called “industrial hemp” refers to both hemp and hemp products which come from cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent THC and are grown by a state-licensed farmer.
Another point worth clarifying is the difference between hemp seed oil (or hemp oil) and CBD oil. There’s confusion on this point for the very good reason that both CBD oil and hemp seed oil are extracted from the industrial hemp plant. But there’s a big difference between the 2. Hemp seed oil has been pressed from hemp seed, and it’s great for a lot of things — it’s good for you, tastes great, and can be used in soap, paint — even as biodiesel fuel.
The company’s second strength is trust. The CBDistillery has done a lot to build trust with its customers, including transparent, third-party lab testing, quality control over every step of its manufacturing process, and no gimmicks. CBDistillery CBD oil is made using U.S. Hemp Authority-certified, non-GMO, industrial hemp grown in America using natural farming practices.
The CBDistillery has two main strengths. The first is its variety of options. The CBDistillery offers CBD oil tinctures in a wide range of concentrations from 17mg up to 88 mg of CBD per serving. But what really sets the company apart is that they offer both full-spectrum and THC-free CBD oil options. Most people gravitate towards full-spectrum CBD oil to take advantage of the entourage effect. But with THC-free CBD oil, you can enjoy the benefits and effects of CBD even if you’re subject to mandatory drug testing.
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).

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).
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.
NuLeaf Naturals CBD oil tinctures are all full spectrum; it is 100% organic and never made with herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers. The brand offers a full spectrum pet CBD oil tincture, as well. NuLeaf Naturals offers free shipping to all 50 states; the brand’s products are also sold in more than 1,000 retail locations across the country.
Our Best Value pick is CBDistillery, which offers a full spectrum CBD oil containing naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes, along with fatty acid Omega 3, B complex vitamins, and 20 essential amino acids. The oil is derived from non-GMO, U.S.-grown hemp. It also contains trace amounts of fractionated coconut oil for subtle flavoring. All product information and third-party testing results are found on the official CBDistillery product page.
There are many scammers and multi-level marketing salespeople that use Facebook and other social media outlets to push a particular product. Many of them will tell you whatever you want to hear to get you to buy from them. Be wary of their claims and testimonials. It’s particularly important to buy CBD oil from a brand that makes third party lab reports readily available. This third party certification is the only way for you to truly know what is in the product.
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