CBD, or canabidiol is an amazingly useful plant compound that is extracted from the cannabis plant. With volumes of medical science now at its back, this compound has been used effectively for a wide range of needs. These particularly wide-ranging applications are the result of its being a part of the “pleiotropic sedate” group. Compounds in this group are especially unique in their ability to affect and travel along many of the typically closed atomic pathways.


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.
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.
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.
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.
In your internet travels, you may also come across products called “terpsolates.” The manufacturers of these products infuse CBD Isolate with terpenes (but not cannabinoids like THC). These terpenes may enhance the effectiveness of CBD — or maybe they just make it smell good. This may be a good place to point out that not all CBD products are created equal. The industry is still largely unregulated, and the quality and quantity of CBD in a given product will vary wildly. Third-party testing definitely helps to monitor companies’ claims, but it’s still up to you as the consumer to do your homework on the best CBD products.
Vape Pens – Perhaps the easiest way to get the CBD Oil into your body is through a vape pen. A vape pen is about the size of an ink pen but has a CBD oil cartridge with a heating element. Many people like vape pens because there is very little in the way of odor after using it and it allows for a lot of discretion because it can be pulled out of your pocket and used on demand. CLICK HERE to see our favorite vape pens.
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PlusCBD Oil is one of the few companies that doesn’t source their hemp from the United States. Although the company is working to move its hemp farming to the United States, PlusCBD Oil currently imports hemp grown in Europe. But don’t let that worry you. PlusCBD Oil is still certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority, meaning they follow high standards, industry best practices, and self-regulation.
The tricky part is that there's some evidence suggesting CBD works best for pain when combined with a little THC, says Dr. Danesh. "Depending on what type of pain you have, you might be able to do just CBD, but sometimes you need CBD and THC." This makes accessing a product that will actually help you more difficult due to different regulations in each state. In New York, where Dr. Danesh practices, for example, CBD is available over the counter. But as soon as you add THC, you need a prescription.
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.
It’s also important to select CBD oil products based on your concentration preferences. Some forms of CBD oil – such as vapors and tinctures – normally have higher-than-average concentrations, whereas sprays and topicals tend to have lower concentrations. Remember: higher concentration means more pronounced effects, but not necessarily mean higher quality.
These policies vary widely. Marijuana and CBD are currently fully legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C. In 23 states, it's legal in some form, such as for medicinal purposes. Another 14 states permit just CBD oil. But both are illegal in Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota. For more information, the organization Americans for Safe Access has a helpful guide to the specific laws in each state.
Real Scientific Hemp Oil touts itself as being somewhat of a pioneer, as – according to the company – its own variety of CBD oil was the first to hit the mainstream back in 2012. In addition, the brand claims that its RSHO-X CBD liquid is the earliest no-THC product of its kind, making it a sound choice for those worried about whether CBD oil use will influence the results of drug tests. The company is also transparent about the processes that go into making its varieties of CBD-containing hemp oils, helping customers make informed choices as to which of its products are best for them. And minds may be put at ease upon learning that Real Scientific Hemp Oil tests its CBD oil three times – a process which seems to speak to the quality, purity and safety of the provider’s wares.

Infinite CBD specializes in CBD isolate, meaning CBD oils that are not full-spectrum and do not contain the full range of hemp extract. As such, I have hardly used them at all because I generally always prefer full-spectrum CBD tinctures. That being said, if you’re looking for isolate I would venture to say that Infinite CBD is the best CBD isolate oil on the market right now, hands down. If you need to avoid full-spectrum oils for drug testing purposes, definitely give them a try.


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.
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.
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.
Aside from maybe only PureKana, CW Hemp is probably the most popular CBD brand in the U.S. – at least in terms of the amount of product that they sell. And indeed they make some great, highly effective tinctures, but the only reason I don’t have them ranked higher is simply because I think they’re a bit overrated – and overpriced. If you’re into name brand reputation and will feel more comfortable buying from an established company like CW, by all means don’t be afraid to spend the money and try them out – they certainly don’t lack for quality. I just think there are other brands out there that offer better overall value for the amount of money that you’re spending.  

Spruce was founded by Tony Spencer, who had a clear mission for his company—give people access to safe and effective lab-grade, hemp-based CBD. Spencer realized that many other CBD oils on the market were low-potency and simply didn’t work. “We have a lot of customers in pain who have wasted money on CBD products in the past that didn’t work for them,” remarks Spruce on their website.

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. 

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.
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!
Other CBD oil stores have high-quality products, but our choice came down to variety, potency, and price. Whichever you choose to go for, though, know that all of the companies above have an outstanding store and offer a wide range of effective products, from CBD oils to Terps and even CBD creams. Plus, most have a 100% money-back guarantee policy, which is quite nice!
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.
This is why Amanda Oliver, 31, a career consultant in Charleston, SC, pops a CBD gummy bear each night before bed. “I used to lie there tossing and turning as my mind raced from work projects to whether I had set the home alarm,” Oliver says. One piece of candy with 15 milligrams (mg) of CBD is enough to shut off her brain and facilitate sleep. She also swears by the CBD oil she takes at the height of her period, which she says quells her debilitating cramps.

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.
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.
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