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 addition to all the benefits we’ve already discussed, CBD has been proven to have antioxidant and neuroprotective effects. This means that it helps repair the damage from oxidative stress, which is believed to be a primary cause of diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS — even heart disorders and some forms of cancer. This is a hugely beneficial effect of CBD.
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.
CBD oil fans who switch between vaping and sublingual use are ably catered for by CBD Drip. That’s because the company sells an innovative range of full-spectrum oils that can not only be mixed with regular e-liquids or vaped by themselves but which may also be added to food and drink or simply applied under the tongue. For individuals who’d rather make up their own CBD oil-infused products, meanwhile, the company even offers concentrate in bulk. And CBD Drip assures its customers as to the purity and efficacy of its merchandise by explaining in detail on the website what is tested for and why; full lab results for many of its goods are also available to view at a click.
CW Hemp’s Charlotte’s Web strain of hemp came to national attention in 2013 after it was featured on a CNN segment telling the story of Charlotte Figi. Figi has Dravet syndrome, a form of epilepsy; CNN has reported, however, that after the girl began to take CW Hemp’s CBD oil, her seizures radically reduced in number. A touching update to Figi’s tale can be found on CW Hemp’s website, where those looking to see how the company’s CBD oil products might benefit them are able to purchase capsules, cream and balm. Frequent customers, meanwhile, can take advantage of the brand’s hemp oil bulk package, which offers five regular-sized bottles of CW Hemp’s bespoke blends for the price of four – making it a more cost-effective way for some to get their daily dose of CBD.
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).
If medical marijuana is illegal in a given state, THC levels determine whether a CBD product is illicit or not. In most places, the limit is extremely low. We’re talking under 1 percent THC, with some states opting for a cap as low as 0.3 percent. In this case, the only source that would work is hemp, and CBD products will, therefore, be hemp-derived.
Fab has rapidly become the leading “lifestyle” brand in the industry. They are very engaged with their customers in their online community, and they have the top customer loyalty program that we’ve seen. Their full spectrum CBD oil drops and topical cream are made from 100% organically grown Colorado hemp, producing a very high-quality product. And their zero THC gummies get high marks from customers for taste and effectiveness.
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.
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.
Our pick for Best Customer Experience is Fab CBD, a brand that offers high-quality CBD products at a reasonable price and provides additional perks for shoppers. The company’s CBD oil is available in four concentrations, ranging from 240mg to 1,500mg, which makes the oil suitable for those with light to moderate insomnia symptoms. The oil is available in natural, mint, and citrus flavors; prices range from 11 to 26 cents per mg, depending on the concentration. Fab CBD also offers edible gummies and a CBD topical oil.
DISCLOSURE: The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.
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.
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.