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.
The human body also produces cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids, in a bodily system known as the endocannabinoid system (or ECS). The ECS promotes homeostasis by regulating a wide range of functions, including motor skills, mood, appetite, and sleep. As we age, our ECS produces fewer endocannabinoids; they may also decrease due to physical injury or disease. Replenishing depleted endocannabinoids with phytocannabinoids like CBD can help restore balance to the body.
Quality CBD oil comes from a quality source. CBD oil can be extracted from the hemp plant in a variety of ways. The safest, and most efficient methods, use carbon dioxide or ethanol as a solvent to separate the CBD from the hemp plant. All of the tinctures below are extracted from pesticide-free hemp grown on local farms in the United States, all of which are registered with their state’s industrial hemp pilot program, or organic-certified farms in Europe.
Non-THC CBD oils can be highly effective, and are suitable for employees who face random or routine drug tests. Our top pick for this category is the Medterra CBD Oil Tincture, which contains 99.6% CBD and MCT oil (also known as coconut oil extract) without any traces of THC. The oil is derived from hemp plants that are free of GMOs and pesticides, as well. All third-party testing results for the oil are accessible through Medterra’s official product page.
Generally, CBD oil is made by combining an extract with a carrier fluid or oil. This question is best answered by looking at how the CBD oil was extracted. CBD oil can be extracted using CO2 systems or by using chemical solvents. Both methods produce a CBD oil byproduct that is then combined with a fluid like MCT oil, coconut oil, or olive oil so that it can be delivered to the body. Always check to make sure you know the CBD content of the products you purchase.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You won’t have to worry about potency with Spruce CBD. That’s because the potency of Spruce’s CBD oils are verified by a third-party testing lab. Spruce carries both regular and high potency CBD oil formulations. Spruce’s regular potency CBD oil contains a moderate dose of 25 mg of CBD per serving while their max potency formulation packs a strong dose of 80 mg of CBD per serving.
That same 2018 Farm Bill means you can now travel between states with legit CBD products. "Flying with CBD should pose no issues now," Parrish says. However, if you're traveling with a tincture, be mindful of TSA limits on how much liquid you can carry on an airplane, she adds. (You can also mail CBD products, just like "companies that comply with the Bill can ship their hemp-derived CBD products anywhere in the U.S.," Parrish notes.)
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).
Most human studies of CBD have been done on people who have seizures, and the FDA recently approved the first CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, for rare forms of epilepsy. Clinical trials for other conditions are promising, but tiny. In one Brazilian study published in 2011 of people with generalized social anxiety disorder, for example, taking a 600-mg dose of CBD (higher than a typical dose from a tincture) lessened discomfort more than a placebo, but only a dozen people were given the pill.
Sativex may interact with alcohol, affecting coordination, concentration, and ability to respond quickly. In general, alcoholic beverages should be avoided whilst using Sativex, especially at the beginning of treatment or when changing the dose. Patients should be advised that if they do drink alcohol while using Sativex the additive CNS effects may impair their ability to drive or use machines, and increase the risk of falls.
In addition to acting on the brain, CBD influences many body processes. That’s due to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which was discovered in the 1990s, after scientists started investigating why pot produces a high. Although much less well-known than the cardiovascular, reproductive, and respiratory systems, the ECS is critical. “The ECS helps us eat, sleep, relax, forget what we don’t need to remember, and protect our bodies from harm,” Marcu says. There are more ECS receptors in the brain than there are for opioids or serotonin, plus others in the intestines, liver, pancreas, ovaries, bone cells, and elsewhere.
Another field in which CBD is creating a buzz is in the area of mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Both conditions have been treated with a variety of medications, courtesy of Big Pharma, that have had varying levels of success. Again, the long list of side effects can be off-putting to someone who just wants to get through the day without the sweaty tension of anxiety or the gray haze of depression.
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.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is a potent, non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in hemp oil. It is typically extracted from industrial hemp plants that are naturally high in CBD and other phytochemicals. It is the most prevalent of over 80 different cannabinoids found in natural hemp. It is commonly used for its therapeutic properties. Cannabidiol is responsible for a wide-range of positive health benefits through its interaction with the body's own endocannabinoid system.
Transparency: Receptra Naturals’ website has a database where you can look up lab reports for their products. The first time we checked, we got some 404 errors for a couple of the lab reports, but these glitches seem to have been fixed since then. We were able to see third-party lab reports for all their tinctures (though, apparently not for their topicals).
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.