Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history as a medicine going back thousands of years. Today the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world. A safe, non-addictive substance, CBD is one of more than a hundred “phytocannabinoids,” which are unique to cannabis and endow the plant with its robust therapeutic profile.
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).
We suggest using our dosage calculator to find the right dose or amount of CBD for your needs. If you are looking for relief for a specific issue, for example, back pain we suggest starting with our CBD Quiz to find the right product for you needs. Also if a organic or Non-GMO product is important for you look for that on the label or in the product description. Lastly, understand if you would prefer a full-spectrum cbd oil or a CBD isolate. A full-spectrum oil contains many other beneficial parts of the hemp/cannabis plant while an isolate removes everything except CBD. Learn more about the difference here here.
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.
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.
Quality matters with CBD oil products and so does customer service. There are literally thousands of CBD companies selling products today. Some are real companies with a solid reputation among users and some are fly-by-night operations with no accountability. Of course, all of them will tell you that they have the best products out there. Never pick a brand based on one person’s opinion on social media. Especially if you feel like you are getting a sales pitch.
CBD Essence is another brand we’ve had plenty of experience with over the past 18 months or so, and my partner particularly likes his 600 mg Medicinal Grade tincture for quickly easing her anxiety. I haven’t tried them so much for may pain, but I do recall that a 30 mg dose was quite effective the last time I did take it. Also, the main reason they’re this high up on our list is because they’re a fair amount cheaper than Elixinol and PureKana. Their tinctures come in larger 2 oz bottles, but on a CBD-per-mg basis they’re about 20% less expensive than other top-quality brands.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All of NuLeaf’s hemp plants are grown on licensed farms in Colorado using sustainable and 100% organic farming practices. Nuleaf’s CBD oils are made using whole plant extraction. That means the final product is a full-spectrum rather than CBD isolate. Moreover, NuLeaf doesn’t include any additives like preservatives, emulsifiers, or even flavors so the final product remains in its purest form.
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.”
Dry Mouth: As is the case with many other hemp- and marijuana-based products, CBD oil often leads to a condition known as dry mouth (or cottonmouth). This is likely due to cannabinoids altering receptors in the lower jaw that trigger salivation. In most cases, mild discomfort and stronger-than-average thirst are the only issues associated with dry mouth.
This is the second time Moon Mother Hemp Company has placed among the top 10 brands on our ranking. The Colorado-based company, which was founded about a year ago, sets the bar very high for quality (including USDA-certified organic hemp) without charging the moon for its products. Their tinctures taste so good, you may be sad you don’t need more.
One quick thing before you check out our top recommended CBD products: CannaHealth was not paid to include any of these companies on our list. We may, however, receive a small commission from some of these brands if you click through and make a purchase (at no additional charge to you). I will assure you that these products are the best you can buy, and we 100% stand behind them.
Transparency: Fab’s website features third-party lab results for most products. They only have a lab test for one of their tinctures though (which shows results for cannabinoid potency, as well as contaminants like pesticides). Customer service pointed out that the same CBD oil is used for all their products, but since potencies do vary, we appreciate companies that show potency testing for all products.
Pure Hemp Botanicals’ mission statement is “compassion in action” – and it’s a pledge that it aims to adhere to not only through the use of organic hemp and cruelty-free ingredients, but also through its employment practices. The company’s “PHD Gives Back” initiative demonstrates a commitment to kindness, too, as 1 percent of proceeds from the sale of its products are donated to non-profit Mercy For Animals. Pure Hemp Botanicals’ range of CBD-containing goods is also varied, taking in as it does concentrates, vape oils and flavored mints and teas. And regular CBD oil users can, furthermore, take advantage of the company’s handy subscription system for tinctures, capsules and softgels – a scheme that’s not only convenient but which, thanks to the discounts available, offers a less costly way to get a CBD hit.
Many expect easy answers and fast results. But as many who have achieved success can attest, there’s no substitute for doing your own research, accepting that there will be some trial and error, and having a good deal of patience to find what works well for you. The good news is that when you buy from one of the companies listed above, you know that you are getting a quality product from a reputable company. Many users have had success with each of these companies for a variety of conditions.
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.