It’s important to know that there is no “best” brand or product for everyone. The best CBD oil is the one that works well for you. Each person has a unique endocannabinoid system, body chemistry, and severity of the condition. A brand or product that works well for one person with a specific situation may not work for you at all. This reality is understandably frustrating for many of those who are new to CBD oil. 

But even though it's infiltrating pretty much every corner of the wellness world (hi, vegan CBD brownies!) many people still find CBD a little confusing—especially when it comes to figuring out the right way to use it and how to make sure the stuff you're buying is, you know, actually legit. Below, we asked experts to answer the most pressing questions about 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.
Cutting-edge science has shown that the endocannabinoid system is dysregulated in nearly all pathological conditions. Thus, it stands to reason that “modulating endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans,” as Pal Pacher and George Kunos, scientists with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), suggested in a 2014 publication.

cbdMD CBD oil contains simple ingredients—CBD-rich hemp extract, MCT oil from coconut, and natural flavors. It’s available in unflavored, berry, orange, or mint flavors. And cbdMD has the widest range of potencies we’ve found from 10 mg of CBD per serving all the way up to 250 mg of CBD per serving. Plus all U.S. orders get free shipping and are backed by a 30-day, money-back guarantee.


Although CBD oils aren’t regulated by the FDA, purchasing products stateside from one of the nine states where recreational and medical cannabis use is legal will likely result in a higher-quality product than buying one made with hemp-derived CBD oil imported from abroad, says Martin Lee, director of Project CBD, a nonprofit that promotes medical research into CBD.
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.

That leaves those touting CBD’s effectiveness pointing primarily to research in mice and petri dishes. There, CBD (sometimes combined with small amounts of THC) has shown promise for helping pain, neurological conditions like anxiety and PTSD, and the immune system—and therefore potentially arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and more.
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a natural phyto-cannabinoid (or plant-based chemical compound) found in cannabis plants, including hemp and marijuana. Unlike other cannabinoids — namely tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects, and will actually counteract these effects to a degree. CBD will induce feelings of sleepiness; for this reason, it can be an effective soporific for people who struggle to fall and/or remain asleep due to insomnia and other sleep disorders.
From what I can tell from all of the reading/research I’ve done online, CBDistillery has a very loyal following and a large amount of people who swear by their potent effects. I’ve tried their 500mg CBD oil and also the Pure CBD Isolate Slab in a dab rig, and I’ve got to say that both of them immediately eased my back pain. The effects weren’t maybe as long lasting as other brands, but in terms of potency I would say it was easily comparable. If you’re into traditional cannabis/marijuana culture and appreciate all the “standard pastimes ” like smoking, vaping, dabbing, etc, this is a brand for you. Along with Hemp Bombs, they hugely appeal to a younger crowd and have got the “modern” range of products to keep up with them.
When it comes to CBD oil, NuLeaf Naturals is practically a veteran of the industry. Founded in 2014, this company has been offering simple, no-nonsense legal CBD for five years. NuLeaf uses specially bred therapeutic hemp plants that contain high levels of CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids like CBC, CBG, and CBN while maintaining low levels of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC.
All safe and reputable CBD brands make third-party lab reports readily available on their website or upon request. These reports detail the results of product testing by an accredited third-party laboratory that specializes in cannabis testing. They give you great insight into which cannabinoids and terpenes are in the product and whether it passed tests for heavy metals, pesticides, and other potentially dangerous ingredients.
Over the last couple of years, CBD oil has become a popular form of treatment for pain management. While CBD is not yet FDA-approved for pain relief, more and more doctors are looking into it. The major advantage of CBD oil compared to traditional cannabis is that it doesn’t cause the “high” feeling. Under updated hemp legislature in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, CBD is sold in all 50 states.
CBD oil is prohibited for sale by terms of service on the major online marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, and Groupon. Most of the products sold as CBD oil on those websites are hemp seed oil and don’t contain any CBD. We’ve also heard many reports of counterfeit and potentially dangerous products being sold as CBD oil on those websites. Your safest option is to always buy directly from the CBD company’s official website.
If you live in a state where CBD is legal for your condition, it’s best to buy it from a state-regulated dispensary. But even there, oversight is uneven. “I feel safe being a cannabis consumer in Colorado, since the state tracks everything from seed to sale, but I didn’t the first few years after cannabis became legal,” when the rules were still taking shape, says Robyn Griggs Lawrence, the Boulder author of The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook, which features recipes for cannabis edibles.
If you are new to the world of CBD, it is definitely best for you to start with a lower dosage and work your way up from there. Some of the tinctures listed below have as few as 240mg of cannabidiol per bottle, while others are as high as 4850mg. While stronger isn’t always better, we appreciate those brands that have different options available to address different needs. Also, keep in mind that while a lower dose can give you more control over the amount you consume, a higher concentration is usually more cost effective. Higher concentrations will also contain more beneficial cannabinoids.

CBD oil users looking for a product that packs a punch could do well by picking up The CBDistillery’s 5,000 mg full-spectrum tincture – the most potent of the company’s range. Customers wanting a slightly gentler CBD hit, however, can opt instead for one of the provider’s vape oil pens or its 25 mg capsules. And for people who prefer to get their daily CBD dose through dabbing, The CBDistillery offers an array of flavored terpsolates, too, as well as a user-friendly walk-through of the process of dabbing for the uninitiated – a guide in keeping with the brand’s desire to “[spread knowledge] about CBD to the masses.” Added to which, The CBDistillery keeps prices lower for veterans and those currently serving in the armed forces by providing a 10-percent discount on any purchases made.
This tincture is processed using the brand’s signature ‘Gold Formula,’ a full spectrum blend of terpenes, phytocannabinoids, fatty acids, and vitamin E. The drops are offered in three concentrations: 250mg in a 1-oz. container, or 750mg and 1,500mg in 2-oz. containers. Plus CBD Oil recommends taking half a dropper, or 15 drops, per dose. The drops are vegetarian-friendly and free of GMOs, gluten, and glycerin.
Palmetto Harmony’s backstory is a poignant one, as founder Janel Ralph was spurred on to create the company to help her daughter Harmony, who suffers from an unusual genetic condition. However, according to the producer’s website, Harmony’s quality of life has greatly improved since she began taking CBD oil. And potential customers looking to see if their health could be changed for the better can select from Palmetto Harmony’s broad array of organic CBD oil-containing products, including the company’s flagship whole-plant extract and an unusual time-release patch. The brand’s Holy Cannacense cream, meanwhile, is among the most popular of its range; and also in demand is the acclaimed vape oil, which Palmetto Harmony claims “is best used to calm the mind and soothe inflammation.”
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.

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.
NuLeaf only offers one concentration of CBD oil, 50 mg/ml, and the ingredients are as simple as it gets: USDA Certified organic hemp oil and full spectrum hemp extract. NuLeaf essentially has only one product. But this strategy allows them to keep their prices reasonable and offer bulk buying options—you can buy a bottle of NuLeaf CBD oil containing 240 mg total CBD all the way up to 4,850 mg.
They operate their own hemp farms in Kentucky and Colorado as well as their own lab and product facilities. Customers appreciate their dedication to making quality products at affordable prices. It’s also great to see a company that’s willing to stand behind their products by offering a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re dissatisfied for any reason.
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.
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.  
Unflavored hemp oil has a strong grassy and earthy taste. Some people enjoy the taste of natural hemp, but it’s not particularly popular. If a shot of wheatgrass sounds like a terrible idea, you’ll probably want to gravitate toward something with a more…palatable flavor. If you’re not sure, you can always start with a simple flavor you know you’ll enjoy, like mint or lemon, and get more adventurous over time.
Fab CBD offers full refunds for all products returned within 30 days of the original purchase. Inexpensive shipping rates are also available; most customers receive their delivery within seven or fewer business days. Customers can contact Fab CBD by phone or email if they have questions or concerns about their delivery. Those who join the brand’s online community qualify for product discounts, as well.
You’ve probably seen PureKana listed on several other “best CBD oils” lists, and it’s for good reason; in our experience (along with maybe a couple of other close competitors), they offer the best overall value in terms of potency, price, customer service, and most importantly, effectiveness. In fact, if I wasn’t continuously trying out new stuff and dedicated to reviewing every single hemp product on the market in an effort to reveal the absolute best CBD oil, I would probably use them exclusively for my lower back pain. Likewise, my partner has said several times that the 600 mg Vanilla tincture is one of his favorites for helping him sleep through the night.
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.

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. 
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