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.
Populum has enough confidence in what it sells to offer a 30-day trial of purchases, with the option to send products back within that period if they don’t live up to expectations. That offer speaks to the company’s customer-friendly ethos – and its willingness to answer any questions that people throw at it via email, phone or live chat does so, too. One customer is quoted on Populum’s website as saying that the company’s risk-free guarantee is “also a testament to [its] commitment to making a high-quality product.” Those wanting to see what the fuss is about can sample Populum’s hemp oil tincture – which comes in 250 mg, 500 mg and 1,000 mg concentrations – and cooling gel, safe in the knowledge that they are able to get their money back if need be.
All this talk about THC lands us nicely in the whole “Full Spectrum vs. Pure Isolate” debate. Once you begin shopping for CBD products, you’ll notice a lot of jargon that gets thrown around without much explanation. Now that we’ve introduced THC into the conversation, we can talk about the difference between, and relative benefits of, Full Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate (and the lesser-known contender: Broad Spectrum).
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.

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.
Terpenes are the naturally-occurring essential oils from plants, flowers, and vegetables. Terpenes are what give the plant its scent, flavor, and unique benefits. Some of the terpenes in cannabis are known for their useful therapeutic properties. For example, some terpenes are known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, or relaxing properties to name a few.
When I went into the CBD American Shaman store, the manager seemed extremely knowledgeable, was certified, spent quite a bit of time explaining the different aspects of their products. I bought the full spectrum VG Cloud Tincture in strawberry banana and the 250 Topical Cream, which he said I would be amazed how well it worked. Hmmm. Maybe not so much, at least not yet. And the oil hasn’t helped as much as I hoped. Because they have a “Compassionate Care” program for those with disabilities, I was hoping this would be the one. Most of our family suffers from chronic pain and has had to go on disability, much to their chagrin. The products are $59.95 each, and the discount would be something like 30 per cent.
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.
Founded in 2017, Fab CBD is another newer addition to the CBD industry. But don’t be fooled. The company’s founders have a combined 25 years of experience in the health, fitness, and supplement industries. And as a team, they’re dedicated to helping Fab CBD customers build more productive lives and perform at the highest level through the benefits of CBD.
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).
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.
In fact, not only will CBD not make you high, it has been proven to counteract the psychoactivity of THC. This property makes CBD highly useful as a medical treatment for a wide range of conditions. In terms of the CBD products you can buy, the amount of THC present varies from none at all in a pure CBD Isolate to a minimal amount (less than 0.3%) in a Full-Spectrum CBD product.
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.)
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.  
The growth of CBD Pure within the last several months has been somewhat surprising given their little-known status the first time I tried them last year. They’re not quite as potent and long-lasting as something like Premium Jane or PureKana, but like CBD Essence they’ve mostly made it this high up on the list due to their affordable prices. Believe it or not, in fact, they’re nearly 60% cheaper than PureKana on an oz-to-oz basis. If you’re just trying out CBD for the first time and want to see how it works for you before jumping to one of the more expensive brands, I’d definitely take a look at CBD Pure’s range of affordable tinctures.

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.
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.
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. 

There are many scammers and multi-level marketing salespeople that use Facebook and other social media outlets to push a particular product. Many of them will tell you whatever you want to hear to get you to buy from them. Be wary of their claims and testimonials. It’s particularly important to buy CBD oil from a brand that makes third party lab reports readily available. This third party certification is the only way for you to truly know what is in the product.
Whether you are looking for CBD for general wellness or for specific medical conditions it’s important to look for these forms of lab test results; heavy metal testing, clinical trial information (if available), pesticide testing, microbial testing, potency testing, and cannabinoid profile. While having this information provided by a CBD company is important, it doesn’t necessarily mean their product will work for you. However you do not want to consider a CBD company that doesn’t provide the testing info mentioned above. Learn more about recommended best practices to look for here.
Extraction: The method by which CBD oil is processed from hemp plants can be very telling. Some manufacturers extract and process the oil using toxic materials like propane or butane; in most cases, these oils are cheaply priced. Safer extraction and processing agents include ethanol, which cleans the hemp plant of unwanted toxins; and supercritical carbon dioxide extraction, which strips harmful materials from the plant by changing the carbon dioxide’s temperature and pressure settings.
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.

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.

People taking other medications: When side effects are reported, it’s often by this group. CBD appears to have a similar effect to grapefruit on the liver’s ability to metabolize certain drugs, which can lead to adverse side effects. Generally, if a medication has a grapefruit warning, you should avoid taking CBD. Although, if you are on any medication you should talk to your doctor before starting CBD, to ensure you won’t expect any negative interactions.

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.
Koi CBD probably should be higher up on this list given their popularity, but since they’re geared more towards vaping and CBD vape oils, and I have never really used them too much. People who do use them everyday though say that they’ve got the best flavors of any CBD vape oil on the market, and I can say personally that their CBD gummies and spearmint CBD oil work decently as well. I would recommend Koi CBD if you’re big into vaping and have yet to find a CBD vape oil that you like, and/or if you’re looking for a reputable brand that sells high quality oral CBD tinctures as well as edibles and vape products – might as well order everything in one place.

At the top of our ranking is Portland-based Lazarus Naturals, which has honed a reputation for high-quality, affordable CBD. Their consciously crafted CBD is sourced from organic, Oregon-grown hemp which the company controls from seed to sale. With low prices, a robust assistance program, free shipping, and a 30-day, no questions asked return policy, you really can’t go wrong with Lazarus Naturals.
The growth of CBD Pure within the last several months has been somewhat surprising given their little-known status the first time I tried them last year. They’re not quite as potent and long-lasting as something like Premium Jane or PureKana, but like CBD Essence they’ve mostly made it this high up on the list due to their affordable prices. Believe it or not, in fact, they’re nearly 60% cheaper than PureKana on an oz-to-oz basis. If you’re just trying out CBD for the first time and want to see how it works for you before jumping to one of the more expensive brands, I’d definitely take a look at CBD Pure’s range of affordable tinctures.
CBD capsules: These are gel capsules or tablets that you swallow like any other pill. People prefer capsules because dosing is precise (each pill contains a specific amount of CBD), they’re easy to travel with, and they’re easy to remember to take along with your daily vitamin. However, it does take longer to feel the effects of CBD with capsules (up to 90 minutes), since the capsule has to be processed by your digestive system first.
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.
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.
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.
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