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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Canine consumers of CBD oil are well catered for by Green Garden Gold, which offers dog-friendly drops and peanut butter-flavored treats among its innovative range. Humans definitely haven’t been forgotten by this producer either, though, as they can take advantage of, for instance, its Panidiol Joint Formula, which is touted as a relief for nagging aches and pains. Alternatively, for any veteran CBD oil users looking for a particularly potent product, there’s the company’s Med Pac hemp oil supplement, the strongest variety of which contains a heavyweight 4,000 mg of CBD extract per bottle. And anybody wishing to be reassured of the quality of Green Garden Gold’s wares need only ask; yes, in the interests of transparency, the company is willing to hand over details of the results of third-party lab testing to anyone who puts in such a request.
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.
Customer Service: We’ve always received fast, informative responses to our queries about products and practices, but there are definitely customers out there who have not. A quick perusal of reviews shows customers who had issues with unaddressed orders. It’s hard to know exactly what the problem is in these situations, but the company’s strict return policy (seven days for unopened products only) probably doesn’t help. It should be noted that the company has a solid base of very satisfied customers as well.
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.
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.
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.
The tincture is available in three strengths: 500mg, 1,000mg, and 3,000mg. Prices range from $0.04 to $0.07 per mg, depending on the concentration, which makes the tincture very low-priced compared to oils from most competing brands. Medterra also offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and will issue full refunds for all returns. In addition to the tincture, Medterra also offers CBD capsules in 25mg and 50mg concentrations.
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.