CBD is a chemical found in marijuana. CBD doesn't contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that produces a high. The usual CBD formulation is oil, but CBD is also sold as an extract, a vaporized liquid and an oil-based capsule. Food, drinks and beauty products are among the many CBD-infused products available online.
Secondly, all products are NOT created equal – they differ significantly in strength, absorption, and elimination by the body and in the manner in which they are formulated. One should be mindful of the differences in doses available for each of these products, starting at a low or moderate dose and increasing as needed in order to find the lowest dose that provides the desired relief. In this way, one can individualize usage to maximize effectiveness while minimizing risk – a proper goal for the use of all medicinals.
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.”
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.
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.
There are two possible exceptions to this. The first is that some people, for unknown reasons, just react differently to CBD. According to Dr. Chin, about 5% of people say they feel altered after taking CBD. "Usually they're the same people who have side effects from Advil or Tylenol," she says. You never know how your body will react to any new supplement, so when taking CBD for the first time, do so safely under supervision.
Fab CBD offers an extensive line of deliciously flavored full-spectrum CBD oils in a broad range of potencies. You can choose between citrus, vanilla, mint, berry, and natural flavors and potencies of 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, or 80 mg of CBD per serving. And like all of our favorite CBD brands, Fab CBD uses minimal ingredients with no additives—just hemp extract, coconut oil, and natural flavors.
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.
NuLeaf Naturals markets themselves as “the world’s premier CBD oil company” – I don’t know if I’d quite go to that extent and say that, but I will say that my partner Josh and I have both tried their full-spectrum tinctures, and they do work incredibly well. Also, they main reason they made it on my list here of the best CBD oils online is the fact they offer one of the most potent oral tinctures on the market: a 1,450 mg super highly concentrated oil that wiped my back pain out in less than 20 minutes. To be clear, that’s 45% more potent than PureKana’s strongest oil (1,000 mg). Why don’t I use NuLeaf Naturals all the time then, you might be wondering? Well, I can get away with much smaller doses than that, so there’s no reason to take such a potent dose if I don’t need to. If you’ve been scrounging around the web trying to find a super strong CBD oil, or have otherwise not had great results with other products, I definitely recommend trying some of NuLeaf Naturals’ stuff out. Be advised, though, that it ain’t cheap!
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.
In your internet travels, you may also come across products called “terpsolates.” The manufacturers of these products infuse CBD Isolate with terpenes (but not cannabinoids like THC). These terpenes may enhance the effectiveness of CBD — or maybe they just make it smell good. This may be a good place to point out that not all CBD products are created equal. The industry is still largely unregulated, and the quality and quantity of CBD in a given product will vary wildly. Third-party testing definitely helps to monitor companies’ claims, but it’s still up to you as the consumer to do your homework on the best CBD products.
Medterra prides itself on offering what it terms “true seed-to-sale purchases,” with the hemp crop used for its CBD oil cultivated and extracted to the exacting standards demanded by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Potential buyers may be encouraged, too, to know that “quality, consistency and safety are… top priorities” at Medterra, and to that end all of the raw materials the company uses are independently lab tested. Plus, those who decide to take the plunge and order from the provider’s site can reap the benefits of its rewards program, with points given for Facebook shares, reviews and purchases. Among the products on offer at Medterra are CBD oil tinctures, capsules and pain-alleviating cream, all of which fall under a money-back pledge if not deemed to be to customers’ satisfaction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In response to the FDA’s historic decision, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced in September 2018 that it had removed Epidiolex from Schedule I classification, a category reserved for dangerous drugs with no medical value. Henceforth, Epidiolex would be considered a Schedule V drug, the least dangerous designation under the Controlled Substances Act.