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.
A newcomer to our CBD oils ranking, RE: Botanicals is no stranger to hemp. Founded by John Roulac, a long-time hemp advocate and founder of the organic superfoods brand Nutiva, RE: Botanicals is one of the only CBD brands to earn the USDA organic seal. They deserve a shout-out for prioritizing regenerative agriculture, while keeping prices reasonable.   
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.

Sativex may interact with alcohol, affecting coordination, concentration, and ability to respond quickly. In general, alcoholic beverages should be avoided whilst using Sativex, especially at the beginning of treatment or when changing the dose. Patients should be advised that if they do drink alcohol while using Sativex the additive CNS effects may impair their ability to drive or use machines, and increase the risk of falls.


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.
It’s safe to say that Charlotte’s Web is probably the most recognized CBD brand out there — and it’s not all hype. This company pioneered the CBD industry and made it their mission to de-stigmatize CBD by setting the bar high for transparency. They produce and oversee their organic CBD products from seed to sale, standing behind them with a solid return policy. 
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.
Sabaidee’s high potency CBD oil is made with just four simple, natural ingredients: CBD-rich hemp extract oil, MCT oil from coconuts, peppermint oil, and stevia leaf extract. The peppermint and stevia give this CBD oil a sweet and minty taste that’s not overpowering. Each product batch is tested by an independent third-party laboratory for purity and potency. And if you like the sound of Sabaidee’s CBD oil but are looking for a lower potency option, low and moderate potencies (8.33mg and 33.5mg per serving respectively) are also available.
Don’t let the name confuse you. CBD oil comes in many shapes and forms besides the traditional oils that we’ve highlighted here. CBD tinctures are the most popular type of CBD oil, because they tend to have more potent concentrations and offer high bioavailability (e.g. more CBD gets absorbed through your bloodstream when you apply it beneath your tongue as a tincture). Plus, users typically begin to feel the effects within minutes.

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 very few known adverse side effects of CBD. According to this study, CBD is “a major non-psychotropic constituent of cannabis, has multiple pharmacological actions, including anxiolytic, antipsychotic, antiemetic, and anti-inflammatory properties. But if you are looking for a high from CBD, you will not get that because CBD has no psychoactive effects. Do speak with your physician if you are concerned about drug interactions.
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.
Yes, the words “CBD tincture” and “CBD oil drops” are used interchangeably to describe drops of CBD oil that users place under the tongue. For optimal results, we recommend that you hold the drops under your tongue for up to 60 seconds. This process allows the CBD oil to absorb sublingually into your bloodstream through the mucous membranes in your mouth.
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. 

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.


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.
Very much needed information! I’m a disabled Veteran with Anklyosing Spondelitis and related skelital/ muscle issues and CBD has been an off-limits product with the VA chronic pain clinics that dispense opiates… until recently with the addition of 0% THC – Thank you for the option!! (We actually have to sign a letter stating we will not use… else when we get tested at every appointment and THC is detected, we could be ejected from the pain clinic and our use of opiates for chronic pain!)
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.
Research on CBD and anxiety has generally looked at cannabis as a whole product including THC, not as CBD as a standalone compound. Some studies suggest that it can help with anxiety: like this 2011 study that suggests CBDcan reduce social anxiety or this 2015 review that says CBD could be promising for many forms of anxiety. It’s also important to consider whether the CBD comes from the cannabis plant and therefore may include THC, a cannabinoid that for some, induces anxiety. Read our comprehensive article on CBD and anxiety, here.
*[A couple things of note before I begin the reviews. In order to avoid redundancy and limit repeating myself dozens of times over, be advised that (unless otherwise noted), all of the companies listed below employ standard practices that are used by all of the best CBD oil companies, including things like: solventless CO2 extraction, 3rd party laboratory testing, legal THC limits below 0.3%, shipping to all 50 U.S. states, etc..]
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.
Customer Service: There are multiple ways to get in touch with customer service, and Pure Hemp Botanicals’ customer service representatives are both quick to respond and forthcoming with information. On the down side, free shipping kicks in at $100 — otherwise it’s a pricey $9.99 flat rate. And you can return products, but only if they’re unopened.
Third-Party Testing: Once a CBD oil is manufactured, CBD oil companies will often submit their products for third-party tests, which are conducted by non-company personnel to ensure the product is safe for public consumption and meets quality standards.CBD oils should always be accompanied with information about third-party tests; best practice is to avoid oils that do not supply these details.

Truth be told, I don’t use Elixinol all that often, but the times that I have used it they have proven that they’re one of the hemp-derived best CBD oils on the market. Their 600 mg Respira tincture worked great for my back pain, but truth be told I have more recently been drawn to their new CBD Liposomes and the Elixinol CBD X-Pen. The Liposomes are pill-like soft capsules that are supposed to enhance the bioavailability of orally ingested CBD, while the X-Pen is a brilliant new product that delivers exactly 15 mg of CBD oil every time you “click” it (contains 1,000 mg total). Elixinol is a little pricey, but if you’re looking for something other than the standard oil drops that most brands offer, they’re really a great option.
CBDistillery is our Editor’s Pick because of its diverse product line and commitment to high quality and customer service. They’ve earned a rating of 9.7/10 from our users who most often mention their product quality, effectiveness, great prices, and fast shipping times. Their most popular product is their 1000mg 30ml full spectrum CBD oil tincture. Priced at $60, it has 33mg of CBD per milliliter and is an excellent starting point for beginners. In addition to other full spectrum options, they also have zero THC drops for those looking for CBD oil without THC.

Sativex may interact with alcohol, affecting coordination, concentration, and ability to respond quickly. In general, alcoholic beverages should be avoided whilst using Sativex, especially at the beginning of treatment or when changing the dose. Patients should be advised that if they do drink alcohol while using Sativex the additive CNS effects may impair their ability to drive or use machines, and increase the risk of falls.
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.
CBDistillery is our Editor’s Pick because of its diverse product line and commitment to high quality and customer service. They’ve earned a rating of 9.7/10 from our users who most often mention their product quality, effectiveness, great prices, and fast shipping times. Their most popular product is their 1000mg 30ml full spectrum CBD oil tincture. Priced at $60, it has 33mg of CBD per milliliter and is an excellent starting point for beginners. In addition to other full spectrum options, they also have zero THC drops for those looking for CBD oil without THC.
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.
The majority of users prefer full spectrum products because they provide synergistic benefits of the whole plant. These products include an array of the naturally-occurring cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis. Full spectrum CBD oil has up to 0.3% THC to produce the “entourage effect.” CBD oil products with zero THC are known as either “broad spectrum” or “isolates.” These products are generally preferred by those who want to use CBD but either have an aversion to THC or concerns about drug testing.
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.
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. 

Given CBD’s reputation as a popular, artisanal remedy, one would think that Epidiolex would command a lot of “off label” attention. After all, physicians often prescribe pharmaceuticals off label to treat conditions that were not the actual focus of clinical trials. But the costly price tag for Epidiolex (more than $30,000 annually) precludes off label prescribing as well as affordable access for tens of millions of Americans without health insurance.
×