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Cannabidiol (CBD) is a hemp-derived compound that shows promise for relieving pain, inflammation, and anxiety. Compared with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD won’t get you “high.”

CBD oil is one of the most common types of CBD products, but it isn’t the only one. You can also take CBD in a pill or capsule. Pills and capsules are easy to use and can provide more consistent dosing than oils, as each dose is premeasured.

However, unlike CBD oils, CBD capsules and pills are subject to additional breakdown in your digestive tract via the first pass effect, which may decrease the potency.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or quality of over-the-counter (OTC) CBD products. However, in order to protect public health, the FDA can take action against CBD companies that make unfounded health claims.

Since the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD products in the same way they regulate drugs or dietary supplements, companies sometimes mislabel or misrepresent their products. That means it’s especially important to do your own research and find a quality product.

We’re here to help with our top six picks of some of the best CBD pills and capsules on the market today. We’ll also go over how to choose a product, as well as cover safety and side effect information.

Where available, we’ve included special discount codes for our readers.

CBD glossary

  • Cannabinoids. These are cannabis-derived compounds, such as THC and CBD.
  • Terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic compounds produced by plants. The terpenes in cannabis are partially responsible for its distinct effects.
  • Full-spectrum. Full-spectrum CBD products contain all compounds (i.e., cannabinoids and terpenes) found in cannabis, including THC (less than 0.3 percent for federally legal products).
  • Broad-spectrum. Broad-spectrum products contain all compounds found in cannabis, except for THC.
  • CBD isolate. CBD isolate is pure CBD, with no other cannabinoids or terpenes.

We chose these products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:

  • is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing
  • is made with U.S.-grown hemp
  • contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
  • passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA

As a part of our selection process, we also considered:

  • certifications and manufacturing processes
  • whether the ingredients are certified organic
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
    • customer reviews
    • whether the company has been subject to an FDA warning letter
    • whether the company makes any unsupported health claims

Additionally, most of the products on this list contain full-spectrum CBD. Full-spectrum CBD, also known as whole plant extract, has some advantages over isolate — namely, the entourage effect, a theory that states cannabinoids work better together than they do alone.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $50
  • $$ = $50–$75
  • $$$ = over $75

Best organic CBD softgels

Joy Organics Premium CBD Softgels

  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 10 or 25 mg per softgel
  • Count: 30 per container
  • COA: available on product page

One marker of a very high quality product is having test results available for every batch of the product, rather than just a sample COA. Joy Organics is one such brand. You can view batch-specific testing results here.

These CBD softgels are well-rated by reviewers. Note that they do contain gelatin, so keep in mind that they aren’t vegetarian.

Pros

  • batch-specific test results available
  • positive customer reviews
  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee

Use code “healthcbd” for 15% off.

Best priced CBD softgels

Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Softgels

  • Price: $
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 25 mg per capsule
  • Count: 10 per container
  • COA: available on product page

Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Softgels combine full-spectrum CBD with organic flaxseed and coconut oil, plus terpenes, like d-limonene. Reviewers note that they’re on the smaller side, which makes them easier to swallow.

The company offers an assistance program for veterans, people with low incomes, and people with disabilities.

Pros

  • easy to swallow
  • assistance programs available
  • affordable pricing

Use code “Healthline10” for 10% off your first order. One time use only.

Best full-spectrum CBD softgels

Bluebird Botanicals Classic Concentrated CBD Soft Gels

  • Price: $
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 15 mg per softgel
  • Count: 30 per container
  • COA: available online

These concentrated CBD capsules combine full-spectrum hemp extract with organic hempseed oil.

Similar to Joy Organics, Bluebird Botanicals has dated test results available for every batch of each product sold. The company is certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority and certified compliant with the FDA’s good manufacturing practices.

This is the one product on our list that isn’t entirely made from U.S.-grown hemp. Though Bluebird Botanicals uses U.S.-grown hemp in many products, the brand uses Canadian hemp in the Classic and Signature products.

Pros

  • contains organic ingredients
  • batch-specific test results available
  • budget-friendly

Best vegan CBD capsules

Sunsoil CBD Oil Vegan Capsules

  • Price: $
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 20 mg per capsule
  • Count: 30 per container
  • COA: available online

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, these capsules may be a good choice. They’re made without the traditional animal-derived gelatin. However, they are on the large side, so they may be hard to swallow.

Reviews are mostly positive, with many noting that they like that the pills don’t have a smell or taste.

Pros

  • vegan
  • no strong taste or smell
  • only 5 ingredients

Best high potency CBD softgels

Absolute Nature CBD Softgels

  • Price: $$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 30 mg per softgel
  • Count: 30 per container
  • COA: available online

This brand’s full-spectrum CBD is available in a high potency softgel format for easy dosing. Each softgel contains about 30 mg of CBD that’s extracted from hemp grown in Colorado. Absolute Nature CBD also only uses non-GMO hemp to make their products.

While there aren’t very many reviews, the majority of customers have only good things to say about the softgels.

Pros

  • made with Colorado-grown hemp
  • financial assistance programs available
  • positive customer reviews

Best low dose CBD capsules

NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Capsules

  • Price: $–$$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 15 mg per capsule
  • Count: 20, 60, or 120 per container
  • COA: available online

These full-spectrum capsules are available in three container sizes: 20, 60, or 120 capsules per bottle. Regardless of the option you choose, each capsule contains a low dose of 15 mg, which is good for those new to CBD.

Each capsule contains organic virgin hempseed oil, purified water, vegetable glycerin, and cassava root extract.

Customers say they like the convenience of the capsules. Some also note that the flavor is fairly earthy.

Pros

  • multiple container sizes available
  • low dose capsules great for beginners
  • convenient and easy to take

Best broad-spectrum softgels

CBDistillery Broad Spectrum CBD Softgels

  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 30 mg per capsule
  • Count: 30 per container
  • COA: available online

If you want to stay away from THC, consider these broad-spectrum softgels from CBDistillery. The capsules are easy to take, flavorless, and require no messy dosing.

While they’re broad-spectrum, it’s important to note that they can still contain trace amounts of THC. So they’re not a good choice for people who want to avoid THC at all costs.

Reviews for these softgels are overwhelmingly positive, with most people noting how they prefer the convenience of this format over oils.

Pros

  • flavorless
  • convenient and easy to swallow
  • made with hemp sourced from Colorado farms

Navigating the CBD world can be overwhelming, even for more experienced users. Here’s what to look for when evaluating a product.

Comprehensive, up-to-date COA

Look for a product that has a certificate of analysis, or COA, from a third-party lab. At a minimum, most brands will include the cannabinoid profile and potency. Check to make sure this matches what’s on the product label.

Some companies also test for contaminants, like:

  • heavy metals
  • molds
  • pesticides
  • residual chemicals or solvents

Products that provide this information (and pass) are your best bet safety-wise.

If the company doesn’t provide a COA or provides one that’s incomplete or old, it probably isn’t the most quality company.

CBD source and type

Look for products made with U.S.-grown hemp, which is subject to agricultural regulations.

Also consider the type of hemp. If you’re looking for a product that’s federally legal, look for a full-spectrum product with less than 0.3 percent THC, or an isolate or broad-spectrum product.

Red flags

Watch out for red flags when shopping. These include:

  • Exaggerated health claims. Although CBD may help with certain conditions, it’s not a cure-all. Avoid companies that claim their product can treat or cure any disease.
  • Misleading ingredients. Some brands may try to sell hempseed oil masquerading as CBD. If a product only lists hemp seeds, hempseed oil, or Cannabis sativa seed oil, but doesn’t list cannabidiol, CBD, or hemp extract, it doesn’t contain CBD.
  • Many poor reviews, customer complaints, lawsuits, or FDA warning letters. As with any product, do your research before making a purchase. You can look at sites, like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau, and you can also do some research to see whether the company has had any legal trouble in the past.

You can learn more about how to read a CBD product label here.

Find what’s right for you

When looking for a pill or capsule to suit your specific needs, consider:

  • cannabinoid and terpene profile
  • potency
  • type of CBD
  • additional ingredients

For example, if you want something you can use before bedtime, look for a product that contains high levels of linalool, a terpene found in lavender and cannabis. Linalool has been shown to help with relaxation and anxiety, which may aid in sleep.

Consider other factors that may be important to you. For example, if you’re a vegetarian, you’ll want to read ingredient lists closely and look for a product that doesn’t contain gelatin — as many of these products do.

Depending on how easy it is for you to swallow pills, you may also want to consider capsule size and shape.

CBD oils are one of the most popular types of CBD products. They usually come in a bottle with a dropper, which you use to place the oil under your tongue.

CBD pills and capsules, on the other hand, come in a traditional softgel form. You take them as you would any other pill.

Some people prefer capsules to oils because they’re pre-dosed, and they don’t taste like anything. CBD oils can be flavored, but if they don’t have any added flavoring, they can have a sort of earthy taste.

Compared with oils placed under your tongue, capsules may take longer to produce an effect. That’s because capsules are subject to what’s called the “first pass effect.” This means that after you swallow them, they’re partially broken down in your digestive system and liver.

People take CBD capsules for a variety of reasons, including:

They’re a good choice if you’re looking for full-body effects. If you’re hoping for improvement in a localized area, you may want to consider a topical.

Dosing CBD can be tricky. There’s no one-size-fits-all dose, because everyone’s body responds differently to CBD. The clinical evidence we have for dosing CBD in humans is limited, and more research is needed before we can determine ideal safe doses.

With that in mind, the golden rule of dosing is “go low and slow.” Start at a low dose, see how it makes you feel, and adjust as needed. Some people find starting with 10 or 20 mg of CBD works, while others may need 40.

Adjusting by 5 to 10 mg at a time is a safe bet. It may take a few weeks of experimenting before you find your ideal dose. You’ll know a dose is just right if you begin to experience a reduction in symptoms.

Keep in mind that full-spectrum or broad-spectrum products can feel more potent than isolate.

Studies show that CBD is considered to be safe and generally well-tolerated in humans at doses of up to 1,500 mg per day. However, CBD users may still experience some side effects.

These can include:

  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in weight

Some research suggests consuming CBD products with high fat meals can drastically increase CBD concentrations. This may increase the risk of side effects.

Talk with a doctor before taking CBD, especially if you’re taking any medications or supplements. CBD can have significant drug interactions, especially with medications that carry a grapefruit warning.

How long does it take for CBD capsules to work?

It can take up to an hour or two for the effects of a CBD capsule to kick in.

Does CBD make you feel ‘high’?

No. By itself, CBD doesn’t cause a “high.” However, many CBD products contain THC. If you take a high enough dose of a potent enough product, you may be consuming enough THC to feel the effects.

Which type of CBD capsule is best?

Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD capsules may be more beneficial than CBD isolate capsules thanks to the entourage effect. However, CBD isolate may also offer benefits on its own.

What’s the difference between CBD capsules vs. oil?

CBD capsules typically contain CBD oil. They’re just a different delivery mechanism. Some people prefer capsules because they dislike the taste of oils. Others find that capsules are more convenient and less messy than CBD oils.

What’s the difference between CBD capsules vs. gummies?

Again, the difference is the delivery mechanism. While gummies hit your bloodstream almost immediately, capsules have to dissolve in the stomach first. But the difference is pretty negligible, and the effects you’ll feel depend largely on your unique body chemistry.

Can you take CBD oil and capsules together?

Yes, but make sure to pay close attention to the dosage of each product.

CBD pills are easy to use and offer reliable dosing. However, they may break down in the digestive tract, making them feel less potent.

You’ll need to experiment until you find your “just right” CBD dosage. Be sure to talk with a doctor before trying CBD.

Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.