Healthline has sole editorial control over this article. Potential uses for the products listed here are not health claims made by the manufacturers. The information in this article is intended to be general in nature. It’s not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a healthcare professional. Healthline encourages you to make any treatment decisions with your healthcare professional.

In December 2018, a federal bill legalized the cultivation and sale of hemp products nationally. Some states still don’t allow it, but increasingly, states are open to hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) products.

Indeed, an influx of CBD products has created a new group of people who are looking to the cannabis-derived product for its potential health benefits. These include reducing anxiety, easing pain, and helping alleviate side effects of cancer treatment.

But because over-the-counter CBD products aren’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it can be hard to figure out what you’re getting when you’re shopping for CBD. Labels can be difficult to decipher. Claims aren’t always vetted. The FDA has even cited some companies for false claims and health promises.

But it is possible to purchase a reputable CBD product. Read on to learn more about what CBD is, how to find a good CBD product, how to take CBD, and more.

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 by a company that discloses the source of their 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
  • overall ingredients, including the use of preservatives or artificial ingredients
  • additional components that make the product better for older adults
  • 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

While no one type of CBD oil is best for older adults, these criteria helped us create a list of better options.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $35
  • $$ = $35–$100
  • $$$ = over $100

Best low potency CBD oil for older adults

Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil, 17 mg/mL

Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil, 17 mg/mL

Charlotte’s Web uses whole-plant extracts, which include terpenes and flavonoids. People have used Charlotte’s Web CBD products specifically for exercise-induced inflammation, to manage stress, boost a sense of calmness, and maintain healthy sleep cycles.

Flavored versions use coconut oil as a carrier oil for enhanced flavor. The flavors include lemon twist, orange blossom, olive oil (natural), and mint chocolate.

They offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, and you can subscribe to regular deliveries to save 20 percent. Their test analysis is available online.

Pros

  • good option for new CBD users
  • includes terpenes and flavonoids and their possible added benefits
  • available in four flavors
  • made from U.S.-grown certified organic hemp
  • discounts for veterans, military members, first responders, teachers and students, and nurses

Cons

  • need batch numbers to locate batch-specific COAs
  • flavored versions contain coconut oil, an allergen for some
  • alcohol extraction — unlike CO2 (carbon dioxide) extraction — leaves a chance of residual solvents in the final process

Use code “HEALTH20” for 20% off.

Best high potency CBD oil for older adults

Lazarus Naturals High Potency CBD Tincture

Lazarus Naturals High Potency CBD Tincture
  • Price: $–$$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 750 mg per 15-mL bottle, 1,500 mg per 30-mL bottle, or 6,000 mg per 120-mL bottle
  • COA: available on product page

Hempseed oil and coconut oil are the carrier oils for this Lazarus Naturals tincture. The full-spectrum CBD tincture contains no preservatives, sweeteners, or artificial flavors. Lazarus Naturals also posts their third-party testing results on their site for quick verification.

A financial assistance program is also available for veterans, people with long-term disabilities, and low-income households.

Pros

  • good choice for people with experience using CBD
  • vegan and gluten-free
  • discount program available for qualifying customers

Cons

  • not a good option for people new to CBD
  • no added flavor means a possible earthy taste
  • contains coconut oil, an allergen for some
  • the largest size and highest potency option is pricey

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

Best unflavored CBD oils for older adults

Kanibi Full-Spectrum CBD Oil, Unflavored

Kanibi Full-Spectrum CBD Oil, Unflavored
  • Price: $$–$$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 1,500 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available online

Kanibi’s CBD extract is housed in MCT oil. Kanibi performs third-party testing to verify their claims, and the results are all posted on the brand’s website. They also offer two different potency options and recommend you “start low, go slow” to find the right amount for you.

This particular oil is available in five flavors (skittles, peppermint, lemon-lime, choco mint, and cinnamon). There’s also an unflavored option for those who prefer to leave flavoring out.

Pros

  • highly rated among reviewers
  • free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • flavored options use natural sweeteners MCT oil and stevia

Cons

  • pricey
  • contains MCT oil that is derived from coconuts, an allergen for some
  • dark tinted bottle may make it tough to see how much product remains

Use code HEALTHLINE10 for 10% off.

CBDistillery Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture

CBDistillery Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture
  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 500 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available online

CBDistillery’s full-spectrum CBD is housed in MCT oil for a two-ingredient CBD oil option. Each serving contains less than 0.3 percent THC, but the brand also sells THC-free products if you want to avoid THC.

For those familiar with how CBD affects them, a higher potency version of this oil is available at 5,000 mg per 30-mL bottle.

Pros

  • budget-friendly
  • contains just two ingredients: fractionated coconut oil and full-spectrum CBD
  • comes with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee

Cons

  • contains coconut oil, an allergen for some

Use code “healthline” for 20% off sitewide or choose the subscription option for 20% off the first 2 subscription orders and 25% off the 3rd order.

Best multipurpose CBD oil for older adults

Lord Jones Royal Oil

Lord Jones Royal Oil

This CBD oil is made with grapeseed oil, a mild, neutral oil that maintains the CBD’s freshness and strength. As a broad-spectrum CBD oil, it has no THC.

What’s unique about this oil is that it’s designed to be used both topically and orally. The company recommends using this product to soothe irritated skin and promote a sense of calmness and well-being.

Pros

  • can use both topically and orally
  • free of THC
  • soothing and moisturizing when used topically
  • can be worn under, on top of, or mixed in with makeup

Cons

  • no extra flavorings may mean an earthy taste when used orally

Best flavored CBD oil for older adults

FOCL Premium CBD Drops, Mint

These vegan CBD drops from FOCL are plant-based, made with organic ingredients, and manufactured in a current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs)-certified, food-grade facility.

Product reviews for this oil on the brand’s website are overall positive, saying the taste is great and that it seems to work well for pain, inflammation, and anxiety. It’s available in a slew of fun flavors — mint, orange cream, cherry, strawberry lemonade, and natural.

This product is also cruelty-free and non-GMO.

Pros

  • vegan, cruelty-free, non-GMO
  • available in five flavors

Cons

  • contains coconut oil, an allergen for some
  • the 2,000 mg broad-spectrum oil doesn’t have an up-to-date COA

Best organic CBD oil for older adults

Absolute Nature CBD Full-Spectrum CBD Hemp Oil Drops

Absolute Nature CBD Full-Spectrum CBD Hemp Oil Drops
  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 500 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available on product page

This full-spectrum oil tincture is certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The brand says the tincture is formulated to boost overall well-being at a reasonable price point.

This oil is also cGMP certified and made in the United States, using natural whole-plant CBD oil and MCT oil.

Reviews for this product on the company website show glowing remarks, with many saying this oil has helped with joint pain and improved their sleep.

This pick is also vegan and gluten-free.

Pros

  • formula uses whole-plant CBD oil
  • vegan and gluten-free
  • brand offers assistance programs for discounts
  • USDA organic

Cons

  • contains fractionated coconut oil, an allergen for some

BrandPriceCBD TypeCBD PotencyCOA
Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil, 17 mg/mL$$full-spectrum17 mg per 1-mL servingavailable online with batch number
Lazarus Naturals High Potency CBD Tincture$–$$$full-spectrum750 mg per 15-mL bottle; 1,500 mg per 30-mL bottle; or 6,000 mg per 12-mL bottleavailable on product page
Kanibi Full-Spectrum CBD Oil, Unflavored$$–$$$full-spectrum1,500 mg per 30-mL bottleavailable online
CBDistillery Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture$$full-spectrum500 mg per 30-mL bottleavailable online
Lord Jones Royal Oil$$broad spectrum1,000 mg per 30-mL bottleavailable online with batch number
FOCL Premium CBD Drops$$–$$$broad-spectrum1,000 mg or 3,000 mg per 30-mL bottleavailable online for 1,000 or 3,000mg
Absolute Nature CBD Full-Spectrum CBD Hemp Oil Drops$$full-spectrum500 mg per 30-mL bottleavailable on product page

Terms for CBD

CBD products often make a lot of claims. Some have meaning. Some do not. It’s important to know how to read a CBD label so you can decipher claims that are legitimate from ones that aren’t.

Besides tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD, cannabis contains about 100 other cannabinoids.

Types of CBD

  • CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD. It contains no THC. It’s also tasteless and odorless. This may make it preferable to other forms of CBD, which can have an earthy flavor.
  • Full-spectrum CBD contains all the available compounds of the cannabis plant, including THC.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD contains all compounds of the cannabis plant except THC.
  • Whole-plant CBD is another name for full-spectrum CBD. It not only contains CBD and THC, but it also contains all the cannabinoids that occur in cannabis.

Other active compounds

Cannabis terminology

CBD is a compound found naturally in cannabis. Cannabis plants also contain THC.

THC vs. CBD

THC and CBD are just two of dozens of active compounds found in cannabis. THC is most well-known for its psychoactive properties. It’s the compound that helps produce the “high” associated with cannabis use.

CBD, on the other hand, is psychoactive, though noneuphoric. This means you won’t get “high” from CBD. But CBD does have many of the same health benefits as THC. It also has some unique properties.

CBD products can have some THC and still be federally legal, as long as the concentration is lower than 0.3 percent.

Types of cannabis plants

The two primary types of cannabis are Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. Both are used for recreational and medicinal purposes. Both types can be used to produce CBD, but Cannabis indica often has higher ratios of CBD and less THC.

Most cannabis plants today are hybrids. The cannabis industry is now classifying plants based on their chemovars, or chemical varieties. Plants are classified in the following ways:

  • Type I: high THC
  • Type II: CBD and THC
  • Type III: high CBD, including hemp

Hemp plant vs. hemp seed

Hemp is a type of cannabis plant that naturally has very little THC. Hemp plants are a primary source of most CBD.

You may also see products out there made from hemp seed, but hempseed oil is not the same thing as CBD oil. CBD is only found in the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant. It’s not found in the seeds.

While cannabis has been used for centuries for medical treatment, the use of CBD products is fairly new. That means research is also new and limited.

Still, a few studies have shown some benefits for conditions that commonly affect older adults. CBD may help people with these conditions:

  • Anxiety disorders: Limited research suggests CBD may help relieve symptoms of anxiety. This may be preferable to prescription medications or other substances that can cause a number of side effects and may have the potential for dependence.
  • Arthritis: Researchers are investigating the benefit of CBD on different types of pain. This includes pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
  • Pain: CBD may be a pain management alternative. Limited research, much of which is based on animal studies, suggests it may help reduce pain and inflammation. Conditions that may benefit from this include fibromyalgia, cancer pain, and neuropathic pain.
  • Cancer treatment side effects: Some studies have shown CBD and THC may be able to reduce nausea and pain related to cancer treatment.
  • Brain health: CBD can activate serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin helps regulate your mood.
  • Heart health: Some research suggests CBD may help lower blood pressure, including during stressful events. However, not all research supports this, and some is based on animal studies rather than human studies.
  • Dementia symptoms: Although there are no large, human clinical trials about CBD’s effectiveness on dementia to discuss right now, some research suggests it may help ease some key dementia symptoms, like disrupted motor function, anxiety, depression, agitation, and difficulty sleeping.

CBD is unlikely to pose significant risks for most people. Studies show that side effects are often mild and either go away on their own or when you stop using the product. These side effects include:

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

Before you begin taking CBD, however, check with a doctor or pharmacist. CBD can interfere with some enzymes that help metabolize medications. If you’re taking any medications that come with a grapefruit warning, you may be unable to use CBD.

Also, it’s important to note that some CBD products, including those that are broad-spectrum and THC-free, contain trace amounts of THC. As a result, in rare cases, using CBD can lead to a positive drug test.

CBD products come in a variety of forms. Before you shop, you’ll want to decide which form appeals to you most. These forms include:

These different forms allow you to tailor your CBD intake to a form that makes the most sense for you.

Creams and lotions may be preferred for people trying to ease joint pain. Oils and tinctures, which are faster acting than pills, may be ideal for anxiety or side effects from cancer treatment. Edibles, which are often in the form of gummies, are portable. They can be more discreet.

The next thing you want to research is third-party testing. Reputable CBD companies will seek out and publicize third-party testing to show that their products are labeled accurately.

Companies with third-party testing will willingly produce a COA. A COA should provide information about labeling accuracy, cannabinoid profiles, and whether the product was found to contain any contaminants, like heavy metals, pesticides, or molds. Products worth buying will share their COA on their websites, by email, or by scanning a QR code on the product.

With this information, you can begin to look for specific products to begin using.

What you can look for on a COA

  • Does the COA list CBD and THC levels? Do these match what’s listed on the product label?
  • Did the lab test for mycotoxins, which are produced by some molds?
  • Did the lab test for heavy metals and pesticides?

The more information you have about CBD products, the better prepared you’ll be to make decisions about your CBD usage. These questions can help you narrow down selections.

Does the product have CBD?

CBD products should list that they contain CBD or cannabidiol on the label. Some CBD products will also list hemp extract on the ingredients list.

But if the ingredient list only shows hemp seeds, hempseed oil, or Cannabis sativa seed oil, the product doesn’t have CBD.

What other ingredients are in the product?

Some CBD products may also contain carrier oils like grapeseed oil, MCT oil, olive oil, or cold-pressed hempseed oil. These oils help stabilize and preserve the CBD and make it easier to take.

Some products, especially gummies, will also have added flavorings and colorings. CBD oils may have flavoring ingredients that give the final oil a flavor like mint, lemon, or berry.

What claims does the product make?

Beyond full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate claims, you may see a few other claims. Here again, without third-party testing, it may not be possible to know how reputable the claims are.

  • Organic: Anyone can claim to use organic hemp, but you won’t be able to know for sure unless the hemp is certified organic by the USDA.
  • USA-grown: This claim isn’t regulated and may be difficult to verify.
  • CO2 extracted: CO2 extraction is one way manufacturers can pull the chemicals from the cannabis plant. This type of extraction is commonly used for ingredients like coffee and flowers for perfume, too.
  • Ethanol extracted: This is another way to extract hemp, commonly used to make tinctures. Sometimes, solvents can be left behind in the final product. Look for residual solvent testing on the COA if your product is ethanol-extracted.
  • Vegan: Animal products are rarely used in CBD oil, but they be used in CBD gummies. A vegan label will let you know the ingredients don’t contain animal products.

What’s the recommended dosage?

Companies will list recommended dosages on their packaging. If the label doesn’t contain dosing information, start at the lowest level. You can always increase it over time.

While you can find some CBD products in stores like Whole Foods, most CBD products are sold online, directly from retailers. But always carefully inspect the product information, as some websites don’t sell genuine CBD products. Instead, they may be offering a hempseed product that doesn’t contain CBD.

Amazon, for example, doesn’t allow CBD sales on their website. If you search CBD on Amazon, you’ll see a variety of hempseed products instead.

If you’re in a state that allows cannabis dispensaries, you can visit a local shop. Employees at these dispensaries can help answer questions and sort products. However, keep in mind that these employees are not medical professionals. It’s still important to work with a doctor or a knowledgeable cannabis clinician when selecting a product and dosage.

Like we pointed out, CBD is available in many forms. How you use it varies depending on the type of CBD you choose.

For example, some people prefer to consume CBD by eating gummies or other edibles. Others like to add CBD oil to their favorite foods or drinks. You can also choose to use it topically, by applying a CBD cream, lotion, salve, or ointment directly to the area you’re looking to treat.

For the fastest absorption, it’s best to apply your CBD oil right under your tongue.

If you decide to go with the oil, make sure to use the oil dropper that most CBD oils come with.

Next, drop the CBD dose under your tongue and keep it there for at least 30 seconds (or up to 1 minute) before swallowing.

Of course, absorption rates and proper dosages depend on a few key things. First, it depends on the kind of CBD item you use, the recommended serving size, and then some individual factors, like:

  • body weight
  • intended use
  • metabolism
  • genetics

This means that finding the best dosage for you may require some patience.

Start by using the lowest dose you can, increasing slowly if it’s necessary.

It’s best to talk with a doctor or qualified cannabis clinician first. They can offer appropriate dosage recommendations for you, plus chat with you about any possible interactions between CBD and any medications you’re taking. This is important, as CBD may interact with some medications.

If you’re new to CBD, it’s best to start with an oil with a lower potency. Like we mentioned, it’s always a good idea to start with a small dose before slowly working up to a higher amount. This way, you can adjust as you see how CBD affects you.

Some CBD oils contain extra flavoring or sweeteners. You can decide whether or not you want a flavored product or if you prefer a plain option. Note that some unflavored picks may have an earthy taste. You can usually mix your CBD oil with your favorite food or beverage to help disguise any earthy taste.

Many CBD oils contain just a few ingredients, but it’s still a good idea to scan the label before trying it for the first time because you may notice a potential allergen. Many CBD oils contain coconut oil, which is an allergen for some.

Some CBD companies offer discounts for military members, low income households, first responders, and more. Again, it’s also important to shop from brands with established and trusted reputations that undergo strict product testing.

Potential benefits

  • may help with pain and inflammation
  • may help lower anxiety and depression
  • may help lower blood pressure
  • may help with brain health (by working with feel-good responses and activities that go on inside the brain)
  • may help with some dementia symptoms, like disrupted motor function, depression, agitation, difficulty sleeping

Potential risks

  • may cause side effects, including diarrhea, fatigue, changes in appetite, and changes in weight
  • may interfere with some medications (commonly those with a grapefruit warning)
  • may interfere with a drug test (possibly resulting in a positive test result)

Does CBD make you “high”?

No. CBD is noneuphoric. It’s possible, however, that trace amounts of THC can still be found in CBD, possibly affecting a drug test.

Additionally, if you take a large enough dose of a potent full-spectrum product, you may be consuming enough THC to cause a “high.”

Should older adults take CBD?

CBD is used by many people — including older adults — to help ease pain and discomfort associated with common ailments, including joint pain, overall pain management, and anxiety and depression.

However, it’s always best to talk with a doctor or qualified cannabis clinician before trying CBD.

How much CBD should an older adult take?

It’s best to start by taking the lowest possible dose, working up slowly from there until you’ve reached your desired results.

What drugs shouldn’t be taken with CBD?

CBD can affect some enzymes that help you metabolize drugs.

Medications with a grapefruit warning may affect how some drugs are absorbed and metabolized in the body. Be sure to talk with a doctor, a pharmacist, or a qualified cannabis clinician before trying CBD.

CBD research is in its infancy, but its usage is growing rapidly. Older adults may find it useful in relieving pain and inflammation.

You just need to do a few steps of research to make sure the product you’re paying for is worth your money. A lot of false claims and bad products are on the market.

If you’re interested in trying CBD, talk with a doctor, or find a CBD-friendly clinician who can advise you on the proper options for your lifestyle. If it works, then you have a low risk way to help alleviate some common aging issues.

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% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% 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.