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Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Although research into its effects is ongoing, some studies suggest that it may be able to help ease symptoms of conditions like chronic pain, insomnia, and even anxiety.

If you’ve been considering grabbing a bottle of CBD oil to ease worry and stress, you may have found yourself surprised — maybe even overwhelmed — by all the choices out there, not to mention the vocabulary. What the heck is a terpene anyway?

Although nothing makes one CBD oil better than another at reducing anxiety, if you choose a quality product you stand to gain the most benefit. We’ve done the research to help you choose a CBD oil or tincture that fits your needs, including some that contain other ingredients that may help bring about a sense of calm.

CBD terminology

  • Terpenes are plant compounds with potential therapeutic benefits.
  • Flavonoids are plant compounds that have antioxidant benefits.
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the cannabinoid associated with the “high” from cannabis, or “marijuana,” use. CBD doesn’t have intoxicating properties.
  • Full-spectrum CBD contains all the naturally available compounds of the cannabis plant. In hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD, the THC will be no more than 0.3 percent.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD has all the plant’s naturally occurring compounds but no THC (or only trace amounts).
  • CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, separated from all other plant compounds.

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 by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
  • is made with U.S.-grown hemp
  • contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
  • is below the legal limit for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA

We also considered:

  • company certifications and manufacturing processes
  • product potency
  • overall ingredients
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $50
  • $$ = $50–$150
  • $$$ = over $150

Best overall

CBDistillery CBD Oil Isolate

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.

If you’re sensitive to other cannabinoids, you may prefer a high potency CBD isolate and nothing else — no trace amounts of THC, no other plant compounds, and no added flavors. At $210, this product is pricey, but it’s also potent, offering 167 milligrams (mg) of CBD per 1-milliliter (mL) dropper.

CBDistillery is behind the “The CBD Movement Podcast” and aims to educate people about the science behind cannabis and its intersection with wellness. Read our in-depth review of the company here.

Price$$$
CBD typeIsolate (THC-free)
CBD potency5,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
COAAvailable on product page

Best flavored

FOCL Premium CBD Drops

Healthline20 is now live! Valid for 20% off your first order of FOCL (excludes bundles). Limited to one use per customer, cannot be combined with other offers.

Reminiscent of a creamsicle, FOCL’s orange cream swirl flavor is a low dose product with zero THC. It’s also vegan and verified non-GMO (genetically modified organisms). Plus, at $40, it’s an easy brand to try if you’re a cannabis newbie.

If you’re looking for something a little more potent, they also make a version with 1,000 mg per bottle. FOCL offers subscribe and save discounts, making reordering easier on your bank account.

FOCL makes their products with U.S.-grown hemp in facilities that are compliant with the FDA’s good manufacturing practices (GMP). COAs can be found here.

Price$$
CBD typeBroad-spectrum
CBD potency1,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
COAAvailable on product page

Best organic

Kanibi CBD Pure Isolate, Skittles flavor

Use code HEALTHLINE10 for 10% off

When you want a CBD product that goes down smooth like candy but offers peace of mind in what you’re getting, Kanibi’s Skittles flavor will do the trick. This CBD isolate offers pure CBD from organic hemp. The CBD is extracted with carbon dioxide, which is said to be a cleaner way to extract CBD than ethanol extraction.

No other plant compounds are present in this oil, giving you just CBD in an MCT carrier oil and zero artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. If you’re looking for a more potent product, the company also offers a 1,500-mg bottle. COAs can be found on the product page.

Price$$
CBD typeIsolate (THC-free)
CBD potency750 mg per 30-mL bottle
COAAvailable on product page

Best full-spectrum

Lazarus Naturals Chocolate Mint High-Potency Full-Spectrum CBD Tincture

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

At 50 mg per 1-mL dose, this is a high potency product. It’s made from hemp grown on the Lazarus farm in central Oregon.

Though this is a flavored oil, reviewers describe the taste as subtle and still somewhat earthy. As a bonus, it pairs well in a cup of joe when you want some calm along with your caffeine.

Customers also rave about the brand’s commitment to making CBD accessible with its assistance programs for veterans, people on long-term disability, and those with a low income. Batch-specific COAs can be found on the product page.

Price$$$ (offers assistance programs)
CBD typeFull-spectrum (less than 0.3 percent THC)
CBD potency6,000 milligrams (mg) per 120-milliliter (mL) bottle
COAAvailable on product page

Best unflavored

Papa & Barkley Releaf Drops

Sometimes you want a plain Jane kind of tincture to turn down the volume on your anxiety. Enter Papa & Barkley’s Releaf Drops. It’s made with just two ingredients: full-spectrum hemp and MCT oil. It comes in either natural (unflavored) or lemongrass ginger flavor.

This product is made from Colorado-grown hemp. The brand uses a whole-plant fusion process to extract CBD, avoiding harsh chemicals and solvents — one less thing on your mind. COAs can be found on the product page.

Price$
CBD typeFull-spectrum
CBD potency900 mg per 30-mL bottle or 450 mg per 15-mL bottle
COAAvailable online

Best topical

Lord Jones Royal Oil

This multipurpose oil is made with just two ingredients: CBD and grapeseed oil. When used topically, it soothes and hydrates. Grapeseed oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can calm skin prone to breakouts during times of stress and anxiety, and CBD also has complexion-enhancing potential.

Lord Jones offers discounts to teachers, military members, and medical personnel. And if you like the product, the subscribe and save option takes reordering off your plate.

Batch-specific testing results can be found here.

Price$$
CBD typeBroad-spectrum
CBD potency1,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
COAAvailable online

Best for beginners

LiftMode Hemp Extract Oil, Simply Distilled

Though this oil from LiftMode doesn’t have a complex ingredient list, it still may be a great choice. It includes a generous amount of CBD hemp extract and contains hemp cannabinoids and fresh, not added, terpenes. It also contains oleic acid amide and pure grain alcohol for absorption.

The label recommends a dose of 0.5 mL (half a dropper) twice a day.

Price$
CBD typeFull-spectrum
CBD potency1,500 mg per 30-mL bottle
COAAvailable online

Research on CBD and its use for anxiety and depression is still ongoing. Large-scale clinical trials are needed to determine effective doses for specific conditions.

But a 2015 review of existing studies shows preclinical evidence that CBD has “considerable potential” for treating anxiety disorders like:

You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to choosing a CBD oil for anxiety. At a minimum, look for a product that has been third-party tested. Reputable CBD companies will send out their products to accredited, third-party labs to be tested. Then, they’ll make the testing results available to the public through certificates of analysis, or COAs.

Compare the COA with the product label and make sure it actually contains the amount of CBD and THC it says it does. You can also verify that it doesn’t have dangerous levels of contaminants like molds, pesticides, and heavy metals.

Once you’ve found some quality products, a selection really comes down to personal preference and your needs. If anxiety keeps you up at night, a CBD product that contains calming ingredients might be helpful.

But if anxiety is more prevalent during your out-and-about hours, you might prefer a low potency CBD you can take on the go, upping your dose as needed.

Reading a CBD label can feel a little tricky until you’re familiar with the terminology. Keep in mind that if you’re hoping for an entourage effect of all the phytocannabinoids and terpenes working together, you’ll want a full-spectrum product.

A broad-spectrum option will offer other cannabis plant benefits, as well, but won’t include any THC. A CBD isolate product will contain no THC and no other cannabinoids or plant compounds. So, if exposure to anything but CBD is a concern, opt for an isolate.

And, of course, the taste will come into play. If the smell or taste of cannabis is a turnoff, you may prefer a flavored product to mask any overt earthiness.

Pros

  • Evidence shows that CBD can be effective in treating anxiety.
  • It’s generally easy to use.
  • CBD can help alleviate physical pain associated with anxiety.

Cons

  • No CBD products are FDA approved to treat anxiety.
  • Some CBD products contain THC, which can increase anxiety.
  • Since products are not FDA regulated, dosage varies among products.

How should I use CBD oil?

CBD oils and tinctures are best taken sublingually. Use the dropper to measure your desired dose, then squeeze the drops under the tongue. Hold the liquid there for about 20 seconds before swallowing.

A CBD oil label usually lists the total amount of CBD in the bottle. The serving size, which may not be clearly listed, is actually the amount of CBD per milliliter. For example, a 1-ounce (30-mL) bottle with 1,200 mg of CBD will deliver 30 servings of 40 mg per mL (usually the size of the dropper).

But that doesn’t mean you have to take a full dropper or that you have to stick to just one dropper either. If you’re new to CBD, start with a smaller dose to see how it affects you before trying more.

Can you get ‘high’ from CBD oil?

CBD does not have any psychoactive properties, so it doesn’t make you feel “high.” The cannabinoid that does give you the “high” feeling is THC, and although some CBD oils contain trace amounts of THC, it is typically not enough to make you have that sensation.

However, if you don’t want traces of THC in your system, it may be best to avoid CBD oils that contain them altogether.

Is CBD oil safe?

CBD is generally reported to be safe, but side effects may occur. These may include:

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

Before trying CBD for anxiety, talk with a healthcare professional or a knowledgeable cannabis clinician, especially if you’re taking any medications. CBD may interact with certain prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and vitamins or supplements.

CBD may also cause liver toxicity or injury, according to a 2019 study. However, this study was conducted on mice, and researchers say you’d have to be taking extremely high doses for this to be a concern.

One more thing: Be careful when consuming CBD along with high fat meals. Fats can increase CBD blood concentrations, upping the risks for side effects, according to a 2020 study.

The research is still ongoing as to how CBD might help ease anxiety and depression. If you’ve been considering trying CBD oil to see if it makes you feel more relaxed in times of stress or your day-to-day, we hope our list of fully vetted recommendations helps you choose a product that fits your needs.

Remember to talk with a healthcare professional first, especially if you already take medications or supplements.

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.