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Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. And it’s rapidly becoming popular for health concerns like inflammation.

Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, CBD doesn’t have an intoxicating effect. That makes it a good choice for people who want pain relief without the “high” associated with THC.

CBD is available in a range of products, including oils and tinctures. Read on to learn more about the research for CBD and inflammation, as well as get our picks of the best CBD products out there.

Research on CBD is still in the early stages, and there’s a lot we don’t know yet. But some of what we know so far is promising.

There’s research to suggest that CBD reduces inflammation by affecting activity in the body’s endocannabinoid receptors.

That goes for both chronic inflammation and acute inflammation. A 2017 study on rats found that CBD reduced inflammation in rats with osteoarthritis, while a 2009 review shows CBD may also reduce acute inflammation, which is most often the body’s reaction to an injury.

Keep in mind that more research is needed before we can confirm CBD’s effects on inflammation or any other condition.

We chose these 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 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

We also considered:

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

Lastly, although some CBD oils have additional anti-inflammatory ingredients, like turmeric, we steered clear of these. It’s not currently known how CBD interacts with vitamins, minerals, or supplements, so it may be best to opt for CBD-only oils unless a doctor gives the OK to combine with other substances.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $100
  • $$ = $100–$125
  • $$$ = over $125

Best high potency CBD oil for inflammation

Aspen Green Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract

  • Price: $$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 3,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available on product page

Aspen Green’s hemp oil is made with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified organic hemp extract from Colorado. As a full-spectrum product, this oil maintains all the hemp’s naturally occurring flavonoids and terpenes. That includes limonene, which has anti-inflammatory properties, and trace amounts of THC.

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Best flavored CBD oil for inflammation

Premium Jane 1,000 mg Citrus CBD Tincture

  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 1,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available online

This full-spectrum formula is made with citrus extracts to mask the earthy flavor of hemp. Premium Jane’s CBD oil is vegan, non-GMO, and sourced from organic Kentucky hemp. It’s also high in terpenes like limonene and pinene, which research from 2014 suggests it offers anti-inflammatory benefits.

Best unflavored CBD oil for inflammation

FAB CBD Full-Spectrum CBD Oil

  • Price: $–$$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 1,200 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available online

This is another full-spectrum blend available in four strengths and five flavors. It’s made with hemp organically grown in Colorado, which means it’s free of pesticides. Measurement markers on the dropper make it easy to dose appropriately.

Best THC-free CBD oil for inflammation

Brown Girl Jane Balance Wellness Drops

  • Price: $
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 750 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available online

This best-seller combines just three ingredients: broad-spectrum CBD oil, MCT oil, and organic orange essential oil. It’s free of THC, but rich in supporting cannabinoids like cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabinol (CBN).

Best CBD tincture for inflammation

Re:Botanicals Hemp CBD Tincture

  • Price: $$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 2,500 mg per 100-mL bottle
  • COA: available online

This full-spectrum CBD oil is made with USDA certified organic hemp and MCT oil, which means zero artificial flavors or extracts. Instead, it has a pure, unadulterated hemp flavor.

Many people consider trying CBD because of its versatility. From different types and potencies of CBD to options for consumption, there are lots of ways to explore CBD. Plus, more recently, CBD is being used to address a range of conditions, including inflammation.

Still, that doesn’t mean it works for everything. Before you get started, think about what you’re hoping to achieve. Research is still limited in the efficacy of CBD. If you have a specific goal in mind, be sure to read the available research so you understand the results.

If you want to try CBD for inflammation, consider testing both oral and topical forms to see if either works for you. Remember to check in with a doctor before taking CBD, though, especially if you also take any medications or supplements.

There’s no shortage of CBD oils and tinctures on the market. But because the FDA doesn’t currently guarantee the safety, quality, or effectiveness of any over-the-counter CBD products, it’s important to shop carefully.

Any product you consider should have a current and comprehensive COA from a reputable third-party lab. This is a good way to check that a product’s label is accurate. You can also confirm that the product is free of mold, pesticides, and heavy metals.

As you shop, look for a company that’s committed to being transparent about their hemp. You should be able to find out where the hemp is grown and how the products are made.

Keep in mind that full-spectrum CBD products contain THC. If you want to avoid THC, look for isolate or broad-spectrum CBD products instead.

CBD tinctures and oils are often designed to be taken beneath the tongue (sublingually) for the most rapid onset. However, you can also swallow them directly or mix them into food or drinks.

Dosing CBD is largely individual, but it’s best to start with the lowest dose you can find. That way, you can see how your body responds before you try something more potent.

This is particularly true if you’re new to CBD, or if you’re using a particularly potent product. Keep in mind that it can take some time before you notice any improvements.

Research from 2017 suggests that CBD is generally considered safe for human consumption. However, some people can experience side effects. These may include:

  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • appetite changes
  • weight changes

There’s some evidence that consuming CBD products by mouth alongside high fat meals can increase CBD blood concentrations, therefore increasing the risk of side effects.

Keep in mind that CBD may also interact with some medications, so it’s a good idea to talk with a doctor before you incorporate CBD into your wellness plan.

Additionally, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s best to avoid CBD products.

Is CBD good for inflammation?

Research is still preliminary, but there’s evidence that suggests CBD may offer anti-inflammatory benefits when it’s used orally or topically. There’s also anecdotal evidence of its efficacy for inflammation.

What type of CBD is best for inflammation?

Taking CBD orally or using it topically may be effective for inflammation. That means CBD oils and topical products are worth exploring.

How do you use CBD for inflammation?

It depends on the type of CBD you’re using. Oral CBD can be taken sublingually, or beneath the tongue. It can also be added to foods and drinks. Either method will result in a body-wide effect. For localized relief, a topical CBD product can be massaged directly into the skin.

If you have chronic or acute inflammation, a CBD product may be worth investigating. Research is still in the early stages, but what’s available suggests CBD may be able to help. 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.

Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.