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You’re probably aware that cannabis plants contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — it’s the stuff that produces the “high” associated with cannabis products.

But did you know that cannabis plants also contain several other cannabinoids? Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid with therapeutic benefits, and it doesn’t have the same effects as THC. And, even though some CBD products contain some THC, the trace amounts likely aren’t enough to make you feel high.

There are a ton of CBD products floating around on the market, oils included. But not all of them are created equal. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t currently approve and regulate CBD products like it does with pharmaceutical drugs.

That means that CBD products vary significantly in terms of effectiveness, quality, and safety.

It also means that pricing is all over the place. So how can you tell if a low-cost product is worth it? Below, we discuss how to know if a CBD oil is safe, how to shop for inexpensive CBD oils, and a few of our favorite products.

Because CBD products aren’t regulated like prescription medications, there’s no guarantee that what you’re buying is made with safe, quality ingredients.

With CBD, you tend to get what you pay for. A lower price can mean that a product is less potent.

If you’re new to CBD products, trying a low-dose oil might work for you. But if you’ve been using CBD for a while, it may be worth spending more on a higher potency oil.

When shopping for cheap CBD oil, you should be extra vigilant. Do your research on why a product is more affordable than others. Is it less potent? Is the company skimping in some areas to provide a low-cost product?

Research the company, and carefully read labels for the following.

CBD Type

Because of the “entourage effect,” oils with CBD and THC are likely more effective than products with one or the other.

This means that full-spectrum CBD may have greater therapeutic benefit than broad-spectrum or isolate.

Third-party testing

The FDA doesn’t guarantee the safety and effectiveness of over-the-counter CBD oils and other products. Because CBD products aren’t regulated like drugs, companies may mislabel their products or make unproven claims.

The FDA can send warning letters to companies that make wild, unfounded health claims.

An up-to-date certificate of analysis (COA) from a reputable third-party lab confirms that a product is free of contaminants and that the amounts of CBD and THC are accurately reflected on the label.

If a CBD oil doesn’t come with a COA, that’s a sign to skip the product and look elsewhere. We included COAs for every product we recommended.

Ingredients

Companies should be transparent about where they grow or source their hemp. If a company doesn’t provide transparent information about how and where they make their products, that’s a red flag. Opt for products made from organic, U.S.-grown cannabis.

Some CBD oils may also contain additional ingredients, like essential oils or flavoring. However, additional ingredients may increase the cost of a particular oil.

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 hemp grown in the United States
  • contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the COA
  • passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA

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

  • the company’s certifications and manufacturing processes
  • product potency
  • overall ingredients
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
    • customer reviews
    • if the company has been subject to an FDA warning letter
    • if the company makes any unsupported health claims
  • pricing, aiming to include quality, affordable options

Zatural Cannabis Broad-Spectrum CBD Drops

Use code “healthline20” for 20% off. One use per customer.

  • Price: $
  • CBD type: Broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 300-3,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: Available on product page

These CBD oil drops are made from U.S.-grown hemp. Because the oil is broad spectrum, it doesn’t contain THC. While the 300 mg variant is the most affordable, the oil also comes in various potencies, up to 6,000 mg.

Zatural uses the same oil for each product and tests it for contaminants, but final products aren’t tested.

The brand accepts returns within 60 days of purchase.

CBDistillery Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture

Use code “healthline” for 15% off sitewide or choose the subscription option for 20% off the first 2 subscription orders and 25% off the 3rd order.

  • Price: $
  • CBD type: Full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 500-5,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: Available upon request

This CBD Oil Tincture is CBDistillery’s most popular product, and it gets rave reviews from customers.

CBDistillery uses U.S. Hemp Authority certified hemp to make their CBD oil. The tincture contains only MCT oil, hemp extract, and full-spectrum CBD.

Some reviewers mention shipping delays and issues.

You get free shipping if you spend over $75. The company also offers a veterans discount and a money-back guarantee.

Plant People Drops+ Mind + Body

  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: Full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 315, 630, or 1,260 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: Available on product page

Plant People’s CBD Drops are made with full-spectrum hemp extract. They contain several cannabinoids, including limonene, A-bisabolol, and gamma-terpinene, along with medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and hemp seed oil.

The drops are vegan, certified organic, non-GMO and gluten-free. They’re also supposed to be unflavored, although some customers are still able to taste them.

You can subscribe to receive recurring shipments for a discount. The brand also accepts returns within 30 days of purchase.

Plant People’s products are shipped using recycled, plastic-free materials.

Envy CBD Focus Essential Oil Roll-On

  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: Full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 100 mg per 10-mL bottle
  • COA: Available on product page

This small roll-on from Envy is meant to be used topically. This makes it an excellent choice for people who want to try CBD to help with arthritis or other location-specific pain types, like migraine.

In addition to CBD, this oil contains rose essential oil for a pleasant fragrance.

Envy CBD is a member of the National Hemp Association and provides a discount to military and frontline workers, including teachers and first responders.

Liftmode Hemp Calm CBD Oil

  • Price: $
  • CBD type: Full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 1,500 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: Available online

Liftmode Hemp’s CBD oil is the most affordable, high potency product on our list. In addition to relaxing essential oils, like lavender and chamomile, it contains melatonin to help promote calmness and induce sleepiness.

It’s also free of GMOs and gluten. However, not all COAs contain results for pesticides, molds, and heavy metals.

The brand offers free shipping and has a 90-day return policy. Liftmode Hemp is also committed to environmentally sustainable practices.

Moon Mother Full Spectrum Hemp Oil, Cinnamon

  • Price: $
  • CBD type: Full spectrum
  • CBD potency: 500mg per 30mL bottle
  • COA: Available on product page

This cinnamon-flavored oil is made with organic hemp grown in Boulder, Colorado. Both the MCT and cinnamon oil are also certified organic. Research suggests that cinnamon oil may help combat inflammation.

The woman-owned company is committed to environmentally sustainable farming practices.

The brand accepts returns and exchanges within 15 days of delivery, but you’ll have to pay for return costs if you’re not happy with your purchase.

Most CBD oils come with a dropper for easy application. Use the dropper to place the oil under your tongue.

Products will come with a recommended dosage guide, but you can also talk to your doctor to get guidance on how much to take.

Generally, starting with the lowest dose possible is the way to go. You can gradually increase the amount over time to find how much is right for you. If you don’t feel the oil’s effects right away, wait several hours before taking more.

You can find more information about CBD dosage by reading our dosage guide.

It’s generally accepted that CBD is safe and produces minimal side effects. Some people experience digestive issues and fatigue, but, otherwise, nothing serious.

If you have a medical condition, or if you take prescription medications, talk to your doctor before trying CBD oil. CBD may interact with certain medicines, particularly those with a grapefruit warning.

There’s also some research that CBD blood concentrations can increase if you take CBD with high-fat foods. This may increase your chances of experiencing unpleasant side effects, like diarrhea or fatigue.

Research into CBD’s many potential benefits is promising. However, it can be hard to find safe, quality CBD products, since the FDA doesn’t regulate them like drugs and supplements.

Sometimes, a product is cheap because the ingredients are low quality and come from shady sources.

To be sure you’re buying a quality, affordable CBD oil, look for a COA and do some digging to find out more about the company you plan to buy from.

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.


Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.