Here’s how to check whether a CBD oil is safe and how to shop for inexpensive CBD oils from vetted brands including CBDistillery, Medterra, and more.
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There are a ton of cannabidiol (CBD) products 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 in the same way it does pharmaceuticals.
That means CBD products vary significantly in terms of effectiveness, quality, and safety. It also means pricing is all over the place. So, how can you tell whether a low cost product is worth it? Below, we discuss how to know whether a CBD oil is safe and how to shop for cheap CBD oils. We also list a few of our favorite products.
Full-spectrum CBD: This contains every cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. Because these products contain the full spectrum of chemicals, it’s thought that they produce the entourage effect, making them more effective.
Broad-spectrum CBD: This contains all cannabinoids but no THC.
CBD isolate: This is a purified form of CBD that contains no THC and no other cannabinoids. CBD isolate may also be less effective than other types of CBD because of this. Inexpensive CBD oils often contain CBD isolate.
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 also mean a product is less potent. It’s important to research the brands you’re buying from.
Even brands selling cheap CBD oils should make certificates of analysis (COAs) readily available to prove there are no pesticides, heavy metals, and other harmful ingredients that can show up in lab reports.
If a company doesn’t conduct third-party testing, that’s a red flag. Those products may contain more CBD and sometimes THC than what’s being marketed, as well as other heavy metals and contaminants.
That said, we’ve created this list of more affordable CBD oils that pass our medical and brand vetting standards, which includes evaluating the COAs, third-party test results, and lists of product ingredients.
We also look for brands that make their products with hemp grown in the United States and that work with compliant third-party labs.
When shopping for a cheap CBD oil, 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:
Because of the entourage effect, oils with CBD and THC are likely more effective than products with one or the other.
This means full-spectrum CBD may have greater therapeutic benefits than broad-spectrum or isolate CBD.
The FDA doesn’t guarantee the safety and effectiveness of over-the-counter products, including CBD oils. Because CBD products aren’t regulated like medications, 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 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 recommend.
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 certified 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.
CBD is a cannabinoid compound found in the cannabis plant. However, unlike THC, it’s not psychoactive when consumed.
CBD is considered a phytocannabinoid, meaning it’s a cannabinoid found in plants. Our bodies also naturally produce cannabinoids. They’re known as endocannabinoids.
CBD is linked to a handful of potential health benefits, including pain relief, improved mental health, lower blood pressure levels, and more. This is due to the way it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, binding to what’s known as our CB1 and CB2 receptors.
The endocannabinoid system helps regulate many of our core processes, including pain, immunity, stress, and more. CBD is thought to help support our endocannabinoid system.
Because of CBD’s rise in popularity, manufacturers have created an onslaught of CBD products in various forms. CBD oil — in which CBD extract is combined with a carrier oil to be taken under the tongue — is one of the most popular.
Most CBD oils come with a dropper for easy dosing. Use the dropper to place the oil under your tongue.
Products will come with a recommended dosage guide, but you can also talk with a 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 out 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 with a doctor before trying CBD oil. CBD may interact with certain medications, 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 risk of experiencing unpleasant side effects, like diarrhea or fatigue.
Everything from where the hemp is sourced to how CBD is extracted can influence the price of CBD oil. Hemp grown domestically and organically tends to cost manufacturers more and drives up the price of the final consumer product. However, this also means the hemp is more traceable, regulated, and a safer bet.
Third-party testing can also affect the price for consumers, as it’s something CBD manufacturers have to consider in their costs. However, we don’t advise buying CBD oil from a company that doesn’t take this step. It’s worth it to know that what you’re consuming contains no harmful contaminants.
Potency can also drive up the price of CBD oil. CBD potency is measured in milligrams per dose. A higher potency oil may seem expensive until you do the math on what it costs per milligram.
What’s the average cost of CBD oil?
CBD oil drops range in price from $0.04 or $0.05 per mg up to $0.20 per mg. Most bottles contain between 250 and 2,500 mg per bottle — with 2,500 mg being a very high potency.
Is there a downside to taking CBD oil?
In general, CBD is considered safe for consumption, but some studies have discovered possible side effects that include diarrhea, fatigue, and appetite changes.
Additionally, if you’re taking other medications, always ask a doctor how CBD may affect and interact with them.
When shopping for an inexpensive CBD oil, it’s still important to put quality first. While the oils on this list are more affordable than many higher priced oils, they don’t cut corners in their sourcing or testing.
Another downside is the potential to test positive for THC, particularly after consuming full-spectrum products. If you’re concerned about testing positive on a drug test, choose a broad-spectrum or isolate product, or avoid CBD completely.
What’s the cheapest CBD oil on the market?
You might find cheaper CBD oils on the market, but that doesn’t mean they’re high quality. The cheapest on our list is the Lazarus Naturals full-spectrum tincture. It’s one of the most affordable high potency options out there, and it’s been vetted by our team.
Where can I get cheap CBD oil?
Most CBD brands have online storefronts that allow you to buy online and get products shipped right to your door. Just beware of low quality options. If it doesn’t have a comprehensive COA, find a different retailer.
Research into CBD’s many potential benefits is promising. However, it can be hard to find safe, quality CBD products, as the FDA doesn’t regulate them like medications and supplements.
Sometimes, a product is cheap because the ingredients are low quality and come from shady sources.
To be sure that 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? 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 legal at the federal level. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them illegal at the federal level. Some states have legalized CBD, so 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.
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.
Last medically reviewed on July 20, 2023
How we reviewed this article:
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