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- Best organic CBD gummies: Joy Organics Organic CBD Gummies | Skip to review
- Best CBD gummies with THC: Cornbread Hemp Organic Berry CBD Gummies | Skip to review
- Best isolate CBD oil: Medterra CBD Tincture | Skip to review
- Best full-spectrum CBD oil: Kanibi Full Spectrum Oil | Skip to review
- Best broad spectrum CBD oil: FOCL Premium CBD Drops | Skip to review
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It’s hard to miss cannabidiol (CBD) these days. If you’re new to CBD and want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, you’re in the right place. This guide will teach you the basics of CBD and help you understand how to shop for CBD products.
We’ve also included a few recommendations for the best CBD gummies, oils, topicals, and capsules to get you started.
Aside from the fact that it’s unlikely to cause a “high” feeling like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) does, CBD’s popularity stems from the fact that it may offer a number of health benefits.
Though research is still in its infancy, preliminary studies suggest that its potential benefits include:
- pain relief from various conditions
- better sleep
- relief from
- intervention for certain types of
That means any over-the-counter (OTC) CBD product you choose to purchase and use isn’t regulated by the FDA in the same way as an OTC vitamin or supplement.
On occasion, the FDA does send
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% 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:
- 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
- if the company makes any unsupported health claims
|CBD Product||Price||CBD type|
|Joy Organics CBD Gummies||$$$||broad-spectrum|
|Cornbread Hemp Full-Spectrum CBD Gummies||$$$||full-spectrum|
|Medterra Isolate CBD Oil||$$$||isolate|
|Kanibi Full Spectrum CBD Oil||$$$||full-spectrum|
|FOCL Premium CBD Drops||$$$||broad-spectrum|
|CBDfx CBD Bath Bombs||$||isolate|
|CBDistillery CBD Cooling Cream||$||broad-spectrum|
|Lazarus Naturals CBD Massage Oil||$||full-spectrum|
|NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Capsules||$$$||full-spectrum|
|Social CBD Gel Capsules||$$$||isolate|
Types of CBD
CBD products are available in three forms:
- Full-spectrum CBD: This type of CBD retains all components of the cannabis plant, including a small amount of THC. While federally legal full-spectrum CBD products have less than 0.3% THC, it’s important to know that THC is still present in full-spectrum products.
- Broad-spectrum CBD: This version has all components of the cannabis plant. Broad-spectrum CBD may contain trace amounts of THC.
- CBD isolate: This form is pure CBD, with no other compounds from the cannabis plant. Even if you choose broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate, there’s still a chance it could contain trace amounts of THC, which could show up on a drug test.
CBD is available in a range of products. Here are some of the most common ones.
|Oils and tinctures||Ingestibles||Capsules||Topicals||Vape juices|
|What they are||CBD-infused liquids||gummies||CBD-containing pills or softgels||creams, lotions, patches, or ointments||CBD-infused liquids|
|How you take them||sublingually (under the tongue)||orally||orally||applied to the skin||inhaled with a vaporizer|
|Pros||rapid onset if held under the tongue rather than swallowed, easy to find||discreet, easy to dose||easy to dose||provide direct relief to a specific spot on the body||fastest onset time|
|Cons||some people don’t like the taste||longer onset, gummies may melt||longer onset, may be hard to swallow||difficult to dose||may pose health risks, |
Research is still limited on whether CBD is safe or even effective for dogs and cats. Before giving your pets CBD, it’s best to check with your vet.
You may wonder which form of CBD is best for you.
There’s some research to suggest that the compounds of the cannabis plant, which include cannabinoids (such as CBD and THC) as well as other organic compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids, are more effective when they’re taken together. This is a theory known as the entourage effect.
If you want to get the full benefits of the entourage effect and don’t mind consuming some THC, opt for a full-spectrum CBD product.
Just be aware that a large enough dose of a potent enough CBD product means greater exposure to THC. Euphoric effects are possible but unlikely.
If you want to avoid any chance of experiencing an intoxicating effect, opt for a broad-spectrum or isolate product. However, you might not reap the full benefits of CBD from these forms.
You can find many CBD products online and in some stores. But this does not mean they are all from reputable companies and are safe or effective for use. Here’s how to shop for CBD.
Check the COA
A current and comprehensive COA is a sign that a product is third-party tested by an outside laboratory. COAs are often found via a QR code directly on the product label or the product website.
At a minimum, make sure to check the cannabinoid potency and see if the amount of CBD and THC advertised matches what the lab found. Also check whether the product passes tests for contaminants, including pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
Check for FDA warning letters or lawsuits
A quick search online will tell you if a particular CBD company has received any FDA warning letters or if they’re involved in any lawsuits.
Reputable CBD companies also include an FDA disclosure on their website that notes their products aren’t intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
Check the brand’s reputation and customer reviews
What are customers saying on the website and on third-party review platforms? If you want to use CBD for a particular purpose, you may want to scan reviews from people similar to you and see what they have to say.
Don’t get fooled
Keep in mind that CBD can be purchased online directly from CBD companies. But it’s not for sale on Amazon.
“CBD” products sold on Amazon are often made of hempseed oil, not CBD oil. Hempseed oil and CBD oil are not the same thing.
The right way to take CBD depends on the product you choose.
- Edibles: This method involves ingesting CBD that’s been infused in a gummy or other consumable. Follow the manufacturer instructions to make sure you’re taking an appropriate dose.
- Oils: With CBD oil, you use a dropper to place a small amount of oil under your tongue. Check the instructions for the right dosage and to make sure you’re holding the oil under your tongue for an appropriate length of time. CBD oils can also be added to smoothies and foods.
- Topicals: These CBD products are used to treat skin, muscle, and joint pain. Start with a small amount, and work your way up as needed.
Potency varies from one product to another, so determining the right dose is important. Manufacturers provide general dosing guidelines, but factors such as your body weight and body chemistry also play a role.
In general, the best approach is to start with a low dose and go slow.
While CBD is generally considered safe, there may be some side effects, according to
Reported side effects include:
- changes in appetite or weight
It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor before trying CBD, especially if you’re currently taking any medications. CBD may interact with some OTC drugs, dietary supplements, and prescription medications.
If you’re using a topical CBD product, start with a test patch to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction before you use it more broadly.
If you’re considering using CBD, speak with your doctor first. That way, you’ll have some guidance about the best type of CBD for your needs.
What are the types of CBD?
CBD products come in three forms:
- Full-spectrum CBD has all the components of the cannabis plant, including up to 0.3% THC.
- Broad-spectrum CBD has all of the components of the plant except THC.
- CBD isolate is pure CBD with no other compounds from the cannabis plant.
What form of CBD is most effective?
This is still up for debate.
However, the entourage effect is a theory that all the compounds of the cannabis plant, including CBD and THC and other compounds like terpenes and flavonoids, are more effective when they’re taken together.
If you’re comfortable consuming small amounts of THC, consider a full-spectrum CBD product to benefit from this combined effect.
What are the potency levels of CBD?
Potency levels can vary widely, depending on the CBD product. Your experience with CBD may also affect what you consider high potency. You can look for lower potency products if you’re new to CBD. It’s also a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional for guidance on potency.
Many people find success with CBD products. But it’s important to do your research before you start shopping.
Be clear about why you’re considering CBD to help you zero in on the right company and product for your needs.
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.
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.