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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.

Cannabidiol (CBD) products are becoming increasingly popular. As researchers understand more about the potential benefits, more manufacturers are infusing their products with CBD. However, it is important to ensure that people only use safe and high quality CBD products.

CBD is a compound that comes from the cannabis plant. Unlike other chemicals in cannabis, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not cause a high or any type of dependence. Many people tolerate it well, but it can interact with other drugs.

A quick look at the 9 best CBD products

It is important to choose CBD products based on good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency.

For example, each product in this article:

  • is from a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory
  • is made with hemp grown in the United States
  • contains no more than 0.3% THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
  • passes for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA

People can look for these qualities when shopping for their own CBD products. It is also important to consider:

  • company certifications and manufacturing processes
  • product potency
  • overall ingredients
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
    • customer reviews
    • whether or not the manufacturer has received an FDA warning letter
    • whether or not the manufacturer makes any unsupported health claims

Confused about CBD? Read our complete buyer’s guide here.

Here are some common CBD terms that individuals may find helpful when researching product suitability.

TermMeaning
CBDA compound within the C. sativa plant that does not create the high sensation individuals commonly associate with cannabis use.
THCA compound in the C. sativa plant. It is the psychoactive compound that creates the high sensation from cannabis use.
Full spectrumA full-spectrum product will contain all of the natural compounds in the cannabis plant, including THC. However, THC levels must be no more than 0.3% to comply with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation on full-spectrum CBD products.
Broad spectrumBroad-spectrum products contain natural compounds of the cannabis plant. However, while manufacturers remove all or most of the THC in broad-spectrum CBD, it may still be present in trace amounts.
CBD isolateThis is the purest form of CBD and should contain 0% THC.
CannabinoidsThe compounds within the cannabis plant, of which there are over 120. CBD is the second richest compound in the plant after THC.
TerpenesAnother compound of the C. sativa plant, terpenes typically give plants their specific aromas. Some terpenes, such as limonene, may have specific health benefits.
Certificate of analysis (COA)Reputable manufacturers of CBD products should ensure a COA is available for inspection. A COA provides information on the third-party testing that independent labs conduct on a particular product. Sometimes, products will have a scannable smartphone code that directs people to the COA online.

Read more about terminology and other important CBD information here.

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: Products contain safe and high quality ingredients and state all ingredients clearly. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: Products contain or recommend a serving size of a safe CBD dosage. Dosage is clearly stated.
  • Third-party labs: Products undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available certificate of analysis: The company demonstrates transparency and shares its product’s certificate of analysis (COA) following lab results.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best CBD oil: Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil

Price: starting from $59.99

Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil is a formulation of full-spectrum hemp extract. As it is full-spectrum, it means that it contains all the other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, including up to 0.3% THC, terpenes, and oils.

Learn more about CBD oil here.

The company claims that its CBD oil helps maintain calm, focus, healthy sleep, and recovery from exercise-induced inflammation.

The oil is available in 7 milligrams (mg), 17 mg, and 60 mg, and people can choose between the 30 milliliters (ml) or the 100 ml bottle.

The CBD oil comes in four flavors:

  • lemon twist
  • mint chocolate
  • orange blossom
  • olive oil

Pros and cons

Charlotte’s Web has some benefits and disadvantages that a person may consider, including:

ProsCons
subscription plan for regular buyersreports of unhelpful customer care
different flavorsUS-only shipping
refunds within 30 daysproducts are not certified as organic
gift cards available

Learn more about Charlotte’s Web here.

Best CBD gummies: CBDistillery CBD Gummies

Price: $60

CBDistillery Gummies contain CBD isolate. This means that they contain the purest form of CBD and no other parts or compounds of the cannabis plant.

The gummies are vegan-friendly and each one contains 25 mg of CBD. Every container has 30 gummies. The company recommends taking one gummy, once or twice per day. It also recommends that adults should not exceed 70 mg of CBD per day.

The website lists the gummies’ COA on the product page. It also states that they:

  • are gluten-free
  • contain naturally farmed ingredients
  • contain natural fruit flavors

Learn more about CBDistillery here.

Pros and cons

CBDistillery has some pros and cons. We list some of them below.

ProsCons
as they contain CBD isolate, the gummies are THC-freethe company does not offer international shipping
the company offers a 60-day money-back guaranteethere are customer-reported difficulties with refunds
the gummies are convenient for on-the-go usesome customers also reported shipping delays

Learn more about CBD gummies here.

Best CBD softgels: Joy Organics CBD Softgels with Curcumin

Price: $79.95

These softgels contain 25 mg of CBD per serving, with 30 softgels in each bottle.

Joy Organics states that the softgels support joint health, as they relieve muscle and joint tension. They contain curcumin, and because both CBD and curcumin possess anti-inflammatory properties, these softgels may benefit people with inflammatory pain.

The capsules contain bovine gelatin, so they are not suitable for vegans or vegetarians.

Moreover, according to Joy Organics’ website, the CBD softgels come with these features:

  • third-party tested
  • not tested on animals
  • broad-spectrum formulation
  • 18-month shelf life

Shipping is also free on orders over $50.

Learn more about Joy Organics here.

Pros and cons

Below we look at some of the product’s benefits and disadvantages.

ProsCons
products are cruelty-freeunsuitable for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet
the company offer a 90-day satisfaction guaranteemore expensive for one-time purchases
products ship in carbon-neutral packaginginternational shipping unavailable
individuals have the option to sign up to a subscription

Learn more about CBD softgels here.

Best CBD salve: CBDistillery CBDol Topical Salve

Price: $60

This product combines 500 mg of full-spectrum CBD, essential oils, and botanical extracts.

The manufacturers of this hemp-derived CBD salve suggest that it may benefit localized muscle pain. The company recommends that individuals apply a liberal amount to the area they wish to treat.

According to its website, CBDistillery sources its products from natural, non-GMO farming practices.

The product is third-party tested.

Learn about CBD topicals here.

Pros and cons

CBDistillery offers some advantages and disadvantaged to consider.

ProsCons
the company offer a subscription servicecustomers may experience difficulties obtaining refunds
it offers a 60-day money-back guaranteethe company does not ship internationally
product COAs are available onlinesome customers also report shipping delays

Best CBD lotion: Social CBD Rest CBD Body Lotion

Price: $29.99

This body lotion contains 300 mg of CBD and essential oils, such as chamomile and bergamot, to offer a calming sensation.

The manufacturer claims the lotion is non-greasy, non-sticky, and fast-absorbing.

The CBD body lotion also contains:

Social CBD states that individuals can use this lotion as often as needed on external areas.

Learn more about Social CBD here.

Pros and cons

This product has some pros and cons, including:

ProsCons
Social CBD offers free shippingthis product may not suit those who have oily skin
individuals have the option to set up a subscriptionnot everyone who uses the product reports that it is effective
the company extends a 30-day money-back guaranteethe product may not relieve itching or dry skin
products are third-party tested

Learn about other CBD lotions here.

Individuals can receive 30% off their purchase by using code HEALTH30

Best CBD massage oil: Moon Mother Hemp Company CBD Massage Oil

Price: starting from $60

This product combines 500 mg of full-spectrum CBD with only two other ingredients: jojoba oil and lavender essential oil. A person also has the option to buy the 1,000 mg strength bottle.

The oil is available in 2 and 4 oz bottles.

The manufacturer suggests the ingredients work together to soothe the skin and muscles and provide overall body balance.

It states that it uses 100% organic ingredients and that its products are cruelty- and gluten-free.

The company also commits to sustainable farming practices and uses its own plants to produce the oils.

Pros and cons

ProsCons
the company claims it’s products are not tested on animalsthe company does not accept returns on products over $100 in value
this oil is suits those avoiding glutensome customers report disappointing customer service practices
individuals have the option to choose different bottle volumes
the company operates a 15-day returns policy

Learn more about the types and benefits of hemp here.

Best CBD gumdrops: Lord Jones Old Fashioned Hemp-Derived Gumdrops

Price: $35

Each pack contains nine gumdrops, each containing 20 mg of broad-spectrum CBD. There are two flavors: strawberry and lemon.

The gumdrops claim to help promote calmness and relaxation.

Some key ingredients include cane sugar, citric acid, gelatin, and glycerin.

The company states that individuals can take up to three gumdrops per day and should not exceed a 60 mg dose.

Learn about hemp CDB vs. cannabis CBD here.

Pros and cons

ProsCons
the company offers free shipping with its subscription servicethe company does not offer returns
the gumdrops have pleasant flavors compared to some other CBD products

Best CBD drops: Papa & Barkley Regular Strength ReLeaf Drops

Price: starting from $34.99

Papa & Barkley’s CBD drop formulation is full spectrum and claims to be good for those with stress and irregular sleep patterns.

The product is available in 15 ml and 30 ml bottles, and a person can choose between natural or lemongrass ginger flavor. The 15 ml bottles contain 450 mg of CBD, and the 30 ml bottles contain 900 mg.

They company states it never uses isolates, distillates, or chemical solvents in its production process.

A person should shake the bottle well before use and hold up to two drops under their tongue for 20 seconds before swallowing.

Learn more about Papa & Barkley here.

Pros and cons

Papa & Barkley’s CBD drops have some advantages that customers may benefit from:

ProsCons
when signing up for a subscription, the company offers a 20% savingsome reviewers claim to have received incorrect orders
COAs are available on the company’s website some other comments also mention the product not being an effective pain reliever
offers a 30-day refund policy

Best CBD recovery rub: Prima CBD R+R Cream

Price: $38

This cooling recovery rub contains 750 mg of broad-spectrum CBD. Other ingredients include eucalyptus, menthol, and lavender.

It is hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and suitable for those following a vegan or gluten-free diet.

A person can massage the cream directly into the areas they wish to treat.

Learn more about CBD creams here.

ProsCons
suitable for vegan and gluten-free dietsthe company does not offer a subscription service
products are not animal testedbased on customer reviews, some people may find the odor too strong
formula does not contain petroleumreviews also claim that products’ effects are not long lasting
the company operates s 30-day returns policy

The table below provides a comparison of the CBD products in this article:

CostFormCBD typeReturns
Charlotte’s Web CBD Oilstarting from $59.99dropsfull spectrum30 days
CBDistillery CBD Gummies$60gummiesCBD isolate60 days
Joy Organics CBD Softgels with Curcumin$79.95softgelsbroad spectrum90 days
CBDistillery CBDol Topical Salve$60balmfull spectrum60 days
Social CBD Rest CBD Body Lotion$29.99lotionCBD isolate30 days
Moon Mother Hemp Company CBD Massage Oilstarting from $60oilfull spectrum15 days
Lord Jones Old Fashioned Hemp-Derived Gumdrops$35gumdropsbroad spectrumnot accepted
Papa & Barkley Regular Strength ReLeaf Dropsstarting from $34.99dropsfull spectrum30 days
Prima CBD R+R Cream$38creambroad spectrum30 days

There is growing evidence to suggest that CBD may be useful for the following.

Pain relief

Some people use CBD to help manage different types of chronic pain. One 2017 study in rat models found that CBD injections reduced pain response to a surgical incision.

A 2020 study suggests that topical CBD may provide pain relief for those with peripheral neuropathy. The researchers found that CBD can significantly reduce intense pain, sharp pain, itchy sensations, and cold.

Learn more about CBD for pain relief here.

Anxiety relief

One 2015 study suggests that CBD could be a potential treatment option for multiple anxiety disorders, such as:

A 2020 study also suggests that CBD may possess anxiolytic benefits, which may be useful for mental health conditions, such as anxiety.

Learn more about CBD for anxiety here.

Cancer-related side effects

CBD may help reduce cancer-related side effects, such as nausea and vomiting. One 2016 study indicates that taking Sativex, which is a drug that contains CBD and THC, may provide relief from chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Learn more about CBD for cancer here.

Epilepsy

In 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, which is a purified form of CBD to treat two rare forms of epilepsy in children: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Researchers are now beginning to understand how CBD may help manage seizures.

Learn more about CBD for seizures here.

Neurodegenerative conditions

One 2017 systematic review found that CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may have application for managing certain neurodegenerative conditions, including:

However, the review concludes that further research is necessary as the quality of evidence is not yet substantial to confirm the benefits of CBD for neurodegenerative conditions.

Acne

CBD has also shown promise in treating acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to reduce sebum production.

A 2014 study suggests that CBD may help prevent acne by stopping the sebaceous glands from secreting excess sebum.

Learn more about CBD oil and acne here.

CBD is generally safe, and many people tolerate it well. However, anyone who is looking to use CBD should first consult a healthcare professional, as it is possible for CBD to interact with some prescription medications or supplements.

Some common side effects of CBD, which may be dose-dependent, may include:

High amounts of CBD may cause liver injury. Some animal studies have also shown that CBD may affect fertility. However, more research on humans is necessary to understand the potential risk.

Learn more about the effects and side effects of CBD here.

How a person uses CBD depends on the type of product they purchase. People using CBD oil can place drops under their tongue, swallow it, or vape it. Always follow the instructions on the product label.

People can massage topical products, such as skin creams and lotions, into their skin. There may be information on the label about how much to use and how often. People can take gummies or supplements orally.

Always speak with a doctor before trying a new supplement or natural remedy, as they are not suitable for everyone.

Learn about 6 of the best CBD topicals here.

CBD does not cause a high, so it does not cause significant changes to a person’s behavior or sense of risk in the same way recreational drugs can.

However, if a person taking CBD experiences drowsiness, they may need to avoid certain activities until this side effect wears off. For example, they may need to avoid operating machinery or driving.

This effect may be more pronounced if someone uses CBD and other depressants, such as alcohol, together. CBD can also interact with medications. In general, it is best to avoid taking CBD with other substances unless approved by a doctor.

Learn more about cannabis and alcohol here.

The following are common questions and answers about CBD products.

What types of CBD products are available?

There are various ways of administering CBD. Depending on the goal, the condition a person wishes to treat, and the necessary dosage, people can choose which delivery method suits them best.

Some common forms of CBD products include:

  • Oils and tinctures: People can administer these directly into their mouth or choose to add them to a food item or beverage.
  • Gummies: CBD gummies can provide a convenient and discreet way of taking CBD.
  • Capsules: Capsules are another convenient form of CBD. They usually come in the form of pills or softgels infused with CBD.
  • Topicals: People typically use topical CBD products for localized pain and skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.

What do CBD product labels mean?

CBD product labels may mention the following:

  • Full-spectrum CBD: These products contain all compounds of the cannabis plant, including THC, which is the psychoactive associated with the high of cannabis.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD: These products contain all compounds apart from THC.
  • CBD isolate: These products contain isolated CBD with no other compounds.

Learn about the differences between full-spectrum CBD and isolate here.

Where should a person buy CBD?

Since the CBD industry is currently unregulated, there is a chance of unethical CBD manufacturers being dishonest about cannabinoid content in their products. This is where third-party testing comes in. It is important because:

  • the FDA does not regulate CBD products
  • it verifies the quality of CBD products
  • it provides a neutral, unbiased source of information

People looking for CBD products should only purchase from brands that use third-party testing.

Many CBD or CBD-infused products are currently available for people to try. CBD may have several potential benefits, such as relieving pain and anxiety.

With so many products available, it is important for people to choose safe, high-quality products. Therefore, it is essential to select products that have undergone third-party testing.

It is also advisable to talk with a doctor before using any CBD product.