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

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 federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% 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.

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 best CBD products

How we chose

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.
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Best CBD products

All information presented here is purely research-based.

Medical News Today has tested some of the products below. Reviewers may have received some products from the manufacturers for free, which does not influence their review. All opinions are the reviewers’ own.

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

Comparing the best CBD products

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

PriceFormCBD typeStrength
Charlotte’s Web$59.99oilfull-spectrum17 mg of CBD per ml
Joy Organics$69.95softgelsbroad-spectrum• 10 mg of CBD per softgel
• 25 mg of CBD per softgel
CBDistillery$60salvefull-spectrum500 mg of CBD per jar
Social CBD$18.99lotionTHC-free300 mg of CBD per bottle
Cornbread Hemp$49.99lotionfull-spectrum750 mg of CBD per jar
Medterrafrom $39.99creamTHC-free• 500 mg of CBD per bottle
• 1,000 mg of CBD per bottle
Sunsoil$30capsulesfull-spectrum20 mg of CBD per capsule
Aspen Green$89.99gummiesfull-spectrum100 mg of CBD per gummy
Batch CBD$49.99gummiesfull-spectrum25 mg of CBD per gummy
Soul CBD$75creamisolate1,500 mg of CBD per bottle
Sunday Scaries$49gummiesfull-spectrum25 mg of CBD per gummy

How to shop for CBD products

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

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.

Common CBD terminology

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 have a scannable smartphone code directing people to the COA online.

Read more about terminology and other important CBD information here.

Benefits of CBD

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. A recent study states that CBD may have analgesic effects and that intramuscular injections may help relieve orofacial pain in those with temporomandibular joint disorders.

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.

Anxiety relief

A 2020 study suggests that CBD could be a potential treatment option for multiple anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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.

Cancer-related side effects

CBD may help reduce cancer-related side effects, such as nausea and vomiting. A 2022 study suggests CBD and other cannabinoid treatments may relieve cancer pain and side effects of chemotherapy.

Learn more about CBD for cancer.

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 2019 review found that CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may have applications 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 ability to reduce sebum production.

Learn more about CBD oil and acne.

Risks and side effects of CBD

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.

How to use CBD

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.

Safety while using CBD

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.

Frequently asked questions

The following are common questions and answers about CBD products.

There are various ways of administering CBD and the type that is best varies based on a person’s needs. 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 soft gels infused with CBD.

  • Topicals: People typically use topical CBD products for localized pain and skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.

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.

Since the CBD industry is currently unregulated, unethical CBD manufacturers may be dishonest about the 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.

People need to start using CBD products at the lowest possible dose and gradually increase them until they reach their desired effects.

Gummies may be a better option for beginners as they can easily track how much CBD a person ingests.

Drug tests screen for THC. While CBD can only contain up to 0.3% THC, drug tests may return a positive result.

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), people can travel with marijuana, cannabis-infused products, and CBD oils that contain less than 0.3% of THC. They can store these products in carry-on and checked bags.

People should still check the legal status of CBD use in their state or the destination they travel to, as it is not legal in every state.

Addiction occurs when a person uses substances or engages in behaviors even though these may seem to be harmful.

Research indicates that CBD does not have psychoactive properties, so it should not make people feel high. A 2019 study suggests that CBD has anti-inflammatory, anti-psychotic, and anti-depressant characteristics, and it may help reduce the effects people with drug use addiction may experience.

Any of the companies listed within this article are trusted manufacturers of CBD. To ensure the company a person purchases from is a trusted brand, they should look for evidence of third-party testing and a clearly displayed certificate of analysis.

Summary

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, people need to choose safe, high quality products. Therefore, it is essential to select products that have undergone third-party testing.

Talking with a medical professional before using any CBD product is also advisable.