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Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound present in the cannabis plant. CBD could have potential health benefits, and as interest grows, so does the variety of products. CBD gel capsules, or soft gels, are a popular option. However, there is currently only one condition-specific CBD product with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

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 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high-quality, clearly labeled ingredients. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: MNT chooses products that must clearly state the CBD dosage and THC content.
  • Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a dosage and how to take it.
  • Third-party labs: MNT chooses products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available certificate of analysis:MNT chooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) after receiving its third-party lab results.
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Many CBD gel capsules are available on the market. Below, we list eight products that people may wish to try.

The following table compares the CBD capsules in this article.

PriceCOAPotencyKey ingredients
Joy Organics$79.96available online25 mgCBD, hemp extract, and curcumin
CBDistillery$130available online30 mgCBD and hemp extract
Medterra$49.99available online25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mgCBD, MCT oil, and bovine gelatin
R&R$55available online30 mgCBD, organic MCT oil, and gelatin
cbdMD$95.99available online100 mgCBD and MCT oil
Charlotte’s Web$74.99available online25 mgorganic hemp extract and virgin olive oil
CBDfx$89.99available online50 mgCBD hemp extract, MCT oil, and gelatin
Bluebird Botanicals$29.95available online15 mgfull-spectrum hemp, MCT oil, and bovine gelatin

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD products. This makes it difficult to know what various CBD products contain. Additionally, the FDA reports that some companies make misleading, unproven, or false claims about their CBD products and may provide inaccurate labeling.

When considering CBD products, people should choose products that:

  • are not from a company subject to an FDA warning letter
  • contain no more than 0.3% THC, as per the Agriculture Improvement Act
  • have proof of third-party testing by an ISO/IEC 17025-accredited laboratory
  • are from a company that provides certificates of analysis for all their products
  • pass tests for pesticides, heavy metals, mold, and microbes
  • pass product potency evaluations and safety testing

Additionally, people may also consider:

  • retailer and manufacturer reputations
  • customer reviews
  • CBD potency
  • price

Read our complete buyer’s guide to CBD here.

CBD is one of many phytochemicals found in the Cannabis sativa (C. sativa) plant. Evidence suggests that CBD may be helpful in treating a number of health conditions, such as epilepsy, anxiety, and pain.

Many people may confuse CBD with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another well-known compound present in the C. sativa plant. THC is the compound that causes the “high” that many people may associate with cannabis. However, CBD does not have any psychoactive properties.

Manufacturers can extract CBD from the C. sativa plant using many different methods, such as the supercritical carbon dioxide method. They can then dilute this substance with a carrier oil to produce CBD oil. Manufacturers can then put the CBD oil in a gelatin-based shell to create a CBD gel capsule.

The soft gel capsule will help protect the CBD oil by hermetically sealing it. This prevents air and light from damaging the CBD oil. Many manufacturers also choose to create soft gels as they are often easy for people to swallow.

Below, we look at the pros and cons of CBD capsules.


  • Precise dosage: A person may have more confidence that they are receiving an accurate and measured dosage of CBD.
  • Easy to swallow: People generally find gel capsules easy to swallow as they are soft.
  • No taste: There is no taste to a capsule, which individuals may prefer over tinctures or gummies.
  • Longer-lasting effects: As the capsule contents do not release until they reach the stomach, they release more slowly and may therefore have a longer-lasting effect.


  • Ingredients: Most companies include natural ingredients with their CBD oil. However, it is important to read the label and ensure there is a clear ingredient list. A person should also check for a certificate of analysis conducted by a third-party lab.
  • Slow release: Capsules may offer a slow release and last longer, but this means they are not as fast-acting as some other products.
  • Does not target specific areas: If a person uses CBD for a specific reason, such as knee inflammation, they may find that a topical ointment, cream, or oil applied to the affected area is more effective.
  • Unable to adjust dose: Manufacturers set the dosage per capsule, and people cannot adjust it. This dose may initially be higher than a person requires.
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When using CBD products, people should follow all instructions on the packaging and not exceed the correct dose indicated on the label. Typically, people will take CBD gel capsules with water, like another pill or capsule.

Starting with the lowest possible dosage is advisable for those new to taking CBD products. They can slowly increase the dose once they understand how their body reacts to CBD.

A person should also consider speaking with a healthcare professional before taking CBD soft gels. A doctor can ensure the product is safe for a person to use.

People may wish to take CBD for various reasons. Some may take CBD for generic pain, ease anxiety symptoms, or restful sleep. Others may take CBD for more localized physical pain such as arthritis or to ease inflammation. Due to this, people may prefer to choose one form of CBD over another.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that CBD may help treat epilepsy, sickness resulting from chemotherapy, and a loss of appetite due to HIV and AIDS.

One 2018 study suggests CBD may be beneficial for many medical conditions, including:

Research indicates that how effective one form of CBD is over another depends on its solubility and permeability, and how quickly the body absorbs it.

Swallowing CBD oil allows it to pass through the digestive system and starts to take effect over one to four hours. People usually ingest CBD oil through drops, gummies, soft gels, and tinctures. A person can easily add CBD oil to foods and beverages.

A person may take sublingual CBD by placing a few drops of oil or tincture under their tongue and holding it there for several seconds to allow the active ingredients to be absorbed into the bloodstream through membranes in the mouth. The CBD will usually start taking effect in 15-45 minutes.

People may wish to take CBD oil to ease general symptoms of anxiety, neurological disorders, heart health issues, and certain types of pain such as arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Topical CBD such as creams and salves, may be a good choice for people who wish to relieve localized pain and inflammation. The effects may be felt within 15-45 minutes, although this depends on the strength of the CBD people use and any additives in the product.

People may also wish to inhale CBD oil. Inhaled CBD enters the bloodstream rapidly through the lungs, avoiding the digestive system, therefore it can be effective very quickly, within 6-10 minutes.

While people generally tolerate CBD well, some may experience common side effects, which may be dose-dependent. These can include:

A 2020 study notes few side effects of the acute use of CBD, whereas chronic use may have mild adverse effects.

A 2018 commentary also raises concern about the potential side effects of long-term CBD use. It adds that further research and product regulation is necessary.

Research also suggests that CBD may interact with certain medications. Therefore, people should speak with a doctor before using CBD products.

CBD softgels are a convenient way to take CBD on the go. People have used these products to help reduce anxiety, fall asleep quicker, and promote calm and relaxation.

Yes. CBD capsules go straight to a person’s stomach, allowing the CBD to be distributed to the body.

A person may find CBD absorption slow if they take a capsule. The Arthritis Foundation advises a person can expect to notice effects after 1–2 hours, but should they require a faster response, they should try holding drops or a spray under the tongue for around 60 seconds. Individuals should notice effects within 15–45 minutes, but they may not taste nice.

People should take CBD capsules as directed by the manufacturer or their healthcare professional.

Research suggests CBD may help with several medical issues, such as epilepsy, pain, and anxiety.

Evidence suggests that people generally tolerate CBD well. However, further studies are necessary to learn more about the long-term effects of taking CBD.

CBD is available to purchase in various forms, including soft gels. These are gel capsules containing CBD oil. This may provide users with a convenient way to take CBD. Before taking CBD products, people should speak with a doctor.

CBD resources

Visit our dedicated hub for more research-backed information and in-depth resources on CBD.

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