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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% 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.

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 softgels, are a popular option. However, there is currently only one condition-specific CBD product with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

A quick look at 8 of the best CBD gel capsules

In this article, we discuss what CBD gel capsules are. We also outline their potential health risks and benefits and suggest some of the top CBD softgels for people to consider trying.

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 softgel 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 softgels as they are often easy for people to swallow.

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

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Ingredients: Most companies include natural ingredients with their CBD oil. However, it is important to read the label and ensure there is a clear ingredients 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 are 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.

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:

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, as they would another pill or capsule.

For those new to taking CBD products, it is advisable to start with the lowest possible dosage. Once they understand how their body reacts to CBD, they can begin to increase the dose slowly.

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

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

A 2020 study notes that there are 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 are necessary.

Research also suggests that CBD may interact with certain medications. Therefore, it is advisable for people to speak with a doctor before using CBD products.

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.

Many CBD gel capsules are available on the market. Below, we list three products that people may wish to try.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

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

Best for supporting joint health: Joy Organics CBD Softgels with Curcumin

  • List price: $79.95
  • COA: available online
  • Potency: 25 mg
  • Key ingredients: CBD, hemp extract, and curcumin

Joy Organics CBD Softgels with Curcumin contains 25 mg of CBD per serving, with 30 softgels in each bottle. They also contain bovine gelatin and will not suit vegans or vegetarians.

The manufacturer adds that these capsules make use of nanoemulsion technology, which they state decreases the particle size and creates a consistency that the body can more easily absorb.

The brand also suggests that these softgels may help support joint health. Both CBD and curcumin have anti-inflammatory properties, meaning the product may benefit people with inflammatory pain.

Best for a full-plant extract: CBDistillery Relief + Relax CBD 30 mg Softgels

  • List price: $130
  • COA: available online
  • Potency: 30 mg
  • Key ingredients: CBD and hemp extract

These capsules are THC-free, feature CBD oil, and make use of a full-plant extract. The manufacturer states that these softgels offer the health benefits of other CBD products with the added wellness benefits of a full-plant extract.

In addition to coconut oil, they also contain gelatin, which is not suitable for vegetarians or vegans.

CBDistillery offers a 60-day trial period. During this time frame, a person can try one of each of their CBD products to determine which is right for them. People can receive a refund during that period if they are not satisfied.

Each softgel contains a dose of 30 mg and comes in a bottle of 30 capsules.

Best CBD isolate capsule: Medterra CBD Gel Capsules

  • List price: $99.99
  • COA: available online
  • Potency: 25 mg
  • Key ingredients: CBD, coconut oil, and bovine gelatin

The manufacturer of these capsules disperses the CBD in fractionated coconut oil. It also states that these capsules contain 99% pure CBD and no THC.

The capsule casing contains bovine gelatin, meaning they will not suit vegetarians or vegans.

Medterra provides two strengths, 25 milligrams (mg) and 50 mg. It notes that people can take the gel capsules in either the morning or evening. Each bottle contains 30 capsules.

Medterra uses hemp grown in the U.S. in its products. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing a person to return the capsules for a full refund if they are dissatisfied.

Best for a longer-lasting effect: R&R THC-Free Soft Gels

  • List price: $49.99
  • COA: available online
  • Potency: 30 mg
  • Key ingredients: CBD, organic coconut oil, and gelatin

According to the manufacturer, these tasteless, broad-spectrum CBD softgels have a slower onset but longer-lasting effects.

These capsules contain natural terpenes, flavonoids, and antioxidants. However, the MCT carrier oil means they are not suitable for people with a coconut allergy.

Each bottle contains 34 softgels.

Best for broad spectrum capsules: cbdMD Softgel Capsules

  • List price: $189.99
  • COA: available online
  • Potency: 200 mg
  • Key ingredients: CBD and MCT oil

The manufacturer says the gels contain pure ingredients. They are a blend gel-form MCT oil and broad spectrum hemp extract. They also contain CBG, CBN, vitamin E, and terpenes. Additionally, they are chemical-, flavor-, and dye-free.

The company that makes these non-GMO capsules also says they are easy to swallow.

The company advises users to start by taking one softgel in the morning and one in the evening. It also says a person may not experience the product’s full benefits for 30 days, as it takes time for CBD to accumulate in the system.

Best for focus: FOCL Day Capsules

  • List price: $49
  • COA: available online
  • Potency: 10 mg
  • Key ingredients: hemp CBD and vitamin B6

The manufacturer states this capsule has a blend of adaptogens and premium hemp CBD that will help a person stay focused. It contains a range of herbs that may help boost concentration, alongside vitamin B6 to support healthy functioning.

These capsules are organic, vegan, THC-free, non-GMO, and cruelty-free.

Best for fast-acting capsules: Lord Jones CBD Gel Capsules

  • List price: $55
  • COA: available online
  • Potency: 25 mg
  • Key ingredients: CBD and medium-chain triglycerides

The manufacturer says this is a daily supplement to help curb stress and has fast-acting technology to increase bioavailability and help the body absorb CBD faster for more immediate relief.

The gels reportedly help reduce anxiety and promote calm and relaxation. The manufacturer says they may also improve the quality of a person’s sleep. A person may use these capsules in the morning or evening.

Best for full-spectrum capsules: Charlotte’s Web CBD Capsules

  • List price: $39.99
  • COA: available online
  • Potency: 15 mg
  • Key ingredients: organic hemp extract and virgin olive oil

According to the manufacturer, these capsules contain naturally occurring phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential fatty acids.

The company also says the capsules promote calm and focus, reportedly helping users manage everyday stressors and develop healthy sleep habits. The capsules may also speed recovery from exercise-induced inflammation.

The manufacturer recommends that users take the capsules regularly at the same time each day.

These capsules are gluten-free, kosher, and vegan.

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$99.99available online25 mgCBD, MCT oil, and bovine gelatin
R&R$49.99available online30 mgCBD, organic MCT oil, and gelatin
cbdMD$189.99available online200 mgCBD and MCT oil
FOCL$49available online10 mghemp CBD and vitamin B6
Lord Jones$55available online25 mgCBD and medium-chain triglycerides
Charlotte’s Web$39.99available online15 mgorganic hemp extract and virgin olive oil

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD products. This makes it difficult to know what various CBD products contain. A 2017 study suggests that CBD products available online may include inaccurate labels.

When considering CBD products, it is advisable for people to 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 provide 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 also available in oil form. CBD oil usually comes in a dropper bottle. A person takes CBD oil by placing the required dose underneath their tongue and allowing it to absorb into the body from there.

Another alternative to CBD gel capsules is CBD gummies. These are usually flavored chewy candy that a person can consume.

Here, we look at some common questions relating to CBD capsules.

What do CBD capsules do?

CBD capsules allow a person to take a specific dose of CBD oil in an easy-to-swallow softgel capsule. Individuals may prefer this delivery method due to its convenience, lack of taste, and accurate dosage.

Are CBD softgels effective?

Yes. CBD softgels go straight to a person’s stomach, allowing the CBD to distribute to the body.

How long do CBD capsules take to work?

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 it may not have a nice taste.

Research suggests that CBD may help with a number of 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 a variety of forms, including softgels. 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.

For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub.