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Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the cannabis plant. Various types of CBD are available, including full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. Many companies have also started to sell CBD oils, gummies, topicals, and other forms of CBD for a wide range of potential uses.

The following article details the known information about CBD, the main types available, product options, and health considerations.

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.

CBD is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce a high feeling after use.

Learn more about the differences between CBD and THC here.

Companies that manufacture CBD products use different methods to extract the compound from the plant. The varying diffusions result in a range of CBD types.

There are three types of CBD, containing different compounds and concentrations:

  • Full-spectrum: Includes all parts of the cannabis plant. Full-spectrum products contain less than <0.3% THC.
  • Broad-spectrum: This contains most of the cannabis plant compounds. Unlike full-spectrum, broad-spectrum products contain trace amounts of THC.
  • Isolates: Only contain CBD, with no other cannabinoids or THC. Products that contain isolate CBD may not produce any notable effects.

According to research, both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD can produce clinical responses when people use them. The results may not be due strictly to CBD. Instead, a person may experience what is known as the entourage effect; this occurs when several compounds combine to cause clinical effects. As such, CBD products may only work because of a combination of compounds from different ingredients.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that a person should consider the potential risks before using CBD for any reason. For example, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid THC.

Federal law allows the use of CBD containing less than 0.3% THC. However, not all states allow the sale of CBD. A person should check their local laws before obtaining CBD.

The FDA does not regulate any other claims of benefits. It states that several CBD products make misleading claims about the use of their products. People should use caution before ordering any type of CBD. The FDA can investigate health claims and safety concerns.

A person should look for independently tested products. Some companies provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA), which shows what is in the supplements.

Read our guide to buying CBD here.

The table below summarises common terms when discussing CBD:

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: 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.
  • Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a dosage.
  • 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) following receipt of its third-party lab results.

CBD products come in three different forms. The main types of CBD products include:

CBD is also available in many other forms, including capsules and pills, vaping liquid, mist sprays, and more. Some companies also produce CBD products for pets.

Below are product options for different forms and types of CBD.

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.

CBD oil manufacturers often direct users to place it under the tongue and then swallow. The dose, potency, and price can vary depending on the brand. Dosing can start as low as 5 or 10 milligrams (mg).

A person should follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.

Learn about the best CBD oils here.

Best range of CBD oil flavors and strengths: FABCBD Oil

FABCBD offers CBD oils in different strengths and flavors. Customers can choose from vanilla, natural, berry, citrus, and mint flavors. Once the person has selected the flavor, they can choose the strength they want. They range from 300 mg to 2,400 mg.

The CBD oil is third-party tested. The company warns that high-strength options may cause positive drug test results.

This CBD oil:

  • contains less than 0.3% THC
  • comes from farms in Colorado
  • does not contain pesticides
  • is organic
  • is full-spectrum

The brand claims that its CBD oil may help with stress, focus, and recovery from exercise.

Best organic CBD oil: NuLeaf Naturals Oils

NuLeaf Naturals offers a CBD oil with 60 mg/mL dosage, available in several sizes ranging from 300 to 6,000 mg.

After choosing the size, a person can then select the quantity, for example, a single bottle or a multipack of up to 6. Customers can purchase as many packs as they want.

NuLeaf oils are full-spectrum, organic, and a potent blend of CBD due to the extraction method. NuLeaf has an ISO certificate, which looks at quality standards.

Best high-strength CBD oil: Spruce Lab Grade CBD Oil

Spruce’s highest dose full spectrum oil, the 2,400 mg Lab Grade CBD Oil, contains 80 mg of CBD per drop. The company warns it may cause a person to fail drug tests despite containing less than 0.3% THC levels.

Learn about high-strength CBD oil here.

The brand’s products are third-party tested and lab grade. They also claim their oil is:

  • 100% natural
  • pesticide-free
  • vegan
  • gluten-free
  • made in the U.S.

Topicals are products that a person applies to the skin. Examples include CBD-infused creams, ointments, lotions, balms, and tinctures.

Potency varies between products. With most topical products, a person needs to rub the product into the desired area. A person should follow all manufacturer instructions when using CBD topicals.

Topicals often use carrier oils and other ingredients. People should make sure they are not allergic to any of the ingredients found in the topical lotions.

Learn more about CBD topicals here.

Best CBD salve: Joy Organics Organic CBD Salve

Joy Organics offers several CBD products, including an organic CBD salve for topical use. The company claims it can help with dried and cracked skin and revitalize muscles and joints.

Joy Organics states its salve is:

  • THC-free
  • carbon-neutral
  • cruelty-free
  • organic

The salve is lab-tested. The lab analysis is available on the website.

A person can purchase a single container or sign up for a subscription service. Joy Organics offers a 100% money-back guarantee.

Learn more about the Joy Organics brands and its products here.

Best all-purpose CBD cream: Spruce Topical CBD Cream

Spruce offers a topical CBD cream that a person can apply to their skin. The cream comes in 300 mg strength in a 2-ounce (oz) container.

Spruce claims that the ingredients are all-natural, using only plant-derived scents. Customers report that this cream may help relieve joint pain.

This cream is third-party tested and lab grade. It contains less than 0.3% THC and no pesticides.

Gummies contain an edible form of CBD and are available in different shapes, flavors, potencies, and prices. Lower doses tend to start around 5 mg.

People interested in using gummies should start at lower doses and work their way up to larger doses.

Since the FDA does not regulate CBD gummies, a person should use caution when selecting and consuming edible products. Look for products with third-party tests and lab results.

Learn more about hemp and CBD gummies here.

Best night and day CBD gummies: FABCBD CBD Gummies

FabCBD offers fruit-flavored CBD Gummies in daytime, anytime, and nighttime varieties. The day or anytime gummies contain CBD isolate, while the nighttime gummies contain broad-spectrum CBD.

The gummies are:

  • THC-free
  • vegan
  • non-GMO
  • gluten-free
  • farmed in Colorado
  • pesticide-free

The gummies are third-party laboratory tested. FABCBD claims these gummies may help with stress, clear thinking, and exercise recovery.

Best hemp-derived gummies: CBDistillery Gummies

CBDistillery offers tropical fruit-flavored gummies for any time use. Each gummy contains 30 mg of hemp-derived broad-spectrum CBD and contains 0% THC.

These gummies are also:

  • non-GMO
  • kosher
  • vegan

CBDistillery gummies are third-party tested and ISO and U.S. Hemp Authority-certified.

Customers claim the gummies can help with mild or temporary anxiety, improve sleep, and aid recovery from physical activity.

Learn more about the CBDistillery brand here.

Best CBD gummies for different uses: Medterra CBD Gummies

Medterra CBD gummies provide 25 mg of CBD per gummy. The brand offers different gummy varieties, including options designed to calm, aid sleep, promote alertness, and boost the immune system.

These gummies are:

  • 100% plant-based
  • do not contain added sugar
  • THC-free
  • grown in the U.S.
  • third-party lab tested

The company claims these gummies can remain effective for 6 to 8 hours after consumption.

Learn more about Medterra here.

The following table compares the different products in this article:

Product typeCBD typeKey ingredientsDosage of CBDPrice
FABCBD Oiloilfull- spectrumCBD and coconut oilfrom 300 mg per bottlefrom $39
NuLeaf Naturalsoilfull- spectrumCBD and virgin organic hemp seed oilfrom 300 mg per bottlefrom $15.10
Spruce Oiloilfull-spectrumCBD and organic hemp seed oil80 mg per serving$269
Joy Organicssalvebroad-spectrumCBDfrom 500 mg per jarfrom $54.95
Spruce Creamcreamfull-spectrumCBD and organic coconut oil300 mg per jar$39
FABCBD Gummiesgummiesbroad-spectrumCBD 25 mg per servingfrom $59
CBDistillerygummiesCBD isolateCBD30 mg per serving$60
MedterragummiesCBD isolateCBD25 mg per serving$39.99

Scientists do not know much about the long-term safety of using CBD products. The FDA warns that current data points to potential risks with taking CBD, which they are still investigating.

However, a review of studies published in 2020 found that participants in studies generally tolerated CBD with minimal side effects. They also noted that potency and doses varied significantly between studies, making it difficult to determine the effective dose for conditions.

Side effects noted in different studies included:

  • tiredness
  • changes in weight or appetite
  • diarrhea

CBD may provide several health benefits. According to a 2018 study, CBD may help with:

It is important to note that CBD is not a reliable treatment or cure for any of the above conditions. Research into CBD benefits and risks is ongoing.

Learn more about the potential benefits of CBD here.

The FDA has only approved the use of one CBD product for treatment purposes. In 2018, they approved the use of Epidiolex to treat seizures in three different conditions. A person needs a valid prescription from their doctor to obtain the medication.

Learn more about Epidiolex here.

The following are some common questions about CBD:

Is CBD addictive?

CBD contains up to 0.3% of THC, the psychoactive property that may lead to addiction.

While CBD is unlikely to cause addiction, it may have addictive properties. People who have experienced CBD addiction should discuss appropriate use and the benefits and risks of using these products with a healthcare professional.

Which CBD products are best to start with?

People should always use the lowest possible dose of CBD and gradually increase the amount they use until they reach their desired effect.

Additionally, people may wish to consider the type of CBD they use. Full-spectrum CBD contains up to 0.3% THC, whereas broad-spectrum CBD contains trace amounts of this compound. CBD isolate only contains CBD without any THC.

Learn more about full-spectrum vs. broad-spectrum CBD here.

Finally, people should consider the form of CBD product they purchase. CBD is available as topical or ingestible products. Topical products may offer more targeted relief, such as from aches and pains, whereas ingestible CBD may be more beneficial for other wellness concerns.

Will CBD make me tired?

Yes, CBD can make a person feel tired. Drowsiness or sleepiness is one possible side effect of CBD.

A person should notice feeling less tired if they stop taking CBD.

Which CBD strain is best for anxiety?

CBD is not an FDA-approved treatment for anxiety.

However, research in both animal studies and human trials shows that CBD may reduce anxiety. It is important to note that research into CBD’s effects on anxiety is new, and studies still need to determine how effective CBD is, the appropriate dosage, and the long-term safety of this therapy.

Which form of CBD is most effective?

The most effective form of CBD may depend on what a person uses it for.

Topical CBD, such as salves, may be more effective for targeted relief. Oral CBD, such as gummies and oils, may provide more general effects.

CBD is available in isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum varieties. Different product forms are available, including topicals, oils, gummies, and more.

The CBD industry is not regulated, so people must use caution when selecting the CBD product they want. People considering CBD products for treating health issues should speak to a doctor for advice and recommendations.