CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a “high.” According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
CBD has been in the news before, as a possible treatment for epilepsy. Research is still in its early days. Researchers are testing how much CBD is able to reduce the number of seizures in people with epilepsy, as well as how safe it is. The American Epilepsy Society states that cannabidiol research offers hope for seizure disorders, and that research is currently being conducted to better understand safe use.
Also listed among our low potency products is our bestselling CanChew® gum. With just 10 mg of CBD per piece of gum, it is easy to get started with CBD as a supplement, and adding more CBD to your diet is as simple as chewing another piece of gum. Another approachable product for those just starting out with CBD, CanChew® gum is a simple delivery method for getting your daily CBD.
Our Best Value pick is CBDistillery, which offers a full spectrum CBD oil containing naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes, along with fatty acid Omega 3, B complex vitamins, and 20 essential amino acids. The oil is derived from non-GMO, U.S.-grown hemp. It also contains trace amounts of fractionated coconut oil for subtle flavoring. All product information and third-party testing results are found on the official CBDistillery product page.
In addition to acting on the brain, CBD influences many body processes. That’s due to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which was discovered in the 1990s, after scientists started investigating why pot produces a high. Although much less well-known than the cardiovascular, reproductive, and respiratory systems, the ECS is critical. “The ECS helps us eat, sleep, relax, forget what we don’t need to remember, and protect our bodies from harm,” Marcu says. There are more ECS receptors in the brain than there are for opioids or serotonin, plus others in the intestines, liver, pancreas, ovaries, bone cells, and elsewhere.
However, even if you do suffer from one of the above-mentioned chronic conditions, it’s still recommended you start out with the low potency oil first, at least until you gauge how your body reacts to the CBD. It’s important to understand that because everybody’s biochemistry is different, not everyone will react the same or get the same therapeutic effects from CBD oil.
Under federal law, cannabis (from which both CBD and marijuana are derived) is illegal everywhere, although the laws against it aren’t generally enforced in states that have legalized marijuana. Some manufacturers claim that CBD culled from legally imported industrial hemp, which has little to no THC, is fine to ship across the U.S., but many experts disagree, noting that because hemp comes from the same species as marijuana, cannabis sativa, all CBD falls under the DEA’s Schedule 1 designation. “This creative interpretation of the law runs afoul of reality,” says the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC, think tank.
High-potency CBD oils are most suitable for people experiencing strong, insomnia, chronic aches and pains, anxiety/depression symptoms, and other conditions that necessitate stronger effects. Our top pick for this category is the Lab Grade CBD Oil from Spruce, which comes in a 30mL bottle with a concentration of 2,400mg. Each full dropper of oil contains roughly 80mg of CBD, which can be an effective dose for those with severe discomfort or symptoms.
To make matters more confusing, nine states (including California, Washington, and Colorado) let residents buy cannabis-based products with or without THC. Nearly two dozen other “medical marijuana states” allow the sale of cannabis, including capsules, tinctures, and other items containing CBD or THC, at licensed dispensaries to people whose doctors have certified that they have an approved condition (the list varies by state but includes chronic pain, PTSD, cancer, autism, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis). Sixteen more states legalized CBD for certain diseases.
Success stories like Oliver’s are everywhere, but there’s not a lot of data to back up those results. That’s because CBD comes from cannabis and, like nearly all other parts of the plant, is categorized by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a Schedule 1 drug—the most restrictive classification. (Others on that list: heroin, Ecstasy, and peyote.) This classification, which cannabis advocates have tried for years to change, keeps cannabis-derived products, including CBD, from being properly studied in the U.S.
Our pick for Best Customer Experience is Fab CBD, a brand that offers high-quality CBD products at a reasonable price and provides additional perks for shoppers. The company’s CBD oil is available in four concentrations, ranging from 240mg to 1,500mg, which makes the oil suitable for those with light to moderate insomnia symptoms. The oil is available in natural, mint, and citrus flavors; prices range from 11 to 26 cents per mg, depending on the concentration. Fab CBD also offers edible gummies and a CBD topical oil.
Research on CBD and anxiety has generally looked at cannabis as a whole product, not as CBD as a standalone compound. Some studies suggest that it can help with anxiety: like this 2011 study that suggests CBDcan reduce social anxiety or this 2015 review that says CBD could be promising for many forms of anxiety. It’s also important to consider whether the CBD comes from the cannabis plant and therefore may include THC, a cannabinoid that for some, induces anxiety. Read our comprehensive article on CBD and anxiety, here.
Like we said, once you start using CBD oil more frequently and are able to gauge how much you need to find relief or therapy, then you can jump up to the more high-potency products as needed. For reference, doses will typically range anywhere from 5 mg to 100+ mg in a single day. And for epilepsy patients, they may take anywhere between 300 mg to an entire gram (1,000 mg) per dose — or more!
Non-THC CBD oils can be highly effective, and are suitable for employees who face random or routine drug tests. Our top pick for this category is the Medterra CBD Oil Tincture, which contains 99.6% CBD and MCT oil (also known as coconut oil extract) without any traces of THC. The oil is derived from hemp plants that are free of GMOs and pesticides, as well. All third-party testing results for the oil are accessible through Medterra’s official product page.