Most human studies of CBD have been done on people who have seizures, and the FDA recently approved the first CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, for rare forms of epilepsy. Clinical trials for other conditions are promising, but tiny. In one Brazilian study published in 2011 of people with generalized social anxiety disorder, for example, taking a 600-mg dose of CBD (higher than a typical dose from a tincture) lessened discomfort more than a placebo, but only a dozen people were given the pill.
There’s a growing consensus that cannabis is a highly effective treatment for many kinds of neuropathic pain. A 2015 study published in Neurotherapeutics states, “Clinical studies largely affirm that neuropathic pain patients derive benefits from cannabinoid treatment.” But much of the human-based research (like this study) on CBD and nerve pain has centered around the efficacy of the FDA-approved medication Sativex, which includes both THC and CBD. Research on the best CBD for pain isolated from THC is still limited when it comes to neuropathic pain. There are exceptions, though:
Separation in hemp oil products is completely natural and to be expected. Some bottles are impossible to see into (which is good — dark bottles help block light for optimal shelf life), but if you can, take note of how the oil tends to settle onto the bottom. Once you start shaking, it quickly blends. I can’t stress how important this step is. If you don’t shake it, you’ll likely end up consuming straight grapeseed and coconut oil. It’s not the tastiest experience, and won’t be very beneficial for you either.
Customer Service: There are multiple ways to get in touch with customer service, and Pure Hemp Botanicals’ customer service representatives are both quick to respond and forthcoming with information. On the down side, free shipping kicks in at $100 — otherwise it’s a pricey $9.99 flat rate. And you can return products, but only if they’re unopened.
But because all these products are illegal according to the federal government, cannabis advocates are cautious. “By and large, the federal government is looking the other way,” says Paul Armentano, deputy director of the Washington, DC–based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), but until federal laws are changed, “this administration or a future one could crack down on people who produce, manufacture, or use CBD, and the law would be on its side.”
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.
A common misconception we hear is “cannabinoids from hemp are not as good as cannabinoids from cannabis.” This statement is arguably confusing; hemp is cannabis, just like all the other strains that fall under the cannabis species. They variations of cannabinoids they can contain are endless — you never know what they have until the oil is extracted and tested. Our properly sourced hemp oil is rich in their proprietary cannabinoid blend and is 3rd party lab tested to verify cannabinoid potency and to check for any contaminants.
Based in Los Angeles, Calm by Wellness plans to be among the largest hemp-growing and CBD extraction facilities in the world by the end of 2019. The company sources their hemp from Colorado and uses clean CO2 technology to extract their CBD and other cannabinoids (no THC though!). The company is also GMP and ISO9001 food-grade manufacturer certified.
Currently, the only CBD product approved by the Food and Drug Administration is a prescription oil called Epidiolex. It's approved to treat two types of epilepsy. Aside from Epidiolex, state laws on the use of CBD vary. While CBD is being studied as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and anxiety, research supporting the drug's benefits is still limited.
CBD works by attaching itself to specific receptors of the body’s own endocannabinoid system. The human body is known to produce cannabinoids of its own, which affect the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors are generally found in the brain, and deal with pain, mood and emotions, movement, appetite, among others. THC acts upon the CB1 receptors. Meanwhile, CB2 receptors are more commonly found throughout the immune system, affecting inflammation and thus pain. CBD is thought to act upon these receptors, by influencing the body to produce its own cannabinoids in order to rebalance itself.
Weight plays a role in the effects of CBD oil, and bottle size should be selected based on how much you weigh. Let’s say you weigh less than 130 pounds and desire light CBD oil effects; this means that 11 mg or less will probably suffice per dose, giving roughly 40 doses from a 450-mg concentration. If you weigh more than 230 pounds and desire strong effects, then this same concentration will supply roughly 10 doses.
Deciding to use CBD oil as a natural therapy is one thing – figuring out which brand to use, what strength/concentration to use, and how much CBD to actually take is another thing altogether. Plus, with all of the products out there to choose from and their confusing mL/mg labels, it can be a nightmare trying to determine which one is best for you, or which one you should be taking for your specific condition.
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.
NuLeaf Naturals CBD oil tinctures are all full spectrum; it is 100% organic and never made with herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers. The brand offers a full spectrum pet CBD oil tincture, as well. NuLeaf Naturals offers free shipping to all 50 states; the brand’s products are also sold in more than 1,000 retail locations across the country.
Vaporizers – Many state-licensed cannabis dispensaries offer high CBD strains of cannabis flower. This allows for reduced risk of paranoia while allowing for a high medicinal dose of CBD. Vaporizers are used to heat up the flower and remove the properties or compounds of the plant that you are looking for without combustion or smoking. Vaporizers use convection much like a convection oven.
REM Behavior Disorder: REM behavior disorder (RBD) is a parasomnia disorder characterized by shouting, becoming physically agitated, or otherwise acting out during sleep. For many, RBD is a symptom of a larger, more serious condition or disorder, such as Alzheimer’s disease or PTSD. CBD oil minimizes the symptoms of RBD, and also alleviates the anxiety and painful symptoms that often accompany disorders that lead to RBD.
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.
A major theme when reviewing the research on the best CBD for pain is the need for more large-scale clinical trials on CBD in isolation from other cannabinoids like THC. That’s not to say that THC is bad. It’s developed a stigma because it makes you high, which makes people think of hippies and the sixties and maybe your perennially stoned neighbor who clearly doesn’t have his stuff together. But THC also comes with a pretty respectable list of benefits. These range from antiemetic (anti-nausea) and anti-inflammatory effects to appetite stimulation.
This study investigated how CBD could affect subjects with liver injuries resulting from chronic and binge alcohol consumption. CBD was given to subjects (in this case, mice and human blood samples) that had been fed alcohol. In short, the analysis demonstrated that CBD lessened the elevated liver enzymes and the increased liver triglyceride. It also reduced fat droplet accumulation.
I recently was a guest at a medical marijuana educational event that highlighted the work of researcher Michael Backes. During his presentation he made a statement about CBD that I have never heard anywhere else that CBD is “regulating” (my word) the effects of THC. I asked the Nurse Practitioner at the event, Ivy Lou Hibbitt of Certicann.com, what he meant by that and she said it was her understanding of Michael’s comment that he takes CBD to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. Has this property of CBD, that it can lessen psychoactive effects, ever been researched elsewhere?
Tinctures – Typically tinctures are small glass or plastic “dropper” bottles that have cannabidiol oil mixed with a preserving solution such as alcohol. Tinctures were very a very common way to ingest botanical oils prior to the industrial revolution and are experiencing a resurgence in popularity as more people are looking for natural remedies. Tinctures with droppers allow you to put a few drops in your tea, under your tongue, or to bake the oil directly into your food.