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The Best CBD Oil of the Year – Where to Find Top Products

We’re no stranger to the medicinal benefits of cannabis, and neither are the 35 million Americans who regularly smoke weed. But not everyone has access to marijuana, and not everyone wants to get high. This is where CBD oil enters the picture as an alternative, yet beneficial, cannabis plant extract.

Whether you’re lucky enough to reside in a state with fully legalized marijuana, or you live in an area where cannabis products are rarely mentioned, you can find the best CBD oil to help you feel a little better, and live a more healthy lifestyle.

What is CBD Oil?

If you’re not familiar with CBD, here’s a quick rundown of what it is: CBD (short for cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants that has a lot of therapeutic potential. It’s most often extracted from hemp plants instead of marijuana, which leads to a very different end product.

When a person smokes weed, THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) is the plant compound that causes mind-altering effects. THC is a cannabinoid similar to CBD, but with one primary difference—CBD doesn’t get you high. Alternatively, CBD promotes balance of many internal systems and can even combat some of the negative effects of THC.

However, smokable hemp still isn’t widely accepted, which is why CBD oil is all the rage these days. CBD oils are made by extracting CBD and other plant compounds from the hemp plant, and then infusing them into a carrier oil (like MCT oil or hemp seed oil), or in an alcohol solution to create a CBD tincture.

Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate

When it comes to CBD products, there are three different types of hemp extracts to choose from. Full spectrum hemp includes a wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant compounds, which many believe allows these products to work the best since they elicit the entourage effect. Simply put, full spectrum CBD oils allow various plant parts to work together for more benefits than when CBD works alone, as in a CBD isolate.

However, some people prefer pure CBD oils made with isolate since they are THC free, and consumers find comfort in knowing exactly what part of the cannabis plant they are putting into their body. Full spectrum and CBD isolate are polar opposites, but in between these separate ends of the hemp spectrum lies broad spectrum CBD, which contains some additional cannabinoids but has been distilled to remove all traces of THC.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the products.

5 Best CBD Oils On the Market

Even if you aren’t a cannabis enthusiast, you can still benefit (and even enjoy) taking CBD oil. Here you can find the top five hemp oils for cannabis connoisseurs and CBD newcomers alike.

Courtesy of NuLeaf Naturals

Best Overall: NuLeaf Naturals

NuLeaf specializes in creating highly potent CBD oils that contain the same CBD concentration across all of their products. Each bottle has roughly 50mg of CBD per mL, and they are made from 100% organic hemp plants grown in Colorado. The only downside is the taste, which is very earthy, but the effects make it worthwhile.

Price: Starts at $38.50

Courtesy of Seabedee

Best for Beginners: Seabedee

Are you new to CBD and not sure where to start? Well Seabedee is here to help. This brand offers a variety of products, including some with condition-specific formulas to promote calming or sleep. They are a great brand for beginners because they offer terpene-rich tinctures that allow you to experience the full effects of CBD to know if it’s right for you.

Price: Starts at $57.95; available at seabedee.org

Courtesy of cbdMD

Best THC Free CBD Oil: cbdMD

If THC isn’t your thing, there’s no better brand than cbdMD that offers high-quality broad spectrum CBD oils that are completely THC free, and made from Kentucky hemp. There’s also plenty of options to suite your taste palette (since they offer 4 different flavoring options) and your CBD needs (as they have a range of potencies available).

Price: Starts at $29.99; available at cbdMD.com

Courtesy of CBDistillery

Best Value: CBDistillery

No matter what you’re in the CBD market for, CBDistillery has a wide variety of CBD oil formulas and strengths at very affordable prices. They offer both full spectrum and pure CBD isolate tinctures for a THC free option, and this CBD company is well-known within the hemp industry as a trusted brand that stands out thanks to their prices.

Price: Starts at $20.00; cbdistillery.com

Courtesy of Spruce

Strongest CBD Oil: Spruce

If you want to up the ante on your CBD game, Spruce is the brand to help you do it. They offer some of the strongest CBD oils on the market that contain 2,400 mg of CBD in total (or 80 mg per serving). Customers love Spruce CBD products for pain relief, and you’d be hard pressed to find another brand with the same commitment to quality and service.

Price: Starts at $89.00; available at takespruce.com

What’s CBD oil good for?

CBD hemp extracts work through the endocannabinoid system, or the ECS, which helps our bodies maintain homeostasis. This system is home to thousands of cannabinoid receptors that are stimulated by CBD. There are plenty of wellness advantages to using CBD oil, but some of the most common health benefits include:

  • Reduced anxiety and stress
  • Relief from chronic pain and inflammation
  • Improvements in sleep duration and quality
  • Regulation and balance of bodily functions
  • Promotes calm and focus

While it’s clear that there are several benefits of CBD products, the vast majority of available information on cannabidiol and its effects on the body come to us from personal experience and anecdotal accounts. However, some scientific studies actively demonstrate the therapeutic potential of CBD, and more recent research is being conducted to further expand our knowledge and understanding of this cannabinoid and how it helps us.

Side Effects of CBD

With all its many benefits, there are few adverse effects of CBD oil products, most of which are considered rare. Although in some cases, CBD may cause drowsiness, changes in appetite, or dry mouth. These are mild side effects, and can be best avoided by applying the right CBD oil dosage, since taking too much is more likely to cause negative reactions.

Does CBD show up on a drug test?

One question that many people have when it comes to CBD products is how they might affect a drug screening. The good news is that the vast majority of drug tests are searching for THC only, which means that CBD isolate and broad spectrum products should not change your drug test results. Full spectrum CBD oils on the other hand can contain up to 0.3% THC (as per the legal limit). While this is only a trace amount of THC, most people prefer to stay on the safe side when it comes to drug screenings and opt for THC-free CBD products.

How to Take CBD Oil

Taking a CBD oil tincture is easy enough, and there are a few different ways to use it. The most common and fast-acting application method is to use the dropper to apply the CBD oil sublingually (below the tongue), hold it in place for 30 to 60 seconds, and then swallow. This allows the cannabinoids to absorb into the bloodstream more quickly, and also over time as the body continues to digest the CBD oil.

Alternatively, you can opt to immediately swallow the CBD oil or incorporate it into foods or beverages (such as smoothies, tea, salad dressings, etc). Just keep in mind that this may delay its effects since the digestive tract has to do all the work before any CBD makes it into your bloodstream.

Is CBD oil legal? And Safe?

Unlike marijuana and other psychoactive cannabis plant extracts, CBD oil is legal across the United States as long as it does not exceed the 0.3% THC levels as outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill.

When it comes to safety, third-party testing is an essential element when assessing products to find those that are truly of the highest quality. These lab reports not only test for the appropriate phytocannabinoid composition, but they also ensure that the CBD extract is free of unwanted chemicals like pesticides, heavy metals and solvents that are sometimes left behind after the farming and cultivation practices.

Why Quality Matters

CBD oil is widely popular, and the industry is flooded with new CBD brands, flashy marketing tactics, and misinformation. On top of all that, the FDA has yet to evaluate these products, leaving companies unsupervised when manufacturing and selling their CBD products.

Consumers often find themselves sifting through brand after brand, and never really knowing what’s a good product. That’s why we’ve highlighted the best CBD oils on the market today, to save you the trouble of having to wonder whether or not you bought a product that was really as good as it claimed. Instead, you can feel confident in knowing that the CBD brands verified in this review are made with high-quality CBD extract that has been third-party lab tested and complies with regulations outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill.

If you’re still not sure whether or not CBD oil is right for you, you can always opt to learn more about CBD, its benefits, as well as other products like CBD-infused gummies, lotions, and much more. Additionally, we recommend consulting with your doctor if you take prescription medications or have a serious medical condition before adding CBD oil into your wellness regimen.

If you're looking for new CBD oil, here's a good jumping off point!

A Beginner’s Guide to CBD

CBD is the it cannabinoid right now—it’s simply everywhere. You’ll find it as an ingredient in things like lip gloss, bath soaks and bombs, soaps, moisturizers, pet treats, chocolate, olive oil, personal lubricant, muscle rubs and cookies. Of course it’s also available in tinctures and pills meant to do everything from reducing PMS symptoms to alleviating anxiety.

CBD has a fiercely devoted fan base, and new promising products seem to be popping up every day. This popularity is likely tied to the fact that many of the items containing CBD claim a wide array of seductive benefits, from treating insomnia and working as an anti-inflammatory all the way to potentially reducing PTSD and seizures.

We’ve all got problems; some of them literally keep us awake at night. With all the fanfare around CBD, you might be wondering if it can cure what ails you. This beginner’s guide to CBD will help you better understand the cannabinoid, what it does and how it can help.

What Is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It is one of the many (more than 100) cannabinoids identified in cannabis and is similar to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is responsible for the high associated with consuming marijuana. Unlike THC, though, CBD is nonpsychoactive, meaning it doesn’t produce a high, because the two components act differently on brain and body receptors.

While there’s still a great deal of research to be done, CBD is being studied intensely right now due to its potential as a safe, nonaddictive substance that appears to offer users some relief from symptoms related to a slew of illnesses and conditions.

If you’d like to explore the reported health benefits of cannabis without the sensation of feeling stoned, CBD might be right for you.

How Do You Use CBD?

CBD can be used in a wide variety of ways. It’s available in tinctures and pills, and it can be mixed into food or drink. If vaping or smoking is more your style, you can find high-CBD strains or CBD-only extracts. You can also get your CBD through a variety of products like lotions or scrubs (there are even personal lubricants containing CBD).

Each method has a varying degree of usefulness, depending on what conditions it is intended to treat and who is using it. For example, consuming tinctures might be more useful for fighting inflammation than smoking or vaping, but smoking or vaping CBD could be extremely useful to someone trying to quit cigarettes or reduce or eliminate their nicotine intake. But then there are some who experience little to no benefit from using it.

Why Use CBD At All?

Some evidence suggests that CBD has therapeutic and healing properties, such as the capacity to lessen the regularity of seizures, help treat insomnia, minimize panic attacks, treat certain types of depression and anxiety, and reduce pain, arthritis and inflammation and more. While much of this evidence is anecdotal, it points to the idea that CBD may offer help to those who need relief but have not been able to find it using traditional medicine. In addition, hearsay or not, the mountains of positive feedback leave little doubt that there is, in fact, something to THC’s sister component. At the very least, some people have found remarkable relief through the use of CBD.

Courtesy of Sweet Seeds

How Do I Get Started With CBD?

Trista Okel, the creator of Empower, a line of CBD and cannabis health and beauty products that includes personal lubricants, lotions, rubs and tinctures, suggests starting with a topical, or a product that is used by being applied to the skin. “Topical products aren’t psychoactive,” she said. “Soaking in a bath with the salts and then applying an oil [such as Empower’s Topical Relief Oil] is a powerful combo for relief and relaxation.”

Dr. Jenelle Kim, who has spent the last 15 years developing natural products for high-end spas and outlets such as the Ritz-Carlton and Whole Foods, said that makeup is a safe and easy way to dip one’s toe in.

“Beauty products containing CBD are a wonderful way to be introduced into the world of benefits that CBD provides,” Kim said. “When incorporating balanced CBD formulations into your daily regimen, which is the main goal coming from an Eastern medical, herbology perspective, you will experience great results.”

Will It Work For Me?

Like any product or medicine on the market, individual results may vary. While many users champion this so-called miracle drug, there are some who were disappointed with their experiences.

John Garrett, a Tacoma-based writer and film producer, tried using CBD to help manage his debilitating anxiety. “I’d only heard amazing things about CBD oil,” he said, “but after trying four different products, nothing.”

Still, many other users have experienced the exact opposite. Monika T. from Northern California claimed to have a condition cured by cannabis. “FECO [full extract cannabis oils] cured my cutaneous follicle lymphoma,” she said. Monika found relief with cannabinoids, but they are not a panacea, and it is extremely important to discuss serious medical conditions with your physician, and to find out if CBD use is advisable when receiving other treatments.

Clint Alan McCown and Yvonne Ybarra are an Austin-based couple who both use CBD for their ailments—Clint for sleep issues and Yvonne for pain from a dance-related injury. “I’ve been using it for three years,” Clint explained. “My girlfriend [Yvonne] cried tears of joy after three days of use.”

Bryan Neustein, a wine broker in the Los Angeles area, is another customer singing CBD’s high praises. “I love it and use it daily,” he raved. “It really helps my sciatica and insomnia. Plus, my friend’s 3-year-old who suffers from micro-seizures says it has completely stopped the seizures once he started taking it.”

With encouraging examples such as these, it’s no wonder CBD has enjoyed such widespread enthusiasm and popularity. But it’s up to each person to examine the facts and information carefully and decide if CBD is worth trying. Concerns might include an (albeit rare) allergy to cannabis, the fact that many CBD products can be cost-prohibitive and the challenge of where to find it—though, with its ever-increasing popularity, finding CBD is becoming less and less of a problem.

A conversation with a medical professional won’t hurt and is, in fact, encouraged. Though there are few issues on record with negative drug interactions or ill effects of CBD on children, people who are pregnant, lactating or taking certain prescription drugs should proceed with caution and careful consideration.

People around the world have found relief with CBD/ High Times

But Will It Get Me High?

No. Empower’s Trista Okel shares the details behind why, for example, a topical lotion containing CBD can’t get a user high, yet can offer pain relief.

“The cannabinoid molecules, such as CBD, are large and don’t reach the bloodstream when applied to the skin,” she said. “CBD does go deep enough to activate the TRPV-1 and PPAR-gamma receptors in the skin and suppress the TNF-alpha enzyme; all of these actions result in reducing pain and inflammation.”

Taking CBD internally is nonintoxicating too. However, some users report feeling some physical sensations or a calmness when they consume CBD. Others compare CBD to drinking a half a glass of wine or a Valium, and report anxiety and stress reduction when used via tincture drops in a beverage, for example.

Benefits of CBD

As mentioned, CBD use has been associated via anecdotal evidence and some research with the reduction of insomnia, rheumatoid arthritis, PTSD, certain types of seizures, anxiety, muscle pain and inflammation, stress and anxiety, eczema and a host of other illnesses and conditions. Many of these health concerns allow for patients to legally obtain a medical-marijuana card from their doctor.

CBD isn’t a miracle drug and shouldn’t be treated as such. But it serves a whole slew of purposes with varying degrees of success, and many people find the upside of giving it a try to greatly outweigh the potential hazards.

What About Pets?

Pets are included in the bevy of anecdotal evidence supporting the benefits of CBD.

Holly DeRito, an NYC-based animal activist and entrepreneur behind cannabuddykitchen.com, created her own line of CBD products for pets that are safe enough for human use as well. “It tremendously helped my fibromyalgia and the anxiety in my dog,” she said. “My own veterinarian started buying my topical salve for his bulldog’s arthritis after his pharmaceutical resources stopped helping. He found it the only thing that gave her relief.”

DeRito explained that CBD has also helped dogs that her animal-rescue organization, waggytailrescue.org, has helped foster, helping them to adjust to scary new environments and to travel calmly.

When choosing CBD products for a pet (or human), be sure to read the ingredients in order to ensure that it’s coming from a safe source.

Not All CBD IS Created Equal?

Unfortunately, no. Just like any food item, lotion, beauty product or consumable, CBD is subject to being produced improperly or cheaply. Some manufacturers may add fillers or subpar ingredients to cut their own expenses and make more of a profit.

When selecting a CBD product, it’s best to look for those companies that have their testing information available on the packaging or via a QR code. With this, a consumer can then analyze the product’s certificate of analysis on the company’s website.

So, as with any health-related product, make sure to read, research, get recommendations and ask for advice in order to find the best-quality items when trying to use CBD to soothe whatever ails you.

Originally published in the July, 2019 issue of High Times magazine. Subscribe right here.

CBD seems to be omnipresent these days, but how does it work? What’s it used for? Our handy explainer breaks down everything you need to know about the ultra-popular cannabinoid.