This is a surprisingly loaded question. You can send this query to Google, read 20 different articles, and you’ll find many similarities (and differences) in the results. What a lot of people won’t tell you is that a huge majority of the articles you’re reading are featuring affiliate links to products and the writer, or publisher, is receiving a commission if you purchase products through that link. Disclaimer That doesn’t make every one of these articles untrustworthy, but it does mean that you should take the advice with a grain of salt.
Additionally, as you can see from the answers you’ve already received, even if you ask people directly, you’re going to get a lot of different answers because there are a lot of factors involved in purchasing CBD and what’s most important will vary from person to person.
So instead of citing a ton of well-reviewed brands (remember, grain of salt), I’ll share the factors you should take into consideration and then it’s up to you to decide which of them is the most important to you and go from there!
Decide first: how to take/use CBD
There is an insane number of CBD products on the market and companies are putting CBD in everything, including ice cream, wine, sunscreen, and even tampons. But let’s work under the assumption that you’re interested in taking CBD using one of the more conventional ingestion methods
- Capsules – simple, effective, convenient way to add CBD supplements into your daily routine.
- Pure CBD Oil – typically features the highest concentrations of CBD and is taken simply by placing a drop under the tongue and waiting for the CBD oil to be absorbed. Taste might be a more important factor if you go this route than with some other methods of taking CBD. Also watch out for how this method is packaged to make sure it will be easy to get the proper dosage that you want/need without fussing with other products. A dropper or oral syringe applicator are personal preferences for me.
- Vaping – one of the most efficient ways to deliver CBD to the body, delivers CBD quickly to the bloodstream and maintains high bioavailability. Lots of flavoring options.
- Liquids/Tinctures – Another sublingual method of taking CBD, usually at lower concentrations than “pure CBD oil” because the CBD is mixed with carrier oils (like coconut, MCT, etc) Tinctures are available in more flavors than pure CBD oil, but best practice is to look for products with as few ingredients as possible.
- Edibles – convenient, on-the-go method of getting CBD and comes in a ton of different flavor and product options depending on your preferences. The most popular CBD edible is probably gummies, but you can find it in lots of options from lollipops to cookies.
- Isolate – probably the most versatile CBD product as it can be used to make your own edibles, can be added to things you already eat or drink on a daily basis, or can be taken sublingually on its own. The most important factor to consider with isolate is that it is 100% THC free due to the way it’s processed. Some evidence shows that CBD works better with some THC (typically less than .3% in full-spectrum CBD products) due to the entourage effect and the way these two cannabinoids react differently, but in conjunction with each other, within the body’s endocannabinoid system.
This leads me to the next consideration
Full Spectrum or Made from Isolate
I touched on this briefly a second ago, but one of the fundamental differences in CBD products is whether an item is made from CBD Isolate or if it’s considered full-spectrum.
CBD Isolate is CBD in its purest form. That’s why you’ll often see isolate billed as 99% or more pure. In short, CBD isolate is made by extracting the CBD compound from all of the other components found in the hemp plant. What you’re left with is a crystalline powder that is pure CBD. Most importantly for many people, this means zero THC.
Full-Spectrum CBD, on the other hand, contains many of the other compounds that are naturally occurring in the hemp plant. While hemp plants naturally contain very low levels of THC (0.3% or less), not enough to cause the psychoactive effects typically associated with cannabis – the presence of any THC is the product may be a non-starter for some people: first responders or professional athletes, for instance.
Most of the ingestion methods can be found in either full-spectrum or made from isolate so you’re likely to have your choice depending on your personal situation or preference.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to what dosage you should take and CBD products come in a HUGE range of potencies. Remember that a higher dosage doesn’t necessarily mean better for your situation. It’s worth testing out different dosages to find what works best for you to give you the maximum value from the products you buy while maximizing the benefits you see.
Another very personal choice. With CBD there is certainly an element of “you get what you pay for”, but you can look closely at price per milligram of CBD and while taking into consideration concentration and how much you take of an individual product to see the results you are looking for.
As many other people have mentioned, find a brand that gives testing results up from front for their products so you can see tangible proof of the claims they’re making. This can help avoid the snake oil on the market. If you find a brand that you like, but don’t see test results, it’s worth shooting their customer service an email to see if they can send them to you directly. I’ve noticed that some CBD sites are just a bit difficult to navigate.
Source of Origin
Some will say that you should look for US only sourced CBD but there are other areas of the world that produces high-quality hemp outside the US. But I think what might be more telling to check for is that the company is open and honest about where their hemp is sourced from. If they aren’t willing to share openly where it’s coming from, they might be trying to hide it.
These may not be the only things to consider when figuring out what the best brand of CBD oil is for you, but it’s a good place to start and narrow down your options based on your personal preferences.