After the Farm Bill legalized hemp production1 in 2018, CBD oils popped up everywhere. You could even find them at the checkout counter of your local gas station. But while the Farm Bill made CBD products more accessible, it didn’t come with any regulatory standards for producing these oils (outside of ensuring that they contained no more than 0.3 percent THC)2. As such, inferior products are plentiful, and it takes a lot of due diligence (and CBD knowledge) to separate the best CBD oils from the not-so-great options.
As a functional nutritionist, I’ve learned a lot about CBD oil over the past few years. I also take it every night to help manage my anxiety and and improve my sleep. Combining my professional knowledge with my personal experience, I narrowed down the options to eight of the best CBD oils that I feel comfortable recommending.
Best CBD Oils
- Cornbread Hemp Whole Flower Organic CBD Oil – Editor’s Pick
- cbdMD CBD Full Spectrum Oil Tincture – Best High-Potency CBD Oil
- Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture – Best Budget CBD Oil
- Penguin CBD Oil – Best Flavor CBD Oil
- Charlotte’s Web 17-Mg CBD Oil – Best Low-Potency CBD Oil
- R&R Unflavored CBD Tincture – Best Organic CBD Oil
- MedTerra Isolate CBD Oil – Best Isolate CBD Oil
- Joy Organics Organic Broad Spectrum CBD Tincture – Best Broad Spectrum CBD Oil
How We Chose the Top CBD Oil
To come up with our list, we consulted the expertise of our writer, Lindsay Boyers, a functional nutritionist. Our experts review the ingredients, effectiveness, side effects, price, and more to make sure that users find the highest quality products available.
Learn more: Our Sleep Supplements Methodology
Cornbread Hemp Whole Flower Organic CBD Oil – Editor’s Pick
Cornbread Hemp Whole Flower Organic CBD Oil
This organic CBD oil is made from the whole help flower, containing all of the cannabinoids, including a small amount of THC. It’s available in three concentrations, featuring many analysis certificates.
Sleep Advisor Score
4.50 / 5
Why Cornbread Hemp Earned Editor’s Pick
The Cornbread Hemp Whole Flower Organic CBD Oil checks all the quality boxes. As the name implies, it’s made from the whole hemp flower, so you’ll get a full-spectrum CBD oil that lets you take advantage of the entourage effect3.
For reference, full-spectrum means the CBD oil contains all of the cannabinoids, including a very small amount of THC (with no psychoactive effect). This is generally preferred because these cannabinoids have a synergistic effect, and taking them all together is said to enhance the potential health benefits.
In addition to that, this CBD oil is USDA-organic, made in the U.S. in Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) certified facilities, and third-party tested. It comes in three concentrations — 375 milligrams, 750 milligrams, and 1,500 milligrams — so it’s a good pick for beginners to regular CBD users. Plus, all certificates of analysis (COAs) and testing data are easily accessible on the site; just click through from the product page, enter a batch number, and you can see exactly what’s in the oil.
We also like that it comes with a “Better Life Guarantee,” which shows that Cornbread Hemp stands behind their products. If you use it consistently for 30 days and don’t think it’s made a positive difference in your life, you can return it for a full refund.
What’s Cornbread Hemp CBD Oil Made Of?
The Cornbread Hemp Whole Flower CBD is made with just two, high-quality ingredients: organic MCT coconut oil and organic hemp flower extract. This is ideal because the ingredients are organic, there’s a fat carrier for optimal absorption, and there are no unnecessary additives or fillers.
What We Liked
- USDA-certified organic – The finished product is USDA-certified organic, which means it follows rigorous guidelines from start to finish. This is a nod to quality and purity since organic hemp is exposed to fewer pesticides.
- Comes with a money-back guarantee – You can use this CBD oil for 30 days to see if you notice a difference. If you don’t, Cornbread Hemp will give you your money back.
- No flavored options – While we recommend opting for an unflavored CBD oil if possible, we understand that some people may not like the taste. This CBD oil is only available in an unflavored version, so it may be difficult to take for some.
- All products are full-spectrum – We do typically recommend full-spectrum CBD, but we like it when companies give you options. Some people may want no THC at all, and you don’t have that option with this CBD.
cbdMD CBD Full Spectrum Oil Tincture – Best High-Potency CBD Oil
cbdMD CBD Full Spectrum Oil Tincture
This full-spectrum oil tincture is an affordable option, available in various dosages. It’s made of hemp grown in the USA.
Sleep Advisor Score
4.40 / 5
Why cbdMD Earned Best High Potency CBD Oil
It’s pretty easy to find doses of CBD oil that range from 500 to 1,500 milligrams per bottle, but finding high-quality CBD oil in higher doses is a more difficult task. In the case of cbdMD, they offer three: 1,500, 3,000, and a whopping 6,000-milligram version that contains 205 milligrams of CBD per serving. Another callout here is that the serving size is the same as other lower-dose versions; you still only have to take a single dropperful (or 1 milliliter), not several.
This is a full-spectrum CBD, so you’ll be taking advantage of the entourage effect in addition to the higher dose. The hemp used is also grown in the U.S., and every batch is properly third-party tested for purity and consistency. Every COA is uploaded to the brand’s website, so you can enter your batch number and see results at any time. As a bonus, cbdMD provides information on how to properly read the COA, which is a nod to their transparency.
The price of the oil is reasonable, too. While some other manufacturers inflate the price of their high-potency CBDs, you’ll actually pay less for the strongest dose. For comparison, the 1,500-milligram bottle comes out to about four cents per milligram, while the 6,000-milligram bottle drops to two cents per milligram.
What’s cbdMD Oil Made Of?
The ingredients in cbdMD Oil are minimal. The natural version combines full-spectrum hemp extract with MCT oil. The flavored version — there’s only a chocolate mint option — has these two ingredients, plus natural chocolate flavor and organic peppermint oil. This use of organic and natural flavors is another reason we like the cbdMD CBD Full Spectrum Oil Tincture.
What We Liked
- Three high-potency options – High potency can mean different things to different people, and cbdMD offers 1,500, 3,000, and 6,000-milligram options so you can choose the one that has the right dose for your needs.
- The price is fair – Many companies inflate prices for higher doses, but cbdMD drops the price per milligram for its highest dose CBD. This makes it more cost-effective for those looking for stronger CBDs.
- May be more likely to cause side effects – High-dose CBD is more likely to trigger side effects than lower doses. Because of this, you may experience sleepiness and/or nausea when taking this product.
- Limited flavor options – The only flavors available are natural and chocolate mint. This doesn’t have as much mass appeal as some of the other lines that include more flavors.
Lazarus Naturals Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture – Best Budget CBD Oil
Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture
The Lazarus Naturals CBD oil comes from the hemp grown on Lazarus Farms. The oil is available in three flavor options, including chocolate mint, strawberry lemonade, and classic or natural.
Sleep Advisor Score
4.10 / 5
Why Lazarus Naturals Earned Best Budget CBD Oil
You want to be careful when choosing a budget CBD oil. There are ways to save money (like getting a less concentrated dosage), but you never want to sacrifice quality or testing. With Lazarus Naturals, you’re not sacrificing anything.
Lazarus Naturals sources their CBD from their own hemp that’s grown on Lazarus Farms. This allows the company to bring the price down without lowering quality. To make the CBD oil, they use a whole hemp extract combined with MCT oil for optimal absorption.
Despite growing their hemp in-house, all products are still third-party tested, and Lazarus Naturals is transparent with those test results. The brand has a “test repository” on their website where you can view all the products and narrow down COAs by batch number to see exactly what you’re getting.
We also like that the CBD oil comes in three flavor options, which include natural (or “Classic” according to the brand), strawberry lemonade, and chocolate mint. While some users say that the flavors aren’t really true to their names (i.e. the strawberry lemonade doesn’t actually taste like strawberry lemonade), these flavors are still a good way to mask the earthy taste of those who are averse to the natural flavor.
There are two concentrations available —1,500 and 6,000 milligrams — so this may not be the best choice for a CBD beginner, but you always have the option to scale back on the serving size to lower your dose.
What’s Lazarus Naturals CBD Oil Made Of?
Lazarus Naturals keeps their ingredient lists very straightforward. The Classic version combines organic hemp seed oil, organic coconut MCT oil, and organic full-spectrum hemp. The flavored versions swap the hemp seed oil for “organic natural flavors,” although Lazarus Naturals doesn’t say exactly what those flavors are.
What We Liked
- They grow their own hemp – Lazarus Naturals has full control over their hemp production because the company grows their own crop. This gives them more oversight over quality and helps keep the price reasonable.
- A lower price without lower quality – Lazarus is able to drop the price of its CBD oil without compromising quality. This is important when choosing a budget-friendly CBD oil.
- No lower-dose options – This CBD oil only comes in 1,500 and 6,000-milligram options. This may be too much for some people who want lower doses.
- No insight into natural flavors – The company lists “natural flavors,” but doesn’t say exactly what those flavors are. We prefer more transparent labels, but this isn’t a dealbreaker.
Penguin CBD Oil – Best Flavor CBD Oil
Penguin CBD Oil
The Penguin’s CBD oil is available in five flavors and five straight options, including mint, strawberry, cookies and cream, and citrus. The company extracts the oil from US-grown hemp using a carbon dioxide process.
Sleep Advisor Score
5.00 / 5
Why Penguin CBD Oil Earned Best Flavor CBD Oil
Many manufacturers offer a flavor or two, but Penguin’s CBD oil comes in five flavors and five strengths, which is why it earned the best flavor CBD oil spot. In addition to the natural flavor, you can choose from mint, citrus, strawberry, and cookies and cream in 250-milligram to 5,000-milligram concentrations.
Of course, it’s not just the flavor options that we like. Penguin also makes a high-quality CBD oil that starts with organic, U.S.-grown hemp. The CBD is extracted using a carbon dioxide process that minimizes the introduction of contaminants (like ethanol from other techniques). To prove it, all products have been rigorously third-party tested, and Penguin shares those results with you via a lab reports page on their website.
As an added bonus, this CBD oil is available in broad-spectrum and full-spectrum versions. The broad-spectrum version contains all of the cannabinoids except for THC. Because of this, you’ll still get some level of the entourage effect and the benefits of the additional cannabinoids, but with zero THC. This makes it an excellent option for those who would prefer to steer clear of THC for personal or professional reasons.
What’s Penguin CBD Oil Made Of?
It depends on which flavor you get. The natural version contains hemp, hemp oil, MCT oil, and terpenes (plant materials that contribute to the entourage effect4 and health benefits of the CBD oil). Most of the others contain this base of ingredients combined with natural flavors. The only exception is the cookies and cream, which also contains artificial flavors.
What We Liked
- Multiple flavor options – In addition to the natural flavor, this CBD oil comes in four flavors (mint, citrus, strawberry, and cookies and cream). Because of this, you’re more likely to find a flavor you like.
- Available in full- and broad-spectrum – Full-spectrum oils are generally recommended, but broad-spectrum oils have their place too. Because the oil is available in both formulations, it appeals to a wider range of people.
- Expensive in higher potencies – The 5,000-milligram option is considerably more expensive than similar options from other companies. If you want a high-potency oil, you might want to consider a different brand.
- Some artificial flavors used – The cookies and cream flavor uses artificial flavors in addition to natural flavors. While we can’t say they are inherently bad without knowing exactly what the ingredients are, we usually prefer to stick to natural flavors if possible.
Charlotte’s Web 17-Mg CBD Oil – Best Low-Potency CBD Oil
Charlotte’s Web 17-Mg CBD Oil
This CBD oil comes from Charlotte’s Web certified organic farms in Colorado, Kentucky. All products are third-party tested and certified.
Sleep Advisor Score
5.00 / 5
Why Charlotte’s Web Earned Best Low-Potency CBD Oil
More isn’t necessarily better, especially for those who are just starting out with CBD oil. A low-potency oil lets you try it out to see how it affects you before graduating to higher doses (if needed).
This CBD oil has just 17 milligrams of CBD per serving. For reference, most of the others on our list have anywhere from 30 to 200 milligrams per serving. While the CBD is lower-dose, it’s still high-quality. Charlotte’s Web was one of the first consumer-facing CBD manufacturers out there, and the company still follows rigorous quality standards.
Charlotte’s Web grows their own hemp on certified organic farms in Colorado, Kentucky, and Oregon, and they’re working toward making all of their finished products certified organic too (this is a work in progress and this CBD oil isn’t quite there yet). The company is also B-Corp Certified5, which means they’re operating in a highly ethical, sustainable, and transparent manner.
All products are third-party tested and U.S. Hemp Authority certified6, which means they follow strict regulation standards, and reports are available directly on the website.
As for this particular oil, we also like that it’s available in four flavors (natural, mint chocolate, lemon, and orange) and two sizes of bottles so you can buy it in bulk if you like it.
What’s Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil Made Of?
The natural version of this CBD oil has just two ingredients: hemp extract and organic extra-virgin olive oil. The formulation of the flavored versions is a little different. Instead of olive oil, they combine hemp extract with fractionated coconut oil and varying types of natural flavors.
What We Liked
- U.S. Hemp Authority certified – This is becoming the standard certification for CBD products. It’s another layer of buyer protection that ensures you’re getting a well-made product.
- Available in four flavors – This CBD oil is available in four flavors that can appeal to a wide range of people. One of those is unflavored, which we generally prefer.
- On the expensive side – This CBD oil breaks down to about 12 cents per milligram, which is triple the price of some of the others on our list. We still think the quality is worth it, but it may be a drawback for those on a tighter budget.
- Not all flavors are available in large size – Only the unflavored and mint chocolate options are available in the 100-milliliter size. You can’t buy the lemon and orange in bulk.
R&R Unflavored CBD Tincture – Best Organic CBD Oil
R&R Unflavored CBD Tincture
This R&R tincture is USDA-certified organic, made with premium organic hemp sourced locally from USDA-certified organic farms. It’s available in three potencies, so you have options to pick from.
Sleep Advisor Score
5.00 / 5
Why R&R Unflavored CBD Tincture Earned Best Organic CBD Oil
Many of the CBD oils we recommend contain organic ingredients, but this tincture from R&R is one of the only options (aside from the Cornbread Hemp and Joy Organics) that’s actually USDA-certified organic. That means that not only are the ingredients organic, but the finished product also passes the USDA’s strict standards for organic certification.
This is a straightforward CBD oil — there are no fancy flavors to speak of — but it’s made with premium organic hemp that’s sourced locally from USDA-certified organic farms. This CBD oil is also created via a carbon dioxide extraction process, which results in a pure finished product. R&R volunteers for third-party lab testing and all results are accessible through each product page, which makes it easier to find what you’re looking for.
This full-spectrum CBD comes in three potencies: 1,000 milligrams, 2,500 milligrams, and 5,000 milligrams. It is one of the most expensive options we recommend, but that’s to be expected for a product that carries organic certifications.
To give you peace of mind about your investment, R&R also has one of the most generous return policies. The company will give you 60 days to try their products, and if you don’t think they make a difference, you can return them for a full refund.
What’s R&R CBD Oil Made Of?
This Unflavored CBD Tincture from R&R has a fully organic ingredient list that includes organic full-spectrum hemp extract and organic MCT oil from coconut. You don’t have to worry about any artificial ingredients or flavorings.
What We Liked
- USDA-certified organic – The finished product is USDA-certified organic. This means that all ingredients are organic and nothing non-organic is added during manufacturing.
- Very generous return policy – R&R gives you 60 days to try the CBD oil. You can return it for a full refund at any time during this trial, even if you’ve used most of it.
- No flavor options – It only comes in an unflavored version. This can be a drawback for those who don’t like the earthy taste of pure CBD oil.
- On the expensive side – This is one of the most expensive options we recommend. However, that’s to be expected of USDA-certified organic products.
MedTerra Isolate CBD Oil – Best Isolate CBD Oil
MedTerra Isolate CBD Oil
This full-spectrum CBD oil is grown and sourced in the USA, featuring third-party certifications and a risk-free 30-day trial.
Why MedTerra Isolate CBD Oil Earned Best Isolate CBD Oil
CBD isolates contain only cannabidiol and none of the other cannabinoids. It’s a pure form of CBD7 and has a higher dose of cannabidiol specifically, but it doesn’t come with the entourage effect of full-spectrum oils. Because of this, it can still offer the specific benefits of CBD, but may not have additional effects that are tied to the other cannabinoids. For example, another cannabinoid, called CBN, has been connected to greater sleep benefits8.
Because of this, we typically recommend a full-spectrum CBD, but if you’re set on an isolate, this option from MedTerra is a good one. It’s made with at least 99.6 percent CBD and comes in strengths of 500 milligrams, 1,000 milligrams, 3,000 milligrams, and 6,000 milligrams.
All CBD is grown and sourced in the U.S., and MedTerra says they trace the hemp throughout the entire production process, though they don’t provide additional details on how they do this. However, this CBD oil is also third-party tested (COAs are available on the website) and certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority.
MedTerra also gives first-time customers a risk-free 30-day free trial. If you try the CBD oil for 30 days and don’t like it, you can request a refund.
What’s MedTerra CBD Oil Made Of?
MedTerra’s CBD Oil is made from 99.6 percent CBD with certified organic MCT oil. Since this is an isolate, part of the third-party testing process involves making sure there are no detectable levels (less than 0.01 percent) of THC.
What We Liked
- Certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority – This certification provides extra peace of mind that MedTerra has rigorous standards for testing their products. In other words, you can be certain you’re getting what they say you are.
- Available in multiple strengths – You can get this CBD in four strengths, from 500 milligrams to 6,000 milligrams. This makes it a good option for a wide range of consumers.
- No entourage effect – Because this is an isolate, there’s no entourage effect. That said, this makes it a good fit for anyone who wants to completely avoid THC.
- Only available in unflavored – There’s only an unflavored version. Because of this, it may not appeal to those who prefer flavors to mask the taste of hemp.
Joy Organics Organic Broad Spectrum CBD Tincture – Best Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil
Joy Organics Organic Broad Spectrum CBD Tincture
This Joy Organics CBD oil is USDA-certified organic and sourced from USDA-certified organic farms in Oregon, Colorado, and Kentucky. It comes in four potencies and multiple flavors, including mint and orange.
Why Joy Organics Earned Best Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil
If you prefer to forgo the THC, you may want to consider this broad-spectrum CBD tincture from Joy Organics.
Joy Organics has all the signals of a great CBD company: The product is USDA-certified organic, they opt into third-party testing and make COAs easily accessible on their website, and they’re transparent about their sourcing.
All of the hemp used to make this CBD oil is sourced from USDA-certified organic farms in Oregon, Colorado, and Kentucky and then put through a proprietary process that removes every trace of THC. This leaves you with a clean, well-made broad-spectrum CBD that contains a range of other cannabinoids with 0.0 percent THC.
This oil comes in four potencies — 450 milligrams, 900 milligrams, 1,350 milligrams, and 2,250 milligrams — so it’s a good fit for beginners to experienced CBD users. We like the unflavored version the best, but there are also mint, lemon, and orange flavors available.
Joy Organics also has the most generous return policy on our list. The company gives you 90 days to try the CBD oil and return it if you don’t like it.
What’s Joy Organics CBD Oil Made Of?
The unflavored version of the Joy Organics Organic Broad-Spectrum CBD Tincture contains organic hemp and organic extra-virgin olive oil. The mint, orange, and lemon versions get their flavors from organic essential oils.
What We Liked
- Comes in four potencies – You can get this CBD oil in 450 to 2,250-milligram bottles. This makes it a great fit for beginners and experienced users alike.
- USDA-certified organic – It’s not just made with organic ingredients. The finished product is USDA-certified organic, which is a nod to its purity and quality.
- Won’t get the full entourage effect – Because this is broad-spectrum, it doesn’t contain any THC. This somewhat minimizes the entourage effect.
- No chocolate flavor option – This only comes in mint or citrusy flavors (in addition to unflavored). This may not appeal to as many people as some of the other companies with more flavor options.
Comparing the Best CBD Oils
|Our Pick For
|375 milligrams to 1,500 milligrams
|Through the product page or directly on the website
|1,500 milligrams to 6,000 milligrams
|No flavor or mint chocolate
|Through the product page
|1,500 milligrams or 6,000 milligrams
|No flavor, strawberry lemonade, or chocolate mint
|Test Results Repository
|250 milligrams to 5,000 milligrams
|No flavor, mint, citrus, strawberry, cookies and cream
|Lab reports page directly on the website
|No flavor, orange, lemon, chocolate mint
|Batch reports page directly on the website
|1,000 milligrams to 5,000 milligrams
|Lab testing page directly on the website
|500 milligrams to 6,000 milligrams
|Directly on the website
|450 milligrams to 2,250 milligrams
|No flavor, mint, lemon, or orange
|Labs page directly on the website
Who Should Consider Using CBD Oil?
CBD oil can be beneficial for sleep, but there are several uses beyond that too. Here, we’ll break down the potential benefits of CBD oil so you can determine if it’s right for you.
Potential CBD Oil Benefits
Mainstream CBD oil use is still fairly new — as mentioned, CBD oil just started to become more popular with the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018. Because of that, there hasn’t been a ton of scientific research done on CBD oil.
There are a handful of studies that suggest health benefits, so let’s take a look at what we do know. The current research suggests that CBD may:
- Help improve sleep quality and manage insomnia9.
- Help with anxiety and anxiety disorders10, like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Improve chronic pain11 and help those with pain disorders live a better quality of life.
- Help with certain seizure disorders, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. (This is currently the only FDA-approved use12 for CBD).
- Relieve muscle spasticity13 associated with multiple sclerosis.
Read More: CBD Oil for Sleep
Is CBD Oil Safe?
CBD oil is considered safe, but there are some things to keep in mind.
While side effects are generally mild (and infrequent)14, they can occur, with the most common ones being sleepiness, diarrhea, and increased body temperature. Side effects are more likely to occur when you first start taking CBD oil as your body adjusts to something new.12 As you get used to the cannabinoids, side effects will likely decrease or go away entirely.
High doses of CBD are also more likely to trigger side effects than lower doses, although even doses as high as 1,500 milligrams are well-tolerated15 by most people.
Some studies also show that some side effects may occur as a result of contamination and/or higher concentrations of THC16 than indicated on the label. That’s why it’s extremely important to choose a CBD oil from a reputable manufacturer that can show you the certificate of analysis (COA) for your specific batch or product. This ensures that you’re getting exactly what the label says you are, and that the CBD oil is not contaminated.
CBD has also been shown to inhibit the metabolism of some blood-thinning medications, which could increase the risk of stroke17. If you’re on any anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications, it’s especially important to talk to your doctor before taking CBD.
The bottom line is that, as with other supplements, the CBD industry isn’t closely regulated. Because of this, you need to make sure you’re:
- Purchasing from a reputable company
- Asking for and cross-referencing COAs
- Taking the dosage recommended by your healthcare provider
While CBD oil is natural, there’s still a chance for side effects and it does have some contraindications so make sure you get the all-clear from your doctor before adding it to your routine.
What to Look for in a CBD Oil
It’s important to thoroughly research any supplement you buy, but you should be extra diligent when purchasing a CBD oil. Here’s everything you should look for before committing to one.
Third-party testing is more important than ever for CBD oils. Like all supplements, third-party testing ensures purity and potency. However, CBD isn’t regulated by the same organizations that oversee other types of supplements, like the USP and NSF.
Instead, there are two main certifications you can look for:
- U.S. Hemp Authority: This is an independent third-party organization that upholds rigorous standards for growing and manufacturing hemp. It was established in 2018.6
- Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP): This is an FDA certification18 that ensures the company is meeting certain standards for design, monitoring, and manufacturing process (including the manufacturing facility).
Not all companies hold these certifications, though, and that doesn’t mean they’re bad. These two just give you added peace of mind.
In addition to these, you want to make sure that the company you choose gets each batch of CBD oils third-party tested through an independent scientific lab. There are many of these across the country, so there’s no specific guideline here outside of making sure the company is independent and accredited, as well as having access to the COAs.
Certificate of Analysis (COA)
A COA is a detailed report that comes from an accredited, third-party laboratory. It provides a granular chemical analysis of the CBD oil that includes the concentration of CBD, the breakdown of the other cannabinoids and their concentrations, and a list of other ingredients in the products. COAs also look at contaminants and heavy metals to ensure that you’re getting a pure product.
You should not purchase CBD oil from a company that doesn’t give you access to the COA for that specific batch. Ideally, COAs will be available directly through the website, but you may have to reach out to the company directly to ask them to send it to you. Either of these is fine, as long as you can get one.
Where It’s Made
You also want to think about where the CBD oil is made and where the hemp comes from. It’s best to stick with U.S.-grown hemp since these farmers follow regulations outlined by the Farm Bill.
You also want to ensure the finished product (i.e. the CBD oil you buy) is manufactured in the U.S. and verified through third-party testing. This ensures that the company is following the U.S. legislation for CBD oil, which is that no more than 0.3 percent of the cannabinoid concentration comes from THC. This not only helps prevent unwanted psychoactive effects, but it also ensures you’re abiding by the law and not purchasing a product that’s illegal in the U.S.
When it comes to ingredients, less is more. If you’re getting unflavored CBD oil, ideally it should only contain the hemp and some type of carrier oil. CBD is lipophilic19, which means that it dissolves and absorbs better when paired with fats. Because of this, you want the CBD oil you choose to include a high-quality fat like sesame oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, or extra-virgin olive oil.
The ingredient list will be a little longer for flavored CBD oils, but it still shouldn’t be too extensive. Avoid CBD oils that have a long list of artificial ingredients, preservatives, and fillers, and instead, choose those that use only natural flavors or essential oils.
The effectiveness comes down to quality and dosage. It also depends on what you’re using it for. For example, those using CBD oil for sleep may need different doses than those using it for anxiety, so a low-dose CBD oil may be effective for one group but not the other. To generally determine effectiveness, there are a few things to look for.
- Sourcing: Make sure the hemp is sourced from reputable farmers and that the product is manufactured in the United States.
- Concentration: Check the COA and confirm that the concentration listed on the bottle is what you’re getting.
- Ingredients: Look for hemp combined with a high-quality fat, like sesame oil, MCT oil, or coconut oil, for enhanced absorption.
Beyond this, you can also dig into customer reviews to see how other people fared with the particular oil you’re considering. Do the majority of people say it worked for them, or are there an overwhelming number of reviews that say it was ineffective? While everyone will react differently to supplements, it’s difficult to discount shared personal experiences.
Side effects are possible when taking CBD, but they’re generally mild and go away after your body adjusts to using it. When considering a specific CBD oil, dig into user reviewers to see if there are a lot of reports of side effects. In addition to looking at the brand’s website, you can check third-party reviews on Amazon, TrustPilot, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
While a report of side effects here and there is normal, you shouldn’t notice a trend of people experiencing adverse effects when looking at a specific type of CBD oil. If you do, you might want to consider another brand.
Keep in mind that side effects are more likely at higher doses. If you’re new to CBD, start with a low dose and ease your way up until you feel like it’s working for you; that means opting for a low-dose CBD, like a 500-milligram bottle over a 1,500-milligram bottle to start. This will make side effects less likely.
The price of a CBD oil is highly dependent on a handful of factors, including the quality of the CBD (organic or not), how the CBD is grown and sourced, and third-party testing.
Generally, the more care and effort that’s put into production, the higher the consumer cost will be. This is not a bad thing, though. With CBD oil especially, you want to make sure you’re purchasing from reputable brands that put in that extra effort and oversight. We don’t recommend choosing the least expensive option because you’ll likely be getting an inferior product.
On the other end of that spectrum, you want to be mindful of overpaying. Some companies are really great at marketing and increase their prices based on stated factors that may not matter much.
In general, you should expect to spend around two cents to four cents per milligram of CBD. It’s best to compare this way because some CBDs are stronger than others and will provide higher doses in lower quantities. In other words, the bottle may be more expensive but it will last longer (or be more effective depending on your specific desired dosage).
Real-world users will always be a source of truth. While everyone is different, you can gain a sense of a product and brand by digging into other peoples’ experiences. It’s important to be discerning here though.
There’s always going to be unique experiences (good and bad) so you want to look at what the majority of people are saying, instead of hyperfocusing on a couple of terrible or outstanding reviews.
Are most people happy with the CBD oil and say that it works for them? Are there minimal reports about side effects? Do the majority of reviewers have a positive experience with the company and its customer service? These are all green flags that a CBD oil may be a good one to try.
In addition to digging into personal customer experience, you also want to think about brand reputation. Do a quick Google search of the brand to see if anything noteworthy or alarming comes up. Check reviews on third-party websites like TrustPilot and the BBB to see if they have a good reputation or if there have been any major complaints about the company.
Frequently Asked Questions
What dosage of CBD oil is best for sleep?
There hasn’t been enough research done on CBD and sleep to come up with the “best” dosage for sleep for everyone. You also have to consider individual characteristics and that everyone will react to CBD differently. That being said, most studies dose by body weight and use a range of 1 to 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight20, and some research suggests that high-dose CBD — defined as 160 milligrams per day21 — is effective for sleep.
Always talk to your healthcare provider about the right dosage for you.
Which form of CBD is most effective?
Full-spectrum CBD is more effective than broad-spectrum or isolates. This is largely due to a phenomenon called the entourage effect22, which means that all the cannabinoid compounds, including THC, work synergistically to create the most beneficial effect. Animal research also suggests the small amount of THC present in the oil can increase the availability of CBD23.
When is the best time to take CBD oil?
It depends on what you’re trying to get out of it. Oral CBD, like oils, typically reaches peak concentration in your body in about one to two hours24, but they can start to take effect within 30 to 90 minutes25.
If you’re using CBD oil to calm anxiety during the day, it may be best to take it first thing in the morning so the effects will start to kick in before you get into the bulk of your day. If you’re using CBD oil for sleep, timing it within one to two hours of your bedtime is likely the most beneficial.
Who should avoid taking CBD?
CBD is well-tolerated by many, but some groups of people should avoid it or use caution when taking it. This includes anyone with allergies to cannabidiol or sesame oil and those with a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
While CBD doesn’t elicit any psychoactive effects, the National Institutes of Health still recommends that those with a history of addiction use caution.12 Anyone with a history of mood disorders, depression, or suicidal thoughts should also use caution.
If you fall into these categories, talk to your doctor before using CBD.
Functional Nutritionist, Expert Reviewer
Loren is the Lead Reviewer at Sleep Advisor. She has prioritized sleeping for as long as she can remember, rarely deviating from seven to nine hours each night.
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- Velzeboer, Rob., et al. “Cannabis Dosing and Administration for Sleep: A Systematic Review”. Sleep. 2022.
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