If you’re looking to enhance your overall health, improve your mood and deal with minor aches and pains better, then perhaps it’s time you consider incorporating CBD into your daily routine. CBD exploded in popularity a few years ago, going from a little-known hemp extract incorrectly associated with marijuana, to becoming the most popular new health product of the last two years. One recent study indicated that 1 in 8 Americans have now tried CBD!
Even though we recently reviewed the best CBD oil for pain relief, with this increased popularity comes a dramatic increase in the sheer volume of CBD products hitting the market. So, now that CBD can be found easily (except on Amazon, which bans it) how do you know which brands and types of products are effective, safe, and worth spending your money on? Our journalists have gathered the data, and we’ll be exploring several popular brands who have built a reputation and loyal following with their lines of topicals, tinctures, softgels, and more. First we’ll take a closer look at what CBD is, why people use it, and then offer some of the best brands we’ve found in the market so far. Let’s get started!
What’s So Special About CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD as its more commonly known, is just one of many cannabinoids that occur naturally in the hemp plant. Unlike the better-known cannabinoid THC, CBD contains no psychoactive properties, is non-intoxicating, and will not get the user “high”. CBD offers a myriad of the pain and mood-boosting benefits however, without the mind-altering effects or legal concerns. As required by the federal Farm Bill, all CBD products are limited to contain no more than 0.3% THC to be legal. CBD is legal throughout the United States, but some states have specific laws on adult usage, and how it can be sold and labeled. Several states prohibit it being added to food, or being possessed by minors. For most of us though, getting an effective CBD product delivered to the door is often just a few clicks away.
CBD comes in three options: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. Full spectrum utilizes all the cannabinoids that are found naturally in the hemp plant, including low levels of THC. Many full-spectrum products also make use of terpenes and other phytonutrients found in the plant, in order to cover the whole spectrum of active components in the plant. This is critical to getting the maximum benefit from the entourage effect. The entourage effect is based on the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts; namely that the various natural components of the plant working in conjunction have greater effects than any individual or isolated component.
While full-spectrum does mean there are trace amounts of THC present, they are well within the legal limits and have no psychoactive effect at low doses. Some people fully embrace the mindset of the “entourage effect,” which is gleaning all of the benefits from using all of the plant. Yet the trace amounts of THC may possibly (though unlikely) show up on an employment drug test, which some CBD users do not allow or want to risk. That’s where the other types of CBD comes in handy. Broad spectrum also uses multiple parts of the hemp plant, but is typically completely free of THC, so a broad range of cannabinoids are present, but the problematic one has been completely removed through a distillation process.There is a third form of CBD called isolate, which is completely free of THC and all other non-CBD cannabinoids and terpenes. CBD isolate is technically CBD in its purest form, but it misses out on the benefits of other valuable plant components, and has no entourage effect. Generally, the benefits of using CBD products are hindered when only the CBD is isolated through chemistry. All three of these options may appeal to different demographics, and offer different potential benefits to each.
Our Picks from the Top CBD Brands
With the wide selection of CBD products from an even larger selection of brands, it can be overwhelming to pick one at random from a list of very similar-sounding options. In the following sections, we’ll outline our preferred CBD brands as well as the products they carry and why they’ve made it onto our list. All of these brands have stellar reviews, provide independent third-party lab testing, and are made with hemp grown within the United States. Whenever possible, we gave preference to brands that were made with full-spectrum oil, rather than just CBD isolate. Though some users prefer strictly THC-free CBD, the additional benefits (i.e. entourage effect) of using full-spectrum oil are well proven. Whether it be the convenience of a softgel incorporated into your morning regimen or the occasional topical cream used on stiff and achy joints, we’re sure you’ll find something in the CBD world that fits your specific lifestyle needs. Keep reading to see our top favorite CBD brands of 2022!
CBDPure was a popular online brand before most people had even heard of full-spectrum CBD oil. Operating since 2016, the scientists at CBDPure’s parent company Nutra Pure source their CBD oil from local hemp farmers in Washington. Each one of their products features full spectrum hemp that has been extracted using CO2, rather than harsh solvents. Their tinctures come in reasonable doses and range between $30-$80, depending on the total CBD strength. Their best in class satisfaction guarantee provides customers with a 90-day full money back guarantee if not completely satisfied. Every batch is quality tested at every step of the production process, from soil to oil. The company also makes public a lab report for every bottle on their website for current and future customers to review.
Populum is a high-end consumer brand best known in the CBD industry for their subtle orange flavor and inclusion of minor cannabinoids in their full-spectrum oil. They offer a complete lineup of flavored and unflavored oils and topicals. Every company product is not only lab-tested, but the individual customized lab report is included with every order in the box. In addition to being transparent with their quality, Populum also offers a wide range of strengths for their oils. From 250mg to 2000mg, Populum has a potency level for every situation. Top-notch customer support, and complete lab tests printed out and shipped in every order add to the overall premium look and feel of this brand.
- U.S. manufactured products with 3rd-party lab reports
- Subscription options offer substantial savings
- Pleasant orange citrus taste
3. XWerks CBD
Xwerks CBD takes a unique approach to CBD products in the market. The majority of Xwerks customer base are Crossfit and fitness enthusiasts, so the company’s products are tailored to meet the higher demands of training athletes. The Xwerks brand offers full spectrum tinctures, softgels, and a “Rub” that are all tailored towards athletes. Streamlined product offerings are reasonably priced, comparable to what you might find in a gym or sports supplement store, ranging from $50-$70. Xwerks CBD offers lab testing on all their products, which are backed by a satisfaction guarantee.
- Full spectrum products and one of the best topical creams available
- High potency dosages to meet the demands of world-class athletes
4. Charlotte’s Web CBD
Charlotte’s Web is the largest of the participants in today’s CBD world by size. A publicly traded company now, the Stanley brothers were on the forefront of CBD’s rise from a little-known cannabinoid to a well-regarded health product. Charlotte’s Web has a large retail presence, and can be found in many brick-and-mortar health food stores. U.S. customers can also order from their wide list of product offerings online as well. This brand is another rather expensive one, but offer a wide variety of CBD formats and flavors. The dosages and differences between their product lines can be a bit confusing, but each of their products has full third-party lab tests.
- Large selection of products in different flavors and strengths
- Strong retail presence for shoppers who prefer in-store purchase
What Makes a Good CBD Brand?
One of the most important aspects of any product is the cost. When it comes to your health, the common phrase, “You get what you pay for” should be remembered. Be wary of unusually inexpensive brands, or ones that rely on a “free trial#8221; method of promotion. The cost of organic farming practices, testing, and extraction are high, and brands that are priced significantly lower than others are often cutting corners, or don’t contain the amount of CBD claimed. While nobody wants to overpay for a product with many alternatives, ultimately your focus should be on the quality in a brand. Do they have good reviews? Is their pricing similar to other brands in the industry? Any brand purportedly selling CBD for less than few cents per milligram should be avoided, as it is unlikely to be real CBD.
One reason a brand may rightfully be more expensive is due to the extraction process they use. There are several different types of extractions, with hydrocarbon solvent being the most common, followed by ethanol extraction. The cleanest method is CO2, but it is less commonly used because it is more expensive and hard for chemists to fine-tune. Potency is obviously the biggest driver of price, so you should expect to pay more for a tincture with 500 milligrams of cannabinoid content versus an oil with only 200 milligrams of CBD.
3rd Party Lab Testing
Since CBD products are not directly reviewed by the FDA, it is crucial to confirm that you are buying from a trust-worthy seller that has their products tested independently. Most legitimate brands now will send out their products to an independent third-party lab. These labs are not compensated to sway or alter the results, but simply for the tests performed. The gold standard is 5-panel tests.These tests will confirm the absence of pesticides, solvents, harmful chemicals, bacteria, and will confirm the total CBD and THC content. Since a true third-party lab is unaffiliated with the brand itself, the results will either confirm or counter the claims of the brand.
Each brand will have different methods of displaying their test results, but they should always make them accessible to end users. Brands like CBDPure and Charlotte’s Web post them by batch on their websites, while Populum mails individual test results with every order. Other brands will only provide the results upon request, which requires some additional work for curious customers. Another common approach is to print a scannable QR code on the product package, thus requiring a purchase of the product to see the results, though some also post these publicly online. At minimum, there should be some way to see lab reports prior to purchase from any reputable brand.
What’s the Best CBD For Me?
While CBD has a wide range of benefits for a wide range of people, it helps to narrow down the type of product and dosage that is appropriate for you, rather than rely on a “one size fits all” approach. If you’re just starting out with a CBD regimen, it’s best to start off with something simple. Products like softgels or oils are convenient to take, and dosage can be easily updated. For those with occasional aches and pains from exercise, injury, or age, then a topical cream may be their preferred CBD method.
CBD softgels or capsules are the simplest to dose, because they contain a premeasured amount of CBD in each unit. Tinctures and oils come in many different strengths and sizes, absorb more rapidly, and users can adjust intake depending on need. Topicals like lotions and creams are specific to the bodily area that needs it (usually knees and shoulders), and are used episodically rather than on a daily basis by most fans.
You should also consider the type of CBD to use. Remember in the beginning when we mentioned that CBD comes in three forms (full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate)? Full spectrum products with other minor cannabinoids (CBN,CBG, CBA, among others) can offer the full benefits of the hemp plant, while broad spectrum and isolate will ensure you do not consume any THC. No matter which type of CBD you choose, consistent use of CBD will have a positive impact on your overall health and wellness.
When it comes to CBD, there is no “magic dose” for any product. It might take some time for you to discover what dosage is right for you. Your height, weight, metabolism, gender, and previous exposure to cannabinoids all play a part in how CBD will affect you. Many brands will have a recommended dosage that may be helpful for first time users. Whether it be a single softgel, half a dropper of tincture, or a dollop of topical cream, you’ll need to be patient and track how much you take to see what works best for you.
Another thing to consider is the total CBD mg count. Some brands offer incredibly high amounts of CBD in their products, such as a 2000mg tincture that comes in a 30mL bottle. It’s recommended to start off small and see how your body reacts over time. If you feel the need to increase your dose, do so gradually until you feel that the CBD is working how you want it to. If you feel sleepy or sluggish after usage, decrease the dose. Fortunately, there is no known toxicity level for THC, so the worst issue you may have from a bit too much is usually just sleepiness.
CBD Side Effects
There are typically little to no side effects for the majority of people when it comes to consuming CBD. Due to the low THC content and the fact that CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, you won’t feel any immediate behavioral effects or “get high.” Many users prefer CBD to other cannabinoids due to its healing properties that work best with prolonged use. You may feel more relaxed and even a bit sleepy, especially if you consume large amounts of CBD after a long day of work. You may feel a general feeling of well being and contentment as the CBD helps to balance out your mood. Many brands will outline the long-term benefits of additional cannabinoids their CBD products contain, which can help you make an informed decision when it comes to selecting a brand and product type.
CBD’s surge in popularity the last several years is no accident. The benefits that many users report are nothing short of life-changing. The low risk of side effects and near-immediate effects have gained this humble cannabinoid a well deserved level of popularity. Whatever your needs or health concerns, CBD presents an approachable method of improving your health. While the majority of CBD is still sold online, users can still typically find them in some retail locations where they can ask questions or handle the product before purchase. As with any supplement, if you have specific medical conditions or concerns, you should always speak with your medical provider before taking CBD or any other supplement or medicine. Otherwise, we highly recommend CBD products as a simple and proactive way to take control of your health.
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