Toll-free: 833.403.2861

CBD (short for cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. Because it contains super low levels of THC (like less than .3%), CBD is not going to get you high. THC is the part of the weed that gets you high (standard-issue pot is about 18% THC, for reference). These THC levels are so low that CBD lacks the psychoactive properties. Instead, CBD fans swear by the stuff as a way to relax, get better sleep, and manage anxiety, among other things.

People like marijuana for all kinds of reasons, including relaxation, pain relief, and overall good vibes, right? It's the same story with CBD, just without the mind-altering high (or the munchies). You're essentially getting that chill factor without actually feeling different, and you're leaving behind the red eyes and hysterical laughing, too.

The FDA has officially approved the use of CBD for seizures and epilepsy, but people are finding that it's helpful with so much more. Users who swear by this stuff have become enthusiastic advocates in online reviews and social media, trumpeting the benefits they've experienced: For these fans, CBD has helped them combat anxiety, depression, sleep troubles, stress, pain, and inflammation — take that, cortisol. Apparently, it can also help with your sex drive and sexual pleasure.

Professional athletes are also starting to join the CBD party. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD already made it attractive to heavily active folk for better recovery times and pre-game stress reduction. Once CBD was removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of banned substances, it gave runners, bikers, NBA, NHL, and NFL players alike more of a reason to ditch OTC pain pills.

AARP is even pro-CBD for seniors, citing it as an option to combat arthritis and other pains, help manage osteoporosis and blood pressure, and even tremors due to cancer. While your conservative grandma probably isn't going to roll a joint anytime soon, these benefits may just have her asking to hit your CBD pen.

CBD isn't a fix-all and usage should probably be discussed with your doctor first. Formal research and scientific findings on this stuff is pretty limited at the moment, so most of the knowledge we have about effects comes from real-life users. But FDA approval of CBD for seizures and epilepsy could certainly pave the way for more widespread use.

The World Health Organization has said that there's no evidence of public health-related problems correlated with the use of pure CBD. You could feel fatigued or irritable, but that's the extent of the bad parts.

But we can't take that statement and run with it just yet. In the spring of 2018, the Natural Products Expo estimated that the CBD industry doubled in size in the last two years, which is super fast for a product that so many people are clueless about — let alone the fact that it's associated with marijuana and drags along negative connotations.

It's awesome that so many people have seemingly found the relief they've been looking for, but it needs to be met with caution. Clinical trials are having a hard time keeping up with the demand, and people should chill with their dosages and talk to their doctors if symptoms become too intense.

This isn't bad news, though, and the trials that have already happened have found that the seemingly too-good-to-be-true compound might be for real, as long as it's not a mix of THC and CBD disguised as pure CBD. Everyone will obviously react differently, and we're not trying to play doctor here — we're just telling you what we've heard.

NYU's Dr. Esther Blessing is a psychiatrist and researcher in the midst of testing numerous possible benefits of CBD — like combatting PTSD and substance abuse — and who has received funding for her studies from the National Institutes of Health, a good sign for anyone who's been on the fence. NPR talked with her in 2018 about CBD:

"It may seem counterintuitive that a component of marijuana could be useful in treating addiction to another drug. But Blessing says using CBD is very different from using marijuana. Though CBD is extracted from cannabis, it does not lead to altered perception and cognition.

'Drugs can be non-psychoactive and still have an effect on the brain,' Blessing says. 'CBD does have an effect on the brain, but it seems to affect the brain in possibly medicinal ways.'"

Final results from all of Blessing's studies as well as others likely won't reach the public for a few more years. So until then, we'll have to keep scanning Reddit and listening to our friends on their CBD-scented soapboxes.

If the CBD is derived from hemp (like all of the products mentioned below), you're pretty much in the clear. Hemp's low THC content (under .3%) isn't enough to get you high, which was a good enough reason for the senate to pass this 2018 farm bill to legalize hemp.

CBD derived from marijuana is where things get a hazy — this is where THC to CBD ratios matter, and it's all up to your state's discretion. We're not advocating for you to break the law here, and you should definitely deep-dive into your state's weed laws before purchasing any CBD, even if it's hemp derived. (This table goes into more detail and is super helpful.)

That said, it's worth noting that hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD aren't exactly the same thing. According to The Growthop:

"Although CBD oil and hemp oil are both low in THC, the difference in the amount of CBD these products contain is huge. Hemp oil has only traces of CBD (around 3.5 percent,) while CBD oil can have up to 20 percent. It is the higher concentration that makes CBD beneficial in the treatment of various health disorders. Hemp oil based CBD products do not contain enough of the compound to be considered much more than a health supplement."

The online CBD market can be tricky to navigate. Swimming through customer reviews and Reddit threads to find the best ones could take forever and will likely add to the stress that made you want to try CBD in the first place. That's why we've done the work for you. CBD is available in physical retail stores, but your options are likely to be limited. And if you don't live in a super populated area, you may not be able to find it IRL at all.

Most online retailers will offer a selection of oils, tinctures, capsules, vape juices, drinkable syrups, topical creams, and gummies, so even the pickiest folks should be able to find a form that they can tolerate. Some retailers also offer special pet products for dogs and cats who need to chill as well.

Heads up: Remember that farm bill that we mentioned? While it does legalize hemp and hemp products, the FDA still isn't psyched about brands encouraging customers to put CBD in food or brands claiming that their CBD products are dietary supplements. However, it's nearly impossible to find one online CBD retailer that doesn't do one or the other.

In attempts to get around this, most retailers will have a disclaimer emphasizing that none of their products are approved by the FDA and are not intended to cure or treat any diseases. Remember that survey we mentioned at the beginning of the article? Edibles were the most popular CBD product of the people who have tried it before. 'Nuff said.

Hemp-derived CBD products fall under one of two categories that speak to how much of the plant was used:

Isolates are the purified, THC-free stuff. This means that the CBD has been isolated and other cannabinoids and terpenes have been filtered out, giving most isolate products a light or clear color. They won't really smell or taste like anything, which can be good if you're grossed out by the hemp scent or are just picky in general. Many times, you'll see these labeled simply as "THC-free."

Full spectrum is the mixed, heavier-duty stuff. This means that the oil, capsule, or whatever you've chosen was made from the entire plant and contains cannabinoids other than CBD, terpenes, and fatty acids naturally found in cannabis.

The majority of users, unless they're super paranoid about THC, seem to prefer full spectrum products over isolates simply because, well, they just work better. When all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and all of that other good stuff team up, they work together in synergy to offer the human body more relief, creating what scientists have coined as the entourage effect.

Full-spectrum CBD should be fine and dandy in most places, but should be used with caution in states that are less lenient. You should probably stick with isolates if:

You live in a state that's strict about cannabis without a medical marijuana card or where CBD is only legal if there's 0% THC

You get drug tested (or could get drug tested) regularly at work

Your body has had a negative reaction to THC in the past

Though full-spectrum CBD is still derived from the hemp plant and technically legal under the farm bill, it doesn't go through the rigorous extraction processes that isolates do and may still contain small traces of THC (less than .3%). It's not enough to alter your cognition, but it could still be in your system.

Most brands use extensive extraction methods (usually via CO2 or heating) to get the excess stuff out and preserve only the helpful cannabinoids and terpenes. Most times, the only extra ingredients will be hemp oil or coconut oil, plus other added seeds and fruits.

As for the dosage you should take, it depends on a few key factors including tolerance, weight, and the intended use. For example, someone with severe chronic pain will probably need a higher dose than someone who needs help falling asleep. Most online vendors will give dosage recommendations for each of their products, and Medium has a great deep dive into CBD concentrations if you want more details.

It's up to you to decide what works for your situation. We know this is a lot of information to take in, but we'll help by telling you which of our favorite brands have THC-free options, full spectrum options, or both.

Price wise, there's more to look at than simply comparing the price of two different 30-capsule bottles. A bottle of 30 capsules may be cheaper on one site than the other, but this may be because the cheaper site's capsules are less potent and require two pills to feel the same effect as taking one pill from the other site.

The price-per-dose is how to really find out if you're getting your money's worth. Aside from telling you where prices start on each site, we'll list the cost effectiveness as the "true price." To calculate it, just take the price of the product divided by the total dosage in milligrams. For instance, if a bottle of 30 capsules contains a total of 500 mg and the price is $44.95, the price per mg is around $0.09 (which is a great price, BTW.) Math!

Let's get shopping.