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CBD and Hemp Oils Reviewed by
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  • What is CBD? CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound derived from cannabis (a hemp plant also known as marijuana). Unlike other compounds found in cannabis, such as THC, cannabidiol is not believed to be a psychoactive compound affecting perception, and behavior.
  • Does CBD work? CBD taken orally has been shown to reduce the frequency of certain types of seizures, and preliminary evidence suggests it may also help with anxiety, schizophrenia, insomnia, and other conditions. However, most of these effects have involved large doses of CBD — hundreds of milligrams per day, which is more than in many marketed CBD supplements and products. Oral CBD has not been shown to help for colds or the flu. CBD applied to the skin as creams, gels, and lotions may modestly reduce some forms of pain and might promote hair regrowth. (See What It Is and What It Does.)
  • What did CL's tests of CBD products find? ConsumerLab found significant amounts of CBD in all of the products but the cost to obtain an equal amount of CBD from each product ranged more than 10-fold, from just 24 cents to $2.67 per 10 mg. Interestingly, there were many good, lower cost products available on the market than ConsumerLab found in its last Review in 2018. Levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, a psychoactive compound) also tended to be much lower, with THC not detectable in most products. (See What CL Found and use the Results table to compare the amounts of CBD and other cannabinoids in products.)
  • Best CBD Oil? Based on quality and value, ConsumerLab selected several Top Picks including an overall Top Pick as well as high, medium, and low-dose picks for oral use, a Top Pick among topical lotions and balms, and a Top Pick for Pets based on top quality and value.
  • How to choose a CBD product: If you seek CBD, look for products that list the amount of CBD or cannabidiol per serving (and don't confuse that with the amount per entire bottle). If a product lists only "cannabinoids" it may contain some CBD but you won't know how much. Products may still have significant amounts of CBD if they list "hemp extract" as an ingredient, but don't expect much CBD if "hemp oil" is the only ingredient. Hemp extracts are more likely to contain a range of cannabinoids in addition to CBD (although it's not clear if this provides added benefit) and this is what is meant by the term "full-spectrum" on labels — but full-spectrum products may or may not contain THC. If you want to avoid THC, look for products that claim to be "THC-free." (See ConsumerTips.)
  • How much CBD should I take and when?  Most of the research with CBD has involved high doses (several hundred milligrams daily). However, many CBD products on the market are lower dose and it is not clear if this dosing is effective. Nevertheless, to greatly increase CBD absorption, take it with or shortly after a fatty meal. (See ConsumerTips: Dosage.)
  • Is CBD legal? Although CBD is not psychoactive, it is not permitted to be sold as an ingredient in dietary supplements, as the FDA considers it an investigational new drug. Nevertheless, many CBD products are available on the market. It is legal to bring CBD products aboard domestic flights in the U.S. as long as it contains no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. FDA-approved CBD, such as the prescription medication Epidiolex, is also permitted. International flight rules will vary by country. (See Legality.)
  • CBD safety, side effects and drug interactions: High-dose CBD can cause side effects such as decreased appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, and fever. In people with Parkinson's disease, CBD may worsen motor symptoms. CBD may also cause abnormal results on liver-function tests and may interact with some medications including certain sedatives, blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin, and many others. For details, see Concerns and Cautions.

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CBD oils and hemp extracts compared in this review:

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Bluebird Botanicals Hemp Extract Classic

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CBDFX Gummies 300 mg - Mixed Berries

View Larger Image 7267_large_CharlottesWeb-MintChocolate-CBD-2020.png

Charlotte's Web 17 mg - Mint Chocolate Flavor

View Larger Image 7270_large_Curaleaf-HempLotion-CBD-2020.png

Curaleaf Hemp Lotion - Lemongrass

View Larger Image 7268_large_Elixinol-CBD-2020.png

Elixinol Organic Balance

View Larger Image 7277_large_GardenOfLife-CBDSleep-CBD-2020.png

Garden of Life Dr. Formulated CBD + Sleep

View Larger Image 7276_large_GardenOfLife-30mg-CBD-2020.png

Garden of Life Dr. Formulated CBD 30 mg - Softgel

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Garden of Life Dr. Formulated CBD 50 mg - Liquid

View Larger Image 7264_large_GreenRoads-RelaxBears-CBD-2020.png

Green Roads Relax Bears 300 mg - Sweet & Relaxing

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Lord Jones Hemp-Derived CBD Tincture -Naturally Flavored Peppermint

View Larger Image 7266_large_ManitobaHarvest-CBD-2020.png

Manitoba Harvest CBD

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Nature's Love Topical ReLeaf Salve

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NuLeaf Naturals CBD Maximum Strength - 240 mg CBD per bottle

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Plus CBD Oil Hemp Softgel 15 mg

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Plus CBD Oil Hemp Softgel 5 mg

View Larger Image 7273_large_SwansonCBD-15mg-CBD-2020.png

Swanson CBD 15 mg

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Swanson CBD Full Spectrum 150 mg Balm - Mint

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Swanson Extra Strength CBD Full Spectrum 25 mg Oil Drops - Mint

You must be a member to get the full test results along with's Top Picks and ConsumerTips on how to choose and use CBD. You'll get results for 18 popular CBD products (including oils, capsules, lotions, balms, and one for pets) including 10 selected by based on reader requests and 8 tested through our voluntary Quality Certification Program.

You'll get all of the following information about CBD liquids and pills in this comprehensive review:

  • Which CBD supplements passed or failed testing
  • Which CBD supplements, lotions and balms offer the best quality at lowest cost and are CL's Top Picks
  • What CBD can and cannot do for your health
  • Which products contain virtually no THC
  • The important difference between hemp oil and hemp extract
  • The best way to take CBD
  • The dose of CBD for specific uses and how the amounts in products compare to those shown to work in clinical trials
  • What to look for on product labels
  • Cautions about the safety and potential side effects of CBD

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Additional Information
Tested through CL's Quality Certification Program prior to, or after initial posting of this Product Review.