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CBD & Hemp Extract Supplements, Lotions, and Balms Review
What is it? CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound derived from hemp and marketed as a supplement despite the U.S. FDA's position that CBD is not a dietary supplement. (See What It Is).
Does it 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, 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. CBD applied to the skin (such as CBD creams, gels, and lotions) may modestly reduce some forms of pain (See What It Is and What It Does).
What did CL find? ConsumerLab found the dose of CBD per suggested serving ranged 15-fold from 1.3 mg to 22.3 mg, and the cost to obtain 10 mg of CBD from each product ranged over 5-fold from 80 cents to $4.54 (or $4.73 when including balms). Two products were discovered to contain less CBD than listed and one contained much more. (See What CL Found and use the Results table to compare the amounts of CBD and other cannabinoids in products).
What to look for? 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. (See ConsumerTips)
How much to 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)
Other concerns: High-dose CBD can cause a range of side effects (particularly gastrointestinal) and affect certain medications. For details, see Concerns and Cautions.
You must be a ConsumerLab.com member to get the full test results along with ConsumerLab.com's Top Picks and ConsumerTips on how to choose and use CBD. You'll get results for 20 popular CBD products (including oils, capsules, lotions, balms, and two specifically for pets) including 14 selected by ConsumerLab.com based on reader requests and six 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 and value 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
Question: I've heard that grapefruit juice can interact with medications because it inhibits an enzyme that breaks down drugs in the body. Do any supplements interact the same way with drugs?
Get the answer >>
Question: My dog is getting older and his veterinarian recently recommended giving him a glucosamine supplement for his joints. Has ConsumerLab.com tested these, or other supplements for pets? Get the answer >>