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Best CBD Oils of 2022 Review (Potency, Quality, Price)

CBD oil is everywhere these days. Only a few years ago, it was little more than a novelty. Fast-forward to today, and one can quite easily find CBD products in virtually every corner of the world.

As a loosely regulated industry, however, the market is often over-saturated with poorly made, low-quality products that end up being little more than a waste of money for customers.

Fortunately, several reputable CBD brands have earned trust through years of exceptional service – and more importantly, through top-notch products that actually work. The difficulty for consumers is wading through numerous subpar items to find such products.

In this guide, we save you the trouble by outlining the best CBD oil companies in the industry. We have selected five outstanding CBD brands according to overall quality, taste, CBD potency, customer ratings, and value for the money.

Each of these CBD brands offers something different. However, before we delve any deeper, let’s explore some of the fundamental pros and cons of using CBD oil.

PROS AND CONS OF USING CBD OIL

  • Suitable for a wide range of uses and applications
  • Offers a variety of flavors, prices, and milligram options
  • Easy to adjust dosing/serving size
  • Can be added to choice of foods and/or beverages
  • Relatively fast-acting effects and long-lasting use
  • Higher milligram options are generally very pricey
  • Sublingual consumption technique can be difficult for some
  • Most oral CBD tinctures are not applicable with vape devices

EDITOR’S CHOICE – PUREKANA

Don’t feel like reading the entire review? For the best CBD oil for 2022, our team settled almost unanimously on the honed-in product range from PureKana. Their oils are pure, effective, trusted, and made right here in the USA from premium American hemp.

Understanding What CBD Oil Is

CBD oil is a substance derived from the cannabis plant. It can come from either marijuana or hemp, both of which fall under the taxonomic classification of Cannabis sativa L. Proponents claim that CBD has many therapeutic benefits, including the potential to ease symptoms relating to anxiety, depression, sleep trouble, chronic pain, and even epilepsy.

At present, CBD (cannabidiol) is not an FDA-approved substance. The sole exception is an epilepsy drug called Epidiolex, which uses CBD as its key active ingredient.

The 2018 Farm Bill caused a fair degree of confusion in this regard, as it effectively legalized industrial hemp farming in most states (as of April 2021, hemp cultivation is now legal in all 50 states). Depending on the specific strain, industrial hemp can contain significant amounts of cannabinoids, including cannabidiol. This is why the Farm Bill states that hemp is legal as long as it has a THC content of 0.3% or less.

The best CBD brands out there spare no expense in terms of the time, money, and effort they invest into state-of-the-art materials and ingredients.

The extremely low level of THC in hemp means those who use CBD oil derived from hemp should not feel an intoxicating high. As you will quickly discover in this guide, however, not every CBD product is created equal. The best CBD brands put time, effort, and money into producing the best products. This is one of the reasons why premium-grade CBD is relatively expensive.

While there are dozens of cannabidiol products to choose from, CBD oil remains among the most popular. Most oils come in a bottle with an integrated dropper cap; users simply place a few drops of oil beneath the tongue, hold for up to 60 seconds, and swallow. Waiting for 60 seconds enables cannabinoids in the oil to enter the body efficiently via sublingual glands and blood vessels. Most agree that CBD, when taken sublingually (below the tongue), has a higher absorption rate than CBD consumed orally.

Does CBD Oil Have Any Benefits?

When discussing CBD oil benefits, one must tread carefully. Remember, most CBD products are not FDA approved. As a result, sellers can’t make any health claims about their products. They especially can’t say that CBD “treats” or “cures” any condition or ailment. Because of this, when CBD brands discuss how cannabidiol works in the body, they must use careful language.

That being said, aside from “curing” or “treating” anything, CBD can offer users tremendous benefits in terms of helping to establish and maintain a healthier lifestyle. Some of these key benefits include:

  • Regulating sleep cycles and establishing natural sleep patterns
  • Helping manage anxiety and everyday stresses
  • Assisting in the management of things like pain, soreness, and joint stiffness

CBD Research

The level of study regarding the way CBD works in the body is increasing significantly. Many studies suggest the compound’s ability to reduce a person’s level of anxiety, for example, or to help them sleep.

In a 2020 study by Atalay and colleagues, the authors state that CBD “has many beneficial pharmacological effects, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.”

A separate study by Hammell et al.; involving rats with induced arthritis showed that a transdermal CBD gel provided pain relief and reduced inflammation.

Exploring the medical benefits…

However, thanks mainly to the FDA approval of Epidiolex, the most detailed fields of study into the benefits of CBD oil relate to seizures and epilepsy. Many studies suggest that using cannabidiol can reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. A study by Silvestro et al. published in April 2019 in Molecules, for example, suggests that CBD “could represent hope for patients who are resistant to all conventional anti-epileptic drugs.”

There are dozens of other research papers that draw similar conclusions. This study, for example, published in Epilepsy Currents in 2014, provides a wealth of practical information regarding CBD and epilepsy. The trouble is that the lack of clinical research in other areas hinders the cannabinoid’s use for other conditions. Without clinical research, the FDA is unlikely to change its stance – and without full legality, it will not be easy for researchers to get the funding they need to investigate the use of cannabidiol for other medical conditions.

A Tricky Situation

It is still relatively easy to find CBD in most areas. However, some states are more strict than others regarding what a CBD product is (and isn’t) allowed to contain. The Idaho Office of Drug Policy, for example, states that CBD products must contain zero THC and must come from one of just five outlined parts of the hemp plant.

The good news for residents across the USA is that the federal government is mostly leaving it up to individual states to establish regulations on the use and availability of hemp and CBD. Most states have fully accepted hemp’s newfound legality, though a small handful remains stubborn in their policies. (To learn more about the cannabinoid in your specific location, be sure to check out our CBD state guides.)

No matter where you live, the most important thing is to invest in a reliable, well-made CBD oil that will work. As we outline in detail above, this can be inherently tricky – particularly given today’s saturated market with hundreds, if not thousands, of CBD brands.

What Is the Best CBD Oil? (Here’s What to Look Out for)

If CBD oil is available in your state, the next step is to identify the best CBD oils on the market. We recommend taking the following steps in your search:

Know the hemp source:
Ideally, the CBD brand will use industrial hemp grown in the United States or one of a select few European Union nations. Hemp from regulated U.S. farmlands maintains high levels of quality. As a result, you know that the hemp is free from GMOs, fertilizers, and other contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals.

Check for third-party lab reports:
Lab reports are not cheap, but all reputable CBD brands pay for them. A lab report lets customers know the precise cannabinoid and terpene content of any given CBD product. In most places, the maximum permitted THC content is 0.3%. However, as discussed above, in states like Idaho, products are not even allowed to contain trace amounts.

Look at the extraction method used:
CO2 extraction involves using carbon dioxide to remove cannabinoids from the hemp plant. The supercritical version of this process is considered the gold standard and is what many top CBD brands use today to manufacture effective, highly potent CBD products. In general, cannabinoid extraction using CO2 provides the best quality CBD oil.

Know the difference between a CBD oil and a CBD tincture:
When looking for the best CBD oils online, you will see that some CBD brands label their CBD oils as CBD tinctures, even when they are not alcohol-based tinctures. Apparently, this is in response to consumers incorrectly using the terms CBD oil and CBD tincture interchangeably. Naturally, this can be very confusing when trying to find the best CBD oils available. As mentioned, most leading CBD brands use CO2 extraction to remove the CBD from the hemp plant material.

However, manufacturers of CBD tinctures use high-proof alcohol in conjunction with low heat to extract the CBD for their products. Therefore, it is essential to read the product description and its list of ingredients on the packaging to know precisely how the CBD was extracted and what’s in it. Premium-quality CBD oil typically has a carrier oil base, such as MCT oil, whereas CBD tinctures are alcohol-based.

Find the appropriate CBD hemp extract:
Customers these days can buy full-spectrum CBD oil, which contains nearly a full array of the cannabinoids and terpenes present in hemp. Many CBD brands also offer broad-spectrum options, which are almost the same but contain no THC. Finally, CBD isolates include nothing other than cannabidiol infused in a carrier oil. For those that believe in the entourage effect, full or broad-spectrum CBD oils are probably the way to go. However, CBD isolate oils can be useful for those that want (or need) to avoid consumption of THC.

Other things to consider and evaluate are:

  • The CBD brand’s overall customer review scores
  • Their standards of customer service and care
  • Their reputation (including how long they’ve been in the industry)
  • Their dedication to product transparency
  • Their shipping, refund, and return policies.

It’s also essential to research and understand a company’s lab reports or Certificates of Analysis; this will let you know whether their CBD oils contain other potentially unwanted ingredients.

The Brands That Offer the Best CBD Oils

Given the sheer number of CBD companies in this saturated marketplace, it wasn’t easy to narrow down the brands that offer the best CBD oil. However, we painstakingly analyzed the various facets highlighted above, and the process ultimately worked well as we were able to weed out dozens of companies that didn’t come close to making the grade. (Incidentally, you can read our complete list of CBD oil brand reviews to see if you can find a brand you like that isn’t on this list).

Aside from considering CBD oil reviews from customers, we also looked at the overall quality of each oil, its taste, and CBD concentration, and most importantly, the overall value for the money it offered. Ultimately, we settled on the following picks.

BEST HIGH-QUALITY CBD OIL

PureKana is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and offers a wide range of innovative products. Aside from selling what in our book is the best CBD oil on the market, this brand sells CBD-infused beverages, toothpicks, honey sticks, and much more. PureKana ticks all the boxes and offers CBD derived from organically grown hemp, extracted using solventless carbon dioxide methods.

We could wax lyrical about this brand’s product range, but we will stick with PureKana’s top-rated CBD oil, which comes in five flavors: Vanilla, Mint, Citrus, Fruity, and Natural. The potency of these oils comes in standard CBD concentrations (300mg, 500mg, and 1000mg), but one thing we love about the PureKana CBD oil range is they offer high-potency options as well, including 2500mg and 5000mg bottles. Very few CBD brands on the market provide such an option. Most concentrations come in 30ml bottles, except for the higher potency options, which come in 60ml.

Unlike other CBD brands on the market, the team at PureKana is all about innovation. This brand is constantly launching new products and improving the quality of its CBD formula. For example, they have just recently launched a new line of health-specific CBD products, including a proprietary 1500mg CBD Sleep Aid tincture and a new Immunity Boost tincture. They’ve also added several new high-potency ‘Pain-Relief’ gels and roll-ons to their CBD topicals range.

PureKana is the #1 CBD oil on the market; they set the standard that other brands must live up to.

PureKana – Made in the USA

PureKana products are made in the USA and are extracted from USA-grown hemp — something they take great pride in pointing out. Many industry experts suggest that U.S. hemp is among the world’s finest. The brand also uses CO2 supercritical extraction to obtain its full-spectrum CBD oil. (If you want to check out the full list of cannabinoids and terpenes, simply check out the PureKana range of lab reports, which are available on each product page).

All in all, PureKana is a brand that has earned a reputation over several years for selling CBD oil of the best quality. It has featured in a variety of major publications, including Forbes, LAWeekly, and Medical Daily. Many websites that analyze top CBD oils include PureKana in their lists, and we’re no exception. For us, this is the #1 CBD oil on the current market, and the standard that the rest must live up to.

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Best reviews for cbd oil

As of 2022, CBD that comes from hemp (a type of cannabis sativa plant) that produces no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight is considered legal at the federal level. State laws vary, so it’s best to confirm any rules and regulations that apply to your area with your local and state legislation.

Is CBD oil safe?

The FDA reports it’s only seen limited data regarding the safety of CBD. Anyone interested in consuming CBD in any form should first consult with their healthcare provider and be aware of potential risks associated with using CBD products, including liver injury, drug interactions and male reproductive toxicity.

Who should use CBD oil?

A growing body of research suggests CBD oil can benefit people with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Epilepsy syndromes
  • Opioid addiction
  • Neurodegenerative disorders and diseases
  • Unmanageable chronic pain
  • Diabetic complications
  • Arthritis

Talk to your healthcare provider to learn more about whether CBD oil could be beneficial for you.

Can CBD oil impact the results of a drug test?

Standard drug tests don’t screen for CBD because it’s not an intoxicating substance, nor is it an illegal controlled substance. However, some CBD products contain trace amounts of THC, which can affect the results of a drug test.

Sources

Footnotes

  • Battista N, Di Tommaso M, Bari M, Maccarrone M. The endocannabinoid system: an overview. Front Behav Neurosci. 2012;6:9.

References

  • VanDolah HJ, Bauer BA, Mauck KF. Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. Mayo Clin Proc. 2019;94(9):1840-1851.
  • Lu H-C, Mackie K. An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system. Biol Psychiatry. 2016;79(7):516–525.
  • Cather JC, Cather JC. Cannabidiol primer for healthcare professionals. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2020;33(3):376–379.
  • FDA and Cannabis: Research and Drug Approval Process. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed 8/10/2021.
  • FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed 8/10/2021.
  • What is third party certification?. National Science Foundation. Accessed 8/10/2021.
  • How to read a COA and why it’s so important. ACS Laboratory. Accessed 8/10/2021.
  • What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed 8/10/2021.
  • Can You Take CBD and Pass a Drug Test?. Consumer Reports. Accessed 8/10/2021.

Information provided on Forbes Health is for educational purposes only. Your health and wellness is unique to you, and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances. We do not offer individual medical advice, diagnosis or treatment plans. For personal advice, please consult with a medical professional.

Forbes Health adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted, though offers contained herein may no longer be available. The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and have not been provided, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers.

Alena is a professional writer, editor and manager with a lifelong passion for helping others live well. She is also a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) and a functional medicine certified health coach. She brings more than a decade of media experience to Forbes Health, with a keen focus on building content strategy, ensuring top content quality and empowering readers to make the best health and wellness decisions for themselves.

Best CBD Oil for Pain Relief & Inflammation: Highest Quality Brands On The Market

Over the past three years, CBD oil has become increasingly popular as a health and wellness supplement.

One of the main reasons people are interested in trying CBD oil is because of its pain-killing benefits. We’ll get into the details of how CBD is suggested to help with pain later, along with some suggestions for the best CBD oils for pain and inflammation.

The ability for CBD to help with pain is a significant advantage over conventional pain management options — which often involve addictive and potentially harmful medications. Instead, this natural supplement has very few side effects and an exceptional safety profile — all without compromising on effectiveness.

But how do you choose the right CBD oil for the job?

This is an important question to ask because the truth of the matter is that not all CBD oils work. Many simply contain too little CBD to be of any help, while others contain harmful contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, or chemical solvents — all of which could add to the pain you’re already experiencing by damaging the sensitive nerve cells around the body.

We’re going to cover all of this in the article below. You’ll learn how to spot a high-quality CBD oil and how current evidence shows CBD to work inside the body.

This is a big topic, so let’s get started with our list of top-rated CBD oils for pain.

Top 10 Best CBD Oil Brands for Pain Management in 2022

Not sure which CBD oil to buy to help with chronic pain? Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how CBD is suggested to work for pain and inflammation, here’s our top 5 list of CBD oils I’ve used myself for back pain.

We’ll also offer some advice on a few ways you can spot a trustworthy CBD vendor even if they didn’t quite make it onto our list.

I’ve been using CBD for over 5 years now and I’ve stumbled upon some stellar companies with top-notch oils and fly-by-night businesses with oils that can’t simply don’t work.

I have a relatively short list of CBD brands that I fully trust and I want to share my choices with you so you can avoid some of the headaches and disappointment I’ve already endured.

Here are my top 10 CBD oil brands for pain:

1. Royal CBD (Best CBD Oil On The Market)

Technical Details
Total CBD Content 250 – 2500 mg
Available Flavors Natural, Mint, Vanilla, Berry
Potency 8.3 – 83.3 mg/mL

Get 15% off all Royal CBD products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.

Why Royal CBD is My Top Pick:

As skeptical as I am towards the majority of new CBD brands, I decided to give Royal CBD a try because I liked the company’s dedication to quality. I love seeing companies that take what they do seriously.

You can tell right away from the color, flavor, and consistency of the oil that you’re dealing with a product well above average.

This oil is cheaper than most of the other premium CBD oils I’ve tried, comes in a full range of potencies, and uses some of the best full-spectrum hemp extracts I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard friends using this brand for quite some time and decided to give it a try for myself — so I ordered a few bottles in different strengths.

After taking the Royal CBD’s 2500mg full-spectrum CBD oil for just over a week, I noticed an improvement in my back pain. There was a time when I had serious problems falling asleep because of the sharp pains in my back that seemed to intensify whenever I laid down to fall asleep. It was a nightmare. I’d lay awake for hours changing positions to try and find a spot that didn’t leave me writhing in discomfort.

With this oil, my experience went far beyond what I expected. Not only did it help ease the pain, but my overall quality of sleep improved. I mean, I didn’t sleep longer but I began to wake up rested and with a clear head.

My favorite combination for this particular oil is the vanilla in the 1000 mg bottle. This is the largest potency option currently offered by Royal CBD and has the best value overall. I took the oil twice per day, once in the morning when I woke up, and again in the evening before bed. One bottle of the 1000 mg CBD oil lasted me about a month.

  • Sourced from US-grown organic hemp
  • Extracted with supercritical CO2
  • Contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes
  • Available in 4 different strengths
  • Up to 2500mg of CBD per bottle
  • Lab-tested for potency and purity
  • Great natural flavors (no aftertaste and comes in multiple flavor options)
  • Free shipping within the USA
  • Newer brand on the market that only sells online, no physical presence

2. Gold Bee (Best Organic CBD Oil)

  • Premium Colorado-grown hemp
  • CO2 extraction
  • Contains full-spectrum CBD
  • Delicious kiwi flavor
  • Sweetened with organic honey
  • Lab-tested for potency and purity
  • Only one flavored option available
  • No high-strength oils (yet)

What I Like About Gold Bee:

I honestly believe Gold Bee makes the best organic CBD products out there. The brand combines premium Colorado-grown hemp with organic honey sourced from the Brazillian Rainforest. While Gold Bee offers a modest selection of oils — with up to 1200 mg of CBD per bottle — the formula is spot-on when it comes to the quality of ingredients. I’m totally not going to complain about the potency, as my back pain and sleep quality got better than with some high-strength oils I’ve tried in the past. Considering the quality of these products, they actually come at a bargain price. If you want to try other formats from Gold Bee, you can choose between its high-strength capsules and CBD-infused honey.

3. CBDPure (Runner Up)

Technical Details
Total CBD Content 100 – 600 mg
Available Flavors None
Potency 1.6 – 10 mg/mL
What I Like About CBDPure CBD Oil:

I love how transparent this company is. If I were judging companies solely by their transparency level, CBDPure would have scored the second place, right after Royal CBD. The company provides all the details about each stage of production when making this CBD oil. You can find all the third-party lab test results for each batch on the product page — something we’ve come to expect from any high-quality CBD company.

What really makes this company stand out is its incredible satisfaction guarantee. If you order the product and decide it wasn’t working for you, simply send it back and get a full refund. This satisfaction guarantee extends over 3 whole months — which is about three times longer than the industry average.

I keep a bottle or two of CBDPure oil in my medicine cabinet for achy moments after a run or hike with the kids.

The only real downside to this oil is the potency — which comes in denominations of 1.5, 5, and 10 mg/mL. This is suitable for more minor symptoms, but may not be enough for people with heavy CBD demands.

  • Sourced from Colorado-grown organic hemp
  • Extracted with supercritical CO2
  • Tested for the cannabinoid content and purity in a third-party lab
  • Rock-solid 90-day return policy
  • Narrow product range
  • Low potency
  • They don’t ship to every state (i.e. Louisiana, Indiana, Arkansas, Kansas)

4. HempBombs

Technical Details
Total CBD Content 300 – 4000 mg
Available Flavors Unflavored, Acai Berry, Orange Creamsicle, Peppermint, Watermelon
Potency 10 – 133.3 mg/mL
What I Like About HempBombs:

I used HempBombs CBD isolate-based hemp oil for quite some time before switching to full-spectrum CBD oil and in my opinion, this is the best brand when it comes to CBD isolates. Their products contain 99% pure CBD and ZERO THC.

Now don’t get me wrong, CBD isolates are great, they offer consistent doses of CBD, contain 0% THC, and are generally cheaper than their full-spectrum counterparts. In most cases, I like using a full-spectrum extract like Royal CBD oil because of something called the entourage effect — which is a concept highlighting the phenomenon where cannabinoids like CBD tend to work better when other hemp-derived compounds are also present.

In isolates, the only cannabinoid present is CBD.

HempBombs CBD oil is available in five different strengths — from 300mg to 4000mg per bottle. The CBD is added in the form of a 99% pure isolate — which means there’s going to be virtually no traceable amounts of any other cannabinoids, including THC, CBC, CBG, or CBN.

You can also buy these oils in different flavors. Hemp Bombs often adds new flavors to the list, but my all-time personal favorite is the Acai berry. It’s not too sweet but adds a really pleasant flavor to the otherwise bland CBD and MCT oil formula.

  • Sourced from 100% certified organic hemp from European farms
  • Extracted with supercritical CO2
  • Completely THC-free
  • Tested in third-party laboratories for purity and potency
  • Available in 5 separate strengths
  • Up to 4000mg of CBD per bottle
  • Lacks the synergistic effects from other cannabinoids
  • The highest potencies are overkill for most users
  • Uses synthetic flavoring agents

5. CBDistillery

Technical Details
Total CBD Content 250 – 5000 mg
Available Flavors None
Potency 8.3 – 166 mg/mL
What I Like About CBDistillery:

CBDistillery is now one of the largest CBD companies in North America. The company began in 2016 as a legacy brand for Balanced Health Botanicals.

Over the years, CBDistillery has had the chance to really dial-in its CBD oil formula. The company now sells its CBD oil in two formats — “full-spectrum” and “THC-free.” The THC-free option is great for people who want to benefit from the synergy of CBD and other cannabinoids but without bringing any THC whatsoever into their system.

Even the full-spectrum option contains less than 0.3% THC — which is well below the amount needed to cause any psychoactive effects. These oils are both completely non-psychoactive.

You can choose between five different strengths, starting at 250mg up to 5000mg of CBD per bottle. This covers just about every range of potencies you would ever need. We recommend opting for the higher potency options because they have the best value overall. The higher potency you purchase, the further your dollar gets you.

The more potent options also las the longest because you need smaller amounts of the oil each time to get the desired dose of CBD.

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I tried the 1000mg bottle to keep myself calm during the first few months after giving birth to my first son and I must admit it helped me maintain my sanity during that time. I found it to have a remarkable calming effect on the body and mind.

  • Available as full-spectrum CBD or pure CBD oil (THC-free)
  • 5 strengths to choose from
  • Carries up to 33.3 mg of CBD per mL (in the 1000 mg bottle)
  • Excellent value CBD oil
  • The hemp isn’t certified organic
  • No flavor options available
  • The company website is clunky and hard to navigate

6. NuLeaf Naturals

Technical Details
Total CBD Content 240 – 4850 mg
Available Flavors None
Potency 48.5 mg/mL
What I Like About NuLeaf Naturals

Nuleaf Naturals is one of the most popular CBD companies in the United States — most likely related to how long the company has been in the business of selling CBD. Nuleaf naturals were one of the first CBD companies to enter the mainstream market.

Despite the companies longstanding reputation, Nuleaf Naturals only sells one CBD oil. When you go to the website you’ll find a few different options, including a pet oil — but it’s important to understand that these are all the exact same full-spectrum extract, the only difference is the bottle sizes.

We love the simplicity of Nuleaf Naturals product lineup. The oils come with a decent potency of around 48 mg/mL, and just about every bottle size you can imagine. This makes it easy for everybody to find a product that works for them regardless of the budget.

With that said, if you have the cash, we highly recommend getting the larger bottle sizes in order to get the best value for your money.

You can choose between five different sizes:

  • Sourced from organic Colorado-grown hemp
  • Extracted using supercritical CO2
  • Made from a full-spectrum hemp extract
  • More expensive than the other brands in this ranking
  • Narrow product range

7. Charlotte’s Web

Technical Details
Total CBD Content 200 – 1800 mg
Available Flavors Mint Chocolate, Lemon Twist, Orange Blossom, Olive Oil
Potency 7 – 60 mg/mL

About Charlotte’s Web:

Charlotte’s Web is one of the pioneers in the American CBD industry. Established by the Stanley Brothers, the company has coined a reputation of a trustworthy manufacturer by helping now late Charlotte Figi with her treatment-resistant epilepsy. Although the company has recently received a warning letter from the FDA due to their health claims, they still have many faithful customers and a massive number of positive reviews on the web.

Charlotte’s Web CBD oil comes in several potencies: 200 mg, 500 mg, 1500 mg, and 1800 mg of CBD per bottle. The highest strength offers 60 mg of full-spectrum CBD per milliliter. There are two bottle sizes to choose from: 30 mL and 100 mL; Charlotte’s Web also has flavored variants of its CBD oil, including Lemon Twist, Orange Blossom, Mint Chocolate, and Olive Oil.

What could the company do better?

First off, they could change their extraction method because they use ethanol, which is less efficient than CO2 extraction. Secondly, and most importantly, the suspension in olive oil makes them taste a bit bitter — even in the flavored versions.

Pros:

  • One of the most reputable brands on the market
  • Full-spectrum CBD
  • Delicious flavored versions
  • Up to 1800 mg of CBD per bottle
  • Available in two sizes: 30 mL and 100 mL
  • Third-party tested for potency and purity

Cons:

  • Non-organic hemp
  • Ethanol extraction
  • Suspension in olive oil (bitter taste)
  • The company received a warning letter from the FDA in the past due to inappropriate health claims

8. cbdMD

Technical Details
Total CBD Content 300 – 7500 mg
Available Flavors Natural, Berry, Orange, Mint
Potency 10 – 250 mg/mL

About cbdMD:

cbdMD is another popular manufacturer that offers a wide range of CBD extracts, from tinctures to gummies to capsules, bath bombs, topicals, sleep aids, and pet products.

The brand offers a wide range of pure CBD oils, with up to 7500 mg of CBD per bottle. The highest potency comes with a whopping dose of 200 mg of pure CBD suspended in MCT oil for higher bioavailability and a smoother flavor. cbdMD also has three flavored CBD oils: Berry, Orange, and Mint.

Despite an impressive potency range, cbdMD uses broad-spectrum CBD in their products, which doesn’t evoke the full entourage effect. The higher potency may not necessarily mean better results in this case.

The company has high transparency standards; not only does cbdMD broadly describe their activity from farming to testing, but they also provide batch-specific certificates of analysis for their products, including the results for potency and common contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, and residual solvents.

Pros:

  • US-grown, non-GMO hemp
  • CO2 extraction
  • THC-free
  • Up to 7500 mg of CBD per bottle
  • Batch-specific certificates of analysis

Cons:

  • Limited entourage effect due to the lack of THC
  • Most people don’t need such high doses of CBD in their routine

9. Medterra

Technical Details
Total CBD Content 500 – 3000 mg
Available Flavors Natural, Citrus, Mint Chocolate
Potency 16 – 100 mg/mL

About Medterra:

Medterra is a small craft company from California. The brand offers premium CBD oils in different spectra: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and isolates. The potency of these products ranges between 500 mg and 3000 mg of CBD per bottle, which is a standard range. On top of the unflavored version, there are two flavored options: Citrus and Chocolate

Medterra prides itself on making the real full-spectrum CBD because each bottle of its full-spectrum CBD oil comes with 2 mg of THC. However, these products are only legal in the states that have legalized higher amounts of THC for recreational use. So, if you want to buy the company’s products in all 50 states, your options are limited to broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. These provide more CBD per bottle — upwards of 1000 mg.

The entire Medterra’s product range is tested in a third-party laboratory for their CBD content and safety.

Pros:

  • Premium-grade CBD oils
  • Up to 3000 mg of CBD per bottle
  • Available as full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and isolates
  • Lab tested for potency and purity

Cons:

  • The “real” full-spectrum CBD oil isn’t available in all states
  • Some of the lab reports indicate higher CBD levels than stated on the bottle
  • No discounts for returning customers

10. Joy Organics

Technical Details
Total CBD Content 450 – 900 mg
Available Flavors Tranquil Mint, Fresh Lime, Summer Lemon
Potency 15 – 30 mg/mL

About Joy Organics:

Joy Organics holds the reputation of one of the most reputable CBD vendors in the industry. The company was established by a woman named Joy Smith, who has been using CBD oil to manage her problems with pain and sleep. After experiencing the benefits of CBD first-hand, she has decided to share her passion for cannabis with other health-conscious consumers.

The brand sells a range of broad-spectrum CBD products from certified organic hemp. They have many positive reviews all over the Internet; they also haven’t received any warning letter regarding health claims from the FDA — unlike many companies in this space (even the veterans like Charlotte’s Web).

The Joy Organics CBD oil features a broad-spectrum CBD formula in a modest potency range, from 450 to 900 mg of CBD per bottle. You can choose from three refreshing flavors: Summer Lemon, Fresh Lime, and Tranquil Mint. The strongest version of the Joy Organics CBD oil contains 30 mg of broad-spectrum CBD in every milliliter, which is a standard dose for most people who take CBD oil for daily supplementation.

In 2018, one of the company’s flavored CBD oils was found to contain a fungicide that is commonly sprayed on citrus fruit during independent lab testing. Fortunately, Joy Organics recalled the product shortly after this incident and implemented a new third-party testing system to make sure there are no flaws in the end product.

Pros:

  • Non-GMO, US-grown hemp
  • Supercritical CO2 extraction
  • Broad-spectrum CBD
  • THC-free
  • Delicious flavors

Cons:

  • A bit expensive
  • No high-strength oils

CBD Oil for Pain Management: Complete Guide for Beginners

Now that we’ve covered a few CBD oil options that are going to provide the best value for your money, let’s discuss how CBD is suggested to support chronic pain in the first place. We’ll also cover some of the most common ways people are using CBD oil for pain.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD stands for cannabidiol _ it’s one of the primary active ingredients in the cannabis plant. It’s completely non-psychoactive and offers a wide range of benefits to the human body.

CBD oil is a combination of a CBD extract, with a carrier oil to help dissolve and store the CBD. Most CBD oils use carrier oils like MCT oil, or hemp seed oil — which is then combined with CBD isolate, or full-spectrum hemp extract rich in CBD and other similar cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids like CBD are fat-soluble — which means they dissolve when mixed with oil, but won’t dissolve in water. By dissolving these compounds in an oil solution, the CBD becomes much easier to store and use. Instead of measuring out micrograms of CBD crystals or hemp resin, all you need to do is measure oil to get your dose of CBD. This can be done using a simple dropper that comes standard with most CBD oils.

Because of their ease of use, and long shelf-life, CBD oils have become the go-to method of using CBD and other hemp extracts.

You can also opt-out to use CBD-infused gummies if you wanted something discreetly, read our in-depth review on CBD Gummies to understand better.

How Does CBD Work?

Cannabis has been used for managing pain and inflammation for thousands of years.

The earliest records of the medical use of the herb date back to ancient China when the emperor Shen-Nung placed it among other therapeutic substances in the Chinese pharmacopeia (1). The leaves were wrapped around an injury as a poultice to reduce pain and discomfort, and reverse swelling and bruising.

Despite being a known medicine for a long time, scientists have only recently begun to unlock the mechanisms cannabis uses to achieve its important pain-killing benefits.

Since the discovery of the endocannabinoid system in 1992, CBD and other phytocannabinoids have been in the spotlight of modern medicine.

The endocannabinoid system is one of the most important neurochemical networks in the human body (2). It works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system — a series of hormones and receptors that help regulate over a dozen core processes in the human body. The active compounds in the cannabis plant are very similar to the naturally-produced hormones involved with our endocannabinoid system.

By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, CBD and other cannabinoids are able to modulate several key processes, such as:

  • Appetite
  • Immune function
  • Memory
  • Mood
  • Stress
  • Sensory perception (including pain)
  • Inflammation
  • Reproductive health
  • Nerve function
  • Sleep

How Can CBD Reduce Pain Transmission?

How does all of this relate to pain? The answer lies in the way pain is transmitted to the brain.

When we injure ourselves, cells in the immediate vicinity begin releasing compounds that trigger a cascade of inflammation and sensory activation — which is what triggers the pain transmission.

The pain signal is then sent to the spinal cord through a network of nerves distributed all around the body.

Once in the spine, the pain signal is sent through a gateway (opioid and vanilloid receptors) designed to limit the amount of signal that ends up in the brain for processing. This works like a border crossing. The border security decides whether or not you’re allowed to enter and what you can take with you.

In the context of pain, these gateways can limit the amount of pain signal that continues across the border to the brain. If more pain signal is allowed to pass, the brain perceives more pain. If the pain is stopped at the border, the brain perceives less pain.

Conventional pain medications work by activating the opioid receptors acting as a key gateway for pain transmission to the brain.

CBD has a similar effect, but through a different receptor is known as the vanilloid receptors. These vanilloid receptors are tasked with regulating a specific form of pain caused by either heat or inflammation. CBD has been reported to modulate this vanilloid receptor — leading to a reduction in the pain signals sent to the brain from inflammatory causes such as arthritis, muscle damage, or infection, to name a few.

CBD has other ways it can limit pain transmission as well:

  • CBD may reduce inflammation, limiting the initial cause of pain in the body
  • CBD acts as an antioxidant, helping the body resist and recover from damage
  • CBD relaxes muscle fibers, reducing pain caused by muscle spasms and tightness

More research is needed to fully understand how CBD and other active cannabinoids can block pain. Every year dozens of new research papers are published in an attempt to paint a clear picture of how CBD works, how to get the most benefit from the supplement, and what its limitations are.

(Pain Transmission Pathway to the Brain)

Choosing CBD Oil Companies: How to Differentiate the Good From the Bad

CBD has become a lucrative business. Companies are selling a myriad of different CBD oils and other products in an attempt to cash in on the new health trend. This means there are a lot of excellent products coming to market, but it also means there’s a lot of trash as well. It’s important as a CBD user that you understand what makes a CBD oil good, and what makes it bad so you can avoid wasting your money, or worse — using CBD oils that contain harmful or damaging ingredients.

See also  Buy cbd oil for pain online

Let’s cover the most important points to remember when shopping for CBD oil online or in-store.

1. Check the Hemp Source

The source of the hemp used to make the oil is vitally important when it comes to determining which CBD oils are the best. The main reason comes down to the botany of the hemp plant itself.

Hemp is a bio-accumulator — which means it has the tendency to absorb compounds from the soil and accumulate them in its leaves, stems, and roots. The deep taproots of the hemp plant stretch far beneath the soil, pulling out and storing all the heavy metals and other elements it can find in the soil.

This aspect is in part why hemp is so nutritious, but it also means that plants grown in contaminated soils often contain contaminants that can be harmful to your health. Some of the worst offenders are heavy metals — which can build up in the body over time and lead to severe long-term health effects.

You want to avoid consuming heavy metals at all costs.

Poorly grown hemp could contain heavy metals, as well as other contaminants like mycotoxins, or pesticide residues that will end up in the CBD oil after all the processing is complete.

For this reason, it’s important to purchase CBD oil from companies that account for this effect. Only buy from company’s that make an effort to source hemp from organic farms, and take measures to assess every batch of hemp that enters the facility to determine heavy metal, microbial contaminant, and pesticide contamination.

The best hemp sources tend to come from states like Oregon, Colorado, or Alabama, as well as neighboring countries like Canada or Scandinavian countries. These places are all known for having high standards for hemp cultivation, and clean soils.

2. Look for CO2 Extracted Products

Once the company has the hemp, they need to extract the CBD from it. You can do this in many different ways using solvents like ethanol, methanol, hexane, ether, or butane. All of these solvents work to strip the active compounds from the hemp plant and can then be evaporated to leave behind a pure CBD-rich resin.

however, there’s a problem with these solvents.

Even in professional lab settings, it can be very difficult to remove all traces of these solvents from the final product. Most of these solvents are toxic to the human body, even in trace amounts.

Therefore, the best companies are using another method to strop the active ingredients from the starting hemp material. This method uses CO2 placed under high pressure. the high pressure and temperature control convert the CO2 into a phase that’s neither liquid nor gas. This special state is referred to as being supercritical.

Supercritical CO2 acts just like any other solvent, but with one key benefit — as soon as the pressure is relieved, the gas evaporates completely, leaving behind no harmful chemical residues.

when shopping for CBD oil, it’s ideal to look for a company that uses supercritical CO2 to extract the CBD rather than the toxic solvents mentioned above. Supercritical CO2 is very expensive and highly technical — but usually produces a far superior product in the end.

If a company is using harsh solvents like butane or propane (or they don’t tell you anything about their extraction methods), it’s a sign that you should look for another brand.

3. Ask for Third-Party Lab Reports

Every company has the option to send their products to an independent lab or third-party testing.

These laboratory tests check for the entire cannabinoid profile of the extract and are able to detect over 200 common contaminants.

Before a CBD product becomes available for sale, it should pass the laboratory test for potency and purity. If any inconsistencies are shown between different batches of the same product, the company should rework it and send it for analysis once again.

High-quality CBD companies will continually send each batch of product to a lab with no affiliation to the company (called a third-party or independent lab) for testing. These results are then published publicly on the website for customers to view.

The best companies will take this even one step further — adding a database and batch numbers on every bottle of CBD oil so you can view the results for your specific bottle of oil. Third-party testing is now an industry standard.

Always buy your CBD oil from companies that show third-party lab reports on their website. Only then will you know what’s inside the bottle before you even order a product. If the company is producing CBD oil that’s as high quality, as they say, there should be nothing to hide in these lab tests and they should be listed publicly on the company website. If you can’t find them on the site, you can ask customer service for these as well.

If these tests don’t exist, or you can’t track them down from the website or customer service — it’s best to avoid this company and move on to another that takes this important step seriously.

What the Research Says About Using CBD Oil for Pain:

Understanding how CBD works is no simple task. This compound is incredibly complex — working through a number of unrelated receptors around the body, interacting with enzymes, cell membranes, and various other cell structures. This makes studying CBD very difficult.

Nevertheless, there have been thousands of research papers published on medical marijuana — seeking to understand the interaction between cannabinoids like CBD and the human body. A lot of this research specifically focused on the effects of CBD on various forms and causes of pain. Let’s explore some of the results this research has yielded in the context of pain management.

1. CBD Oil for Chronic Back & Nerve Pain

The painkilling properties of cannabidiol have been most thoroughly studied in animal models, as well as a handful of human clinical trials.

One of the best studies we have available on the topic is a meta-analysis published in 2017. This analysis looked at 24 different clinical trials involving 1,334 patients over several years and demographics. These studies all used various forms of cannabis for treating chronic pain. The analysis reports that many of these studies showed a reduction in chronic pain scores by 50% or more (3) — suggesting the cannabis plant to be a potential treatment for chronic pain.

Another clinical trial looked at the effects of a combination of CBD to THC in the treatment of intractable cancer pain. This study found that twice as many people in the treatment group given CBD and THC had a 30% or more reduction in pain symptoms at the conclusion of the trial (6).

Even though more clinical trials on humans are needed to gauge how CBD affects specific forms of pain or other conditions, scientists believe the efficacy of CBD in treating chronic pain is related to its anti-inflammatory effects (3).

2. CBD Oil for Arthritis

CBD has had a lot of research as a potential alternative to prescription and non-prescription pain medications commonly used for alleviating arthritis pain.

Researchers have found a clear link between the endocannabinoid system and the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease associated with chronic pain and inflammation (4).

One of the key areas CBD is thought to support osteoarthritis specifically is through the effects on an enzyme known as 5-lipoxygenase — AKA 5-LOX. CBD has been shown to inhibit this enzyme (7), which converts fatty acids into pro-inflammatory compounds. These inflammatory messengers have been shown to be a key component in the underlying inflammation involved with osteoarthritis (8).

By reducing the underlying causes of arthritis pain, CBD is thought to reduce the overall burden of pain from the condition over the long term.

3. CBD and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Pain

Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is a potent neuroprotective — which is how experts believe CBD is able to relieve debilitating MS pain, —which affects roughly 50–70% of patients diagnosed with the condition.

A study conducted on animals at Cajan Institute tested the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD on mice the researchers wanted to find out if CBD can provide a reversed inflammatory response on those cells. After ten days, the researchers found a reduction in inflammatory markers with a rodent encephalitis model designed to imitate the impact MS has on the body (5).

More research is needed to see exactly how these effects are translated to humans. Currently, there are 23 clinical trials currently underway, or planned within the next 12 months seeking to explore the effects of CBD on MS.

4. CBD Oil in Sports: Injuries & Muscle Endurance

Cannabidiol can be applied in two different ways when it comes to pain and physical activities. For example, when you administer CBD orally in the form of oil as a post-workout, it helps alleviate the muscle inflammation that troubles athletes once they go beyond the edge again.

If, however, you’re suffering from an injury, it’s best to apply CBD topically. Its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties allow the cannabinoid to relieve pain and improve regeneration capacities.

Does CBD Have Any Side Effects?

The main reason why parents are so enthusiastic about CBD is that this cannabinoid is completely non-intoxicating, doesn’t cause addiction, and has only a few mild side effects when taken at excessive doses.

Research shows that even doses up to one and a half grams have no severe side effects on human health (9).

Despite being a notoriously safe supplement, there are some side effects of using CBD in high doses. Let’s cover the most common side effects people report from using CBD:

  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Reduced appetite
  • Mood changes
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting

The most common side effect by far, like other forms of cannabis, is dry mouth. This is best managed by taking your CBD oil along with some juice like pineapple or orange juice.

Another common side effect is lowered blood pressure, which may trigger another unwanted reaction — lightheadedness. This side effect is important to consider if you suffer from low blood pressure already or are taking blood pressure-lowering medications.

Always consult your doctor before using CBD or other cannabis extracts if you’re taking prescription medications or have underlying medical conditions.

In Summary: Buying CBD Oil For Pain

As CBD becomes more popular around the world, scientists are publishing new research on cannabinoids on a near-weekly basis. As time goes on, experts are mapping out the complicated mechanisms CBD and other hemp derivatives are using to support both acute and chronic pain of all different origins.

Here are the main takeaways from the current research:

  • CBD inhibits inflammation at several different levels
  • CBD offers antioxidant support
  • CBD may relieve muscle tension and inflammation
  • CBD interacts with the vanilloid receptors in the brain responsible for regulating inflammatory pain transmission

When it comes to pain, CBD appears to target the cause of the problem instead of just masking its symptoms.

Getting relief on so many levels and without any harmful side effects or risk of addiction is the reason why CBD oil has become so popular over the past half a decade.

I hope this guide has managed to clear up any confusion regarding CBD oil and pain, and given you the insight necessary to find the right CBD oil for the job.

Have you tried CBD oil for chronic pain? Did you feel any difference? Let me know in the comments below!

References:

  1. Brand, E. J., & Zhao, Z. (2017). Cannabis in Chinese Medicine: Are Some Traditional Indications Referenced in Ancient Literature Related to Cannabinoids?. Frontiers in pharmacology, 8, 108.
  2. Alger B. E. (2013). Getting high on the endocannabinoid system. Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science, 2013, 14.
  3. Aviram, J., Samuelly-Leichtag, G. (2017) Efficacy of Cannabis-Based Medicines for Pain Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Pain Physician, 20(6), E755-E796.
  4. Bruni, N., Della Pepa, C., Oliaro-Bosso, S., Pessione, E., Gastaldi, D., & Dosio, F. (2018). Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 23(10), 2478.
  5. Elliott, D. M., Singh, N., Nagarkatti, M., & Nagarkatti, P. S. (2018). Cannabidiol Attenuates Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis Model of Multiple Sclerosis Through Induction of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1782.
  6. Johnson, J. R., Burnell-Nugent, M., Lossignol, D., Ganae-Motan, E. D., Potts, R., & Fallon, M. T. (2010). Multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of THC: CBD extract and THC extract in patients with intractable cancer-related pain. Journal of pain and symptom management, 39(2), 167-179.
  7. Takeda, S., Usami, N., Yamamoto, I., & Watanabe, K. (2009). Cannabidiol-2′, 6′-dimethyl ether, a cannabidiol derivative, is a highly potent and selective 15-lipoxygenase inhibitor. Drug Metabolism and Disposition.
  8. Lascelles, B. D. X., King, S., Roe, S., Marcellin‐Little, D. J., & Jones, S. (2009). Expression and activity of COX‐1 and 2 and 5‐LOX in joint tissues from dogs with naturally occurring coxofemoral joint osteoarthritis. Journal of orthopaedic research, 27(9), 1204-1208.Chicago
Nina Julia

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

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