When it comes to cannabidiol (CBD), there’s a lot to know.
Maybe you’re already aware that CBD is one of the countless active compounds found in the cannabis plant. But did you know that CBD comes in different forms?
Keep reading to learn more about pure CBD, its possible health benefits, and potential side effects. We’ll also recommend a few of the best pure CBD products.
The purest form of CBD is CBD isolate. To create CBD isolate, hemp goes through a number of purifying processes, leaving behind only CBD in its purest form.
Unlike CBD isolate, other types of CBD contain other cannabis compounds. That’s why they aren’t considered pure CBD.
Broad-spectrum CBD products include nearly every compound in the cannabis plant, except for THC. Full-spectrum CBD products have small amounts of other cannabinoids, like THC, along with flavonoids and terpenes.
There are various ways to take CBD.
You can take CBD orally via:
You can apply CBD topically using:
You can also add CBD isolate powder to food or drinks.
Some people vape CBD, though this method isn’t recommended due to safety concerns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against vaping.
Since there are so many ways to take CBD, choosing the right method for you comes down to personal preference and lifestyle needs.
For example, gummies are a fast way to take CBD on the go, whereas topicals may be better for localized pain since you apply them directly to an area of the body.
Research on CBD is still underway. There’s much more to learn about CBD, but some research suggests CBD is a promising option for its ability to offer the following benefits.
Numerous studies have pointed to CBD’s anti-anxiety effects.
For instance, a 2019 study looked at whether CBD can enhance sleep, anxiety, or both.
After reviewing the charts of 72 adults who experience anxiety or sleeping issues, researchers found that after CBD treatment, 79 percent of the participants reported reduced anxiety, while nearly 67 percent of people noticed better sleep within the first month. However, these varied over time.
A separate 2019 study indicated that CBD lowered anxiety in teenagers who experience social anxiety.
Some research points to CBD’s potential to help lower inflammation. It may do this by affecting activity in the body’s endocannabinoid receptors.
Epidiolex for seizures is the only prescription CBD product approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It can help reduce seizures caused by:
Missing entourage effect
Although some research suggests CBD is useful on its own, other research suggests that CBD’s therapeutic effects are greater when combined with other cannabis compounds, including terpenes, flavonoids, and lesser-known cannabinoids. This theory is called the entourage effect.
A 2015 study on mice suggested that although CBD isolate offers some health benefits, they may be less impactful than the benefits of using full-spectrum CBD products.
The study’s results also suggested that CBD isolate is helpful with swelling and pain at a specific dose while full-spectrum CBD products offer growing effects with increasing dosages.
Some people prefer CBD isolate over full-spectrum products because they want to avoid THC. However, it’s worth mentioning that there’s always the chance that even CBD isolate products may still include trace amounts of THC.
If you get drug tested, you may want to avoid CBD products entirely.
We chose these products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product listed in this article:
- is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
- is made with hemp grown in the United States
- contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
- passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA
During our selection process, we also considered:
- the company’s certifications and manufacturing processes
- product potency
- overall ingredients
- indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
- customer reviews
- whether the company has been subject to an FDA warning letter
- whether the company makes any unsupported health claims
- $ = under $50
- $$ = $50–$80
- $$$ = over $80
Bluebird Botanicals THC-Free CBD Oil
This CBD oil is made from outdoor-grown hemp and organic fractionated coconut oil (MCT oil).
It’s tough to find a less-than-glowing review of this product anywhere. Many reviewers are repeat customers who love both the results and the customer service offered by this brand.
The company suggests taking one serving by mouth up to twice per day.
Bluebird Botanicals offers assistance programs for veterans, long-term disability customers, and low-income households.
Pure Relief Cannabidiol Gummy Bears
Use code “HEALTH15” for 15% off (bundles excluded).
- CBD type: Isolate
- CBD potency: 30 mg per gummy
- Count: 30 gummies per bag
- COA: Available online
These CBD gummies are vegan, non-GMO, and come in assorted fruit flavors.
Most reviewers say they take them before bedtime for help with anxiety and sleep issues.
The company recommends taking one gummy by mouth daily and waiting up to 1 hour before increasing the dosage if necessary.
Pure Relief offers discounts through their price relief programs. These discounts are available for eligible veterans and active duty service personnel, as well as long-term disability customers and low-income households.
CBDMEDIC Active Sport Pain Relief Stick
Use code “HEALTH15” for 15% off
- CBD type: Isolate
- CBD potency: 200 mg per 30-mg stick
- COA: Available by email from Charlotte’s Web
This stick promises fast relief from minor muscle and joint distress, sprains and strains, and bruises.
Since it’s in stick form, it’s less messy than creams or ointments and is ideal for on-the-go relief. You can toss it into your gym bag or bring it with you to work.
Although there are only a few reviews at this time, online reviewers are seemingly impressed with the results.
The product is sold by Charlotte’s Web, which offers a discount for veterans and active military duty personnel. There are application instructions available on the brand’s website.
Medterra CBD Gel Capsules
Use code “health15” for 15% off
- CBD type: Isolate
- CBD potency: 25 or 50 mg per capsule
- Count: 30 capsules per bottle
- COA: Available on product page
These CBD capsules contain fractionated coconut oil and are designed for day or night use.
The upside to capsules is the convenience factor — you can take them on the go without having to worry about measuring drops.
The majority of reviewers are happy with the results, but some say they didn’t notice any effects.
Medterra offers assistance programs for veterans, active military duty personnel, and long-term disability customers.
Kanibi Isolate CBD Oil Tincture
Discount code: HEALTHLINE10 for 10% off
- CBD type: Isolate
- CBD potency: 25 mg per dropper
- COA: Available on product page
This CBD oil tincture is sourced from organic hemp grown in the United States. The company says their pure isolate products are double-tested to ensure they don’t contain other active compounds from the cannabis plant.
This tincture is available in three flavors: skittles, cinnamon, or unflavored.
There are currently only a few reviews on this product, but reviewers are happy with the results and taste.
Although you have to dig a bit on their website to find it, the brand does say they offer discounts for veterans and active military duty personnel.
Right now, the FDA doesn’t guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or quality of over-the-counter (OTC) CBD products.
To avoid buying CBD products that are misrepresented or mislabeled, look for products that come with an up-to-date COA from a reputable third-party lab. You’ll want to take a look at the COA and make sure the amount of CBD and THC that’s in the product matches what’s advertised.
It’s also important to check the contaminant testing results. These will vary by brand, but it’s best to look for testing results for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds.
It’s also a good idea to buy from a company that’s transparent about where they grow their hemp and how they make their products. You should be able to find this information on the brand’s website before you make a purchase.
While research suggests that CBD is generally considered to be safe, some people may experience side effects, including:
- changes in appetite
- changes in weight
It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before trying CBD, especially if you’re taking any medications. CBD may interact with some medications.
If you’re taking CBD orally, avoid taking it with a high fat meal. One study found that doing so may increase side effects.
Pure CBD, or CBD isolate, may be an ideal choice if you’re interested in CBD but want to avoid the other compounds found in the cannabis plant, including THC.
CBD isolate boasts a number of potential benefits, including relief of pain, inflammation, and anxiety.
Studies do suggest, however, that some of these benefits may be more noticeable when using full-spectrum CBD products.
When shopping for CBD products, be sure to choose from a reputable company, and read labeling and dosage recommendations carefully.
Remember to chat with your doctor before trying CBD.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
Breanna Mona is a writer based in Cleveland, OH. She holds a master’s degree in media and journalism and writes about health, lifestyle, and entertainment.