It’s National CBD Day: Have You Tried These Products?
It can be a little intimidating to talk about CBD, but as CBD shops crop up across the country, we can’t hide from the topic any more. Around the world, many praise the benefits of CBD and how it has changed their lives. Yet, the debate still rages on.
As someone who has lived with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) my entire life, I’ve been experimenting with different ways of managing my anxiety. Over the past year, I’ve discovered that thrill rides could be a form of therapy for me and many others. I’ve also started experimenting with different brands of CBD. I’ve seen how it has positively impacted the life of someone very close to me, and it has given me hope especially with CTFO.
Still, I’m very new to this world and the last thing I want is to add to any confusion. For truly amazing articles on the subject, please check out the work of my fellow writers, Sara Brittany Somerset or Iris Dorbian. In the meantime, my goal is to provide some very basic information about CBD along with an overview of a variety of products.
To be clear, I’m not endorsing the use of cannabis or hemp — that’s a personal decision — but in honor of National CBD Day, let’s look at the wide scope of products that many have incorporated into their daily healthcare routines (read this article about how CBD topicals are helping seniors). As a note, always do your own research and verify the authenticity of any products you buy. Any reviews are not intended to be endorsements and should be seen as personal opinion.
What Is CBD?
There’s a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation out there about CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol. As one of the active ingredients in cannabis, you’ll find it in medical marijuana, but it won’t get you “high.” As Harvard Health Publishing explains, this is because cannabidiol is “derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant.” CBD is not marijuana,though it is a component of it.
Some worry that consuming CBD oil can lead to addiction or impairment, but that’s not really a concern. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential… To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
To clarify, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the main chemicals found in marijuana. As explained by WebMD, “THC also produces the “high” people feel when they smoke marijuana or eat foods containing it.” Some CBD products do contain THC, but typically in very small amounts (0.03% or less).
Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum & Isolates
If you’ve started exploring the world of CBD, you’ve probably come across three major types of CBD products — full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate. It’s important to understand the difference before buying anything so you can make an informed decision.
Full spectrum, sometimes referred to as “whole plant,” means that the products “contain CBD, terpenes (essential oils found in all plants), and other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN and trace amounts of THC.” Full spectrum products are the most popular, as the therapeutic benefits of the individual components are magnified by the “entourage effect.” Because full spectrum products contain a very small amount of THC, they could be detected on a drug test.
For something that offers the benefits of cannabinoids and terpenes but doesn’t contain THC, look for broad spectrum products. These items will have either gone through additional processing to remove the THC or they are isolate-based products with added cannabinoids and terpenes.
Anyone concerned about failing a drug test, or wanting to avoid THC for other reasons, should probably stick to isolates. These products tend to be labeled as “pure CBD” because the cannabinoids have been isolated from all other components. For those concerned about anything showing up on labs, be sure to find the purest isolates (99.9%) because purity can vary by company and product.
How Is CBD Oil Used?
When deciding how to use CBD, it’s important to consider bioavailability. Simply put, you’ll want to think about how much of the product will make it into your system. Each delivery method — sublingual, inhalation, oral, topical, transdermal and suppositories — will have a different level of bioavailability, which you’ll need to weigh before making a choice.
When most people think of cannabinoids, they think of CBD oil. These oils are typically taken sublingually and held under the tongue for 60-90 seconds. This allows the products to be absorbed by the mucous membranes and comes with a bioavailability of 20-30%.
Not only can you get a pretty accurate dosage this way, but the CBD will go directly into the bloodstream. The effects can be felt relatively quickly with this method, which is preferred by those with chronic conditions. Flavored oils can be helpful to sublingual users who don’t like the natural taste.
Some people use CBD for instant relief (from a panic attack, for example). Vaping/inhaling the product sends it straight to the lungs, where it’s quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. The effects can be felt immediately, which can be reassuring to those in distress.
The bioavailability associated with this method can be between 30-40%, with the benefits lasting several hours. Again, flavored CBD can be used in a vaping device for those who prefer to mask the natural taste.
Another option is to eat or swallow CBD. In addition to gel caps and capsules, a range of edibles, including chocolate bars and gummies, can be consumed to reap the benefits. While this can be a convenient option for some, especially while traveling, the bioavailability is just around 5%.
The upside is that, while it takes longer to kick in, the effects of consuming CBD this way can last up to eight hours. If this is your preferred method, you may need to take more in order to reach an optimal dosage, which can get quite expensive.
Got a dry patch of skin or a sore knee? Applying CBD topicals directly to the spot could be helpful. These products come as creams, salves, balms and lotions and are designed for targeted relief. As such, it should come as no surprise that the bioavailability associated with this method is low or non-existent.
CBD infused topicals can be beneficial for the areas onto which they are applied, but if you’re trying to alleviate symptoms associated with anxiety or a migraine, they are not ideal. These are intended for treating targeted physical concerns, and because they don’t get absorbed into the bloodstream, are unlikely to be detected on a drug test.
Typically found as patches, creams and lotions, transdermal CBD products are similar to topicals in that they are applied to the skin, but transdermal formulas are designed to be absorbed. As a result, the bioavailability is around 70% minimum.
While they are more expensive, they can provide both local pain and whole body relief (including mental and neurological conditions) for between eight to 12 hours.
Although less common, CBD suppositories are available. These are ideal for those who cannot swallow, are experiencing nausea or vomiting or need higher doses of CBD. The bioavailability is between 80-90%, which is the highest you can get. Suppositories work very quickly and can last for up to eight hours.
What Method and Dosage Should You Take?
While I’ve made an effort to cover some of the basics surrounding the use of CBD, I’ll stop short of providing recommendations about methods of delivery or dosage. This is a deeply personal decision and will depend on your needs, as well as how your body responds to CBD.
One form of usage might work perfectly for someone, while others might combine several methods. Truth be told, you’ll probably need to experiment a little to find the right fit. It’s best to start low and gradually increase the amount you’re using every few days until you find the optimal dose. This article on CBDOilUsers.com could be helpful during this process.
Choosing a Brand
As with any supplement, you should always be careful about where you buy your CBD. It’s usually best to order directly from the manufacturer, as counterfeit products have begun to infiltrate the market. In addition to this great article about How to Shop for CBD, you should consider the following questions:
As is the case with any purchase, you can do all the research in the world and still be duped. There have even been times when popular CBD products were found to contain dangerous chemicals. Learn as much as you can about a brand before you try their products, and then remain vigilant for any changes.
Across multiple sites, you’ll find several brands consistently ranked among the best. Five of them include:
For the remainder of this article, we’ll discuss some established and emerging brands, including a couple from this list. Again, please speak to your healthcare provider and do your own research before making a purchase.
Founded in 2014, NuLeaf Naturals is consistently among the highest-reviewed CBD companies in the industry. NuLeaf sells no other types of products — their primary and sole focus is on creating CBD oils.
It’s a brand that has created a lot of trust with consumers due to their dedication to transparent practices.
NuLeaf Naturals’ CBD oils are what the name suggests — natural. No solvents or flavors are added to any formulas, so if you are looking for high grade CBD products with a natural taste, this is an excellent option.
Having ordered from this company many times over the last seven months on behalf of a family member, I’d like to personally add that their customer service is exceptional. It would be no exaggeration to say that NuLeaf Naturals’ products have changed my family’s lives. Available online.
Another company with an excellent reputation is CBDistillery. Since 2016, they’ve been offering a wide range of products, making this a great one-stop shop for those who want to use CBD in a variety of ways.
While I haven’t tried every product, I can say that their CBD oil has a very pleasant, natural flavor. The gummies are really tasty (it was hard to eat just one!) and the texture is great. You probably wouldn’t guess that they contain CBD if you didn’t know otherwise! Also, the softgels held up beautifully, despite sitting out in the sun on my doorstep for hours! Available online.
Established in 2015, Koi CBD set out to create natural products using 99% pure cannabidiol while containing 0% THC. One visit to their website will show that this CBD brand is bright, colorful and has products in a wide variety of flavors.
Koi Naturals tinctures come in flavors such as Lemon-Lime and Spearmint. These are not meant to be vaped. Instead, it’s suggested that they be absorbed sublingually one to three times a day.
The Koi CBD vape juices can also be taken sublingually, but are designed to be used in any vaping devices (although, they do sell their own). They come in fun varieties such as Tropical Popsicle and Blue Raspberry and taste great vaped, but might seem a little strong under the tongue.
Koi’s Lavender Hand and Body Lotion is thick, nourishing and has a light, floral scent. Dry, cracked hands will be begging for this! Meanwhile, the gummies have a good flavor, just be careful if you order them in the summer — they melt! Available online.
They’ve been around since 2012, which is why Bluebird Botanicals claims their position among the companies who helped shape the hemp-CBD industry. As such, they have well-established practices for crafting quality products and providing strong customer service.
Tasting the THC-free formula, the oil is very light, clear and feels clean in the mouth. Also worth noting — compared to the dosage recommendations of other brands, you’ll get more from Bluebird Botanicals. Their 30ml bottles contain 60 doses, while the same size elsewhere provides half of that. Available online.
You won’t have to dig too deep to uncover Veritas Farms’ practices. Headquartered in Florida, the company grows, extracts, manufactures and bottles everything themselves with crops grown on their 140-acre farm in Colorado. When everything is done in-house, it’s a lot easier to ensure that each step meets company standards.
The Veritas Farms products have a fantastic texture, taste (when applicable) and smell. The company’s Orange Creme lip balm tastes and smells just like the real thing. It applies smoothly and leaves lips feeling moisturized for hours. Available online.
While most CBD companies try to promote health, PūrWell places an added emphasis on the holistic and spiritual aspects of wellness. Additionally, they’ve launched PūrSlēp, a nighttime cannabinoid formula designed to help users get a good night’s sleep.
While I did not have the chance to try their PūrSlēp, I did sample the watermelon full spectrum hemp oil. It is one of my favorites and it’s something I could see myself ordering regularly, if I wanted to incorporate CBD products into my wellness routine. Available online.
One visit to the HempFX website and you’ll see that they do things a little differently. The product categories are listed as Soothe, Uplift, Relax and Hydration which can be confusing when you want to know if they carry oils or other types of CBD products.
It’s actually really helpful to be able to choose products based on your needs (Uplift, for example, when you need mood enhancement), especially if you’re a beginner. Just be sure to read the descriptions thoroughly to best understand the product and how to use it. Available online.
While they’ve been creating CBD products since 2012, HempMeds just recently launched a personal care line. Their goal is to extend the healing benefits of cannabinoids to hair and skin while protecting against UV rays, environmental pollutants and smoke.
HempMeds sells a wide variety of products, and I tried items from the personal care line. The shampoo seems very thin at first, but it lathers so well. A small amount will go a long way, especially if you have short hair like me. All of the products have a luxurious feel and they smell amazing. Available online.
Spend a little time on the Extract Labs site and you might discover products you’ve never seen before (especially if you’re a newbie like me!). For example, Shatter is CBD isolate in crystallized form that is broken into jagged pieces like peanut brittle. Don’t worry, though. Extract Labs provides detailed suggestions for use of their products!
Of their vast array of products, I tried the Banana Foster tincture, which tasted like an incredible dessert syrup, and the muscle cream. I’d just had an accident and injured my knee when the sample arrived and I can say fully that the Extract Labs topical helped me out. Whenever I’d forget to apply it, the swelling and stiffness would come back. Maybe it was all in my head, but it felt like it sped up my recovery! Available online.
High Falls Hemp
This family-owned company hails from Upstate New York and has adopted a “seed to soul” philosophy. Their mission is to promote health and wellness by carefully overseeing the entire process to ensure a high-quality product reaches their customers.
High Falls Hemp
From their labeling to their website, and ultimately their products, High Falls Hemp looks and feels “clean.” Their tincture was incredibly clear with a light taste while the lotion provided a nice, protective barrier without leaving a greasy residue. Available online.
While Pure Hermosa carries CBD oil and gummies, their primary focus is on helping people look their best. As a result, they sell skincare products for everyone including their CBD Revive Skin Serum + Collagen Retinol and CBD AM-PM Moisturizer.
The CBD Oral Sleep Support Spray + Melatonin is just $23 and tastes great. This could be a good option for those new to CBD who want to try something to get a good night’s rest without a huge investment or jumping into a tincture. Available online.
Zilis Ultra Cell CBD Oil
Using a patent-pending formula, Zilis delivers what they call UltraCell full spectrum hemp oil. Their UltraCell technology relies on two delivery systems, liposomes and micelles, with a goal of maximizing the benefits of the “entourage effect” to boost the effectiveness of their product.
One of Zilis’ claims is that their product works faster and lasts longers than others on the market. I tried a sample of the Berry flavored UltraCell full spectrum hemp CBD oil, and I’m not sure if reading the product description impacted me, but it felt like my shoulders relaxed almost immediately. This brand definitely piqued my interest, and I’ll keep them on my radar as I continue to explore the world of CBD. Available online.
Floyd’s of Leadville
Many people who use CBD products rely on topicals to help heal injuries, but one company is focusing on prevention. In addition to myriad other products, Floyd’s of Leadville carries a line of CBD recovery bars designed to help athletes stay in great condition, even after a grueling workout. The texture is so much better than I was expecting, and unlike other recovery bars, it didn’t taste artificial. Available online.
Floyd’s of Leadville
It’s worth noting, of course, that the “Floyd” of Floyd’s of Leadville is Tour de France-winning cyclist, Floyd Landis (read his story here). Following a downward spiral, Floyd found himself battling chronic pain and depression. Rather than take the host of medications he’d been prescribed, the Colorado resident turned to CBD — and regained control of his life.
Plant Juice Oils
Interested in combining the potential benefits of CBD oil with essential oils? Those are the types of products you’ll find with Plant Juice Oils. Special blends available in rollers and sprays, for example, are designed to help customers fight stress, hormonal changes, low energy and even sleeplessness.
You’ll recognize Plant Juice Oils from their brightly colored, boutique style packaging. While I didn’t try any tinctures, creams or sprays, I did try their rollers. After a particularly rough day, I rolled some Tension Breaker on my neck, and after a few minutes, it did feel looser. If nothing else, the pleasant scent boosted my spirits! Available online.
Strains of Life, or S.O.L., specializes in wellness and beauty products. From flavored water infused with CBD to moisturizing body butter and massage oil, this newer startup is striving to make its mark on the industry with a quality line of products.
When my grandmother was dying of cancer last year, some family members ordered products from S.O.L to help provide comfort in her final days. That has always stuck with me. While I did not sample any of their tinctures, I did try some of their skin care samples. I’ve started using S.O.L’s Ultra Moisturizing Cream every night! Available online.
They started as a butter business, but Shea Brand has expanded to include their own line of CBD products. One thing that makes them instantly recognizable is their colorful, minimal-plastic, 100% recyclable packaging and mailers.
A member of my household spotted the CBD Restorative Lip Balm and claimed it. Having suffered with a deep cut on his lower lip from dryness for weeks, we were very surprised to see it nearly closed up just 12 hours after the first application. It sounds too good to be true, and if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I’m not sure I would have believed it. Available online.
A growing number of professional athletes are using CBD for pain relief and recovery. To meet this growing demand PharmCo RX, a Florida-based company, has become the first private pharmacy to offer CBD tinctures and capsules.
Along with prescription medications, custom compounds and over-the-counter medicine, PharmCo RX sells a variety of vitamins and supplements, including CBD products. South Florida residents can even take advantage of free delivery, without a minimum purchase.
Demand for CBD Is Growing
This is just another example of how wellness is being redefined in America. As more people search for viable and effective alternatives to pharmaceutical interventions, the popularity of CBD products will likely continue to soar. We’re witnessing a huge shift in how people engage in self-care, and before long, maybe it will be hard to remember a time when CBD products weren’t part of our daily lives.