The CBD oil industry has exploded over the last year or so, and many people are touting the benefits: better sleep, reduced anxiety, controlled pain, and more.
Some of you have written us asking how to try CBD oil (also known as hemp oil) safely, and you are confused by the multitude of options.
In this booming market, there are too many brands that are producing inexpensive and poor quality oil. Not only is this potentially unsafe, but these brands often produce ineffective results as well. A recent study showed that 70% of CBD oils sold online are mislabeled!
Unlike something like homeopathic tablets or even essential oils, there’s good evidence that CBD oil does something, so we were motivated to look into it further. (This is not meant as a dig on essential oils–I know that many of you love EOs, and we don’t believe they are harmful. We just have not found enough solid science behind their benefits to partner with any EO distributors or to sell EOs in our store.)
This post will help you understand CBD oil–what it is, what it does (and doesn’t do), and most importantly, how to find a safe, effective brand if you’d like to give it a try.
First, let’s cover the basics.
What is CBD oil?
Cannabidiol oil is one of over 60 compounds found in the cannabis plant. These compounds are referred to as cannabinoids.
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, an important modulatory system of the brain, endocrine, and immune systems.
Does CBD oil really do anything?
It sure seems like it! The very strongest scientific evidence is for CBD’s effectiveness in treating certain childhood epilepsy syndromes. In numerous studies, CBD has been shown to reduce or even stop seizures. (The FDA recently approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for this use.)
There is also good evidence that CBD can help anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain–although many of these studies still are only in animal models.
Anecdotally, I know people who swear by CBD for everything from acne to menstrual pain.
So the bottom line is, yes, we believe that CBD does something. But it’s critical that manufacturers have a solid understanding of how and why CBD works. Without this knowledge, their formulations may only be a guess rather than based in solid science. This can make all the difference between a very effective formulation and one that will have no effect.
Is CBD oil safe?
While CBD is found in marijuana (it’s one of hundreds of compounds therein), it will not cause you to get high. The WHO says: “In humans, 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.”
As of now, the FDA does not regulate the safety or purity of dietary supplements like CBD. So you have to find a manufacturer you trust to feel confident that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label.
When looking for the best CBD brand it is important to ask the following five questions.
1. Where do they source their hemp?
It is important that the hemp comes from a U.S. registered hemp farm. During our search, we were shocked to see e-commerce sites that offered over 184,000 products from China to U.S. hemp distributors–this is scary! We also prefer companies that use organic and sustainable farming practices. If a company is not transparent with their sourcing, then it’s best to steer clear.
2. How do they process their hemp?
There are many ways to extract the CBD from hemp, but they are not all equally safe. Some brands use nasty solvents such as butane and ethanol. These solvents are often left in the final product, which means of course it’s not Good Stuff!
3. Do they 3rd-party lab test their products?
This is a major one. If a company is not willing to openly share their lab results, then we aren’t willing to take the gamble. The testing should be done at an independent and ISO-accredited lab. Make sure the lab’s contact information is included and the date of testing was recent.
4. How much CBD/hemp oil is in each bottle?
This is usually the biggest factor in the pricing of CBD oil. Some brands have more milligrams than others. Having a therapeutic dose is important to get the desired effect. By calculating how many milligrams are in each dose, you’ll be able to calculate how quickly you will go through your bottle and what value you are getting for your buck.
5. What other ingredients are used?
We have seen everything from added sugar, alcohol, preservatives, artificial flavoring, and other unsavory ingredients used in CBD oils. Sometimes ingredients such as other herbs or melatonin are added. It’s important to check the label for unwanted ingredients as well as allergens.
The Best CBD Oil We’ve Found
Our research led us to a small batch manufacturer based in California called Reed’s Remedies. After many conversations with the founder, we concluded that Reed’s Remedies provides the safest and most effective hemp oil products on the market.
Melissa, the founder of Reed’s Remedies, was searching for safe and effective ways to manage/treat her own health concerns. Unable to find formulations that met all of her criteria, she took her considerable knowledge and created her own products.
Sourcing & Distillation
Reed’s Remedies sources their hemp from a licensed farm in Colorado. The farm uses both sustainable and organic farming practices. They do not use any chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizer. They also do not use any chemical solvents to extract their hemp.
In fact, Reed’s is unlike any CBD company on the market because they use a patented distillation process to collect the CBD (and other desired plant compounds). Distillation creates the purest form of concentrate possible, plus it activates all of the plant molecules, which in turn makes it a fast-acting oil.
Components & Testing
Reed’s Remedies uses an independent and ISO-accredited lab to test all of their products. They test for potency, pesticides, residual solvents, mycotoxins, and heavy metals. We haven’t seen any other company be so transparent with their results, and each finished product contains a sticker which includes a batch number and expiration date. The test results can be found here.
Each bottle of Reed’s Remedies CBD oil contains 500 milligrams of distilled hemp, which is very concentrated compared to other brands we researched. One dose (or spray) contains almost 7 milligrams of distilled hemp. This high concentration means you don’t have to take too much at a time, and the bottle gives you 75 doses (which makes Reed’s a good value).
Reed’s Remedies has formulated each product with specific terpene profiles to target and enhance results towards specific health concerns.
The subject of terpenes is quite complex, but to put it simply they are another molecule found in hemp. Terpenes each have their own therapeutic properties and control the desired outcome of the formula. Reed’s makes each formula in small batches, and they are scientifically formulated to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Aside from distilled hemp and terpenes, the only other ingredient is Reed’s oils is Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT). Here’s why: CBD and terpenes need to be delivered in an oil base that allows for optimal, healthy absorption into our systems. MCT is a saturated fatty acid derived from coconut oil and has numerous health benefits. It is easily absorbed into the body making it the ideal carrier oil for CBD.
All of the compounds in Reed’s Remedies work synergistically to create what scientists call the “entourage effect.” The interactions between the plant’s individual components magnify the therapeutic benefits so that the medicinal impact of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Other Brands of Safe CBD Oil
Of course, Reed’s isn’t the only brand of safe CBD oil. We’ve found a few other brands that we can call at least Okay Stuff, and will continue to add to this list as we identify the best CBD oil on the market.
- Charlotte’s Web is one of the most well-known brands, and I know a lot of you are fans. Charlotte’s Web tests their US-grown hemp, and their formulas come in different strengths. Charlotte’s Web also makes a topical CBD as well as one for pets. One of the downsides to Charlotte’s Web is that they do not make specific formulas, and the higher concentration formulas are expensive. As an extract (rather than a distillation), Charlotte’s Web is slower to absorb, and reviews of its effectiveness are mixed. Some people complain of burning in the throat sensation with Charlotte’s CBD.
- Bluebird Botanicals is another third-party-tested brand, but it’s made of imported hemp. Like Charlotte’s, it’s an extract, which means it has slower absorption.
- Plus CBD produces a variety of products, and the main downside is that users say it tastes horrible.
CBD Oil Brands to Avoid
Please respond below with any questions about Reed’s or CBD in general.