A Beginner’s Guide to Finding the Best CBD Oil

Written by:

John Goss

03/02/2023

Updated: 02/21/2024

Looking for another product guide? Click here to browse them all!

1. DiolPure / 2. Green Compass / 3. Aspen Green
(These are not listed in order of preference!)

The CBD oil industry has exploded over the last several years, and many people are touting the benefits: better sleep, reduced anxiety, controlled pain, and more.

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!

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, commonly known as CBD, is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive component of cannabis, CBD does not produce a “high” sensation. CBD has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its potential health benefits, and it is now legal in many parts of the world.

cannabis oil in the doctor’s hand hemp leaf, Marijuana medical medicine

Does CBD oil really do anything?

Yes. 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 even approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for this use.) In addition, CBD may:

  • Relieve pain. CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating various functions, including pain sensation.
  • Reduce anxiety. CBD has also been shown to have potential benefits for mental health.
  • Kick an addiction. CBD may help reduce cravings for tobacco and heroin .
  • Benefit the skin. CBD contains anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation and redness in the skin. This makes CBD potentially useful for treating skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Anecdotally, I know people who swear by CBD for everything from acne to menstrual pain.

So the bottom line is, yes, CBD has real, demonstrable therapeutic uses. 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 does nothing. (Lucky for you, there are four brands below that we are recommending.)

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 concurs that “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:

  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. We also prefer companies that use organic and sustainable farming practices. Avoid companies that are not transparent about their sourcing.
  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.
  3. Do they third-party lab test their products? This is a major one. The best CBD brands will share their lab results, and 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 sugar, alcohol, preservatives, artificial flavoring, and other Sneaky ingredients added to CBD oils. Sometimes other herbs or melatonin are included in CBD formulations, which can be fine but is worth noting. It’s important to check the label for unwanted ingredients as well as allergens.

Our Favorite new CBD brand!

simple. organic. functional.

From seed to bottle, nacher apothecary remains completely dedicated to maintaining the therapeutic value of authentic plant remedies. 

Use code GIMME for 15% off

The amazing qualities of cbd are best harnessed in pure & simple forms. Nacher uses only use organic ingredients and methods to craft each unique formula. From the nutrient rich soil that grows healthy plants, to the specialty extraction process to the label on the bottle, everything is meticulously crafted to deliver the best quality and therapeutic value.   

The booming popularity of cbd has most companies racing to make novelty products that damage integrity and weaken potential benefits of a cbd routine. Nacher focuses on delivering functional value above all else. Never use synthetic colors, fragrances, preservatives, or unnecessary additives. Nacher only uses minimally processed full spectrum cbd from certified organic hemp. nacher cbd products are pure and to the point.

CBD Vs. Hemp Oil

If you see hemp oil on a label, it usually indicates that the product contains oil from just the hemp seed, which means it won’t contain THC or CBD.

Hemp extract, on the other hand, comes from the plant not the seed, and therefore will contain CBD and a small amount of THC. CBD products will be called extracts or oils, since often the extract will contain oils, such as MCT oil.

For the purposes of this guide, we will use these terms interchangeably.

GoodGoo doesn’t make ingestible CBD, but but their full-spectrum night salve deserves special mention.

The Entourage Effect

If you start to research CBD, you’ll quickly learn about what scientists call the “entourage effect.” In a nutshell, this is when the interactions between the plant’s individual compounds work synergistically to magnify the therapeutic benefits. Basically, the medicinal impact of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Terpenes are a type of molecule found in hemp, and they have their own therapeutic properties that can contribute to the entourage effect.

Most CBD oils also contain 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.

Is the Best CBD Full Spectrum?

There are three types of CBD: isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum.

CBD isolate is pure CBD, whereas broad and full spectrum contain other compounds from the hemp plant. Broad spectrum does not contain THC, but because full spectrum CBD contains all compounds, it does contain small amounts of THC.

Some people find that full-spectrum CBD is the most effective, but you can play around with different brands and see which ones you like best.

Best Stuff

Reed’s Remedies

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 provides some of the best CBD on the market.

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.

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. The test results by batch are available on their website.

Finally, Reed’s Remedies has formulated each product with specific terpene profiles to target and enhance results towards specific health concerns.

DiolPure

DiolPure is unique brand of CBD because it does not come from the cannabis plant.

DiolPure products contain PureForm CBD, which has been awarded the Clean Label Project Purity Award and the Certified THC-Free award. PureForm’s process uses a citrus-derived terpene called limonene to make its CBD via synthesis.

The result is a molecularly identical CBD without pesticides, mycotoxins, or THC. There are no class one or two solvents used in this process.

DiolPure comes in tincture or gummy form.

Aspen Green

Aspen Green is based in Colorado, where they grow all of their hemp. They the CO2 method to extract CBD from only the flowers of the plant.

Aspen Green CBD is certified organic, and each batch is third-party tested for pesticides, metals, and mold.

Aspen Green’s line of CBD products include tinctures, gummies, topical balms, and products for pets. Note that all of Aspen Green’s products are full spectrum. The only flavors used by Aspen Green are essential oils (unflavored products are also available).

nacher apothecary

from seed to bottle, nacher apothecary remains completely dedicated to maintaining the therapeutic value of authentic plant remedies. 

Use code GIMME for 15% off

the amazing qualities of cbd are best harnessed in pure & simple forms. we only use organic ingredients and methods to craft each unique formula. from the nutrient rich soil that grows healthy plants, to our specialty extraction process to the label on the bottle, everything is meticulously crafted to deliver the best quality and therapeutic value.   

the booming popularity of cbd has most companies racing to make novelty products that damage integrity and weaken potential benefits of a cbd routine. we focus on delivering functional value above all else. we never use synthetic colors, fragrances, preservatives, or unnecessary additives. we only use minimally processed full spectrum cbd from certified organic hemp. nacher cbd products are pure and to the point.

Green Compass

I was introduced to Green Compass earlier this year and am so impressed with this company. To start with, I love that Green Compass grows their own organic hemp in North Carolina.

Green Compass checks all our other boxes too–the only use the flower part of the cannabis plant, and they use the CO2 method of extraction. Green Compass has scannable third-party test results available on every single package of CBD they sell.

Green Compass sells a wide range of full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolate CBD products. (If you want to avoid even trace amounts of THC, you’d choose broad spectrum or isolates.)

Green Compass products come in tinctures, jellies, and topicals. 

If you’re enjoying this guide, sign up for our Newsletter to be alerted when we publish or update our Safe Product Guides.

Okay Stuff

Bluebird Botanicals

Bluebird Botanicals is another third-party-tested brand, but it’s made of imported hemp.

Charlotte’s Web

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. Finally, Charlotte’s Web uses natural flavors, which many people prefer to avoid.

Highline Wellness

Highline Wellness is a popular brand, and we like that they publish all of their independent testing results. However, Highline doesn’t specify where they grow their CBD, and it is not organic.

Sneaky Stuff

Due to a complete lack of regulation, anyone can create a CBD brand right now by buying untested extracts. This makes the list of Sneaky Stuff brands too long to list. A few brands that got into trouble are Diamond CBD and Ultra CBD. And Q Sciences uses sodium benzoate in their formula.

Stay sane,

John, Certified Holistic Health Coach

Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff! 

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Leave a Reply

69 responses to “A Beginner’s Guide to Finding the Best CBD Oil”

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  2. Jerson Long Avatar

    A lot of new users should read proper guidelines in how to use or consume CBD properly. Hopefully, a lot of readers can discover this article for extra knowledge and guidance.

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    expresspowerhouse

    We provide all kinds of electrical solutions you will need to grow and flourish. Powerhouse Express brings efficient, reliable and accessible solutions to your doorstep.

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    expresshousepower

    We provide all kinds of electrical solutions you will need to grow and flourish. Powerhouse Express brings efficient, reliable and accessible solutions to your doorstep.

  5. Katie Avatar
    Katie

    Goodekind is the best organic and consciously sourced CBD and CBG I’ve found on the market. It seems similar to Reed’s but with conscious sourcing and a nonprofit component. http://www.goodekind.com

  6. Bestpot Avatar

    On the market, there is a wide array of CBD products. Using CBD oil helps you sleep better, stay calm, and be more focused. In terms of CBD products, tinctures are second best. Gummies containing CBD are broad-spectrum CBD products. Another great CBD product is the softgel, which is designed to support joint health. 

  7. Regina White Avatar

    Docs hemp is an excellent product. Dr Harman also has CBD for pets. She is a Holistic Vet out of Virginia.

  8. zulqarnain Avatar

    that is great information. Thank u for sharing this information. The CBD oils that are at a bargain at the season of distribution contain low groupings of CBD and are showcased as food supplements.

  9. Kate Smith Avatar

    That is an amazing information for a beginner about CBD. I really like your blog because its very helpful for me as a beginner.

    1. Suzanne Weaver-Goss Avatar
      Suzanne Weaver-Goss

      Thank you Kate. Glad we could be helpful.

  10. Rebeka Avatar

    I’m curious if you have heard of Plant People CBD?
    https://www.plantpeople.co/

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  17. Veronica C Avatar

    I have tried Reed’s and I was not impressed. After some research, I found Rosebud CBD. They are organically grown in Oregon, third party tested, small batch, full spectrum, and no additives or “natural” flavorings of any kind. Simply the best so far. Could you please research? I’m not affiliated with them, just really like their products.

  18. Mahamud Hossain Wasty Avatar

    Thank you for the great article. This is an AWESOME resource on CBD. Great job you guys! Do you have any CBDproducts in the SnackNation boxes? Relieving anxiety and stress in an office environment should be one of the top goals and what better way to get there than with a snack? I have a good recommendation for an organic superfood bar with no additives or preservatives.

  19. Mary R. Cruz Avatar

    There is no doubt to use CBD oil. It is powerful and reliable product for us. I am happy to use this product. And Your article great for me. Thanks

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    Elektra CBD

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    Watermelon Haze CBD

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    Hawaiian Haze CBD

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    Gellato CBD

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    Bubba Kush

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    Blue Dream CBD

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    Grand Daddy Purple CBD

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  31. CBD FACIAL CREAM Avatar

    Thanks for sharing useful information.

  32. Taylor Avatar
    Taylor

    What trouble are you speaking of in regards to Lazarus? The only information I could find was from a new station who tested several CBD products and bought a Lazarus Naturals product through a third party seller – which ultimately seemed to be counterfeit.

    1. Pat Haley Avatar
      Pat Haley

      Please supply your source for stating that Lazarus “gets into trouble” And gets into trouble how specifically ? And you wrote “in some cases…” Is Lazarus one of those “in some cases or not ???? ” . This is not only irresponsible and untrue accusation , the way you word this is very immature… I have contacted them and they will be contacting you. In the mean time here is their response to me.. wanting to know who this company is that wrote these accusations. I am actually glad I found your erroneous report . It will save me alot of time when it comes to deciding whether I should trust your reviews for not.
      Hello Pat,

      Thank you for reaching out!

      We are not aware of these claims against our products but do back our products up with a 90-day satisfaction guarantee, verified third-party lab-testing, and use our own organically grown hemp to extract our CBD. As a vertically integrated and proud Oregon-based business, we would never use synthetic cannabinoids in our products. Please send us more information on where these claims appear and we can look into this further!

      – Ryan

      Lazarus Naturals

  33. CBD flower Avatar

    Whether you’re looking for wholesale CBD or Cbd flower for sale; Dr. Strains always provides our customers with unbeatable prices. We’re experts in the cbd industry and work with reputable cbd farmers some farms with over 100 years of cbd farming experience!

  34. LC Avatar
    LC

    How does Two Cranes compare to Reeds? Love their
    Transparency posting their testing and the reviews are amazing. Wondering if you’ve tried theirs yet.

  35. Maria McNabb Avatar

    Wow! Thank you. That was super helpful and informative.
    I’m a firm believer in the power of diet and lifestyle practices to keep us healthy and even manage serious health challenges. But, sometimes we need a little extra help—and there’s nothing wrong with that. The promise that CBD oil shows to bring relief and answers fills me with so much hope, and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for my knee pain.

  36. cbd hand sanitizers Avatar

    Really interesting! After reading your blog I’ve visited a chiropractor near my town in Jacksonville. And I’ve asked those questions which were in my mind regarding that treatment and you know the doc was really impressed about the quality of information that I gather after reading a few articles. Thanks for exploring my mind!

  37. Michael Smith Avatar

    No doubt. CBD is the most effective and fast treatment for various diseases. But to find the CBD The best thing in the post is that you have discussed how to find CBD oil… Thanks for sharing I will definitely follow you up.

  38. Kindall Avatar

    No doubt. CBD is the most effective and fast treatment for various diseases. But to find the CBD The best thing in the post is that you have discussed how to find CBD oil… Thanks for sharing I will definitely follow you up.

  39. Amy Anderson Avatar

    Very interesting and informative article pal! I found it interesting that CBD oil can help you to sleep better by relaxing your body and mind. But Over dosage can make you addictive and it will also effect health in way or other.

  40. Kristen Avatar
    Kristen

    What are your thoughts on Nexcel CBD oil line? I have family members that swear by the line. I would appreciate your opinion.

  41. Melissa Avatar
    Melissa

    Can you comment on safety while breastfeeding?

    I’ve been wanting to use cbd for my migraines rather than my prescription and otc medicine. However my research indicated that it could contain traces of thc making it unsafe for infants. Also I read that the thc remains in the infants urine for weeks. Would love your opinion.

    Thanks!!!

  42. Elison Avatar

    great and useful post for buying cbd oil for new persons

  43. Muhammed Avatar
    Muhammed

    Hi, my name is Muhammed. Can I get you a McNugget.

  44. barryburrac Avatar
    barryburrac

    You should try cbd oil for that. Try WeedBorn products.

  45. cbd drops Avatar

    I am fan of you blog, it helps me to improve my study. Thanks for presenting such nice and great informative article named “A Beginner’s Guide to Finding the Best CBD Oil”.

  46. Martha Avatar
    Martha

    Any thoughts on Dram?

  47. Sara Barbieri Avatar
    Sara Barbieri

    John and Maya! Hello and thank you for this article. We’ve been recently recommended the Waayb CBD Oil and I would really love to have your opinion.
    https://waayb.com/shop/

  48. Sara Goegeline Avatar
    Sara Goegeline

    How does your selected brand taste? The brand I’ve tried with all the extra components tastes so earthy i couldn’t stand it. I added a lot of a strong ginger- honey syrup i had on hand and I can now use it but I don’t like it. I need cbd for migraine pain, if that makes any difference. I’m thinking of buying a brand with some essential oils plus peppermint flavoring, tho I’ve never swallowed essential oils before.
    Thanks for your attention to my quandry.

  49. Cannabria CBD Avatar

    Well written and to the point. I appreciate the detail in this article!

  50. Elizabeth Avatar
    Elizabeth

    Hi,
    So glad you’re researching this! It’s overwhelming to sift through the jillions of companies trying to find the good ones. Have you looked into RE Botanicals? I just ordered from them and am hopeful that their product is good but would love to know your thoughts! Thanks 🙂

    1. Meg Avatar
      Meg

      Yes true botanicals! I wonder their opinion on the whole line.

  51. Maia James Avatar
    Maia James

    I can understand the concerns. We love it that our readers are savvy and demand a higher-level conversation. So let me take it a bit deeper…

    The production of hemp in the US was made illegal in 1937, primarily because it looks a lot like marijuana, even though it has essentially no THC. As a result of the ban, hemp products (CBD, and many others) remained technically illegal until just a short time ago when the restrictions were relaxed a bit. Today hemp is legal to grow but its production is limited to just a few states.

    Since the relaxation of the laws CBD has roared into the marketplace: offering new ways to treat certain maladies. Because this has happened at such a quick pace, demand outstrips domestic production. Thus hemp growers and hemp-product manufacturers from all over the world see this emerging American market as a lucrative opportunity.

    A quick search of the Asian website Alibaba shows over 184,000 overseas CBD producers. These are not being sold to individual users. They are targeted at folks who want to “private-label” and then sell to the public. There are entire websites dedicated strictly to informing folks on how to get into the CBD business. The hemp for these is all grown overseas in a wide variety of conditions, using who-knows-what pesticides/herbicides/fertilizers. The processing of the hemp into CBD is often done in ways that offer zero regulation or accountability.

    The CBD industry grew 57% just last year and will likely grow even faster this year.
    A Google search for CBD oil produces dozens of pages of manufacturers to buy from,
    so it would take massive amounts of research to investigate every one of those companies.

    We thinned the herd a bit by adding “organic” to the search but after looking at a few of those we realized that we were seeing the same language over and over. Almost every single one of them claims to be the safest and most effective CBD available. They can do this because CBD falls under the laws of “dietary supplements” rather than “medications”.

    We have been contacted by several CBD producers who would like us to carry their products. While some of them were better than others, we’ve yet to find one that is even equal to, let alone superior to Reed’s.

    Also, we went into this with no intention of becoming a dealer of any CBD products. It took months for us to decide to offer Reed’s to you, our readers. Perhaps we jumped the gun…but so far folks seem to like it.

    We are enthusiastic about Reed’s, but you can decide for yourselves if Reed’s is providing you with the benefits you’d hoped for. As far as toxins go, Reeds is the cleanest we’ve seen. Due to its potency, it is also a surprisingly good value.

    We are continuing to research CBD oils, and we’ve added some other Good Stuff brands above, as well as a few to definitely avoid. Please continue to send along the names of the brands you love!

  52. Kerry Avatar
    Kerry

    Hugely disappointed in this article. I was hoping for several options that you tested, but this just looks like you’re pushing one company because you’re clearly benefiting from the sales – you’re selling it through your site. Not cool.

  53. Casey Avatar
    Casey

    I would also appreciate to see what other brands were researched and to know which were good, better, best, bad and sneaky! This is always so helpful in your articles! I’m especially interested to see what you learned about hempworks! Thanks!

    1. Cat Stevens Avatar
      Cat Stevens

      I agree with Casey. I became skeptical as soon as you noted that you are now selling that particular CBD oil in your store…

    2. maia Avatar
      maia

      We’ve added some new brands above and will continue to review more!

      1. Doula Avatar
        Doula

        Nuleaf is reputable as well as Haleigh’s hope . Please do more research before posting just one.

  54. Mark X Avatar
    Mark X

    RE: Consumer Labs. I like them alot and I have found them reliable and helpful but unfortunately, while they do “extensive” testing on the products they test, they don’t do “extensive” testing on a wide enough variety of each product category, and only update testing results (with new tests) in most cases, every two years. Also, Consumer Labs by and large only does testing on products that the companies themselves pay a fee to Consumer Labs to test. (Consumer Labs then goes and purchases the products directly off the shelf – for random sampling quality standards). So, many times you won’t find the product you use tested, either because the company hasn’t contracted with Consumer Labs or Consumer Labs hasn’t done more recent testing on the product category, (yet).

  55. John Avatar
    John

    Hi John,

    What other brands did you look into? Appreciate the info, though this does come across as an attempt to get in on the latest craze with the heavy marketing for one “best” partner brand that you sell in your store and no mention of other good or bad options that you came across. Hopefully an update will come soon including broader research bc I do appreciate the less biased posts of this site.

    Thank you

  56. Joan Avatar
    Joan

    What does you guys think of Ojai Energetics CBD and Sol CBD Oil? Both are supposed to be very clean – I was using Sol for a while and now Im trying Ojai Energetics.

  57. Lily Avatar
    Lily

    Is there any third party testing for purity and concentration on this product? Consumerlabs.com does extensive testing and I don’t remember seeing this brand on their list. Speaking to the owner is not a sufficient for making sure there are no dangerous compounds in the product and the concentration is consistent with that which is labeled. Thanks.

    1. Judi Nicely Avatar
      Judi Nicely

      It’s in the paragraph called components and testing

  58. Cindy cordosi Avatar

    Which one would you use for pain

    1. Graham Goss Avatar
      Graham Goss

      The relief spray or balm works best.