However, though 47 states have now legalized CBD from hemp, marijuana, or both (see map, below), many don’t require any testing. And among those that do, the details vary considerably. As a result, consumers need to take matters into their own hands and often have to rely on CBD manufacturers to self-police.
Many CBD products sold online and in retail stores come from hemp, not marijuana. And the source of that hemp can be important.
1. Decide Why You Want to Use CBD, and in What Form
Dispensaries may sell a variety of “CBD-rich” products that are high in CBD and relatively low in THC, including oils, tinctures, topicals, and vaping liquids. They may even sell buds or flower from marijuana strains that have been bred to have very low levels of THC, says Michael Backes, author of "Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana" (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2014). For example, the strain “AC/DC” can be just 0.5 percent THC, barely above the cutoff allowed for CBD from hemp and much lower than the 20 percent or higher THC concentration typical of most marijuana strains, Backes says.
And even less is known about which forms of CBD—pill, topical, or drop, for example—might be appropriate. Still, experts do have some advice.
For even more assurance about a product’s quality, Boyar recommends checking the COA to see whether it says that the lab meets “ISO 17025” standards. That suggests the lab adheres to high scientific standards. Also look to see whether a company uses testing methods validated by one of three respected national standard-setting organizations: the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), or the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).
While the 2018 Farm Bill (or Agriculture Improvement Act) removed hemp-derived CBD from the list of illegal drugs, it also left the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in charge of oversight. The agency has been clear that CBD-infused products are not approved for sale or use in humans or animals, but that hasn’t stopped some states from creating their own laws.
The CBD market is growing rapidly and doesn’t seem to show any sign of stopping. Unfortunately, until regulations for testing and labeling are in place, the CBD market is still “buyer beware” and there are no regulations in place for safety, purity, or optimal dosage.
Is CBD oil legal?
The information contained in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any illness. Please consult with your physician and discuss any prescription medications you are taking before using CBD products.
Cannabidiol (CBD) was still an illegal substance until the 2018 Farm Bill made industrial hemp, and therefore, hemp-derived CBD, legal for production across the country. Salons, spas, online retailers, health stores, and even major pharmacies are filling their shelves with an ever-growing variety of CBD-infused products.
Most reputable CBD oils include the following information on their labels:
Despite the growing popularity of CBD, research regarding its effects is still in the early stages. However, studies conducted within the last few years have found that CBD can help reduce stress, improve sleep, and lessen pain for some users. Many CBD products contain essential oils and other natural ingredients that provide additional wellness benefits.
At 30 milligrams of CBD per 1 milliliter serving, NuLeaf Naturals’s full-spectrum hemp extract creates a potent CBD product that has helped some users manage their pain. The whole-plant formula offers an enhanced effect thanks to its complete profile of cannabinoids and terpenes, which is maintained using CO2 extraction.
Our recommendations for the best CBD oils:
CBD is available in a variety of forms. You can take CBD oil as drops under the tongue or in the form of capsules. If you don't like the taste of CBD oil, CBD gummies might be a better choice for you. CBD topicals, like creams, can also be applied directly to pain points.
The extraction method a company uses impacts the final product. CO2 extraction is preferred because it produces a very potent and pure CBD blend. Before being sold to consumers, the best CBD oils undergo third-party lab testing and earn at least one of the following certifications:
A 2019 retrospective case study looked at the effects of CBD on sleep and anxiety symptoms. Results showed that nearly 80% of participants who took 25 milligrams of CBD oil daily for one month in capsule form saw reduced anxiety scores and improved sleep.