CBD oil, short for cannabidiol oil, is an extract of the cannabis plant and is known for its pain relief, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety effects. It’s also one of the hottest health products in the USA.
Historically, CBD oil has been in a murky legal position, but that all changed in December of 2018. That’s because the 2018 Farm Bill, a major piece of law, was signed into action.
One provision of that law legalized hemp, a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant, which can be used as a source for CBD.
Since CBD oil can be derived from hemp, the 2018 Farm Bill was taken as a green light, and CBD oil is now sold everywhere from pharmacies to grocery stores to pet shops. As of 2023, that remains the case.
The new legal status of CBD oil has also made a big difference for scientific research into the uses of CBD; thanks to its newly legalized status, we now know much more about the effects of CBD on your body than we did even just a few years ago.
With all of these new developments, there have been a lot of shake ups in the CBD market in the last few years. Our research team has stayed on top of the best products, and the latest scientific research on the applications of CBD. Read on for more.
Last updated: March 30, 2023
CBD oils considered: 29
Hours of research: 46
Experts reviewed: 6
Scientific papers referenced: 19
1. American Hemp Oil CBD Oil
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American Hemp Oil’s 500mg CBD is the most potent (and best tasting) CBD oil on this list.
American hemp oil is all about two things…pure products, and transparency.
And you don’t need a doctors prescription 😉
Every one of their oils is lab tested, and those lab results are freely available for you on their site, so you know exactly what you’re getting in every bottle.
Their CBD oil is excellent for joint pain, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and so much more. They have several different dosages available depending on your needs and lifestyle. Their product is created using CO2 extraction and then run through flash chromatography to separate the THC for maximum purity and potency.
American Hemp oil is all-natural, non-GMO, and far more effective than most hemp oils you’ll find in the store, which have very little CBD.
Bodynutrition.org’s 2023 best overall CBD oil winner.
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2. EMPE CBD Oil Full Spectrum
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EMPE CBD oil is some of the highest quality, medically tested CBD oil on the market today.
It’s perfect for treating anxiety, sleep disorders, or depression, and has been shown to help streamline the metabolism to help weight loss. It’s lab-tested for potency and purity, so you know exactly what you’re getting with every serving. What you get is a large, potent dosage of pure CBD oil and nothing else. It’s 100% THC free, so you get all the benefits of CBD without the “high” that comes from THC.
EMPE CBD oil is all-natural and non-GMO. It’s safe and fast-acting. simply add a few drops under your tongue, and you’ll begin to notice results within a few minutes.
It even comes with a money-back guarantee. If you’re looking for the purest, safest CBD oil on the market, then you can’t do much better than this.
3. Nutiva Organic Hemp Oil
This hemp oil extract is highly pure and certified organic to boot. That means you don’t have to worry about any pesticides or herbicides making their way through the extraction process and into your supplement.
It comes in a large, opaque bottle, which helps keep the oil from suffering the destructive effects of visible light, but even so, you should still keep it cool. One bottle of Nutiva Organic Hemp Oil will last most users quite a while, and it’s unbeatable when it comes to omega 3, 6, and 9 content.
4. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Oil
Manitoba Harvest is a heavy hitter in CBD oil products, and for good reason. Its flagship softgels deliver 825 mg of omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, and the only active ingredient is unrefined cold-pressed hemp oil.
Purists will like the fact that it contains little in the way of flavorings or additives, though the caramel powder (added for coloring) does detract from its appeal just a bit.
It’s a non-GMO product and is prepared without any preservatives, though it’s not certified organic like some of the other oils on this list. Considering the attractively low price, Manitoba Harvest is a solid contender across the board.
5. Dr. Adorable Help Seed Oil
Dr. Adorable is a well-loved purveyor of pure, organic hemp seed oil. It’s a solid contender, but it is hurt by the clear glass bottle (which allows light inside, which in turn causes degradation of some of the delicate compounds in cannabis oil extracts) and the moderately higher cost.
It’s also not marketed directly as a food supplement; again, this shouldn’t be a problem if the product is indeed 100% pure, but it never hurts to go with something intended for consumption.
6. Eco Finest Hemp Oil
This product is the right one for those seeking a hyper-pure cannabis derived oil for aromatherapy use or topical application.
ECO Finest uses advanced chemical purity analysis on every batch to ensure purity. Because of this, you should store it in the fridge after opening to ensure it retains its purity–some of the compounds in cannabis oil are quite delicate.
7. Sweet Essentials Extra Virgin Unrefined Hemp Seed Oil
Sweet Essentials is another contender in the “big and pure” category. While it’s a solid product, it gets beat out for two reasons. First, while it’s 100% pure and cold-pressed, it’s not USDA certified organic, and it isn’t quite as cost-effective as some of the other products on the market.
Still, make no mistake, it’s a good hemp oil, and people do love it. So don’t think you’re making the wrong call by going with Sweet Essentials’ hemp seed oil.
8. Absolute Nutrition Hemp Extract
Chalk this one up in the highly-pure category. It’s got the hallmarks of products that fit that description: small brown amber glass vial and dropper, lab-certified purity, and pretty spendy.
Unfortunately the actual hemp oil content is pretty low. Absolute Nutrition Hemp Extract would work okay as an aromatherapy product or a topical treatment for your skin, but look elsewhere for hemp oil to use as a supplement.
9. Colorado Lab Hemp Oil
This hemp-derived oil is quite popular, and contains nothing in the way of additives save for a bit of vitamin B12, D3, and E for protection from oxygen.
At two fluid ounces, it’s good for travel, but may not last a long time if you are a heavy users. This is a good option for people who don’t like the taste of hemp, but if you are a hardcore purist when it comes to your cannabis products, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
10. Nature’s Beneficials Hemp Oil
Nature’s Beneficials Hemp Oil is pretty popular and simply formulated. It adds some peppermint oil to mask the earthy flavor of raw hemp oil, but doesn’t have anything else in the way of added extras.
The added peppermint won’t be much use for purists, and we wish the bottle were a bit darker to protect the oils from oxidative damage, which is why this product lands at the bottom of our rankings.
Best CBD oil overall: American Hemp Oil CBD Oil
American Hemp Oil is our top overall pick for CBD oil thanks to its high CBD dosage and excellent purity, which is ensured via third-party lab testing. For all-purpose CBD oil, it should definitely be your first stop.
Best CBD oil for sleep: EMPE CBD Oil Full Spectrum
Taking CBD before bed helps calm your mind and relax your body, and the high-dose, high-purity CBD oil made by EMPE is perfectly-suited for the task. With no extraneous ingredients, it’s the ideal bedtime CBD product.
Best CBD oil with omega 3s: Nutiva Organic Hemp Oil
Nutiva makes an excellent hemp oil that has a fantastic dosage of omega 3, omega 6, and omega 9, all in one package. To use hemp to balance out your fatty acid ratios, look no further than Nutiva Organic Hemp Oil.
Best CBD oil for pain relief: EMPE CBD Oil Full Spectrum
EMPE CBD Oil comes ready to use for high-dose pain relief, and their Full Spectrum CBD oil is specifically designed for rapid sublingual (under the tongue) absorption, making it an excellent choice for treating pain.
Best CBD oil for anxiety: EMPE CBD Oil Full Spectrum
Need to calm your nerves? EMPE CBD Oil Full Spectrum is the perfect choice. This certified organic CBD oil is super pure and goes down easy, and moreover, comes in a high enough concentration to induce relaxation and tamp down on anxiety.
Best CBD oil for muscle and joint soreness: American Hemp Oil CBD Cream
To treat joint and muscle pain or soreness, you want to deliver CBD oil directly to the problematic area. American Hemp Oil makes the best topical creams on the market, delivering a potent CBD oil dose in a super-pure avocado oil-based cream.
Who should buy CBD oil?
CBD oil has incredible versatility, and is marketed for treating just about every condition under the sun, but here are the applications that make the most sense for someone buying CBD oil.
People who want to combat anxiety and addiction. CBD oil gained the most traction among the general public for its ability to treat psychiatric conditions like anxiety and addiction.
To this day, by far the biggest groups of people who can benefit from the psychological effects of CBD oil are people with anxiety, and people with addictions (to cigarettes, for example).
People with chronic pain. CBD oil is also useful for people with chronic pain problems, particularly if this pain is nerve-related.
CBD oil has been heavily studied for neuropathy-related pain, both in animal models of nerve damage and in people with conditions that generate serious neuropathic pain, like multiple sclerosis.
Research like this is why CBD oil is a popular ingredient in salves, balms, and creams for localized pain relief. It doesn’t function as a numbing agent, though; the benefits of CBD oil for pain relief lie in its ability to cut down on inflammation.
As such, if you are using CBD oil for pain relief, you’ll want to apply it on a regular basis, even when you aren’t having pain, to keep inflammation levels low.
People who use THC (marijuana) and want to limit its side effects. Finally, CBD is gaining traction as a way to dampen some of the negative effects that come alongside its sister molecule, THC.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound in recreational and medical cannabis, and while it’s being actively explored for medical applications in its own right, it does have some well-known side effects, such as paranoia and anxiety.
CBD appears to be an effective way to reduce these, so a third group of people who should seriously consider taking CBD oil are people who use medical cannabis but are experiencing negative side effects from THC.
How we ranked
We assessed a wide range of hemp-derived oils available online, and looked for high-concentration oils that were extracted in a way that preserved the antioxidant capabilities of CBD. We used the following criteria to ensure our top products were both pure and effective.
CBD oil as the primary active ingredient. Anything that wasn’t primarily oriented at delivering CBD-containing oil was dropped—given the popularity of CBD oil, many cosmetics and natural oil products have added hemp oil or CBD oil to their ingredients list, but only in small amounts that aren’t likely to make any difference when it comes to the actual health benefits of CBD.
Packaging that protects the CBD from oxidation. We also kept an eye out for product packaging that would help preserve the benefits of CBD: as with many other potent antioxidants, CBD’s chemical potency can be readily degraded by exposure to light and oxygen.
For that reason, our highest-rated products come in opaque or tinted plastic or glass bottles, and have rigid, well-designed seals to keep oxygen out after opening.
Independent testing for purity and concentration. Finally, scientists have recently warned that oils derived from hemp are often mislabeled, with either too much or too little actual hemp-derived content.
To this end, we rewarded companies that used purity testing and independent lab verification of their active ingredients. We wanted to be sure that the product had the claimed amount of CBD, and that it wasn’t contaminated with high amounts of THC (or anything else, for that matter).
Q: What is CBD oil?
A: CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a molecule that’s found in the Cannabis sativa plant. This plant is most famous for another cannabinoid, THC, which as you likely know is the reason cannabis has a psychoactive effect.
But CBD can be found in strains of cannabis sativa that have little or no THC present, and CBD has very different biological effects than THC.
When Cannabis sativa plant material is soaked in a solvent, then filtered and the solvent is evaporated, the result is an oily liquid which contains, among other things, cannabidiol.
This oil is either purified further, or bottled and sold immediately as CBD oil. In this sense, CBD oil is much like oils from other plants, like jojoba oil or argan oil. The difference is that this plant oil contains cannabidiol (CBD), the unique molecule that gives the oil its health benefits.
Q: Can you use CBD oil for pain?
A: Yes, CBD oil has been researched intently lately for its ability to treat pain. It seems particularly effective for neuropathy-related pain, and as a result CBD has been commonly used for patients with neurological diseases that cause this kind of pain, like multiple sclerosis.
The mechanism that CBD uses to relieve pain appears to be linked to its ability to combat inflammation, so while there’s less research on it, CBD oil might also be useful for inflammatory joint pain from conditions like osteoarthritis.
Q: Can you use CBD oil for anxiety?
A: Yes, CBD oil has well-documented anti-anxiety effects. Even a single dose has been shown to be an effective way to decrease feelings of anxiety and improve tasks impaired by anxiety, such as public speaking.
The benefits of CBD for anxiety have traditionally been assessed through subjective reports, like anxiety questionnaires and surveys, but recent groundbreaking research has been able to demonstrate that CBD upregulates specific neurotransmitter pathways in the brain, and changes cerebral blood flow patterns to areas of the brain linked to the symptoms of anxiety.
These mechanistic changes make an even stronger case that CBD is an effective way to reduce feelings of anxiety.
Q: What is the difference between CBD oil and hemp oil?
A: CBD oil is often used as a catch-all term for any oil from the Cannabis sativa plant that is high in CBD. This means that “CBD oil” can come from any strain of cannabis, including those that have high amounts of THC.
At legal cannabis dispensaries, you can often buy CBD oils that contain substantial amounts of THC, which many people believe work in a synergistic way.
However, hemp oil refers specifically to oil produced from hemp, which is a certain strain of Cannabis sativa that is specifically bred to have almost no THC. Hemp is usually used for industrial purposes, and was legalized nationwide in 2018 in a landmark piece of agricultural legislation.
A side effect of the legalization of hemp was that CBD oil made from hemp could be sold legally. Hemp contains CBD, but no THC. However, hemp is not specifically bred to contain high amounts of CBD—those strains of Cannabis sativa are still not legal at the federal level.
The result is that CBD is in a strange legal limbo where it’s fully legal if it comes from one strain of cannabis plant, but (might be) technically illegal from another strain of the exact same plant.
Things only get more confusing when different sources of CBD oil have different levels of CBD. Alas, until the legal situation clears up, the issue will likely remain complicated.
With marijuana legalization in many states opening the door for more research into medical uses of compounds found in the marijuana plant, including cannabidiol, you’re sure to hear a lot about it in the future.
CBD is an effective way to treat anxiety, and shows immense promise at treating addiction, chronic pain, and psychiatric disorders.
It’s safe, well-tolerated, and may even help prevent some of the adverse effects of THC. Research on the uses of CBD is increasing every year, and the evidence for its efficacy has only grown in the last few years.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 CBD oil recommendation, click here.