What Is CBD oil? Shopping for top CBD products in 2022

CBD is an incredibly popular wellness product. Explore the benefits of this amazing health supplement and learn how to shop for the best CBD products.

  (photo credit: CBDfx.com)
(photo credit: CBDfx.com)

It seems CBD has been everywhere in the last few years: in the news, in the ads of your social media feed, even sitting next to the register in your local grocery store. This rapid expansion of the market for CBD has brought with it a staggering number of products competing for attention. While CBD can be consumed in many formats, we’re going to focus on CBD oils, often called tinctures, in this article. 

What Is CBD? 

Despite being the second-most prevalent compound found in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) was a relatively obscure cannabinoid, at least to the public, until recent decades. Most of the focus on cannabinoids centered on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound found in cannabis, most notably in the high-THC form of cannabis called marijuana. That started changing when states began legalizing cannabis and cannabis products for medical use. Public awareness became even more pervasive after the 2018 US Farm Bill was passed, making the growth, manufacture and sale of the low-THC form of cannabis, called hemp, legal in all 50 states.

As the health and wellness applications for cannabis grew, research into the other organic compounds present in cannabis became more common. And since CBD is present in greater concentrations in cannabis than any cannabinoid other than THC, it was a natural candidate for study. While research is nowhere near complete on CBD and other cannabinoids, studies suggest CBD has numerous health wellness benefits.

Health Benefits of CBD  

Credit: CBDfx.comCredit: CBDfx.com

CBD does not produce a “high,” like THC, but it does produce notable effects as it interacts with receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system helps the body to maintain homeostasis, or balance, in a number of vital organs and systems. This helps the body to regulate important functions, such as appetite, sleep, mood, memory, pain, stress, immune, and more. CBD mimics the body’s own endocannabinoids, thus contributing to the body’s overall wellness in these critical areas.

CBD’s calming properties also may be useful in the treatment of conditions, like anxiety and insomnia. This is because the gentle relaxation of cannabidiol can help relieve stress and ease the nerves, which in turn can prevent stress from escalating into full-blown anxiety. Those CBD calming properties also make it easier to get to sleep, especially in products in which CBD is combined with other relaxation supplements, such as CBN (cannabinol) and melatonin.

Pain relief is a common use for CBD, as well, and can be incredibly useful in easing minor muscle and joint pain. Some sufferers of migraine headaches report finding assistance from CBD in reducing the pain they experience. And similar to many over-the-counter pain remedies, CBD also has properties that can ease inflammation. But unlike some of those pain medications, CBD is all natural and non-addictive. 

What About CBD Oil? 

CBD is extracted from the cannabis hemp plant in the form of an oil. This hemp oil is the base for all CBD products, whether they’re edibles, like gummies, vape juice, capsules, topical creams, or any other form. However, that’s not the CBD oil we want to talk about here. Our focus is on CBD oil tinctures

A CBD oil tincture is a cannabidiol product intended for oral sublingual ingestion. Basically, that means you use it by placing the oil tincture under the tongue and holding it there for a brief period (60 seconds is recommended). Oil tinctures typically come in bottles with an eye-dropper style dispenser for dosing. 

How Sublingual Ingestion Works 

Sublingual CBD oil ingestion is a very effective way for the body to absorb certain compounds, and CBD works well with this method of consumption. Sublingual drops are absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream via the several small blood vessels in the mouth. This can take 15–30 minutes, depending on bioavailability factors (such as height, weight, CBD tolerance, and more). This is much quicker than edible CBD products, which can take 30 minutes to two hours to kick in. This makes CBD oil tinctures a fantastic choice for anyone who needs their CBD to take effect quickly. And those CBD effects can last four to six hours, again depending on bioavailability factors.

Some Benefits of Tinctures 

Every method of CBD consumption has its pros and cons, as is the case with CBD edibles, vapes, and topicals. 

Sublingual CBD tinctures are a good option for those who don’t want to expose themselves or the people around them to vapor from inhaled method of consumption. They produce no odor or other noticeable annoyances. 

Dosage with a tincture is easy to measure precisely, unlike with some other means of ingestion. Just fill the dropper with the desired amount and dispense. You can take as much or as little CBD as you need with no difficulty, and you won’t have to deal with cutting edibles into smaller sizes to adjust your CBD dosage. The concentration of active ingredients is consistent throughout the tincture, too, for no surprises. 

The compact size of a bottle of CBD tincture means it doesn’t require a lot of space to store, the way that extra-large jar of gummies does. It’s even possible to travel with your CBD tincture, as long as you’re careful to safeguard against leaks. 

Credit: CBDfx.comCredit: CBDfx.com

How Safe Is CBD? 

Cannabidiol side effects are reasonably rare, and tend toward minor symptoms such as dry mouth, diarrhea, drowsiness, and lack of appetite. Most consumers of CBD report no ill effects whatsoever. 

This does not mean that all CBD tinctures are safe to consume. Because there are so many CBD brands on the market, you’ll find plenty that forgo safety in order to turn a quick buck. Here are some things to watch out for when you’re shopping for CBD.

Organic Hemp & Clean Extraction Processes 

Hemp is what’s known as a bioaccumulator, meaning that it absorbs pretty much everything in the soil that surrounds the plant. While this is optimal for squeezing the most nutrients out of the soil, it’s not so optimal when the soil contains pesticides, heavy metals, and other potentially harmful contaminants. Always insist on buying CBD that is derived from organically grown hemp.

Another factor to consider is how the CBD was extracted from the hemp plant matter. Some cheap CBD products use butane or other harmful solvents in their extraction process. While this makes obtaining the CBD inexpensive, it leaves behind chemical residues you don’t want in the finished product. 

The cleanest extraction process uses carbon dioxide heated to a supercritical state as a solvent. Supercritical CO2 displays properties of both a gas and liquid, and is able to thoroughly permeate the organic matter and not only extract the CBD efficiently, but also retains all of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in the cannabis hemp plant. In terms of purity and potency, you can’t beat CBD extracted from the hemp with CO2.

Reputation Matters 

When shopping for a CBD oil, it is important to consider the reputation of the companies with which you do business. Consider how long they’ve been in business, how they present themselves, and what other consumers are saying about them. Are they clear and upfront about how the source cannabis hemp plants were grown, harvested, and processed? How much control do they have over these processes? 

Independent Laboratory Testing 

The very best CBD companies back their products with tests from non-bias, third-party laboratories. And they publish these test results for anyone to see on their web pages. Independent testing provides transparency for consumers, and ensures you’re getting what you pay for in terms of both CBD purity and potency. 

Different Kinds of CBD? 

Quality and safety aren’t the only things to consider when selecting a CBD oil, though they are important. To find the CBD product most suited to you and your needs, you also need to decide what kind of CBD you want. 

Wait, what is this? Different kinds of CBD? Well, there’s only one kind of CBD found naturally in a cannabis hemp plant, but that CBD makes its way into various products in one of three forms: full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate. The difference between these products is not with the CBD itself, but with the other cannabis-derived compounds included in the products. 

Full spectrum CBD includes the full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids present in cannabis hemp (including trace amounts of THC). Since all of the compounds in cannabis have their own effects, as well as interactions with each other that modify their effects when taken together, full spectrum CBD provides the most potent effects in consumer CBD products. 

Broad spectrum CBD is similar to full spectrum CBD, with the important omission of those trace amounts of THC. Though full spectrum CBD contains (by law) less than 0.3 percent THC, some CBD consumers need or desire a product completely free from any THC. Broad spectrum CBD filters those trace amounts of THC out, but still includes nearly all of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids you’d find in a full spectrum product. 

CBD isolate is pure cannabidiol with no other compounds from the cannabis plant (making it 99% pure CBD). Eliminating all of the other cannabinoids also eliminates the effects they produce, as well as any enhancing effects they may have with the CBD. This can be useful for singling out the effects of CBD alone, and is an attractive option for those who do not wish to complicate things by ingesting compounds they may not need for their health and wellness goals. 

Depending on your motivation for using CBD, you may find that one of these options works better for you than others. CBD companies offer a diverse range of CBD oils in full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate versions. CBD oils can be formulated with different aims in mind, partly through the selection of other cannabis-derived compounds to complement the relevant effects of cannabidiol. 

Shopping for Your CBD Oil 

As you do your cannabidiol research and make your selections, we hope you will consider the topics we brought up in this article. Working toward better health is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, and we want to give you the information you need to make the best decision when incorporating CBD oil into your health and wellness routine. This is true of not only CBD oil, but other hemp products as well, including CBD gummies for pain and other CBD gummies, CBD capsules, CBD for dogs, legal hemp-derived delta-9 THC gummies, as well as THC pen and THC oil vape products.

Please keep in mind factors such as the quality of the products offered, the purity of the extraction process, the other ingredients included, and whether your product includes all the compounds you want (or includes compounds you would prefer to avoid). Is there a product formulated specifically to address your concerns? 

All of these things and more play into finding the best products for meeting your health wellness goals. We wish you the best on your journey. 

This article was written in cooperation with CBDfx.