CBD Oil Strength: How to Choose the Right One for You You’re ready to buy CBD oil, but there are a dozen different potencies available. 300 mg? 600 mg? 4000 mg!? Which one should you choose? Do you know how to choose CBD oil and what you should look at when shopping for CBD products online? This article provides an all-around buyer’s guide for both beginners and those who already have experience in the CBD space but like to expand their research skills. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical extracted from hemp and marijuana that can possibly reduce stress, anxiety, pain, and the chance of seizures without giving you a high. While CBD is still being tested and is not regulated by the Food and…
CBD Oil Strength: How to Choose the Right One for You
You’re ready to buy CBD oil, but there are a dozen different potencies available. 300 mg? 600 mg? 4000 mg!? Which one should you choose? Buying CBD oil shouldn’t be so confusing. With this guide, we’ll show you exactly what makes these potencies different, and give you the information you need to become an expert. We go over:
- What the most common potencies/strengths are
- Differentiate between low, medium, and high strength oils
- How to determine the actual strength of your CBD oil
- And how you can apply this to choosing the best potency for what you need it for.
We then get into the more advanced techniques of calculating the optimal CBD concentration for your weight and size.
The Problem With Buying CBD
When browsing different brands, you’ll come across a lot of different strengths (potencies). You’ll find ranges from 300 mg to 4000mg per bottle. With so many CBD options to choose from it can make you feel like you have no idea what you’re even looking at. The labels are confusing and oftentimes, don’t make any sense at all.
The good news is that you’re not alone. The web is full of people asking similar questions. What’s the best potency for MS, fibromyalgia, pain, anxiety… the list goes on.
There are so many factors involved with CBD potency it’s no wonder people are so confused. The condition you’re treating, the concentration of CBD, whether or not other cannabinoids and terpenes are also present, and how severe your symptoms are will all play a role in choosing how effective it’s going to be.
Regardless of your final choice, keep in mind that CBD is not an FDA-approved drug in the United States and as such, this article should not be taken as a clinical claim or a medical recommendation. If you feel uncertain about picking the right strength of CBD oil and measuring the optimal dosage, consult your physician before the purchase. Let’s get into it.
Common Strengths/Potencies of CBD Oil
First of all, let’s clear something up. CBD potency specifically refers to how strong it is. If a CBD extract is rated at 300mg, it’s going to be about half as strong (potent) as the same amount of a CBD extract rated at 600mg CBD.
But wait, there’s more. These potencies also rely on the actual size of the bottle! The total CBD listed in mg refers to the dose contained IN THE ENTIRE BOTTLE. If you have a smaller bottle, the potency will increase.
So 300 mg in a 15 mL bottle will be twice as potent as a 300 mg oil in a 30 mL bottle. Confused? We’ll clear this up in more detail later. Keep reading, you’ll be an expert by the time we get to the end.
Why Are There different CBD Potencies?
As we said, there are many different potencies, but most of the time, you’ll come across two or three main options to choose from.
Needless to say, if you need CBD for regular supplementation or use it to deal with mild conditions, you won’t need CBD oil in high amounts.
A stronger oil might even be overkill.
As of right now, the majority of CBD companies sell oil tinctures in three different potencies:
Each of these potencies can come in a 15, 30, 50, or 60mL bottle. These are by far the most common, but there are also more potent 2000 mg and 4000 mg CBD options available too.
Getting Started With CBD Oils
It’s recommended that new users start with a low potency CBD oil. Of course, everybody’s chemistry is different, and what will work for one person might very well fail to deliver the desired effects for another not work for another.
The main thing to remember is to start slow and observe your body’s reaction to CBD. This way, you’ll be able to see how much of the oil it actually takes to provide the relief you’re looking for. For example, you can start with a 1-3 mg dose, and increase it to a 3, 4, or 5 mg dose later if these aren’t working.
If you’re not sure what we mean with these doses, keep reading, we’ll get to that later.
How To Calculate The Strength Of CBD Oil
The most important thing to remember when you buy CBD oil is to keep in mind that the bottle size matters.
What does this mean? Well, let’s say we have a 600 mg CBD oil in a 15 mL bottle, and another 600 mg CBD oil in a 30 mL bottle, which one is stronger?
The trick is to remember that the total CBD is distributed equally into the entire contents of the bottle, so the larger bottle will be roughly half as potent as the smaller bottle.
Here’s how it works.
There’s a simple calculation you can make to determine the strength of CBD oil.
It goes like this:
[AMOUNT OF CBD IN MG] ÷ [BOTTLE SIZE IN ML] = STRENGTH IN MG/ML
- Anything below 5 mg/mL (10%) is considered low strength.
- Anything between 15 and 30 mg/mL (15-30%) is medium strength.
- Anything between 30 and 60 (30-60%) is high strength.
- Anything else (60+%) is considered ultra-high-strength or classified as a concentrate.
Wondering how much CBD is in a serving of 300 mg (30 mL bottle)?
Let’s use this as an example. If you have a bottle with 30 mL of oil and advertises 300 mg of CBD, we can simply fill out the formula:[300 mg CBD] ÷ [30 mL Oil] = 10 mg/mL. This is like saying that 10% of the oil is pure CBD. It’s a 10% extract.
This means that every mL of oil you take will deliver exactly 10 mg worth of CBD. Here’s a simple equation:1 serving = 15 drops of oil = a 7.5 mg dose of CBDFor lots of people, though, even as little as 5-7 drops (about 3.5mg of Cannabidiol) can bring relief.
Let’s get into the concepts behind small (300mg), medium (600 mg), and large (1000mg) dose CBD products.
Low Potency CBD Oil (10% or Less CBD)
Most of the low potency CBD oil comes as 300mg in a 30mL bottle, which is a 10% potency. For a large number of people, this 300mg oil will be strong enough to support the endocannabinoid system and offer benefits to conditions like:
- Mild-to-moderate anxiety 
- Body aches and pains 
- Mild headaches
- Periodic insomnia
- Mild to moderate stress
If you’re in the group of users who are particularly sensitive to CBD and other cannabinoids, you won’t require a strong oil to get the expected effects. The low-potency options are a good solution for people thinking of adding CBD oil to their supplementation plan. A single daily dose of CBD can boost immune health, improve homeostasis (balance), and shield you from a range of nervous and endocrine conditions.
Medium Potency CBD Oil (15-30% CBD)
This potency is a good option for those who are looking to elevate their intake of CBD further. Many people taking this dose found little or no benefit from the smaller dose. Typically, people use this dose for symptoms like:
- Mild to moderate pain
- Chronic inflammation
- Digestive issues
- Mild to moderate anxiety
- Mild to moderate headaches
If you notice that you need to take large and/or multiple doses of the 300 mg (30 mL) version to get results, it’s time to upgrade to something stronger.
High Potency CBD Oil (30-60% CBD)
High-potency CBD oil isn’t for everyone. This is a therapeutic grade potency, used mainly for treating specific medical conditions. Conditions that often require high potency CBD oil Include:
- Moderate to severe pain
- Chronic inflammation
- Moderate to severe anxiety
- Severe insomnia
- Frequent migraine headaches
- Multiple sclerosis
If you notice that you need to take large and/or multiple doses of the medium-strength CBD oils, it’s time to upgrade.
Ultra-High Potency CBD Oil (>60%)
2000 mg of CBD in 30mL of oil will yield 66% CBD per mL. These products are thick and syrupy due to the high CBD concentration. They’re also referred to as concentrates because in order to make their manufacturers need to be extracted, and concentrated by removing other elements first. If you’re a first-time user, don’t start with high potency CBD oil.
Its effects are powerful and can have pharmaceutical-like effects in some people. They’re mostly used for serious medical conditions rather than for mild or even moderate levels of discomfort. It’s uncommon to find this potency in a bottle like the other options because it’s simply too thick. Instead, you can expect to find ultra-high potency products in a syringe application.
Unless your symptoms are serious, you likely won’t have to think about using this ultra-high-potency oil. Stick to the low or medium potency range instead.
Choosing Your CBD Dosage: Pro Tips
It’s time we elaborated on a few simple tricks to help you calculate your dosage and choose the right strength of your CBD oil. Let’s explore this in more detail.
1. Calculating Your Dosage Based On Your Body Mass
It’s the evergreen rule for measuring the doses of most substances. People with less body mass need less CBD to experience its benefits, while larger people will require higher amounts of Cannabidiol to produce the same results. Makes sense right?
A good rule of thumb is to take between 1 and 6 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight. So this would convert to:
- 1mg/10lbs for low severity
- 3mg/10lbs for medium severity
- 6mg/10lbs for high severity
The calculation would be:
[BODYWEIGHT IN POUNDS] ÷ 10 x [DOSE ACCORDING TO SEVERITY] = DOSE IN MG
The low end is for fewer symptoms, the higher range is for more severe symptoms. Here’s a chart to help illustrate this:
a dose of 15 mg – 25 mg would be best for an individual who weighs 150 lbs, while a 200lb user will require somewhere between 20 mg and 33 mg to get started. The table below will help you estimate the dose and potency of your CBD oil: As mentioned, these are only general figures, and more likely than not, you will have to go through some trial-and-error before you reach the sweet spot.
2. Start Low And Work Your Way Up Gradually
Let’s say you have a friend who weighs no more than 150 lbs and takes 50mg of CBD twice daily, which gets him/her satisfying results. Then, he looks at you and says: “hey, we’re approximately the same weight, take the same amount of CBD for yourself – it will work.”Well, not necessarily.
Like we mentioned, we all have different biochemistry. We also all have different patterns of medication use, supplements, and other substances, each of with could interact differently with your CBD . Even if you know the approximate dosage based on your body mass, you’ll need to experiment to see how your body reacts to different concentrations of Cannabidiol. From here we can adjust the dose accordingly until you know exactly how it’s working.
3. Consult Your Doctor
As much as we love to guide people on different aspects of CBD, we’re not in a position to give you medical advice. The best way to know whether you need a low, medium, or high potency CBD oil is to make an appointment with an experienced physician who knows CBD and can provide you with a professional CBD dosage guideline for your case.
How To Dose CBD? (Product Guideline)
You don’t have to be an industry expert to notice that CBD oil is not the only way to consume Cannabidiol. With that being said, you’re probably wondering how to measure your CBD dosage if you’re taking capsules or vaping flowers/concentrates/e-liquids.Here’s what you need to know about dosing CBD with the most common products:
Measuring CBD Tincture Dosage
CBD tinctures are by far the most popular way of consuming CBD. It’s also pretty simple; all you have to do is fill the dropper, place a few drops beneath the tongue, then hold it there for up to 90 seconds, and swallow.
But the question is: how much CBD is actually in a dropper?
Typically, a dropper has enough space to hold 1 ml of liquid. For most droppers, this will be about 40 individual drops. If you know the volume of your CBD tincture, you can use an easy formula to figure out how much CBD is in the dropper:
[TOTAL CBD CONTENT/BOTTLE] ÷ [BOTTLE’S VOLUME (IN MILILITERS)] = MGS OF CBD IN A DROPPER
The first step is to do our calculation from above to determine how much CBD there is in mg/mL.
Here’s a reminder of the formula in case you forgot.
[AMOUNT OF CBD IN MG] ÷ [BOTTLE SIZE IN ML] = STRENGTH IN MG/ML
For example, let’s say you’ve just bought a 30ml CBD tincture that has 300 mg of CBD. [300 mg] ÷ [30 mL] = 10 mg/mL
If a dropper holds 1mL of liquid, you can see that you’re getting 10mg of CBD with every full dropper (around 40 drops).
So, if you need to take 5 mg of CBD, and a single dropper of that 300 mg tincture holds 10 mg, simply fill the dropper halfway; simple, right? (Since we know a mL is about 40 drops, we can also just count out 20 drops).
Here’s another example: Let’s say you have 600 mg CBD oil, in a 15 mL bottle. Let’s first find out the amount of mg/mL:[600 mg] ÷ [15 mL] = 40 mg/mL.
Great! Now let’s say we wanted a dose of 80 mg. We need to take 2 dropperfuls to get that dose since one full dropper will have 40 mg of CBD. Done! Although this is not a surefire method, it is still better than shooting blinds.
Measuring CBD Vape Dosage
CBD can be vaped in two ways: either with a CBD e-liquid or by using a CBD cartridge system. Both methods are pretty straightforward and enjoyable.
Just like with a tincture, using an e-liquid to vape CBD boils down to estimating how much CBD a dropper can hold. Once you figure this out, you know how much CBD you are loading into your device.
Most people vape their daily CBD dose throughout the day, so if you suddenly run out of CBD in your cartridge, it’s a sign that you should puff the vapor in slower intervals. A single tank can contain approximately 33.33 mg of CBD if you are using a 1000 mg bottle.
Thus, the tank should last you for the entire day, leaving some CBD for the next session until you have to refill your device. When vaping CBD, regular monitoring is of the essence. This way, you will be able to control your CBD intake more accurately.
Measuring CBD Capsules Dosage
Now, if you’re wondering if there is a 100% accurate method to take CBD, the answer is a loud YES; these are CBD capsules. Comparing capsule to oil, encapsulated CBD contains a fixed dose of the compound, they allow you to dose it precisely.
Let’s say your CBD dosage is 50 mg. In order to meet these numbers, simply buy a bottle of 25 mg capsules and take one piece twice daily; you will be good to go. Besides, what could be easier than swallowing a flavorless CBD capsule with water?
A Final Hit On CBD Strength And Potency
With the abundance of CBD-infused products and different strengths/potencies available on the market, choosing the right option for your situation can become challenging at the best of times. There’s a lot of information about dosing CBD out there, but without breaking this down into its smaller parts, you’re going to remain confused and frustrated forever.
We hope our guide on CBD potency will help you make the right decision when buying and measuring your CBD dosage. By practicing the calculations listed in this guide you can quickly become a wiz at dosing different strengths of CBD for yourself. If you have any questions regarding the dosage and available potencies, feel free to leave a comment below.
- Bergamaschi M. M. et. al. Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naive Social Phobia Patients. Neuropsychopharmacology (2011); 36(6): 1219-1226. Published Online 2011 Feb 9.
- Reiman A., Welty M., and Perry Solomon. Cannabis as a Substitute for Opioid-Based Pain Medication: Patient Self-Report. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, Vol. 2, No. 1. Published Online in 1 Jun 2017.
- Rong C, Carmona NE, Lee YL, Ragguett RM, Pan Z, Rosenblat JD, Subramaniapillai M, Shekotikhina M, Almatham F, Alageel A, Mansur R, Ho RC, McIntyre RS. Drug-drug interactions as a result of co-administering Δ(9)-THC and CBD with other psychotropic agents. Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2018 Jan;17(1):51-54.
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
What To Look For When Shopping for CBD Products
CBD oil is a versatile supplement, but now it’s also a growing market, which entails the risk of stumbling upon unscrupulous scam-artists trying to make a quick buck on misinformed customers, too.
Is there any way to tell that you’re looking at high-quality CBD oil?
While it’s not easy for consumers to determine which CBD brands and products they should choose, there are several factors that can tell you right away whether you’re dealing with a reputable vendor or with one of the aforementioned fly-by-night suppliers.
Having been in the industry for years, we’ve set out certain quality standards that we incorporate into our farming, extraction, and lab-testing practices. Before launching Gold Bee, we’ve been working in the organic superfoods space, so we can tell the difference between a good crop and a bad crop, point you to the right extraction methods, and highlight all the important points on your checklist before choosing CBD oil.
In this article, we’ve put together our knowledge in one place so that you can choose your CBD oil based on thorough research rather than marketing buzz.
How to Choose CBD Oil?
There are thousands of cannabis products on the shelves and in online stores — but determining what’s safe and effective is up to you.
The CBD space is unregulated by the FDA, and many brands are taking advantage of that fact churning out poor-quality, sometimes dangerous products.
According to statistics, up to 70% of CBD oil products sold locally are mislabeled and contain significantly less CBD than stated on the bottle. Other products have residual contaminants, but then again, the market is unregulated, so companies aren’t obliged to test their CBD oils in third-party laboratories for potency and purity — although it’s the industry’s standard.
The market has matured since its first years. That being said, due diligence is still required if you don’t want to fall victim to sketchy vendors.
Then there’s also the question of your preferences, dosage needs, different product types, formulas, concentrations, and more — choosing CBD oil for the first time can be a pain.
Okay, enough of the negative vibes.
Problems aren’t negative by nature because there’s always a way to solve them.
Below we cover everything you need to know if you’re about to choose your first bottle of CBD oil.
Know the Difference Between CBD Oil and Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp is used in lots of different product categories, from food to health supplements to skincare products.
When you choose CBD oil for the first time, you need to make sure you’re buying the actual CBD oil — not hemp seed oil.
These two products are confusingly sold as “hemp oils,” which is an umbrella term for all oils derived from hemp.
However, hemp seed oil and CBD oil are two completely different products.
Hemp seed oil is made from the plant’s seeds. And while it has a rich nutritional content — chock-full of omega fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, and trace minerals — it doesn’t contain any CBD or any cannabinoids for that matter. This type of hemp oil is made by cold-pressing the seeds.
CBD oil, on the other hand, is extracted from the plant’s flowers. This is the resinous part of hemp, where all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are secreted. The flowers are harvested and then treated with pressurized CO2 to pull the beneficial compounds from the plant material. The resulting product is a thick, dark liquid that has a botanical smell. Once extracted, the oil is suspended in a food-grade carrier oil such as MCT oil or hemp seed oil.
So, while both products come from the same plant, they use different parts and thus have different properties and applications.
Tip: If you want to make sure you’re choosing the actual CBD oil, read what the label says. If it states “CBD oil” or “full-spectrum hemp extract,” then you’re looking at the right product. On the other hand, if it says “hemp seed oil” or “hemp oil,” you might be looking at a culinary oil.
Set Your Goals with CBD
The first thing to consider when you choose CBD oil is why you want to take it. Though CBD is praised for numerous potential health benefits — backed by scientific research — each person may have different expectations when it comes to the effects.
CBD oil isn’t the only format you can choose; there are CBD capsules, topicals, edibles, and vapes — each of them might be appropriate.
According to experts, the method of consumption determines the onset, type, and duration of the effects.
For immediate relief of stress or physical discomfort, inhaling CBD may be the most effective; if you want to ensure efficient absorption and don’t mind waiting several minutes for the effects to kick in, CBD oil drops will be your best bet. Oral forms of CBD, such as capsules and edibles, are better suited for the means of daily supplementation thanks to the level of convenience they offer. Finally, topical products may lend their hand if you suffer from localized discomfort, such as muscle stiffness and soreness.
Consider the THC Content
The THC content in your CBD oil determines not only its effects but also legal status — something that is important to many people who choose CBD for the first time. Research suggests that in some people, CBD may be more beneficial when taken in tandem with at least a little THC.
The synergistic interaction between CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids, as well as terpenes, is known as the entourage effect. According to this concept, the sum of the two chemicals, plus other related compounds, provide greater efficacy than their individual parts.
Hemp-derived CBD oil contains very little THC — up to 0.3% — which isn’t enough to get you high but maybe enough to leverage the health benefits of CBD. Such products are legal on a federal level and you can find them in dispensaries, vape shops, organic health stores, pharmacies, and online stores.
With marijuana-derived CBD oil, it’s a different story. CBD products extracted from marijuana plants are legal only in the states that have legalized its recreational use. You’ll mostly find them in cannabis dispensaries. Dispensaries sell a wide range of CBD products, from high-CBD marijuana strains to oils, tinctures, topicals, and vape pens. If your state only allows medical marijuana, then you’ll need a prescription or an MMJ card to purchase marijuana-derived CBD.
What to Look for in CBD Oil?
Now that we’ve established the prep work behind choosing CBD oil, it’s time to take a peek at the factors that directly affect its quality. Here are a few important questions to ask yourself before you choose a CBD product and add it to your cart.
Is the Hemp Organic?
The source of hemp is paramount because it is where CBD and other valuable compounds are secreted. Since hemp plants are dynamic bioaccumulators, they easily absorb every substance from the soil they grow in. When cultivated in clean and nutrient-dense soil, the hemp will yield high-CBD flowers that are free of any contaminants. On the other hand, mass-produced hemp will yield poor concentrations of CBD, not to mention the presence of heavy metals and other toxins in the final product.
Most hemp in CBD products sold in the United States comes from Colorado, California, Oregon, and Kentucky, which have long histories with cannabis cultivation. Some companies import hemp from overseas, which may be risky from the customer’s perspective because such hemp isn’t subject to U.S. federal quality testing.
Don’t know which CBD oil to choose? We always recommend purchasing from manufacturers who use locally grown hemp. Not only do you support local farmers this way, but you’re also getting a product that is compliant with the FDA guidelines.
How Was the Product Extracted?
Once grown to full maturity and harvested, the plant is taken to an extraction facility, where the lab workers use different methods to extract the beneficial compounds from the source material. CBD can be extracted in many ways — the most popular being CO2, ethanol, and organic solvents such as butane, propane, or hexane.
CO2 is the industry’s golden standard. Pressurized carbon dioxide efficiently pulls the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material without using additional heat or toxic solvents. This technology ensures pure CBD extracts that maintain consistent potency throughout the batches.
Ethanol extraction is an acceptable alternative. In fact, the traditional cannabis tinctures were made using alcohol. However, this method isn’t as efficient as CO2 extraction when it comes to broad-scale manufacturing. The purging process also needs to be run with caution, as alcohol is highly flammable.
The cheapest — and the riskiest — way to extract CBD from hemp is through hydrocarbon extraction. Hydrocarbon solvents include substances like butane, hexane, and propane. They are a low-cost method of making cannabis concentrates. Unfortunately, they’re also difficult to purge from the final product, leaving toxic impurities that can make you sick.
When choosing CBD oil, we encourage you to opt for CO2-extracted products. They are slightly more expensive than alcohol-based extracts, but it’s worth spending a few dollars more on a better-quality product.
Has It Been Third-Party Tested?
Always ask to see a product’s certificate of analysis (COA). The document shows how a product went through tests checking for CBD and THC concentrations, and the presence of contaminants.
The lab-reports should come from a third-party laboratory. “Third-party” means that the facility has no affiliation with the manufacturer and thus can provide unbiased results.
Some companies test their products throughout the entire production process — from the seed to the bottle — while others only test the final product. Regardless of the company’s testing practices, you should check if the lab reports are batch-specific and up-to-date.
If an online manufacturer or a local store doesn’t provide the information or refuses to share it, avoid the product and the vendor.
Are There Any Other Ingredients In It?
CBD oils have a simple formula. They mostly consist of a full-spectrum hemp extract and food-grade carrier oil. The extract itself is too thick to be handled with a dropper, so the oil is added to make dosing easier on top of improving its bioavailability. ‘Bioavailability’ refers to the amount of CBD that ends up in your bloodstream. Cannabinoids dissolve both in alcohol and fats, so the addition of carrier oil enhances the efficacy of CBD extracts.
Aside from the carrier, CBD oils may be infused with other ingredients that are used to boost or complement the health benefits of CBD. You can find CBD oil with guarana for morning use, but there are also CBD oils with melatonin, a sleep-enhancing neurotransmitter. If you dislike the flavor of natural CBD oil, you can choose from many flavored versions; popular flavored variations of CBD oil include mint, vanilla, berry, kiwi, and citrus fruits.
When choosing CBD oil, make sure the flavorings are natural, and that the oil doesn’t contain any suspicious additives.
How to Buy CBD Oil?
Don’t have the time to run through the above checklist? This section will help you choose high-quality CBD oil if you’re in a hurry.
Choose Reputable Brands
This may sound like a dead giveaway, but brands with a well-established reputation are more likely to sell quality CBD products than companies coming out of the blue and providing little to no information on how they make their CBD oils.
How can you tell that you’re buying from a trustworthy vendor?
The company should have a clear mission statement written on its website. Moreover, they should provide a detailed insight into their farming, extraction, and testing practices. Every reputable brand also sends its products to third-party laboratories for content analysis.
Speaking of which…
Look for Certificates of Analysis
As mentioned earlier, the certificate of analysis is a document confirming the potency and purity of a CBD product. The content analysis may cover one or several aspects, from the CBD concentration to the cannabinoid and terpene profiles to potential contaminants.
If any impurities or dangerous additives are found during the analysis, the lab report will show it.
Again, never buy from companies that refuse to provide certificates of analysis for their products.
Read User Reviews
This point is closely connected with the first one. Reputable brands usually have many positive user reviews. However, you should look at the source of these testimonies. There are many companies out there that have lots of positive reviews on their websites, but when you check with third-party CBD rankings or expert blogs, you may find that the reviews are biased.
When choosing between different brands and CBD products, always compare user reviews from at least three different sources. Doing so will provide you with a bigger picture of the company and its reputation in the cannabis community.
When to Shop for CBD Online?
The first thought that may come to your mind once you discover the health benefits of CBD oil is “where can I buy CBD oil near me?” After all, CBD is sold virtually everywhere — even at gas stations.
But before you start making errands to find a trustworthy physical store, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons.
Local shops are convenient and easily available — but that’s where the advantages usually end.
When you shop for CBD locally, you rely solely on the employees’ knowledge about the products. This leaves you with limited research options, not to mention a narrow product selection. Local shops usually stock two types of CBD products — much less than online retailers.
A person running a physical storefront must cover certain operational costs, such as electricity bills, rental space, etc. This, in turn, translates into higher product prices.
That’s where online shopping becomes an appealing alternative.
Buying CBD online means you can easily browse and compare different brands and products in the comfort of your home. You don’t need to drive from one shop to another — everything is available with a few clicks in your browser.
Online stores also offer more product types than local vendors. When shopping for CBD online, you can choose from oils, tinctures, capsules, gummies, honey sticks, bath bombs, creams, vape pens, and more. It would be difficult to find a physical store that would offer so many options.
And since online retailers can cut out the middleman, they can offer better prices for their products. You can take advantage of special discounts, coupon codes, reward programs, holiday sales, and bulk pricing to save money on your favorite products.
Choosing the Right CBD Product Type
You can find CBD in many forms, but in this section, we’ll cover the most often picked product types.
As we said, the form of CBD determines the onset, type, and duration of effects. Here’s a brief comparison:
- CBD Oils – CBD oils are taken under the tongue. You need to measure the desired amount using a glass dropper or atomizer and place it beneath the tongue for up to 60 seconds. From there, the oil absorbs directly into the bloodstream, producing its effects within 15–30 minutes on average.
- CBD Capsules – capsules contain a hemp extract infused with a carrier oil and covered in a soft gel shell. They don’t require any measurements because every capsule contains a fixed amount of CBD. Since capsules need to pass through the digestive system, the effects have a delayed onset, usually by 30–40 minutes, although, for some people, it may take up to 2 hours until they start feeling a difference.
- CBD Edibles – similar to regular cannabis edibles, you can find hemp-infused CBD gummies, honey sticks, protein bars, chocolates, and beverages. They are processed by the body in the same way as capsules, which means the effects may be delayed, but they will also last longer since the CBD is released gradually into the bloodstream.
- CBD Vapes – products like vape pens and cartridges provide the fastest onset of effects, bringing relief within minutes after inhalation. They also offer the highest bioavailability of all consumption methods, ensuring that up to 56% of CBD ends up in your bloodstream.
- CBD Topicals – topicals are formulated to ease localized discomfort. The CBD doesn’t absorb into the bloodstream, so these products have literally zero bioavailability; instead, the CBD interacts with the CB2 receptors located in the skin. From there, they can signal the endocannabinoid system to promote homeostasis.
Full-spectrum vs Isolate: Which One Should You Choose?
There’s an ongoing debate on which type of CBD oil people should choose: full-spectrum or isolate?
Most users choose full-spectrum CBD due to more predictable dosing and higher efficacy.
Full-spectrum CBD is extracted from the whole plant, so it contains not only CBD but also other cannabinoids and terpenes found in hemp. As mentioned in the previous sections, these compounds work together synergistically, enhancing the benefits of the major cannabinoid. This synergy is known as the “entourage effect,” a term coined by Raphael Mechoulam and further expanded by Dr. Ethan Bud Russo. The entourage effect means that the cannabis compounds work better together than each of them alone.
CBD isolate is pure cannabidiol that has been separated from the other molecules. It’s usually sold as powdered crystals and offers the highest dose of CBD per serving — 990 mg in one gram. It’s also flavorless and odorless, which makes it more versatile than full-spectrum extracts.
However, CBD isolate doesn’t produce the entourage effect, which makes it a less desired option. People typically choose to isolate when they are tested for THC at work — high doses of full-spectrum CBD may trigger a false-positive result for THC — or are allergic to other hemp compounds.
How to Choose CBD Concentration?
CBD concentration is the first figure people look at when they choose between different CBD oils.
There is no one-size-fits-all CBD dosage because everybody is different and reacts differently to CBD. For some people, dosages between 5–10 mg may be sufficient, while others will need upwards of 50 mg to experience a noticeable difference in their well-being.
The rule “the more the merrier” doesn’t work in this case because people may also have different goals with CBD.
This brings us to the next choice.
High vs Low Concentration CBD Oil
Low-concentration CBD oils are usually picked for micro-dosing, which means applying very small doses of CBD throughout the day to maintain stable levels of endocannabinoids. People who’ve just dipped their toes in the subject choose low-potency CBD oils to find the right dosage and assess the cost-efficacy of their product.
High-concentration CBD oils are preferred by users who already have some experience with CBD and know their optimal dosage. When you buy a high-strength oil, you need to pay more for a single purchase, but the product may prove more affordable in the long-run than a less potent option. You can calculate the cost of your CBD oil by taking the total concentration of CBD and dividing it by the product’s volume. The less you pay for one milligram of CBD, the longer your product will go.
Lower doses of CBD oil produce different effects than higher doses. Lower amounts are known to produce invigorating effects that promote focus and reduce stress — a good option for daytime use. Higher doses, in turn, tend to have a sedative effect on the user. When you take high doses of CBD in your routine, low-concentration oils may be cost-prohibitive.
How to Choose CBD Oil: Bottom Line?
Choosing CBD oil for the first time can be a hard nut to crack. Since the market is unregulated, there’s a risk of buying a mislabeled product that will be ineffective and even dangerous for your health.
Research is paramount when it comes to choosing CBD products. You should always check the source of hemp, extraction methods, third-party testing, the company’s transparency, and reputation among CBD users.
Your choice will also depend on the type of CBD, consumption method, and potency; these factors should be suited to your lifestyle preferences and expected effects.
We hope our guide will help you maneuver in this booming space and find a true pearl amidst the sea of mediocre vendors.
How do you choose your CBD oils? Let us know your tips in the comments below!
How to Choose CBD Oil
This article was co-authored by Aimée Shunney, ND and by wikiHow staff writer, Hunter Rising. Dr. Aimée Gould Shunney is a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor at Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine in Santa Cruz, California where she specializes in women’s health and hormone balancing. She also consults with various companies in the natural products industry including CV Sciences, makers of PlusCBD Oil. Dr. Aimée educates consumers, retailers, and healthcare providers about CBD oil through written articles, webinars, podcasts, and conferences nationwide. Her work has been featured at the American Academy for Anti-Aging Medicine, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians Conference, and on Fox News. She earned her ND from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2001.
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Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical extracted from hemp and marijuana that can possibly reduce stress, anxiety, pain, and the chance of seizures without giving you a high.  X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world’s leading hospitals Go to source While CBD is still being tested and is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you can still buy CBD oil legally in many locations. But how do you shop for CBD, and what’s the best CBD oil? To help you out, we’ve put together some tips on choosing CBD oil and shopping for the best CBD oil available.