If you haven’t been bombarded with CBD marketing or raves about it from friends, get ready. This extract—which comes from either marijuana or its industrial cousin, hemp—is popping up everywhere. There are CBD capsules, tinctures, and liquids for vaping plus CBD-infused lotions, beauty products, snacks, coffee, and even vaginal suppositories. Already some 1,000 brands of CBD products are available in stores—and online in states that don’t have lenient cannabis laws. This is a tiny fraction of what’s to come: The CBD market is poised to exceed $22 billion by 2022, per the Chicago-based research firm Brightfield Group.
Lisa Hamilton, a jeweler and doula in Brooklyn, NY, knows about the side effects. She recently tried CBD for the shoulder pain that plagued her five years after an accident. Her doctor certified that she was in chronic pain, which under New York State law allowed her to buy from a state dispensary. One Friday, she swallowed two 10-mg capsules, the amount recommended at the dispensary, then took another two on Saturday. “By Sunday, it felt like I’d gotten hit by a truck. Every muscle and joint ached,” Hamilton says. She cut back to one pill a day the following week, but still felt hungover. She stopped after that.
Unlike THC, which primarily binds to CB-1 receptors located in the brain, CBD works in the body by manipulating receptors throughout organ tissues, the immune system, the pain response system, the hormonal system, and other whole-body regulatory systems. Basically, since its receptors have been found to exist in virtually every cell and tissue type in the body, CBD is believed to work on every aspect of human health and behavior – from the subcellular level to the whole-body leve and beyond.
Here’s the thing, though—CBD oil isn’t just helpful for people with epilepsy. Turns out the oil is highly anti-inflammatory, and according to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology it’s also beneficial for treating anxiety, depression, neurodegenerative disorders like dementia, and even has anti-tumoral properties. Sounds like the ultimate superfood, right? I decided to give this magic oil a whirl and see if I noticed a difference in my mood, anxiety, and stress levels.
In addition to acting on the brain, CBD influences many body processes. That’s due to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which was discovered in the 1990s, after scientists started investigating why pot produces a high. Although much less well-known than the cardiovascular, reproductive, and respiratory systems, the ECS is critical. “The ECS helps us eat, sleep, relax, forget what we don’t need to remember, and protect our bodies from harm,” Marcu says. There are more ECS receptors in the brain than there are for opioids or serotonin, plus others in the intestines, liver, pancreas, ovaries, bone cells, and elsewhere.
Our bodies are thought to produce endocannabinoids by the billions every day. “We always thought the ‘runner’s high’ was due to the release of dopamine and endorphins. But now we know the euphoria is also from an endocannabinoid called anandamide,” its name derived from the Sanskrit word for bliss, says Joseph Maroon, MD, clinical professor and vice chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. We produce these natural chemicals all day, but they fade quickly because enzymes pop up to destroy them. That’s where CBD comes in: By blocking these enzymes, CBD allows the beneficial compounds to linger.
Buying online is less reliable still because there’s no regulation or standardization. What you see on the label may not be what you are getting. A 2017 study in JAMA found that of the 84 CBD products researchers bought online, 43 percent had more CBD than indicated, while 26 percent had less, and some had unexpected THC.“There’s a 75 percent chance of getting a product where the CBD is mislabeled,” says Marcu, one of the study’s coauthors.
To be clear, there is no one specific test, scan, or anything else of the sort that you can do to determine whether or not you need CBD oil for pain. Also, since cannabis is not yet recognized by the FDA, you unfortunately can’t really go to your doctor either and have them recommend it; until marijuana is FDA-approved, it cannot be prescribed by physicians.
Gloss and Vickrey conducted a Cochrane systematic review of the use of CBD in the treatment of epilepsy (11). Their methodology included only those trials that were randomized and controlled and excluded case series, case reports, and expert opinion. They were able to identify only 4 randomized controlled studies reported in the literature, and they included a letter to the editor and an abstract. The total number of subjects enrolled in these studies was 48 (11–14). While only four studies and a letter to the editor were in the actual analysis, the authors included a complete reference listing of all articles reviewed for inclusion.
A group of 15 patients who received CBD over a period ranging from one month to one year were surveyed to gather various data. The researchers sought information about the patient and the caregiver, changes observed in the seizures, neuropsychological effects, side effects and the family’s overall perception following the use of cannabidiol. This simple observational study identified some very encouraging findings:

CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control.
Where do you buy CBD oils? You may have noticed that CBD products are everywhere these days. You can easily find CBD oil and other products online and in certain health food/vitamin stores or spas. To separate the highest quality products from the rest, look for one that has a certificate of analysis, or COA. This means that the manufacturer tests the product for contaminants, and it meets lab standards.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your healthcare provider or 911 immediately. Any mention of products or services is not meant as a guarantee, endorsement, or recommendation of the products, services, or companies. Reliance on any information provided is solely at your own risk. Please discuss any options with your healthcare provider.

“Buying from a reputable manufacturer is crucial, because it matters how the plant is cultivated and processed,” Dr. Maroon says. One clue that a company is cutting corners: too low a cost. Good CBD is pricey—a bottle of high-quality capsules is sold in Cohen’s office for $140. But for many, it’s worth the money. Roth spent $60 on her tiny bottle. But when her energy returned the day she started taking CBD, she decided that was a small price to pay.
But it also requires careful research before making a purchase. Because the cannabis plant readily absorbs pesticides, heavy metals and other chemicals that are in the soil and water, it’s so important that cannabis plants are frequently tested while they are growing. And it’s up to manufactures to test CBD products, too. When you are shopping for CBD oil, look for products that have been tested for contaminants and for CBD vs. THC levels.
With so many companies popping up every day, we’ve done the hard work for you. We bring you the best CBD oil guide and the top 25 brands that made our list based on CBD oil quality, effectiveness, customer service and of course price. Please note, this article is updated constantly, so don’t forget come back from time to time to see the most updated information.
Thank you. I am 81 and started the CBD drops night and morning. I sleep better and no longer suffer the excruciating pain from diverticulitis. I saw somewhere that for my asthma I need the THC so got some (totally illegal here in South Africa). I think it is helping. The diagnosis of COPD was made some years ago and as a health psychologist I do all I can to remain healthy for my 97th birthday!! (Both my grandmother and greatgrandmother did so I believe I will too).
CBD hemp oil has a number of uses and comes in many forms including capsules, tinctures, sublingual supplements, liquid oil, oil as a paste, sprays, salves, creams and in edible forms, such as candies or sweets. You can also inhale CBD oil from vapor-releasing pens, similar to the technology for e-cigarettes. This variety also provides a lot of controlled flexibility in terms of concentration, making CBD hemp oil useful and desirable for people of all ages, economic means, and personal needs.
Ranging from irritating to debilitating, joint pain can be tricky to treat. If your pain is mild, ibuprofen or acetaminophen might be adequate. But the worse it gets, the more likely you are to be prescribed antidepressants, muscle relaxants, or even opioids. Because of the side effects associated with these prescription medications, there has been quite a bit of research on CBD and joint pain — with promising results. Here are a few studies that point to CBD’s potential:
Authors: Leinwand, Kristina L. DO; Gerich, Mark E. MD; Hoffenberg, Edward J. MD; Collins, Colm B. PhD; National Institutes of Health T32 Institutional Training Grant in Pediatric Gastroenterology; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health; Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
While animal experimental data clearly suggest a potential benefit, supportive clinical data are quite sparse. In a case-control study of 308 cases of new onset seizures, Brust and colleagues found that marijuana use was significantly less prevalent among men who had unprovoked seizures compared to case controls (9). This difference was not significant in women. The authors suggest a potential protective effect against seizures with marijuana use; however, this should be considered speculative.
Other targets for CBD include transient receptor potential (TRP) channels that are involved with the modulation of intracellular calcium (1, 6). Cannabinoids are highly lipophilic, allowing access to intracellular sites of action, resulting in increases in calcium in a variety of cell types including hippocampal neurons. CBD actions on calcium homeostasis may provide a basis for CBD neuroprotective properties.
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