5 Best CBD Oils for Anxiety and Stress
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Thinking about CBD oils for anxiety? We tracked down products that meet our experts' criteria for quality and safety.
CBD and anxiety
In today’s stressful world, you might be looking for new ways to deal with worries, fears, and nervousness. One popular anxiety remedy is CBD (cannabidiol).
If you’re considering using CBD oil for anxiety, it’s important to choose a product that is accurately labeled and free from contamination with toxic substances like mold and pesticides. But unless you’re able to purchase CBD oil through a licensed dispensary in a state with legal marijuana, it’s up to you to make sure that it’s safe and that it contains what the label says it does.
“There’s right now no consumer protection in the unregulated quote hemp CBD market,” says Bonni Goldstein, MD, medical director and owner of Cannacenters and author of Cannabis is Medicine: How Medical Cannabis and CBD are Healing Everything from Anxiety to Chronic Pain.
That’s because the U.S. is in a strange place right now in terms of regulating the Cannabis sativa or marijuana plant. That’s the source of CBD and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance that makes people high and the chemical that drug tests look for. (Learn more more about CBD vs. THC.)
Most states now have legal medical marijuana programs, and a handful more allow medical use of “high CBD, low THC” products. But the marijuana plant and its components are still classified as Schedule 1 by the Drug Enforcement Agency. That means they have no medical use and a high potential for abuse.
Confusing matters even more, the Farm Bill of 2018 made it legal for farmers to grow hemp, which is a cannabis plant that often contains higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC—specifically 0.3 percent of THC or less. But the new law did not legalize CBD.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) argues that because CBD is an ingredient in an approved drug (Epidiolex, a synthetic form of CBD oil used to treat rare genetic seizure disorders in children), it can’t be marketed as a nutritional supplement. The FDA also says it’s illegal to add CBD to food products (for humans and animals) and market the edibles across state lines.
(Here’s what you need to know about the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil.)
Jamie Grill/Getty ImagesWhat to look for
To help you find the best products in this confusing environment, we used expert-specified criteria for safe, effective CBD oil. It should be:
- Extracted using supercritical carbon dioxide, a high-tech method that doesn’t leave toxic solvents behind, or with food-grade ethanol
- Free from pesticides, heavy metals, mold, and other contaminants
- Made from U.S.-grown hemp
- Certified organic
- Produced in compliance with FDA Good Manufacturing Practices
- Tested by a third-party laboratory, with authentic, batch-specific Certificates of Analysis (COAs) readily available to prove it.
You should also decide which type of CBD product you want:
- Full spectrum, meaning it contains all of the other components of the hemp plant, including small amounts of THC and plant compounds known as terpenes
- Broad spectrum, which contains all of these components plus CBD but no THC
- CBD isolates, which contain CBD only
“It’s better to get oils that are less processed because that means it’s closer to the original that’s in the plant,” says Martin A. Lee, co-founder and director of Project CBD, a California non-profit that promotes CBD research, and author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana–Medical, Recreational and Scientific. “We would recommend the full spectrum.”
If you’re concerned that traces of THC in a CBD product might show up on a drug test, and plan to use CBD regularly, you may want to opt for a completely THC-free product. (Unlike THC, you should know that CBD alone doesn’t get you high.)
Tinnakorn Jorruang/Getty ImagesBest CBD oils for anxiety
Here are five CBD oil products that meet our standards.
California-based Lord Jones says it makes the “World’s Finest CBD Infused Products.” A one-ounce bottle of Royal Oil contains 1,000 milligrams of CBD, with 40 mg in a full dropper and grapeseed oil as a carrier. You can look up a product’s COA by batch code on the Lord Jones website. The company offers discounts to medical workers, teachers, and the military. Signing up for a subscription will bring the $95 price tag down to $85.
This 1,000 mg tincture (33 mg per dropper) is CBDistillery’s most popular CBD oil product. The company also offers whole-spectrum and THC-free CBD products, and it’s made accessing a product’s batch-specific COA super-easy. Just scan the QR code on the bottle.
$54 to $100
Certified organic by the USDA, Joy Organics’ CBD oil products are available in full- and broad-spectrum forms and three strengths. Prices range from $54 for a bottle containing 450 mg CBD (15 mg per serving) to $100 for a 1,350 mg bottle (45 mg CBD per dropper). Here’s where you can look up lot-specific COAs.
This company is named for Charlotte Figi, a Colorado girl whose intractable seizures were controlled with CBD oil. The Stanley brothers, who founded the company, developed a type of CBD oil made from a high-CBD, low-THC hemp chemovar. (A chemovar is the botanically correct name for strains of cannabis that have a specific chemical composition.) It’s $120 for 1,800 mg bottle (60 mg CBD per dropper). This full-spectrum CBD oil comes in lemon twist, orange blossom, and mint chocolate flavor. You can look up batch-specific COAs on the company’s website.
For an extra soothing boost, this CBD oil contains bergamot and ylang ylang essential oils, along with 500 mg of CBD (about 16 mg full-spectrum CBD hemp extract per dropper). You can access batch-specific COAs for this and other products on Canviva’s web site. But you can’t look up the COA for a product by batch number.
- Bonni Goldstein, MD, medical director and owner of Cannacenters, author of Cannabis is Medicine: How Medical Cannabis and CBD are Healing Everything from Anxiety to Chronic Pain
- Martin A. Lee, co-founder and director of Project CBD, a California non-profit that promotes CBD research, and author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana–Medical, Recreational and Scientific.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: "FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, including Cannabidiol (CBD)"
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration,: "What You Need to Know (and What We're Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, including CBD"
- National Conference of State Legislatures: "State Medical Marijuana Laws"