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With so much optimism and interest in the therapeutic effects of CBD, many retailers are jumping to add their products to the market. But not all CBD lotions and potions are created equal. It’s important to do your research and get the highest quality products you can find from a trusted source.

So how does the oh-so-popular Papa & Barkley stack up in the wild CBD market?

We did some serious digging into the brand’s reputation, business practices, and product quality to determine whether Papa & Barkley products are worth your money. Keep reading to find out whatcha need to know.

First things first: Papa & Barkley as a brand passed our extensive vetting process for CBD brands and products. But not every one of the company’s products passed. (Want more info on that process? We dive into it below.)

Pros

  • Transparent business practices. The brand provides proof of third-party testing for all of its CBD products for cannabinoid and terpene profile *and* contaminants.
  • Solid range of products. With topicals, oils, softgels, and capsules, there are plenty of CBD products to choose from.
  • Entourage effect. All of the Papa & Barkley products contain full-spectrum CBD, which might have enhanced therapeutic benefits compared to other types of CBD.
  • Good reviews and customer service. Papa & Barkley has a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. And reviewers have a LOT of good things to say about the company’s products.

Cons

  • No THC-free products. Because all products contain full-spectrum CBD, there aren’t any options for peeps that want to steer clear of THC.
  • Not many dosage options. You can only choose between 30 mg or 60 mg CBD products, which might be too high for CBD newbies.
  • Two products failed our vetting process. The CBD Releaf Balm’s advertised potency didn’t match the potency on the product’s COA and the CBD Releaf Capsule’s COA is outdated (more than a year old).

Maybe you know of cannabidiol (CBD) as the tamer little sister of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both are cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp plants, but the key difference is that CBD won’t get you high.

CBD products can technically include some THC in them, but federally legal products will never contain more than 0.3 percent. While this tiny amount taken in normal dosages isn’t enough to get you “high,” it’s possible to feel some psychoactive effects (and fail a drug test) if you take high enough doses of it.

Here are the diff kinds of CBD products you’ll find:

  • Full-spectrum CBD products contain all the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes found naturally in the cannabis plant (including up to 0.3 percent THC).
  • Broad-spectrum CBD is just like full-spectrum, but THC-free.
  • CBD isolate products are *only* CBD — all other compounds have been removed.

CBD products come in all shapes and sizes: topicals, edibles (like gummies), softgels/capsules, and oils.

What the research says

CBD is just a little bb in the world of science, so research is pretty limited and ongoing. But based on what research we do have, CBD looks like a promising option for treating:

Papa & Barkley is a California-based CBD brand founded by Adam Grossman in 2014. The company is named for Grossman’s dad and pup, as if that isn’t just the cutest.

The company has positioned itself as a “caretaker” brand, with its origins in Grossman’s effort to concoct a CBD product that would relieve his father’s debilitating back pain. The company was founded in 2014, so it’s an OG in the relatively young legal market for CBD-containing products.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate CBD products like prescription medications, it will issue a letter of warning to companies that use misleading claims to sell products that don’t contain the stated level of CBD. Papa & Barkley has never received one of these warning letters.

Papa & Barkley is transparent about its process and the quality of its products. In fact, the company positions quality as one of its top selling points. The company’s process is illustrated on its website:

  1. Test the plants for pesticides and heavy metals.
  2. Soak the plants in oil.
  3. Press the infused oil.
  4. Test again.
  5. Blend with other ingredients.
  6. Test a third time.
  7. Package.
  8. Certify the product to show analysis of its purity and quality.

Third-party testing

Third-party testing — and proof of it — are super important in the world of CBD. It’s one of the only ways to know for sure whether a product contains what the brand says it does.

Brands should be willing to provide an up-to-date (usually within the last year) certificate of analysis (COA) from an ISO 17025-certified third-party lab. If they don’t, then see ya!

Papa & Barkley products are tested by CannaSafe, which is indeed an ISO 17025-certified third-party lab. Each product page on the website has a link to its CannaSafe analysis.

Papa & Barkley products are tested for:

  • pesticides
  • residual solvents
  • heavy metals
  • microbials
  • mycotoxins (molds)
  • foreign matter

The analysis also provides the amount of individual cannabinoids (like CBD and THC) and terpenes in each product.

Papa & Barkley def gets a big ‘ol thumbs up for being transparent about its ingredients and process, but we found a couple of issues in the brand’s COAs:

  • the CBD Releaf Capsules COA is currently outdated
  • the CBD Releaf Balm COA says the topical contains 16.8 mg/mL CBD, but the brand advertises that it contains 12 mg/mL CBD

The above might not be a deal breaker for you, but it’s a deal breaker for our strict vetting process, so we didn’t include those products in our recommendations below.

Manufacturing standards

All drug manufacturers, including CBD companies, are required to follow the FDA’s current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs). CGMPs set minimum standards for methods, facilities, processing, and packing of products like CBD. They’re meant to ensure the safety and accurate content of drug products.

Manufacturers also have the option to have their CGMP adherence certified by a third party. Papa & Barkley does not appear to be currently CGMP certified.

CBD products

Papa & Barkley makes CBD products in three categories:

All of its products are full-spectrum, which means they contain all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids naturally found in the cannabis plant (including THC). This means you might reap the benefits of the “entourage effect,” which is a theory that keeping all these compounds together enhances CBD’s therapeutic benefits. But it also means that people who want to avoid THC will need to swipe left on Papa & Barkley.

Product prices range from $30 to $99 — or more (up to $129.99) if you opt for a bundle of products. The company offers a subscription service for a 10 percent discount, and you get to choose how often you want the product delivered.

THC products

Papa & Barkley’s THC products come in a range of CBD to THC ratios in four categories:

Right now, you can only purchase Papa & Barkley’s THC products if you live in California.

Looking for a satisfaction guarantee? Papa & Barkley will refund your money (minus shipping and handling) within 30 days of purchase if you’re not satisfied. (This doesn’t apply to sale items, tho.)

But it seems that customers are overwhelmingly satisfied. Papa & Barkley has more than 2,100 reviews on Trustpilot, with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Many reviewers praise the customer service and mention pain relief from using the topical products.

Papa & Barkley’s online store has an A- rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has only received one complaint in the last 3 years related to its products.

How we chose the best Papa & Barkley products

The FDA hasn’t yet established standards for CBD testing and labeling, so the quality and potency of CBD products can vary a lot — even products from the same brand.

First off, we are confident recommending products from Papa & Barkley because the company:

  • provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
  • uses U.S.-grown hemp
  • has not received a FDA warning letter
  • does not make any unsupported health claims
  • has a good track record with customers

But not *every* Papa & Barkley product meets our standards. We only recommend products that:

  • don’t contain additional vitamins and supplements (like melatonin or vitamin B12)
  • have an up-to-date certificate of analysis (COA) — either unexpired or issued within the last year
  • contain no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the COA
  • get passing results for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA
  • are accurately labeled for potency, within a certain margin of error (less than 30 percent)

If you haven’t noticed, we take this sh*t seriously. So you might not see every Papa & Barkley product you’re curious about recommended below.

CBD Releaf Body Oil

Price$39.99
CBD typefull-spectrum
Total CBD400 mg per 60-mL bottle
DosageN/A
COAavailable online

This oil is meant for your body — not for swallowing — so you can use it as a massage oil or just rub it anywhere you’re having aches and pains.

It contains cannabis grown in Colorado, vitamin E oil (a hydrating antioxidant that’s good for your skin!), and a relaxing blend of essential oils: eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, and lavender.

Reviewers give it a 4.8 out of 5 stars, praising it for how well it relieves pain. They also say it smells pretty dang good. But a few say the oil leaks from the lid, which can cause a bit of a mess.

CBD Releaf Oil


Price$34.99–$59.99
CBD typefull-spectrum
Total CBD450 mg per 15-mL bottle, 900 mg per 30-mL bottle
Dosage30 mg
COAavailable online

Made from hemp extract and MCT oil, Releaf Drops come in two flavors: natural and lemongrass ginger. They’re intended to be used daily for stress relief and relaxation.

The dropper is marked so you can find your ideal dose without guessing. All you need to do is swallow a dropperful (1 ml) — or add it to your fave bevvy — and wait for the CBD to do its thing. You can also add oils like this to your daily moisturizer to give your skin care routine a little boost.

Reviewers give this a 4.6 out of 5 stars, with tons of peeps saying it helps them sleep better and relieves pain. Some aren’t big fans of the taste, though.

CBD Releaf Softgels

Price$19.99–$99.99
CBD typefull-spectrum
Total CBD300 mg (10-count), 900 mg (30-count), 1800 mg (60-count)
Dosage30 mg per softgel
COAavailable online

There’s really nothing easier than popping a softgel in your mouth, taking a swig of H2O, and going on your way. They’re predosed, mess-free, and perf for taking CBD on the go.

These softgels contain full-spectrum CBD, coconut oil, and gelatin (read: *not* vegan-friendly). We like ’em because you can start off with a smaller 10-pack for only $19.99 to see if they work for you and up it to a jar of 60 if you end up loving them. They’re also available in double strength if you’re looking for something a little more.

These are pretty new to the Papa & Barkley writeup as of this writing, but so far they have a perfect 5-star rating from a few reviewers that say they work wonders.

Because all of them are full-spectrum CBD, you don’t need to factor type of CBD into your shopping equation. Here’s what you will need to consider:

Product type

Papa & Barkley has topicals, oils, and ingestibles. Which to choose?!

  • Go for a topical if you have specific areas of pain that you want to address. They provide targeted relief directly where you put them.
  • Choose a softgel if you want full-body relief that’s predosed, tasteless, and mess-free.
  • Go for an oil if you aren’t sure WTF you want. You can ingest these for full-body relief or add them to a lotion to use them topically.

Dosage/potency

Picking a potency for a topical isn’t a huge deal, since you’re not super likely to have side effects from applying CBD to your skin (though it’s still possible!).

But when it comes to oils, capsules, and softgels, it’s always a good idea to start low and work your way up. The lowest dosage Papa & Barkley product you can get is 30 mg.

If you want a lower dosage than that (and def want a Papa & Barkley product), your best bet is opting for the CBD Releaf Oil and taking a half of a dropper to only get 15 mg of CBD. This method isn’t super precise though.

If you want more, you can get the Double Strength version of the CBD Releaf Softgels, which are 60 mg.

Always peep your product’s instructions for specifics, but here are some general guidelines for use of different CBD-containing formulations:

  • Drops. Oils don’t absorb through the membranes in your mouth, so no need to stick it under your tongue. Instead, just swallow the dropperful of liquid. You can also add oils to food, drinks, or lotions to spice it up.
  • Capsules. Swallow with water as directed. Be careful taking them in the daytime, because they may cause sleepiness.
  • Topicals. Apply locally to painful body parts or all over your body as directed. Rub in until fully absorbed.

According to the World Health Organization, CBD is low toxicity and has low potential for abuse. CBD is generally considered safe, but people do sometimes experience side effects, like:

While people on Epidiolex are medically monitored for complications, taking CBD products on your own can be a little riskier. According to a 2017 analysis of 84 CBD products, 26 percent contained substantially less CBD than the label claimed, and almost 43 percent contained significantly more CBD than the label indicated.

It’s also worth noting that what you take CBD with could impact its potency. In a 2020 study, researchers found that taking CBD with a high fat/high-calorie meal, whole milk, or alcohol increased exposure to CBD compared with taking it on an empty stomach.

It’s a good idea to talk with your doctor before you try CBD products, especially if you take prescription medications that could interact with CBD.

If after all of this you’re thinking Papa & Barkley might not be the right fit for you, we get it. Here are some alternative options:

Best for product range: CBDistillery

CBDistillery is known for its high quality CBD products — and the company sells a LOT of them.

You’ll find full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate options for topicals, oils, gummies, capsules, and softgels. The brand also has lower potency products that might work well for CBD newbies.

Best for organic products: Joy Organics

All of Joy Organics’ CBD products are USDA certified. You can choose between full- and broad-spectrum CBD tinctures, gummies, topicals, and softgels. Joy Organics products are also available in lower potencies — as low as 10 mg.

Best on a budget: Lazarus Naturals

Lazarus Naturals has full-spectrum and THC-free (aka broad-spectrum) oils, edibles, and topicals in various potencies at *very* affordable prices.

Is Papa & Barkley a good brand?

Papa & Barkley passed our intense CBD vetting process that digs into company reputation, product quality, and transparency. The brand met all of our criteria:

  • provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
  • uses U.S.-grown hemp
  • hasn’t received an FDA warning letter
  • doesn’t make unsupported health claims about its products
  • has a good track record with customers

A lot of the company’s CBD products also passed our vetting process. Products need to meet the following criteria:

  • have an up-to-date certificate of analysis (COA)
  • contain no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the COA
  • pass testing for contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, and molds
  • accurately labeled for potency

The only two that didn’t make the cut are the CBD Releaf Balm and the CBD Releaf Capsules because of inaccurate labeling and an outdated COA, respectively.

If those two criteria aren’t deal breakers for you, that’s totally fine. What CBD products you buy is 100 percent your call.

Does Papa & Barkley get you high?

Papa & Barkley has full-spectrum CBD *and* THC products.

While CBD itself won’t get you high, if you take high enough doses of full-spectrum CBD (which contains traces of THC), you might start to feel the effects of THC.

We only recommend federally legal products, so Papa & Barkley’s THC products didn’t make our list. But if you end up buying one of the company’s THC products (only available in California), then yes — they might make you feel high.

Who owns Papa & Barkley?

Papa & Barkley was founded by Adam Grossman in 2014. The company has since named a new CEO — Evelyn Wang — but Adam Grossman still sits as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Is Papa & Barkley organic?

Papa & Barkley mentions that the farms it sources from prioritize sustainable and organic practices on its website, but it doesn’t look like any of its products are actually organic. They also don’t have any organic certifications.

The market for products containing CBD is kinda like the Wild West right now. Many companies are trying to strike gold with their formulations, and it’s worth it to do your research to find a manufacturer that’s established and up-front about its manufacturing processes and ingredients.

Papa & Barkley has been around since 2014 and has earned the respect of many satisfied customers with its small line of simple products to treat pain and stress. The company also passed our rigorous vetting process — and we even recommend a few of its products.

tl;dr: If you want to try Papa & Barkley, you have our blessing. <3