Chances are you’ve seen products containing CBD by now—this super-trendy stuff is making its way into everything from hand creams to cocktails. But is CBD worth the hype? TBH, the answer is a little murkier than we’d like: Because of complicated legal issues, there just haven’t been enough studies yet to really and truly prove that CBD does anything except treat a rare form of childhood epilepsy. However, just because we’re waiting on more studies for super-solid evidence to back up its potential uses doesn’t mean this stuff doesn’t work. (For more detail on exactly what CBD is and what it does, check this out.)
And there is some promising research. Since it doesn’t give the “high” feeling of THC, CBD may offer people the opportunity to lessen anxiety, sleep better, reduce pain, and treat a whole host of other ailments. In fact, I’d heard so many people talk about the benefits of CBD oil in the past year or so, that it sounded too good to be true—which is exactly why I decided to try it for myself.
I’ve tried almost everything to treat my anxiety, which I’ve struggled with for years, with varying degrees of success. Weightlifting? Helped more than I thought. Legal marijuana? Truly a game-changer. However, given the fact that I live in a state where marijuana is not yet legal, I’m still searching for ways to live a relatively normal life with the tools I have available to me. Yay!
At this point, I could basically write a book about the best (and worst) ways to biohack your anxiety, so I was more than willing to give CBD oil a shot. For this story, I tried eight different varieties of CBD oil over the course of eight days and recorded how I felt. Each day, I took the CBD oil around the same time—always depositing the same dosage under my tongue and waiting 60 seconds before swallowing—and went about my day. Here are my favorites, how they worked (OK, and tasted), and which you should consider buying.
The Good Ones
Best CBD oil for anyone who doesn’t like oils.
Thoughts: Pretty average taste compared to other unflavored CBD oils, but it did have a lighter consistency and a much smaller bottle, which meant I took a significantly smaller dose of oil for the same amount of CBD concentration.
I had a migraine all day, and this CBD oil didn’t help. However, I also broke a personal rule and got political on Facebook, which normally results in either A) severe anxiety or B) a full-fledged panic attack… but neither happened. So, yay?
Best CBD product selection.
Thoughts: I’m gonna be honest: I may just not be a fan of the unflavored oils. Give me flavors, give me something tasty, because this was almost like vegetable oil with a hint of grass to it. It’s not terrible, and it’s definitely palatable (especially since you’re just taking a small amount), so I think the taste might be subjective, tbh.
Overall, I wasn’t feeling particularly anxious this day, but I was feeling blue (thanks, PMDD) and sluggish after attending a conference in New York. I did feel calmer than I had the previous few days, and there were no tears—unlike the day before—which is always a win when I’m stressed.
Best CBD for daily use.
Thoughts: I liked the lavender flavor more than I thought I would, but I’ve tried SelectCBD in the past, so I wasn’t too shocked. The brand’s peppermint CBD oil is my go-to morning oil, and lemon ginger is great for a subtle flavor, but the lavender overwhelmed my senses (in a good way?) and left me feeling very zen. I could see this being perfect in a mug of tea or just before bed.
I was feeling anxious throughout the day, and it was the first time I wasn’t sure if the CBD oil helped or not. I didn’t leave the house like I intended (one of my old anxiety-driven habits), which wasn’t good. However, I did feel like I wasn’t fixating as much on how anxious I felt (yes, I get anxious about feeling anxious). But I still felt like sh*t.
Best CBD for product quality.
Thoughts: I tried the olive oil flavor, which was a huge mistake considering I’m not a fan of olive oil. At all. However, I’ve had Charlotte’s Web CBD oil in mint chocolate in the past, and that’s worse. So…
While I’m not a fan of this brand’s flavors, it does have a decent aftertaste. Plus, Charlotte’s Web offers a whole host of other CBD products, including capsules, for anyone who isn’t a fan of the oils—and I felt like it worked pretty well.
How do I know? Well, my husband asked me if I wanted to visit his brother’s family, and I said yes without hesitation. As an anxious bee who hates driving at night (and considering they live in the middle of some scary-ass woods an hour and a half away), that’s a pretty big feat.
One of my favorite things about this brand might seem minor, but Charlotte’s Web puts batch numbers on every individual product. This means you can type in your batch number and get lab reports on the quality, which made me feel super confident that I was trying a phenomenal product.
Best CBD for the price.
Thoughts: This had a very plant-y taste, although it wasn’t quite as oily, which made it easy to take. However, you have to take a much larger dose (and I had to measure it out to make sure I was taking the same dose as I did of the 1000 mg CBD oils), which wasn’t fun.
Surprisingly, I had a productive day after taking this CBD oil and felt generally OK. I tend to avoid my to-do list when I’m feeling anxious (until it gets so big that I end up having a panic attack, because self-fulfilling prophecies are fun), but I chipped away at it—including tasks I’d been putting off all week—which was a big win.
The Best of the Best
Best flavored CBD oil.
Thoughts: This is hands-down my favorite CBD oil based solely on taste. It smells great, the flavor is subtle with a good aftertaste, and it’s a nice morning pick-me-up. Plus, the bottle is amazing, and it has the best dropper and lid combo. (You might laugh, but I still have a half-full bottle of CBD oil in my bathroom cabinet that I haven’t been able to open for three months.)
I got so much done after taking the Populum: It was a lazy Sunday, but I ended up spending a solid amount of time bullet journaling, planning out my end-of-year goals (who even am I?), *and* socializing.
Best CBD for getting sh*t done.
Thoughts: I honestly hated this CBD oil when I tried it. It was very pungent for an unflavored oil, but it was the highest concentration oil I tried. This meant that in order to take the same amount I’d tried other days, I had to take a much smaller dose (which was good since I couldn’t stand the taste).
I honestly had a kick-ass day after trying Bluebird Naturals. I got so much work done, including sending off a few anxiety-inducing emails, and I felt like a functional human being. It really helped me focus.
Best all-around CBD oil.
Thoughts: This is my favorite unflavored CBD oil. It’s subtle, very palatable, and almost buttery (#winning). Another round of bonus points for a great lid design.
Not gonna lie, I knew that I’d be trying one of these CBD oils on Election Day, and I purposefully saved Medterra since I’d previously used the brand’s 3000 mg CBD oil for migraines. I was anxious (I don’t think anything could cure election-related anxiety), but I managed to vote in the morning and kept myself feeling relatively positive throughout the entire day. I even went to bed before all of the races were called, which is absolutely unheard of for someone like me. Considering I was a basket case on Election Day in 2016 and ended up crying on my bathroom floor, I was pretty thrilled with how well the Medterra worked.
The Bottom Line
All in all, the most important thing to look for when shopping for CBD oil is a quality brand that has good reviews online and (ideally) third-party lab testing. Because CBD oil isn’t being closely regulated, that means there’s potential for scammers to sell snake oil to unsuspecting buyers.
While we might not know if CBD oil is a miracle cure, it does show potential. Make sure you do your research on what CBD oil actually is, as well as any potential drug interactions, before you start adding it to your daily routine.
Is CBD Legal? Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
Jandra Sutton is an author, historian, and public speaker. She lives in Nashville with her husband and their two dogs, and Pluto is still a planet in her heart. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.