By: Dr. Ajay Rajesh, MD

Looking for the best CBD oil in 2020? With hundreds of brands trying to entice you into buying their CBD products, it can be tricky when it comes to buying safe and effective CBD oil online. How do you find the top CBD companies? In this 2020 updated buyer’s guide, we’ve put together a list of the 5 best CBD oil brands on the market today.

Best CBD oil: extended reviews

Frequently asked questions

What is CBD oil?

People with chronic pain, depression, anxiety, epilepsy, and other health issues look to CBD oil for relief. Many even consider CBD oil a miracle product. We agree. There aren’t many alternative treatments available that have shown themselves to be as versatile and effective as CBD.

CBD oil for chronic pain relief

But what is CBD oil exactly? CBD oil stands for cannabidiol oil. Cannabidiol is one of the 90+ cannabinoids found in cannabis. A Harvard chemist named Roger Adams discovered CBD by accident in 1940. Six years later, he started using it in animal/clinical trials and was shocked when he discovered that CBD doesn’t have any adverse mental effects.

Unlike medical marijuana, pure CBD oil does not contain THC; the psychoactive compound commonly known to cause a “high” feeling. Because of this, it has become legal to use throughout the U.S. CBD oil has allowed countless people to finally get the relief and treatment they need, but without the adverse effects of marijuana.

With so many new CBD products on the market, it can be overwhelming to figure out what oil is best for you. The Hypothesis Journal team lives and breathes CBD oil – we’ve tested and researched numerous CBD oil products so you don’t have to. Our goal is to help you learn all you can about CBD so you can make the smart decision on which CBD oil to buy.

What is CBD oil used for?

Since it first gained recognition as a potential treatment for epilepsy back in 1980, the uses of CBD oil have expanded dramatically. Nowadays CBD is known to treat countless physical and mental conditions. For some, CBD oil has even replaced traditional medicine. Let’s look at some of the many ways the top CBD oils can help you.

  • Pain Relief

Chronic pain management is arguably the most common use for CBD oil. Studies suggest that CBD can have an even better pain-relieving effect than opioid-based medications, but without the risk of dependence, overdose, and other serious side effects.

The FDA (Food Drug Administration) has not yet approved CBD for any medical conditions (CBD is not intended to diagnose or prevent any disease). But even without the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, CBD oil has gained a massive amount of supporters because of how useful it is for pain relief (1).

  • Depression

We know that depression can be crippling to even the best of us. Unfortunately, many anti-depressants can come with a plethora of side effects. CBD is often used as an alternative.

Studies show that CBD has an anti-depressant effect. While there is not currently any testing done on humans, many CBD oil users have found it to help manage depression. This is likely because CBD has the ability to influence the serotonin receptors in our brain/endocannabinoid system (2).

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is one of the most common disorders that go unnoticed and undiagnosed. CBD has been shown to have an anxiolytic-like effect; it reduces general anxiety (3).

One double-blind, randomized study put participants in a simulated public speaking test and the results showed that CBD significantly reduced anxiety, discomfort in speech, and cognitive impairment.

More and more people are looking to CBD for anxiety relief.

  • Sleep Disorders

There are two reasons CBD oil is perfect for those who have sleep disorders. First, CBD has a calming effect on the brain. We all know what it’s like to not be able to relax before bed fully. CBD can help calm our bodies and our minds.

Second, as we talked about before, CBD relieves pain. We know that even mild pain can contribute to sleep disorders. Eliminating that pain can make all the difference. This is why there is an increasingly large number of people now switching to quality CBD oil for sleep.

Another frequent use for CBD oil is reducing nausea, which can be caused by a wide range of conditions. A study suggests that CBD has a general nausea-suppressing effect.

This is very good news for cancer patients because chemotherapy often causes nausea, amongst many other side effects. One study on chemo patients concludes that CBD helps ease nausea and increases quality of life (4).

  • Neurological Disorders (Seizures, etc)

One of the most incredible things about CBD oil is its ability to prevent and stop seizures. Frequent seizures can certainly make life more than a little difficult. Many people with epilepsy have turned to CBD oils. Remember again, CBD is not guaranteed to cure or prevent all health issues, but it has certainly been proven time and time again to provide wonderful benefits.

Studies show that CBD can significantly reduce the number of seizures or even completely stop patients from having seizures altogether; often in children who were unresponsive to other medications (5).

How is CBD oil produced?

The production of CBD oil can vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. To create their CBD products, CBD producers choose a cannabis plant that is naturally high in CBD. This ensures high quality and a high yield. Many manufacturers create a specialized strain of cannabis, so they get the greatest amount of CBD per plant.

In some cases, the whole plant is used; other times, only a certain part of the plant is used. Most cannabis specialists prefer to use the entire plant to get a broad spectrum of cannabinoids. It is then cultivated and readied for the CBD extraction.

Next, the plant is soaked in alcohol; the ethanol removes the cannabinoids from the plant. The ethanol solution is then heated up to cause it to evaporate. What is left behind is pure CBD oil.

There’s another way to extract CBD. It is called CO2 extraction. CO2 is forced through the plant to extract the oil.

Once the oil is extracted, many producers add flavoring since the oil does not taste too pleasant on its own.

Is CBD legal?

The answer to this question is too complicated for us to give you a straight yes or no. In all 50 states, CBD is considered legal. However, it’s not quite that simple. What specific type of CBD is considered legal and illegal can vary from state to state. The main factor to consider is whether or not the CBD oil is derived from hemp or marijuana.

Marijuana and hemp indeed both come from the cannabis family. The difference between the two is their chemical makeup, particularly their levels of psychoactive THC. Hemp does not contain a level of THC higher than 0.3%, while marijuana can have a THC level of up to 30%. The very low percentage of THC in hemp will be nearly impossible to get high off of, while the 30% level of THC in marijuana will definitely make you high.

The law doesn’t have a problem with CBD oil made from hemp. However, in many states, law enforcement does have a problem with CBD oil made from marijuana.

Both hemp and marijuana-derived CBD oil is legal for medical use in 29 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. However, laws on CBD are regularly changing so check with your state.

There are currently four states where CBD oil extracted from marijuana is completely illegal: Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.

In eight states – Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington – both hemp and marijuana CBD oils are legal for medical and recreational use. If you happen to live in one of these states, you lucked out.

Again, laws change so check and make sure you can legally own and use CBD oil. We at Hypothesis Journal are not lawyers. So it is best to consult a professional before you purchase any CBD oil to ensure you don’t break any laws.

Every day the world is becoming more and more aware of the amazing benefits of CBD oil, and we are continuously moving towards legalization.

When do CBD effects kick in?

The amount of time it takes for CBD to affect the human body depends on the strength of the oil, how you use it, and how much of it you use. There are four primary ways you can use CBD oil: using a vaporizer, applying underneath the tongue (sublingual), rubbing it into your skin (topical), and digesting it (through CBD edibles or capsules).

The quickest way to get CBD into your system is by turning it into a vapor. This is done by using vape pens. The second fastest way is to drip the oil underneath your tongue. This can take between 20-40 minutes to take effect. The third way to use CBD oil is to rub it into your skin. This is best when you apply it to an area on your body that is causing you pain. However, it can take an hour for CBD oil to start working using this method. And finally, digesting CBD through edibles or capsules can take between 20 minutes and two hours to take effect. Consuming CBD in this way is recommended on an empty stomach. This will help it get into the bloodstream quicker.

CBD vs THC – what’s the difference?

There are more than 100 known cannabinoids found in cannabis. CBD and THC are the most abundant—and the most studied—cannabinoids. Both of these interact with the endocannabinoid system. However, they each can have very different natural effects.

The most obvious difference between CBD and THC is that one of them causes a “high” when consumed. THC is the psychoactive element in marijuana that produces a high. It has this effect because it is a direct agonist of the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

On the other hand, CBD does not bind with the CB1 receptors. Instead, it is considered an antagonist of CB1 agonists. This means that it not only cannot cause a high, but it also suppresses the THC’s ability to activate CB1 receptors.

The key difference between hemp and marijuana plants is how much CBD and THC they contain. Hemp contains less than 0.03% THC, while marijuana can contain up to 30% THC.

The high amounts of THC in marijuana is what makes it illegal in many states. Oil made from hemp is legal in most states while oil made from marijuana is illegal in some states. THC and marijuana are listed in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act and therefore prohibited under federal law.

THC is known to have other specific characteristics:

  • Red eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Lowered reaction times
  • Memory impairment
  • Increased heart rate
  • Impaired coordination

However, there are no reported cases of a fatal marijuana overdose, and this is not likely to ever happen. But THC can be harmful. Studies suggest that strains high in THC can have long-term psychiatric effects in adolescents including an increased risk of schizophrenia.

CBD is considered safe in large doses, with no known long-term effects. Even chronic usage of CBD has shown no adverse psychiatric, neurological, or clinical effects.

Do you need a doctor’s prescription?

The short answer is no, you do not need a prescription for CBD oil. No prescription or doctor is needed to purchase any CBD products that do not contain THC. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana. However, CBD oil is derived from the hemp plant which contains minuscule amounts of THC (less than 0.3%). Some states legalized the purchase and use of CBD oil containing THC and in those states, you are not required to have a doctor’s prescription.

While the fact that you don’t need a prescription to purchase CBD oil is a good thing, it can also be a negative thing; if your insurance covers prescription medications, you will not be able to have your insurance cover CBD oil since it is not a prescription medication.

To summarize, CBD oil derived from hemp (containing less than 0.3% THC) is legal in all states. You can simply purchase it without a prescription online or in store. Laws and regulations differ from state to state on THC, so check with a law professional.

Even though you are not required to have a prescription for CBD oil, we recommend that you consult your doctor before using any new treatment. Your doctor may be able to recommend just the right amount of CBD oil for your medical needs. Of course, always consult your doctor if you have any adverse effects from using CBD oil, and stop using it immediately.

How do you use CBD oil?

CBD oil can be used in so many different ways. We believe it’s important first to decide what you want the CBD to accomplish. If you’re going to treat asthma, you will want to use CBD in a different way than if you’re going to use it to treat joint pain. This is because the way your body absorbs CBD oil is important. If you want to treat a specific area of your body – say pain from a skin rash – you will want to use it directly on the area you want to treat.

Here are the most common ways to use CBD oil:

  • Sublingually (under the tongue)

Dripping it underneath your tongue is the most common way to use CBD oil. This is the most versatile and easiest way to use CBD. There’s no trick to it, you simply drip, and you’re done! This method is best for a long-lasting CBD effect. Using it in this way is great for treating epilepsy, sleeping disorders, depression, and chronic pain.

  • Inhalation (using a vapor)

You can use a “vape pen” to inhale CBD oil by mixing CBD into your vape mixture. This is the fastest way to get CBD into your bloodstream. However, it doesn’t produce a very long lasting effect. This is great for treating asthma, sleeping disorders, and depression. It is also great for very quick pain relief.

  • Digestion (using edibles and capsules)

You can use edibles and capsules to get CBD into your system. This is one of the tastiest and easiest ways to use CBD oils. However, the CBD effects can take quite a while to kick in – especially if you have a full stomach. This method is great for nausea, reducing pain – and it can even act as an anti-inflammatory.

  • Topical use (rubbing into the skin)

You can rub CBD oil right into your skin to directly treat problem areas. This takes much longer than most methods, but it can bring pain relief to specific areas of the body for a longer period of time. This method is great for treating arthritis, skin problems, and pain areas. There are many CBD beauty products now available on the market. You can even find CBD topicals, facial creams, body lotions, and lip balms. This can be great for treating conditions that cause dry, tender, and inflamed skin.

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