To truly get the most out of life, a person needs to be able to get a good night's sleep. Lack of sleep due to stress or insomnia has led many to seek out natural products, including CBD, to help them fall asleep and stay asleep. Is there anything behind the idea of CBD for sleep improvement? In this article, we will explore the role that CBD for insomnia can play in a healthy sleep cycle and recommend CBD sleep products from brands we trust.
Our Top CBD for Sleep Picks
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best CBD Sleep Gummies - Medterra CBD Sleep Tight Gummies
- Best CBD Sleep Softgels - R+R Medicinals CBD Softgels
- Best CBN + CBD Oil - CBDistillery CBN + CBD Oil
- Best Melatonin-Free Option - Prima Sleep Tight Softgels
- Strongest CBD Oil for Sleep - Spruce Rest Oil
- Best Organic CBD for Sleep - Cornbread Hemp Whole Flower CBD Oil
- Best CBD Bath Bomb for Sleep - Green Roads Peace CBD Bath Bomb
How We Picked the Best CBD for Sleep
We vetted the source and quality of the CBD for insomnia and sleep in this article. All recommended products were derived from industrial hemp grown in the United States and contains under 0.3% THC, which is required by law. Additionally, all products have been tested by third-party labs to ensure their quality and safety.
When reviewing CBD brands and products, we focus on six major factors:
- Value — is the brand's CBD affordable compared to similar products?
- Strength — how much CBD and what type of CBD does their product contain?
- Source — where does the company source their hemp and how is the CBD extracted?
- Flavor — does the product come in any flavors and do they flavor them naturally?
- Transparency — do they offer third-party lab test results and information about each batch of CBD?
- Customer experience — what do customer have to say about the product and purchasing experience?
Using these standards we were able to select the best CBD for insomnia and sleep. Learn more about our choices below.
The Best CBD for Sleep Products
Medterra CBD Sleep Tight Gummies include 25 mg of CBD isolate and 3 mg of melatonin to promote a restful night's sleep. We also like that they are made with calming natural ingredients like chamomile and lemon balm. All of Medterra's CBD comes from Kentucky-grown organic hemp that's raised without pesticides and is tested by third-party labs for purity.
Why buy: With natural strawberry flavoring, these gummies are a great option for those who want to take CBD for sleep but don't enjoy the taste of oil tinctures. They're are also 100% THC free.
These full spectrum CBD softgels from R+R Medicinals contain full spectrum CBD from USDA organic hemp grown in Colorado. Each softgel includes 15 mg of CBD plus over 3 mg of minor cannabinoids, like CBC, CBN, THC, and CBG, that combine in what's known as the "entourage effect" to help you relax as you wind down for the day. R+R Medicinals' CBD is extracted using a supercritical CO2 method to retain more of these beneficial plant compounds.
Why buy: We like these softgels because they make it convenient to add CBD to your nightly routine. They have a slower effect than some other products, but typically last longer. They are also available in a 30 mg strength for added relief.
Why buy: We like that this oil is specifically formulated for sleep. Additionally, this brand is a good choice for a CBD consumer who wants a full spectrum oil geared toward a particular cannabinoid blend, like CBN for sleep.
We love these Prima Sleep Tight softgels because they offer a doctor-formulated blend of CBD and natural botanicals, but are also melatonin-free. This makes them a great option for anyone with a sensitivity or allergy to melatonin. Each softgel serving contains 20 mg of broad spectrum CBD, as well as chamomile, passion flower, lavender, and amino acid compounds like 5-HTP and GABA, that all naturally promote sleep.
Why buy: We recommend these Prima softgels because they provide a plant-based sleep aid without THC or melatonin, and they come in sustainable and recycled packaging.
Spruce CBD is a family-owned and operated brand, and all of their tinctures are full-spectrum, made in the United States, lab grade, organic, contain no pesticides, and are third-party tested. Spruce Rest is specifically made to help you fall and stay asleep, with a powerful combination of CBD and CBN. Each bottle contains 1,200 mg of CBD and 150 mg of CBN for a potent sleep aid, and comes in a natural vanilla flavor.
Why buy: We like that this oil contains high concentrations of CBD and CBN for extra strength relief from sleeplessness. This CBD for insomnia product is best for those with experience using CBD oils.
Cornbread Hemp offers a whole flower CBD oil that is USDA organic, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and third-party lab tested. It contains higher levels of naturally-occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids than more processed oils, providing you with more of the healthy plant compounds that can help you sleep. The 375 mg and 750 mg bottles contains 25 mg of CBD per serving, and the 1500 mg bottle contains 50 mg of CBD per serving.
The Green Roads Peace CBD bath bomb is a perfect way to relax and destress before bedtime. Made with 150 mg of CBD isolate, meaning it contains no THC. We like that this bath bomb also includes lavender for a luxuriously calming experience. These bath bombs use CBD from hemp grown on American farms and were developed with no animal testing. All Green Roads products do undergo third-party lab testing to ensure potency and quality.
Why buy: We recommend this CBD bath bomb as a way to start a naturally calming routine before bed, especially for those who prefer not to ingest CBD oils or capsules.
Can CBD Improve Your Sleep?
According to research in a 2019 study published in The Permanente Journal on behalf of the National Institutes of Health, CBD was examined for its efficacy in not only treating anxiety problems and post-traumatic stress disorder but also sleep disorders. The results of the study displayed that patients treated through the use of CBD over the course of three months saw an improvement in their sleep cycles, as well as a lessening of their anxiety and other mental anguish. Administered in doses of 25 mg of CBD, the cannabidiol was well received. Side effects were minimal and typically related to daytime sleepiness on higher doses of CBD.
It is believed that CBD for insomnia can improve sleep processes because it triggers the body's endocannabinoid system, a biological system that is comprised of receptors and enzymes that regulate a variety of bodily functions, including sleep, memory, appetite, and mood.
Phytocannabinoids, like CBD and CBN, have the potential to interact on an indirect basis with cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system, thereby encouraging the body to sleep by helping to manage anxiety, pain, and stress hormones that contribute to sleep loss.
Why is Sleep Important?
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 50 to 70 million people in the United States spanning all ages and socioeconomic classes suffer from sleeplessness. Both men and women are impacted by sleep disturbances, and according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, adults aged 18-60 years old need at least seven hours of sleep each night to realize optimal health and well-being.
Sleep plays an important role in your mental and physical health. When you have a healthy sleep cycle, your body and mind are able to engage in many restorative processes including healing and repairing cognitive and cardiac functions. During sleep, your body is actively working by boosting your immune system, fighting inflammation, regulating digestive processes, and so much more.
When a person does not get the sleep they need, they run the risk of developing many chronic health conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Mental health issues
Insomnia is a serious sleep disorder that can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Right now, one in four Americans develops insomnia annually, according to Science Daily. Insomnia can cause a person to have problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking far too early. This can drastically impact your energy level, your work performance, your quality of life, and has the potential to cause negative physical and mental health outcomes.
According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic insomnia can result in many of the health conditions we have referenced, and can also cause depression and anxiety. CBD for insomnia not only has the potential to help as a sleep aid to improve sleep quality, but it can also help to mitigate and manage anxiety and assist with chronic pain relief to help you achieve a calm and restful night's sleep.
How to Choose For You
If you are looking for the best CBD for sleep, then it is important to do your research and realize that not all CBD products are created equal.
What to Look For
In order to feel confident knowing that you purchased a high-quality CBD product, only buy from a brand that engages in accredited, third-party lab testing and subsequently publishes its lab reports on its website. You must be able to see that what is on the label of your CBD oil actually is validated through testing processes.
This also ensures that the CBD is free of toxins, including pesticides, heavy metals, microbials, and solvents, and contains the concentration of CBD, terpenes, and other cannabinoids and plant parts that it claims. Always look for brands that use CBD from hemp grown in the United States, as these products undergo more rigorous testing than in some other countries.
In addition to CBD, look for products that include other natural ingredients like lavender, chamomile, passion flower, and lemon balm that are help to promote calm and rest. Make certain that all ingredients, including any flavorings, are all natural and labeled clearly. Also consider products that contain melatonin, a natural hormone that regulates sleep alongside wakefulness. Boosting this particular hormone, which is already found in your body, can truly improve your sleep-wake cycle.
How to Read Labels
It's important to know what kind of CBD is used in the product you choose. When comparing labels, look for one of the following:
- Full spectrum CBD - contains all of the plant compounds found in hemp including THC
- Broad spectrum CBD - contains some additional plant compounds, but no THC
- CBD isolate - pure CBD that contains no additional compounds
Some people find that full-spectrum CBD offers a better experience promoting sleep thanks to the entourage effect, while others may want to avoid THC entirely.
Here are some additional pieces of information to look for on each product.
How much CBD the product contains and how much is included, in mg, per serving. It's recommended that those new to CBD start with a lower dose and slowly increase the amount taken to identify the right dosage for your body.
Look for information about additional cannabinoids included, like CBN or CBG. These are naturally found in the hemp plant in certain dosages, but some products have higher amounts to help promote sleep.
Additionally, CBD oil tinctures use carrier oils, frequently olive oil, MCT oil or hemp seed oil. Make sure you know what type of carrier oil is used in case you are allergic to certain ingredients like coconut.
How to Use
Depending on the type of CBD product you choose, you will use it differently to help you sleep. Most CBD sleep products recommend use an hour or so before bed to allow it to take effect.
If you are using a CBD oil tincture, this is taken with an included dropper to place a small amount under your tongue. Keep the CBD under your tongue for 30 seconds or so, for better absorption, before swallowing. In terms of dosage amounts, the oil should come with a dropper with mL measurements. To start, take a single mL drop for a single serving of CBD. Again, it's important to start low and go slow when adding CBD to your routine.
For capsules and gummies, simply take the recommended serving (typically 1 or 2) about an hour before bedtime. Some work better when taken with food, so be sure to check the directions on the packaging.
For CBD bath bombs, you simply add one of these to a hot bath as part of your evening routine before bed.
Note that CBD typically works best by building up in your system over time, so it may take up to a month for you to experience the full effects.
The primary side effects associated with CBD are rare and typically mild. These can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Dry Mouth
Should I Try CBD for Sleep?
There is no denying that we live in stressful times and that many people in the United States are experiencing problems with sleep. However, there is no need to suffer through another night tossing and turning. CBD for insomnia could help you regulate sleep cycles, promote restful sleep, and manage anxiety. Plus, with a number of different CBD products available, you can easily find the right one for your nightly routine.
Keep in mind that since CBD oil is not regulated by the FDA, you must do your due diligence. When considering CBD for sleep in your life, consult with a doctor if you have any existing medical conditions prior to beginning use.
There are many different CBD oil brands in today's market. But, figuring out which brand is the best and which brand has the strongest oil might feel challenging and confusing. Our simple guide to the strongest CBD oils will point you in the right direction.
More and more people are looking to boost their health with CBD oil. The rise in CBD's popularity shows that many people are experiencing positive outcomes through the regular use of CBD to help control and improve difficult health issues.
Since there are a great deal of brands out on the market today, it can get confusing trying to figure out which brand is best and which oil strength will work best for you and your needs. Keep in mind that even though it might feel exciting to have a host of brands to choose from, not all brands are created equal.
Our guide to the strongest CBD oils will help to point you in the right direction so that you can choose the best, most potent oil for your needs. We will also educate you about the best CBD oils along the way, while also discussing how we chose our top three brands and why we named FAB CBD Oil our top pick.
The Strongest CBD Oils
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
- Most Effective - FAB CBD Oil
- Best for Pain Relief - Spruce CBD Oil
- Best Value - CBDistillery Full Spectrum Tincture
- Best Organic - Cornbread Hemp Distilled CBD Oil
How We Selected Our Top Brands
The influx of CBD brands out on the market can be both a good and a bad thing. While it's great to have many options to choose from, it's frustrating to not know exactly which brand is the best in terms of quality, strength, and overall reputation. It's tempting to buy products from the first brand you come upon online. However, in doing so, you might be purchasing products that are unclean, ineffective, and just simply not the best for you.
When it comes to choosing a CBD oil brand, you need to take the time and put in the research to ensure that you are getting the strongest, and best quality product you can purchase.
We've put the time and effort into selecting the top brands that we feel have the strongest CBD oil, the best reputation, and the cleanest, most effective products. But before we were able to choose our top brands, we set up strict guidelines to follow. Next, we used our guidelines to break our list down until we were left with the top brands.
When it came to selecting our top strongest CBD oils, we looked at six key categories:
- Value - product pricing
- Strength - oil strength and purity
- Source - where the brand sources its hemp from
- Flavor - oil flavors and the ingredients used in the oil
- Transparency - if a third-party lab was used to test the products and if those results are easy for customers to find
- Customer experience - verified customer reviews
Based on these factors, see which brands made our list of strongest CBD oils.
Why buy — FAB is our number one pick simply because the brand offers some of the strongest, cleanest, and best CBD products out on the market today. Moreover, its customer services and transparency are second-to-none. The prices are affordable and the products are excellent overall.
FAB believes in being transparent, crafting the highest quality products, and having a strong customer service department to make sure all of its customers' needs and questions are met and answered. The brand does not use any pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals when it comes to cultivating hemp and creating products. All of FAB's organic hemp is grown and harvested in Colorado. The brand is involved in every step of its creation process from seed to sale.
All of FAB's products are crafted from the purest, cleanest extracts possible. FAB's full-spectrum CBD oil comes in a variety of flavors and strengths. The brand offers mint, citrus, vanilla, natural, and berry oils in strengths of 300mg, 600mg, 1200mg, and 2400mg. Every one of FAB's products is tested by ProVerde Labs, an independent third-party laboratory.
- Value — Every one of FAB's products fall into the range of what you would expect to pay for a top quality CBD product. Remember, if a product is extremely cheap, then you need to look deeper into how it was made. FAB's products are absolutely priced accordingly and are of the best quality.
- Strength — FAB has some of the best, strongest, and most effective full-spectrum oils on the market today. Their oil is available in 300mg, 1200mg, and 2400mg potencies.
- Source of hemp — FAB sources all of its organic hemp from Colorado. The hemp is free from herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and other dangerous substances. All of the hemp is grown using state-of-the-art growing and cloning technology and machinery.
- Flavors — Mint, Citrus, Vanilla, Natural, and Berry
- Transparency — Every one of FAB's products is tested by ProVerde Labs, an independent third-party laboratory.
- Customer experience — The brand has a strong reputation among both customers and industry experts for having top-quality products that are highly effective and potent.
Why buy — While Spruce oils are expensive, we do feel that the brand does everything possible to ensure that its oils are high-quality, extremely potent, and 100 percent all-natural. The founder of Spruce got his start in the supplement space and is deeply involved in customer service and feedback, making it a wellness brand we trust.
The high potency CBD oil from Spruce CBD is a popular product among customers, and for good reason. This organic and all-natural CBD oil has no added flavor to allow for their strongest CBD concentration in a 30mL bottle. You can choose between an organic hemp seed carrier oil, best for pain, or an MCT oil option. The products are organic and non-GMO, and do not contain any additives or preservatives. The brand has a strong following online, especially in the arthritis community due to the strength and quality of their CBD oils for pain relief.
- Value — As far as pricing goes, Spruce is more expensive than other oils. The prices vary depending on the strength of the oil that you choose. The brand does, however, offer a subscribe and save option.
- Strength — Spruce's Extra Strength Full Spectrum CBD Oil contains 2,400mg of lab grade CBD oil.
- Source of hemp — Kentucky and North Carolina
- Flavors — None
- Transparency — Third-party lab tested with easily accessible test results found on their site for each batch.
- Customer experience — Just read the comments on the brand website or watch the plethora of testimonial videos, these strong CBD oils have built a following for a reason.
Why buy — CBDistillery is a reputable brand that works hard to create quality, potent, and affordable products. The brand has a broad product line that includes oils, gummies, and topicals. All products are made in America. CBDistillery does offer coupon codes.
CBDistillery sells a line of carefully crafted CBD hemp oils. With quality CBD oils starting at $20, CBDistillery offers good products at a great price. This affordability and their extremely potent CBD oils (like the 2500mg option) have made CBDistillery one of the fastest growing companies in the hemp space. Their Colorado-grown product line is comprehensive, including various oil concentrations, salves, edibles, and suppositories.
- Value — The brand offers customers premium products at affordable prices.
- Strength — The oils come in a variety of strengths, including 500mg, 1000mg, and 2500mg, which is the strongest concentration found on our list.
- Source of hemp — CBDistillery sources all of its organic hemp from Colorado. The hemp is regularly tested for the presence of microbes, solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers.
- Flavors — None
- Transparency — All CBDistillery products are tested by independent third-party labs with results available online.
- Customer experience — CBDistillery has a strong reputation among customers for crafting high-quality products that are both strong and effective. According to verified customer reviews, the brand's products are effective and clean.
Why buy — Cornbread Hemp CBD oils are all USDA-certified organic. They use a distillation process designed to preserve as many of the beneficial phytonutrients and minor cannabinoids as possible. This CBD oil is vegan, non-GMO, and ideal for daytime use.
Cornbread Hemp's Distilled CBD oil comes in several different strengths, the most potent offers 50 mg of full spectrum CBD per serving. Their specific processing methods are meant to retain as many plant compounds as possible from their Kentucky-grown industrial hemp to provide enhanced relief through CBD's entourage effect. While it's not the strongest CBD oil available, we do like that it's USDA organic and uses USDA organic MCT coconut oil. Cornbread Hemp also offers a Whole Flower CBD oil that is great for nighttime use.
- Value — Very reasonably priced with the option to save with a monthly subscription.
- Strength — The oils come in a variety of strengths, including 375mg, 750mg, and1500 mg
- Source of hemp — Kentucky
- Flavors — A mild flavor with notes of pepper.
- Transparency — All Cornbread Hemp products are third-party lab tested with results available online.
- Customer experience — Cornbread Hemp offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee on their products, and they ship CBD oil orders in 24 hours. Customers note that their CBD oils are noticeably smooth and effective.
How To Know If You're Selecting The Most Potent Oil
There are several key factors to take into consideration when choosing the strongest CBD oil. One of the first things to look at is the concentration of CBD within the product. Next, take a look at the milligrams of CBD that are in a single serving. The best quality products clearly have all the facts and information laid out on their labels. In reading the labels, you should be able to tell exactly how much CBD you are getting per serving. How much CBD you need to be taking depends on how your body reacts to the product over time.
CBD strength per serving will appear smaller when compared to the listing of CBD for the whole bottle. In looking for the strongest CBD oil, look to the serving size listed on the bottle. The total amount of CBD in a bottle will do very little to tell you how strong the product is overall. For example, 2400mg of CBD oil in a 30ml bottle is a lot stronger than 5000mg of CBD oil in a 60ml bottle.
How Much CBD Oil Is Enough?
Everyone's body is different, so what works well for one person might not work for another. Smaller individuals might need less CBD than larger individuals based on body size and overall mass. Along with body size, the reason you are taking CBD is another consideration in purchasing strong CBD oil.
Likewise, if you are new to CBD or are not taking for pain, consider purchasing CBD oil in strengths of 300mg, 500mg, or 750mg. Conversely, if you have been taking CBD for quite some time or are trying to alleviate chronic or severe pain, then you might consider purchasing oils of higher potencies such as 600mg, 1200mg, or 2400mg strengths.
Whatever oil strength you choose, you should first start low and go slow when it comes to dosing. For example, begin by taking 5mg of CBD once a day for one week. If you are not feeling any relief from your pain, then go ahead and take 5mg twice a day. Continue increasing the dosage slowly until you are achieving the desired effects. Always check in with yourself to see how you are feeling along the way. This will help you to determine if you should increase the dosage at all. As with any other medication or holistic supplement, your body will need adequate time to get used to a new CBD dosage.
To use a real life example: when you receive your bottle of CBD, begin by taking ½ a dropper of FAB CBD's full spectrum oil once a day for one week. This will equal about 5mg of CBD. After one week has passed, increase the dose to ½ a dropper two times a day for a week. This will now equal about 10mg of CBD a day. While you are going through this, do a body check-in to see how you are feeling and what your pain levels are, if you have any. This will be the best way to determine whether or not you should increase your dose of CBD.
Should You Take The Strongest Potency CBD Oil?
As with any natural supplement, there are a list of pros and cons that come along with CBD. Each one of these should be taken with the utmost consideration before purchasing an oil of a higher strength. In taking the strongest CBD oils, here are the benefits vs the drawbacks:
- You need less of the oil to have an impact
- Stronger potencies have a better impact on severe symptoms as well as larger people
- Since you will need to take less of the oil, stronger doses are more affordable in the long-run
- Stronger oils work better in tackling sleep issues and decreasing pain
- Stronger oils may not be for everyone, as they can cause some mild side effects including dry mouth, lowered blood pressure, and lightheadedness/dizziness
- It may be difficult to find the right dosage for you with stronger oils
- Stronger oils can have a sedating effect
The Science on CBD Oil
CBD oil is created when cannabidiol, or CBD, is infused into a fat-based carrier oil such as hempseed oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or olive oil. Carrier oils are usually medium-chain triglycerides that are easily digested by the body. The very basic oils will only have CBD and the carrier oil, however, some can also contain other compounds such as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, flavonoids, phytonutrients, and terpenes. Some brands will also infuse various natural flavors or essential oils into the final products.
CBD oil can vary in color, flavor, and consistency depending on its makeup. Likewise, the strength also depends on the oil's formulation. CBD oils can be isolates, broad spectrum, or full spectrum. In CBD isolates, only pure CBD is used. These oils are usually 99 percent pure. CBD isolates are typically made solely from the hemp plant.
Broad spectrum and full spectrum oils, on the other hand, are typically sourced from the cannabis plant and have had minimal processing and purification. These oils have a large amount of cannabinoids, terpenes, nutrients, vitamins, and phytonutrients. The difference between the two is that broad spectrum CBD products contain zero THC.
Along with CBD, one of the main compounds in full spectrum oils is THC. In large amounts, THC causes feelings of euphoria. However, legally, all CBD crafted and sold within the United States must contain less than 0.3% THC. When CBD and THC are combined, an entourage effect occurs. In the entourage effect, the compounds work together to dampen each other's negative side effects while amplifying each other's best qualities. For example, too much THC can cause feelings of nausea or dizziness. However, when THC is combined with CBD, the THC enables those with sleep issues to finally get some rest, and helps those with extreme nausea, due to cancer treatment, finally get some much-needed nourishment by increasing appetite. Put simply, the cannabinoids bind with cell receptors in the human endocannabinoid system to create therapeutic effects.
How To Choose The Best Strength
While it may be easy to read the label on the CBD bottle and take the strength listed at face value, this is not the case when determining the strength of each dose. Strength equates to potency. In a 30ml bottle of CBD oil, you could have 3,000mg of CBD or 6,000mg of CBD depending on which you purchase. The stronger bottle will have 6,000mg of CBD per bottle, as you would have to take twice as much of the 3,000mg CBD to equal just one dose of the 6,000mg bottle.
Quality CBD brands test the potency during every stage of oil production. They test hemp plants, then they test the initial crude oil, and they also continually test the oil during every stage of the distillation process. The reason that there is so much testing done to the product is because reputable brands need to ensure that the oils they are creating are of the best quality, consistency, and that their products are falling within the legal guidelines.
Reputable brands, like the ones we've profiled above, bring in independent laboratories to test the overall oil strength by analyzing for 14 minor and major cannabinoids including CBD, THC, CBN, and CBG. Their results show the overall percentages of these compounds that are in the oil. All reputable brands will then make those results easily available on their website or within the product packaging.
Why Strength Matters
The strength of an oil does matter. The more potent a CBD oil is, the stronger effects it will create. To that end, full spectrum oils are the best oils to go with because CBD isolates do not have all of the other vitamins, terpenes, compounds, and phytonutrients that full spectrum oils have. So, not only will you be getting all the positive effects that a strong oil has to offer, you'll also be able to receive the vast therapeutic benefits that the many compounds, terpenes, and phytonutrients bring to the table.
When it comes to receiving the therapeutic benefits of a strong, full spectrum oil, experts advise to hold the oil under your tongue for a few minutes (up to four minutes) in order for the oil to enter into your bloodstream. Otherwise, if you swallow the oil right away, the oil will be quickly broken down by the body's digestive system.
Is It Safe To Take Strong CBD Oil?
This is a common question asked by many who are new to the world of CBD. Regardless of the strength, CBD oil is very safe. In fact, there are very few minor side effects associated with it. To date, a great number of studies have been done on CBD proving it's safety and efficacy.
Some of the most common side effects associated with CBD are:
- Changes in weight
- Changes in appetite
When you take into consideration the many dangerous side effects associated with prescription medications, CBD is a very safe alternative. Therefore, it's no surprise that more people are turning to more potent options of CBD to help with tough health issues.
Final Thoughts On The Strongest CBD Oils
There are many different strengths of CBD oil available. And while there are benefits to using CBD oil regardless of the potency, stronger oils are recommended for larger individuals or for people who are trying to get a handle on difficult health conditions such as sleep issues, severe arthritis pain, Crohn's Disease, osteoarthritis, cancer-related nausea, and others.
In selecting a strong oil, you first need to do the research so that you can make sure you are buying a high quality product from a reputable brand. When you find a brand you like, go ahead and look into the brand's hemp sources, oil strengths and purities, verified customer reviews, transparency, and whether or not the brand used a third-party lab to test its products and if those results were made readily available for customers to find.
Less oil needs to be consumed when stronger oils are used. In order to receive the most benefits from the dose, it's advised to hold the oil under your tongue for about four minutes so that it can be properly absorbed into the bloodstream. Simply swallowing the oil means that the digestive system will break it down faster than you can obtain any benefits.
When it comes to selecting a brand to go with, keep in mind that not every brand is created equal. While it's great to have so many options to choose from, you really need to put the work in to make sure you are purchasing the best possible product from the best possible brand.
If you're becoming frustrated or overwhelmed in your research, feel free to use our article as a guide.
Our Choice for Strongest CBD Oils
We've chosen FAB as our number one choice in our strongest CBD oils guide because FAB has a stellar reputation for putting out the best, most potent, cleanest CBD oils on the market today. The brand is also extremely transparent in the way that it operates and in the overall production process of its products. FAB also uses an independent third-party lab, ProVerde Laboratories, to regularly test all of its products. Those results are then made easy for customers to find on FAB's website.
By law, all of the best CBD oils that are sold and purchased within the United States must contain less than 0.3% THC in them. Oils that have over that amount clearly are not following the mandatory legal guidelines. Another fact to keep in mind is that while strong oils are great, the type of oil matters too. CBD isolates, while fantastic in their own way, do not contain any of the vitamins, cannabinoid compounds, terpenes, and phytonutrients that broad spectrum or full-spectrum oils do. The combination of strength and what the oil consists of is what determines its effectiveness and therapeutic value.
In selecting a strength, remember that a 3,000mg oil will be less strong than a 6,000mg oil if they are both sold in a 30ml bottle. However, if you have 2,400mg of CBD in a 30ml bottle and 5,000mg in an 80ml bottle, then the smaller, 30ml bottle with 2,400mg of CBD will be more potent. When selecting a product, you will absolutely need to take your time and choose wisely.
Lastly, if you have any questions or concerns surrounding CBD, potential side effects, strengths, etc., then please do not hesitate to reach out to your primary care physician or specialist to set up an appointment to discuss things more at length.
CBD oil can be a great addition to any natural healthcare routine. Just make sure you are putting in the time and effort to find the product and the brand that is best suited to your own unique needs, condition, and lifestyle.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
Kids are the ones that will be inheriting the world from us. Getting them invested early in protecting the environment will ensure that their curiosity and interest will live on once they become adults.
Figuring out how to introduce the concept of renewable energy to kids can be tricky. The more significant challenge comes down to getting kids interested and excited versus putting them on the receiving end of another lecture.
It will take a bit of planning and creativity, but there are ways to get children interested in renewable energy even at a young age.
What to Explain
The concepts you plan on teaching children should be age-appropriate. An elementary schooler doesn't need to know the inner complexities of thermodynamics. Start small and slowly build into the topics you want to cover.
Start With Sustainability
Leaping straight into renewable energy is a quick way to lose a kid's interest. If you start throwing around terms they don't understand, they will quickly tune out. Depending on their age, you may even get an eye roll.
Sustainability means something can continue to exist for an indefinite amount of time. Gardening is an easy example to present to children for this concept. If a tomato is grown, that tomato contains seeds. Those seeds can be replanted, and the cycle will continue.
Once they understand the concept of sustainability, you can move on to the next step.
Continue With Energy Sustainability
Now that sustainability is a familiar concept, start leading them into how it applies to energy.
Most, if not all, children today know the basics of electricity as it applies to charging items they interact with, like tablets or even smartphones. Explaining to them that energy is where electricity comes from shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes.
If you want to continue the gardening analogy for continuity's sake, it's adaptable. Using energy sources like natural gas, fossil fuels, and oil, you will still get tomatoes. However, these tomatoes don't have seeds. Eventually, you won't even be able to grow tomatoes due to a lack of seeds.
Other ways of explaining it may be easier depending on the children. The key factor they need to learn is that the current energy sources are not sustainable.
End With the Types of Renewable Energy
There are five primary renewable energy types, but you don't want to introduce them all to kids in one go. Be sure to fully explore all of them so the kids can grasp how and why each one is an option.
The primary types of renewable energy to include in your discussion include:
- Solar - solar energy is one of the most popular forms of renewable energy and one of the easiest to teach kids about. Turning the sun's rays into electricity is sure to catch their interest. Teach them about how solar panels capture the heat and light (even on cloudy days) and convert all of that into usable energy. You can even describe how astronauts in space rely on solar energy on the International Space Station.
- Hydro - this is another easy renewable energy to explain. It's a rare child that hasn't interacted with a creek or river at some point. Explain that the constant movement of the water from the current can be converted into usable energy.
- Wind - show a child a picture of those massive wind turbines and they're bound to be curious. The wind turns the blades of the fan, much like a pinwheel, which then creates energy that we can use. Really get them thinking about the world around them and how something as simple as the wind can be turned into energy.
- Geothermal - geothermal energy may require a bit of extra explanation if the children haven't learned about the earth's core and how hot it is. If they already know about that, then you can show them how pipes that go deep into the ground run steam from this heat up into plants that turn it into electricity.
- Biomass - biomass renewable energy is as simple as burning a source of fuel, so most of this explanation will be what they set on fire and how do they get it. The fuel for these fires comes from byproducts of plants and animals. Manure, crops, and other waste can all apply here.
How to Explain It
Stanislaw Pytel / Stone / Getty Images
Now that you know the basics, it's time to pass that on to the kids. The big question is, how are you supposed to make all of this sound cool enough to get the kids interested in renewable energy?
Kids tend to be more into visual learning, so just telling them about these concepts isn't going to make anything stick.
There are a plethora of options online that can help teach children about renewable energy. Educational games are a great pick to get them interacting with the information, but YouTube videos or simple animations can do the trick as well.
You can use these resources to help kids understand the big picture. Or, you can find videos and games revolving around specific steps like how exactly river currents can provide energy or why fossil fuels aren't sustainable.
This is one of the best options you can choose to teach kids about renewable energy. Helping them create a science project to test out an aspect of renewable energy will be sure to hold their interest. A hands-on approach always helps with getting the information to stick.
Try these projects for an immersive adventure in alternative energy:
- Build a mini water wheel - the water wheel has been used throughout history, and having kids build their own is a great way to teach how hydropower is created. It can be as simple or as complex as you want, but used popsicle sticks can be turned into a wheel in a pinch. Having a nearby creek or river will be the most immersive way to test this project, but using the water in your sink will get the job done.
- Purify water - this is an effortless multi-day project to set up and will help you explain how versatile the heat from solar energy is. All you need is two containers (one smaller than the other), some water, food coloring, plastic wrap, and a rock. Long story short, the sun's heat will cause condensation and create a container of purified water. Bonus points if you can show the same results with your stove to show that the energy used naturally is more sustainable.
- Build a wind turbine - while you won't be able to make it as large as actual wind turbines, this is still a sure way to show how efficient it is to harness the wind's power. The items you use to build this can vary greatly but cut-up plastic water bottles tend to make solid fan blades. Once you and the kids have created the wind turbine just take it outside and watch the wind spin it around! A pinwheel works if you'd just rather explain with an example, but the act of building the wind turbine will work wonders.
- Cook using a campfire - this may sound more like a leisurely activity than a science experiment, but that was before you told the kids about using biomass for renewable energy. Unless you have casual access to manure, the fuel can just be dead branches and leaves you might find lying around. As you use the fire's heat to cook (something that requires electricity with the stove) you can show that the fuel to provide the heat came from dead plants that will eventually regrow the lost leaves and branches used. However, be sure to point out the smoke caused by the fire and how any fuel source that creates too much of that can be harmful to people and the planet.
Take a Field Trip
Field trips don't just have to be school-organized. See if you can find a day to take your child (or students) to a nearby renewable energy plant. Many of these locations are willing to give tours or educate interested people about what they do there.
This is also an excellent way to get free knowledge directly from the experts. They can answer any questions your kids may have that you would need some extensive researching to answer. It's also engaging for the children to directly see the process that they've been learning about.
Show the Impact of Non-Renewable Energy
This is far more effective when the children in question love animals and nature, but it can be useful regardless. Showing them videos of how things like pollution and global warming negatively impact nature can inspire them to start learning about renewable energy to help prevent it.
Be a Role Model
Kids do quite a bit of learning just from observing what the adults in their lives do. How you utilize energy in your day-to-day life can greatly help or hinder the learning process for the kids around you.
It's not an option for everyone, but many people are beginning to have solar panels installed on the roof of their house. Explaining to kids that their phones charge by way of the power of the sun is sure to get them interested in the overall process.
One way anyone can be a role model is to conserve energy where they can. Once your children know that most energy comes from non-renewable sources, they will realize why you always want lights off when not in use or when you try to keep your energy bills low (besides money).
How to Keep Them Interested
JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images
Now that you have the children interested in renewable energy, you'll have to make sure that interest continues to grow as time goes on. Unless they completely fell in love with the concept, they may start to forget important information if you don't keep them engaged.
Have a Weekly Theme
This has the dual purpose of keeping children interested and getting them to look forward to learning.
Give each week a theme that you can base activities and games around. Wind Week could involve some time at the park messing around with kites, or Hydro Week could be learning new aspects of hydroelectricity like how the tides can be used as well.
Home Improvement Projects
You shouldn't trust a group of young ones to go and install solar panels on the roof, but there are smaller projects around the house or classroom that you can do with them so that they feel they are directly contributing to using clean energy.
These projects don't even have to be big ones. It could be as simple as swapping out your current light bulbs for more energy-efficient ones. The key is to make children feel involved in the process and let them know exactly how these projects are helping.
One of the best ways to get children interested in anything is to make a game of it.
Whether it's at home or in the classroom, a game will get them involved in an activity that could continue to teach them about renewable energy. It could be as simple as a made-up card game or as complex as setting up stations around the yard and have them decide which energy would work best at each station.
Some kids also enjoy incentives, so don't be afraid to offer some sort of prize or reward if they do well in the games.
Keep Your Kids Invested in Clean Energy
It can be a challenge teaching complex concepts to kids, especially if you want them to take an interest in it. Start by breaking down the basic concepts so that you can have good conversations with them about renewable energy.
Kids learn best from visuals and by hands-on learning. Showing them videos, designing and creating projects, and even taking them to a renewable energy plant are all great ways for them to learn. Just remember, they also need a role model to look up to if they are going to take a true interest.
They may stay interested on their own, but there are ways that you as a parent or teacher can help that along. Creating fun ways to bring the subject back around like setting up games, projects, or weekly topics can go a long way towards keeping them interested and invested in renewable energy.
The boom in the meal kit industry has never been more apparent than in the last 12 months. Meal kit delivery services are helping even the least talented cooks enjoy fresh, home-cooked meals and more and more companies are recognizing the value of this sector. The adoption rate of this fairly new industry has led to estimates of $5 billion in growth over the next decade. It's also clear this in an industry with promise as big names, including Amazon, want in on the game. But while meal kits have come into their own since the outbreak of COVID-19, are they a positive step forward for the environment?
The meal kit industry is currently worth over $1.5bn and this is definitely set to increase, but can you consciously purchase these goods if you're committed to a sustainable lifestyle? Many of the meal kit and recipe box companies push the idea that you'll waste less food, as you're getting exactly what you need for the right sized portions all in the box. But what about the packaging? Is the balance of minimizing food waste equal to the additional packaging? Different sides would have you believe different things, so we're considering the case in depth, looking at the ecological impact of these kits and whether the good factors outweigh the bad.
Many food service providers have added value to their business or expanded it in this new direction, with great results. Others have taken advantage of the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic to reposition their business and deliver the same restaurant-quality food to people's doors. Some companies have green ethics at the core of their business, so you may find their meal boxes are naturally eco-friendly whereas others may have a way to go to reach this stage. Therefore, it is important to consider your choice of meal kit as well as whether the industry as a whole is the right choice environmentally.
Why Have Meal Kits Become So Popular?
Meal kits provide a solution to multiple problems. People order fast-food or takeout and then feel guilty and worry about the excess calories. Others cook at home but are disappointed by their efforts to create quality meals, or aren't sure they have all of the ingredients they need.
Meal kits can be a solution for both these problems, and this has driven their popularity. They often provide a healthier alternative to fast food, come pre-portioned so there's no risk of overeating, and many providers of the kits or recipe boxes consult recognizable names in the food industry to produce their range of options. Meal kits also provide an easy solution to the "what's for dinner?" question and allow you to spend less time grocery shopping and meal-prepping. With all these benefits, however, not everyone is sold. A primary concern is the question of their environmental impact.
Analyzing America's Waste
Lucy Lambriex / Getty Images
Waste in the U.S. is a huge problem. Here we can split it into two categories to help look at how meal kits contribute to the waste problem. America generated 42 million metric tons of plastic in 2016 alone. Packaging makes up a huge proportion of plastic waste and statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency show that around 75.4% of all plastics end up in landfills, the worst possible outcome.
When it comes to food waste, the picture isn't much prettier. Food waste is estimated to be as much as 40% of the whole food supply according to research from USDA's Economic Research Service. Wasted food is considered the single largest category of material in all municipal landfills and much of this food could be used to help the millions in food poverty. Reducing food waste has become a focus and commitment of the government, as the USDA, EPA and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) signed a joint formal agreement to look to improve coordination and communication between federal agencies who could minimize food waste. They are also committed to better educating Americans, so they understand the impact of every ingredient thrown in the trash.
Meal kits may not be the whole solution to either of these problems, but finding out their impact on both of these areas could help decide whether they're the right choice for you and your family.
Do Meal Kits Contribute to the Packaging Problem?
Some of the first complaints about meal kits were around the packaging. There has been research carried out to analyze the packaging of meal kits. Many meal kits include a cardboard box for storage but also packaging to preserve all the ingredients, individual packing for different ingredients, linen materials, ice packs, recipe cards and more.
The Association for Plastic Recyclers found "each had more than two dozen different packages, including one with 31 different pieces of packaging." Much of the packaging was also found to be plastic and many weren't recyclable. Another cause for concern with many meal kits is the ice packs they are delivered with. These are almost always non-recyclable because they contain chemicals which need to be disposed of safely and cannot be reused.
The issue of adding more non-recyclable plastics into the ecosystem is not something any meal kit company would want to take responsibility for. While many may not have found a solution to the problem yet, others have already made steps to show they are committed to a greener approach to their packaging and their business as a whole.
Blue Apron, one of the biggest names in meal kits, says that around 85% of their packaging is recyclable by weight. This includes any rigid plastics, glass bottles, metal cans, molded fiber, cardboard boxes, and the plastic bags for their drain-safe ice packs. They've also partnered with How2Recycle to implement their labels on all packaging. Martha and Marley Spoon, a European brand teamed up with Martha Stewart, offers highly-effective recycling program to ensure boxes are properly disposed of. This shows that brands who want to make their products sustainable and eco-friendly can do so.
There are other eco-friendly boxes which ensure all their packaging is fully recyclable or even compostable in some cases.
Could Meal Kits Solve the Food Waste Problem?
yulkapopkova / Getty Images
Believers in the meal kit idea and the companies themselves regularly tell us they could play a key role in solving the huge food waste problem. Having looked at the figures, it's clear action is needed and the average American needs to find a way to minimize the roughly 30% of food thrown in the trash.
Convinced of meal kits' role in tackling food waste, research published in the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling argues that average meals sourced from a store are responsible for 33% more greenhouse gas emission than the equivalent meal from a meal kit service.
The research suggests that the environmental benefits of meal kits can somewhat balance out the excessive packaging in some cases. It also found that meal kits can have a significant impact on food waste reduction because ingredients and portions are precisely measured.
The researchers selected five different Blue Apron meals (not in a sponsored or funding arrangement with the company) and used data about the environmental costs of different food production methods, fuel needs involved in delivery and concluded that most delivery services produced a similar level of emissions. To replicate this experience with grocery food, they visited the store and bought the ingredients to make the recipes from the kits.
The USDA food waste rate estimates were then used to estimate as accurately as possible how much of the leftover food and ingredients would end up thrown in the trash by the average American family. They then analyzed various aspects of the grocery-store meals versus the kit meals comparing factors such as waste, energy usage and requirements, emissions from transportation and selected other factors.
Of the five meals chosen from the meal kit provider, only the cheeseburger kit produced a higher level of greenhouse gas emissions than its grocery store comparison. This is in part due to the weight of the ingredients and also that beef production has a high impact on the environment in almost all situations. It's in the field of food waste that meal kits really stood out, as they significantly minimize the waste produced by the average person for each meal.
This study found that the environmental impact of meal kits beyond food waste reduction is minimal, but with the extent of the food waste problem, it's definitely something to consider. As meal kit delivery services continue to improve their packaging and offer more recyclable or compostable options, this could also change for the better.
Lifestyle Changes and Choices to Reduce Waste
Meal kits have their advantages and disadvantages, but they are an effective way of minimizing food waste if you have a busy lifestyle and need quick and easy access to fresh, quality food. Many meal kit companies also offer a selection of vegetarian and vegan options. They often come at a premium price, but are a great way to introduce a plant-based diet.
There are other ways to eat more sustainably with the planet and environment in mind including:
- Eat more plants: Upping the plant content of your diet is not only great for your health, it's also good for the environment.
- Consider your waste carefully: With meal planning, better organization can help you avoid wasting any food on a weekly basis. Utilizing your freezer properly can also help.
- Minimize meat: We've already mentioned the environmental impact of beef production, but this also applies to other meats; if you can consider cutting back, it'll benefit the environment and potentially your health too.
- Buy the best you can: Always opting for the best-quality meats and animal products means you are considering the quality of life of the animals you eat and the way they are raised. Buying eggs from uncaged hens is a good example of this. Look for certifications like USDA organic on your purchases.
- Celebrate your region: Eating locally and regionally minimizes the carbon footprint and emissions of the food you eat. Align your eating with your local area. Soy beans are the top crop in Illinois for example whereas Maine is the home of dairy and potatoes. Eating regionally, and seasonally, cuts down on emissions in the transport of food products.
Environmentally Friendly Meal Kits
As we've already mentioned, there are some meal kit brands who make their commitment to environmentalism a selling point. Meal kits from environmentally-minded brands can offer a better alternative when it comes to both packaging and ingredient sourcing. Sunbasket, for example, only offers 100% organic kits while Green Chef offers certified organic food with paleo and keto options. There are plenty of plant-based and vegan meal kits too where proteins are not derived from animal sources. The sheer range of kits available ensures even the most environmentally-focused diners can find a kit which suits their palate and their eco-friendly commitments.
They're not a perfect solution, but meal kits can help to tackle the food waste problem. Many people will also be rightly concerned about the food insecurity problem in the country, with the USDA's latest figures showing as many as 50 million Americans may experience food insecurity as a result of the pandemic. Uncertainty in access to food when so much is wasted should be a concern for everyone, and some meal kit companies have partnered with charities like Feeding America to donate to their cause and support their work in ridding the country of food poverty.
Many diners see the benefits of a meal kit in the perfectly portioned, high quality food that can be delivered at a competitive price. While there is still a lot to improve in terms of packaging, meal kits can definitely help reduce food waste and produce fewer green house gases than store-bought meals overall. With a little research, you can find an environmentally-minded company who offers the kind of food you love.
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Drinking regular green tea is a lot like boiling kale and drinking the water. You get some of the nutrients, but most of it goes in the trash. With matcha tea, on the other hand, you consume the whole tea leaves and get all the nutrients. Plus, matcha is more nutrient-dense to begin with.
What's the Difference Between Matcha and Green Tea?
Matcha and green tea are both made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. However, there are some key differences.
- Matcha is ground into a fine powder, whereas with regular green tea the leaves are left whole.
- Matcha plants are kept in complete shade two weeks before harvesting, whereas regular green tea plants are exposed to sunlight.
- Matcha leaves are steamed after harvesting, whereas green tea leaves are not.
- Matcha tea uses the whole leaf, whereas with regular green tea the stems and veins are removed.
- Matcha contains higher levels of the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
- Matcha contains higher concentrations of amino acids like L-theanine and L-arginine.
- Matcha contains more caffeine.
Plus, matcha tea powder can be added to food bars and baked goods.
Health Benefits of Matcha vs. Green Tea
Matcha tea and green tea both possess the same general health benefits. Each has the potential to:
- Relieve stress and anxiety
- Support cardiovascular health
- Reduce inflammation
- Promote weight loss
- Speed muscle recovery
- Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Enhance cognition
According to a 2017 meta-analysis, the compounds in green tea may boost cognition in healthy individuals. The study found "reliable evidence showing that L-theanine and caffeine have clear beneficial effects on sustained attention, memory, and suppression of distraction." This may be where the subtle differences lie. Overall, matcha has higher concentrations of L-theanine and caffeine. Therefore matcha tends to exert a more powerful feeling of "alert calm."
If you decide to drink green tea later in the day, opt for regular green tea. The lower caffeine content should be less likely to disrupt your sleep cycle.
A Week of Matcha 🍵 7 Ways to Enjoy www.youtube.com
How Each Tea is Produced and Prepared
Regular green tea is entirely sun-grown, meaning it's exposed to normal sunlight right up until the day it's harvested.
Matcha tea, on the other hand, is kept in the shade for the final 2-3 weeks before harvesting. The lack of sunlight triggers the plant to produce more chlorophyll, resulting in higher concentrations of therapeutic compounds. Shade harvesting is also responsible for the plant's distinct earthy aroma. Unlike regular green tea, matcha is steamed and then stone-ground into a fine powder.
Regular green tea is prepared by steeping the dried leaves in hot water for 30-45 seconds, then straining the liquid and removing the leaves.
Matcha tea, however, is prepared by mixing 1-2 teaspoons of matcha powder in a small amount of hot water using a traditional bamboo whisk or spoon. Once the powder is thoroughly mixed, more hot water can be added to taste.
Nutritional Content of Matcha vs. Green Tea
Although matcha and green tea both come from the same species of plant, Camellia sinensis, matcha has a higher concentration of therapeutic compounds. This is because the shade-harvesting practices of matcha yield higher levels of the alkaloid caffeine, the amino acid L-theanine, and the antioxidant EGCG.
According to a 2003 study, matcha contains roughly three times more EGCG than the average green tea. EGCG is thought to be responsible for several of green tea's health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and fighting inflammation.
In a recent study published in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers demonstrated that EGCG can effectively guard against oxidative damage. The L-theanine in green tea is largely responsible for green tea's calming effects.
According to a 2006 study published in The Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy, L-theanine accomplishes this by increasing levels of dopamine, serotonin, and GABA.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The Best Matcha Green Tea To Buy Online
- 5% of the company's profits go to charity
- Packaged in a recyclable glass jar with an aluminum lid
- High-quality Japanese matcha with a less bitter taste
- Tested annually for pesticides and heavy metals like lead
- Smooth mellow flavor with hints of chocolate, leafy greens, and snow peas
- Small batch product made from hand-picked leaves
- Highest caffeine and antioxidant levels on the market, according to the brand
- Small batch product that is hand blended
- Graded by a certified Chasi tea master
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Updated: November 23, 2020
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CBD creams and other topical ointments are a great way to help treat pain naturally. If you've been in the market for a CBD topical but don't know where to begin, we've got you covered. Read on to see which brands are our top picks for the best CBD creams, salves, and lotions.
While oils, gummies, vapes, and other edible/inhalable options of CBD offer users a natural way to help manage various health conditions, a topical cream is the best way to target specific muscle and joint aches and pains.
Topical creams are a wonderful way to bring CBD directly to any area of the body that is having tension, aches, and pains. Many people who deal with chronic muscle aches, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other conditions often turn to CBD cream because it offers fast, targeted, natural relief.
Our guide to the best CBD creams will not only inform you about CBD topicals and how they work, but we will also give you our top picks for the best CBD creams out on the market today so that you can get the very best natural relief possible.
Our Picks for Best CBD Creams and Topicals
- FAB CBD Topical Cream - Best Overall
- Spruce CBD Cream - Strongest CBD Cream
- Plant People CBD Balm - Best for Sprains and Bruises
- Medterra Pain Cream - Best for Joint Pain
- CBDistillery CBD Balm - Best Post-Workout Cream
- cbdMD Freeze Roller - Best Broad Spectrum Roll-On
- Charlotte's Web Hemp-Infused Cream - Best Price
How We Selected the Best CBD Creams
The CBD market is flooded with brands and products claiming to be the very best. But not all brands are the same, and not all products are created equally. We want to remove the frustration and confusion of finding the right CBD product so you can easily find the right CBD cream.
We evaluated each brand of CBD cream on the following six key categories.
- Value — How much does the CBD cream cost?
- Strength — How many milligrams of CBD does the cream contain?
- Source — Where does the hemp used for CBD come from?
- Scent — Is the cream scented at all, and does it use natural ingredients?
- Transparency — Does the brand use third-party lab testing to ensure quality?
- Customer Experience — Do customer reviews show a positive experience overall?
Learn more about each of the CBD creams on our list below.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
Best CBD Creams & Salves
Every one of FAB's products contains the very best full spectrum extract that's been sourced from organically grown Colorado hemp. FAB's topical cream is made with 600mg of CBD from a full spectrum hemp extract. Not only is the cream smooth, silky, and non-greasy, it's also light as a feather and has a lovely subtle blood orange scent.
FAB CBD is also known for having a strong customer service department that makes ordering and shipping a breeze.
When you're looking for a CBD cream, you should be zeroing in on the following:
- Value — The price of FAB's topical cream is right in line with many of the other highly regarded brands. Not only is FAB's cream affordable, it's also highly effective, clean, and of the highest potency.
- Strength — 600mg full spectrum CBD per jar
- Hemp source — All of FAB's organic hemp is cultivated in Colorado.
- Scent — Blood orange
- Transparency — FAB believes in transparency, so it makes all of its third- party lab test results easy for customers to find on its website. Along with ensuring that all of the hemp is free from chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, and toxic unnatural fertilizers, FAB also uses state-of-the-art equipment to both clone and harvest the hemp. FAB uses an extremely safe and clean Co2 extraction process to ensure that there are no chemicals or impurities in the extracts.
- Customer experience — Many customers regularly use FAB's topical cream to help with tough health issues including arthritis, nerve pain, muscle aches, sleep issues, and many other difficult conditions. A host of verified positive customer reviews solidify the fact that FAB has one of the most effective and highly potent creams on the market today.
Why buy — We love FAB not only because the brand's products are top-notch, but also because the FAB team truly cares about their customers. FAB's products are not only affordable, they're also very potent and highly effective. We recommend FAB's CBD topical cream for its light feel, silky texture, and fresh citrus scent.
Spruce makes its salve from full spectrum CBD; this means that, in addition to CBD, there may be other plant parts and terpenes that can help bolster the product's therapeutic effectiveness. These ingredients combine with the full spectrum CBD for powerful pain relief. In fact, their CBD salve offers the highest concentration of CBD per ounce of any product on our list.
- Value — At $89 for 1000mg of CBD per 0.87oz. container, or $169 for 3000mg of CBD per 1.7oz. container, Spruce offers a very strong product at a reasonable price point.
- Strength — 1000mg or 3000mg full spectrum CBD per container.
- Hemp source — Kentucky and North Carolina
- Scent — None
- Transparency — Third-party lab tested with easily-accessible results online.
- Customer experience — Customer reviews offer plenty of success stories from patients who have used Spruce CBD salve to treat their arthritis symptoms and other chronic pains.
Why buy — We love the Spruce product line for a number of reasons, not least the fact that their product is made with natural ingredients and plant-derived scents. These ingredients combine with the full spectrum CBD for powerful pain relief.
Plant People makes an outstanding CBD balm, which is formulated with full spectrum CBD to soothe aches and pains. It's specifically cited for its effectiveness reviving sore knuckles, muscles, and knees. Indeed, Plant People boasts that its CBD balm is good for recovery as well as for addressing stiffness and swelling.
- Value — The price point is just under $50, but you can save on each order if you subscribe to regular deliveries.
- Strength — The Plant People CBD balm offers 450mg of CBD in its 2oz. package.
- Hemp source — Colorado
- Scent — None
- Transparency — All Plant People products are tested by independent third-party labs and the results are easy to access on each page of their site.
- Customer experience — Customers who have used this CBD balm claim that it works well to help relieve sore muscles and joints, and that they love the scent provided by its natural ingredients.
Why buy — Plant People's CBD balm is said to be highly effective at enhancing circulation, and can also be a good topical remedy for athletic sprains and bruises. It's non-GMO, USDA organic, and gluten-free.
Medterra is another company that offers a range of salves, lotions, and creams. The basic Medterra CBD Pain cream is recommended for those who suffer from arthritic pain of any kind, as well as those afflicted by swollen joints, a stiff neck, or a tender back.
- Value — This cream comes in two different strengths, with the 500mg option starting at $35.
- Strength — 500mg of CBD, or 1000mg of CBD, per 1.7oz. container.
- Hemp source — Kentucky
- Scent — None
- Transparency — The CBD is carefully tested by independent labs and verified to be strong, pure, and efficacious.
- Customer experience — Medterra customers say that they enjoy this product because it works fast and has a soothing and pleasant fragrance from its natural ingredients.
Why buy — There's a lot to appreciate about this CBD cream, including the fact that it's made with U.S. hemp and it's grown organically, without any GMO use. Peppermint, jojoba oil, menthol, arnica, and aloe enhance the product's therapeutic effect.
CBDistillery's CBD salve offers 500mg of CBD in a 1oz. tub. Made with a number of natural oils, it's designed to be quickly absorbed into the skin, offering prompt relief. This product is recommended for anyone who deals with chronic pain, or simply wants to revive their muscles after strenuous physical activity.
- Value — You can get 1oz. of this CBD cream for $50, which makes it very affordably priced for the concentration.
- Strength — 500mg of full spectrum CBD per 1oz. tub.
- Hemp source — Colorado
- Scent — None
- Transparency — All CBDistillery products are vetted by a third-party lab to ensure their quality.
- Customer experience — CBDistillery is one of the most trusted of all CBD brands, and not without reason. Customers say they love this product for its effectiveness and its affordable price.
Why buy — CBDistillery makes all of its products using natural, eco-friendly farming practices, and there are no GMOs in the hemp oil. Non-greasy balm formula makes it easy to apply and fast to absorb.
cbdMD is one of the most popular CBD companies, and a quick look at their lineup of topical products shows you why. There are a lot of great options to choose from as you seek CBD-enhanced pain relief. For example, cbdMD offers basic creams, lip balms, hemp-infused roll-ons, and more.
The cbdMD Freeze roll-on is made with menthol, arnica montana, and aloe vera to support soothing and healing.
- Value — cbdMD's Freeze roller starts at $30 for the 300mg option and goes up to $150 for the 3000mg option, making it easy to select the right strength and price for you.
- Strength — 300mg, 750mg, 1500mg, or 3000mg broad spectrum CBD per 3oz. container.
- Hemp source — USA
- Scent — None
- Transparency — Third-party, ISO-certified lab tested to ensure purity and safety
- Customer experience — Customer reviews attest that this product works quickly to help relieve different types of pain. cbdMD also offers a 60-day money back guarantee which makes it easy to try this product for yourself.
Why buy — cbdMD's CBD roller uses a broad spectrum CBD that includes other cannabinoids (CBD, CBG, CBN) and terpenes without THC. It also includes menthol for a natural cooling sensation, and the non-greasy roller makes it easy to apply.
Charlotte's Web basic CBD cream offers a botanical formula that's designed to go on smoothly, and to provide comfort and relief even for those with sensitive skin. Best of all, the Charlotte's Web CBD cream is made without any parabens, artificial colors or dyes, GMOs, or synthetic fragrances.
- Value — This is the most affordable CBD cream on our list; the smaller of the two tubes costs less than $20.
- Strength — The 2.5-ounce tube includes 750mg of full spectrum CBD; the 1-ounce tube contains 300mg.
- Hemp source — Colorado
- Scent — None
- Transparency — Third-party lab test results available online for all products.
- Customer experience — Multiple customer reviews state this cream offers fast-acting and long-lasting relief.
Why buy — In addition to full spectrum CBD, some of the therapeutic ingredients used in Charlotte's Web CBD cream include aloe vera, coconut oil, and oat extract. It's also both gluten-free and vegan, and is made without any animal testing.
Learn More About CBD Creams, Balms, and Salves
Why are CBD Topical Creams and Salves Popular?
Topical creams and salves are fast becoming the go-to method of CBD intake among people with an active lifestyle. Topical creams infused with CBD offer athletes, weekend warriors, pain-sufferers, and anyone and everyone a quick way to target tough muscle aches and pains. Moreover, along with muscle pain relief, topical cream may also help to increase relaxation.
Many individuals who suffer with chronic or acute pain are discovering that CBD is a safe, natural alternative treatment over prescription painkillers that can be both dangerous and addictive. Not only that, but unlike oils, capsules, edibles, and other forms of CBD, topical creams and salves go right to work when massaged into the affected area. Therefore, creams and salves are becoming the product of choice for those wanting quick relief from painful muscle strains, arthritis pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, and other conditions.
How Do CBD Creams Work?
Topical creams and salves work so well because, once massaged into the skin, the CBD goes to work with the body's endocannabinoid system. This system is a highly intricate cell-signaling system that was first discovered in the 1990s by researchers who were exploring the cannabis compound tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
While doctors and researchers are still trying to completely comprehend the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, they do know that it plays a pivotal role in regulating both functions and processes such as:
- Mood regulation
- Pain reduction and regulation
- Motor Control
- Inflammation and immune responses
- Skin and Nerve Functioning
- Bone Remodeling and Growth
- Liver Function
The body has two main endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 receptors that are located in the central nervous system, and CB2 receptors that are found in the peripheral nervous system. All of these functions help to keep the body in a state of homeostasis, or stability. Pain, chronic health conditions, or injury can throw these functions off, and that's when the ECS jumps in to help the body return to normal functioning or balance.
CBD Creams and Pain Management
When you use full-spectrum products like a full-spectrum CBD topical cream or salve, the trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol, or CBD, in the cream interact with the ECS. Researchers have found that THC helps to reduce pain and stimulate appetite by binding with CB1 and CB2 receptors, while CBD prevents the breakdown of endocannabinoids, which in turn allows them to have a stronger effect on the body. Researchers also believe that CBD helps to reduce pain, nausea, and other uncomfortable symptoms that are caused by various health/medical conditions.
When you rub CBD topical cream or salve into an area of discomfort, the CBD enters into the skin and sebaceous glands to synergistically work with the body to help reduce pain and inflammation while returning the body to a state of balance. Topical creams can directly help to relieve pain in the specific areas of the body where it's applied.
Targeting Various Conditions and Injuries
Yes, you can achieve relief by applying a CBD topical cream or salve onto your body. However, you can also add in other modalities to help get more relief. For example, if you're using topical cream for a sports-related injury, why not try adding ice or heat to further help calm down the swelling or inflammation.
Likewise, heat or ice on top of topical cream can also be a great way of calming arthritis pain and other chronic pain from conditions such as fibromyalgia, bursitis, Crohn's Disease, gout, knee injuries, and so many others.
CBD topical cream can be used to help treat:
- Chronic Pain
- Acute Pain
- Sore Joints
- Sore Muscles
- Skin Infections
How to Use CBD Creams for Pain
When you begin using CBD cream, you first need to apply the cream around the painful area to treat it locally. Actually, applying topical cream is very much the same as applying regular lotion. The main issue is that you have to use more care when using a CBD topical.
In order to make sure you're getting the correct dosage of CBD cream, you need to find out how many milligrams of CBD are in the topical. This way, you will know right off the bat whether there's enough CBD in the cream to give you therapeutic relief. Typically, topical creams with lower milligrams of CBD in them will be less effective than those with higher milligrams.
In general, you should use topical CBD creams as you would use CBD oil: start low and go slow. Begin with a low dose and then gradually increase the amount of the topical until you find the dose that gives you the most optimal therapeutic relief.
When it comes to deciding on a cream, there are a lot of varieties to choose from. Some topicals are lotions that help to moisturize the skin, while others are balms, salves, liniments, or ointments that contain CBD and extra natural ingredients to create hot or cold sensations for extra help with pain relief. Topical creams can contain a host of natural ingredients including citrus, mint, pepper, menthol, camphor, methyl salicylate, and triethanolamine salicylate. The type of topical you choose will purely be based on both preference and need. Regardless of the variety, the topical will still have the same function.
Generally, when you are applying cream to an area of pain, you would apply it exactly to where the pain is stemming from. However, if you are unsure as to where the pain is originating, then you should apply it close to the area that hurts.
Applying cream to various trigger points will also help alleviate pain in the general area. Some specific trigger point areas you an apply cream to are:
- Soles of the feet
- Any joint and the muscles surrounding it
Another great tip for applying cream is to always make sure the area you are massaging it into is clean and free from sweat, dirt, and dead skin cells. When your skin is clean, the CBD molecules will have a better chance of reaching the affected area. When you apply the cream to the area, make sure that you use a good sized dollop. The goal is to not just rub the cream onto the area, but to thoroughly and gently massage it into the skin. Deeply massaging the topical into the skin serves to both increase the blood flow to the area as well as help the cream penetrate deeper into the tissue and spread over a wider area of the body.
Lastly, always wash your hands after applying topical cream. Since some brands have cooling or heating ingredients added to them, it definitely would not feel good if you rubbed your eyes or touched your nose or mouth after an application. Likewise, you also might want to avoid applying creams with mint, pepper, camphor, or menthol to the insides of your elbows or the backs of your knees as the skin could be easily irritated.
How Long Does It Take for CBD Creams to Work?
While you will feel almost immediate relief from general aches and pains such as sunburns, sore, strained muscles, or minor skin irritations, chronic pain issues caused by arthritis, bursitis, or other medical conditions will take a little longer to manage. The key is to be patient and understand that some conditions require more time than others to get under control. If your pain worsens, or if you are dealing with chronic pain generally, you should consult with your primary care physician to fully treat the issue.
What are the Benefits of CBD?
CBD, a compound of the hemp and cannabis plants, has many health benefits associated with it including:
- Relief from chronic pain
- Nerve pain reduction
- Relief of muscle spasms and muscle tension
- Nausea relief
- Decreased anxiety and depression
- Reduced inflammation
- Improvement in sleep and relaxation
Not only can CBD topical cream help to alleviate these conditions, it can also help to improve the overall health and wellness of your skin. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit the skin to help reduce oil production, relieve pain and itching, and help to moisturize. In fact, topical CBD cream can help to treat eczema, psoriasis, and other inflammatory skin conditions .
Many people falsely worry about purchasing full cspectrum products because they fear that they will get "high" from them. By law, all full spectrum CBD products must contain less than 0.3% THC; therefore, you can use full spectrum oils, creams, edibles, vapes, etc., without any fear of getting high. The good news is that when you use full spectrum topical creams, your body will be able to reap all of the benefits of the entourage effect.
During the entourage effect, CBD, THC, and other cannabis compounds and terpenes work together to decrease each other's negative effects while increasing their positive effects. For example, THC is known to cause nausea, paranoia, and anxiety in some people, however, when combined with CBD, these negative side effects are drastically reduced, therefore allowing for greater pain reduction and appetite stimulation.
Final Thoughts on Our CBD Creams and Salves List
Whether you suffer from sports injuries, muscle strains or sprains, or acute or chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis, Crohn's Disease, Fibromyalgia, bursitis, back pain, or others, a topical CBD cream might be a great option to help you treat specific localized areas of pain on your body. Even though oils, gummies, vapes, and capsules are also helpful and effective in their own way, a topical cream is the best option for painful areas on your body because it offers fast, targeted relief in a way that ingestible options cannot.
Topical creams can be used alone or with other modalities such as heat or ice to add further relief from tough muscle pain, sports injuries, and muscle tension issues.
Do Your Research
Regardless of how you use the cream and what you use along with it, it's always a good idea to first ensure that you've purchased the very best product for yourself. Because CBD continues to grow in popularity, so have the number of brands and products that are out on the market today. But before you spend your hard-earned money on a product that could potentially be inferior and ineffective, it's advised that you scour the brands' websites to locate third-party lab results. Remember, a brand that hires a reputable third-party lab not only cares about the quality, purity, and strength of its products, it also cares about what its customers are putting into their bodies.
After you've found those lab test results, take some time to pour through them and learn exactly what's in the topical cream that you intend on buying. If you're feeling overwhelmed or confused at any time during your research, you can always begin your journey by looking into the brands that our list. FAB CBD's Topical Cream is our number one choice not only because of the brand's stellar reputation and transparency, but also because FAB truly creates a potent, clean, and highly effective product.
When it comes to how pain sufferers are choosing to treat their tough chronic or acute pain, a great number of them are opting to forego the use of dangerous and potentially addictive prescription painkillers. Instead, many of them have successfully treated their health issues by using safe, natural, and non-addictive CBD topical creams.
Topical creams, as well as all other CBD products, contain a host of benefits which include nausea reduction, pain relief, reduction of muscle tension and spasms, increased relaxation, a reduction in sleep-related issues such as insomnia, reduced inflammation, nerve pain relief, and so much more. Rather than have to worry about the damage that a prescription medication is potentially doing to your body, you can have peace of mind knowing that your body is benefitting from the many benefits that CBD is giving it.
Consult With Your Doctor
Lastly, if you have any questions or concerns about using CBD, never hesitate to schedule a visit with your primary care provider or specialist. CBD is a wonderful, natural, safe way to help heal a great many health issues. So if you think it might be the best option for you but are still nervous, unsure, or have questions, then your healthcare provider can help you sort them out so that you can make the best decision possible for your health.
So many people are discovering first-hand the many benefits that CBD has to offer. If you've been wondering about what a topical CBD cream can do for you, then look no further than our top brands. The time to stop suffering with pain is now. Why not explore the many ways that CBD can both improve your health issues and enhance your life?
Marc Lewis aims to help people access the scientific consensus on natural health topics in a simple and direct format. His perspective on CBD as a natural remedy has been featured in Business Insider, Forbes, MarketWatch, and Yahoo.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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Everyone has a different reason to incorporate CBD into their lives. Whether they use CBD to help tackle a difficult health issue like chronic pain, or simply want to take it to help reduce stress and anxiety, CBD offers a natural way to help manage a number of problems.
One issue for anyone new to CBD is figuring out the best CBD oil to buy. Deciding which product will work better for them and how much CBD oil they should take are issues every person new to the popular natural remedy confronts.
The good news is we've done all of the hard work for you. Our guide to the best CBD oil brands for sale online will point you to some of the best brands on the market and will highlight some of their specific products. We've also included helpful information about the benefits of CBD oil and how much to take.
Here are our choices for best CBD oils.
The Best CBD Oils
- FAB CBD - Top Rated
- Spruce - Strongest CBD Oil
- CBDistillery - Best Value
- cbdMD - Best Broad Spectrum
- NuLeaf Naturals - Best All Natural
- Medterra - Best THC-free
- Charlotte's Web - Best for Sleep
- Naternal - Least Expensive
How We Chose the Best CBD Oils
To create our list of best CBD oils, we evaluated each brand and product on six specific categories.
- Value — Is the brand's CBD oil affordable and does it work?
- Strength — How many total milligrams of CBD does each dose of CBD oil contain?
- Source — Does the company use all-natural hemp grown in the USA?
- Flavor — Does the oil come in multiple flavors? Is it flavored using natural ingredients?
- Transparency — Does the brand offer accessible third-party lab test results and information about their extraction process?
- Customer Experience — What do actual customers say about the product and the buying experience?
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
The FAB team has many years of experience in the health and wellness industries. They know what it takes to put out the best CBD oils on today's market. Not only has FAB been praised for the quality of their oils, the brand also is highly regarded for its stellar customer service.
FAB ensures that every part of the process, from hemp cultivation and harvesting, to extraction, product creation, and more, is done with the utmost transparency.
FAB's oils come in a variety of different strengths and flavors including berry, vanilla, citrus, mint, and natural flavors in strengths of 300mg, 600mg,1200mg, and 2400mg.
Flavors: Berry, Vanilla, Citrus, Mint, and Natural
Hemp Source: Colorado
Why buy: A large selection of oil strengths and flavors, Co2 extraction method, excellent customer service, all products tested by ProVerde Labs, an independent third-party laboratory, and results are accessible online.
Spruce wants to help people find real relief, and they make a point to listen to customers about what they need. Their lab grade CBD oil is made from a consistent, quality supply of hemp extract grown here in the US. Customers can trust that this product is organic, vegan, and gluten-free. The Spruce website is full of customer reviews from real people talking about how the this oil worked for them.
Hemp source: Kentucky and North Carolina
Why buy: A strong, full spectrum, lab-grade CBD oil; includes organic hemp seed oil and natural flavors, no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives; Spruce also offers an Extra Strength option that contains 80 mg of CBD per 1 mL dropper.
With quality CBD oils starting at $20, CBDistillery offers good products at a great price. This affordability and their extremely potent CBD oils (like the 2500mg and 5000mg options) have made CBDistillery one of the fastest growing companies in the hemp space. Their Colorado-grown non-GMO industrial hemp provides for a variety of CBD oil products.
Hemp source: Colorado
Why buy: They offer full-spectrum and broad-spectrum oils, as well as CBD isolate; affordable pricing for higher-strength oils; U.S. Hemp Authority Certified; non-GMO; third-party lab tested; 60-day money back guarantee.
cbdMD has a diverse line of American-made, high-quality broad spectrum CBD oil products. This CBD company has also made an effort to reach out into the sports world to expand the reach of hemp derivatives. Their quality CBD tinctures have a light taste, various flavors, THC-free options, and are a great starting place for people who want to try CBD for recovery after workouts.
Flavors: Natural, Berry, Orange, Mint
Hemp source: USA
Why buy: Wide variety of broad spectrum CBD options and flavors —all THC free; third-party tested by ISO-certified labs; 60-day 100% satisfaction guarantee or you can get a full refund.
NuLeaf Naturals makes strong, concentrated CBD oils that are all around 50mg CBD per mL. We like that the concentration is the same across the product line because you just have to decide how much you want to buy. Plus, these products are made using a Co2 extraction process that removes the CBD from 100% organic hemp plants. Anecdotal feedback from customers suggests that people who want something strong and consistent for pain relief are buying NuLeaf and getting results.
Hemp source: Colorado
Why buy: Consistent concentration across bottle sizes makes dosing easier; full spectrum CBD made with organic hemp; third-party lab tested with easily-accessible test results through their website.
If you want to access the wellness potential of CBD but also want to completely avoid any chance of ingesting THC, Medterra is the brand for you. These quality THC-free CBD oil products are great for employees who are regularly drug tested, as they won't trigger a bad result. Their oil tinctures have a neutral taste, because they are isolates, which makes them easier to swallow for people new to CBD. Medterra's also has a nighttime line that has been especially popular with those looking for a natural sleep aid.
Flavor: Neutral (unflavored)
Hemp source: Kentucky
Why buy: Great online shopping experience, quick and easy service; THC-free; organic, non-GMO; U.S. Hemp Authority Certified; Co2 extraction method.
Charlotte's Web has some of our favorite CBD oils for sleep. They also have a long history of sourcing American hemp. I would buy Charlotte's Web CBD oils if I was looking for help supporting calm for focus, the management of everyday stress, and healthy sleep cycles. This product is best if taken regularly, and kept in your system.
Flavors: Mint Chocolate, Olive Oil (natural), Orange Blossom, Lemon Twist
Hemp source: Colorado
Why buy: Established brand with track record of testing and innovative quality control; U.S. Hemp Authority Certified; small batch alcohol extraction method; 30-day satisfaction guarantee; third-party lab testing results available online.
Naternal offers both broad and full spectrum CBD oils, so customers can choose if they want a completely THC-free extract or a fuller range of beneficial cannabinoids and plant terpenes. Thanks to the quality, taste, and affordable price, this product is a great place to start for those who want to see if CBD is right for them.
Hemp source: North Carolina
Why buy: Strong products with helpful dosing information on bottle and in packaging; both broad and full spectrum CBD options; affordable pricing; ethanol extraction process.
Frequently Asked Questions About CBD Brands
For those new to CBD, here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about CBD.
What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound that comes from the marijuana and hemp strains of cannabis. If you purchase CBD products that are crafted solely from the hemp plant, then there will be less than 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in them. THC is a very well-known compound of the cannabis plant that causes people to feel a euphoric high when smoked or ingested.
While hemp is a part of the cannabis plant family, it contains less than 0.3 percent of THC. Marijuana is a variety of cannabis that has well over 0.3 percent of THC.
Unlike THC, CBD will not cause users to feel high in any way. Products that are crafted from the cannabis plant will contain both CBD and THC in them. However, all full-spectrum CBD products that are sold within the United States must legally contain less than 0.3 percent THC.
CBD carries its own therapeutic and medical benefits as it interacts with the endocannabinoid system of the body.
What conditions can be treated with CBD?
CBD is used for a great many reasons. CBD can be used to help manage a number of health issues.
There are multiple studies that show CBD can be helpful in managing the following conditions:
In light of these findings, more people are seeking CBD as a natural, safe, and effective way to help them deal with painful and sometimes debilitating health conditions.
How much CBD should I take?
CBD oils come in many different strengths and flavors. And while flavor is purely a matter of preference, strength is another story. Typically, if you are new to CBD, it's recommended for you to begin with the lowest potency first until you can gauge how your body will react to the oil.
Low Potency CBD Oils — 300mg
This low potency oil option is great for people who are just beginning to take CBD and who are concerned about how their body will react to it. Everyone has an endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The body's endocannabinoid system is located in the brain, nervous system, organs, connective tissues, glands, immune cells, and other areas of the body. The two internal receptors, CB1 and CB2, that influence the brain and the immune system interact with endocannabinoids to help the body regain balance or homeostasis.
Basically, the ECS interacts with naturally occurring compounds in the body as well as with the compounds found within the cannabis plant to help relieve issues stemming from various health conditions. The endocannabinoid system has a very large impact on the brain, nervous system, and our emotional and psychological well-being.
Therefore, a low potency oil is a perfect way to introduce CBD into your system to see how your endocannabinoid system will react to it.
Mid-Potency CBD Oils — 600mg
Mid-potency oils are a great way to slowly increase or step-up your strength if you feel that the low-potency oil is not effective for you. This option is perfect for people who need to take larger or multiple doses of low-potency oil a day. People who use mid-potency oils are commonly doing so to help alleviate anxiety as well as daily pain.
High-Potency CBD Oil — 1,000mg+
This strength of oil is commonly used by those who are struggling with various sleep issues, muscle aches and pains, migraine headaches, daily stress, and frequent anxiety.
What is the best dose?
A great rule to live by when it comes to CBD is to start low and go slow. You should never start with the highest dose right away. Likewise, you should never initially take CBD oil more than once a day when you are just starting out.
Typically, what you should do is begin by taking 5mg of oil once a day for a week. That dose will equal about a half a dropper full of oil. After a week has elapsed, check to see how you are feeling. If you feel that you are not getting the relief that you seek, then increase the dose to another half dropper full twice a day. This will now equal a total of 10mg of CBD oil a day. Stay with this dose for another week before doing a check-in to gauge how you are feeling.
Repeat these steps until you achieve your desired results. Likewise, go slow with the different oil potencies until you find the strength that works best for your needs.
Are there any negative side effects to be concerned about?
Just like with any natural supplement or treatment method, there can be some mild side effects associated with CBD oil. Some of the more common side effects that people have reported include:
CBD can also negatively interact with prescription medications. A good way to check if it will potentially negatively mix with your current prescription is to go by the grapefruit warning rule. If you cannot eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice or other citruses while on your medication, then you should not mix CBD with it.
Grapefruit contains compounds called furanocoumarins that bind with specialized enzymes located within the gut. When these compounds bind with the enzymes, they lower the body's ability to break down and eliminate drugs from the system. Therefore, too much of the drug will be in the bloodstream which can lead to toxic levels over time.
CBD is very similar to grapefruit in that it also binds with those same enzymes and can therefore cause the very same issues. Once the enzyme is neutralized, it can take days for its function to return back to normal.
Can you get high off of CBD?
No, the compound CBD, or cannabidiol, does not have any psychoactive properties to it. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, however, will get you high when taken in high doses. All full spectrum CBD oils are required by law to have less than 0.3% THC in them, so they will not get you high.
The theory behind full spectrum products is that the low levels of THC work in a synergistic manner with CBD, terpenes, and other compounds to bring about a healing effect as well as boost each other's therapeutic benefits. CBD is known to have a relaxing effect, making it a wonderful natural supplement to help combat insomnia.
What is the difference between full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate?
There are quite a few differences between full spectrum CBD oil and broad spectrum CBD, as well as CBD isolates. Full spectrum CBD contains all of the phytochemicals naturally found in the cannabis plant. This means that full spectrum CBD contains CBD, THC, trace cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils. By law, all full-spectrum products must contain less than 0.3% THC.
Broad spectrum CBD contains the cannabinoids and CBD but does not have any THC in it. Any THC is completely removed after the initial extraction process. A good way to think about broad spectrum products is that they are somewhere in between full spectrum oils and CBD isolates.
Lastly, CBD isolates are exactly what the name implies. In CBD isolate products, CBD is separated away from all of the other compounds. When you purchase CBD isolate products, you are getting the purest form of CBD in the highest concentration per serving. People who choose to use CBD isolate benefit solely from the effects of CBD, or cannabidiol.
Does the extraction process matter?
Whenever you set out to buy a CBD product, you should absolutely take the time and effort to how that product was made. In particular, you should pay close attention to how the extracts were taken from the plants. If CBD was extracted using a heat method, then most of the health benefits will have been lost.
There are three primary methods of extraction: steam distillation; Co2 extraction; and solvent extraction.
In steam distillation, steam is used to separate the CBD oil from the hemp plant. This method is less preferred over the Co2 extraction method. In order to properly perform steam distillation, more of the hemp plant is needed and it is harder to obtain exact amounts of CBD concentrations. If the steam becomes too hot it can both damage extracts as well as change the cannabinoids' chemical makeup.
The Co2 extraction process is both the cleanest and industry preferred extraction method. The Co2 extraction method uses carbon dioxide to separate the oil from the plant. During this method, pressurized chambers and pumps expose Co2 to low temperatures and high pressure. The end results are oils that have very high concentrations of CBD. Scientific analysis shows that this extraction process results in a 92 percent concentration of CBD.
Lastly, there is the less-preferred solvent extraction process. This method uses a solvent instead of heated water to separate CBD oil from the plant. The downside to this method is that it creates a mixture of CBD oil and solvent. Eventually, the solvent evaporates, leaving only the CBD oil. The solvents that are used can include naphtha, petroleum, butane, or propane, are very concerning as they have been linked to cancer risks. In order to avoid toxic residue, some brands use olive oil or ethanol in the solvent process. But, even with natural solvents, chlorophyll can also be extracted that will give the oil a bad taste. Also, natural solvents do not evaporate that well, meaning the CBD extract will contain a much lower concentration of CBD.
What is the best way to use CBD?
CBD products come in many different options. There are oils, sprays, creams, gummies, capsules, vapes, and much more. Typically, sublingual options are the best. These will be oils or sprays. However, depending on what you are using the CBD for, another option might be better for you. For example, if you have muscle aches and pains, then a topical cream will be your best option. If you have an active lifestyle and need to take your CBD on the go, then gummies will work the best for you. The choice is completely up to you.
Is CBD Legal?
In 2014, the Agricultural Act, or Farm Bill, was passed that allowed the legalization of cultivation activities of hemp. Because of this, the hemp industry was able to explore many new and innovative ways of growing hemp.
The House and the Senate then passed the 2018 Farm Act that removed hemp, which is defined as a cannabis plant that contain less than 0.3% THC, off of the Schedule 1 Controlled Substances list from Congress.
CBD that comes from marijuana plants is still subject to individual state laws. However, CBD products that are sourced from hemp can be both purchased and consumed in all 50 states as long as the hemp has been cultivated according to the Farm Act.
Typically, all full spectrum CBD products must legally contain less than 0.3% THC in them in order to be sold and purchased within the United States.
Will you get a positive drug test result from using CBD?
Most drug tests specifically screen for illegal drugs and prescription medications in urine, blood, and saliva. Since some CBD cannabis oils and CBD hemp oils contain less than 0.3% THC, it can cause a positive drug screening. If you are in a job that requires any drug testing, you are advised to use caution and take CBD at your own discretion.
How long will it take before you feel the effects of CBD?
Everyone's body is different, which means how quickly one person feels the effects of CBD will differ from how long it takes another person to feel the effects.
Also, the CBD product you use, whether a cream, vape, oil, gummy, capsule, etc., will dictate how slow or how fast you feel the effects of CBD. The fastest way to feel the effects of CBD is through vaping. Topical creams take effect pretty quickly as well. The second fastest route is through sublingual administration, which is accomplished by taking oils. Finally, the slowest way to absorb CBD is through oral ingestion with products such as capsules, gummies, and other edibles.
Putting questions into perspective
Remember, if you still have questions regarding CBD then you might want to schedule a consultation appointment with your primary care physician or healthcare provider for further guidance.
Marc Lewis aims to help people access the scientific consensus on natural health topics in a simple and direct format. His perspective on CBD as a natural remedy has been featured in Business Insider, Forbes, MarketWatch, and Yahoo.
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According to the National Eczema Foundation, roughly 31.6 million people have some form of eczema. The symptoms of this condition include itchiness, discoloration, and dry skin. In the past, harsh steroidal creams were the gold standard for eczema treatment. But there's got to be a more effective way to heal the skin, right?
Thankfully, we're out of the dark ages and into an all-natural era of skin care. Today, alternative therapies abound, including clinically-tested cannabis ointments and DIY home remedies like oatmeal baths.
What Is Eczema?
Eczema is a group of skin conditions that's characterized by itching, scaling, discoloration, dryness, and most of all, inflammation. Although it's possible to get eczema for the first time as an adult, it most commonly starts in childhood. Unfortunately, once eczema starts, it can be hard to control.
What Causes Eczema?
Eczema occurs when chronic skin inflammation prevents the corneal layer from shedding and renewing. A general "eczema" diagnosis can describe any type of dermatitis or unknown "itchy rash." However, researchers have identified the following distinct types:
- Atopic dermatitis (related to allergies and autoimmunity)
- Contact dermatitis (the skin's reaction to an irritant)
- Stasis dermatitis (eczema on the lower extremities)
- Seborrheic dermatitis (dry scalp)
- Neurodermatitis (thick, scaly skin from long-term itching/scratching)
- Nummular eczema (round lesions that leak fluid; usually caused by allergens)
- Dyshidrotic eczema (itchy blisters on the feet and hands; usually caused by allergens)
Eczema is most likely to develop in people with a compromised immune system or who have dry, sensitive skin. Extreme weather, genetics, stress, diet, poor gut health, and bacteria can also play a role.
In most cases, patients go through periods of intense flare-ups followed by periods of remission. During a flare, patients can experience the following symptoms of skin inflammation:
- Crusty patches
- Hypersensitivity to certain soaps and shampoos
- Deep cracks/cuts from extreme dryness (especially on the hands and feet)
Atopic eczema can be accompanied by other symptoms like asthma, fever, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, stress, and depression.
5 Best Natural Remedies for Eczema
In the war against eczema, inflammation is enemy #1. Here are the top five natural remedies to soothe inflammation and heal the skin barrier:
1. Anti-inflammatory Diet
Reducing inflammation and reversing eczema starts with the food you eat, especially when it comes to atopic dermatitis, which is rooted in an overactive immune system.
Eat more anti-inflammatory foods like:
- Omega-3 foods: the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that can reduce inflammation in the gut, joints, brain, and skin. The best natural sources of omega-3s are wild-caught salmon, sardines, and fish oil.
- High-fiber vegetables: produce like artichokes, raw garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, and dense leafy greens feed healthy gut bacteria and reduce intestinal inflammation.
- Probiotics: probiotics are living bacterial cultures that reinforce the gut lining and protect the bloodstream from inflammatory agents.
- Collagen: collagen supplements and bone broth can strengthen the skin matrix and rejuvenate damaged skin cells. It's also a powerful nutrient for healing the gut lining.
- Vitamin A-rich foods: yellow and orange vegetables like carrots are high in vitamin A and are great for skin health.
Avoid inflammatory foods like:
- Fried foods: canola and safflower oil from deep-fried foods promotes inflammation.
- Sugar: processed sugar feeds unhealthy gut bacteria and promotes inflammation throughout the body.
- Additives: additives in processed foods are known to exacerbate eczema.
- Dairy: products like cheese and milk are difficult to process and tend to promote inflammation, especially in people with autoimmune conditions.
- Gluten: removing gluten can improve autoimmune conditions like eczema.
2. Sun Exposure (Phototherapy)
Sun exposure and phototherapy are proven to calm inflammation and reduce itching. UVB spectrum light helps the skin fight bacteria, boosts vitamin D production, and may help prevent eczema flares.
Just 10-15 minutes of sunlight a day may be all it takes to mitigate symptoms and speed healing. One recent study found that 74.4% of patients had complete resolution of eczema symptoms during the sunny summer months.
3. Vitamin D
During winter in the Northern hemisphere, you might not have access to sunlight or phototherapy. That's unfortunate, because vitamin D3 deficiency can compromise the immune system and increase the risk of eczema. (5)
Luckily, you can still reduce the risk of eczema by supplementing with vitamin D.
Taking 2,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily can support the skin's natural ability to fight inflammation. Another option is to eat foods that contain vitamin D, like sardines, salmon, and cod liver oil, all of which are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
4. CBD Ointments and Creams
As cannabis and cannabinoid use becomes more common, the broad medicinal benefits of non-psychoactive CBD (cannabidiol) have been gaining widespread attention. New research also shows that it may deliver eczema relief to some patients.
For example, a 2019 publication in the medical journal Molecules confirms that "… cutaneous cannabinoid signaling is deeply involved in the maintenance of skin homeostasis, barrier formation and regeneration, and its dysregulation was implicated to contribute to several highly prevalent diseases and disorders, e.g., atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, scleroderma, acne…"
In other words, the skin contains natural receptor sites for phytocannabinoids like CBD, which at least partially explains its therapeutic potential.
Another 2019 study found that topical CBD ointment, without THC, had therapeutic effects in inflammatory skin conditions and cutaneous scars.
5. Therapeutic Oils
Moisturizing oils like coconut oil and essential oils like lavender and primrose are proven to reduce symptoms associated with eczema and protect the skin.
Primrose in particular contains high levels of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which may account for its benefits in treating atopic dermatitis.
At the same time, lavender essential oil may help reduce the mental health conditions associated with eczema. For example, Harvard Medical School found that people with eczema have higher rates of anxiety and insomnia. They also exercise less and drink more alcohol.
Final Thought on Natural Anti-Itch Treatments
It's always important to exercise caution with natural remedies for eczema, especially when blisters leak and ooze. Although many of the above treatments have antibacterial properties, the risk of infection is always present. Be wary of excessive bathing and cool compresses because too much moisture can promote bacterial growth. Always consult with your dermatologist before trying new natural treatments.
Unfortunately, you'd be hard pressed to find a person who doesn't deal with stress on at least a somewhat regular basis. Whether it has to do with money, work, relationships, or something else entirely, stress can take a toll on both our physical and mental wellbeing.
For those who are unable to get a handle on it, it can often result in unhealthy coping mechanisms and behaviors. On top of that, it can lead to detrimental effects on our physical and mental health, like depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and much more.
While smart lifestyle changes and effective stress-busting practices are essential for coping with stress, supplements can also be key. They can help our body physically deal with the symptoms of stress, and influence us to establish healthy habits and make better daily choices when it comes to our overall wellness.
If you are finding it difficult to cope with stress in your life, you might want to check out one of these top supplements for stress relief.
Ashwagandha is an important player in Ayurveda, one of the oldest systems of medicine. While it has been used for thousands of years, it has gained noticeable popularity in western culture in more recent years, particularly due to its ability to reduce stress levels.
The plant is a small shrub with flowers, and supplements are made from the roots and leaves. Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body cope with stress to return to a balanced, well-functioning state.
A 2017 study found that participants who took the supplement were able to reduce their levels of stress by 44% – compared to just 5.5% by the participants who took a placebo.
Another study found that the supplement helped participants lower their cortisol (the stress hormone) levels by up to 30%.
While people are able to get enough magnesium with a well-balanced diet, many do not eat enough magnesium-rich foods (such as spinach, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and black beans) to get the appropriate levels.
Magnesium is essential for proper nerve and muscle functioning. Research has shown that magnesium plays a part in the regulation of stress responses.
A 2012 study also showed that magnesium supplements helped participants get a more restful night's sleep—which is important considering sleep and stress often affect each other.
CBD is a popular product for fighting stress. While there are a variety of ways you can take CBD, some of the most popular application styles include CBD tinctures, capsules, and edibles.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for a variety of physiological tasks, including regulating adrenaline and cortisol. When CBD is introduced to the system, it can help to balance out these functions and bring the body to homeostasis, ultimately relieving stress.
People may choose to take CBD as a treatment when they are experiencing bouts of stress. Those who deal with chronic stress may also choose to take it on a regular basis to help regulate their symptoms and keep stress levels in check.
Rhodiola is another popular adaptogen. The plant grows in mountainous regions of Europe, Asia, and the Arctic. The root of the plant contains over 140 active ingredients, and is used to create the stress-busting supplement.
A 2009 study of doctors working night shifts found that rhodiola was helpful for reducing stress and increasing alertness, as well as fighting stress-related fatigue.
Another 2012 study also backs up these findings, showing that stressed-out participants who took the supplement for 4 weeks exhibited improvements in symptoms of stress. These symptoms started improving within 3 days, and continued over the course of the study.
5. Valerian Root
Valerian is a perennial plant, and the root has been used for thousands of years in ancient medical systems. It has been dubbed "nature's Valium", and has become a popular alternative to drugs prescribed for fighting anxiety, stress, nervousness, and insomnia.
It is believed to increase the amount of gamma aminobutyric acid in the brain – a chemical that helps regulate nerve cells. It has a gentle sedative effect, and therefore it is recommended that people take it at night to help promote a good night's sleep.
6. Vitamin B Complex
B complex supplements contain all 8 B vitamins. While these vitamins can be consumed through diet alone, some may not be getting the full spectrum of B vitamins.
This is especially true of vegetarians and vegans, as B12 is found in meat, seafood, and dairy. B complex vitamins are primarily used to reduce fatigue and boost overall mood.
One 2010 study found that, over a period of 33 days, participants who took the supplement showed improved mental health and stress levels.
Work, money, relationships—all these things cause stress. But there are natural remedies available to help you achieve better internal balance. Just be sure to check with your healthcare provider before beginning a new supplement, especially if you're on other medications.
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What is Echinacea?
Echinacea is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the same family as chamomile and daisies. Also known as "purple coneflower," the herb grows naturally in prairies and open wooded areas across North America.
In total, there are nine species of echinacea, but only three are used medicinally for human consumption:
- E. purpurea
- E. angustifolia
- E. pallida
Although they all belong to the same subfamily, each one has different quantities of active compounds. E. purpurea, for example, is best for supporting the immune system, while E. angustifolia seems to be more effective at supporting mental health.
How Does It Work?
Echinacea's therapeutic compounds are spread throughout different parts of the plant. The roots, for example, have the highest concentrations of essential oils, while the upper parts of the plant (stem, leaves, and flowers) tend to contain more polysaccharides, which are known to affect the immune system.
Most echinacea extracts are made from the upper part of the plant. However, for E. angustifolia and E. pallida extracts, typically only the roots are used.
The main active compounds in echinacea plants include:
- Essential oils
- Vitamin C
- Caffeic acid
- Phenolic acids
The alkamides and polysaccharides in echinacea may have specific effects on white blood cells.
According to a study published in the journal International Immunopharmacology, alkamides may improve white blood cell activity in the lungs by acting on cannabinoid receptors and producing TNF-alpha and nitrous oxide (NO).
History of Echinacea
Echinacea plants were widely used by the North American Plains Indians for hundreds of years prior to the arrival of colonial settlers.
Tribes used it in many herbal remedies to treat bacterial infections, blood poisoning, headaches, pain, and cold symptoms. External application was used to treat wounds, burns, and insect bites, while the roots were chewed to treat toothaches and throat infections.
Up until the introduction of antibiotics in the 1950s, echinacea extract was used throughout the modern world as a treatment for the common cold and flu, although there is little clinical evidence to support this benefit.
A List of Health Benefits Associated with Echinacea
One of the biggest myths in the world of naturopathic medicine is that echinacea is a cure for the common cold, but this actually isn't true. Although there is strong evidence to suggest that echinacea can boost the immune system in various ways, there is little-to-no evidence to indicate that it is an effective cold remedy.
However, echinacea can support white blood cell function, fight inflammation, and treat infections.
Here are nine of the top health benefits of echinacea:
1. Support White Blood Cells and Strengthen Immunity
Although much about echinacea's effects on the body are not yet fully understood, it clearly supports the function of white blood cells. The herb supports white blood cells in two primary ways:
- Affects macrophages (a type of white blood cell)
- Activates dendritic cells (another type of white blood cell)
Macrophages are white blood cells that destroy forgeign substances and dead cells in the blood.
Once activated, they release inflammatory cytokines and recruit other white blood cells to eliminate infections.
By increasing macrophage activity, echinacea can boost natural killer cells in a way that minimizes irritation from inflammation.
Dendritic cells are white blood cells that help the body recognize foreign molecules. Echinacea may optimize dendritic function and increase the release of immune molecules like IL-1beta and TNF-alpha.
Plus, it also increases antioxidants and supports cell structure.
In a 2007 rodent study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, mice were treated with echinacea extract for seven days before being immunized with the red blood cells of sheep.
Researchers found that echinacea effectively increased immune cell populations.
According to the study's authors, "These findings demonstrate that echinacea is a wide-spectrum immunomodulator that modulates both innate and adaptive immune responses."
In a similar rodent trial, echinacea significantly increased total white blood cell counts within the first two weeks of administration.
2. Fight Infection
Echinacea can fight viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.
In a 2014 study published in the journal Phytomedicine, researchers found that the alkamides in echinacea can treat fungal infections by destroying fungal cell walls.
Other infections that echinacea may be able to treat include:
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Gum disease
Here's what the research has to say about echinacea's ability to fight infections:
- In a meta-analysis of 14 clinical trials, researchers concluded that echinacea may cut the chance of catching a cold in half.
- On a similar note, a 2009 laboratory study concluded that echinacea can alleviate respiratory disorders by inhibiting viral growth and cytokine production.
- Similarly, a 2015 meta-analysis concluded that echinacea may reduce the risk of recurrent upper respiratory tract infections through its antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects.
- A 2010 study published in Phytomedicine found that echinacea may exert antibacterial properties against C. difficile, S pyogenes, H. influenzae, and P. acne.
- In a separate 2010 study, researchers determined that echinacea can kill parasites in human cells.
3. Reduce Inflammation
Echinacea may also reduce certain types of inflammation. For example, a 2009 laboratory study in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that echinacea consumption can alleviate inflammation caused by a viral infection.
According to a 2002 study, echinacea extracts can reduce inflammation in rats through oral and topical use.
Human studies have also been promising. In a small pilot study, a three-day echinacea treatment effectively reduced inflammation in six patients exhibiting cold and flu symptoms.
4. Support Mental Health
Echinacea may reduce anxiety and depression.
In a 2013 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, researchers tested the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) potential of Echinacea angustifolia extract on rats and humans.
The herb effectively decreased anxiety-related behaviors in rats at doses ranging from 1000 to 3000 mg/kg of body weight.
At the same time, healthy adults with mild anxiety were given 20-40 mg of echinacea extract once-a-day for a week. The higher dose of 40 mg effectively reduced anxiety after just three days of treatment. The lower 20 mg dose, however, did not have any significant effects on anxiety.
According to a 2015 report, echinacea may achieve its anti-anxiety effects by acting on cannabinoid receptors in the body.
This same study concluded that echinacea extract may exert antidepressant effects in rats by stimulating L-DOPA (the amino acid precursor to dopamine).
5. Heal the Skin
Echinacea purpurea cream may protect the skin from oxidative stress and reduce signs of aging by hydrating the skin and reducing wrinkles.
Here's what the research has to say about echinacea and skin health:
- In a 2010 human study, echinacea cream was tested on 10 healthy volunteers aged 25-40 years. After one month of daily treatment, wrinkles decreased between 9.47% and 14.92%.
- Another study found that echinacea can inhibit the breakdown of hyaluronic acid (an important part of skin cells). When hyaluronic acid breaks down, it causes the tissue to loosen and become inflamed.
- According to a study published in the journal Planta Medica, echinacea can protect collagen from free radical damage caused by UVA/UVB radiation. In other words, echinacea may help protect your skin from the sun.
- In a 2011 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, echinacea reversed inflammation induced by the bacteria P. acnes.
- According to a 2017 study, echinacea may treat atopic eczema. In the study, 49 patients were treated with topical echinacea for three months. Echinacea significantly reduced redness and swelling by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the skin.
6. May Relieve Asthma
Echinacea's effects on the immune system may also relieve asthma.
Recent studies indicate that echinacea preparations can reverse the secretions of asthma-related cytokines in bronchial cells.
In a 2015 animal study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, researchers treated guinea pigs suffering from ovalbumin-induced allergic asthma with an oral echinacea complex for 14 days.
Echinacea proved to be equally effective at reducing symptoms as the corticosteroid medication budesonide.
According to the study's authors, "Pharmacodynamic studies have confirmed significant bronchodilatory and anti-inflammatory effects of echinacea complex that was similar to effects of classic synthetic drugs. These results provide a scientific basis for the application of this herb in traditional medicine as a supplementary treatment of allergic disorders of the airways, such as asthma."
7. May Reduce Pain
Many Native American tribes, including the Lakota, used echinacea as a pain remedy.
It appears to be most effective at reducing pain associated with intestinal issues, herpes, measles, headaches, toothaches, tonsillitis, and sore throats.
A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that echinacea extract may influence the perception of pain by inhibiting the TRPV1 receptor: a receptor that's the prime target of many over-the-counter analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs.
E. purpurea extracts seem to have the strongest anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, with E. angustifolia having somewhat less.
Side Effects of Echinacea
Although rare, high doses of echinacea may lead to side effects like:
- Stomach aches
Side effects are more common among people who have seasonal allergies.
Patients with autoimmune diseases may also be more likely to experience side effects.
Due to their pharmacological similarities, if you're allergic to chamomile, you may also be allergic to echinacea.
Because of echinacea's effects on the immune system, it's best to consult a medical professional before taking echinacea if you have a history of systemic diseases like multiple sclerosis, AIDS, or tuberculosis.
However, for the vast majority of individuals, echinacea products can be a safe and effective way to stimulate the immune system and enhance your health.
Echinacea is commercially available in several forms, including alcohol tinctures, water-based liquid extracts, teas, tablets, and capsules.
Always inspect your dietary supplements thoroughly, as many do not disclose which type of echinacea they use.
For the most part, herbal supplements made from E. purpurea are typically your best bet for potential health and wellness benefits.