Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. And it’s rapidly becoming a popular remedy for a range of issues, including inflammation.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, CBD doesn’t have an intoxicating effect. That makes it a good choice for people who want pain relief without the “high” associated with THC.
CBD is available in a range of products, including oils and tinctures. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they’re actually different.
CBD oil is made via an extraction process that separates CBD from the plant matter. It’s then diffused into a carrier oil. CBD tinctures have an alcohol base.
If you’re looking to relieve inflammation, you may want to try an oil or tincture. Read on to learn more about the research and some of the best CBD products out there.
Research on CBD is still in the early stages, and there’s a lot we don’t know yet. But what we do know so far is promising.
There’s research to suggest that CBD reduces inflammation by affecting activity in the body’s endocannabinoid receptors.
That goes for both chronic inflammation and acute inflammation. A study on rats found that CBD reduced inflammation in rats with osteoarthritis. A 2009 review shows CBD may also reduce acute inflammation, which is most often the body’s reaction to an injury.
We chose these based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:
- is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
- is made with U.S.-grown hemp
- contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
- passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA
We also considered:
- company certifications and manufacturing processes
- product potency
- overall ingredients
- indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
Lastly, we checked customer reviews and added ingredients. While CBD may be beneficial for inflammation by itself, our picks all include other inflammation-fighting ingredients and properties, too, so you can get the most bang for your buck.
- $ = under $100
- $$ = $100–$125
- $$$ = over $125
Receptra Naturals Serious Relief + Turmeric 0% THC Tincture
Use code “Healthline20” for 20% off.
- CBD type: Broad spectrum (THC-free)
- CBD potency: 990 mg per 30-mL bottle
Made with MCT oil, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, avocado oil, and turmeric, this broad-spectrum CBD tincture is designed to promote recovery by relieving inflammation.
It’s formulated without THC, so it’s a good choice for those interested in the benefits of specific cannabinoids without an intoxicating effect. A QR code on the label makes it easy to scan for full third-party testing results.
Receptra Naturals uses organically grown hemp from Colorado. It makes its tinctures with cold ethanol extraction to preserve the cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and chlorophyll. This particular tincture is flavored with organic mint and berry.
Aspen Green Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil
Use code “HEALTHLINE” for 20% off.
- CBD type: Full spectrum
- CBD potency: 3,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
Aspen Green’s hemp oil is made with USDA-certified organic hemp extract from Colorado. As a full-spectrum product, this oil maintains all of the hemp’s naturally occurring flavonoids and terpenes. That includes limonene, which has anti-inflammatory properties, and trace amounts of THC.
COAs are available on the Aspen Green website. Just plug in the lot number on your product and you’ll be able to access the results from an independent third-party lab.
Premium Jane 1,000 mg Citrus CBD Tincture
- CBD type: Full spectrum
- CBD potency: 1,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
This full-spectrum formula is made with citrus extracts to mask the earthy flavor of hemp. Premium Jane’s CBD oil is vegan, non-GMO, and sourced from organic Kentucky hemp. It’s also high in terpenes like limonene and pinene, which research suggests offer anti-inflammatory benefits.
COAs for all Premium Jane products can be found online. Search by batch number or product name.
There’s no shortage of CBD oils and tinctures on the market. But because the FDA doesn’t currently guarantee the safety, quality, or effectiveness of any over-the-counter CBD products, it’s important to shop carefully.
Any product you consider should have a current, comprehensive COA from a reputable third-party lab. This is a good way to check that a product’s label is accurate. You can also confirm that the product is free of mold, pesticides, and heavy metals.
As you shop, look for a company that’s committed to being transparent about its hemp. You should be able to find out where the hemp is grown and how the products are made.
Keep in mind that full-spectrum CBD products contain THC. If you want to avoid THC, look for isolate or broad-spectrum CBD products instead.
CBD tinctures and oils are often designed to be taken beneath the tongue (sublingually) for the most rapid onset. However, you can also swallow them directly or mix them into food or drinks.
Dosing CBD is largely individual, but it’s best to start with the lowest dose you can find. That way, you can see how your body responds before you try something more potent.
This is particularly true if you’re new to CBD, or if you’re using a particularly potent product. Keep in mind that it can take some time before you notice any improvements.
Research suggests that CBD is generally considered safe for human consumption. However, some people can experience side effects. These may include:
- appetite changes
- weight changes
There’s some evidence that consuming CBD products by mouth alongside high fat meals can increase CBD blood concentrations, therefore increasing the risk of side effects.
Keep in mind that CBD may also interact with some medications, so it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor before you incorporate CBD into your wellness plan.
If you’re dealing with chronic or acute inflammation, a CBD product may be worth investigating. Research is still in the early stages but suggests CBD may be able to help. Talk to your doctor before trying CBD.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.