A Comprehensive CBD Buyer’s Guide

White background with black bottle of CBD laying on three deep green cannabis leaves.

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There are a lot of questions and misinformation around CBD, which can lead to certain anxieties. By staying informed and being sure about how CBD interacts with your body, you can ease some of those anxieties and take advantage of everything CBD has to offer. After reading our comprehensive CBD buyer’s guide, you will be an expert ready to enjoy CBD’s benefits. 

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a naturally occurring compound found only in the flower of cannabis, a plant with a complicated history going back thousands of years. 

Today, after the FDA lifted a long-standing ban on the production of hemp products, the therapeutic properties of CBD are being increasingly researched by scientists and doctors around the globe.

A safe, non-addictive substance, CBD is one of more than a hundred phytocannabinoids, which are compounds unique to the cannabis species.

CBD is closely related to another important medicinally active phytocannabinoid: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that famously produces the “high” associated with marijuana.

Both CBD and THC have significant therapeutic attributes. But unlike THC, CBD does not make a person feel “stoned” or intoxicated.

This is because CBD and THC act in different ways on different receptors in the brain and body.

In fact, CBD can actually act as an antipsychotic and can lessen or neutralize the psychoactive effects of THC.

The fact that CBD is therapeutically beneficial, as well as non-psychoactive, makes it an appealing treatment option for those who are skeptical about using cannabis.

Is CBD Legal?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions for most CBD users. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to CBD legality. 

The short answer: Yes, CBD is legal, but only under very specific conditions.

The legality of CBD can vary from state to state and federally depending on several different factors.

The most important determining factor is whether it is derived from hemp or marijuana.

While the two terms are used to distinguish two varieties of the same plant, Cannabis sativa, they are classified very differently under the law, and understanding the difference is crucial.

In 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act (aka the Farm Bill) federally legalized CBD that is derived from hemp, which is defined as a cannabis plant that contains no more than 0.3% THC (by dry weight). 

By contrast, marijuana, another term for the cannabis plant, has no such restriction on the percentage of THC contained in the plant. Marijuana remains illegal under the Controlled Substances Act and the DEA classifies it as a Schedule I drug, and CBD derived from marijuana is treated the same. 

If CBD is derived from hemp and has less than 0.3% THC, then it is federally legal, but if the CBD is derived from cannabis that has a higher THC percentage, then it is federally illegal and each individual state has their own set of laws.

Wooden gavel laying on wooden gavel rest.

Hemp-Derived CBD vs Marijuana Derived CBD

First, let’s go over what differentiates hemp from marijuana:


  • A variant of the Cannabis sativa plant that contains 0.3% THC or less.
  • Can be used to create products such as textiles, building materials, industrial products, paper, foods, and more.
  • Tends to be a hardier plant and much easier to grow.
  • Grows tall and skinny with skimpy foliage, having an appearance similar to bamboo.


  • Almost always contains over 0.3% THC with some strains reaching 30% or higher!
  • Is used for its euphoric properties with no federally recognized medical uses.
  • Is generally grown in carefully managed and controlled conditions to maximize the yield and flower potency.
  • Tends to appear bushy, with large, full foliage.

Here’s the tricky thing: both marijuana and hemp are from the same family of plants and produce the same natural compounds. The molecules for THC, CBD, and other phytocannabinoids are identical regardless of the source and produce the same results.

The main difference is the level of these compounds that are found in each plant. Marijuana has high levels of THC and low levels of CBD, whereas hemp has higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC.

Hemp-derived CBD is legal federally and contains only trace amounts of THC, which will not produce any psychoactive effects.

However, marijuana-derived CBD is illegal federally and usually contains higher levels of THC to add the medicinal euphoric effects.

Does CBD Show Up On Drug Tests?

Thankfully when taking a drug test, you’re almost never screened for CBD. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t fail after using CBD products.

This is because drug tests screen for THC, and by law, full-spectrum CBD products can have up to 0.3% THC.

While this isn’t enough to feel intoxicated, THC is fat-soluble, so in theory, it could potentially build up in your body over time from prolonged habitual use.

With that being said, it’s still highly unlikely that you’d fail a drug test, but it’s worth knowing that the risk is technically there.

If you want peace of mind, simply look for broad-spectrum CBD products or CBD isolate.

These two methods strip out 100% of the THC, providing an alternative for anyone that is looking to avoid THC completely.

Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum vs CBD Isolate

There are 3 different categories of CBD on the market today and each one will produce slightly different results.

Full Spectrum – contains all phytochemicals naturally found in the plant, including CBD, trace cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils. Full-spectrum hemp extracts also contain small amounts of THC — below 0.3%

Broad Spectrum – begins as a full-spectrum oil, with the full range of beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils, but it then goes through a refinement process to remove all THC compounds.

CBD Isolate – Pure CBD that has been through a refinement process to remove all other compounds.

Bottle of CBD oil standing on the table with two cannabis leafs laying on the table and the words CBD oil behind.

How Does CBD Work In The Brain And Body?

On the surface, this process might seem complicated, but we’ll break it down to make it digestible for the CBD buyer’s guide. 

The human body has an endocannabinoid system which allows us to use the naturally occurring compounds found in hemp/cannabis.

CBD influences cannabinoid receptor activity and encourages the production of the body’s natural endocannabinoids.

Interestingly, scientists have recently found that CBD also interacts with other receptors outside of the endocannabinoid system, including opioid, dopamine, and serotonin receptors.

The ability of CBD to interact with so many different systems throughout the body suggests it has the potential to be used in a wide variety of therapeutic treatments.

Your brain is composed of billions of cells called neurons. Each neuron communicates with other neurons through structures called synapses. Synapses are made up of a transmitter and a receptor. When a synapse is inactive, no communication occurs between the transmitter side and the receptor side.

When a synapse is active, the transmitter side releases molecules that travel across the synaptic space to be absorbed by the receptor. This is how our brain communicates with the rest of our body.

CBD and in fact, all cannabinoids, interact with your brain in a similar way to the action described above.

When introduced into your bloodstream, CBD molecules activate specific groups of receptors.

These receptors influence body functions such as appetite, pain-sensation, mood, memory, anxiety, and explain why CBD is so beneficial in treating many different illnesses.

Health Benefits Of CBD

CBD is often marketed as something of a cure-all for a wide spectrum of ailments. But which health benefits are backed up by science?

Unfortunately, due to harsh drug laws around cannabis, the body of research on the topic is fairly limited. However, a good deal of studies have been conducted in the past few years that seem to point to promising results when CBD is applied in a variety of medical capacities. 

Below are the top 10 CBD benefits:

  • Alleviating anxiety and mood disorders
    • CBD aids the body in maintaining homeostasis, which can be vital in correcting chemical imbalances and relieving symptoms from anxiety and mood disorders.
  • Reducing chronic pain
    • This has gained the most attention recently because it provides a safe non-addictive alternative to opioids and is showing promising results. It is becoming more and more popular with athletes looking to recover from and maintain brutal schedules.
  • Acting as a viable drug addiction treatment
    • Drug addiction affects various brain circuits that cause you to develop a dependency to certain drugs like heroin and morphine. CBD has the ability to correct the brain circuits responsible for stimulating the addiction, lowering the dependence on those drugs.
  • Fighting insomnia
    •  For patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
  • Providing neuroprotective benefits
    • Limited studies suggest CBD protects brain cells and reduces symptoms from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
  • Acting as an antipsychotic
    • CBD can actually counteract the psychoactive effects of THC, which has led to its use in treating various forms of mental disorders such as schizophrenia and psychosis.
  • Providing anti-inflammatory benefits
    • There is evidence that CBD reduces inflammation through several pathways in the body, and represents an effective potential treatment for a range of illnesses.
  • Acting as a powerful antioxidant
    • The CBD molecule’s structure contains a free oxygen atom. This is the atom that is donated to the free radicals, thus neutralizing them. It is this free oxygen atom that gives CBD its antioxidant property and makes it a great tool in ridding the body of free radicals.
  • Having anti-seizure properties
    • This is the most well-known health benefit and the trait that sparked all the excitement around CBD. Science has finally backed up the endless stories of epileptic children being cured by CBD, proving that it does reduce the number of seizures in certain forms of epilepsy.
  • Providing potential PTSD relief
    • Researchers believe that CBD can prevent the retrieval of the underlying trauma in patients with PTSD, effectively preventing traumatic memories and nightmares, while also helping attain emotional wellbeing.

CBD Consumption Methods

In the rapidly evolving CBD market, consumers have a wide variety of methods and products available for them to choose from.

Topical creams, transdermal patches, tinctures, liposomes, edibles, smoking, and vaporizing are all viable ways of delivering CBD into the body.

However, there are pros and cons to each method.

1. Oral Consumption

You can find a vast selection of CBD edibles, pills, and capsules for sale with different dosage levels.

Ingesting CBD provides a longer lasting, more holistic effect since the cannabinoid is broken down slowly through the digestive tract before entering the bloodstream.

For this same reason, it takes longer to feel the beneficial effects of CBD when eating it, but the effects are much longer lasting.

For those with medical issues this is one of the healthiest ways of consuming CBD.

  • Pros:
    • Longer lasting effects (4-8 hours)
    • Wide variety to choose from
    • Healthiest method
  • Cons:
    • Onset Time: Up to 2 hours
    • Bioavailability: 4%-20%
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CBDistillery CBD Gummies

Why They’re Better Than the Rest

  • Available In Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, or CBD Isolate Formulas
  • Comes in an Anytime or Nighttime Formula 
  • Easy to Dose (30mg per gummy)
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2. Tincture

CBD tinctures are the most popular delivery method and come in multiple different varieties, including alcohol, oil, or vegetable glycerine based extracts.

Many people choose to use tinctures because it’s an easy way to consume CBD throughout the day in precisely measured doses. It can be added to food, beverages, or applied directly in the mouth depending on your personal preferences.

One of the unique benefits is that it can also be applied sublingually, under the tongue, for more rapid absorption. This is ideal for treating certain conditions like anxiety that require faster relief.

  • Pros:

    • Dosage control
    • Easy to use
    • Discreet
    • Bioavailability: 12%-35% when administered sublingually
    • Onset Time: 10-30 minutes when administered sublingually
    • Average Duration: 4-6 hours
  • Cons:

    • Onset Time: Up to 2 hours when not administered sublingually
    • Usually doesn’t taste great
Brown glass bottle with white eye dropper top of citrus FABCBD oil with yellow box standing behind it.
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Why It’s Better Than the Rest

  • Unique Production Process Ensures You Recieve a Fresh Bottle Every Time
  • 5 Flavors to Choose From
  • High Quality Ingredients
  • 12 Month Shelf Life
  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

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3. Smoking/Inhalation

Inhalation provides the fastest acting delivery method second only to intravenous injection.

When you smoke or vape CBD oil, the compound enters the bloodstream through the lungs almost immediately, providing instant relief. Although the effects are felt quickly, they tend to wear off after just a couple of hours.

Whether you prefer flower, concentrates, or CBD vape oil in cartridges, there is an almost endless number of ways to smoke CBD.

Hemp Flower is the most natural and allows you to consume the full spectrum of beneficial compounds that the plant has to offer. This is becoming more and more popular as the genetics are advancing and top-shelf CBD flower is becoming more widely available.

Concentrates are perfect for anyone in need of extremely high doses to treat severe illnesses. They come in various forms including wax, shatter, crumble, and oil to name a few. Although they require special equipment to consume such as a dab rig and can contain potentially harmful chemicals if made incorrectly.

The last and most convenient way of smoking CBD is with vape cartridges. They’re widely available and come in several different strains, flavors, and potencies to fit your wants and needs. Providing a stealthy way to consume anywhere you choose without attracting attention, vape cartridges have exploded in popularity in the last 5 years. Just like concentrates, they can contain potentially harmful chemicals so please do your research before buying.

The best CBD companies will be transparent about their processes and provide third-party lab tests to ensure safety.

  • Pros:

    • The quick onset of effects (5-20 minutes)
    • Can provide extremely high doses.
    • Variety of concentrates, terpene profiles, and CBD levels to choose from.
    • Bioavailability: 31%-56%
  • Cons:

    • The least healthy way to consume
    • Effects wear off quickly (between 2-4 hours)
    • Not very discreet
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Secret Nature CBD Flower

Why It’s Better Than the Rest

  • Unique CBD Rich Strains
  • 100% Organic, No Pesticides, No Additives
  • Premium Dispensary Grade – Grown Indoors
  • Hand Trimmed to Perfection
  • Small-Batch, Bi-Weekly Harvests, Ensure the Flower Is Always Farm Fresh

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4. Topicals

Because of cannabinoid receptors found in the skin, topical application of CBD and cannabis products can also bring therapeutic results. 

Applying CBD directly to an injury is the most effective way to spot-treat localized pain and inflammation.

This can bring fast relief to specific areas of muscle ache, joint pain, and other types of inflammation without the CBD entering your bloodstream.

Topical CBD treatment has also been found to be effective on more lasting issues, such as chronic pain from conditions like arthritis.

  • Pros:

    • Treats localized aches and pains
    • Effective on chronic pain issues
    • Easy to use
    • Works quickly (20-40 minutes)
  • Cons:

    • Wears off quickly (2-4 hours)
    • Effects are limited to the application area
    • Bioavailability: not enough research but very low
Click To Read Our Review

FAB CBD Topical Cream

Why It’s Better Than the Rest

  • 3x Stronger Than Your Average CBD Pain Relief Rub
  • Full Spectrum Oil Used for Maximum Relief
  • High Quality Ingredients
  • 12 Month Shelf Life
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5. Transdermal

A transdermal patch is a medicated adhesive patch placed on the body, supplying CBD into the bloodstream through the skin.

Transdermal patches are a great method for long-term pain management or other conditions that require consistent dosages throughout the day.

They provide a convenient option for those with chronic conditions that live busy lives and don’t have the time to dose themselves multiple times per day using other methods.

  • Pros:

    • Consistent dosage throughout the day
    • Long-term pain management
    • Extremely passive
    • Works quickly (20-40 minutes)
  • Cons:

    • Bioavailability: not enough research
    • Made to administer for long periods of time
    • Not as widely available
    • Not very cost-effective

6. Liposomal

This revolutionary lab creation has been used in the supplement industry for years but is rather new to most of the CBD community.

A liposome is a small spherical sac that’s made up of phospholipid molecules, which are lipids that largely make up the membranes of our cells. 

Liposomes are naturally encased in droplets of water so that when they come into contact with our body’s cells they’re easily recognized and absorbed.

Because of how dramatically they increase the bioavailability of nutrients, liposomes are rapidly changing the landscape of the supplement industry.

When we consume nutrients via ingestion, our body metabolizes them through the digestive system. 

This means that our bodies break down most of the compounds and receive only a fraction of the nutrients that are consumed.

But, when we consume these same nutrients in the form of liposomes, those nutrients directly feed our body’s cells, bypassing some of the digestive system allowing for higher levels of absorption.

More and more companies are launching liposomal products and if you can afford it, this can be an extremely efficient way to administer CBD.

  • Pros:

    • Extremely high bioavailability (as high as 30% when ingested and over 35% when administered sublingually)
    • Requires smaller doses
    • Discrete
    • Easy to use
    • Quick onset (30 minutes – 1.5 hours)
  • Cons:

    • Usually very expensive compared to other methods
    • Hard to verify quality

7. Nano-Emulsified

This form of CBD is lab-made as well but is composed of molecules smaller than those found in liposomal CBD. 

Nano-Emulsified CBD is made up of molecules that are only 25 nanometers, which allows for easier absorption and substantially increases the bioavailability.

When used as a method for delivering supplements, nano-emulsified substances are absorbed at higher rates in the body than most other delivery methods.

Nano-Emulsification is a process where the molecules of CBD are spun into tiny particles that pass easily through our body’s cell walls.

The particles, nutrients, vitamins, or in this case CBD, are so small that they collectively have a greater surface area allowing maximum absorption and efficacy into the body.

  • Pros

    • Highest bioavailability behind inhalation (as high as 50%)
    • Requires the smallest dose of all methods
    • Discrete
    • Easy to use
    • More economical than most other methods
    • Quick onset (will start feeling relief in 15-30 minutes)
  • Cons

    • Cost more per bottle
    • Not offered by most brands
Blue glass eyedropper bottle with white eyedropper, white label, grey/black writing, and a white background.
Click To Read Our Review

Active Nano-emulsified CBD Oil

  • Superior Absorption
  • Fast Acting
  • Available In Broad Spectrum & Full Spectrum
  • 4 Flavors To Choose From
  • High Quality Ingredients
  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

At the end of the day, there is no best way to consume CBD. You need to decide which method suits your needs and is most compatible with your lifestyle.

What’s The Correct Dose Of CBD?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all dose with CBD. 

The correct amount depends on a variety of different factors, including your individual biology, the delivery method, and the specific nature of your symptoms.

At this time, more research is needed to develop specific guidelines around CBD dosing for treating different medical conditions.

Until then, we recommend starting at 10mg per day to allow your body to acclimate to the new compound.

Then slowly increase your dose every day until you achieve the desired results.

It’s also worth noting that A 2011 study analyzed the outcomes of a number of CBD doses, and even the study’s highest dose of 1,500 milligrams per day showed no signs of toxicity.

According to research, the biggest risk you run if taking a huge dose of CBD is getting sleepy.


Adding CBD to your daily routine can positively impact your life in many different ways.

While the science seems to be years behind the progression of the industry, one thing is for sure, you can’t deny the millions of people around the world swearing by the results they’ve experienced.

Whether you’re seeking relief from a specific medical condition or are just simply intrigued by all the potential benefits, CBD offers a safe and affordable option for you to consider.

Check out our blog for more information about CBD, and if you want to take advantage of the benefits of CBD, be sure to buy from a trusted source

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Does CBD really do anything?

Yes, CBD can provide a variety of scientifically proven benefits. While those benefits may take a period of time to be felt, its relaxing effect can be felt almost immediately and clearly.

Is CBD a drug?

No, CBD is not a drug — it’s a supplement. CBD does not have an intoxicating effect and is not a controlled substance as an individual molecule, though the THC content in some CBD products can put the sale and purchase of CBD products into sketchier legal territory. 

Is CBD oil safe?

CBD oil is incredibly safe. It has a very low potential for toxicity, and it is essentially impossible to overdose on it. 

Is CBD oil addictive?

No, CBD oil is not addictive. It is also not habit-forming, so you can use it without fear of becoming addicted. In fact, CBD is sometimes used in treatment for drug addiction. 

Does CBD make you relaxed?

CBD products can have a relaxing effect, but it can sometimes depend on other factors. If your CBD product is full-spectrum, there may be a chance that higher THC contents may interfere with its soothing effects. Additionally, CBD products that are applied topically will only provide relief to the area on which it is placed, since it is not absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. 

Can I take CBD and drive?

CBD is non-psychoactive and at small to moderate doses does not have an impact on motor control. However, it can have a sedative effect if taken in high enough concentrations. Test out your tolerance and make sure your dosage is small before attempting to get behind the wheel.

Can I drink alcohol while taking CBD oil?

While there are no major drug interactions between the two, CBD and alcohol can potentially impact one another when taken at the same time given the sedative effect both can have. As with any substance, limit amounts when mixing the two in order to get a sense of how they may impact you when combined.

Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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