5 Best CBD Gummies: A Buyer’s Guide
Gummies are an appealing and easy way to get CBD, but there's a lot you need to know before deciding on a product. Here are the best CBD gummies that met our experts' criteria for quality and safety.
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Finding the best CBD gummies
Of all the forms of CBD or cannabidiol, the candy-like CBD gummies that come in myriad shapes and colors may be one of the most agreeable. After all, they’re easy to ingest and they’re tasty.
“They’re a perfectly good way to deliver cannabinoids,” says Martin A. Lee, cofounder and director of Project CBD, and author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana–Medical, Recreational, and Scientific.
But if you’re exploring CBD options for pain, anxiety, or any other health condition, there’s a lot more you need to know about these medicinal treats. Different forms of CBD—oils, capsules, tinctures—all work in slightly different ways. Some take more time to kick in, some less. Some last longer than others. And doses will differ depending on the formulation. There’s also the issue of individual preference.
Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision about CBD.
CBD and the law
CBD is one of two main ingredients extracted from the marijuana plant, the other being delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC has psychoactive properties (it makes you high). CBD does not, but it does have other effects on the body. (Learn more about the differences between CBD vs. THC.)
CBD can also be extracted from the hemp plant as long as the content of the final product is only 0.3 percent or less THC, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill which allowed farmers to grow hemp. (Here’s the difference between CBD oil vs hemp oil.)
Now here comes the tricky part. CBD is legal in most U.S. states, but illegal at the federal level. The Drug Enforcement Administration considers marijuana and all its components Schedule 1 controlled substances. You’ll want to keep this in mind when purchasing gummies or any other CBD product. Visit the National Conference of State Legislatures for updated information on where CBD is legal.
CBD and safety
In general, experts say that CBD is safe. But, because products are loosely regulated, you have to be careful when you choose. CBD can interact with many different drugs (the National Library of Medicine has a complete list). And some products may be tainted with heavy metals, solvents, or other toxins, says Bonni Goldstein, MD, medical director and owner of Cannacenters, a medical practice in Los Angeles, and author of Cannabis is Medicine: How Medical Cannabis and CBD are Healing Everything from Anxiety to Chronic Pain.
Are CBD gummies effective?
Gummies can be as effective as other forms of CBD, as long as you have a quality CBD product. Right now the scientific evidence on how well CBD works for different ailments is limited primarily to animal studies and on what people say about their own experiences, says Sara Jane Ward, assistant professor of pharmacology at Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine, in Philadelphia. The most robust scientific evidence for CBD is in the areas of pain, inflammatory conditions, and epilepsy. But that doesn’t mean people haven’t found relief from CBD gummies and other products to treat ailments such as insomnia.
(Here’s how one woman used CBD oil for insomnia.)
What are the advantages and disadvantages of CBD gummies?
Gummies and other CBD “edibles” have to traverse the long distance of your stomach and gut before spreading out in your body. As a result, they can take longer to work (one to two hours) than vaping or tinctures. It also makes a difference if you take them on a full or empty stomach. Because of the way they’re absorbed into your body, you may also need to take larger doses than you would in other forms, says Ward.
On the other hand, they also last longer than many other forms (up to 12 hours), which gives them an edge in treating chronic conditions, according to Project CBD. They’re also safer than vaping, which has been linked to lung damage. (Learn more about the risks and benefits of CBD vape oil.)
Dosing for CBD gummies
As with all CBD products, finding the right dose of gummies is largely trial and error. “There’s a range because we all metabolize differently,” says Dr. Goldstein. And what works for you may be completely different for the next person.
When starting CBD, the general recommendation is to start low and increase slowly. Right now, the only clear dosing guidelines are for the drug Epidiolex, which is the one marijuana-derived drug that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved so far. It’s indicated for rare, hard-to-treat forms of childhood epilepsy.
Types of products
Like most other CBD products, gummies come in three varieties:
Full-spectrum CBD: Products labeled as such contain all of the components of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa), including CBD and also small traces of THC and terpenes, which are plant compounds.
Broad-spectrum CBD: This includes all of the components, including CBD, but not THC.
CBD isolates: These products contain only CBD, making it the purest form.
ProjectCBD encourages full-spectrum or broad-spectrum products because the individual ingredients tend to work together for a greater effect.
How to buy CBD gummies
When it comes to buying CBD gummies, you should do so with great care. Because CBD products aren’t regulated by the FDA, products vary greatly in quality. ProjectCBD recommends using a medical dispensary in a state where CBD is legal.
Make sure each product has a certificate of analysis (COA), which is confirmation that the ingredients on the label really are the ingredients. If you don’t see it online, ask the company. Some products have a QR code that will give you the COA.
With gummies specifically, stay away from products with a lot of sugar or artificial colors. “We would suggest avoiding high fructose corn syrup,” says Lee. “There are other kinds of sweeteners like stevia or barley malt.” In general, follow your own personal food guidelines.
Best CBD dummies
If you decide to go it alone, here are some third-party-tested products from established companies:
Charlotte’s Web Gummies
Charlotte’s Web gummies come in three formulas: Calm, Sleep, and Recovery. Each serving is two pieces and contains 10 milligrams of CBD. The Sleep variety also has 3 mg of melatonin, Recovery has 25 mg of ginger and 50 mg of curcuminoids (from turmeric), and Calm has 75 mg of lemon balm.
Enter the batch number online to get a certificate of analysis. Contact the company for information on sugar content.
CBDfx offers seven varieties of gummies: original Gummies, Gummies with Turmeric and Spirulina, Gummies for Sleep (with melatonin), Gummies with Apple Cider Vinegar, Gummies With Multivitamins for Women, Gummies With Multivitamins for Men, and Gummies with Biotin for Hair and Nails. Nutritional information for each product is available online.
Joy Organics Premium CBD Gummies
Each serving of these Joy Organics gummies contains 10 mg of broad-spectrum CBD. These gummies, all vegan, come in strawberry lemonade flavor or green apple and contain no artificial colors or flavors. Certificates of analysis by product and lot number are available online.
These gummies from PlusCBD contain CBD oil from U.S.-grown hemp, as well as other cannabinoids, terpenes, and fatty acids. There are no artificial sweeteners and all products are tested by an independent lab.
Lord Jones Old Fashioned Hemp-Derived CBD Gumdrops
The gumdrops from Lord Jones are made from natural fruit flavors, gelatin, citric acid, sugar, and broad-spectrum CBD from hemp extract. Each piece contains 20 mg of CBD. Search for specific ingredient information online.
- Martin A. Lee, co-founder and director, Project CBD and author, Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana–Medical, Recreational, and Scientific
- Sara Jane Ward, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology, Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Philadelphia
- Drug Enforcement Administration: "Drug Scheduling"
- National Conference of State Legislatures: "State Medical Marijuana Laws"
- National Library of Medicine: "Cannabidiol (CBD)"
- Bonni Goldstein, MD, medical director and owner of Cannacenters, a medical practice in Los Angeles, and author of Cannabis is Medicine: How Medical Cannabis and CBD are Healing Everything from Anxiety to Chronic Pain
- Project CBD: "What Is the Best Way to Take CBD?"
- ProjectCBD: "How Do I Choose a CBD Product?"
- Food and Drug. Administration: "Highlights of Prescribing Information, Epidiolex."
- FDA: "FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy"