What Makes the Best CBD Oil (and What Makes a Bad CBD)

4 Min Read

While CBD has been receiving a great deal of attention in the news and on social media, not all CBD oils are created equal. How do you tell the difference?

Answering this question requires developing a basic level of knowledge about what it takes to produce the highest quality CBD extract possible. With that in mind, the best CBD oil is…

Extracted from a high-quality strain of hemp

If you’ve ever planted your own garden, you already know that producing a stellar crop requires your soil to have the right composition. But first, you also need to start with a good strain of plant, increasing the likelihood that your harvest will be fruitful, tasty, and loaded with nutrients.

Well, all of this is also true when it comes to cultivating industrial hemp for purposes of extracting CBD. Beginning with a sub-par strain of hemp means that the CBD oil will also provide users sub-par results.

That’s why Spruce has researched a number of different strains, finally selecting the best strains of hemp found in the country. These were located on two family-owned, sustainably focused farms, one in Kentucky and the other in North Carolina.

Full spectrum CBD oil

The best CBD oils on the market today are also full spectrum CBD oils. If an oil contains full spectrum hemp it means that, in addition containing CBD, it also has other extracts that are found within the hemp plant. These include terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids such as CBN, CBG, and THC.

THC, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, is perhaps the best known because it is the psychoactive chemical associated with creating a ‘high’ when consumed. Does this mean that a full spectrum CBD oil will make you feel high as well?

This a common concern for many first-time CBD users; however, for hemp oil to be considered legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, it cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC. [4] In this small amount, CBD oil extracts that are not THC-free will not provide this type of effect. You won’t feel high.

The reason compounds containing both CBD oil and THC compounds are recommended is because they create what is called the ‘entourage effect.’ This term references how these components create a synergy when taken together that tends to offer users even better results than when each one is taken alone.

In fact, this is the primary reason we use the moonshine extraction method for obtaining our CBD. Though some manufacturers use a CO2 extraction method to pull the CBD from the plant, we have found that moonshine extraction produces the perfect combination of hemp plant extracts, which includes CBD, low-level THC, and terpenes.

How do you know what contains a full spectrum CBD? Most labels will say it somewhere on their front. Conversely, if the label says that it is a CBD isolate, this tells you that it is not full spectrum because CBD isolates contain only one cannabis plant extract: CBD.

Admittedly, CBD isolates may be a good option for individuals who are concerned about THC showing up in a drug test. Just be aware that isolates typically don’t work as well. Therefore, if drug testing isn’t a major concern, you’re better off going with full spectrum CBD products instead.

Properly dosed

The best CBD oils are also properly dosed. Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy to determine because many manufacturers use labeling tactics designed to confuse and obfuscate the fact that the dose delivered is rather low. In some cases, as low as 1/20th of the dose that Spruce provides.

The reason they do this is to make the cost of their CBD oil less expensive. For individuals on tight budgets, this can be a compelling reason to choose these, especially if you don’t realize that the dosage amount you see on the bottle isn’t necessarily referring to its CBD content. Oftentimes, this number is referencing how much hemp oil is contained, which has nothing to do with CBD.

In fact, this is why so many people report that they aren’t noticing any positive results after taking CBD oil. It isn’t necessarily that the CBD isn’t effective; it simply means that the dose is too low.

A quick way to spot these misleading labels is if you see milligrams exceeding 2,400. This is the highest dose of pure CBD possible. So, if you see something higher (some labels show as many as 30,000mg), it’s likely that it is referring to how much hemp seed oil is contained.

In the end, choosing a high-quality CBD oil involves purchasing from a company that is more focused on offering a CBD concentration that is capable of offering this cannabinoid’s full benefits than on producing a compound that is low in cost but doesn’t work.

Third-party lab tested

Another thing to look for when shopping for CBD oil is a company that utilizes third-party testing. This type of lab testing is preferred because it involves the manufacturer using an independent lab to verify that the label is correct.

Put another way, if a CBD oil has been third-party tested, it means that the extract contains all of the cannabinoids that are shown on the label, and in the listed amounts. Perhaps most importantly, having it tested by a third party also means that they don’t contain anything that is not on the label, like potentially harmful heavy metals and pesticides.

Someday in the future, more governmental agencies will likely step in to provide more safety regulations within the CBD market. For instance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that it has created an ‘FDA Working Group’ to begin to look at ways these can be lawfully marketed. [5]

Does this mean that a CBD oil will work as long as it has been third-party tested? Not necessarily. These lab test results only say that the label is correct. Ultimately, the CBD oil also has to deliver real results for users.

The hemp extract has to work to make it worth the purchase. Which leads us to the next point.

In tincture form

A tincture is a CBD oil that comes in what looks like a little eye-dropper bottle. To use it, you pull the oil into the dropper then place it under your tongue where you release it and hold it for up to 90 seconds.

The reason this method of intake is superior to others is because CBD oil tinctures taken under the tongue enable the CBD to enter your bloodstream more quickly. Additionally, Kind Seeds explains that if you ingest CBD orally—by taking it in food, capsules, or gummies—you lose some of the CBD through what is called first pass metabolism. This is when your gastric juices are released to start to break down whatever it is you just ate, which also destroy some of the CBD.

Plus, there are some concerns over whether some types of CBD consumption are safe. Vaping is one of them. Several news stories have emerged about people who have vaped and suffered lung damage because of it. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the CBD vape oil is to blame but, until more studies are conducted, staying away from vape products is recommended.

What about CBD topicals? We’ve found that topicals such as creams and salves may offer some users benefits, but they don’t always work so well on their own. Therefore, we recommend that users begin with a Spruce CBD oil, adding a topical if necessary.

How do you identify the worst CBD oils

In addition to paying attention to all of these other factors, there is one other way to identify the worst CBDs on the market. Here’s a hint: if it’s on Amazon, it doesn’t contain CBD.

If you go to Amazon in search of CBD oil, at first glance it will appear that you have thousands of options. However, if you look very closely at each one, you’ll quickly see that none of these CBD brands mention CBD at all. Why? Because this eCommerce site doesn’t allow companies to sell anything that contains this cannabinoid.

Specifically, Amazon’s drug and drug paraphernalia policy states that “listings for products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are prohibited.” [6] Most people don’t realize this though because a search for CBD oil does return results. So, unless you actually take the time to look closely at each one, you don’t necessarily make the connection that none of these contain CBD.

When it comes to CBD oil, there are a few quality brands available today. You just have to do your research to find them. Now that you know what to look for when it comes to choosing a CBD oil that offers all of the beneficial effects of CBD, without any negative side effects, you will have an easier time finding them. You will also have a greater probability that they will work, which is the most important factor of all.




[1] “7 Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil (Plus Side Effects).” Healthline. Feb 26, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cbd-oil-benefits

[2] “(360) Can CBD Reduce the Use of Pain Medication? Lessons From a Survey in a Pain Clinic Environment.” The Journal of Pain. Apr 2019; 20(4): S64. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1526590019306522

[3] “Opioid Overdose: Understanding the Epidemic.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed Nov 22, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html

[4] “CBD Hemp Legality by State: <0.3 Delta-9 or Total THC?” Industrial Hemp Farms. Accessed Nov 22, 2019. https://industrialhempfarms.com/cbd-hemp-legality/

[5] “Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., On New Steps to Advance Agency’s Continued Evaluation of Potential Regulatory Pathways for Cannabis-Containing and Cannabis-Derived Products.” FDA.gov. Apr 02, 2019. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/statement-fda-commissioner-scott-gottlieb-md-new-steps-advance-agencys-continued-evaluation

[6] “Drugs & Drug Paraphernalia.” Amazon Seller Central. Accessed Nov 22, 2019. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/200164490