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How To Choose A Hemp-Derived CBD Capsule + 7 Top Brands

Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia.

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As national stress levels continue to hover at all-time highs, calming tools like hemp-derived CBD capsules, are in demand.* Curious to try them out for yourself? Here’s your guide to choosing an effective one.

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A quick look at the best CBD capsules

  • Best overall:mindbodygreen’s calm+
  • Best low-dose full-spectrum:Populum Full-Spectrum Hemp CBD Capsules
  • Best vegan full-spectrum:Charlotte’s Web 25 mg CBD Oil Liquid Capsules
  • Best regular-dose broad-spectrum:Lord Jones Hemp-Derived CBD Gel Capsules
  • Best high-dose broad-spectrum:cbdMD CBD Oil Softgel Capsules
  • Best hemp-derived CBD isolate:Green Roads CBD Softgels – 750mg
  • Best for beginners:Papa Barkley Regular Strength Releaf Softgels
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What are hemp-derived CBD capsules?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a botanical compound found in the industrial hemp plant, or Cannabis sativa L.—a fast-growing and ancient crop that can thrive in many conditions.

Different sections of the versatile plant can be used to make everything from clothes to cooking oils.

In its aerial parts—that’s the leaves, flowers, and stems—you’ll find hemp’s CBD, along with an array of other healthy plant compounds called phytocannabinoids (of which CBD is one of many, but a star player), terpenes, and flavonoids.

Once distilled from the plant, the hemp CBD can be turned into its own supplement known as an isolate product. Or, it can be combined with those other phytocannabinoids and beneficial plant compounds.

When a hemp supplement product contains this full array of phytocannabinoids, it’s considered full-spectrum.

By U.S. law, all hemp plants must be bred to contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That’s considered trace amounts (i.e., negligible) of this phytocannabinoid.

In the European Union, they are more strict, at less than 0.2% THC by dry weight.

This means that, unlike other cannabis plant cultivars that are much higher in THC, truly agricultural hemp products should not lead to psychoactive effects.

Instead, they can be taken to promote a more subtle, levelheaded sense of calm.* And broad-spectrum hemp extract varieties are like full-spectrum, minus the THC altogether (so, you technically lose the full entourage of plant compounds).

In full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate hemp products, CBD is the protagonist of the hemp storyline, as it’s the phytocannabinoid found in concentrated amounts.

Hemp-derived CBD supplements usually come in oil tinctures or capsules (i.e., gelcaps/softgels).

While both delivery formats are useful, capsules allow for more precise dosing, greater convenience (take anywhere, no liquid dropper required), and don’t have the grassy flavor and mouthfeel of hemp oil tinctures that some find off-putting.

They can also include other botanical ingredients that can further their relaxing benefits.*

Summary

CBD is a botanical compound found in the industrial hemp plant. Once distilled from the plant, the hemp CBD can be turned into its own supplement known as an isolate product. Hemp-derived CBD supplements usually come in oil tinctures or capsules (i.e., gelcaps/softgels).

Sources for cbd oil capsules

As of 2022, CBD that comes from hemp (a type of cannabis sativa plant) that produces no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight is considered legal at the federal level. State laws vary, so it’s best to confirm any rules and regulations that apply to your area with your local and state legislation.

Is CBD oil safe?

The FDA reports it’s only seen limited data regarding the safety of CBD. Anyone interested in consuming CBD in any form should first consult with their healthcare provider and be aware of potential risks associated with using CBD products, including liver injury, drug interactions and male reproductive toxicity.

Who should use CBD oil?

A growing body of research suggests CBD oil can benefit people with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Epilepsy syndromes
  • Opioid addiction
  • Neurodegenerative disorders and diseases
  • Unmanageable chronic pain
  • Diabetic complications
  • Arthritis

Talk to your healthcare provider to learn more about whether CBD oil could be beneficial for you.

Can CBD oil impact the results of a drug test?

Standard drug tests don’t screen for CBD because it’s not an intoxicating substance, nor is it an illegal controlled substance. However, some CBD products contain trace amounts of THC, which can affect the results of a drug test.

Sources

Footnotes

  • Battista N, Di Tommaso M, Bari M, Maccarrone M. The endocannabinoid system: an overview. Front Behav Neurosci. 2012;6:9.

References

  • VanDolah HJ, Bauer BA, Mauck KF. Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. Mayo Clin Proc. 2019;94(9):1840-1851.
  • Lu H-C, Mackie K. An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system. Biol Psychiatry. 2016;79(7):516–525.
  • Cather JC, Cather JC. Cannabidiol primer for healthcare professionals. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2020;33(3):376–379.
  • FDA and Cannabis: Research and Drug Approval Process. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed 8/10/2021.
  • FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed 8/10/2021.
  • What is third party certification?. National Science Foundation. Accessed 8/10/2021.
  • How to read a COA and why it’s so important. ACS Laboratory. Accessed 8/10/2021.
  • What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed 8/10/2021.
  • Can You Take CBD and Pass a Drug Test?. Consumer Reports. Accessed 8/10/2021.

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Alena is a professional writer, editor and manager with a lifelong passion for helping others live well. She is also a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) and a functional medicine certified health coach. She brings more than a decade of media experience to Forbes Health, with a keen focus on building content strategy, ensuring top content quality and empowering readers to make the best health and wellness decisions for themselves.