The CBD boom has brought CBD into the public consciousness recently, as more people than ever become aware of its potential health benefits. Available in a wide range of forms, CBD oil has offered many people accessible and low-impact relief from common conditions like anxiety and insomnia.

CBD capsules provide a convenient and everyday format for adding CBD to your supplementary intake. With no unpleasant taste and a controlled dosage, capsules are the accessible face of CBD.

As a cannabis derivative, there is still plenty of confusion and misconception surrounding CBD, which can make buying the right CBD capsules difficult. This is only made more difficult by sellers making exaggerated claims about CBD’s effectiveness.

Yet CBD can provide a wide range of benefits and consumers report that it can help to tackle insomnia and anxiety, leading to a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.

In this guide, we take a look at the complex topic of CBD oil, what it is, how it can help, and whether it’s safe to use. We’ll also give you our top picks of the best CBD capsules available on the market.

Our Top Picks: Summary

The Best CBD Oil: Our Top Picks

Best Overall: CBDFx
CBDFx

An excellent all-rounder made with high-quality CBD.

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Why We Picked It

For our Best Overall CBD capsules, we looked for a mixture of quality and cost. CBDFx capsules strike a strong balance between the two.

CBDFx capsules are softgel capsules made will full-spectrum CBD oil and MCT oil. The capsule is made from gelatin and each capsule contains 25mg of CBD oil derived from US-grown hemp. MCT oil is added for extra vitamin content, and CBDFx notes that some studies show MCT increases CBD bioavailability.

CBDFx oil is extracted by CO2 to produce maximum-quality CBD oil and the brand provides online results for its third-party lab tests. CBDFx capsules are flavorless and ideal for customers who dislike strong hemp flavors.

Keep in Mind

Capsule is made with gelatin, so this product isn’t suitable for vegans and strict vegetarians.

In a Nutshell

  • Full-spectrum CBD
  • US-grown hemp
  • Gelatin capsules
Best Value: CBDistillery Softgels
CBDistillery Softgels

Top quality CBD for buyers on a budget.

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Why We Picked It

For customers on a budget, value is as important as quality. We’ve chosen CBDistillery Softgels for this category thanks to their affordable yet high-quality nature.

CBDistillery softgels are available in bottles of 30-count or 60-count 30mg CBD capsules. These softgel capsules are available as both full-spectrum and CBD isolate formulations. This sets CBDistillery apart from the competition, as a majority of vendors only offer one type of CBD formula.

Third-party lab-testing results are available through a QR code included on each product or through the CBDistillery website.

CBDistillery softgels are made with gelatin, though the manufacturer also offers vegan-friendly capsules.

Keep in Mind

Capsule is made with gelatin, so this product isn’t suitable for vegans and strict vegetarians.

In a Nutshell

  • Full-spectrum or CBD isolate available
  • Gelatin capsules
  • Vegan-friendly capsules also available
Best THC-free: Medterra
Medterra

THC-free capsules for peace of mind.

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Why we Picked It

Some buyers can’t take a chance on whether their capsules contain THC, so they need quality CBD oils that are guaranteed to be THC free. For this category, we’ve chosen Medterra’s capsules.

Medterra CBD gel capsules contain zero percent THC, are non-GMO, and are made in the US. It’s a 99+ percent CBD and MCT coconut oil mixture. Links to the results of third-party lab testing are available on Medterra’s site.

Medterra capsules are available in two strengths: 25mg and 50mg, giving customers control over their CBD dose. Medterra also offers a 30-day return policy, so unsatisfied customers can return their CBD capsules for a full refund less shipping costs.

Keep in Mind

Different strength options are available, though not the full range offered by Medterra’s tinctures.

In a Nutshell

  • Range of strengths available
  • Non-GMO
  • 30-day guarantee
Best Full Stack CBD Capsules: FOCL
FOCL

A complete wellness package, CBD included. Get 20% off with code FamilyLiving.

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Why We Picked It

If you’re searching for a complete CBD package, FOCL could be for you. FOCL offers two varieties of CBD capsules: FOCL Day and FOCL Night, which it also sells as a bundle.

FOCL capsules offer a full stack wellness package, combining full-spectrum CBD with natural herbs and vitamins. The Day variety contains a mix designed to aid concentration and energy levels, while the Night variety aims to promote sleep regulation.

Both varieties are vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO, with third-party test results available on the FOCL website.

FOCL stands out as a company aiming to create a multi-pronged wellness package centered around CBD, which makes it unique in the marketplace. Customers looking for a well-rounded CBD capsule will find it more complete than typical CBD capsules.

Keep in Mind

FOCL Night pills are somewhat larger than the Day variety, which might make them harder to swallow.

In a Nutshell

  • Full stack wellness
  • Vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO
  • Two varieties for optimal results

How We Chose the Best CBD Capsules

Choosing the right CBD capsules means weighing the pros and cons. We use several key categories to give you an objective view of the user experience and compare the brand to its competitors.

Here are some of the things we look at when comparing CBD capsules::

Quality

Quality and value go hand in hand: you need to know that you’re getting a quality product with your purchase. We look at how the CBD in each product is grown and extracted, including whether it’s non-GMO and grown locally. We’ll also let you know if it’s organic or vegan-friendly. The latter is particularly important for capsules as the outer capsule shell may be made from animal products.

Independent Testing

Regulation of the CBD market still hasn’t reached parity with the current supply and demand thanks to CBD’s newcomer status. Sadly, some sellers exploit this by offering subpar products and inflated claims about their efficacy.

All high-quality CBD oils are independently lab-tested by a third party, which conducts a series of tests to establish the quality of the CBD oil. We believe this lab-testing is vital to establishing consumer confidence, so all of our top picks are third-party lab-tested.

Reputable Brand

A known brand isn’t always a guarantee of quality, but it does mean a buyer can buy with more confidence. As CBD marketing is still young, there are plenty of sellers who are interested primarily in hopping on the band-wagon.

This is why we take a look at the brand behind the product, so we can give you some idea of its established reputation and credentials.

Price

CBD oil can be expensive, particularly for a product designed to be used on a regular schedule. For customers working with a limited budget, finding a brand that offers quality for an affordable price is essential. In the CBD market, as in others, low prices are often too good to be true.

We look at the price of the CBD products we review to let you know if it’s a good investment and alert you to any compromises you might be making for the price. With this information, you should be able to find value for money with your purchase.

Customer Satisfaction

In the end, it’s up to the customers to decide the quality of a product. By looking at the CBD product’s reception with its buyers, we can get a sense of the average customer experience. With this, we can also spot common threads of praise and criticism to give you a complete picture of the product.

What is CBD?

CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound found in cannabis plants, with its highest concentrations found in the cannabis variety, hemp. Its effects are less famous than its sister compound, THC, which is the psychoactive compound associated with the cannabis “high.” Hemp typically contains little THC, while THC is found in abundance in marijuana.

CBD has attracted increased attention in recent years and is slowly approaching THC’s levels of public awareness—perhaps even overtaking it, given that few people know THC by name. The reason for this is renewed interest in the medical potential of CBD.

The CBD compound is so intriguing thanks to its compatibility with the human endocannabinoid system. This extensive system of receptors and neurotransmitters has a close relationship with the nervous system. Studies have shown that the human endocannabinoid system may play a role in mood regulation and our general holistic well-being.

Research suggests that CBD can activate the same chemical triggers as our native endocannabinoids. It’s not too dissimilar to the more well-known ability of certain foods, such as chocolate, to increase our levels of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin. Like other foods and supplements, the effects of CBD are subtle, making it a diametric opposite of THC.

Hemp-derived CBD oil is now available from a huge range of retailers and public interest has opened the way to deeper research on what CBD can offer us.

What are CBD Capsules?

CBD capsules are exactly what they sound like: small pellets containing CBD oil. They resemble vitamin pills and, like vitamin pills, they come in a variety of forms. Common forms of capsule include softgel and pill.

The capsule acts as a delivery system for the CBD, so CBD in capsule form always contains ingredients apart from CBD oil. Capsule shells are often made with gelatin or vegetable cellulose, so it’s important for those with dietary requirements to check the capsule ingredients before purchase. Other ingredients used for capsules include silica and glycerin.

To take CBD capsules, most users simply take them with water like they would with medicinal or vitamin pills. Two prominent advantages of CBD capsules are their convenience and the ease with which users can control their dosage. Capsules won’t be suitable for users who can’t take pills or who want the purest possible dose of CBD oil without additional ingredients.

Will CBD Capsules Get Me High?

Cannabis is still surrounded by preconceptions and misconceptions. One thing that potential CBD buyers want to know is if CBD will cause an undesirable “high” of the kind we associate with cannabis.

The answer is: it won’t! CBD is only psychoactive in a technical sense (like caffeine, for instance) but not in the layman’s sense that it can cause dramatic changes to consciousness and perception. The compound THC, found most abundantly in the marijuana plant, is responsible for causing the cannabis high.

While taking CBD doesn’t lead to dramatic psychoactive effects, it is true that CBD products can contain both CBD and THC. Full-spectrum CBD oil contains a complete cross-section of the hemp plant from which it’s derived, meaning that it will contain trace amounts of THC. These trace amounts of THC won’t cause psychoactive effects, but it may show up in drug testing, which makes it an important consideration for some users.

We only look at products containing minimal or zero THC in this guide. High-THC products are illegal at the federal level. Legally saleable CBD oil is derived from hemp, which contains only trace amounts of THC.

Benefits of CBD Capsules

CBD offers a range of potential health benefits to users, which can vary from individual to individual. Some benefits already have research-based evidence, while others are currently anecdotal. More research is required to separate some of CBD’s clinical benefits from placebo effects, but there are already several clear benefits.

As when taking any new medicine, it’s important to speak to your doctor before using CBD oil.

The following are some conditions that may be relieved by CBD oil:

Anxiety and Depression

Some studies show that CBD can alleviate anxiety and promote better sleep. In the long-term, this could help to control depression and anxiety disorders through better mood regulation. Many CBD users report success taking CBD for this purpose, though there isn’t yet a complete body of research on the topic.

Insomnia

One benefit of CBD reported by a wide range of users is an improved quality of sleep and relief from sleep disruption like that which stems from insomnia. In turn, this can lead to an improvement in overall wellbeing through better mood regulation and more stable energy levels.

Chronic Pain

People have been self-medicating pain through cannabis use for millennia, and it remains one of the most widely-reported benefits of CBD. Some studies suggest that CBD oil holds the potential to offer low-impact pain relief for those suffering from conditions causing chronic pain, such as arthritis.

Epilepsy

Currently, there is only one FDA-approved case for CBD, which is the use of CBD oil to relieve the symptoms of epilepsy. This does mean that the case for CBD as a treatment for epilepsy is conclusive, and several cases have made headlines as the public interest has grown in CBD and its uses.

CBD oil capsules offer a few specific benefits compared with other methods for taking CBD. A few of these include:

  • Controlled Dosage: Capsules come in ready-made dosages, along with instructions for the recommended intake. While there’s little danger of overdosing on CBD, this allows users to gain a complete picture of how their body reacts to various dosages and makes usage efficient.
  • Easy to swallow: For most people, swallowing pills with a little water is a routine experience, which isn’t true of other methods like vaping or using tinctures. Capsules offer a convenient, everyday way of taking CBD without having to adapt to the unfamiliar.
  • No hemp taste: CBD oil often carries with it a natural hemp taste, which can be earthy and bitter. While tolerable for many users, some find it off-putting. As CBD capsules deliver their dose inside an outer shell, there’s no hemp taste. The capsule only releases its contents once it breaks down in your stomach.
  • Effects may last longer: Capsule-based CBD oil enters your body through the digestive system. While this means it may take longer to take effect than other methods, the slow release of this approach means effects may last longer.

Are CBD Capsules Safe?

Here’s another question that potential CBD buyers want answered: is it safe?

With the complicated legal history of cannabis, it’s true that CBD oil hasn’t been the subject of extensive research on its long-term safety yet. There’s more material on its short-term safety and studies show that CBD oil is safe for consumption.

Regulations on CBD have relaxed at a federal and state level, so research will likely continue now that CBD is widely available for public consumption. For now, there are very few recorded adverse reactions to CBD among those who use it.

Below, we take a more in-depth look at the potential side-effects of CBD, as reported anecdotally and by research.

Side Effects of CBD Oil

CBD stands in complete contrast to its sister compound THC. Unlike THC, CBD is a low-impact compound, working in subtle ways. This means that side effects from taking CBD oil are rare and typically mild. This subtlety is one of the selling points of CBD, as its effects are gentle when compared with prescription medications taken for similar purposes.

Some reported side-effects of CBD oil are:

  • Dry mouth: Dry mouth is reported by some CBD users and there’s a possibility that CBD may cause a decrease in saliva production in the human body.
  • Decreased blood pressure: CBD can cause a decrease in blood pressure. While beneficial for some users, this can bring with it sensations of light-headedness or dizziness in some.
  • Diarrhea: Some CBD users report anecdotal cases of CBD oil leading to changes in bowel function, causing conditions such as diarrhea.
  • Appetite Changes: “The munchies” is a commonly reported effect of using cannabis, and there’s some evidence that this can be traced back to CBD, which may suppress parts of the brain that regulate the appetite.

Who Shouldn’t Take CBD?

While the effects of CBD are better compared to a food supplement than medication, some people should avoid taking CBD, particularly without consulting a doctor. These people include:

  • Pregnant women: Pregnant women can add CBD to the long list of things to avoid while pregnant, as there are few if any studies on the subject of CBD and pregnancy. With pregnancy being such a delicate time for both the mother and the child, pregnant women should always play it safe.
  • Children: Some pediatric epilepsy cases have formed the first major success stories for medicinal use of CBD, but childhood is a developmentally vital time and no child should take CBD unless medically advised to do so. The effects of CBD on long-term development is unknown.
  • Those taking prescription medication: Medications and even mild psychoactives can interact in unpredictable ways. Just as those on medication should be careful when drinking alcohol, they should also seek medical advice before taking CBD.

Users should always speak to their doctor before taking CBD.

Is CBD Legal?

The recent federal legalization of hemp-derived CBD has single-handedly created a new industry. But many people still aren’t clear on the legality of CBD and cannabis products.

The current situation derives mainly from the 2018 “Farm Bill.” The Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp and hemp-derived products for commercial purposes, including the production and sale of CBD oil. This remains subject to restrictions: CBD oil must contain only trace amounts of THC and CBD produced from the high-THC marijuana strain of cannabis remains illegal.

While this means CBD products are now outside the purview of the DEA, the FDA retains its mandate on drugs and supplements. In the FDA’s view, the only approved medical case for CBD marketing relates to the epilepsy medication Epidiolex.

Of course, state laws may differ from federal ones and the status of CBD products in your state may be different. It’s your responsibility to find out how your local laws affect the purchase and possession of CBD before you buy.

Considerations when Choosing CBD Capsules

When choosing the right CBD capsules for you, there are a few factors you’ll want to take into account. We detail some of these below.

If CBD capsules aren’t right for you, then be sure to look into other CBD delivery methods, such as tinctures, topicals, and vape liquids.

Body Weight

When choosing a CBD product, you’ll need to decide which dosage is appropriate for you. One of the main things to consider is your body weight, as the higher your body weight, the heavier the dose you may need. Capsules make choosing between doses easy, as they’re available in different concentrations and each capsule contains a single measured amount of CBD. If you’re above or below the average body weight for medical reasons, it’s important to speak to your doctor before you start taking CBD.

Extraction Method

Manufacturers can extract CBD oil from hemp through several methods, using solvents, olive oil, or CO2. The two main end products are crystalline isolate and full-spectrum CBD. The quality and purity of the CBD oil obtained varies between the different methods, and some users will want to avoid any CBD products containing THC.

Dietary Requirements

Customers with dietary requirements will need to pay careful attention to the ingredients of CBD capsules. Many are made with animal products like gelatin, which won’t be suitable for vegans and strict vegetarians. Customers with allergens are also more at risk when using capsules compared with purer delivery methods like tinctures.

Independent Testing

The consumer CBD industry is still young, which means that some sellers rely on lax regulations to make money. Independent lab tests are one of the main ways that vendors can assert the quality of their CBD and secure consumer confidence.

Related Resources

If you’ve found this guide useful, take a look at some of our other in-depth CBD guides:

 

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Daniel James