Hey all you 18+ kids and curious parents, let’s talk about CBD! CBD stands for cannabidiol, and while an essential component of what you typically think of as cannabis, it is not, in fact, drugs. Now that that’s out of the way: What is it? Cannabidiol is an oil, one that can either be derived from the hemp plant or manufactured in a lab. It’s FDA-approved and thought to have overwhelmingly positive effects for humans, such as promoting a calm mood, helping with insomnia, and reducing chronic pain. I say humans, because it can also help with relaxation and anxiety in pets.
Since CBD is an oil, it has a ton of different applications. Today’s CBD products (legal, mom, they’re legal) can come in the form of gummies, pills, old-timey tinctures, topical treatments like creams and lotions, makeup, bath bombs ... and, somehow, more. It can be a lot to sort through! Even if you know your stuff, there’s always room to be surprised. So here are a few of the best CBD products you can buy online right now—for yourself, or as a holiday gift.
Flavorless, effective, dissolvable CBD that can be incorporated into not just drinks, but food as well? That’s right. Caliper Dissolvable CBD Powder actually is all of those things. It’s an excellent option for someone who struggles with edibles or doesn’t like to swallow pills. The packets offer 20mg powdered CBD, and it’s pretty effective at both calming and soothing. Honestly, I almost wanted it to be stronger, but that could be because I’ve been product testing CBD regularly for about two months at this point. I mixed it into a 16.9 oz. water bottle and really didn’t notice any difference in the texture or flavor of the water when I drank it. If you want something in the same volume that works more quickly, the Caliper Swiftsticks are designed to be sprinkled directly onto your tongue.
I love baths. I love them. So I am immediately biased because the Sunday Scaries Tub Cub Bath Bomb, much like their Unicorn Jerky, is a product seemingly formulated just for me. But I’m telling you, even if I were only a casual bath taker, I’d still say it rocks. It smells great—herbal, fruity, and ever-so-vaguely of hemp—and on top of that, it’s a little tie-dyed bear! The Tub cub is infused with essential oils like lavender and orange that soothe and relax (emphasis on relax) you, in tandem with the 100mg of CBD that’s in it to begin with. By the way, I have sensitive skin, and it didn’t dry me out at all. Also, it did fill my bath with sherbet-y pink and white swirls, but it was totally easy to clean up. Inhale those vapors, baby.
I’ll say flat-out: I was skeptical of Binoid Mixed Berry CBD Gummies. That’s possibly because I tried a bunch of THC-CBD blends before I got to these, and the previous ones offered ... mixed results. But Binoid’s CBD Gummies are perfectly lovely. They have a a fruity, slightly cloying tang—kind of like a vitamin, but more enjoyable—and I was totally happy with their level of effectiveness. Even one of the made-in-the-USA chews offered a peaceful sense of relaxation, without any of the cloudiness or heaviness that I’ve experienced with edibles in the past. Or even recent past. I’d definitely say this product (offered in multiple flavors at the same 10mg per gummy strength) is a good gateway product to experimentation.
Since I can be sensitive to THC-infused edibles, this is the category of product I was the most hesitant to try. Out of the maniacal amount I sampled, Vida Optima Elev8 Gummies were my easy favorite. They include Delta-8-THC, which is actual THC and not just CBD. (But it can be included in over-the-counter CBD products for legal reasons I don’t understand.) Their 10mg candies had a similar taste and consistency to gumdrops, kicked in the fastest of any I tried, and provided a kind of cozy euphoria from even a small dose. Unexpected and delightful. Also vegan-friendly and gluten-free.
The best part about the Raw Recovery Muscle & Joint Cream from The Raw Botanics Co.? The aromatherapy. This lightweight cream is rich with menthol, lavender, and rosemary, which offers an invigorating sensory experience. With 500mg CBD per bottle (not per application, as I previously understood), it’s weaker than other over-the-counter lotions available, but I liked it and would use it for minor aches and pains again. I don’t want to say that it doesn’t work, because that isn’t true; it’s just that a friend of mine who is a licensed massage therapist has kindly referred to parts of my body as being akin to concrete. Basically, it wasn’t intense enough for me, but between its consistency, scent, and overall sensation, I’d happily recommend it to someone in uh, better physical condition.
I have a mild workout schedule and no preexisting injuries, so most of my muscle tension and soreness comes from sleeping, sitting, and hunching over my keyboard like an idiot day in and day out. If you are like me, you may appreciate Original Hemp Cool Relief Roll-On Therapy. It comes in an easy-application gel stick so you can reach the back of your neck, shoulders, or other areas with ease. Unlike chemical-heavy alternatives, this one (infused with 1,000mg CBD) smelled actually refreshing and not saccharine. It has a legit a cooling sensation, minus the numbing aspect you’ll often get from topical treatments, and I genuinely felt my muscles relax. I can see myself slipping it into a purse or gym bag for use on the go. Not for nothing, but you’ll also recognize most of the ingredients (Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Menthol, etc.), which adds a fun smug dimension to using it.
I’m no stranger to elixirs of dubious origin, so I am uniquely positioned to tell you that Nanocraft Night Time CBD Oil was my favorite of the tinctures I tried. After just 1.5 drops (this is an estimate) (they recommend one but I took like three mini ones), the hamster on a wheel that powers my anxiety actually went night-night for long enough that I was able to fall asleep without watching or listening to anything. It contains 25mg CBD per dose and is made with lavender and melatonin, two things I already love, so maybe I was already biased in its favor. Did I sleep through the night after I used it? No, because I have a cat. But when I did, I slept restfully and without bizarre dreams, and honestly weird dreams are the only thing that makes me hesitant to use plain old melatonin on a regular basis. Would highly recommend for anyone with trouble falling asleep.
Even though there’s absolutely no science that proves that CBD in pill form does not work, I was convinced it wouldn’t. I was even worried that I would feel nothing whatsoever due to some kind of reverse placebo effect that I just made up. And yet, here we are. Letter of recommendation: Alchemist’s Kitchen Relax Gel Caps. They deliver 25mg oil CBD per capsule (do not confuse them with the extra-strength variety; 75mg a pop, oh baby). Also, if I sound amazed that CBD actually works, please know that it is because I consistently was. These made me feel Zen, but also a little fuzzy, and I probably wouldn’t try to take one before running errands again. That said, went down super easy, and did not upset my stomach or offer any weird side effects apart from a little bit of dry mouth. Could not say the same for CBD-THC hybrid pill varieties.
There’s no way I could possibly talk about hitting a 200mg CBD vape without sounding like a narc, but it’s my job so I’m going to anyway. I loved the Grandaddy Purple Disposable CBD Pen from Funky Farms. (I don’t know how or why it’s allowed to share a name with a popular strain of weed either.) The petite pen came pre-filled, pre-charged, and worked immediately. Like, you open the box, and then you use it. I felt relaxed as hell with a light buzz pretty quickly. Since there are only “trace amounts” of THC present at the most, I was pleasantly surprised by it. Plus, the packaging comes with a ton of information on how exactly it all works, which I appreciated. I would describe the profile as most similar to lemongrass, though it’s probably intended to be more fruity.
So, this is the initial sample haul I received. After making my way through the first few batches of products, determining what would and wouldn’t work best (for me personally and for you, dear readers), I swept everything into a canvas tote and rolled up to a friend’s bachelorette in style. After all, everyone brings wine. When I got there, I dumped it all out onto what I affectionately nicknamed the Party Chair and let people go nuts. Understandably, folks were hesitant at first, and also didn’t quite get why I had a bag of free and barely-used CBD at all, let alone there. But I’m still getting texts about things.
In particular, a friend with a med card was so shocked by the efficacy of Vida Optima Creamy Caramel Candies that she’s already planning to purchase her own when she runs out. The professional massage therapist friend frequently works with CBD, and lost her mind for the ginger and beeswax included in the Nanocraft Muscle & Joint Stick. And while the 600MG Peppermint Kush Vape Pen from Funky Farms basically immobilized me, someone with a higher tolerance is really going to enjoy it this season. What I’m saying is, your mileage with it may vary, but there’s definitely a CBD product out there for you.