Cannabidiol, commonly abbreviated as CBD, is a chemical compound that’s found in the cannabis sativa plant. For quite some time, it’s been associated with wide-ranging health benefits, including the potential to help minimize stress, promote healthy sleep, and even provide inflammation and pain relief. More recently, easy-to-take products like CBD pills and capsules have been growing in popularity.
First, let’s discuss the main difference between using CBD pills versus using a CBD oil tincture. Just as CBD oil is non-psychotropic, CBD capsules also won’t get you “high” because they are derived from industrial hemp plants. As such, both products contain little to no THC (depending on what product you are using).
The differences actually aren’t that pronounced. CBD pills and CBD oil have the same potential benefits, but pills are more convenient. Not only is it easier to manage pills and capsules, but they also make consistent dosing easier. Oil drops also open themselves up to imprecise dosing.
One drawback to ingestible pills is that they don’t always work as fast as a CBD tincture. This is thanks to the digestive system, which allows for a slower absorption of CBD into the bloodstream as it breaks down the CBD pill over a longer span of time. It should also be said that hemp oils generally have an earthy taste, which isn’t to everyone’s liking. CBD pills and capsules allow you to avoid this with one quick and easy swallow.
The efficacy of CBD oil capsules and softgels vary from one product to the next, depending on the quality. Here are a few factors to keep in mind:
With all of the above factors in mind, here are five CBD capsules selected based on customer reviews, price, and source of the hemp. Each product has also been reviewed by a third-party laboratory for label accuracy and potential contaminants, including heavy metals, residual solvents, and pesticides.
Based on the above criteria, here are the best CBD capsules:
If you’ve never tried CBD pills before, the Plus CBD Softgels are a quality product to start with. These capsules feature full-spectrum hemp, without a lot of additives or extra ingredients (there are only four total items in the ingredient list). These 5-star softgels are vegan friendly and contain 15 milligrams of CBD in each, which is perfect for newcomers who wish to start out with a lower dose capsule. The brand offers 60-count bottles for a month-long supply (or longer) as well as a 10-count bottle for those looking to sample the product at a fair price.
Some people prefer to completely avoid THC when it comes to their hemp products, especially if they are concerned with drug testing. So if you’re shopping for an isolate CBD pill, the Medterra gel capsules are worth a try. These capsules, which have a 4.5-star rating, are made with 99.6% pure CBD derived from high-quality Kentucky hemp plants, and the products are completely devoid of THC. A bit of MCT oil is added to provide a smooth liquid suspension, and customers have the option to choose between two strengths: 25 or 50 milligrams per capsule.
Looking for a simple solution to help manage stress? The CBDistillery CBD capsules are a crowd favorite for the full-spectrum composition, which is especially great for promoting a relaxed, calming effect. (The company also offers a broad-spectrum formula if you’re looking for a THC-free CBD pill that still has some other beneficial plant parts intact.) No matter which product you choose, each of these capsules contains 30 milligrams of CBD extract and a 60-day satisfaction guarantee.
The cbdMD product line is known for its broad spectrum, THC-free products, which are made with natural hemp extraction processes in the U.S. This particular product is noteworthy for its potency alone, as it packs a punch of 50 milligrams of CBD per capsule. If you’re in the market for an extra-strong CBD oil supplement, this 1500 milligram product is a good option. If you want something less potent, cbdMD also offers other softgel capsules with 15 or 33 milligrams of CBD in each (with a lower price per bottle).
For anyone looking for CBD to promote better sleep, these popular Green Roads capsules are a great fit. This formula expertly combines 25 milligrams of CBD with 5 milligrams of melatonin in each capsule, the latter of which helps naturally regulate your body’s sleep cycle. Meanwhile, the CBD isolate in these pills may be conducive to relaxation so you can enjoy a good night’s rest. Additionally, Green Roads offers a “Relax” formula for anxiety and an “Everyday Support” option for general health and wellness, if you need a CBD capsule that goes beyond healthy sleep habits.
There’s no one “correct” amount of CBD you should take because it varies from person to person. If you’re new to CBD, it’s best to start at the lower end of the spectrum (take one capsule at a time) and gradually work your way up as needed.
Be sure to consult your physician, along with product packaging and lab reports, to learn more about potency of a product to ensure appropriate dosing.
It’s worth noting that there can be some side effects from taking CBD pills, but most of them are very mild. For example, they may make you drowsy or lethargic. Junella Chin, DO, an osteopathic physician and a medical cannabis expert for cannabisMD, previously told Health that roughly 5% of people feel something after taking CBD. “Usually they're the same people who have side effects from Advil or Tylenol,” she said. However, these side effects can usually be avoided through proper dosing.
One word of caution: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not reviewed CBD capsules or any other mainstream CBD products. Because of this, it is even more imperative that consumers make informed, safe decisions about which CBD pills they use. Additionally, you may want to initiate a discussion with your physician before introducing CBD.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, copywriter, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. As a writer for Remedy Review, an independent CBD review site, Josh covers the relationship between cannabis-based products and the human body.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice; it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before consuming or using any of the products mentioned on this site.