Lately, we’ve been noticing CBD-infused products popping up everywhere - from CBD skin creams, to CBD-enhanced drinks, and even CBD chocolates. And these products aren't just on college campuses. The CBD trend is visible on the shelves of premium grocery stores like Erewhon, and we've even spotted CBD-infused cocktails at several upscale bars in San Francisco. Curious to learn what the hype was all about, we consulted the experts with a long list of questions: Is CBD legal? Will I get high? Is it right for me? And if I do try it, how much should I take?

Once we got our questions answered, we tested out a variety of CBD-infused products to experience the “buzz” firsthand. Read on to find our reviews on CBD and tips for how it can be incorporated into your own wellness routine.

What is CBD and what are the benefits?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a part of the cannabis plant. The oil from the cannabidiol part of the plant (AKA CBD oil) can be extracted and infused into a wide variety of products. For hundreds of years, cannabis and its various properties have been used to treat health-related conditions. Today, CBD is shown to help patients get relief from acne, anxiety, pain, arthritis, schizophrenia, cancer, and much more. Though CBD is still being extensively studied by researchers and doctors, the benefits and potential are hard to ignore.

Wait, is this like getting high?

No—cannabidiol is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis. (“Non-psychoactive” is just a fancy, scientific way of saying that it won’t get you high or stoned.) On the other hand, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol—try saying that five times fast) is the psychoactive component of the plant. THC is also known to help with a number of medical conditions. However, for those that don’t want the high, CBD is the recommended choice.

And the drawbacks?

CBD is shown to be safe. Based on this 2017 review of the clinical research on cannabinoids that looked at 132 studies, researchers agree that it has a “favorable safety profile.” That being said, many of the studies on CBD so far have small sample sizes or were only conducted for a few weeks. And there’s yet to be any clinical trials on how CBD interacts with other drugs.

How should I take CBD oil?

CBD oil can be taken topically (think gels and cream), or oral (from chocolate bars and to drinks and lozenges). The topical options can be used to specific areas of the body, such as the muscles where its applied, whereas oral doses provide a full-body effect.

Ok, so I’m interested in trying some - how much do I take? What is the right dose for me?
Most experts recommend starting with a dose of 10mg CBD and working your way up from there based on how you experience its effects. Some products offer doses up to 50mg, although these higher doses were targeted towards combating conditions like stress and anxiety rather than for everyday use.

What’s the difference between CBD oil from hemp and CBD oil from marijuana?

Great question. Hemp and marijuana are both part of the cannabis family, so they both contain CBD. The primary difference is that hemp has very little THC while marijuana usually contains TCH in larger quantities. Which source is better for CBD oil? Franjo Grotenhermen, who sits on the board of the International Association of Cannabinoid Medicines, has been quoted saying, “CBD is CBD. The human body does not care where the molecule comes from.” Though we live in San Francisco where marijuana-derived CBD oil is illegal, we’ve only tried hemp.

Speaking of the law, is CBD oil legal?

This is where things get complicated. If the CBD oil is derived from hemp, it’s legal in all 50 states. You can order these products online (by the bulk, if you want) and not have any reason to worry. But if the CBD oil is derived from marijuana, it’s technically a marijuana byproduct. This makes it legal only in states where marijuana is legal. It can also depend on if the CBD is being used recreationally or medicinally. To tackle this topic in more depth and figure out what’s up in your zip code, check out this guide. We found the chart with each state listed extremely helpful.

Any product recommendations?

You know it! We bought these oil drops by Plus CBD Oil at The Scarlet Sage Herb Co. in San Francisco a few weeks ago. The friendly and knowledgeable salesperson told us she recommends placing half a dropper’s worth of oil into the mouth daily. We especially like that the drops are vegetarian, non-GMO, and gluten free. We first tried this before getting into a Lyft around rush hour. About 20 minutes into the ride, we felt calm and relaxed—similar to savasana at the end of a yoga class. Since then, we’ve continued to use the drops when we’re feeling a little anxious. It helps takes the edge off in a totally natural and safe way. We also tried out Ananda’s ‘Spectrum 200’ Hemp Oil and Vital Leaf’s CBD Chocolate Bar and would recommed both. For an ultra premium option, check out CAP Beauty's The Daily Hit, which is a blend of CBD hemp oil with adaptogens and other herbs to help with stress management, focus, and energy.

Last tip: Similar to how we approach our snacks, make sure to read label and select clean CBD products without GMOs, corn syrup, or artificial ingredients.