CBD Tested: What's Inside the Bottle?

What’s Really In Your CBD?

To help ease consumer fears, we’ve teamed up with Think20 Labs — a trusted, industry-leading analytical testing laboratory for hemp and cannabis — to run exhaustive, blind tests on CBD products to determine their safety, purity, and potency. All of the products below have received highest marks from Think20 Labs and the cannabisMD seal of approval.

Despite growing consumer interest, CBD remains unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — there’s currently not a single government-approved testing process that guarantees the purity and quality of what you’re buying. As a result, independent labs have discovered everything from mold to E. Coli in many popular CBD products and, on occasion, found no CBD at all. Many of you are concerned about your safety, and often rightly so.


CBD is the abbreviation of cannabidiol — a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis. It belongs to a class of compounds known as cannabinoids, which also includes THC. Studies have found that CBD could be useful for treating pain, inflammation, insomnia, and many other health conditions.

Most scientists agree that CBD has a positive safety profile — according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it has “no potential for abuse and no potential to produce dependence.” However, little research has been conducted into CBD’s impact on vulnerable populations. It’s still unclear what its long-term effects may be on children and teenagers, and most doctors advise pregnant or breastfeeding women to avoid it due to concerns about poorly regulated products.

No, CBD doesn’t get you high. The reason is because it interacts with the body’s CB2 receptors, which don’t trigger any intoxicating effects. Cannabis itself (or more specifically, its THC) interacts with receptors known as CB1 that do trigger intoxicating effects — which is why cannabis gets you high.

There are three main types of CBD, which are known as: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate (or “pure”) CBD oil. Each of these oils contains a different number of compounds found in the cannabis plant. Many scientists believe full spectrum oils are the most effective. Choosing a CBD product depends on your personal needs and preferences  and the first thing to consider is what type of CBD oil to use: Most experts believe full spectrum oils are most effective, but people who are concerned about avoiding any contact with even trace amounts of THC may opt for isolates instead. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD itself poses no significant side effects for the general population. However, since it’s still widely unregulated, some products have been known to cause unwanted symptoms at certain dosages (whether due to poor extraction methods, artificial additives, or other causes). Some of the most common include: anxiety, a slight dip in blood pressure, changes in appetite and weight, changes in mood, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, tiredness and lethargy, and vomiting.

CBD is expensive for a number of reasons. First, growing the plants from which it’s derived is a time- and energy-intensive process. Second, processing the raw material into products requires a great deal of sophisticated equipment and hard-to-find expertise. Finally, CBD businesses face steep operating costs that include paying for pricey laboratory tests and expansive facilities, all without the benefit of business loans from banks or governments.

Although it’s often said that CBD is legal in all 50 states, this isn’t technically true. While it was legalized at the national level by the 2018 Farm Bill, some individual states still have laws that ban CBD outright, classifying it as just a different type of cannabis. In other states, CBD can only be purchased with a doctor’s prescription from a licensed dispensary.

At the moment, scientists are still unsure of how CBD interacts with medications like birth control, antidepressants, and other common medications. Some studies have suggested that using CBD in conjunction with certain medications, like painkillers, could enhance the effectiveness of each (while minimizing potential side effects), but there’s still no scientific consensus on this. Almost universally, experts recommend talking to your doctor if you’re considering taking CBD in addition to your other medications.

In theory, CBD shouldn’t show up on a drug test, since these tests are only intended to detect THC (or, more precisely, its metabolites). Even full spectrum CBD, which contains trace amounts of THC, should fall below the detection threshold. However, a number of CBD users have reported failing drug tests — which could be caused by mislabeled products that contain more THC that the label claims, or poor-quality testing methods. Some new drug tests claim to be able to distinguish CBD from cannabis, but if you’re concerned about the potential consequences of a false positive result, it’s best to proceed with caution when using CBD.

All products featured on cannabisMD are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Representations regarding the efficacy and safety of CBD products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA only evaluates foods and drugs, not supplements like these products. These products are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease.