Best CBD oil 2021: Get started with CBD with this handy guide

What is CBD oil? Is it legal? What's the best CBD oil to buy? We answer all your questions to help you get started with CBD

best CBD oil: Elixinol
(Image credit: Elixinol)

Interested in trying CBD? In this article, you'll find our pick of the CBD oils currently on the market, plus your guide to what exactly CBD is, and what you need to know before you get started using it. Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is in short, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid complex. It has grown in popularity over the past few years due to a number of studies exploring its therapeutic benefits for the human mind and body. 

To avoid raised eyebrows, it's important to distinguish CBD from what you might think of when you think of 'cannabis'. Cannabis is made from two main compounds, CBD and THC. THC is known to cause an intoxicating –  or 'high' – effect due to its psychoactive properties. CBD itself does not contain any form of THC, as it's purely extracted from the aerial plant parts of hemp. If you're interested in exploring the benefits of CBD yourself, read on. We've got the answers to all your questions, plus a rundown of the best CBD oils to buy. 

What does CBD oil do?

CBD is commonly used to help relieve the symptoms of those who suffer from anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, chronic pain and arthritis. Studies have found CBD users often feel relaxed, calmer, less stressed and improves their sleep (find out more here). 

There are a few common forms of CBD, and different ways to take it. Common ways are to put the CBD oil underneath your tongue and hold it there for 1-2 minutes to allow the CBD to be fully absorbed before swallowing it. The same method can be used with a CBD spray. CBD also comes in the form of tablets and other edibles, such as CBD gummies. 

You can also rub it into your skin – applying CBD oil on the skin has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties that can fight off oxidative stress. Some even recommend it as a face and body moisturiser because it is rich in fatty acids. As with oral use, it's recommended you start with a low concentation and go higher depending on your preferences.

CBD oil is legal in the UK as long as it has a THC content of below 0.02%. The CBD must be extracted from a medical-grade hemp strain approved by the EU for public consumption. With the large influx of CBD products that have arisen on the market, the Food Standard Agency (FSA) has stated that the CBD industry must give information about the safety of its products before 31 March 2021 or it will be removed from the shelves across the country. 

In the USA, the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill states that CBD oil that does not contain more than 0.03% of THC, according to Federal law, is legal in all 50 states. 

What should I look for when buying CBD oil? 

When purchasing CBD, it's important to look for CBD Hemp Extract that is 100% THC free (this is the component that will make you high).  The best CBD oils will always use organic hemp, so it's important to choose a CBD oil that is full-spectrum and try to avoid CBD isolates.

Always check the CBD concentration on the back of the packaging, if you cannot find it, look on the brand's website. Try and opt for a product that is very pure that has a high concentration as it will mean you'll be able to use less. 

Dr. Jordan Tishler – a member of the medical advisory board at CannabisMD and president of the Association of Cannabis Specialists – emphasises the importance of being careful when you purchase your CBD oil as you could potentially buy a product that has either little to no CBD in it at all.

Another aspect you should also consider is how the manufacturer got the CBD into the oil. The CO2 extraction process is considered to be cleanest, but is also more expensive – although it's worth paying the higher price.

The best CBD oil to buy now

best CBD oil: Cannabidol

(Image credit: Cannabidol)

1. Canabidol Cannabis CBD oil drops

The best CBD oil for most people

Concentration: 100% Cannabis sativa L
Inlcuded: Dropper cap and spray nozzle
Full spectrum: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Trusted brand +Comes with a dropper cap+Can be taken orally or used on the body
Reasons to avoid
-Some CBD oil can adhere inside the pipette

Canabidol is the best-selling CBD oil brand in the UK and has been highly reviewed by the British public, as well as being approved by the Food Standards Authority (FSA), and backed up by lab reports and batch tests. Canabidol has built its brand on trust and integrity, producing only the purest quality cannabis food supplements. 

This is the best CBD oil I've tried. It's very easy to use, as well as being nice and versatile –  you can take it orally (as I did), or use it as a body oil on areas where you need pain relief. It's also possible to choose your strength based on your needs: either from 250mg (each half pipette delivers 13mg of CBD), 500mg (each half pipette delivers 25mg of CBD) to 1000mg (each half pipette delivers 50mg of CBD). 

There are a couple of minor down-sides here. You need to make sure the bottle is secured properly after use in order to avoid wastage, and I found a small amount of CBD oil adhered to the inside of the pipette, resulting in inaccurate dispensing of recommended dosage. However, if you're looking for a versatile, easy to use, trusted brand of CBD oil, we'd recommend starting with Canabidol.

best CBD oil: Blessed CBD

(Image credit: Blessed CBD)

2. Blessed CBD

The best premium CBD oil

Concentration: 500, 1000, 1800mg
Included: Dropper cap
Full spectrum: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Available as gummies and creams, as well as oil +Full spectrum hemp extract 
Reasons to avoid
-Lowest strength is still quite high for beginners-Taste can be a bit earthy

Blessed CBD offers a full range of CBD products, including gummies and creams, but I think its CBD oil is the best premium option on the market right now. The oils have been perfectly extracted and purified so all that is left in the bottle itself is high quality CBD oil – it tastes really pure, clean and natural. The website provides you with valuable information about the different stages the CBD oil goes through, and the product is backed up by lab reports. One word of warning: this might not be the best choice if you're brand new to CBD, as the lowest strength level available is 500mg, which is still quite high (the recommended dose for beginners is 250mg). 

best CBD oil: CBDfx Tincture Oil

(Image credit: CBDfx )

3. CBDfx Tincture Oil

The best CBD oil range

Concentration: 500, 1000 and 1500mg
Included: Dropper
Full spectrum: Yes
Reasons to buy
+30-day guarantee+Verified potency +Wide range of CBD products to choose from
Reasons to avoid
-Taste can be too sweet

CBDfx has a wide range of great products to choose from. As well as the CBD oil itself, there are gummies, face masks, bath salts, and vape juices. I personally compliment the CBD oil with the bath salts from this range, to create a relaxing bath in the evening which helps me to get a better night's sleep. I also like the fact that the CBDfx range has added MCT oil (metabolic function), which helps break down food and convert it into energy the body can use to get through the day. I find this helps with my fitness goals.

best CBD oil: Elixinol CBD Daily Balance Tincture

(Image credit: Elixinol)

4. Elixinol CBD Daily Balance Tincture

The best CBD oil for beginners

Concentration: 1,333, 500, 1000 and 4000mg
Included: Dropper
Full spectrum: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Natural flavour, full-spectrum hemp oil+Money-back guarantee 
Reasons to avoid
-Has MCT coconut oil which you might not want-Earthy flavour is an acquired taste

Elixinol CBD Daily Balance Tincture is a full spectrum CBD oil, and the website allows you to customise your own plan, i.e. if you need it for daily balance, sleep, comfort, de-stressing, or as an antioxidant. It breaks down each component and provides a CBD product finder quiz to help  beginners find the perfect CBD oil that will give you the results you're after. I personally use the CBD capsules made for stress from this range, as they contain my favourite product, Ashwagandha – a natural herb made popular by Ayurvedic science that is proven to reduce cortisol levels.

best CBD oil: Jacob Hooy CBD oil

(Image credit: Jacob Hooy)

5. Jacob Hooy CBD oil

The best CBD oil for use as a skin oil

Concentration: 2.75% and 5%
Inlcuded: Dropper
Full spectrum: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Easily accessible in all UK stores+Full spectrum hemp extract
Reasons to avoid
-Strength is too low to have a real impact if taken orally-Distinctive taste

This CBD oil, available at Holland and Barratt, is probably the easiest option for anyone wanting to try CBD for the first time – you can pop in store, or add some to your usual Holland & Barratt order. While it's very convenient, this product only contains 5% CBD oil, which I find is too low to really feel an impact. I purchased this product with the intention of taking it orally, but I now use it on my skin – the low percentage is perfect for my skin and causes no irritation, unlike higher dosages. If you're looking for a CBD oil to treat skin problems such as acne, this might be the perfect choice for that. If you are going to take this orally, be aware it has a 'distinctive' flavour – the site recommends drinking water after use to get rid of the taste.