Need Some CBD Clarity? Our Guide for Choosing the Best Hemp SupplementsApril 27th, 2021
If it feels like the CBD carousel keeps spinning, that’s probably because it is. These days, there are so many new hemp products hitting shelves it’s hard to keep up, which is why we vet the most innovative, eco-friendly, and nontoxic brands. This comprehensive guide has everything you need to choose the best hemp supplements for your needs and lifestyle, including member-loved tinctures, convenient gummies, and nourishing balms.
What Is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, a compound found in hemp plants. Since it doesn’t contain THC—a psychoactive component in the cannabis plant—CBD extract is often touted for its therapeutic benefits (more on those below). To extract CBD from hemp, a solvent is often used under high pressure to isolate and collect essential oils before being removed and replaced with a carrier oil.
Benefits of CBD
Although more research is needed, CBD has been shown to shift our pain perception, which is why this supplement is often used to help relieve chronic pain, encourage better sleep, and manage depression. Additional research suggests that CBD may help reduce symptoms of anxiety. A small 2011 study found that for those with social anxiety, the group who received CBD showed fewer symptoms.
How to Take CBD
There are plenty of options for taking CBD, so you can make a choice based on your personal preferences and dosage needs. (And yes, there are even CBD products for dogs.)
- Balms (for topical use)
- Bath salts
- Crystals (formulated to dissolve into beverages)
- Dog treats
- Oils (including skin care)
- Tinctures (concentrated herbal extracts that typically contain less CBD than oils)
The Best CBD Products for Your Lifestyle
When it comes to supplements, Thrive Market is extra strict about transparency, safety, and traceable ingredient sourcing. One reason we’re so committed to quality is because current FDA regulations don’t require supplements to be “evaluated for efficacy, and only limited data on safety are required for new supplement ingredients.” Although some CBD brands extract hemp with solvents like GMO corn ethanol (as well as add flavors or other additives), we don’t stock them on our shelves. Keep reading to get to know our trusted partners and their member-favorite products.
Fisherman Dave Barlean started the brand in the 1970s after creating a fishing vessel that helped reduce bycatch, and since then Barlean’s has continued focusing on ethical trade practices and paying suppliers fairly. In addition to nutritional supplements like omega-3 and flax oil, Barlean’s lineup offers hemp oil too.
- Sourcing: Barlean’s hemp is sourced from USDA Organic farms that use methods like water conservation and planting cover crops, which helps sequester carbon.
- Known for: Hemp oils are third-party tested for heavy metals, pesticides, and other toxins, plus cannabinoid levels (including CBD and THC). Each bottle is traceable using a QR code on the label.
- Product types: Softgels and tinctures
- What to try: Barlean’s Extra Strength Ideal CBD Hemp Oil comes in a refreshing mint flavor. Member Anique from New York shares, “I have severe joint pain and stiffness, and this works wonders for me. One dropper in the morning and I can move all day without pain.”
After Charlotte Figi was born with a rare form of epilepsy, her parents teamed up with the Stanley Brothers—medical hemp growers in Colorado—to develop a treatment to help manage her symptoms.
- Sourcing: Charlotte’s Web grows its hemp in greenhouses before transferring the plants to soil. Everything is used—flowers, stems, and leaves—and the hemp is grown on U.S. farms without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides.
- Known for: Quality, consistency, and integrity are the core values at Charlotte’s Web. Plants are tended by hand and analyzed at every stage with respect to spacing, weather response, and more. Plus, products are quality tested more than 20 times to ensure consistency.
- Product types: Oils, gummies, capsules, cream, balm, tinctures
- What to try: Need some extra calm? Try Hemp Extract-Infused Gummies that Michelle from Pennsylvania says taste like lime Jell-O, and Veronica from Indiana shares “I take one of these when I know I won’t be able to sleep well. After 10 min I’m out.”
Foy—an acronym for fountain of youth—likes to keep things simple, crafting pure hemp oil that’s affordable for all. The BIPOC-owned brand was founded by two brothers who worked alongside a Yale chemist to create their first product, an Ayurvedic-inspired cream.
- Sourcing: Foy grows its sustainable hemp in New York State and uses an eco-friendly CO2 extraction process without chemical solvents. All farms are licensed by the New York Department of Agriculture to grow and cultivate hemp through the Industrial Research Program.
- Known for: From cultivating organic hemp to following rigorous testing processes, a “seed to sale” approach keeps Foy in control of every stage. To guarantee purity, third-party tests are conducted before and after extraction.
- Product types: Tinctures, oils, creams
- What to try: Yasmine from New York calls Foy’s CBD Oil, 1500mg the best CBD product she’s tried. “I took some last night and slept like a baby. I also take a dropperful throughout the day, depending on my stress levels. This stuff is legit.”
Founded in 1999, member-favorite brand Garden of Life got its start with probiotics and has expanded to include vitamins, raw proteins, supplements, and hemp oil.
- Sourcing: All hemp products are formulated by David Perlmutter, M.D. and sustainably grown in the U.S. without GMOs. No solvents are used—the CO2 extraction process is clean, and formulas are third-party certified.
- Known for: Garden of Life’s THC-free whole hemp extracts feature a full spectrum of terpenes, flavonoids and fatty acids found in the hemp plant. This synergy is known as “the entourage effect”—all the benefits of hemp, minus the THC.
- Product types: Tinctures, softgels, gummies
- What to try: Dr. Formulated CBD+ 15mg Sleep Drops are popular with Thrive Market members. After struggling with nighttime anxiety, Anna says this has “helped so much. I am pleased to say that I go to sleep effortlessly now. I’m on my third bottle!”
Klee Irwin founded Irwin Naturals almost 30 years ago with one goal: create formulas that solve a problem, whether that’s sleeplessness, joint pain, or mood swings.
- Sourcing: Each formula is made with full-spectrum hemp extract offering naturally occurring cannabinoids.
- Known for: Irwin Naturals works with third-party labs to ensure its products always contain less than .3% THC in line with federal regulations.
- Product types: Softgels
- What to try: Looking for a mood boost? CBD + Sunny Mood features phytonutrients, essential minerals like magnesium, and lemon balm that work together to promote a sense of calm. Brianna from South Carolina says “I use it when I am having an off day and need a little mood support.”
Manitoba Harvest is one of the brands that helped hemp become more mainstream, and is now the world’s largest hemp manufacturer.
- Sourcing: Manitoba works directly with Canadian farmers who ensure each plant is traceable back to the field where it was grown.
- Known for: Strict guidelines abound; A high-pressure CO2 extraction process maintains the extract’s purity and leaves behind no chemical residue. Before leaving a facility, hemp seeds undergo 34 individual tests to ensure quality and that the formula contains less than 0.01% THC.
- Product types: Oils, softgels
- What to try: Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract Softgels are a convenient (and vegan) way to get a 15mg dose. Leah from Pennsylvania thinks “these are a great option if you don’t like the taste of the tinctures.”
Medterra believes CBD doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. The brand’s mission involves caring for others, continual innovation, and making CBD available to all.
- Sourcing: Industrial hemp is grown and extracted in Kentucky under guidance from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and always third-party tested before bottling.
- Known for: Medterra partners with the Hemp Pilot Research program to deliver quality CBD products in all 50 states, as well as internationally.
- Product types: Tinctures, oils
- What to try: Sweeten your experience with this strawberry mint-flavored broad spectrum CBD extract featuring whole-plant extraction. Alexis from Iowa likes the dispenser and says “I use it as my night time routine to make going to bed more relaxing.”
Alongside other industry leaders, PlusCBD fought for the nationwide legalization of CBD products and has been developing innovative products since 2012. The brand relies on extensive scientific research and third-party safety testing.
- Sourcing: PlusCBD sources its plants in Europe from EU-certified hemp seeds. The brand offers full traceability from seed to shelf and utilizes independent third-party and DNA testing.
- Known for: Products are formulated with specific health concerns in mind, like stress relief, muscle and joint recovery, and sleep support. In addition to CBD, each treatment comes with vitamin E and other beneficial compounds.
- Product types: Pills, gummies, balms, drops
- What to try: Extra Strength Hemp Balm moisturizes skin while offering CBD benefits to boot. This gluten- and dye-free formula is infused with peppermint and quickly absorbs into skin. Shannon from California shares she loves this product for sore muscle and knee pain. “Don’t let the lower milligrams fool you—this product works!” she shares.
Skin care brand Prima harnesses the mental and physical benefits of hemp-based CBD in a way that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle. The brand is on the road to becoming a Certified B Corp and is working to achieve a fully carbon-neutral supply chain by 2025.
- Sourcing: Non-GMO hemp seeds are grown on single-origin family farms in Oregon that embrace zero-waste cultivation techniques, like using no single-use plastic containers or sheeting, as well as no synthetic soil inputs or artificial growing aids.
- Known for: When it comes to seeds, Prima uses proprietary plant genetics of industrial hemp that’s substantiated by advanced genomic mapping. The clean extraction process uses CO2 supercritical fractionation to remove waxes, chlorophyll, pollutants, and THC.
- Product types: Tinctures, capsules, balm
- What to try: Unwind in the evening with Night Magic CBD Botanical Treatment. Get glowing with nourishing organic avocado oil, vitamin E, and concentrated whole-plant hemp extract. Kathryn from Vermont has sensitive skin and says after using this nightly for a month she’s had zero issues. “It absorbs quickly in comparison to other oils. I can’t recommend this product enough!”
Think of RE Botanicals as your modern hemp apothecary. Founder John W. Roulac (who also launched member favorite brand Nutiva) is a health advocate who believes healthy soil creates healthy plants, healthy people, and a healthy climate.
- Sourcing: RE Botanicals uses a certified organic alcohol extraction process, which is how plant-based medicines have been made for hundreds of years. “We blend our organic hemp extracts with organic MCT oil—the gold standard in carrier oil. The medium-chain triglycerides provide superior absorption and a longer shelf life than other carrier oils,” Roulac says.
- Known for: Each supplement is crafted in small batches and blends organic MCT oil with organic hemp—no pesticides, solvents, or GMOs. There’s even an option for pets.
- Product types: Tinctures and rollers
- What to try: The Hemp 25 Peppermint Tincture is a 1-ounce bottle made using organic peppermint essential oil. To use, hold half to one dropper full under the tongue for one to two minutes before bed. Amanda from Indiana says “it helps me feel more relaxed in the evenings.”
Founded in Santa Monica, Sagely Naturals is a woman-owned brand that takes a holistic approach to wellness through CBD. All of the brand’s offerings are made from all-natural, organic hemp and developed with a team of chemists and naturopaths.
- Sourcing: Hemp is sourced from outdoor farms in Oregon and Colorado using strict growing standards.
- Known for: All Sagely products are THC-free, tested in cruelty-free labs in the U.S., and packaged in recycled materials. They are also vegan, gluten-free, and free from synthetic dyes or fragrances.
- Product types: Body cream, oil, pills
- What to try: Relief & Recovery CBD Cream is fortified with soothing menthol and CBD oil to help minimize inflammation and nerve pain. Cynthia from Texas reports it’s “easy to apply, soaks in well, and leaves behind no sticky residue.”
The unofficial motto of Sunsoil is “keep things simple.” To that end, this Vermont-based brand breeds their own seeds for its whole plant CBD and organically farms its hemp without pesticides, herbicides, or GMOs.
- Sourcing: Seeds are bred in Vermont, where the team keeps a close watch on the hemp’s 150-day lifecycle that involves being transported from a cozy greenhouse to outdoor soil each June. Sunsoil was one of the first large U.S. hemp farms to receive USDA Organic certification.
- Known for: Sunsoil opts for organic coconut oil as its extractive agent (as opposed to carbon dioxide or alcohol) and uses the whole plant to draw out its CBD, which helps preserve all the cannabinoids and terpenes in their natural ratios. Extraction is complete within 24 hours. After that, CBD samples are sent to three certified labs for third-party testing.
- Product types: Tinctures, softgels
- What to try: Member Katrina from California says the Chocolate Mint Full Spectrum CBD Oil has helped her sleep better, and also that she appreciates “the ease of use with the dropper.”
Wellmade by Thrive Market is our exclusive supplement line that sources the highest quality, most sustainable ingredients from around the world (like organic black elderberries from Austria, for instance). Like the entire line, our hemp extract undergoes rigorous testing before hitting shelves.
- Sourcing: Our hemp is grown on a sustainable 500-acre Kentucky farm, which was the first to be granted a license to grow hemp in the U.S. after the passing of the 2014 Farm Bill.
- Known for: Each product is infused within an organic, raw hemp carrier oil and is full spectrum, which means beneficial chemicals and compounds are preserved. Throughout the process, formulas are tested at least three times for potency, contaminants, and quality.
- Product types: Tinctures, softgels, balms
- What to try: Our Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Gel Capsules offer 15mg of phytocannabinoids per serving and can be taken daily with water. Lindsay from California says it helps her sleep better—sweet dreams!
After struggling with anxiety, founder Jess Mulligan discovered that hemp helped ease her symptoms, and a brand was born. Formulated especially for women, Winged’s innovative products (like body oil and sheet masks) aim to provide confidence, mental focus, and stress relief.
- Sourcing: The brand uses Kentucky-grown, organic hemp tested in third-party labs, plus a solvent-free extraction method.
- Known for: The entire line is gluten-free, non-GMO, and focuses specifically on women’s needs and unique formulations that keep her body in mind.
- Product types: Gummies, body oil, facial oil, lotion, sheet mask
- What to try: Enhance an at-home spa night with a relaxing sheet mask. Each treatment infuses your skin with 15mg of CBD, while snow mushroom and aloe extracts help skin feel hydrated and refreshed. Stacey from Philadelphia says this mask is her new favorite. “I loved the substantial material and that it was more of a gel than a liquid that tends to slide off everywhere. When I took it off, my skin was absolutely radiant.”