September 11, 2020
Giving the Gift of CBD: 10 Favorite CBD Brands of the Season
READ TIME: 14 MIN. SPONSORED
'Tis the season for a little green. We're not talking about a gift card with a money holder. Nope. This year, many people are giving the gift of CBD. A vast array of hemp-derived products has also made its way onto the wish lists of those who have already discovered CBD's potential benefits.
Don't worry – hemp plants differ from marijuana in that they can only contain a maximum of .3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis). Some CBD products (broad-spectrum) are entirely THC-free. What these products do have are beneficial properties that include CBD, as well as CBG, terpenes and other cannabinoids, depending on how they're produced.
The CBD industry has exploded since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp cultivation in all 50 states. Suddenly, CBD tinctures, gummies, balms, sprays, lotions, capsules and bath bombs emerged on the market. But not all CBD products are created equal.
EDGE has curated the ultimate CBD holiday gift guide, including CBD gift boxes, CBD gift bundles, and the best CBD products of 2020. The only difficulty will be deciding whether to gift them or keep for yourself.
Founder and CEO Todd Davis saw the potential in CBD back in 2014 when he founded CBD Unlimited. Davis's biotech background came in handy when he began projecting business models, concluding that his competitors had one thing in common: nobody knew how to measure and control dosage. A trustworthy product line for those new to CBD, the brand supported (under the guidance of Dr. Daniel Kiddy) four separate studies with 180 volunteer patients to determine effective dosing ranges.
The result is a meticulously crafted premium hemp oil with 250 mg of hemp oil per 10 ml bottle. Their research indicates two to five drops delivers the optimum effect. One of our editors tested the peppermint-flavored CBD oil at five drops per evening for several days amid the chaos of the recent election results and found the product delivered a subtle calming effect.
CBD Unlimited's powerful topicals are a great option for your sporty friends or loved ones who always complain about aches and pains. We tried both the BalmX ($69.99) and the MistX ($39.99), and each delivered substantial relief within 15 to 20 minutes. The balm carries notes of clove and sweet birch, while the mist's menthol and peppermint will wake up your senses along with easing sore muscles.
You're not alone if the "green rush" of CBD products has felt overwhelming. But there's good news! With EVO3's Oil Sample Trio, you can now try out different flavors and strengths (as well as broad-spectrum THC-free) to see which CBD tincture is right for you. EVO3 uses American-grown organic hemp to press its purified CBD oils, each with quality and potency verified by independent labs. We also love that EVO3 has an in-house master cannabinologer who develops the brand's proprietary formulas and ensures quality control.
The Texas-based company's Sample Trio selection includes regular (50mg) and extra-strength (150mg) in a set of three 30-milliliter dropper bottles that are either unflavored or naturally flavored with orange or peppermint. The Sample Trio sets are remarkably affordable – perfect for CBD rookies or longtime fans looking to try a new brand. ($20, regular strength; $30 extra strength)
Bonus: For those looking for other ways to incorporate CBD into their lifestyle, EVO3 is launching a CBD-infused organic olive oil, now available for pre-order.
The innovative product line, which includes organic hemp oils, topicals, capsules and more, has become a leader for its vertical and transparent business model, rising to the top of a quickly-crowding CBD industry. While its benchmark product, CBD hemp oil, has helped thousands of people like founder Janel Ralph's daughter, Harmony, reduce seizures due to a rare genetic condition, the recently launched skin care line is also making waves.
The stimulating and restorative hemp and double mint bar soap ($19.99) is pamper-perfect. For those looking to assemble a Harmony-inspired gift box, we love the triple combination of mango hydrating lotion ($44.99); 4-C's anti-wrinkle cream featuring CBD, collagen, caffeine and carrot extract ($84.99); and lavendar night cream ($49.99), beautifully formulated with crushed lavender buds, rosemary seed extract and 300mg of CBD per 50ml jar. Best of all, Harmony CBD offers a free consultation to guide you towards the best CBD products for your needs.
Tweedle Farms' business model came to fruition in 2016, and over the past several years, the brand has gained momentum in an increasingly discerning and crowded marketplace. At first, the pair thought of growing for the processor market. It would have been the easier move, but in his gut, co-founder Jason Evans felt the hemp was "too good to be ground up and turned into distillate or isolate."
To get the purest expression of the Tweedle Farms CBD collection, we suggest the brand's new Pure CBD Oils. Neither broad-spectrum or full-spectrum, the pure CBD is made with nothing but CBD Isolate, MCT Oil or hemp oil, and botanical terpenes to bolster the "entourage effect" that occurs when cannabinoids are taken along with terpenes. And with concentrates up to 2,000 mg ($39), it's one of the most potent, purest and affordable tinctures on the market.
For those that want to soak in their CBD, imagine slipping into a warm bath fragrant with lavender, infused with maximum stress relief from 100mg of CBD. Tweedle Farms, Oregon's family-owned hemp farm, wants to make it so with its dissolving CBD bath bombs ($12/each; $44/4-pack). Made with natural, soothing ingredients like hemp-flower extract, avocado oil, Epsom salt and a blend of essential oils, the bath bombs are available in scents like rose, lemongrass, five thieves (made from rich herbal notes like cinnamon and clove), and the ever-popular lavender, which promotes relaxation and balance. Holiday stress and everyday aches can melt away where Tweedle's CBD-rich flower meets aromatherapy.
Want to dive deeper? Tweedle Farms offers CBD holiday gift boxes that package an array of its versatile CBD products and also is one of the few "farm-to-table" farms to make available non-psychoactive hemp flower.
Vermont Pure CBD
How sweet it is! Locally made honey and fair-trade chocolate ($20) are just the beginning–Vermont Pure CBD infuses these delicacies with CBD. Committed to sustainable, organically grown hemp, the company extracts its cannabidiol (aka CBD) and transforms it into a variety of full-spectrum, third-party-tested oils, topicals, edibles, capsules, and more.
CBD fans will enjoy Vermont Pure CBD's gift sets, but we found the naturally flavored, 120mg CBD dark and milk chocolate bars hard to resist. Or if you're gifting to a sweet-toothed friend, try CBD-infused Champlain Valley raw honey ($25-50), crafted for the best bioavailability and absorption.
And though it's not edible, we also love Vermont Pure CBD's Limited Edition Full-Spectrum CBD Goat Milk Soap, a collaboration with entrepreneur Sharon Kerwin of Orange Cat Soapworks and Thistle Ridge Farm. Each three-ounce bar contains 100mg of full-spectrum active CBD oil and the luxurious properties of fresh goat's milk, which has been a huge trend this season in skincare. ($15)
Made by Hemp
Made by Hemp reminds us that the act of giving extends beyond the recipient. We're all looking for conscious-minded brands these days, and when we learned about Made by Hemp's story, our hearts swelled.
Founder Jeff Gallagher unexpectedly lost his wife and father-in-law within a week of one another, sending his life into a tailspin that few have endured. Gallagher explored the benefits of CBD to combat the lack of sleep, stress and anxiety as an alternative to the addictive opioids that his doctor prescribed. Finding the relief Jeff so desperately needed, he made it his mission to help five people a month.
"From the darkest place in my life came the opportunity to help people," says Gallagher. "I'm particularly proud of our research, lab testing, taste testing – now all done in our very own Michigan production lab. We're always looking to do the right thing by delivering a best-in-class customer experience."
Seven years later, Made by Hemp has emerged as a leader in the CBD industry with a suite of more than 80 CBD products that harnesses the centuries-old powers of the hemp plant. And if you don't know where to begin, Made by Hemp's experts have created a thorough CBD buying guide, which offers first-rate guidance on terminology, ways to take CBD, dosage and so much more.
We sampled some of Made by Hemp's signature products, including tinctures for focus and relaxation. They immediately stood out to us, but each individual's experience is unique and you should try the best CBD solution for you based on what you are looking for. (Prices vary.)
EDGE Exclusive: Made by Hemp is offering EDGE readers a limited-time 50% discount to try the best CBD products to suit your needs. CLICK HERE to take advantage of this offer.
There's more coming out of bourbon than Kentucky these days. NanoSol Pro hemp products are grown from proprietary hemp genetics using organic practices and, much like wine, relies on the terroir of the land for a premium-grade product.
"For all things we put into or onto our bodies and those of our pets, fresh quality, domestically sourced ingredients and handling are always your best bet," says Mark Patterson, VP, Operations & Co-Founder, SilverLeaf Global, the makers of NanosolPro. "This is as true for hemp CBD as it is for great food, wine, spirits and wellness items that we all buy at stores, farmer's markets and specialty retailers. As a rule of thumb, the combination of weather, agricultural and growing conditions, plus established farming traditions and know-how, blend as well to create great Kentucky Bourbon as is the case for our premium hemp and CBD oil products. Quality matters, from farming to production to the end products that land on your shelf. Know your source."
We love that NanoSol Pro's tinctures are available in different concentrations. Our health editor tried both the 500 mg ($65) and 1,500 mg ($99) (both broad-spectrum/ THC-free) and found the former to be the ideal concentration, but everyone responds differently. A certificate of analysis, verified by an independent testing lab, is easily accessible online for each product.
We also got a kick out of some of the brand's more unique products: the Eite energy and recovery drink mix ($19.99/4-pack), a "tropical fusion" flavor that combines 20 mg of pharmaceutical-grade CBD with essential post-workout vitamins and minerals, was great after an at-home workout, while the NanoSol Pet hemp tincture ($39/250 mg) eased the muscle spasms of Luey, the over-active puppy of one of our editors.
Necessity and a father's love drove Chil Wellness founder Kevin DeMeritt to find alternate solutions for his daughter Aspen, who was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 18 months old. "I worked with scientists and doctors to formulate natural ingredients that could be used to help her feel more comfortable without negative side effects. We applied arnica, boswellia and medical-grade magnesium on her skin and she began to feel relief," recalls DeMeritt. "Then I heard about CBD and its potential benefits. When we started adding CBD into our topical formulas, we saw incredible improvement and knew we were on to something positive."
The result is a CBD product line with a particular focus on aches and pains. One of our editors, after an over-exerted home workout, tried Chil Wellness's best-selling product, Aspen's maximum relief salve ($59.95). The potent restorative properties include medical-grade magnesium crystals and 1,000 mg of organic full-spectrum CBD extract. Unique to Chil Wellness, Bio-Nano technology creates CBD molecules as small as 125nm in size, which is 700 times smaller than the width of a human hair. This unique technology allows for more advanced formulas to help the CBD penetrate deeper into your skin, and unlike many CBD salves, it smells terrific!
A must-have CBD gift for active loved ones or those who have arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, Chil Wellness also offers four different bundles for gift-giving, including the top-selling ultimate relief bundle ($99.95), which includes Aspen's maximum relief salve and mellow mint drops.
Saving Grace CBD
Saving Grace's mission is to create a global movement that educates, inspires, and transforms people's health through cannabinoid-based medicines. Unlike some brands attempting to cast a wide net with every kind of CBD product imaginable, Saving Grace has stayed smartly in its lane with a primary focus on expertly formulated tinctures and one of the strongest topical relief rubs on the market.
When it comes to gift-giving, we were immediately drawn to the Full-Spectrum CBD Wellness Bundle, which takes the hassle out of curating the brand's most popular CBD products. The collection provides all-day cannabinoid-based wellness and includes their proprietary Wellness full-spectrum tincture, the relief rub for midday aches and pains, and a unique CBN Sleep Formula, a melatonin-free terpene blend for a restful night's sleep. ($124.99, save 25% with monthly subscription)
We also appreciate Saving Grace CBD's product comparison, which offers a great explainer as to the vastly different priced tinctures in the marketplace. It's just one of the many resources available, along with expert perspectives from Saving Grace's co-founder and COO Jack Studebaker, which can be found on the site's CBD blog.
Go to Smoke Shop K. Haring Glass Rolling Tray
Add iconic art to your CBD experience with a glass rolling tray from the K. Haring Glass Collection. Officially licensed by the Keith Haring Foundation, the decorative collection of pipes and smoking accessories is among the various accessories available at Go To Smoke Shop. CBD and cannabis fans will appreciate the quality, and everyone can enjoy the beauty of Haring's singular artistic imagery. The brand's 12-by-7-inch glass tray comes in four designs to elevate and stimulate your holiday gifting. ($59.99)
Kelsy Chauvin is a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in travel, feature journalism, art, theater, architecture, construction and LGBTQ interests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @kelsycc.
Matthew Wexler is a senior editor at EDGE Media Network and author of "Uncommonly Good: Stories of Food, Life & the Birth of Good Commons." Read more of his work at wexlerwrites.com and follow him on social media at @wexlerwrites.