Published on December 17, 2019

It’s safe to say that in 2019, we hit peak CBD. From the takeover of CBD seltzer to the proliferation of CBD skin care to the total domination of straightforward CBD oil, there’s been a lot to sort through—I know, because I’ve done just that.

Over the past year and change, I’ve interviewed experts, met with a substantial handful of brand founders, read dozens of reports, and, of course, tested CBD across a wide range of categories. I got a CBD massage. I drank CBD tinctures. I applied CBD lotion. And in frequent moments of to-do list–fueled distress, I held a dropper’s worth of CBD oil under my tongue.

The thing is, there’s not a whole lot of regulations in the CBD industry, and clinical research only just got easier to conduct in the U.S., thanks to the passage of a farm bill that finally recategorized industrial hemp (which, yes, is related to marijuana but does not contain the psychoactive component of THC) as an uncontrolled substance. Simply put: Not all CBD products are up to snuff. But I did find some that really do work—you might want to try them yourself.

The Beyond-Great Bath Salts

I’m a fan of Lord Jones’s entire product range (the brand is a CBD mainstay), but its bath salts are really something to write home about. They’re paired with dried calendula flowers and a blend of essential oils that make a soak in the most meager of tubs feel like a spa experience. Expect your limbs to feel very relaxed once you get out. 

The Classic Oil

For a no-frills dose of calm, I’ve found that Lily CBD’s 500 mg oil does the trick. The taste is subtle—a little herby—but it dissipates quickly if that’s not your thing. When my mood is a little off, half a dropper is enough to help me feel balanced.

The Aches Aid

I applied this lotion on my arms and legs after a shower, thinking it was just an ordinary cream. Five minute later, I was mystified why my limbs suddenly felt cool and relaxed—and then discovered the product contained both menthol and CBD. Now I apply it to my shoulders and chest after long days hunched over a laptop.

The Citrusy One

In times of intense stress and anxiety, I’m more likely to pull this CBD oil from Populum—it’s more potent than the Lily CBD, and I’ve found it provides quicker relief. It also has a sweet, citrusy taste instead of the typical herbaceous flavor most other tinctures favor.

The Soothing Tea

I drink around four to five cups of tea a day (as a former coffee addict who can no longer stomach more than one cup of joe in the morning), so I was intrigued when I discovered Waveland. The brand’s black tea, in particular, gave me a substantial boost in energy without the jitters that might typically come along with caffeine. Plus, a bit of orange peel brightens up the blend.

The Simple Seltzer

Not only is its bottle beautiful, this CBD seltzer is one of the best-tasting ones I’ve tasted. Cucumber, mint, and ample carbonation make it a refreshing, crisp drink. It’s light, which is tricky to master—most other options I’ve tried attempt to balance CBD’s flavor with more intense ingredients. Its effect on my mood was similarly subtle: I felt calm but not lethargic. 

The Skin Soother

This moisturizer is technically a body butter, but you know what? It’s safe to use on your face, too. I have quite dry skin, and I found the product’s rich consistency kept it hydrated all day long. Fun fact: CBD has an anti-inflammatory effect, so it also helped reduce the redness that sometimes flares up on my forehead. 

The Glorious Gumdrops

There are a lot of CBD gummies out there, but none taste quite as gourmet as Pollen’s, which come in flavors like pear turmeric and berry peppercorn. They’re offered in three different formulations to target different needs (energy, cramp relief, and stress relief) and, best of all, I didn’t find myself feeling unexpectedly sleepy after eating them. 

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