Understanding Different Types of CBD Products

Understanding Different Types of CBD Products

With so many types of CBD products, it’s hard to choose the right one for you. Learn how to decipher the CBD oil types and simplify your shopping experience here.

If you’ve been shopping around, you’ve no doubt seen a variety of types of CBD products. From foods infused with CBD to CBD oil pills, bath bombs, skin creams, sprays, vapes, lip balm, and even clothing – how do you know what’s best for you? Even CBD pet products come in a dizzying array these days.

To make matters more complicated, the CBD itself comes with different labels: isolate, broad spectrum, full spectrum. And if you search for CBD in certain places like Amazon, you’ll turn up a lot of products with labels like “hemp extract” and “hemp oil.”

When it comes down to it, though, there are really only a few basic CBD oil types, and a few basic ways your body absorbs it. Sorting through these can drastically simplify your shopping and help decipher the often confusing labels. Let’s dive in.

A colorful diagram demonstrates the difference between broad and full spectrum cbd

Is All CBD Oil the Same?

Let’s start with the CBD itself. The dictionary definition of CBD is straightforward: it’s cannabidiol, a compound found in the hemp plant.

However, different ways of extracting and formulating CBD can yield slightly different CBD oil types, including:

  • CBD Isolate is the purest form of CBD, removes all other cannabinoids during the refinement process.
  • Full-Spectrum CBD contains cannabidiol, terpenes, essential oils, and up to 0.3 percent THC.
  • Broad-Spectrum CBD contains all compounds found in hemp except for THC.

If the product includes CBD but no other hemp extracts, that’s CBD isolate. If it includes other ingredients of hemp, including all the other cannabinoids, that’s full spectrum CBD. However, those who want to avoid even trace amounts of THC are going to prefer broad spectrum CBD, which contains other hemp products but can let you pass a drug test. For more details, see our post about the difference between full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD.

Moreover, the formulas that different companies use for their broad spectrum or full spectrum products differ from one another. We pride ourselves in our unique Superior Broad Spectrum CBD products, with a carefully balanced formula including the best of hemp with undetectable THC.

But the best way to know what’s in a given company’s CBD formula is to see if they post the results of an independent lab test on their website. You can check out our lab results here.

A glass jar of cbd oil sits among hemp seeds next to a wooden spoon

CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil

As mentioned earlier, another point of confusion is that in some e-commerce sites, a search for “CBD” does not turn up anything labeled CBD but many things with “hemp” in the name. The reason is that the legality of CBD varies between different states, leading some venues to be extremely cautious about selling anything labeled “CBD.”

However, much more leeway is given to hemp, so some CBD companies sell products with hemp-related labels. The main thing to be careful about here is that there’s also something called hemp seed oil, sometimes sold simply as “hemp oil,” which contains no CBD though it makes a nice cooking oil. So look on the label for “hemp extract” as an ingredient. Or better yet, just buy from a site that actually sells CBD.

What Forms Does CBD Come In?

CBD extract by itself is a crystal that’s not fit for human consumption, so the various types of CBD products all provide different mediums for transmitting it into your body. The medium has an impact on the strength and duration of the CBD effects, but other factors like convenience and personal taste are also important.

While there are many different products out there, we can usefully group them into a handful of categories.

Two bottles of cbd oil from cbdmd in 3000 mg and 750 mg strength sit side by side


Tinctures are usually CBD oil in the most literal sense: CBD (of whatever spectrum) in edible oil. Sometimes they will have other ingredients for flavoring or added health benefits. For instance, CBD PM, our award-winning CBD Product of the Year, includes melatonin and a special blend of herbs to maintain regular sleep cycles.

Prof surfer Nathan Florence is a particular fan of this formulation, given his travel schedule. “And talk about the long flights, I will snooze thru!” he said. “CBD alone helps deepen the sleep and the melatonin will help you get there faster.”

Like many CBD brands, cbdMD sells CBD oil tinctures in bottles with droppers to allow precise measurement. When delivered under the tongue, this is a relatively fast-acting form of CBD, usually taking effect in about 30 minutes and lasting six or seven hours.

A bottle of 3000 mg cbd oil capsules sits on a night stand


CBD capsules provide a nice no-fuss way to get your daily CBD. You swallow them, and they go through your digestive system, taking an hour or two for you to feel the effects. Still, if you take one every morning and evening, it can provide an excellent steady baseline of CBD wellness as you go throughout your day.

CBD capsules can also include extra ingredients for added benefits, as in our CBD PM softgels with a similar formula to the tincture sleep aid.

A bottle of 750 mg cbd gummies from cbdmd sits on a table near some fruit


Edibles include anything you can eat that contains CBD. We sell CBD gummies, which are very popular, but manufacturers and restaurants have found ways to work CBD into a huge array of food and drinks. You can also find pet edibles such as CBD peanut butter for dogs.

However, your ability to find CBD edibles depends on where you live, because the legality of CBD in food is still unsettled. Some cities and states have cracked down on it, while others have let it slide or even encourage it as a boon to local businesses. Ordering edibles online is likely the safest way to go.

A dark haired woman sits in a coffee shop and blows out a cloud of vape smoke


Inhalation is a uniquely powerful way of taking CBD. Users likely feel the effects almost instantly, and much more of the CBD makes it to the bloodstream – around 50 to 60 percent, compared to 20 or 30 percent for ingested forms.

On the downside, inhaled CBD wears off after only two or three hours. Users also have to be careful about the type of oil used as the medium, since some oils can damage the lungs.

A tube and pump bottle of 750 mg CBD Freeze from cbdmd sit a wooden bench with a white towel


CBD topicals come in many forms because almost any topical grooming product can incorporate CBD – lotions, cosmetics, menthol rubs, lip balm, bath bombs; you name it. Therefore, you’d choose the product for the same reasons you’d want any product of that sort, but get the added benefits of CBD.

Topicals don’t deliver CBD into your bloodstream, but they can be helpful for skin care. And topicals, including pain medications, are popular with athletes.

“I got into CBD because 3 of my last 5 fights required major surgery,” said MMA champ Tyron Woodley. “Lots of scar tissue and pain. My favorite product is the freeze roller. Easy to travel with and effective.”

Transdermal patches can potentially offer the best of both worlds: targeted relief to a particular part of the body and the CBD eventually seeping into the bloodstream for whole-body benefits.

300 mg cbd soft chews for dogs and 300 mg cbd gummies from cbdmd sit side by side on a brick step


How to Consume CBD Oil

Each of these CBD oil types has a different method of application, so be sure to read the instructions on every package you get. And of course, it varies depending on whether you’re giving CBD to yourself or an animal. But there are a few general guidelines.

If you’re just starting yourself or your pet on CBD, such as a tincture or edible, it’s best to start slow and steady. Try doing one serving every morning and evening and monitor your reaction for a few weeks. If you feel you need to, gradually increase the amount.

CBD products with added ingredients, such as pain medicines or sleep aids, are best used on an as-needed basis. You might find it helpful to take a daily tincture or capsule and take a nightly soak with CBD bath bombs, but have a CBD menthol rub handy for exercise recovery or a CBD sleep aid for jet lag.

Feel free to experiment. Everybody has individual needs and responses to CBD oil. Try out some of the different types of CBD products in various combinations. We’ve got CBD bundles for sale for both people and pets, or just build a personal regimen that works best for you!

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