Modern life is stressful. Getting older hurts. Combined, these two truisms often make up the general thesis of many of brands that offer CBD products. It’s a premise many of us can relate to, but the sheer glut of these CBD companies can make it difficult to know which brand to try if you’re into it. Then, there’s the question of whether the promises surrounding CBD in general are too good to be true.
So we put our testing muscles to the, er, test, and sampled five different brands to find the best CBD gummies. Of all the brands we tried, we landed on CBDfx as our top pick for its flavor, cost, and potential deep-sleep benefits. But we’re relying on more than one tester’s tastebuds. We also dug into the science of what CBD can actually do for you—and what’s just marketing BS.
Here’s the TL;DR on how the best CBD gummies stack up:
- CBDfx CBD Gummy Bears (Best Overall)
- Charlotte’s Web Recovery Gummies
- Joy Organics CBD Gummies
- CBDistillery CBD Gummies
- Lord Jones Old Fashioned Hemp-Derived CBD Gumdrops
What Is CBD?
You may be wondering: What is the difference between CBD, Cannabis, Marijuana, Hemp, THC, weed, and edibles? And what are the risks associated with each?
Harvard Health Publishing “Cannabidiol (CBD)-what we know and what we don't” View Source (CBD) is a chemical found in both the cannabis (marijuana) plant and its cousin, the hemp plant. Cannabis contains significant amounts of THC, which is what gives people the “high” feeling associated with its use.
THC is also associated with Yale School of Medicine “Cannabis Use and Psychosis” View Source . (Not everyone who uses cannabis develops psychosis, and not everyone who develops psychosis uses cannabis). Long-term cannabis use can lead to Cedars Sinai “Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome” View Source , a rare condition that causes repeated and severe bouts of vomiting.
Hemp plants, on the other hand, contain little to no THC—the FDA “FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD)” View Source defines them as having less than .3% of the compound. This bill also authorized the regulated production of hemp, making hemp-derived CBD legal. This makes CBD legal in all U.S. states, but CFAH “Is CBD Oil Legal? Legal Status of CBD in 50 States in 2022” View Source to determine how it should be regulated (some are stricter than others). In short: A CBD product you find at a store or online is not the same thing as marijuana, but it’s in the same family.
Since its legalization, there’s been a boom in CBD products, from lozenges to tinctures to our product of note: gummies. But CBD’s health benefits are still up for debate. In 2018, the FDA approved the FDA “FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy” View Source to treat severe forms of epilepsy. To date, the strongest scientific evidence for CBD’s benefits is linked to treating Harvard Health Publishing “Cannabidiol (CBD)-what we know and what we don't” View Source that may not respond to medication. Preliminary research also suggests CBD may be beneficial for reducing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.
So how does that evidence currently stack up? One meta-analysis of a range of studies found that Innovare Journals of Medical Science “The Role of Cannabidiol in the Inflammatory Process and Its Properties as an Alternative Therapy—A Review” View Source as a treatment for anxiety and stress. But dosages administered in the studies referenced were all over the place—from 25mg to 800mg—and further study is needed. When it comes to sleep, a literature review found that Current Psychiatry Reports “Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature” View Source , whereas higher doses of CBD (160mg or more) increased the length of sleep in test subjects.
The evidence for CBD and pain is slimmer. A study in rats links CBD to lessened European Journal of Pain “Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis” View Source , but a mini-review Frontiers in Pharmacology “A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain” View Source suggests that using CBD for pain really depends on context. Certain conditions might be helped, others may not. (Anecdotally, I didn’t notice pain relief in my testing.)
Are CBD Products Safe to Use?
This is the million-dollar question! If you’re looking for guidance from a government agency, the general consensus is that CBD can cause harm. According to the FDA, evidence points to FDA “What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD” View Source . The National Library of Medicine says that MedlinePlus “Cannibidiol (CBD)” View Source has been safely used for up to 13 weeks. However, liver damage has occurred from the prescription-strength CBD product Epidiolex over time.
It’s also unclear if it’s possible to develop a dependency or resistance to CBD. THC, for reference, can cause National Institute on Drug Abuse “Is Marijuana Addictive?” View Source when drug use stops. Withdrawal may cause Marijuana Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline & Treatment “American Addiction Centers” View Source such as extreme nervousness and anxiety, feelings of anger or irritability, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, onset of depression, and physical symptoms such as fever, chills, headaches, sweating, or tremors. More research is needed to determine if CBD has the same effect.
Ness Rating: Unknown
There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence out there, and some promising… potential. But it’s too soon for us to say if CBD has a definitive health benefit because there’s just not enough scientific data available. (Yet.) If you choose to try CBD, speak with your doctor beforehand, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, on other medications, or dealing with addictive substance use.
What type of CBD should you try?
When looking into CBD products, you may notice that there are three main types of hemp-derived CBD: full-spectrum (contains less than 0.3 percent THC), broad-spectrum (contains trace amounts of THC), and isolate (pure CBD). Research suggests that Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center) “Cannabidiol primer for healthcare professionals” View Source are more likely to provide benefits. Because of this, we excluded CBD isolate products from our testing. That said, CBD isolate is often the only available option in states that require CBD products with 0% THC.
Last but not least, steer clear of synthetic CBD, which is sometimes called “spice” or “bath salts.” Unlike natural CBD, Harvard Health “CBD products are everywhere. But do they work?” View Source . This is dangerous for everyone, especially for those with preexisting mental conditions or drug sensitivity.
What should you know about CBD gummies?
All the studies we evaluated focus on CBD itself, not CBD in gummy form. This could impact our findings in two key ways. The first is that most gummies contain less CBD than the amounts typically studied in scientific literature. The highest CBD serving size for the gummies in this test was 50mg. Another is that taking a substance orally slows ingestion, especially if you’re used to smoking. When taken orally, full effect takes about 30 minutes to occur.
If your concern is with the gummy, not the CBD itself, you should review its ingredients to see if it’s suitable for your diet. All the gummies we looked at list some form of sugar as one of their first ingredients (with a range of 1-5 grams per serving). It’s a small amount, and will likely have less of an effect than the CBD itself, but it’s worth paying attention to if you’re sensitive to sugar.
Another factor to consider is if the gummy contains gelatin. (An animal part-based food product that’s often in gummy candy.) Almost all the brands tested in this article—Lord Jones being the exception—use tapioca syrup or starch, a vegan alternative to gelatin. But this may not be the case with all CBD gummies you encounter.
CBD Gummies We Recommend
The Best Edibles
CBDfx Gummy Bears
- 50mg broad-spectrum CBD per serving
- Third-party lab testing available
- Tastes great
- Helped provide restful sleep
- Vegan and cruelty-free
CBDfx received our best CBD gummy rating because it has the highest concentration of CBD (50mg CBD per each two-gummy serving), and, anecdotally, the most pleasant taste of all the gummies we tried. It seemed to help me achieve deeper sleep, too. CBDfx also provides third-party lab reports for all its products that you can access on its site.
The gummies have a child-locked lid (push down and twist), and beyond that, all I had to do was pop them in my mouth. (Confusingly, the brand refers to them as gummy “bears,” despite the fact that they are not bear-shaped. I try not to hold it against them.) While some other CBD gummies I tried had a noticeable musky flavor, CBDfx was pleasantly mild and berrylicious. It also only has 1 gram of sugar, so they taste more like gummy vitamins than gummy candy. I liked the focus on organic ingredients, such as cane sugar and tapioca syrup, and the fact that these are vegan and cruelty-free. That said, CBDfx has the PETA cruelty-free certification rather than the Leaping Bunny certification—the latter is more selective.
As with all the gummies on this list, I paid attention to whether they helped with stress, muscle soreness and pain, and sleep. I seemed to sleep more deeply with CBDfx and woke feeling refreshed—even though I’m already a pretty good sleeper. I usually sleep for about nine hours, but with these gummies, I’d wake after 8 or 8.5 hours feeling ready for the day. That said, it didn’t seem to improve my sleep that dramatically compared to other gummies with lower concentrations of CBD, so 50mg may be more than is necessary for solid sleep. I didn’t notice any improvement in my stress levels during the three days I took the gummies. My workout soreness and lower back pain didn’t improve, either.
That said, CBDfx makes it clear on its FAQ page that it does not make any claims about its product and its effect on anxiety and cannot make any claims about its product and its effect on pain. So in that sense, the gummies are exactly what the brand says: A tasty vehicle for CBD.
The Yummiest Edibles
Charlotte’s Web Recovery Gummies
- 10mg full-spectrum CBD per serving
- Third-party lab testing available
- Tasty orange-ginger flavor
- Claims of improving post-workout soreness didn’t measure up
Charlotte’s Web Recovery gummies are bright orange and square. Each two-gummy serving contains 10mg of CBD and has a musky hemp smell and unique texture. It’s denser and more plastic-y than other gummies. But stay with me: They also taste like citrus and ginger and have some of the best flavors of the bunch.
Like other gummies on this list, they also seemed to deepen my sleep. The reason they didn’t make the top spot is that they claim to aid recovery—Charlotte’s Webb adds ginger (25mg) and turmeric (53 mg) to supposedly help with post-workout aches and pains—but my post-workout soreness didn’t noticeably improve when taking them. Sure, none of the other gummies did much for muscle soreness either, but seeing the claim and not getting results was disappointing. The label includes a brief section for suggested use—two gummies once per day—and featured a childproof push-and-twist cap that was easy to operate. Charlotte’s Web also offers third-party lab testing on its site.
- 10mg broad-spectrum CBD per serving
- Third-party lab testing available
- Organic ingredients
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- Odd flavor
- Tough to open bottle
There’s a lot to like about Joy Organic’s CBD offerings. Its simple, mostly-organic ingredients made this a top contender. It’s easy to access their third-party lab reports via a QR code on the jar. (You can also access the lab report right on the site.) The label also included basic instructions about how often to take the gummies (one gummy one or more times per day). It contains 10mg of CBD per serving.
Joy Organic’s gummies come in green apple and strawberry lemonade flavors. I went for the green apple flavor, which, sadly, smelled better than it tasted—like one of those caramel apple lollipops but with insufficient sweetness, so it ended up tasting watered-down and a little hempy. The sugar crystals that coating the cubes looked enticing, though. And the jar’s childproof lock took some finesse when I tried to open it the first time (by which I mean—I made my husband do it.)
Joy Nutrition claims its gummies “Take the edge off with a tranquil treat,” “de-stress,” “relax and unwind without losing focus,” and “tackle whatever stresses life throws at you.” The gummies seemed to help me sleep, but I didn’t notice any benefit in my stress, pain, or focus levels.
CBDistillery CBD Gummies
- 30mg full-spectrum CBD per serving
- Third-party lab testing available
- Provided best night’s sleep of all CBD gummies tested
- Strong and lingering hemp flavor
Of all the gummies I tried, these ones gave me the deepest night’s sleep. CBDistillery’s gummies have some organic ingredients and are vegan. It also has a QR code on the bottle that you can scan to view third-party test results, and some lab tests are also on the site.) Each single-gummy serving contains 30mg of full-spectrum CBD.
The gummies smell like strawberries, and on the first bite, they were a little sour, then sweet. But the reason they didn’t make the top listing is that their musky hemp flavor is particularly strong and lingering. I ended up brushing my teeth to get rid of it.
In a survey conducted by the brand among 1,900 participants, CBDistillery says it found that most users said CBD helps with mild or temporary anxiety, helps “calm their mind,” helps achieve better sleep, and helps with pain after physical activity. I didn’t notice any difference in my pain, and the first day I took the gummies I actually ended up a bit more anxious than when I started—although it would be hard to blame the gummies directly for that. The label provides instructions on taking the gummies (one gummy, once or twice a day). But it’s behind a peel-back label, so I almost missed it.
CBD Gummies We Don’t Recommend
Bougie, but Below Average
Lord Jones Old Fashioned Hemp-Derived CBD Gumdrops
- 20mg broad-spectrum CBD per serving
- No lab testing available
- Fancy packaging
- Expensive for the number of gummies you get
- Recommended airtight container isn’t provided
The Lord Jones gummies felt the most luxurious of all the gummies I tested. They come in two flavors, lemon and strawberry, both of which are nicely sweet with only a little musk (although the strawberry is superior, in my opinion.) The box they come in is fun, too, with a family-crest style logo and the words “For Your Royal Highness” (heh) written on them. I guess I’m royalty now.
Well, maybe I’m an uninformed royal. Lord Jones claims its products are “lab-tested for purity and consistency,” but doesn’t provide the lab tests on its site. Each single-gummy serving contains (or is said to contain) 20 mg of broad-spectrum CBD, and the container itself has just nine gumdrops—an insulting number considering its $35 cost. They contain gelatin, too, which makes them unsuitable for vegans or vegetarians. Most egregiously, Lord Jones advises storing the gummies in an airtight container, which the brand doesn’t provide. Instead, it comes in a small cardboard box and unresealable plastic bag, which makes it almost indistinguishable from any non-cannabis-derived candy (and definitely isn’t childproof).
Lord Jones advertises a “calm sense of wellbeing” upon taking the gummies, which I didn’t experience. They also didn’t have an effect on my back pain, and I actually slept somewhat poorly after taking these gummies—but I think it’s fair to blame my husband’s tossing and turning for that.
How We Got Here
Meet Your Guinea Pig
I’m Colleen Stinchcombe, a health writer with work in SELF, Woman’s Day, and Health.com. I don’t have a clinical anxiety disorder, but I can get stressy like most humans. I’m always happy to try a new (healthy) way to take the edge off.
Our Testing Process
I tested five different gummy brands, each for three days: Once before bed, once after a workout, and once during a moment of stress. This involved taking a full serving size each time per the gummy’s label. I also took a one-day break between each product. I self-evaluated pain, stress, and sleep quality after each test to make note of any changes.
The CBD Gummies Buying Guide
Should I try CBD gummies?
CBD has a reputation as a pain and stress reliever, and sleep aid. However, scientific evidence for the health benefits of consumer-grade CBD—let alone gummies—is pretty lacking. It’s a good idea to check in with your doctor before taking CBD, especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, on any medications, or have a history of addiction.
It’s also worth noting that CBD follows a dose-response curve. In simple terms, there’s a sweet spot where effects are optimal. For many people, this may mean less is more. If you’re just starting to take CBD, start with a dose on the smaller side and go from there.
Which features matter most when buying CBD gummies?
Because there’s little evidence for CBD’s therapeutic benefit, especially within gummy-sized doses, features are mostly up to you; you can decide how to prioritize medicinal efficacy, taste, and packaging. However, we recommend looking for brands that provide third-party analysis to verify what the gummies actually contain. Otherwise, opt for flavors that sound appealing to you and stay skeptical of health claims made by CBD companies.
A few questions to ask when buying CBD gummies:
- Is this company transparent about the amount of CBD per gummy? You should know exactly how much you’re consuming. If in doubt, start with a low dose (about 10 mg per serving) and work your way up.
- Does this company have third-party testing to confirm the ingredients in their gummies? Some brands go the extra mile and send the product to a lab. (One that isn’t affiliated with the brand.) This way, you can know exactly what’s in the gummy, not what the brand says is in it.
- What kind of promises does the company make? Research on CBD is still in preliminary phases, which means the CBD brand you try shouldn’t promise the moon. A possibility of deeper sleep and maybe an increased sense of relaxation? Sure. The final cure to all forms of anxiety and depression? No.
- How much sugar is in each serving? It likely won’t be more than a few grams. But it’s good to check either way if it’s a concern for you.
- Is it suitable for a vegetarian or vegan diet? Check to see if it contains gelatin—which contains animal parts—or a vegan alternative like tapioca.
- Cannabidiol is found in both cannabis and hemp: CBD products are everywhere. But do they work? (Harvard Health Publishing, December 2021)
- THC is associated with short-term psychosis: Fact Sheet: Cannabis and Psychosis (Yale School of Medicine)
- CBD is legal across the US, but states regulate it differently: Is CBD Oil Legal? Legal Status of CBD in 50 States in 2022 (CFAH, March 2022)
- CBD may help with stress and anxiety: The Role of Cannabidiol in the Inflammatory Process and Its Properties as an Alternative Therapy—A Review (Innovare Journals of Medical Science, February 2020)
- How different CBD quantities can impact sleep: Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature (Current Psychiatry Reports, March 2017)
- CBD may relieve pain: Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis (European Journal of Pain, October 2015)
- Using CBD for pain depends on context: A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain (Frontiers in Pharmacology, April 2020)
- CBD may cause harm: What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD (FDA, March 2020)
- Up to 200 mg of CBD can be used for up to 13 weeks: Cannabidiol (CBD) (National Library of Medicine)
- THC can cause dependency and withdrawal: Is Marijuana Addictive? (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
- THC withdrawal symptoms: Marijuana Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline & Treatment (American Addiction Centers, March 2022)
- Full and broad-spectrum CBD may be better than CBD isolate: Cannabidiol primer for healthcare professionals (Proceedings [Baylor University. Medical Center], July 2022)
Our research and review process is intended for informational purposes only—never as a substitute for medical treatment, diagnosis, or advice. Recommendations or information found on this site do not infer a doctor-patient relationship. Always consult a healthcare provider if you have questions about how a product, service, or intervention may impact your individual physical or mental health.
Our evaluations of products, services, and interventions have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. Information and research about health changes frequently. Therefore, some details or advice on this site may not be up-to-date with current recommendations.
The Nessie is an independent publication and is not in any way affiliated with the production or creation of products, providers, services, or interventions featured in reviews or articles on the site.