Welcome to our 2021 CBD Awards!
After dozens of brand and product reviews conducted this year, this is our chance to recognize those who truly outperformed the competition in the following categories:
As always, we promise to uphold real merit as the only currency here; no brand can buy their way onto this list with anything other than high-quality products and practices.
Since the competition is thickening all the time as industry newbies swagger their way onto the scene while the titans wrestle for supremacy, we had to get a little technical in our ranking methodology to separate some razor-thin margins.
In the case of individual brand reviews we conduct throughout the year, we use these criteria to provide each brand with an overall score out of 100 points.
Understandably, the more specific superlatives we’re doling out today require modified versions of these criteria, but the heart is very much the same.
To provide a few examples of the factors we borrowed from our brand review criteria, the products listed below are being recognized for their balanced and potent cannabinoid profiles, sustainability and quality of sourcing (organic?), overall value, extract availability (full-spectrum and broad-spectrum?), and more.
Alright, the host has babbled enough, the stage is set, and the nominees are fidgeting in their seats—let’s get to the awards!
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Our most highly rated brand to date, CBDistillery earned an unprecedented 97.44 in our brand review because, to put it simply, they did everything right.
In every major review category, including product quality, transparency, value, brand value and more, CBDistillery has made massive strides in the five years since their inception to become the best.
Their products are expertly formulated, their sourcing and testing standards are top notch, they treat their customers with great care and respect, and they’ve been vocally opposed to CBD industry gimmicks and bad actors since before they were a big fish.
Want to see for yourself why CBDistillery is the best? Check out our favorite products of theirs here.
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Organic MCT Coconut Oil, Organic Hemp Extract
Just when we thought we had the hemp industry giants settled perfectly into their rankings, in saunters relative newcomer Cornbread Hemp, unabashedly slamming their flower-only, full-spectrum, USDA Organic CBD oil on the table as if to say “deal with it” to the rest of the industry.
After reviewing the brand, sampling the products, meeting the founder, and thoroughly poking through the fine print, we have verified that all of their lofty claims are actually true.
This is one of only two products we’ve ever reviewed to hit all of the “big three” quality indicators at once (flower only, organic, full-spectrum), and like many industry leaders pushing for stronger tinctures, this one provides 50mg/2mg of CBD/THC per serving.
Better yet, the Kentucky hemp farms that Cornbread Hemp partners with are rain-fed, and they sit on a massive limestone deposit that improves soil and water quality.
900mg (30mg x 30)
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Organic Cane Sugar, Water, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Pectin (Pectin, Sucrose, Citric Acid, Sodium citrate), Organic Natural Flavors, Citric acid, Organic Lemon oil, Full Spectrum Hemp Extract, Terpenes
Following closely behind is CBDistillery’s full-spectrum CBD gummies, which boast 30mg of CBD each and a clean ingredient list rife with natural and organic ingredients.
Exceeding 25mg/gummy is commonplace nowadays, but in addition to CBDistillery’s rock-solid pedigree and overall brand value, we chose this product because the supporting cannabinoid presence is still well above average (7:1 ratio of CBD to other cannabinoids).
Finally, at $60.00 for 900mg, these gummies offer a very solid value for the quality.
Coconut Oil, Mango Butter, Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, Arnica Oil, Camphor, Receptra Hemp Extract, Organic Vitamin E, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Natural Plant Extracts [For Color]
Where many topical products in the CBD space suffer from puny CBD and/or supporting cannabinoid concentrations, Receptra’s targeted topical excels, and with a wealth of wellness-affirming ingredients to boot.
The 1.25oz tub delivers 400mg of CBD to be applied directly to problem areas for discomfort relief.
As mentioned, the ingredient list is also rife with health-boosting ingredients like jasmine, ylang-ylang, camphor oil, jojoba oil, arnica, organic vitamin E, and more.
In other words, this topical product literally checked every box we have, including ingredient quality, CBD/cannabinoid concentration, reliability (third-party testing), and value.
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Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Organic Carnauba Wax, Organic Arnica Oil, Organic Hemp Extract, Organic Eucalyptus Oil, Organic Peppermint Oil
As mentioned in our comprehensive review, Cornbread Hemp is the only brand we’ve ever known to offer a CBD topical made with all-organic ingredients and nothing else, including zero preservatives of any kind.
Moreover, the Peppermint + Arnica CBD Balm we’re referring to, like all Cornbread Hemp’s products, is made with full-spectrum hemp, extracted exclusively from the hemp flower (versus the whole plant).
Despite the premium quality, Cornbread Hemp keeps prices reasonable for all their topicals, and we noticed moderate reduction in discomfort that lasted several hours after using the balm.
900mg (15mg x 60)
Hemp Extract (aerial parts), Cannabidiol, Medium Chain Triglyceride Coconut Oil, Vegetarian Capsules [Hypromellose, Purified Water D-Sorbitol], Silica
Featuring six highly targeted, expertly formulated CBD capsules, Elixinol’s capsule catalog is simply too good to beat at the moment.
The Everyday Daily Balance capsules use MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) “carrier” oil for greater therapeutic potential.
In addition, the best-selling formulation provides a cannabinoid-dense, full-spectrum hemp extract derived from plants grown in the USA.
At less than $0.07/mg for this conscientiously developed CBD capsule (and the five other formulations), the Everyday Balance capsule lands firmly in first for 2021.
900mg (15mg x 60)
Vitamin B3 (Niacin), L-Tyrosine, Rodiola Rosea (3% Salidroside), Turmeric Curcumin (95% curcuminoids), ZumXR Extended Release Liquid Stable Caffeine, Terpene Focus Blend, AstraGin (Astralagus membranaceus and Panax notoginseng) Root Extracts, Hemp Extract (Aerial Parts), CBD, CBG, Rice Flour, Vegetable capsule contains purified water and hypromellose.
A brand that has made particularly large strides in the CBD capsule department of late, CBDfx is bringing some nootropic-enhanced, cannabinoid-rich options to the table.
Particularly, their Morning Capsules are an excellent option for those of us looking for a pick-me-up that doesn’t produce jitters or anxiety.
These capsules are fortified with a 6:1 ratio of CBD to CBG as well as a generous terpene presence and caffeine.
The result is a sustainable boost in energy that doesn’t impede your focus or sense of calm.
As is required to make this list, the value is fairly competitive as well (under $0.07/mg).
CBD: 450 (15mg x 30)
CBN: 150 (5mg x 30)
Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum) Mushroom Extract, Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus) Mushroom Extract, Full Spectrum Hemp Extract (Aerial Parts), Cannabinol, Cellulose (from Capsule Shell)< Medium Chain Triglycerides Oil
Though they aren’t out yet, if CBDistillery delivers on their promise of a “functional synergy” CBD capsule line that integrates Kava Root, Reishi, and Chaga mushrooms, and more, they will definitely be a contender for next year’s best CBD capsule award.
The Functional Synergy Unwind Mushroom Capsules look especially well-formulated, providing 5mg of CBN, 15mg of CBD, 300mg of Reishi mushroom extract, and 300mg of Chaga mushroom extract per capsule.
In addition to these and the Kava Root capsules, both of which target calm-promoting benefits, the Functional Synergy Focus Mushroom Capsules will use nootropics like Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps (more mushrooms!) for a sustained focus boost.
We’ll keep a close eye on this collection, sampling and reviewing as soon as possible to keep our readers up to date.
450mg: $44.95 ($0.11/mg)
900mg: $69.95 ($0.08/mg)
1350mg: $89.95 ($0.07/mg)
2250mg: $129.95 ($0.06/mg)
Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Organic Phytocannabinoid-Rich Hemp Extract
Fortified with 100% organic ingredients and a well-rounded broad-spectrum hemp extract, the Organic Broad Spectrum CBD Tincture from Joy Organics (we like Tranquil Mint) will not be easily unseated from the top spot for THC-free products.
This tincture comes in four concentrations (450mg, 900mg, 1350mg, and 2250mg) and flavors (Tranquil Mint, Unflavored, Summer Lemon, and Blood Orange).
And at less than $0.08/mg for even the smaller sizes, customers don’t have to pay outlandish prices to access this 0.0% THC, all-organic tincture.
Better yet, the brand’s gummies are broad spectrum as well, if that’s your preference.
750mg: $69.99 ($0.09/mg)
1500mg: $124.99 ($0.08/mg)
MCT Coconut Oil, CBD Hemp Extract, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Stevia
Also sporting both broad-spectrum and CBD isolate product categories is Social CBD, whose Blood Orange Broad Spectrum CBD Drops are our favorite THC-free offering from the brand.
They’re tested for potency and safety, competitively priced, and we love the flavor.
Overall, the THC-free selection at Social CBD is vast, including tinctures enhanced with cinnamon, acai berry, pomegranate tea, and other wellness-affirming ingredients as well as topicals and gummies.
Even their isolate oils are available with lemon ginger, peppermint, or lavender, which provide an excellent accent while staying out of the way in terms of unwanted synergies between cannabinoids.
1000mg: $75 ($0.08/mg)
2000mg: $125 ($0.06/mg)
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Full Spectrum Hemp Extract (Aerial Parts), Cannabigerol (CBG), Fractionated Coconut Oil (MCT), Natural Terpenes
Where most of the competition still has no option at all or a bare-bones CBG isolate, CBDistillery has given this wellness-affirming cannabinoid much more care and attention.
Specifically, the brand’s Daytime Synergy CBG + CBD tincture is the best product we’ve yet to see in the CBG department for a couple reasons.
First, this tincture (which comes in 1000mg or 2000mg concentrations) provides a 1:1 ratio of full-spectrum CBD to CBG, creating an excellent opportunity for synergistic benefits.
At under $0.08 per milligram (and under $0.07/mg for the higher concentration), we also recognize the solid value, considering CBG and other “minor cannabinoids” are generally more expensive to manufacture in such quantities.
500mg: $39.99 ($0.08/mg)
1000mg: $69.99 ($0.07/mg)
2000mg: $99.99 ($0.05/mg)
4000mg: $169.99 ($0.04/mg)
6000mg: $199.99 ($0.03/mg)
Hemp Extract (Aerial Parts), CBD, CBG, Coenzyme, Curcumin, Terpene Complex, MCT Oil, Coconut Oil, Stevia
In the case of CBDfx, we’re inclined to recognize two products that bring out the wellness-boosting properties of CBG without skimping on other botanicals: their CBD + CBG Oil Wellness Tincture and their CBD + CBG Morning Capsules.
The tincture provides a 2:1 ratio of CBD to CBG, and is enhanced by curcumin, coenzyme Q10, and a healthy dose of terpenes.
The price point is a bit steeper ($0.12/mg+ for lowest concentration), but considering the impressive ingredient list, not steep enough to knock this product out of contention.
As for the capsules, we’ve already mentioned them—the morning capsules contain a 6:1 ratio of CBD to CBG, caffeine, and terpenes.
1500mg: $119.99 ($0.08/mg)
MCT Coconut Oil, CBG Hemp Extract, Natural Flavors
Though we don’t normally invest a second glance into isolate products, the relative scarcity of CBG products and the high-integrity testing and sourcing standards of Social CBD compel us to shout out their Social Naturals CBG Oil Drops.
It’s especially difficult to isolate CBG, which is only produced by a small portion of the hemp plant, which is another reason we appreciate this product.
If you are looking for a super accurate indicator of the effects of CBG alone, and/or if you are unable to try broad-spectrum or full-spectrum products for whatever reason, you still have this tincture as an option.
Social Naturals CBG Drops are made with no artificial flavors or sugar, and having squeaked under the $0.08/mg bar, they’re relatively affordable as well.
600mg/1oz (450mg CBD, 150mg CBN)
1200mg/1oz (900mg CBD, 300mg CBN)
600mg: $60 ($0.10/mg)
1200mg: $100 ($0.08/mg)
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Full Spectrum Hemp Extract (Aerial Parts), Cannabinol, Fractionated Coconut Oil (MCT), Natural Terpenes
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Cannabinol (CBN) finds itself in a similar vein as CBG, and once again, CBDistillery is there to give some well-merited attention to this often skirted compound with their Sleep Synergy CBN + CBD tincture.
This time, it’s a 1:3 ratio of CBN to CBD (available in 150mg/450mg and 300mg/900mg concentrations), but the same high-quality full-spectrum CBD delivers plenty of supporting cannabinoids and terpenes.
As with all their products, CBDistillery backs this tincture up with industry-leading lab testing, sourcing, and manufacturing standards.
As expected, the value dips a bit in this category, but CBDistillery still sneaks under the $0.09/mg bar (when you count both CBD/CBN) with this tincture.
750mg: $24 ($0.03/mg)
1500mg: $40 ($0.03/mg)
3000mg: $70 ($0.02/mg)
6000mg: $120 ($0.02/mg)
Organic Hempseed Oil, Organic Coconut MCT Oil, Organic Full Spectrum Hemp Extract.
Even a polite “it was close” is out of the question here, since Lazarus Naturals continues to absolutely run away with it in the value department.
To provide some context, the 1,500mg concentration of their Classic High Potency CBD Oil Tincture costs $40 ($0.03/mg), where most high-profile competitors like CBDistillery compete around the $80-100 range for the same amount of product (and those brands we still consider affordable).
Of course, anyone can charge half the price for a terrible product, so we’ve thoroughly vetted Lazarus Naturals on multiple occasions with careful attention to detecting corner-cutting, and we simply couldn’t find any.
Going even further than other well-rated brands, Lazarus Naturals owns their own farms in Central Oregon, grows their own organic hemp, and keeps up with full-panel third-party testing.
Their product catalog is filled with targeted formulations and a broad range of concentrations and extracts, and after personally testing their products, we can confirm the high standard of quality.
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We can say without any exaggeration that pet CBD brand Honest Paws actually holds higher sourcing, testing, and formulation standards than the majority of for-human CBD brands out there.
These standards are detailed more extensively in our Honest Paws review, where the brand received just under a 90/100, but here’s a quick list of the highlights:
Aside from a couple of dings for more logistical items, Honest Paws is one of the most upstanding brands we’ve seen.
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In their own way, Elixinol have proven their mettle as the most innovative CBD brand of 2021.
The perfectly targeted and botanically enhanced capsule selection alone was enough to propel Elixinol into consideration for first, especially after their rapid reset liposome product is taken into account.
Building upon the well-established CBD oil tincture, this cutting-edge delivery system allows for a significantly higher absorption rate (of the CBD) by the body using microscopic droplets that transport the CBD more efficiently.
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As an industry frontrunner constantly trading elbows with the top brands, it wasn’t super easy to separate CBDistillery’s highly potent CBD products from these close competitors.
However, one particularly impressive outlier is the Synergy Collection, which includes gummies, tinctures, and soon, capsules enhanced with CBD, CBG, and more.
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It’s very rare for a newer and/or smaller brand to score above the low 80s on our brand review system, but Cornbread Hemp received a highly merited 92 for several reasons.
First, the Kentucky-based brand has made zero compromises in their product quality, including sourcing, processing, and formulation standards.
They offer several formulations boasting extremely clean ingredients, including an all-organic CBD topical with zero preservatives.
All of their exclusively full-spectrum CBD products are from the hemp flower only and USDA organic, two extremely strong quality signals.
Beyond product quality, many newer brands falter in our review system because they don’t prioritize philanthropy and/or community involvement early on, but Cornbread has already been contributing to local marijuana advocacy groups, a fund to help black business owners recover from the pandemic, and more.
Finally, as we mentioned in our Cornbread review, we were floored by the customer service—within less than a minute, we were connected to co-founder Jim Higdon himself.