Skip to content

The 6 Best Hemp Derived CBD Capsules Of 2023 + How To Choose One

Emma Loewe
Author: Expert reviewer:
Updated on February 7, 2023
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN
Expert review by
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN
mbg Vice President of Scientific Affairs
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's degree in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia.
Last updated on February 7, 2023
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

As national stress levels continue to hover at all-time highs, calming tools like hemp-derived CBD capsules, are in demand.* Curious to try them out for yourself? Here's your guide to choosing an effective one.

What are hemp-derived CBD capsules? 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a botanical compound found in the industrial hemp plant, or Cannabis sativa L1.—a fast-growing and ancient crop that can thrive in many conditions.

Different sections of the versatile plant can be used to make everything from clothes to cooking oils. In its aerial parts—that's the leaves, flowers, and stems—you'll find hemp's CBD, along with an array of other healthy plant compounds called phytocannabinoids (of which CBD is one of many, but a star player), terpenes, and flavonoids. Once distilled from the plant, the hemp CBD can be turned into its own supplement known as an isolate product. Or, it can be combined with those other phytocannabinoids and beneficial plant compounds.

When a hemp supplement product contains this full array of phytocannabinoids, it's considered full-spectrum. By U.S. law, all hemp plants must be bred to contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That's considered trace amounts (i.e., negligible) of this phytocannabinoid. In the European Union, they are more strict, at less than 0.2% THC2 by dry weight.

This means that, unlike other cannabis plant cultivars that are much higher in THC, truly agricultural hemp products should not lead to psychoactive effects. Instead, they can be taken to promote a more subtle, levelheaded sense of calm.* And broad-spectrum hemp extract varieties are like full-spectrum, minus the THC altogether (so, you technically lose the full entourage of plant compounds).

In full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate hemp products, CBD is the protagonist of the hemp storyline, as it's the phytocannabinoid found in concentrated amounts. Hemp-derived CBD supplements usually come in oil tinctures or capsules (i.e., gelcaps/softgels).

While both delivery formats are useful, capsules allow for more precise dosing, greater convenience (take anywhere, no liquid dropper required), and don't have the grassy flavor and mouthfeel of hemp oil tinctures that some find off-putting.

They can also include other botanical ingredients that can further their relaxing benefits.*

Summary

CBD is a botanical compound found in the industrial hemp plant. Once distilled from the plant, the hemp CBD can be turned into its own supplement known as an isolate product. Hemp-derived CBD supplements usually come in oil tinctures or capsules (i.e., gelcaps/softgels).

What are hemp-derived CBD capsules used for?

Hemp CBD, as well as the plant's other phytocannabinoids, can be taken to support a healthy endocannabinoid system (ECS).* The ECS is an important regulatory system that runs throughout our entire bodies to keep various organs and cellular processes in balance. Compared to other body systems (think cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, immune, etc.), the ECS is the semi-new kid on the block.

Research only picked up on it within the last few decades. Even so, some promising research has come in to show how hemp's botanical compounds work to nurture this essential system3.*

In a 2020 clinical study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements4, 65 overweight but otherwise healthy men and women consumed a supplement of 15 milligrams of hemp-derived CBD for six weeks.

By the end of the randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, hemp supplementation was found to promote stress resilience and improve perceived life pleasure.* And in a 2019 trial in 72 adults5, hemp-derived CBD in capsule form was found to reduce stress and promote sleep at doses around 25 mg—and it came with few side effects or safety concerns.*

In fact, one of the "side effects" of hemp oil (although typically at higher doses), in capsule or tincture, is sleepiness (some would call that a benefit).* Given its ability to help ease stress, it would make sense that hemp products come with some other perks of a calm state of mind, like a brighter mood, less reactivity, and higher productivity.*

Summary

Hemp-derived CBD can be taken to support a healthy endocannabinoid system (ECS),* an important regulatory system that runs throughout the human body to keep various organs and cellular processes in balance.

What to look for

Not all supplements are created equal, and this is especially true with hemp. Here, mbg's vice president of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, touches on some of our markers of a high-quality product:

  • Organic: Industrial hemp is a bio-accumulator, meaning it's good at sucking up materials from the surrounding soil—including chemical insecticides and pesticides. For this reason, we recommend looking for a hemp extract that is organic. If it's also USDA- (or even better, E.U.-) certified organic, that's cream of the crop. Also, remember: European hemp oil has more stringent THC cutoffs than U.S. hemp. The hemp should also be traceable and the brand should show a commitment to quality through purity and potency testing, from raw materials to finished products.
  • Full-spectrum: "Although broad-spectrum and CBD isolate options are relevant options for some, we prefer full-spectrum hemp oil/extract varieties," Ferira explains, "as this represents the native array of plant compounds, from phytocannabinoids and terpenes to flavonoids." When all of these plant compounds are taken in tandem, they are also thought to have greater effects.*
  • No sprinkling: For starters, a good hemp supplement will contain the right amount of phytocannabinoids to promote calm.* Research shows that 15 to 25 mg of hemp-derived CBD per serving is an evidence-based dose for easing stress and balancing our mood.* If other botanicals or bioactives are included in the product, Ferira says that these need to be present at clinically relevant levels as well. It's not enough just to add them—you need to add enough of them to actually work!
  • Overall quality: A clean hemp supplement will have a shortlist of extras (you know, the "other ingredients" list) and be free of unnecessary fillers, sugars, and synthetic colors or flavors. It should come in a format that's pleasant to take daily or as needed.

RELATED STORY: What Is CBN? How It's Different From CBD, Benefits + More

The following six products fit our criteria and then some, and we consider them to be the best hemp-derived CBD capsules on the market right now.

The best hemp-derived CBD capsules of 2023

Best low-dose full-spectrum: Populum Full-Spectrum Hemp CBD Capsules

Capsule count

  • 30/bottle

Price at time of publish

  • $109
Potency: 16.59 mg CBD per capsule

Populum's full-spectrum hemp is organically grown in Colorado. You'll find 15 mg of hemp-derived CBD per serving of their lower-concentrate gelcaps—a good dose for a gentle wave of relaxation. With a short "other ingredients" list, these capsules are also vegan and non-GMO. Populum offers a 30-day trial period with their products, and if you love them, a discounted subscription model is also available.*

Best vegan full-spectrum: Charlotte's Web 25 mg CBD Oil Liquid Capsules

Capsule count

  • 30/bottle

Price at time of publish

  • $75
Potency: 25 mg CBD per capsule

Another vegan option, Charlotte's Web's vegetable capsules contain just three ingredients: full-spectrum hemp extract, organic extra-virgin olive oil, and the vegetable liquid cap itself. Their hemp extract comes from hemp grown in the USA. Charlotte's Web is a veteran company in the hemp space and a trusted, transparent name in the phytocannabinoid market.

Best regular-dose broad-spectrum: Lord Jones Hemp-Derived CBD Gel Capsules

Capsule count

  • 30/bottle

Price at time of publish

  • $55
Potency: 25 mg CBD per capsule

While full-spectrum hemp may contain trace amounts of THC (again, at levels below 0.3%), broad-spectrum products aim to remove the compound altogether. For anyone who needs zero THC, these capsules from Lord Jones pack all the beneficial phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids of a well-rounded hemp product—including 25 mg of CBD per serving—without detectable levels of THC.*

Best high-dose broad-spectrum: cbdMD CBD Oil Softgel Capsules

Capsule count

  • 60/bottle

Price at time of publish

  • $109
Potency: 50 mg CBD per capsule

Third-party tested to be THC-free, cbdMD's broad-spectrum option packs a higher dose of hemp-derived CBD—50 mg per softgel—making them the strongest (and most expensive) on the list. During moments of high stress or tension, they're a great option to have on hand. They also contain vitamin E (tocopherols) as an "other ingredient," because this antioxidant supports the freshness of the ingredients.*

Best hemp-derived CBD isolate: Green Roads CBD Softgels

Capsule count

  • 30/bottle

Price at time of publish

  • $50
Potency: 25 mg CBD per capsule

Full-spectrum is largely considered the gold standard in the hemp space but if you are going to go with an isolate product that only contains hemp-derived CBD, make it this one from Green Roads. The female-owned company specializes in CBD products from hemp grown in the U.S. that are formulated by pharmacists and third-party tested for purity and potency.

Best for beginners: Papa Barkley Regular Strength Releaf Softgels

Capsule count

  • 10/bottle

Price at time of publish

  • $20
Potency: 30 mg CBD per capsule

This 10-pack of full-spectrum hemp capsules makes it easy for people who are new to the product to try it out without shelling out for a larger size. Coming in at 30 mg of hemp-derived CBD per serving, each gelcap will give beginners a good indication of what to expect with a phytocannabinoid hemp supplement product.

The takeaway

These hemp-derived CBD capsules should support a calmer mood and brighter outlook at any time of the day.*

If you're new to the phytocannabinoid world, be sure to read our expert-approved recommendations for finding your ideal dose, fitting the product into your lifestyle, and gauging how it's working for you before trying your first capsule. Happy hemping!

Meet The Experts

Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's degree in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia.