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While 67% of U.S. adults support marijuana legalization, public knowledge about cannabis is low. A third of Americans think hemp and marijuana are the same thing, according to the National Institutes of Health, and many people still search Google to find out whether cannabidiol – a cannabis derivative known as CBD – will get them high, as marijuana does.

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One would assume, then, that hemp-derived CBD should be federally legal in every state because the THC levels don’t surpass 0.3%. But CBD occupies a legal gray area. Several states, such as Nebraska and Idaho, still essentially regulate CBD oil as a Schedule 1 substance akin to marijuana.

The defining difference between hemp and marijuana is their psychoactive component: tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Hemp has 0.3% or less THC, meaning hemp-derived products don’t contain enough THC to create the “high” traditionally associated with marijuana.

A stand at the 2019 Southern Hemp Expo, in Tennessee. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

There are three major types of CBD oil: broad-spectrum, full-spectrum, and CBD isolate. Full-spectrum CBD oil contains other compounds from the cannabis plant, such as terpenes, other cannabinoids, and a maximum of 0.3 percent THC. On the other hand, broad-spectrum and CBD isolate are both THC-free CBD oil forms. We compared some of the most popular THC-free CBD oils to find the best ones available to buy online, based on potency, transparency around third-party lab testing, brand reputation, customer reviews, price, and other ingredients used.

If you've been considering adding CBD to your wellness routine but are concerned about possible side effects, THC-free CBD oil is a great place to start. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the part of the cannabis plant that's responsible for psychoactive effect (in other words, the feeling of being 'high'). While some types of CBD, or cannabidiol oil, contain very trace amounts of THC, an oil that's completely THC-free ensures you're not ingesting even the tiniest bit of the ingredient. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of CBD without worrying about any psychoactive effects that may impede your work or home activities.

These are the 5 best THC-free CBD oils:

Overall, THC-free CBD oil is safe with few, if any, adverse effects. However, some people may experience mild side effects, but this can typically be reduced by lowering the dosage as needed. 

Broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate are two THC-free types you may consider. Broad-spectrum contains some of the other beneficial cannabis plant compounds found in full-spectrum CBD, but it is still THC-free. On the other hand, CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, and therefore contains no other cannabis compounds.

When you're starting to take any CBD product, you'll want to begin with a very low dose and gradually increase only as tolerated. The amount of CBD a person may take in a day will vary depending on weight, how long you have been taking CBD, and the desired effect, for example. Research shows that those with anxiety may require single doses of 300 to 600 milligrams daily to feel benefit. You should work with your healthcare provider to find the dose that is right for you.