The breakout feel-good ingredient of 2018 is CBD. And unlike previous years’ contenders—remember turmeric, goji berries, and acai?—cannabidiol can be found in a vast array of products that are elegant enough for holiday gift giving, from chocolates to bath salts.
Before you order any CBD gifts for friends or family, though, you’ll want to know a few things about the year’s hottest wellness product. A plentiful compound in marijuana and hemp plants, CBD won’t get you stoned. Leave that to tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, for short.
But CBD shows promise in lifting your mood, relieving anxiety, sharpening focus, improving sleep, relieving sore muscles, even giving you clearer skin. This smorgasbord of benefits is possible, experts say, because CBD interacts with cell receptors that are found all over the body.
The omnipresence of these neural messengers—on the surface of your skin, in your gut, in the recesses of your brain—is also why CBD can work through a variety of delivery methods, from balms to vape pens.
Finally, laws around shipping CBD are murky and ever evolving. The bottom line at the moment is that CBD derived from hemp, not weed, is, let’s say, legalish to ship across state lines, enough so that the CBD hemp products below are available in all 50 states.
The best CBD gifts to eat
Calivolve, a California-based line of CBD-infused dark chocolate truffles, was launched in 2017 by best friends and weed enthusiasts Lilly Cabral and My Thai. The truffles come in three flavors—mint, matcha, and cherry.
When it comes to ingesting CBD, bear in mind that it has what’s called “biphasic” properties. That means that at varying dosages CBD has entirely different effects. In general, lower doses are energizing while higher doses are sedating.
A Calivolve box contains four truffles, with 20 milligrams of CBD in each. The confections are scored so you can begin with a 10-milligram serving, following the mantra of “start low and go slow.” ($30 at calivolve.com)
For great stocking stuffers, check out the Edibles CBD Chocolate from Poplar. Raw, organic, and vegan, each single-bite chocolate contains 5 milligrams of CBD, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 50 calories.
Toss a few of the individually wrapped packages into your own bag for on-the-spot stress relief. ($5 for a packet of two chocolates at shop-poplar.com)
The best CBD gifts to drink
MONK Drinking Botanicals, a blend of fresh-pressed juices, herbs, and a low-dose of CBD from California-grown hemp, can be enjoyed straight up, over ice with a splash of sparkling water, or mixed with a favorite spirit.
The sampler box includes five 4-ounce bottles, one in each of the five flavors available: cinnamon citrus shrub, rosemary orange peel, ginger maple shrub, turmeric lemon, and grapefruit cayenne. The mini bottles contain 10 milligrams of CBD. ($35 at monkprovisions.com)
OLEO CBD-infused powdered beverages have teeny-tiny particles that easily dissolve in water and are, purportedly, more potent and faster-acting than other CBD powders. Touted as a post-exercise fix to fuel faster muscle recovery, each single serving powder packet has 25 milligrams of CBD.
The Rooibos Tea Mix is available in three flavors, and there’s also a coconut water mix. ($14.99 for a variety pack of four at oleolife.com)
The best CBD gift for purists
Hemp cultivation is a lot like the Wild West, largely unregulated. But in the Deep South the Charleston Hemp Company is setting standards for best practices.
They not only grow their own hemp on their 20-acre farm using organic methods, they work with the nearby Medical University of South Carolina to develop their products and check for purity, making sure their products contain a “full spectrum” of cannabinoids found in the hemp plant (but only trace amounts of THC).
All this means that a few drops of Charleston Hemp Company Full Spectrum CBD Oil is the perfect potion for even your most cautious friends and family members. ($45 for one-ounce, 250 milligrams CBD at charlestonhempcompany.org)
The best CBD gift to inhale
Inhalation is one of the most efficient ways to consume CBD, delivering the cannabinoids directly to your bloodstream for a near instant onset.
The Beboe CBD Calming Vape Pen 500 Mg. packs 120 doses into a slim rose gold vaporizer, with notes of grapefruit and citrus terpenes, fragrant mood-enhancing molecules, dispensed with every hit. ($78 at plantalchemycbd.com)
The best CBD gift for sleeping
A soothing, scented mix of lavender, chamomile, hemp seed extract, and organic CBD, the light-as-a-soufflé Kana Lavender CBD Sleeping Mask is meant to be the last thing that touches your skin before you drift off to the land of nod. ($55 here on Kana Skincare)
The best CBD gift to soak in
One of the most well-studied benefits of CBD is its anti-inflammatory effect. Maybe there’s not enough CBD in the hemp extract that’s one ingredient in Verte Essentials Elevate Luxe Soak to actually trigger an anti-inflammatory response.
But fill the reusable muslin sachet that comes with each 16-ounce bottle of bath salts, drop into a tub of water, allow your body to follow, and you will, without question, emerge more relaxed, and smelling great, too. ($55 at verteessentials.com)
The best CBD gift to make you feel young
From the pioneering luxury cannabis brand Kush Queen, comes Defynt, The Anti-Serum. It adds CBD to a mix of youth-restoring ingredients like hyaluronic acid, CoQ10, and Vitamins C, A, E, B3, and B5.
A dime-sized dab in the morning helps keep skin glowing and lit. ($89 at kushqueen.shop)
The best CBD gift to rub on
Have a friend who’s planning on running a marathon? He or she will welcome a tin of two of Lazarus Naturals CBD Balms.
A fingertip amount rubbed on aching muscles and joints will evoke memories of mom applying Vicks VapoRub after a nasty spill. Never mind that these balms come in mint, lavender, and cedar citrus scents, that sensory recollection alone will be healing, even without the 50 milligrams of CBD contained in each half-teaspoon. ($50 for two ounce/1200 mg. CBD balm at lazarusnaturals.com)