So, you tried CBD tincture and that taste—yeah, gross—but you need more general systemic relief or mood benefits than a topical has to offer. You’re looking for the effects of a CBD oil and the convenience of a pill: enter the CBD softgel.
In this piece, we’ll take an in-depth look at CBD softgels, including what they are, how they work, and why people take them.
We’ll also give you an up close and personal look at what we think are the best CBD softgels available: TetraLabs CBD softgels. We’ll tell you why we love them and describe how our testing went, so you know exactly why we get behind this product.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:
What Are CBD Softgels?
From a consumer’s perspective, CBD softgel capsules stand out as the simplest, most practical way to get your daily dose of CBD. Most CBD softgels are round or oval pills 10 to 15mm in diameter that contain concentrated, high-quality CBD hemp oil. Easy to swallow, CBD softgels also have zero side-effects, as they are essentially the hemp plant in pill form.
Apart from the cannabinoid CBD suspended in oil, CBD softgels typically contain cannabinoids, terpenes, MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides), and sometimes other potentially beneficial botanical ingredients such as turmeric. Although many softgel casings are made from bovine gelatine, some CBD producers offer vegan options and vegetarian-friendly CBD capsules made from plant-based ingredients.
Full-spectrum CBD softgels contain full-spectrum CBD oil with many of the other minor cannabinoids such as CBG and CBN, terpenes such as beta-caryophyllene, and flavonoids naturally found in the hemp extract—including traces of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This enables consumers to benefit from the entourage effect, well-documented by researchers.
Broad-spectrum CBD softgels contain everything found naturally in hemp except the THC, which is totally removed. For this reason, broad-spectrum CBD softgels are THC-free yet retain nearly the same CBD benefits as full-spectrum CBD products.
What is the Difference Between CBD Softgels and CBD Capsules?
- CBD softgels are typically smoother than basic capsules.
- Capsules are easier and less costly to make.
- Softgels are easier for many people to swallow.
- Softgels are sealed, so they have a longer shelf life because they are airtight.
- Softgels retain vitamins more effectively than capsules, making them the preferred option for oils such as CBD.
- Softgels are more likely to mask strong taste or odor.
- Softgels are superior CBD and other non-water-soluble oils.
How Do CBD Softgels Work?
Cannabidiol CBD is derived from hemp, a close relative of marijuana. Both plants are actually from the species Cannabis sativa, and CBD is the second most commonly found active ingredient in cannabis, although it has no psychoactive properties of its own.
When you ingest CBD, including through CBD softgels, it interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system regulates many basic physiological functions, including but not limited to appetite, cognition and comprehension, immune function, memory, mood, pain, and sleep.
CB1 and CB2 (cannabinoid receptors 1 & 2) are the two most important cannabinoid receptors involved in these functions. CB1 receptors are mostly responsible for emotional response, memory, and fear. CB2 receptors interact with the peripheral nervous system, lymphatics, and the immune system.
Most CBD softgel users are seeking out calm, a decrease in anxiety, a sense of general well-being, elevations in mood, relaxation, and/or sleep.
Despite not producing the psychoactive “high” felt by marijuana users, some CBD softgel users experience a “body high,” or sense of physical relief from pain or other symptoms. While not impairing, this sense of relief from anxiety or mental and emotional stress, or even physical pain, is still noticeable enough for most users to report mild to moderate improvement.
Health benefits of CBD, including products like CBD softgels, include the ability to increase focus, improve sleep, relieve anxiety, treat nausea, reduce pain, and elevate mood. For example, a 2017 study found that CBD consumed orally was an effective antiemetic and chronic pain reliever for chemotherapy patients. A 2011 study found an overall decrease in the anxiety levels of patients with social anxiety disorder who took CBD.
CBD users can take just a couple of CBD softgels per day, and easily receive their daily serving of CBD and maintain their ECS at optimal performance. It’s simple to use CBD softgels. Just swallow them like any ordinary pill with water as part of your normal routine.
If you are new to CBD, start with a low or moderate concentration—say a 10 to 15mg CBD softgel two times a day. A more experienced CBD user might start with 20 to 25mg CBD softgels or even 50mg softgels, depending on their needs and treatment goals.
Consumed as softgels, CBD takes about 30 to 60 minutes to hit the system due to the variable ability human bodies have to metabolize compounds inside the GI tract. In general, effects from CBD softgels tend to last for about 3 to 4 hours.
Why People Use CBD Softgels
There are so many reasons people use CBD softgels! Here we’ll talk about some of the most common and some of the ones that mattered to our team.
In recent years, two things have happened around the same time. First, consumers have grown wary of taking too many prescription drugs for things like chronic pain and mood. And second, the cannabis and CBD industries have truly grown and improved their reputations. The natural result of both trends is many consumers wondering if they can replace some prescription drugs with CBD softgels as a natural source of relief delivered in a convenient way.
There are many reasons to try it. First, CBD is not addictive, unlike many standard prescription drugs. Second, speaking of prescriptions, customers do not need one to buy CBD softgels, which are easily accessible both online and IRL. Third, there is almost no way to overdose on CBD softgels—unlike with traditional prescription drugs. Humans have a very high tolerance for cannabinoids, including CBD, and that’s why it’s so much safer.
No Horrible Taste
We can’t emphasize this enough. No nasty CBD flavor, and no artificial flavor, either. No taste at all!
Portable and Discreet
CBD softgels come in little jars, just like vitamins or other supplements. They fit into a purse, drawer, locker, or bag with ease, and no one would ever notice them. You can’t smell them. For this reason, customers who want or need to take CBD capsules in any setting while avoiding unnecessary questions love CBD softgels.
Plus, anyone who has ever traveled with CBD oil (or beard oil, for that matter!) knows that it almost always ends in disaster. No matter how many zip bags you enclose that bottle in, your luggage is in jeopardy—but not with CBD softgels.
Folds Into Daily Routine
If you already take vitamins, CBD softgels fit in perfectly! Just add them to your daily routine.
Ease of Use
A CBD softgel is definitely the easiest way to get a consistent dose fast and without any real effort. If you’re using a tincture, there’s measuring, and it’s still not as exact as you might like. A method like vaping is even harder to control dosage with.
There is no need to store CBD softgels in the refrigerator; they are shelf-stable and maintain their freshness.
We mentioned this above, but it deserves its own entry. Hemp itself has a particular taste. Some call it “earthy,” but we call this flavor bitter at best, and somewhat unpleasant. Some customers love it, but honestly, most just tolerate it. CBD softgels are an obvious choice for anyone who wants to leave that taste in the past.
Marijuana is still considered illegal, and is classified as a schedule 1 substance at the federal level. CBD is legal in all 50 states, but it is poorly or minimally regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is because the 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp as a cannabis plant that contains no more than 0.3 percent THC.
The situation can be more complex at the state and local levels, so it’s always wise to research local law—but, in general, legal and safe access is a reason people use CBD softgels.
So, we covered the benefits of CBD softgels. What about the drawbacks? One is bioavailability. Just like with any CBD product you swallow, anytime CBD oil passes through the GI tract, a lot of it gets destroyed before it ever does your body any good.
Another minor drawback is that it takes longer for CBD softgels to take effect than, for example, CBD vapes. However, the effects from CBD softgels also last much longer, providing an extended, slower release of CBD into your system.
The Best CBD Softgels: TetraLabs CBD Softgels
Choosing the Best CBD Softgels: Methodology
If this isn’t your first time shopping for CBD softgels, you already know there are a surprising number of choices out there. Here’s how we decided.
Third-party Lab Testing
If you’re using CBD softgels at all, you care about an exact dose of CBD. Paying close attention to potency and verifying results with third-party lab testing is essential. Test results let you know there are no heavy metals, molds, or other toxins in what you’re consuming.
Product Quality and Value
TetraLabs has been doing this for a long time, and it shows. They make their lab reports available right on the website, and they are easy to find.
We looked at hemp quality, sourcing, and growing and extraction practices, and TetraLabs came out on top across the board. You can verify each claim with lab results.
TetraLabs was also the first company to create a solvent-free cannabinoid concentrate that became the basis for their Ultra-Pure CBD Softgels. In fact, these are the first CBD softgels in the industry, but from a company that has been around for over 15 years.
We also performed product testing. For this test, our VV team evaluated four kinds of the softgels for size, appearance, smell, and texture. We also replaced our usual CBD regimen with these CBD softgels, took notes on our test results, and then compared them.
Now, TetraLabs sent us the product, but shopping for CBD can be overwhelming, so we also checked out the website to get the consumer experience. We looked for product descriptions that gave us all of the details we wanted and transparent information about manufacturing, growing, extraction, and testing processes.
This really just concerns our interactions with the company (which were all positive) and our look at reviews and feedback online (also largely positive).
There is free shipping across the USA on orders over $150, and there is also a return policy. You can request a refund of your purchase price via the TetraLabs money back guarantee if you’re not happy with your CBD oil softgels and you do it within 15 days.
CBD Potency and Effects
Let’s turn for a moment to what women want, shall we? And before you say it: yes, this team of reviewers was all female.
We’re kidding about “what women” or anyone wants. But we’re not kidding about this next part.
Often, women in particular get products marketed to us that are sort of kitchen sink-y. They throw in bells and whistles, somehow thinking that will make the product more appealing to us as consumers.
There are truly limitless options out there when it comes to CBD products. But seriously, who has time for any of that? As testers, we all already knew what we wanted and needed: a great, high-quality, reliable, easy-to-use CBD product.
(You may not be there yet—but we’re confident that you’ll love CBD if you get the good stuff.)
Of course, when it comes to something like a CBD topical, especially one you want to use for a spa day or special bath product, bring on the extra frou-frou ingredients and special stuff.
When it comes to CBD vapes, bring on tasty flavors! We want that.
But with CBD softgels, we’re looking for something totally different. Here it is:
Don’t mess with our existing routine. Every one of us already takes vitamins and supplements, so a CBD softgel with turmeric, coconut oil/MCT oil, melatonin, curcumin, or other additives is unhelpful and too expensive at best, and disruptive or even allergy-producing at worst.
Half of us already take some of this stuff, and the other half don’t want to. We all have our own medical conditions we’re treating; let’s keep that CBD softgel clean and pure. Just full- or broad-spectrum hemp extract, or CBD isolate, and something to suspend it in is what we’re after.
In other words, if we’re taking a softgel, don’t add all that stuff. All you’re doing is adding cost without value. In TertaLabs softgels, there’s nothing but high-grade CBD from hemp seed oil and grape seed oil. That’s it.
Give us high-quality we can trust. This is simple, right? Good.
We want potency choices. We love that TetraLabs has both full-spectrum and totally pure CBD options, and we also love that we can go as low as 10mg per softgel or as high as 50mg. In fact, one tester loved going with a 25mg in the morning, either 25mg or 10mg during the day to treat any symptoms that came up, and a 50mg at night for relaxing and sleeping.
TetraLabs nails all three of these issues, plus all the rest we discussed above. We know—we sound boring. But this is reality!
There’s nothing super splashy about TetraLabs softgels. There doesn’t need to be; that’s the opposite of the point. These are scientifically formulated to perfection, easy, no-fuss, and reliable.
CBD softgels are not what you bring to a party. They are what you keep in your purse for when you’re panicking, have a headache or cramps, need relief in the locker room at the gym, or just for daily use. There is no need for anything but technical and scientific perfection, which you get from TetraLabs CBD softgels.
TetraLabs is simply the gold standard for discreet, easy, portable, precise CBD dosing. They don’t smell or taste like anything, and at least one of us wants to investigate making this a permanent switch, no kidding.
These are designed to deliver seriously powerful CBD benefits and results seamlessly, without you noticing much. They do just that.
There are plenty of choices out there when it comes to CBD softgels, but in our opinion TetraLabs still makes the best version. No bells and whistles—just the way we like them. These are pure CBD extract or full-spectrum CBD extract plus grape seed oil for results you can rely on every single day.
Grinspoon, Peter. “(CBD) – What We Know and What We Don’t.” Harvard Health Blog, Harvard University, 27 Aug. 2019, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476.
“.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/.
Li, Xiaoxue, et al. “The Effectiveness of Self-Directed Medical Cannabis Treatment for Pain.” Complementary Therapies in Medicine, vol. 46, 1 Oct. 2019, pp. 123–130., doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2019.07.022.