If you’ve ever been curious about trying CBD (cannabidiol) for mental health purposes, you’re not alone. Those three letters seem to show up on everything these days—lip balm, olive oil, deodorant, sparkling water, you name it—alongside a healthy amount of skepticism. Cannabidiol, a cannabis plant extract that can be thought of as a non-psychotropic cousin of marijuana, has been purported to alleviate forms of anxiety and chronic pain, but clinical trials in the United States have not yet produced definitive evidence that CBD is the wonder cure that everyone’s raving about.
But there’s a reason people are raving: CBD has worked for them. A handful of AFAR editors tested a number of CBD products (all with zero or trace amounts of THC) to highlight the ones that helped us take emotional tension down a notch or three. Beyond reduced anxiety, our picks had to meet two criteria: They have to deliver, and they have to be carry-on friendly (because one day, we’re going to board airplanes again, and we want nervous fliers to have access to the same calming treats we’re enjoying right now).
B Great Focus Shot
Buy now: $60 for 12 bottles, bgreat.com
When your goal is to calm your mind and turn your attention to a specific task, not to enter full zen mode, give this two-ounce bottle a shake and a sip. The Focus Shot provides non-jittery energy to help increase productivity while taking the edge off the anxiety gnawing at the perimeters of your mind. The beverage tastes like berries and B vitamins, and the duration of the effects depends on whether you drink the shot slowly or all at once.
CBD Living Travel Freeze
Buy now: $30 for 300 mg, cbd.co; cbdliving.com
Topical ointments such as CBD Living’s Freeze are for physical relief from, say, hunching over your phone or laptop for hours on end. The roller-ball applicator allows for no-mess use, and the mild menthol scent is far less aggressive than the odor of non-CBD pain treatment products such as Tiger Balm and IcyHot. Simply unscrew the cap and roll the “freeze” on the affected area. There will be an initial cooling sensation, followed by a slight burn (in a good way!) as your muscles relax.
Buy now: From $13 for 250 mg, justcbdstore.com
This one is for all the candy addicts and nervous nibblers out there. The online store carries jar sizes from 250 mg to 3,000 mg in not 1 or 2 but 11 shape and flavor variations, including peach rings, rainbow ribbons, sour bears, watermelon rings, and cherries. As is the case with all hemp-infused edibles (whether or not they contain THC), it’s best to start slowly and gauge your tolerance—so maybe don’t eat the entire jar in your first sitting.
Kiva Petra Mints, Citrus
Buy now: $18 for 40 mints, getsava.com
Microdosing is the name of the game with these tangy mints. At only 2.5 mg each, they allow you to slowly zero in on the minimum dose necessary to feel the benefits of CBD. Petra Mints are one of the few products on this page to use the grassy hemp flavor, complementing it with vibrant citrus notes instead of masking it. Whether you chew the mint or let it melt on your tongue, the ability to tailor your CBD experience with precision is a huge plus.
A Boring Life Roasted Almonds With Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt
Buy now: $15 for a pack of three, aboringlife.com
If you’ve been turned off by the grassy notes of hemp-infused edibles in the past, fear not: The strongest flavor here is the slightly bitter cocoa encasing almonds with just the right amount of snap. The culinary mastery should be no surprise because the mastermind behind this CBD snack is chef Jennifer Johnson, a Chez Panisse alum. The mellowing effects of the roasted almonds hit 20 to 30 minutes after consumption and wear off about 90 minutes after the first bite.
Kush Queen Bath Bombs, the Tea Collection
Buy now: $29 for three bath bombs, kushqueen.shop
Have you ever found brewing tea to be so meditative that you wished you could steep yourself? Look no further than the Tea Collection of Kush Queen bath bombs, which includes one each of the matcha green tea, spiced chai, and Earl Grey. Let your shoulders sink a little lower as the CBD loosens your muscles and the tea aroma soothes your olfactory systems.
Azuca Chocolate Coins
Buy now: $30 for six coins, azuca.co
Packing a punch at 25 mg each, it only takes one of these fast-acting chocolate medallions to make your worries melt away, but without the drowsiness that often accompanies CBD products. Think of it as a mental soak in epsom salts: not sedating, just relaxing. One coin takes about 10 minutes to kick in and lasts a full hour, but you may have a hard time rationing these because of the smooth texture and luxurious, dark chocolate flavor.