The Product Rundown: General Thoughts
Like all of Hemp Bombs’ products, the CBD contained within these capsules is of very high quality. The starting hemp material is organically grown according to sustainable agricultural practices and is not genetically modified. The hemp is batch tested for purity and potency to ensure that the finished product contains no harmful compounds.
Next, the CBD is extracted using an environmentally-conscious and safe supercritical CO2 method that leaves no trace of solvent in the finished extract. Hemp Bombs’ entire product line is formulated with 99.9% pure CBD isolate, so the capsules are certified THC-free. There’s a lot that we like, but these capsules are missing a key ingredient.
When we saw that the ingredient list did not include a carrier oil, our skeptic senses started tingling. Unlike the traditional CBD softgel capsules, these are dry capsules that can be broken open to reveal dry CBD extract, a crystalline white solid, intermixed with calcium, magnesium, and the proprietary herbal blend (L-Theanine, GABA, Magnolia Bark, Scutellaria, and Passiflora). We searched for any evidence to suggest that this CBD isolate was somehow processed in a way to make it bioavailable without oil, but we couldn’t find anything to support this theory.
The key to the issue with the capsules is this: CBD is a fat-soluble molecule. This means that, unless it’s bonded to a lipid or other nonpolar molecule, your body can’t absorb it effectively. We’ll talk more about the science of this in a moment, but essentially, these capsules are not able to be metabolized properly when taken as directed.
Before we get into the biochemistry though, we should point out that we put forth the effort to find an effective use for this product (we love a good experiment, after all). Because of the high content of magnesium, calcium, and other extracts, this product is not suitable for vaping or dabbing. And by “not suitable,” we mean that this experiment is perhaps our one true regret in life.
Do not vaporize or dab the capsule contents.
Of course, we tried taking the capsules orally as directed (even taking 2 at a time for a total of 30 mg per dose, which should have produced notable effects), and felt nothing. We did try dissolving the contents of a capsule into some MCT oil from our pantry. This went okay. It did not taste good, at all, and it was messy (the contents tend to “poof” outward when the capsule is opened). It was effective, but we had to work for it. All this is to say, we felt that we had to get overly creative to reap any benefit from this product, which doesn’t reflect good design.
Why We Don’t Recommend This Product
The starting material is excellent, but the delivery method doesn’t provide the CBD the opportunity to be absorbed by the body, rendering it ineffective. CBD needs a lipid molecule, like an oil or other fat, to bond to in order to be absorbed by the body. This is because CBD’s molecular structure allows it to bond to nonpolar molecules, like fats and alcohols, but not polar molecules, like water. When dissolved in some kind of carrier oil, the lipid molecules form a kind of chemical “handle” on the CBD molecule that allows your body to effectively absorb and process the CBD molecule. Without this molecular “handle,” a few CBD molecules will be absorbed by chance, but the vast majority will be flushed through the kidneys and into the urine without ever entering the bloodstream at all.
We aren’t sure what Hemp Bombs was aiming for in the design of this product, but we can say with confidence that we did not find the capsules effective when taken as directed. In terms of bioavailability and, therefore, efficacy, these capsules just don’t hit the target. Technically, it is possible to get some use from them by mixing them with oil, but when taken as directed, they simply don’t work. We believe that the design and directions of a product should facilitate its best use, and shouldn’t require kitchen experimentation.
Is the Issue With the Brand As a Whole, Or Just This Product?
We have had good results with other consumable products from Hemp Bombs, and there’s a lot we support about the brand as a whole. We appreciate their commitment to sustainable agricultural practices, pure products, and independent testing. We also like that their THC-free product line makes CBD available to people looking for symptom relief who need to avoid THC for any reason. We particularly enjoy their tinctures, gummies, and Max Chill CBD Shot in terms of consumables, but we’ve also had success with their pet-friendly CBD oil and topical products.
The problem isn’t with the brand as a whole, but with this particular product. If the CBD within the capsules were combined with a carrier oil, we’d likely feel very differently about it. We like the idea, but on the whole, feel that choosing a true capsule over a softgel and using dry CBD isolate was a misstep during development.
Alternatives: What We’d Use Instead
We really like the softgels from Ambary Gardens. Available in varying dosage strengths and counts, these softgels provide a full spectrum of cannabinoids within a softgel capsule. The concentrated CBD oil within these softgels will absorb efficiently into your system, increasing the effectiveness of your dose.
If you specifically need a THC-free product, we recommend the isolate softgels from isolate softgels from CBDistillery. While the company also carries an excellent array of full-spectrum options, their THC-free softgels are available in two varieties and provide all the benefits of CBD in a bioavailable oil. The capsules are vegetarian and dissolve quickly, helping CBD molecules absorb more quickly into your system.