Bluebird Botanicals is arguably the industry leader in CBD products, and for good reason. They manufacture high-quality products, publish independent test results, and are a Certified B Corp.
If you’re a follower of Illuminate Health articles, you’ll know we’re generally critical of supplement companies and their formulations because there’s so much bad science in the space. Even world-renowned brands like Alpha Brain receive a negative review from us due to poor formulation quality and lack of third-party testing.
So for us to highlight a supplement company for their methodologies means they’re doing a lot right.
In this review we’ll analyze some Bluebird Botanicals formulations, their independent test results and their B Corp and charitable efforts, and conclude by explaining why we believe they’re the best CBD company in the U.S.
Bluebird Botanicals makes a wide range of consumables, including gummies, capsules and oil. Most of their products are full-spectrum hemp extract, which seems to be superior to CBD isolate (which is more processed) in medical trials.
There is also more research on the safety and efficacy of full-spectrum hemp extract. CBD is still the dominant compound in full-spectrum hemp extract, but you get the benefit of the other plant compounds which may have a synergistic effect with CBD and improve outcomes.
Generally we believe it’s better as a principle to consume whole plant products for health instead of isolates, unless there is medical research suggesting otherwise.
As an example, we recommend Korean red ginseng over pure ginsenosides. Even though ginsenosides are the active compound in ginseng responsible for most of the effects, we evolved to consume whole plant compounds and there are often secondary compounds and metabolites in a plant supplement which are responsible for some of its benefits.
Bluebird Botanicals sells products with a wide range of dosage options, but their products are somewhat underdosed based on medical research.
Their bestselling Classic Hemp Oil contains 460 mg of hemp seed oil and full-spectrum hemp extract, for a total of 5 mg CBD per serving.
They also sell an Extra Strength Classic CBD Oil which is 5x more concentrated, coming in at 25 mg CBD per serving.
An extremely thorough meta-study published in 2020 found that CBD was effective for anxiety and schizophrenia, but the dosages reviewed were mostly over 100 mg/day. These studies were using CBD isolate.
Another meta-study on CBD for anxiety found “improved clinical outcomes”, with most of the dosages being in the hundreds of mg per day, but some as low as 6 mg/day.
Since most Bluebird Botanicals CBD oils are single-ingredient products, the dosage issues are less of a concern than supplements with many ingredients, because you can adjust dosage as needed. If you want to take 100 mg instead of the 25 mg serving in the concentrated product, just use a 4x dose.
We also believe the company is erring on the side of caution since some people experience gastrointestinal side effects with higher CBD doses, so it makes sense to set lower doses of CBD per serving size and allow consumers to adjust their dosages up at their discretion.
Underdosed ingredients are much more of an issue in formulations with many ingredients, because taking multiple servings to optimize one ingredient could lead to dangerous intakes of other ingredients.
If a pre workout has only 1 g of creatine but also 100 mg caffeine, taking 5 servings to optimize creatine dosage could be dangerous because it would push caffeine intake to 500 mg. There are no such concerns with single ingredient products.
Here’s where Bluebird Botanicals really stands out. They publish updated finished product testing for every product on their website. Their third-party lab tests for potency, heavy metals, pesticides and microbiology, which is an industry standard as most CBD companies don't publish testing at all.
Bluebird products have also been tested and approved by the ConsumerLab team in their recent CBD review, which further proves that their products are clean, potent and accurately labeled.
We hope to see more supplement companies adopting this level of testing and transparency in the future. The CBD industry at large seems to be leading the charge in this regard, since there is heightened regulatory scrutiny on the industry compared to herbal supplements and vitamins.
Another way Bluebird Botanicals stands out is that their inactive ingredients are safe. So many supplement companies add harmful filler ingredients to their products during manufacturing, like all of the artificial food dye in G Fuel.
The unflavored versions of Bluebird Botanicals CBD products simply contain gelatin, glycerin and purified water. Gelatin is a collagen derivative which may actually be beneficial for health. It's a key component in bone broth.
Even their flavored products simply use natural flavors and stevia for taste. There are some issues with natural flavorings generally, but this is an ethical company and we find it unlikely they’re adding harmful flavoring agents given all of the money they put into purity testing.
Bluebird Botanicals is a Certified B Corp which is a voluntary certification which provides transparent metrics on ethical criteria, such as charitable donations and supporting independent farmers. Even though the Certified B Corp methodology is somewhat questionable in our opinion, it's a good sign that a company is making an engaged effort to make the world a better place.
The company has a program where low-income consumers can receive substantial discounts on their products, which we think is commendable because income shouldn’t be a qualifier for access to good health.
To be transparent, the dietary supplement industry is one with high margins, so we’d like to see more companies making charitable efforts.