Finding the highest-rated CBD brands using big data (Part 1)

Brian Lynn
Aug 9 · 4 min read

No biases or affiliate links. Just a purely objective, numbers-driven way to find the best brands.

If you’re new to CBD, I bet you’ve encountered the same problem I’ve faced. There are now thousands of CBD brands in the market today (with hundreds popping up every month). How the heck do you know which products you’d really love and that you’re getting the best deal — without spending days Googling or reading review articles?

The Struggles

When I came down with a shoulder injury a few months ago, I decided to sway away from the opioids and explore some CBD oil as my solution. And then… struggles abound.

Day #1:

Like most folks, I “Phoned-a-friend” first to see what brands they like. No dice — most haven’t tried CBD yet, and the one friend who did said they “took a leap of faith” which turned out to be just ok.

Day #2:

I was at the convenience store and happened to see some CBD gummies ($13 for 50mg). Screw it, just try it — I thought. Didn’t really work… taste was meh and it was hella expensive for the volume.

Day #3:

I got off my lazy butt to do some research online. The initial search was overwhelming:

  • 20+ marketplaces/multi-brand stores/local dispensary directories
  • 150+ brands across those sites
  • Each carried at least 20–100s of products (half of them barely have any reviews — some just asked to trust their “curated” selections)
  • 125+ different brands recommended by blogs (just from the first 20 results on Google)

Technology + Data = Confidence

As an engineer/tech geek, there was no way I was going to sit there for days combing through all that data.. and I believe no one should given today’s advance in technology :)

To help myself (and hopefully all of you CBD enthusiasts), I built an early system that automatically discovers and analyzes the highest-rated CBD brands out in the websphere — based on their reviews/recommendations from the most reputable sources. It would then synthesize and distill that data down to just the key info you need.

As v1 of this experiment, here were the 270+ brands the system found and looked into:

Obviously this system is meant to be an experiment, so not all brands are covered here :) But I believe this captures many of the major brands/oils based in the US.

The Methodology

How the brands are ranked:

  • Aggregate buyer ratings from multiple online sources
  • Positive mentions by review sites (top 20 results on Google for “CBD Oil reviews”) + the most-followed ones on social media

To make this super simple, I’ve used a “thumbs-up” vs “thumbs-down” approach, which is more intuitive than the traditional 5-star rating system. For me personally, the 5-star method is often murky (i.e. a full 5 stars seems dubious, 3 stars is ambiguous). Here’s how it was translated:

3 stars were excluded as “neutral”

The Findings

So with all that.. here were the 5 brands that had the highest aggregate buyer reviews I could find:

Source: Trustpilot.com, brands’ websites and other online sources

While buyer reviews were helpful, I thought it’d be crucial to see what the bloggers and top review sites recommend as well. Many buyer reviews can be vague with little details, while bloggers usually share deep and insightful reviews.

Since I was looking for oils specifically, here were the 5 oil brands most mentioned by the top review sites:

Source: Allure.com, CannaHealth, CannaInsider, CBDHacker, CBD.How, CBDOilReview, CBDOilUsers.com, CBDOrigin, CBD.Place, CBDRevu, Healthline, Honest CBD Reviews, Huffington Post, Ministry of Hemp, PopularCBDBrands, ProductionGrower.com, RaveReviews, ShoppingCBD, TheCBDInsider, TheRogue, Tuck.com, Vaping360

More insights to come

I hope you find this data helpful — at least for where to begin your search in your new CBD journey :)

For part 2 of this series, I’m open to ideas on what kind of analysis you might want to see (i.e. different product categories like vapes or skin-care). Feel free to share in your comments.

Shameless plug: I’m also building a curated marketplace for CBD (hemp-derived) that harnesses data to find you the truly best products at the best prices. Beta is invite-only and has a queue already —so join the list today!

Happy #NationalCBDDay

Shoutout to these top review sites:

Brian Lynn

Written by

Cofounder & Chief CBD Researcher @ Heeal.co. Former engineer @Google.

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