Cornbread Hemp Review (2023)
Welcome to our Cornbread Hemp review!
Over a period of several weeks, our team have been at work gathering information about and testing Cornbread Hemp’s products and services to create a comprehensive review.
After our interview and follow-up communications with one of the founders, plenty of product sampling, and a usability testing/secret shopping campaign, we’ve arrived at an overall rating for the Kentucky-based CBD brand.
We gave Cornbread Hemp a score of 92.1/100, which earns them entry into our highest tier of brands.
Speaking of, we use a 27-point assessment to ensure our reviews are both consistent and comprehensive, taking into account the following major categories:
- Website Experience
- Customer Service
- Brand Value
How Cornbread Hemp Got Started
Though there’s no extra credit in play here, Cornbread definitely has the most interesting “how we got started” story of any brand we’ve reviewed.
Co-owner Jim Higdon, whom we spoke with on the phone, explained to us that his relationship with hemp goes back to his childhood.
When Higdon was a boy growing up in Kentucky in the 80s, many of his classmates’ parents were suddenly arrested in connection with a large illegal cannabis-growing syndicate, a story that would influence him for the rest of his life.
He grew up, became a journalist, and committed his early career to sharing this story with the world.
What followed was several years of interviewing understandably reticent parties about what happened, but as Higdon told us, his own Kentucky roots and skill set as a journalist allowed him to “crack the story open” where others couldn’t.
Finally, his book—the Cornbread Mafia—was completed, and it quickly earned Higdon national recognition, which came with opportunities to cover cannabis news for Politico and other prominent outlets.
It was during this later phase of Jim’s journalism career, which bled into the confusing, post-Farm-Bill (2014) environment where industrial hemp became legal, that he began to take notice of how untamed and unpredictable the burgeoning hemp industry was.
“I was reporting on it and realizing how low the standards were and how poor the branding was,” he told us, which fueled his desire to do it the right way.
He also felt miffed by the “new hot item” approach that many of these CBD brands were taking, vowing then to “create a brand that would embrace all these things that corporate CBD was trying to run from,” i.e., the longstanding history of hemp in the United States.
Once decided, Jim enlisted the help of cousin Eric Zipperle, who perfectly complemented his own knowledge and skills with direct-to-consumer marketing and sales savvy.
Thus, Cornbread Hemp was born (in 2019), and they’ve been poking at the CBD industry’s giants since day one.
What Makes Cornbread Hemp Unique?
Two key differentiators give Cornbread Hemp a leg up on much of the CBD industry: their flower-only approach and uniquely suited Kentucky soil.
Unlike many brands that extract hemp from the stems, stalks, and other “aerial parts” of the plant, Cornbread has drawn a hard line at flower only.
The flower is indeed the most cannabinoid-dense component of the hemp plant, but it’s more expensive to extract only from the flower, providing a clear quality standard for consumers and publications like ours to use when choosing or rating brands.
Paraphrasing Higdon, using the whole plant to make CBD oil is the same as using an entire orange tree to make orange juice.
To set their standards of quality even higher, Cornbread Hemp uses only USDA organic-certified ingredients and full-spectrum extracts.
When asked why Kentucky is ideal for hemp cultivation, Jim explained to us that Cornbread Hemp partner farms are rain-fed, which is one reason why Kentucky was the mainstay of American hemp cultivation since the very founding of the country.
Unlike other states, which rely on artificial irrigation that often contributes to droughts, Kentucky hemp cultivation is much more sustainable.
Interestingly, the Cornbread Hemp website explains that the Hindu Kush mountains, the 37th parallel, also cuts right through Kentucky.
It also doesn’t hurt that Kentucky rests on a massive limestone deposit, which bodes well for soil and water quality.
As the legal picture evens out, Higdon predicted, hemp cultivation will shift more towards Kentucky and the east coast.
Best For Relaxation
Whole Flower USDA Organic CBD Oil
For those looking to get the most out of a full-spectrum extract, this tincture rides just up to the legal THC limit.
The flower-only extract yields a very subtle, easily palatable flavor.
As always, there are no preservatives or added sugar.
Best For Focus
Distilled USDA Organic CBD Oil
This flower-only, USDA organic, full-spectrum extract tones down the THC enough to keep you functioning optimally.
Our testers noted improved focus, calm, and a moderate reduction in discomfort.
Supporting cannabinoids make a solid appearance, according to the lab report for our product.
Best For Flavor
Full-Spectrum CBD Gummies
These tasty gummies are just as impressive in what they don’t contain as what they do.
The ingredient list boasts a flower-only, full-spectrum hemp extract and organic flavoring with no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial colors.
Plus, they taste great, giving the hemp-averse consumer a chance to enjoy Cornbread Hemp’s potent CBD extracts.
Best For Recovery
USDA Organic CBD Balm
This is the only CBD balm we’ve seen to contain only organic ingredients.
Shortly after applying to target tissues, we noticed a moderate reduction in discomfort.
The addition of peppermint, arnica, and other botanical enhancers like eucalyptus oil add to the benefits.
Best For Relief
CBD Lotion + Menthol
Perfect for active CBD users looking for a little extra relief, this mentholated topical delivers a strong cooling sensation.
Once again, the ingredient list is loaded with organic botanicals like jojoba oil, tea tree, lemongrass, and more.
Apply it to stubborn tissues for lasting relief.
We tested Cornbread Hemp’s Distilled USDA Organic CBD Oil tincture (375mg), but will also include information about the Whole Flower USDA Organic CBD Oil tincture where appropriate.
Both products are available in the following concentrations:
- 375mg (0.5oz)
- 750mg (1oz)
- 1500mg (1oz)
Here is the cannabinoid breakdown for our 375mg distilled CBD oil tincture, according to the certificate of analysis for our product batch:
- CBD: 26.84mg/g (402.6mg total)
- D9-THC: 0.87mg/g (13.05mg total)
- CBG: 0.28mg/g (4.2mg total)
- CBC: 0.54mg/g (8.1mg total)
The CBD is over-delivered, the THC is well within the legal boundary, and the supporting cannabinoid content is around 6% of the cannabinoid content, which is slightly above average.
Overall, this strong lab report points to a well-supported hemp extract.
Here are the prices for the distilled tincture:
- 375mg: $39.99 ($0.11/mg)
- 750mg: $74.99 ($0.10/mg)
- 1500mg: $119.99 ($0.08/mg)
And for the whole flower tincture:
- 375mg: $34.99 ($0.09/mg)
- 750mg: $64.99 ($0.086/mg)
- 1500mg: $109.99 ($0.07/mg)
As mentioned in the brand review portion, these prices land somewhere around the peak of the bell curve as far as the CBD industry is concerned.
We’ve seen many brands positioned at higher and lower price points, so these are moderately priced tinctures.
However, the flower-only and USDA organic elements certainly raise the value.
The distilled CBD oil tincture we sampled came in a soft paperboard box with high-quality labeling and design features.
Between the darkly tinted tincture bottle and the box, we were able to quickly access product information, a blurb about the product, two QR codes (one of them being the CannVerify authentication seal), dosing guide with a graphic, and more.
Everything was fully intact on receipt, and the demarcated dropper lid extracted the oil without hassle.
Here is the ingredient list for both CBD oil tinctures:
USDA Certified Organic MCT Coconut Oil, USDA Certified Organic Hemp Extract
We’re neutral on the “botanical enhancers” debate, meaning we will always uphold ingredient quality as our main standard, regardless of the use of non-CBD botanicals like turmeric, ashwagandha, etc.
Again, we see an all-organic ingredient list with zero preservatives or added sugar, so it’s full points here.
It’s a point of pride at Cornbread Hemp to not need flavoring, since flower-only hemp is supposed to be less bitter.
After our personal experience, we can attest to this claim, as the hemp taste felt significantly “watered down.”
Though we don’t mind the hemp taste, these less bitter tinctures are much less of a shock to the palate, and would be more suitable for those who dislike the bitterness.
Surprisingly, we were able to notice benefits with a single serving (25mg), though our usual twice-daily rhythm proved more effective.
The distilled CBD oil helped with stress and focus, and we noticed a subtle fading away of neck, back, and knee discomfort.
On these two major fronts, this tincture delivered sustained results at lower concentrations than much of the competition.
Pros & Cons
Starting with the pros:
- Flower only, USDA organic
- Effective at lower concentrations
- Significantly milder taste
And now the cons:
- Above $0.10/mg (except 1500mg size)
We sampled the USDA Organic CBD Balm with peppermint and arnica, but will provide details about Cornbread Hemp’s other topicals (CBD Lotion + Menthol and CBD Lotion Skin Formula) where appropriate.
Our organic balm comes in a single concentration: 500mg/1.7oz (294mg/oz).
The CBD Lotion + Menthol and CBD Lotion Skin Formula are also exclusively available in 500mg strengths.
Here is the cannabinoid breakdown for our organic balm according to the certificate of analysis:
- CBD: 11.630mg/g (697.8mg total)
- D9-THC: 0.39mg/g (23.4mg total)
- CBC: 0.17mg/g (10.2mg total)
- CBG: 0.16mg/g (10.2mg total)
The CBD is generously over-delivered, the delta-9 THC is well within the legal boundary, and the total non-CBD cannabinoid content is just over six percent (it would be closer to ten percent at 500mg of CBD), all of which are strong quality indicators.
In this case, we might even have to flag the CBD content as a little too high for the label, considering it’s almost 40% over-delivered.
The USDA Organic CBD Balm we sampled retails for $54.99, which reduces to just under $0.11/mg.
The CBD Lotion + Menthol and CBD Lotion Skin Formula are both $49.99 ($0.10/mg).
We would normally call the USDA Organic CBD Balm price point middling, but considering the all-organic, preservative-free ingredient list, we have to acknowledge the excellent value here.
The same goes for the other topicals.
Our balm came in a matte black, plastic tube with a threaded lid.
Twisting the bottom of the tube brings more product to the surface.
Everything functioned perfectly throughout our use of the product.
The labeling is consistent with our assessment of the packing in the review portion, containing two QR codes, basic product info, usage instructions, warnings, and ingredients.
Overall, we couldn’t find any faults in the packaging whatsoever.
Here are the ingredient lists for the three topicals that Cornbread Hemp offers:
USDA Organic CBD Balm: Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Organic Carnauba Wax, Organic Arnica Oil, Organic Hemp Extract, Organic Eucalyptus Oil, Organic Peppermint Oil
CBD Lotion + Menthol: Distilled Water, Organic Sugarcane Alcohol, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Glycerin, Organic Beeswax, Organic Lecithin (Soy), Organic Carnauba Wax, Organic Argan Oil, Organic Safflower Oil, Organic MCT Oil, Organic Vitamin E, Organic Hemp Extract, Organic Olive Leaf Oil, Organic Lemongrass Oil, Organic Peppermint Oil, Organic Rosemary Oil, Organic Menthol, Organic Tea Tree Oil.
CBD Lotion Skin Formula: Distilled Water, Organic Sugarcane Alcohol, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Glycerin, Organic Beeswax, Organic Lecithin (Soy), Organic Carnauba Wax, Organic Argan Oil, Organic Safflower Oil, Organic MCT Oil, Organic Vitamin E, Organic Hemp Extract, Organic Olive Leaf Oil, Organic Lemongrass Oil, Organic Peppermint Oil, Organic Rosemary Oil, Organic Tea Tree Oil.
As mentioned, it literally doesn’t get better than these all-organic, preservative-free ingredient lists.
Scent And Texture
The peppermint oil and eucalyptus in our USDA Organic CBD Balm blend together to form a subtle scent that doesn’t sting the nostrils.
Whether it’s the lack of surfactants or the underlying container that causes this, we noticed the topical settles into a dimpled texture.
This makes it slightly rough on initial application, but not to the point of discomfort in our case.
When applying, the moderately viscous topical spreads evenly and absorbs quickly without leaving residue.
Overall, we were pleased with the scent and texture of our product.
Similar to the tincture, we noticed a moderate reduction in discomfort after one application, but twice a day was more effective.
The tube is narrow enough to allow application to small joints, but not so narrow that we couldn’t use it on larger joints and regions along the spine.
It’s difficult to gauge, given the subjectivity of discomfort, but in our case, this topical proved more effective for smaller joints (knuckles, wrists, etc.) than larger regions.
In both cases, we noticed a mild-to-moderate reduction in discomfort that lasted several hours.
The relief was strong enough to allow for longer workouts and less fidgeting around while working in a seated position.
The effectiveness of this topical was consistent with most of the top-tier brands we’ve tried.
Pros & Cons
Let’s start with the pros:
- All-organic ingredient lists
- Effective at reducing aches and discomfort
- Affordable for the quality
And now the cons:
- Slightly rough texture
Our Cornbread Hemp Overall Rating
All tallied, Cornbread Hemp earns an overall rating of 92.1/100, which is a notable feat.
Smaller and newer brands very rarely make it past the 80s.
We attribute this accomplishment to the brand’s stubborn stance on quality standards, but they wouldn’t have made it without solid customer support and other amenities.
Having tried the products ourselves and taken a much closer look at the brand, we confidently recommend Cornbread Hemp to anyone looking for relief from discomfort and stress.
They’ve stubbornly dug in on quality standards that even larger brands continue to gloss over, and at a smaller premium than might be expected.
Cornbread Hemp products really are flower-only, full-spectrum, and USDA organic, which the lab reports and our personal experiences with the products demonstrate.
The fact that everyday consumers can pick up the phone and speak directly with the co-founder within a minute or two is indicative of their values as a brand, and though they have much to compete with, we hope to see continued growth as the word gets out.
We confidently recommend Cornbread Hemp products to anyone looking for the range of benefits that they can provide.