This Garden of Life review has been medically reviewed by Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD and was written by the team at CBDStudy, a CBD research publication.
Garden of Life is a wellness brand with an extensive product portfolio. The company was established in 2000 by Jordan Rubin, who went through a painful and debilitating battle with Crohn’s disease and ultimately used a healthier lifestyle to put himself in long-term care remission.
The brand has a variety of health and nutritional supplements, including probiotics and vitamins, aimed at helping people live a better life.
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Garden of Life Overview
Garden of Life announced in 2017 that Nestlé would acquire the company, and in 2019 they announced they would be adding to their expansive product portfolio and launching a CBD line. The 2018 Farm Bill caused a hemp and CBD explosion, and Garden of Life got in on it.
Garden of Life’s CBD line features softgels, oils, oral sprays, gummies and topicals. The product line is formulated by Dr. David Perlmutter, a somewhat controversial wellness doctor and neurologist, and a bestselling New York Times author.
Garden of Life seems to have some of the best standards in the industry, and they are currently working toward getting their products labeled as USDA Certified Organic. The website says this was supposed to happen in March 2020, but as of right now there is no update on that.
The company boasts a whole-plant formula, which is another way of saying full-spectrum. They use hemp grown on farms in Oregon, and it is currently considered to be more than 80 percent organic. Garden of Life uses a CO2 method of extraction to formulate their products.
Despite the claims of using a whole-plant formula, the product descriptions say they are formulated with a broad-spectrum extract. However, our lab results found that their broad-spectrum formula had no cannabinoids besides CBD, making it closer to an isolate. The “entourage effect” that Garden of Life refers to isn’t talking about the cannabinoid profile. It is talking about their blend of ingredients such as black pepper, rosemary and cloves.
Those ingredients actually do provide an entourage effect, but not in the same way that cannabinoids do. We don’t appreciate a product that is closer to a CBD isolate being marketed as a “whole-plant formula” or even a broad-spectrum. There should definitely be other cannabinoids present in the product.
Aside from the lab results and the potentially off-putting marketing of the entourage effect, there are no other issues with Garden of Life that we can see. They have plenty of credentials, and have access to top-quality ingredients because they are owned by Nestlé. They also follow GMP standards and regulatory processes. If credentials, backing and certifications are important to you, Garden of Life might be a good brand to try.
- Lots of certifications and credentials
- Nearly USDA-certified organic
- Extensive product line
- Inaccurate lab results
- Sometimes confusing website design
Garden of Life: What You Need to Know
Dr. Perlmutter is said to have formulated Garden of Life’s products, which is why the packaging says it is doctor formulated. We aren’t exactly sure whether he developed the formula on his own, or provided his oversight or recommendations. According to his website, he is a neurologist with expertise in gluten issues, brain health and nutrition, and preventing neurodegenerative disorders ; however, much of what he claims about nutrition has been thoroughly debunked.
Garden of Life has their third-party lab results easily available for viewing on the website. We appreciate it when a company does this because it shows they have nothing to hide and that they value transparency. In an emerging industry like the CBD market, transparency is always the best policy. The website mentions the third-party lab results numerous times.
They are certified by the company Labdoor, which was founded in 2012. Customers can enter their lot number to see the unique results of their specific product. This creates more of a connection to the products they are using and can inspire them to learn exactly what is going in their body and thus take charge of their health.
Garden of Life is part of many organizations and certifications, including ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB), International Genetically Modified Organism Evaluation and Notification Program (IGEN), the National Industrial Hemp Council and the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. This adds to their legitimacy and builds trust among consumers.
Who is Garden of Life?
As we mentioned above, Garden of Life was formed in 2000 by Jordan Rubin. Rubin was battling a severe case of Crohn’s disease, which impacts the digestive system. It can cause severe weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chronic stomach pain and more.
Rubin was only 19 years old. He dropped to 105 pounds and left behind a fun college life and good times with friends to be bedridden and sick, all day, every day. One doctor said he did not anticipate Rubin would live for much longer, as it was the worst case of Crohn’s disease he had ever seen.
Despite this, Rubin didn’t lose hope. He reportedly turned to healthy eating, quality supplements, healthy emotional coping mechanisms and the Bible to reverse his Crohn’s disease. Still, it’s important to recognize that Crohn’s disease is rarely treated effectively without the use of medications.
This inspired him to start Garden of Life. Today, he is healthy and thriving, and has founded multiple companies, including Garden of Life and Ancient Nutrition. He is a bestselling author and has shared his inspiring journey on five continents and in 46 U.S. states.
Garden of Life aims to create top-quality products with pure ingredients, and with certifications that will earn your trust. Their hemp is sourced from farms in Oregon, and we appreciate that this information is immediately available on their website. A lot of CBD brands do not immediately disclose where they source their hemp, which signals a potential problem with transparency.
As we mentioned above, third-party lab results are easily accessible on the website. You also have the unique feature of being able to search for a specific lot number and read the results about the products in your hand.
Garden of Life: Product Highlights
Garden of Life has a massive CBD line, with many different formulas designed for different things. They also have a pet line to promote wellness and balance in your animal friends. There is a scroller that features all the products Garden of Life carries, and you can look through them without ever leaving the original page. This unique feature makes the website more user friendly.
The first thing you see is traditionally formulated CBD oil in 10 milligrams, 30 milligrams and 50 milligrams. As you scroll through the products, you move through different formulas, including CBD for pets, an inflammatory response formula, a formula designed for sleep and one that promotes youthful skin. Garden of Life calls their oils “drops” or “droppers,” and the price ranges from about $21 to approximately $75.
It looks like the traditionally formulated products at 10, 30 and 50 milligrams come in two flavors: chocolate mint and peppermint. We wish there were more flavor options, as some are turned off by mint. Furthermore, nursing mothers may not be able to use this product because peppermint has the potential to diminish milk supply, especially when used topically. The other formulas don’t seem to have flavors, but they do have additional ingredients.
Garden of Life carries a fairly wide variety of softgels. Like the oils, they have a couple of traditionally formulated products, with nothing special about them other than CBD. These come in 10 and 30 milligrams. There are other formulas to promote relaxation, a better night’s rest and stress relief, as well as one designed to support your immune system, a formula with turmeric and DHA, and a variety of probiotic blends to support both men and women.
The softgels range from 5 to 10 milligrams per serving depending on which product you select. The pricing for the softgels is not easily accessible on the website from what we can see. It looks like the best way to see the price is by acting like you are going to purchase it; the site will then take you to their product catalog where the prices are listed.
We feel like it would be a better user experience if the prices could be easily seen. Garden of Life has these softgels for between $32 and $47.
The gummy line is also uniquely formulated to target specific areas of your life. There are six different gummy formulations to choose from: two whole hemp extract gummies in different flavors, extra strength, inflammatory response, sleep and stress relief.
The CBD + Sleep formula offers 10 milligrams of CBD per gummy and costs $29.99. It also contains lemon balm and valerian extracts, which are said to promote relaxation and better sleep. The Inflammatory Response gummies include organic turmeric root and ginger extract to support immune-boosting functions. They are also $29.99.
Like other Garden of Life products, the CBD topicals are vegan. The brand carries two kinds of topical products, a cream and a lotion. The Intense Recovery Lotion retails for $36.99 and has 800 milligrams of CBD per bottle, making it the strongest of the brand’s two topicals. The Cooling Rescue Cream is priced at $26.99 and includes wintergreen and eucalyptus to boost the cooling and soothing benefits of the product.
Other CBD Products
The company also offers additional products such as a pet oil and CBD collagen.
Our Lab Findings
We have already mentioned what our third-party lab results found, but let’s dive in a little deeper. We sent off a 30 milligram bottle of one of their whole hemp extract liquid drops. The package claims to have 900 milligrams of CBD and our third-party lab results found 909 milligrams of CBD, definitely within the normal range.
There are no other cannabinoids present, which is an issue. CBD alone is considered an isolate, not broad-spectrum or whole plant. As we mentioned earlier, the entourage effect Garden of Life is talking about comes from things like black pepper and rosemary, which do provide something of an entourage effect, but not that provided by the hemp plant. This product passed the solvent and pesticide test.
Shipping and Returns
The company doesn’t make any claims on their website about processing times, but you can get free shipping on any order over $25 if you provide your email address at sign up and opt in to their newsletters. Garden of Life does not ship internationally at the moment, but they do go to all 50 U.S. states.
We ordered our CBD on a weekday, and our package was processed and sent out the next day. However, it took seven days after our order was shipped for us to receive the package, so the shipping is not the fastest.
According to the website, you can return any item you are unsatisfied with within 30 days for a refund.
Our Verdict on Garden of Life
Overall, Garden of Life’s products are not bad. We do feel that because Garden of Life is such a successful company already, they aren’t able to give CBD the attention it deserves.
Yes, their CBD products will sell well because they already have a customer base, but their CBD website is lumped in with the rest of their website and it makes providing CBD-specific educational resources difficult.
The ingredient list of the products is decent, and they have many credentials and certifications to back them up. The third-party lab results we got showed a lacking cannabinoid profile, but the CBD content was pretty much 100 percent accurate.
We would feel comfortable recommending Garden of Life CBD to anyone who thinks it might help them.
References Maker’s Diet. (n.d.). About Jordan Rubin. MakersDiet.com. Retrieved from http://makersdiet.com/about.php  Marilyn Gemino. (2017). Garden of Life Will Become Part of Nestlé. GardenofLife.com. Retrieved from https://www.gardenoflife.com/content/nestle/  David T. Nash and Amy R. Slutzky. (2014). Gluten sensitivity: new epidemic or new myth?. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4255872/  Joseph D. Feuerstein and Adam S. Cheifetz. (2017). Crohn Disease: Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Management. Mayo Clin Proc. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28601423/  Anne Eglash. (2014). Treatment of Maternal Hypergalactia. Breastfeed Med. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4216483/
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I am a women’s rights activist, running junkie, and eternal marketing student. I help companies market their brand to millennials and gen z. In my spare time, you’ll find playing with my golden retriever and reading the newest business books by my fire.
Published October 1, 2020