2019 Holiday Gift Guide for Cannabis Enthusiasts

With the holiday season rapidly advancing, it’s easy to get caught up in the gleam of tinsel, lights, candles, and … the intensive commercialism that accompany this mostly-magical time of year. Advertisers use this season to kick their campaigns into overdrive, and cannabis companies are no exception. 

Slick advertising is nice, but it doesn’t guarantee a good product. With cannabis and CBD growing ever more popular, more and more companies are seeking to make a quick profit on a booming market. That’s why we created our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide specifically with cannabis lovers in mind. 

We’ve put together a list of our favorite toker-friendly products ideal for gifting (or for dropping hints if you’re more about receiving). There’s something here for everyone, from the rugged outdoor stoner to the city-dwelling trendsetter — we even threw in a couple things for our furry friends as well. Our 2019 holiday gift guide offers a little something for everyone on your list.

Whether you need something for your Dead Head office Secret Santa or your sweet nan, who is skeptical of cannabis altogether but might use a bit of CBD for her arthritis pain, we’ve got you covered in our 2019 holiday gift guide for cannabis enthusiasts. We’ve also included items at varying price points to provide options for every budget. We’ll lay out what each item includes, where to find it, what we like about it, and who the item could benefit the most. 

2019 Holiday Gift Guide for Cannabis Lovers

Joy Organics Vape Pen

Joy Organics CBD Vape Oil Cartridge Lite Citrus Breeze Product Review

Perfect for even the most fastidious of CBD fans, the vape cartridges and pens offered by Joy Organics remain our favorites of the genre (and we’ve tried a lot of them). The oil within the high-quality cartridges contains MCT oil, full-spectrum CBD extract, and a proprietary blend of terpenes and flavonoids — and that’s it. No propylene glycol, no vitamin E acetate, no shady additives, just hit after hit of therapeutic CBD. The conscientious formulation of these vape cartridges makes them an absolute hit — and a necessity in our 2019 holiday gift guide

Our favorite flavor is the Citrus Breeze, which delivers a delicious puff of limonene and other soothing terpenes with each draw. Neither overly intense nor lacking in flavor, the Joy Organics vape cartridges are sure to delight even the most conscious of CBD consumers. They’re made with entirely organic ingredients using sustainable practices and minimal, recyclable packaging. Available individually or paired with a battery that’s ready to go out of the box, the vapor line from Joy Organics is truly a crowd-pleaser.

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Earth Medicine Micronized CBD Tinctures

Earth Medicine CBD lemon tincture

Ideal for the CBD skeptic in your life, the tinctures available from Earth Medicine are sure to please. Unlike traditional extracts, the CBD used in Earth Medicine’s lemon and mint tinctures is specially processed with bioavailability in mind. The resulting CBD is micronized, or broken down into tiny, tiny particles, making it much easier for your body to absorb and process. Our 2019 holiday gift guide wouldn’t be complete without these CBD tinctures.

The tinctures are available in two different flavors: lemon, for invigoration, and mint, intended to soothe. Both are equally delicious and can also be added to food and beverages for people who prefer ingestion over sublingual dosing. You could also use the tinctures to create a CBD care package in combination with their topical gel or  vapor kit. The entire product collection by Earth Medicine is individually physician-recommended and formulated with efficacy in mind.

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Joy Organics Skin Care Bundle

Joy Organics CBD Skin Care Bundle

For the skincare enthusiast (or the bougie Betty) on your list, nothing tops the Skin Care Bundle from Joy Organics. While it’s a bit pricey compared to most of our other 2019 holiday gift guide picks, the sumptuous bundle is worth the splurge. Geared toward those who take their skin care regimens seriously, each product is infused with a therapeutic dose of CBD to take self-care to a new level.

The bundle includes a hydrating day cream, a rich night cream, and two CBD-infused serums (one for the face, and another specially designed for the eye area). It also includes a sheet mask that combines organic CBD with humectant ingredients to soothe and soften skin. Perfect for pampering, the bundle is as beautiful as it is effective. 

If the entire bundle is a bit too much to throw down all at once, you can also purchase each component individually. It’s true that the products work most effectively together, but they still hold their own quite well. We especially like the night cream for dry skin, the day cream for normal or combination skin, and the serum for oilier skin types. You could also purchase a couple of sheet masks and bundle them with other pampering products to create a CBD spa experience on the go.

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cbdMD roll-on Pain Freeze

cbdMD CBD Freeze Pain Relief Roll-On 1500 mg Product Review

Our go-to product for near-instantaneous relief from chronic pain, the Pain Freeze from cbdMD is sure to be a useful gift. The product combines organic CBD with botanicals like peppermint, arnica, and tea tree to create a cooling sensation that numbs away pain quickly. The gel formula is contained in a convenient roll-on that places the product exactly where you want it, every time, without dripping or spilling. This roll-on is our top 2019 holiday gift guide pick for pain, inflammation, and swelling.

The product is available in varying dosage strengths, but we recommend the 1500 mg strength for the person on your list with pain that interferes with their daily lives. The hefty dose of CBD in this version provides more relief with less product — always a win. The lower dosage strengths might be a good fit for endurance athletes and others who routinely take their workouts to the limit. The goof-proof roll-on applicator also makes this topical an ideal gift for the accident-prone loved one on your gift list.

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Canna Comforts Prerolled Joints & Palm Wraps

Canna Comforts Preroll Hemp Flower Elektra Strain Review

For the die-hard stoner in your life who refers to CBD as “diet weed,” Canna Comforts might be a game-changer. The brand is dedicated to creating hemp flower strains that look, smell, taste, and smoke just like the top-shelf marijuana that inspired them. Select varieties of hemp flower are available in convenient prerolls, either as classic cones or luxurious palm wraps. A year-round favorite of ours, we couldn’t in good conscience leave Canna Comforts’ flower out of our 2019 holiday gift guide.

Canna Comforts carries an ever-evolving selection of quality hemp flower with varying cannabinoid profiles, so there’s quite literally something for everyone. If you don’t think a preroll is the way to go, you could test the waters with some CBD kief. It offers a perfect way to reap the benefits of CBD alongside any cannabis strain without committing fully to hemp flower — yet.

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Charlotte’s Web Pet Treats

charlotte's web cbd dog treats

If your holiday gift list includes a canine companion, the CBD pet treats from Charlotte’s Web might be just the thing for their stocking. The bite-sized soft chews go over well with even the pickiest of pooches and can be divided easily for small dogs. Made with a short list of  recognizable ingredients, the treats are also competitively priced, making them a win for your wallet, too.

Available in Calming and Cognition formulas, the treats contain 2.5 mg of CBD per serving. We like the calming version for nervous pups (or for scary situations, like thunderstorms and being home alone). The cognition formulation is intended to support brain health and development, making it a good choice for doggos young and old alike. 

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Hemp Bombs Tattoo Balm

hemp bombs tattoo balm

Perfect for that person who’s been hinting about wearing a size three hours in tattoos, the Tattoo Recovery Balm from Hemp Bombs will keep their ink looking pristine for years to come. The balm is formulated with dermatologist (and tattoo artist) approved ingredients to promote healing and keep colors vibrant. Our 2019 holiday gift guide wouldn’t be complete without this tattoo balm.

As ink enthusiasts ourselves, we’ve tested this tattoo balm pretty thoroughly, comparing it to our old standbys like Aquaphor and Cetaphil. We’re impressed enough to keep coming back to it again and again, for piece after piece. Pair the balm with a gift certificate for a session with a favorite artist to create a gift that they’ll actually treasure forever.

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Plus CBD Oil Softgels

PlusCBD Oil Gold Formula Hemp Softgels Product Review

Best suited for the regular CBD user who prefers to keep things simple, the CBD softgels from Plus CBD Oil have it all. Each softgel capsule contains a powerful therapeutic dose of CBD for lasting symptom relief without the herbal flavor. They’re vegetarian, vegan, and cruelty-free, making them accessible for people who choose not to consume animal products.

Available in varying dosage strengths, these softgels are also a good option for someone looking to try CBD, but unsure of where to start. The softgel format feels less intimidating than tinctures to many, and makes taking a daily dose of CBD feel more familiar. Pair them with a selection of delicious and wellness-conscious teas, snacks, or other treats for a thoughtful and supportive gift. 

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Restorative Botanicals Flavored Tinctures

restorative botanicals cbd tincture

While these tinctures offer many of the same benefits as other brands, it’s the flavor selection that brings them to mind for gift giving. The line of RestoreCALM CBD tinctures from Restorative Botanicals includes flavors like Chocolate Mint, Spice, and Chai, making them ideal additions to lattes, cappuccinos, and other beverages. The flavors are delightful and make these tinctures a shoe-in for our 2019 holiday gift guide.

The epicureans among us really enjoy these tinctures as an addition to snacks as well as beverages. They’re especially good for adding a therapeutic dose of CBD to otherwise civilian desserts and snacks. They can also help to spice up otherwise plain confections, like shortbread or butter cookies. With their organic formula and easy dosing, any of these tinctures will be a hit with the snack-happy stoner in your life.

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Seabedee Peach Ring CBD Gummies

seabedee cbd peach ring gummies

For a therapeutic dose of CBD in a familiar sweet, we love the CBD-infused peach ring gummies from Seabedee. Ideal for lovers of classic confectionery and old-school snackers alike, these peach gummies look, smell, and taste just like the candy shop staple. Unlike the sweet shop version, however, these contain a healthy dose of organic CBD to soothe and relax the mind and body.

These CBD gummies make a perfect treat that’s familiar without being too basic. An ideal intro to CBD for even the most reluctant person on your list, they’re a consistent crowd-pleaser. If your loved one isn’t into peach, you might consider the sour CBD gummy bears from Seabedee. Their neon colors and sour crystals give the gummies a bit of extra aesthetic flair that’s sure to delight.

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Canna Comforts Bath Bombs

Canna Comforts CBD Bath Bomb: Cavalier and Femme Fatal Product Review

For the self-care queen (or king!) in your life, few things beat the selection of bath bombs offered by Canna Comforts. Each bomb is crafted with organic, full-spectrum CBD blended with Epsom salts, essential oils, and skin-loving ingredients for a soak that’s therapeutic for body, mind, and spirit. 

Available in a broad selection of fragrances, each bomb contains a 20 mg dose of organic CBD for powerful relief. They hold up well against the competition, too, and could be a game-changer for even the most avid Lush fan on your list. Best of all, they’re competitively priced, so you can cop a few without breaking the bank. Add in a package of CBD salt soak or bath crumble for a complete CBD spa experience they’ll treasure.

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CBDistillery Vape Pens

CBDistillery CBD Vape Pen Grand Daddy Purp Product Review

For the OG stoner on your list, the Granddaddy Purp vape pen from CBDistillery is a guaranteed hit. The disposable vape pen combines organic CBD with a delicious blend of terpenes and flavonoids dissolved in triethyl citrate for safer vaporization. The result is hit after hit of sumptuous vapor that’s bursting with fruity Granddaddy Purp flavor.

Each pen contains 200 mg of organic CBD and costs under $35, with deals on multiple pens and occasional sales. Available in a variety of flavors, the pens can be purchased individually or in a sample pack of multiple flavors. These pens are ideal for providing a delicious and therapeutic dose of CBD that won’t break the bank.

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cbdMD Pet Tinctures

cbdMD CBD Oil for Dogs Product Review

CBD products for dogs and cats are growing in popularity, but what about other companion animals? Don’t get us wrong, we love our “basic” pets, but we also love guinea pigs, rabbits, goats, pigs, sheep, horses, donkeys, hamsters, rats, chinchillas, foxes… all the furry friends. With most CBD pet products targeted at only cats and dogs, where does that leave our other favorite critters? Our 2019 holiday gift guide wouldn’t be complete without something for them!

cbdMD’s line of pet tinctures is designed to benefit all creatures, great and small. In addition to their lines for dogs and cats, cbdMD also offers tinctures for small and large animals that allow any mammalian pet to reap the benefits of CBD. Our equine, bovine, and other ungulate friends love the apple flavor most, while smaller critters seem to prefer the natural iterations. cbdMD’s pet tinctures offer relief and comfort for companion animals across size and species.

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Hemp Bombs Beard Bundle

Hemp Bombs CBD Beard Balm Product Review

Perfect for beards from bushy to barely-there, the beard bundle from Hemp Bombs includes everything necessary to help your loved one elevate their beard care game. The bundle includes two components: a CBD-infused beard oil to hydrate hair for softness and shine, and a beard balm to improve texture and hold wayward hairs in place. Both products also help to condition skin, which can become neglected under a lustrous beard.

Both products can also be purchased individually, but we really like the way the oil and balm work together to improve manageability and support beard health (plus buying the bundle saves you a bit of coin). Easy on your budget and your loved one’s beard, this self-care bundle makes a great gift to keep the man in your life looking clean-cut and confident.

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Takeaway

There are plenty of wonderful gifts available for cannabis lovers of all stripes, from purists to early adopters and everyone in between. Our 2019 holiday gift guide offers a host of options for every type of person (or pet!) on your list. If you have a favorite product you think should make our ranks, drop us a line about where to find it and what you love about it. 

How to Use Cannabis to Boost Creativity

As a psychoactive plant, marijuana has long been used for its recreational as well as medicinal effects. Many long-term stoners say they use cannabis to boost creativity, citing the improved creative flow as one of their favorite aspects of the herb. Since there is overwhelming anecdotal evidence linking cannabis and creativity (and creators, for that matter), leading to the common acceptance of the idea in present cannabis culture

So, is our understanding of cannabis’ power to unlock our creative power true, or is just so much blown smoke? Here, we’ll delve into what science and research have to say about the relationship between cannabis and creativity. We’ll take a look at the science of creation and imagination before examining the role cannabis plays in opening up our connection to our creative mind. We’ll also include some guidance on the practical applications of cannabis (and cannabinoids) for harnessing your creative potential.

Creativity & Dopamine: Inside the Brain

Before we go further, we’ll need a cursory understanding how marijuana behaves in the brain. Marijuana contains cannabinoids (specifically THC) that act on our endocannabinoid system to mediate the production and reception of neurotransmitters. THC in particular stimulates dopamine production, which leads in turn to a better mood, relaxed mindset, and general sense of wellbeing.

The more dopamine the brain releases, the more intense the resulting feelings of euphoria become. This high often leads to increased creativity, improved mood, and reduced stress response. Dopamine, amplified by THC, helps regulate specific brain functions to improve focus, mental clarity, and sensory perception.

Creativity & Divergent Thinking

Creativity, based on research, is associated with the brain’s frontal lobe. When cannabis is consumed, it makes this area of the brain more active due to its ability to increase cerebral blood flow (CBF). The activities of these neurotransmitters spur creative outputs.

The frontal lobe also houses what’s called “creative divergent thinking.” One of the metrics in measuring creativity, it helps in coordinating abstract ideas for creative problem-solving. Divergent thinking is imperative for creativity—which is the ability to yield several solutions to a somewhat broad problem.

Divergent thinking is what makes creative thinkers creative. Examples of such are brainstorming, freewriting, and coming up with outside-the-box solutions.

Cannabis Connects Abstract Ideas

A 2015 study by the University College London, reveals that the psychoactive attributes of marijuana can potentially improve divergent thinking.  Cannabis increases the ability to form abstract connections leading to breakthroughs of inspiration and ideation.

However, it should be noted that this is only effective when appropriate doses of cannabis are consumed. As too much of this psychoactive plant may lead to the opposite effect.

Cannabis Improves Episodic Memory Retrieval

The memory of autobiographical events such as times, places, and so forth—which can be stated clearly and in detail, is what is called episodic memory. The recollection of these events is one of the main components of the episodic memory process.

Studies show that cannabis can enhance episodic memory retrieval. This improved retrieval of past events can make a person more creative by drawing upon more inspiration.

Cannabis Improves Pattern Recognition

Another important aspect of creativity is pattern recognition. It allows an individual to conclude any sort of data, whether it be visual, mathematical, or semantic.

Pattern recognition helps find solutions to a problem by noticing related things. It helps the brain curate multiple ideas and filters the most relevant one.

A Psychiatric Research study published in 2010, reveals that marijuana consumers show greater ability to connect seemingly disconnected words. Researchers have also found that cannabis users are more able to connect abstract ideas, see patterns easily, and produce more creative ideas.

How to Use Cannabis to Boost Creativity

While weed has been scientifically demonstrated to enhance creativity, it can also have the opposite effect. In circumstances such as using the wrong strains, overdosing, consuming it with the wrong people or environment—can hamper creative output.

Everyone has their level of tolerance and preference. The cannabinoids in weed may affect people differently. Below are some tips to use cannabis to enhance creativity.

  •     Use Cannabis that contains THC and CBD together

Lastly, when using marijuana to elevate creativity—choose cannabis products wisely. Cannabinoids, as mentioned above, affects people differently so it’s important to choose the right strain for you.

You may start by picking strains that contain a mix of THC and CBD. This is because CBD can prevent THC from producing an overpowering effect. This will allow you to become more focused and productive.

  • Pick the right strain – Different marijuana strains produce different effects. Sativa and sativa-dominant strains give a cerebral high which is more likely to boost creativity. On the other hand, indica and indica-dominant strains have a more relaxing, sedative effect. If engaging in creative work, it’s best to avoid overly sedative strains. Instead, pick strains that will make you more alert, energetic, and clear-headed.
  • Start with lower doses – When it comes to cannabis and creativity, proper dosage is key. If your goal is to consume weed to boost your creativity, it is always recommended to start with lower doses. Doing so will prevent the possibility of becoming too elevated, or too “high.”

If you’re consuming strains high in THC content and taking it in large doses, chances are, it may make you less creative. This is specifically because if THC content is high it may enhance divergent thinking but may weaken convergent thinking—which is also essential to creative thinking. What’s more is that studies show that a higher dose of THC (22mg) had a strong opposite impact while a lower dose of THC (5.5mg of 19% THC) increases the creative impact on fluency, flexibility, and originality. The research also infers that high doses of cannabis can, in reality, impair divergent thinking. Another reason not to overdose is that too much weed can promote anxiety and restlessness.

5 Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Weight Loss

Many different conditions come to mind when you hear the term ‘medical marijuana,’ but one you might not think of is weight loss. After all, isn’t the stoner stereotype perpetually hungry? While there is some truth to the myth of the Doritos-ravaging stoner, new research suggests that medical cannabis can actually help you maintain a healthy weight. But what are the benefits of medical marijuana for weight loss?

Here, we’ll discuss the science of cannabis and your metabolism, along with the specific compounds responsible for the metabolic effects of marijuana. We’ll illustrate the practical applications of current research and provide guidance on how to reap the maximum weight loss benefits your medical cannabis experience.

Current Research on Cannabis for Weight Loss

Over 30,000 individuals participated in research to discover how the effects of cannabis for weight loss conducted by the International Journal of Epidemiology. The findings of the study surprised even those of us who consider ourselves knowledgeable about medical cannabis. In short, the study indicated that people who consume cannabis periodically are less susceptible to overweight and obesity than those who don’t partake at all. 

The study, conducted over three years, showed that while all participants gained some weight, those gains were smaller for those who smoked marijuana than for those who abstained. The researchers believe that marijuana can influence metabolism through cellular changes. This opinion is consistent with findings from comparable studies.

Studies by the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2011 found that cannabis users are less vulnerable to obesity than those who do not choose to partake, and that cannabis is shown to increase appetite. Other studies have found that, contrary to popular belief, lovers of marijuana have smaller waistlines and lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) relative to abstainers.

This is especially encouraging for people diagnosed with or predisposed to type II diabetes, as it may help to reverse some of the damage wrought by chronic high blood sugar. The benefits of medical marijuana for weight loss may also extend long after one falls off the dieting wagon, helping to maintain weight loss over time.

The Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Weight Loss

 

Better Sleep

 

The proverbial “calories in, calories out” theory only carries you so far when trying to lose weight. Of course your diet has a huge influence on your weight, but it isn’t the only factor. Your natural metabolic rate can also be affected by the quality of your sleep.

While it sounds counterintuitive, we actually burn a surprising number of calories during sleep. This is because our brains require lots of fuel to power our bodies and minds, and good sleep is a critical part of your brain’s daily maintenance routine. The body devotes most of your energy while sleeping to your brain, which is hard at work cementing new neural connections and dismantling old ones.

It follows, then, that good sleep (both duration and quality) is essential for healthy weight loss. If you suffer from chronic insomnia or wake frequently throughout the night, your sleep quality decreases. As any sleepless or midnight snack lover tells you, sleep deprivation tends to raise appetite as well, leading you to eat more during waking hours even if you aren’t hitting the fridge at 2 am.

CBD is especially helpful for troubled sleep. The non-psychoactive cannabinoid helps to induce sleep by acting as an anxiolytic and antispasmodic. CBD is also demonstrated to help improve the quality and duration of sleep, particularly REM sleep. Ask your local dispensary for an indica or indica-heavy hybrid, which tend to be relatively high in CBD and lower in THC.

If you are especially susceptible to sleep disturbances like panic attacks or night terrors, exercise caution with THC at bedtime. While it’s relatively rare, high doses can exacerbate these symptoms for some people. 

 

THC and Obesity

 

Some people need to take THC-heavy strains to manage pain and other chronic conditions effectively. THC is frequently associated with the classic “munchies,” so it’s reasonable to wonder: will lots of THC make you gain weight? While the answer in humans isn’t yet closely observed, we do have some idea of how THC affects weight loss in mammals.

In a 2015 study of a group of obese mice, a rather paradoxical effect of THC was illustrated. Part of the group was treated with THC, while the other received a placebo. The mice treated with THC tended to lose weight, particularly the ones that were the heaviest at the start of the study. The findings are interesting, but further study is needed to draw any real conclusions.

It is worth noting that the obese mice in the study were given an oral dose of THC versus the usual inhalation of medical cannabis smoke or vapor by most consumers. Researchers noted a change in the intestinal flora of the mice treated with THC, which may have contributed to their weight loss. This raises the question of the effects of oral THC (edibles ahoy!) on our human microbiomes, which studies reveal may have substantial impact on our weight, mental health, skin, and other aspects of health.

Indeed, long-term medical marijuana users appear to have a lower obesity rate compared to non-smokers, indicating that the munchies may not drastically increase your waistline. Non-smokers have also been shown to have a lower rate of metabolism than occasional or long-term tokers. 

 

Encourage “Browning” of Fat Cells

 

In your body, there are two basic types of fat: white and brown. The main form of white fat (the stuff we usually picture) is to store energy and is fairly readily broken down by the body. It also isolates and protects the internal organs. Excess white fat, especially visceral fat, may contribute to increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses.  

Brown fat, on the other hand, does not break down easily. In fact, it actually plays an important role in metabolism of white fat. Persons of a healthy weight appear to have more brown fat than people who are overweight or obese. However, your natural brown/white fat ratio is somewhat malleable and can be adjusted with lifestyle — and cannabis.

Through exercising, getting adequate sleep and exposing to cold temperatures, you can slowly convert white fat to brown fat. Emerging research illustrates the action of CBD on this process, illustrating the potential benefits of medical marijuana for weight loss. An in-vitro study found that CBD led more white fat cells to “brown,” increasing the expression of certain genes and proteins that support brown fat. 

 

CBD Strengthens Metabolism & Decreases Appetite

 

Preliminary research suggests that CBD may reduce food intake and improve weight loss by supporting metabolism (catabolism, specifically). Animal studies show that CBD affects weight loss by interacting with lymphoid and brain CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are considered important for metabolism and perception of hunger and satiety.

In a biweekly trial, rats had CBD injected daily at 1.1 and 2.3 mg / Pfund (2,5 and 5 mg/kg) dose per pound body weight. The two doses provided substantial body weight reductions, with the more pronounced effect at the higher dose. However, we should note that the CBD in this study was injected rather than administered orally. In another rat research study of CBD, the consumption of food  with other drugs, such as cannabis and tobacco, decreased significantly.

 

CBD Supports Exercise & Recovery

 

Beyond calming you down and helping you sleep, CBD has applications for exercise and athletic recovery. Many people find that it helps them to focus and stick to the task at hand. A dose of CBD before a workout can give you the concentration and resolve you need to push your limits and meet your goals. This appears especially true of aerobic and endurance workouts, though it may also help with strength training. 

Takeaway

We live in a golden age of cannabis science and medical exploration, but further research is needed to see which cannabinoid combinations are the most successful in supporting weight loss. However, preliminary evidence supports the benefits of medical marijuana for weight loss. If you live in a state that is appropriate for use, contact your physician or local dispensary to seek out a high-CBD medical marijuana strain. You can also use CBD alone to effectively address a number of weight loss concerns. 

How to Grow Weed Indoors: A Beginner’s Guide

As cannabis grows more popular (and legal, in an increasing number of states), so does interest in cultivating the herb. As largely urban and suburban living spaces lack the acreage necessary for an outdoor grow space, leading most would-be individual gardeners to grow weed indoors rather than out.

Indoor growing offers some advantages over outdoor gardens, but also creates some unique challenges of its own. Many cannabis novices dream of growing their own marijuana, but lack the necessary knowledge and experience to do so successfully. 

Growing marijuana plants inside (and therefore away from natural sunlight) might sound like a tough job, but trust us: it’s not that hard. With some specialized tools and a bit of know-how, growing your own cannabis can be surprisingly simple — not to mention rewarding. That said, you will need a complete set of equipment and a solid plan before you can set up your indoor cannabis growing operation.

This post aims to lay out a complete beginner’s guide to growing weed indoors. Here, we have compiled a brief informative collection of information to help you grow marijuana indoors, right in the comfort of your own home (and away from prying eyes). We’ll break down where to grow, what you’ll need, how to get the most out of your grow space, and more. By the end of this post, you’ll have all the crucial information you need to grow your own delicious buds. 

Where to Grow Weed Indoors

The first step to get growing is to choose the right location to grow cannabis indoors. You’ll want to choose a place where the plants will not be disturbed as they grow, away from major fluctuations in temperature, lighting, and humidity. These inconsistencies can harm delicate young plants and hurt the quality of your finished herb.

Many people choose to use a closet or cabinet like an armoire to set up their grow spaces, but you can also purchase such spaces ready-made. These might include something like a specialized grow tent or stealthy cabinet. We like these options best because they create a private space to grow weed indoors discreetly.

Grow tents offer lots of adjustability, allowing beginner growers lots of control over factors like light, humidity, temperature, airflow, etc. The enclosed space of the grow tent provides an added benefit as well: it prevents insects and other pests from feasting on your cannabis plant and hampering your harvest.  

Grow cabinets are another great option if you are looking to grow cannabis indoors without anyone knowing about it. These grow boxes are designed to look like your average cabinet, preventing them from arousing suspicion.  

Selecting Your Seeds

Perhaps the single most important factor of growing your own cannabis is selecting quality seeds. If the seeds you plant are of poor quality, then all your hard work and preparation will yield, at best, mediocre results. For the dankest nugs, you’ll need the best seeds you can find.

The legality of buying cannabis seeds varies from state to state depending on the legal status of marijuana where you live. With that in mind, be cautious when ordering seeds from seed banks or attempting to cross state lines with cannabis seeds, as they could be confiscated.

The best seeds for your personal use will depend on what you enjoy most about cannabis. Every strain has differing flavors, effects, terpenes, and cannabinoid profiles that will affect the final flower. We recommend researching the differences between strains in order to get a better idea of what you like best. You might also consider your grow space: indica strains tend to be short and bushy, while sativas are usually taller and lankier.

If you are able to, we suggest purchasing your seeds from a seed bank, such as Southern Humboldt Seed Collective or Exotic Genetix. These US-based seed banks offer quality seeds for strains from around the globe. If you live in a legal state, you may also consider asking your local dispensary for recommendations.

Germinating Cannabis Seeds

This is where things start to get real. For this step, you’ll  a bit of patience and some basic knowledge of horticulture. It’s not that germinating cannabis seeds is hard (it’s called weed for a reason!), but they’re delicate at this stage and need some extra attention. 

To make germination as easy as possible, we suggest purchasing seedling plugs or starter cubes from an online retailer or garden center. These little blocks of soil are intended to give your seed everything it needs to thrive as it germinates, yielding a healthier plant. There are even rapid-root plugs available for a speedier germination. However, you can also DIY your own with some soil in small containers, like old egg cartons, with a bit of compost for nutrients.

Whether you choose ready-made starter cubes or a homemade version, insert one cannabis seed per cube and hydrate thoroughly with water. Keep the cubes moist and out of direct sunlight (a windowsill is a good spot) until they begin to sprout. Then, place the entire cube into your growing medium, being careful not to disturb the sprout.

Choose a Growing Medium

While you’re waiting on your seeds to germinate (which can take a week or longer), you should put together your final grow space. This includes selecting a growing medium, or the substrate in which you plan to cultivate your cannabis plants. There are many different options available, including classic soil, deep-water culture, coco coir, hydroponic setups, and others. The most common growing mediums are soil and hydroponic indoor grows, which we’ll discuss separately below.

Organic Soil Grow Method

A perennial favorite for a reason, soil remains one of the best, most tried-and-true ways to grow strong, healthy cannabis plants. Why buy organic? Well, all plants pick up the nutrients in the soil they grow in, along with any residual nastiness that might be there. Cannabis and hemp do this especially well, meaning that any yuck in the soil ends up concentrated in the plant. It’s important, then, to choose a soil that’s safe and free of heavy metals, pesticides, toxins, and other potentially harmful compounds.

While a bag of organic potting soil from your local garden center will do the trick, you can also customize your own soil blend with relatively little effort. You might include things like worm castings, compost, coco fiber, or peat moss alongside perlite or loam for drainage. Ingredients like crab, blood, or kelp meal can add soluble hydrogen to help your indoor cannabis plants grow their best.

Hydroponics

If you just can’t get behind soil growing (or simply want to do something different), we suggest trying a hydroponic setup. Hydroponics are widely used by commercial growers and are surprisingly easy to set up in a home grow as well.

Marijuana grown hydroponically tends to yield more flower more quickly compared to soil. It also allows you to add select nutrients directly to the water rather than risking disturbing the plant to add a solid fertilizer to soil. We find ready-made hydroponic kits (available at garden centers) are well-suited to growing cannabis indoors at home.

LED Grow Lights for Indoor Use

Since your indoor grow won’t be getting much natural sunlight, you’ll need to supplement your plants with plenty of light from other sources. There are a couple of different options here: high-intensity bulbs (HID), CFL, fluorescent, or LED lighting are all appropriate. That said, we strongly prefer the best LED lights, for a couple of reasons:

  • Low warmth – Many older varieties of lighting tend to release a lot of heat when used over long hours. This heat can build up in your grow chamber, damaging your plants — no good! LED bulbs have the lowest available heat emission today, even when they’re on for hours on end.
  • Full Spectrum Light – LEDs offer multiple frequencies of light to provide your cannabis plants with all the energy they need to be healthy and vibrant. Most LED bulbs allow you to customize the frequency of the light they emit, allowing you to adjust the light quality as your plants grow.
  • Discretion – LED bulbs tend to be much smaller and more portable than their incandescent and fluorescent counterparts. This allows them to fit more readily into small spaces like a grow tent or cabinet. They’re also more energy-efficient, so your grow won’t eat up too much power.

Light Timing for Indoor Growing

Alright, you know what kind of light to use, but how much light will your plants need, and when? Not to fret, we’ve got you covered.

The timing schedule outlined below is a regular time schedule that’s pretty representative of common practices among cannabis growers worldwide. However, it may be adjusted as desired according to personal preference. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with it — as long as their schedule stays regular, your plants will be flexible with you.

Vegetative Stage

The vegetative phase of plant growth is the period between germination and flowering. During this time, your plant is doing lots of photosynthesis to build up energy stores in preparation for flowering. It’ll also be growing quite a bit to make space for plenty of flowering sites — yaay!

During this period, a bulb with a cool temperature can help spur growth. We suggest lighting with a blue-based tone, as this is closest to natural daylight. Healthy plants will produce plenty of leaves and shouldn’t appear “leggy,” a sign the marijuana is searching for a better light source.

Generally, the best timing during the vegetative stage is to provide light for 18 hours per day, followed by 6 hours of darkness. Recently, however, a different schedule has been proposed. While it is still being tested, some growers prefer to provide light in six-hour bursts, with each light period followed by a two-hour period of darkness.  

Flowering Stage

Also called the bloom phase, flowering indicates that the plant is finally putting its resources toward creating those delicious buds. Its efforts shift away from putting out new leaves and stems and towards reproducing. Warm temperature lights with a red cast to them will help to spur flowering and create larger, more luscious flowers. 

During this time, the light should be on for 12 hours per day and off for another 12 hours. This cycle encourages the plant to flower, as it mimics the shortening of daylight hours leading into the winter months (when the plant normally goes dormant).

Nutrients to Grow Weed Indoors

Giving your marijuana plant the appropriate nutrients in the proper amount is vital in determining if you will get a meager, skimpy harvest or an impressive load of dense, luscious buds.

A common beginner-grower misstep is giving your marijuana plants too little (or way too much) nutrients. Low nutrients result in the plant not growing to its full capacity. Alternatively, overloading your plants with more nutrients than they can handle can send them into shock, burning the roots and even killing the plant.  

With that in mind, it’s critical to keep track of nutrients — especially if you are using a hydroponic grow setup to grow weed indoors. There are some excellent plant nutrients available on the market which are proven to work wonders for your bud harvest. Let’s talk in a bit more detail about when and how to use nutrients:

Vegetative Phase Nutrients

The most crucial compound your homegrown marijuana plant needs in its vegetative phase is nitrogen. Nitrogen is abundant in fertilizers, castings, meals, and other garden nutrients, but check the label carefully before applying any product to your plants. Follow dilution instructions carefully to avoid accidentally overdoing it.

Flowering Phase Nutrients

As your plant begins to flower, it will need less nitrogen and more phosphorus and potassium. These compounds will help to encourage blooming and are often found in products like bone meal.

If you doubt your abilities to choose appropriate fertilizers to successfully grow weed indoors, look for nutrient packs labeled Bloom or Vegetative. These premade nutrient packs will help remove the guesswork (though you should still read the directions thoroughly before use!).

How to Support Your Plant’s Growth

  • Lighting: Make sure that you have knowledge of lighting times of marijuana plants in different phases. Both the vegetative phase and the blooming phase have different lighting schedules.
  • Environment: Every cannabis strain has a different set of requirements in terms of what kind of temperature, humidity, and other things it grows best in. Research the conditions of your particular marijuana strain, then set all the parameters accordingly.
  • Watering: Giving water to your plants is vital because you have to keep it in balance. Make a watering schedule and observe the growth of the plant; if the plant shows problems, then you might want to change the watering amount and frequency.
  • Protection: As with almost all kinds of plants, marijuana plants also need sheltering from pests, diseases, and bacteria. Some of the strains sold on the market are naturally resistant to mold and pests, so again, research about your strain and use plant protectors if needed.
  • Discretion: If you are growing marijuana without letting anyone notice it, then there are a few things you can do to make sure you don’t get caught. For example, you can add carbon air filters to your grow tent. These filters will filter out the marijuana smell when the ventilation system expels the air.

Wrapping up

There is an unbelievable amount of information on how to grow weed indoors available online. There are many different methods by which to grow cannabis, and even commercial growers continue to learn and experiment. 

You have plenty of time to find your own ideal growing technique, and with our guidelines you are well on your way to producing your own homegrown cannabis in just a few short months. Feel free to reach out to our team with questions.

Best Drug Test Products of 2019

Drug testing is an unfortunate reality for millions of cannabis consumers across the US, even in states that have legalized the herb for recreational use. Unlike many substances that carry a much higher risk of abuse, dependence, and overdose (looking at you, opioids), the active ingredient in cannabis, THC, can hang around in your body’s fatty tissues for days, weeks, or even months after your last puff or edible. 

This makes passing drug tests daunting for cannabis consumers, especially those of us that take the herb regularly or prefer edibles over smoking or vaping. Even in legal states, testing positive for THC can disqualify you for a job (New York City recently adopted legislation that prohibits employers for testing for THC, but so far no other cities or states have followed suit). Without the best drug test products of 2019, your career might be in doubt.

Fortunately, there are ways to pass a drug test, even at very short notice. The key to pulling off a successful negative result is choosing a product that works; even the strictest observance of detox instructions can be foiled by subpar cleansing products. Here, we’ve compiled the best drug test products of 2019, each designed to help you pass.

We’ve broken down our list into four categories, with products created to help consumers pass urine, hair, and saliva drug tests (the three most common forms of drug testing), followed by an additional category for home drug testing kits. We’ll lay out what we like about each of the products listed here, along with any special considerations to make before purchase.

Criteria for Listing       

Before we begin, we should lay out a little bit of information about our selection process. Each of the products listed here has been personally and rigorously tested by our team. To make the cut to be considered one of the best drug test products of 2019, a product must be effective above all else — when used as directed, each of these products are effective for their indicated purposes. 

Secondly, they are safe for human consumption; while it may not be the best idea to use detox products very frequently, each of our best drug test products of 2019 are free of harmful ingredients that could cause adverse effects in the average consumer when used as directed. Finally, each of these products are simple to use and require no special equipment that isn’t included in the product.

Urine Drug Screen Products

best drug test products 2019

Urine drug screens are just now beginning to fall out of fashion, but they still dominate the drug testing industry and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Because of this, we focused our attention on this category in order to provide a broad variety of products for consumers of all levels and needs. While our personal favorite method for passing a urine drug screen is substitution, we’ll also talk about a few different detox options for when subbing out your sample isn’t an option.

  • Powdered Human Urine Kit – Unlike the powdered or premixed synthetic urine options available from other retailers, this kit consists of powdered human urine, ensuring that your sample won’t be flagged for tampering. The kit includes enough urine powder for your sample, contained within a convenient plastic vial. It also contains specialized warmers to bring your sample to temperature, as well as a highly accurate temperature strip that makes it easy to know when your sample is ready to go. While it’s more difficult to use this kit for a supervised drug test, it is our go-to for most pre-employment tests and a standout among the best drug test products of 2019. For more details about user experience, check out our detailed review of the powdered human urine kit from TestClear. We prefer this kit over competitors because it is:
    • Easy to use for unsupervised tests
    • User-friendly
    • Adaptable
    • The most reliable way to ensure a passing result on a urine drug test
    • Bulk discounts available when purchasing multiple kits
  • Toxin Rid Detox System – If you decide to go the detox route, a Detox System from Toxin Rid is our preferred method to ensure that your system is clear of THC on test day. Available from TestClear, each kit contains cleansing tablets to be taken with plenty of water that will help ignite your body’s natural cleansing capabilities, purging your system of THC. They also contain an electrolyte-mineral shot to boost cleansing, along with a dose of dietary fiber. Both of these components are to be taken on the day of testing. One of our favorite things about these kits is that they’re available in variable durations, from 1-day to 10-day detoxes. We recommend choosing the appropriate duration for your level of use — if you smoked a blunt with some buddies two weekends ago, the 1-day detox should suffice, but don’t expect the same results if you chief like Cheech (in which case, we recommend choosing the 10-day detox). When used appropriately, this is a reliable cleanse and one of the best drug test products of 2019. We describe our experience with the Toxin Rid Detox Systems here; we love the kit because it’s:
    • Relatively gentle on the body, making it a good choice for sensitive systems
    • Customizable according to your level of use
  • Mega Clean Detox Drink – When we need to pass a urine drug test in a pinch, this is the product we reach for. Suitable for occasional to moderate cannabis consumers, Mega Clean’s tropical punch flavor goes down easy and helps you pass a urine drug test for up to 5 hours from consumption, with maximum cleansing power at 3 hours. We recommend at least 48 hours of abstinence from THC prior to using Mega Clean, but lighter consumers may be able to get away with less. When used as directed, Mega Clean will help ensure a clean result on test day. This is one of our tried-and-true products and an absolute staple of the best drug test products of 2019. We talk about our experience with Mega Clean in detail here, but we like it most because it is:
    • Palatable for most consumers
    • Effective when used as directed
    • Excellent for short-notice tests
    • Bulk discounts available on multiple bottles from TestClear
  • XXtra Clean Detox Drink – An extra-concentrated detox drink designed to flush the systems of moderate to heavy consumers, XXtra Clean is our choice for short-notice cleansing for heavy consumers. If you’re a daily user, XXtra Clean will help you pass your test when used as directed (though we strongly recommend at least 48 hours of abstention prior to testing). Like Mega Clean, XXtra Clean provides a 5-hour window during which you will test clean, with maximum effect at 3 hours. Check our our detailed review here for more information on why we consider XXtra Clean one of the best drug test products of 2019. We like XXtra Clean because it is:
    • Potent and effective for moderate to heavy consumers
    • Tropical fruit flavor goes down smoothly
    • Effective for short-term detoxing
    • Bulk discounts available from TestClear on purchases of multiple bottles

Hair Drug Screen Products

best drug test products of 2019

While they’re far less common than urine drug screens, hair tests are pretty intimidating. This is because, unlike other types of tests, hair drug tests detect substances up to 90 days from consumption (and even longer, though these tests only look at a 1.5 inches of hair, about 90 days worth of growth for the average person). There are several methods out there that attempt to strip traces of THC and other substances from the hair shaft, but most of these involve repeated bleaching and recoloring of hair (we can feel hairdressers everywhere cringing at the mere mention of it), causing substantial damage to your hair. 

Fortunately, there are cleansing shampoos available that work to effectively remove THC and other substances from the hair shaft without frying your hair. So before you reach for the bleach — or worse, the razor! — check out our top cleansing shampoos to help you pass your drug test and save your tresses.

  • Aloe Toxin Rid Shampoo – With its fresh scent and powerful cleansing properties, this shampoo is our favorite product to help us pass hair drug tests. While it’s a bit pricey, a little goes a very long way (and you’ll only need to focus the product on the hair closest to the scalp at the crown of the head, since this is where testing administrators will take their sample from) and it is effective. Wash your hair as many times as you’re able to before your test for thorough cleansing — the aloe vera extract helps smooth and condition hair, returning the moisture lost during cleansing (you can read about our experience with the shampoo here). Aloe Toxin Rid Shampoo is one of the best drug test products of 2019 and our go-to cleanser because it is:
    • Effective for even heavy consumers
    • Gentle on hair, sparing your follicles from damage
  • Zydot Ultra Clean Shampoo – This three-part system is a great way to amp up your cleansing routine for ultimate cleanliness and confidence. First, the shampoo opens up the hair’s structure to reveal the core within. Then, the purifier removes contaminants and cleanses the hair shaft thoroughly. Finally, the conditioner restores moisture and manageability, adding shine and sealing the cuticle of the hair to reduce damage. We prefer to use this product in addition to the Aloe Toxin Rid shampoo rather than as a replacement, especially for frequent consumers. Our favorite way to use it is as a final deep clean before testing — the conditioning step is excellent for nourishing hair that’s a little bedraggled from intensive cleansing. Check out our detailed review here; we consider Zydot Ultra Clean one of the best drug test products of 2019 because it:
    • Works well for all hair types and minimizes damages
    • Effectively cleanses hair of contaminants without excessive dryness
    • Bulk discounts available  from TestClear on purchases of multiple units

Saliva Drug Screen Products

best drug test products of 2019

The saliva test is growing in popularity among employers, and for good reason: mouth swabs are much less invasive than urine or blood tests and, unlike urine screens, saliva tests give a sense of recent THC consumption over long-term usage patterns. A test administrator swabs the subject’s mouth, then tests the saliva for THC and any other substances.

Since THC doesn’t hang out in saliva nearly as long as it does in urine or hair (48 hours as opposed to weeks or even months), this makes saliva tests much easier to beat than other types of testing. This is the only category with a single product, and it isn’t for no reason — this is our go-to, failsafe product that has never let us down. We’ve passed saliva tests after smoking less than an hour before the test using this stuff, and it’s achieved “swear by it” status among our testers.

  • Toxin Rid Rescue Wash Mouthwash – While the taste of this mouthwash isn’t our favorite (it’s intensely tingly and makes for an, um, interesting sensory experience), it is outstanding at removing THC from saliva before testing. We’ve obtained clean results with this product every single time we’ve used it, even after smoking just an hour before testing. We can see Rescue Wash being especially helpful to keep on hand if your company uses mouth swabs for their random drug testing program — just rinse twice according to the directions, and you’re good to go! Check out our full review here; Rescue Wash is absolutely one of the best drug test products of 2019 and our favorite way to pass a saliva test because it:
    • Works consistently, even on extremely short notice
    • Thoroughly cleanses saliva of trace substances, including THC
    • Is very user-friendly and practically foolproof
    • Bulk discounts available from TestClear on purchases of multiple units

At-Home Drug Testing Products

best drug test products 2019

There are a variety of reasons you might want or need to take a drug test at home. Perhaps you want to make sure that your detox worked before the big day, or maybe you’re monitoring the presence of THC in your system for a tolerance break or for medical purposes. Whatever your reasons, it’s important to choose a test you can be confident in using. Here are the best drug testing products of 2019 when it comes to home testing kits. Available in bulk or individually, these drug testing kits are simple to use and provide accurate, consistent results. Note that each of these kits are also available for other substances, but we focused our attention on THC-specific testing kits.

  • Marijuana Urine Drug Test Kit – This urine drug test kit contains the testing apparatus, which is similar in design to a pregnancy or other urine test. To use the test, immerse the tip of the testing stick into your sample for 10 seconds, then cap the testing stick and allow the urine to be absorbed into the results window. The kit is very easy to use and provides reliable, accurate results (you can read up on our experience with it here). This is our favorite THC urine drug test and one of the best drug test products of 2019 because it:
    • Is easy to use without any mess or stress
    • Provides quick and accurate results
    • Available at a discount from TestClear when purchasing multiple kits
  • Marijuana Saliva Drug Test Kit – Once you know what you’re doing, this kit is easy to use: simply unwrap the sanitary swab included in the kit, then hold it in your mouth for 1-3 minutes, until it is sufficiently saturated with saliva. Then, insert the swab into the testing apparatus and snap it down securely. This squeezes the saliva out of the swab and onto the testing panels. The testing kit works quickly and unobtrusively while maintaining accuracy (read about our experience with it here). This simple swab is hands-down one of the best drug test products of 2019 for its simplicity and accuracy. We like it best because it’s:
    • Easy to use 
    • Gives quick results
    • Available at a discount through TestClear when purchasing multiple kits

Takeaway

Don’t gamble with your career or legal status — choose reliable products to help you pass your drug test. When combined with responsible pre-cleanse habits and hygiene, these products will help reduce the risk of a positive result. To find the best product for your body, we recommend conducting a “dry run” beforehand to test yourself in advance. This offers you the opportunity to make any necessary adjustments well in advance of the big day itself.

How to Choose a Drug Test Cleanse that Actually Works

Drug testing, whether for employment or legal/insurance purposes, is an unfortunate fact of life for many of us. We at Key to Cannabis believe that THC and CBD use should not impact your career and want to help you make informed decisions about any cleansing or substitution products you choose. 

In a crowded market of flashy packages on cleansing products that practically promise the moon, how do you find the things that live up to their labeling? Here, we’ll break down how to choose a drug test cleanse that actually works. We’ll outline the things you need to know choosing a product to help you pass your drug test, what to look for in a provider, and how to optimize your chances of passing.

A General Note on the Drug Testing Industry

how to find a drug test cleanse that actually works

As we talk about how to choose a drug testing product, we’ll need a certain level of understanding of the relationship between the drug testing industry and the companies creating products designed to “spoof” those tests. These two fields are locked in an arms race of sorts, a self-sustaining cycle that creates an ever-evolving line of products. As testing companies create tests capable of detecting things like dilution or substitution, cleansing companies reformulate their products to meet the requirements of the new tests. 

Because the two industries are at constant war with each other, the product that worked last year might not work on Tuesday of next week, and what works for a small lab in Poteet, TX might not fly at a major testing lab in San Diego, CA. Your odds are affected by where you are and the type of test you’ll be taking, but ultimately, it’s still a bit of a gamble every time.

With that in mind, it’s important to choose cleansing and substitution products that are on the cutting edge of drug testing technology. Using the best products available will give you the best chance of passing your drug test, even accounting for all other factors.

Types of Drug Test Products:  Cleansing

how to find a drug test cleanse that actually works

Drug test products marketed as “cleansing” are sort of right — but also sort of not. Because THC sticks around for so long in the body (it attaches to fat rather than water, making it very hard to flush out effectively), there isn’t a way to truly cleanse your body of THC quickly. The only way to do that is to abstain completely, often for months if you’ve been a heavy consumer for a long time. 

So, if these products don’t truly cleanse your body, then what do they do? Drug test cleansers like drinks and detox systems work by a few different mechanisms (more in a moment) to give you a short window of time during which you will test clean. After this window, THC will again show up in your system, so time is of the essence when testing using a urine cleansing product. 

First, these products use ingredients like cayenne pepper, dandelion, and turmeric to purge surface cells of THC so that it can be flushed away by the kidneys. Second, diuretic ingredients like caffeine and cranberry extract are used to induce flushing of the system. Finally, masking ingredients like B vitamins are used to improve the chemical content of the urine and avoid diluting it too far to be tested.

When looking for a cleansing product, it’s also important to keep in mind that the longer you abstain from cannabis before your test, the better off you’ll be. In a perfect world, you’d have a week or more of advance notice — but that’s not usually the case. If we’re going to go the cleansing route, we feel that at least three days of abstinence is necessary to produce a passing result (and that’s just us personally — your mileage may vary here, by a little or a lot). 

The exception here is saliva cleansing products like Rescue Wash Mouthwash — we smoked an hour before our test and still passed with flying colors. For urine cleansing, however, much longer periods of abstinence are required, and that may not be an option for you. In that instance, you still have another option:  substitution.

Types of Drug Test Products:  Substitution

how to find a drug test cleanse that actually works

Unlike cleansing products, which attempt to make your own urine into passing urine, substitution products aim to create an artificial urine that will pass the test for you. Substitution products may be premixed or powdered (we strongly prefer the powdered versions) and contain essential ingredients like urea, B vitamins, amino acids, uric acid, and creatinine, creating a version that behaves exactly like the real thing. 

The problem with some substitution products is that they’re sometimes behind on the latest technology, which can lead to formulas that can cause you to fail. This is primarily a problem with premixed urine substitutes, which may contain additives or preservatives that can trigger a red flag for the testing agency. Additionally, ingredients like biocides should be avoided, as many tests search for their presence in samples (they interfere with the enzymes that the test relies on). 

Drug Test Product Sellers

how to find a drug test cleanse that actually works

Just like the products they sell, not all drug testing product retailers are trustworthy. There are products that are available from Amazon, GNC, and other major retailers (often at bargain-basement prices), but these products don’t stand by the products they sell — if it doesn’t work, you’re up a certain creek without a paddle. 

Additionally, they won’t be able to tell you anything about how the product works or whether it will work for your particular situation. You might save money in the short term, but that savings won’t be of much help if you lose your job or miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime because you failed your drug test.

We prefer to use TestClear for our drug testing needs. Drug testing is TestClear’s entire business — they stand behind the products they carry, provide outstanding customer service, and can advise you on what product will best suit your needs and the test you’ll be taking. They provide guaranteed shipping to ensure that your order arrives when you need it, and all reviews on their website are from verified consumers.

Takeaway

Because drug testing is such a high-stakes issue, we feel that it’s important to choose the most advanced, reliable products available to help ensure you pass. We trust TestClear and their drug testing experts for our cleansing and substitution needs — we’ve had outstanding results with their products and their team of friendly, helpful drug testing pros can answer questions any time. Next to their competitors, TestClear stands apart; their customer-focused approach and attention to detail make them an exceptional source for your drug testing needs.

 

What is Live Resin and Why Should You Try It

With so many new cannabis products emerging, it’s hard to keep up. One innovative form of cannabis concentrates has recently garnished tons of attention, especially among medical cannabis users. Live resin, which is often referred to as the “freshest form” of cannabis concentrate, is different from other concentrate products in many ways. Understanding this unique product, how it’s made, and all the added benefits it may carry will help you see why you should be using this magical stuff for yourself. 

What is Live Resin?

what is live resin why should you try it

Live resin is one of the newest forms of cannabis concentrates and is considered to be a form of Butane Hash Oil (BHO). It differs from other forms of BHO (and most concentrates) in multiple ways that make it more appealing for some users, especially those hoping to reap the many medicinal benefits associated with the cannabis plant. Unlike other concentrates, which are generally processed from dried cannabis flower, this concentrate is made using nearly the entire plant immediately after harvest. Making it requires expensive, high-quality equipment (which need to be operated by professionals), so it isn’t the type of concentrate you can make at home

To make live resin, the stalk, leaves, stems, and flower of freshly harvested cannabis plants are cryogenically frozen, and then blasted with Butane at temperatures below -20 degrees Fahrenheit. The butane-based extraction process removes all of the trichomes from the plant material, which includes the “full spectrum” of the plant’s cannabinoid and terpene profile. 

The collected material is then dried in a vacuum chamber at low temperatures, which allows sensitive terpenes (like Myrcene) to be better preserved. The resulting material is a concentrated, full spectrum cannabis product that contains more terpenes than many other concentrate formulation. Because the product is made from a fresher source (frozen, not dried cannabis) and contains the full spectrum of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes, many people consider it to be more “pure” and of higher medicinal value than other products. 

Live Resin Gives a Fresher Experience than Other Concentrates

what is live resin why you should try it terpenes

Though other types of cannabis concentrates are popular, live resin offers a unique sensory experience that is closer to smoking bud. Many concentrate products lose quite a bit of their terpene content during the extraction process. 

Terpenes are responsible for most of the flavor and aroma of the cannabis plant, therefore many concentrates have a “bland” aroma compared to cannabis flower. Live resin, however, maintains most of its original terpene content and is made from fresher plant material. Because of its fresh source, it also contains more water than other cannabis concentrates, making it a bit more viscous. When these characteristics combine, you get a concentrate product that offers the same fresh, skunky aroma and bold cannabis flavor that many smokers love. 

Medical Users Gravitate Towards Live Resin for Boosted Effects

what is live resin why you should try it

Further, many people believe that live resin offers boosted medicinal effects since it offers a cannabinoid and terpene profile that is closer to cannabis in its natural state. The increased terpene and cannabinoid contents are thought to lead to greater synergistic effects. Plus, many terpenes found in cannabis have been linked to their very own therapeutic effects. Though there are no studies yet to prove that this concentrate has any more medical value than other concentrates or cannabis products, it definitely yields some pretty significant psychoactive effects.

There are no arguments that live resin is a much fresher product, since comparing live resin to other BHO products is essentially like comparing flash frozen vegetables to canned. Many people comment on the tailored, detailed “high” they get from these products, too, which may be why it is sometimes considered the “cognac” of cannabis concentrates. 

How to Use Live Resin

what is live resin why you should try it

Though live resin is different from other types of concentrates in many ways, it’s consumed in a similar manner. The most popular way to consume it is with a dab rig (oil rig), and this is often considered the only way to reap the full potential of the concentrated cannabis product. However, dab rigs are not always convenient, since they require some extra tools and aren’t very discreet. The concentrate can also be added to some vaporizer models for reaping its benefits on the go. 

For users who have experience with concentrates, using live resin will feel like second nature. Anyone who hasn’t used cannabis concentrates before should use live resin with caution, starting with small doses until you know how concentrated cannabis will affect you. If you use other cannabis products with no issue, chances are you’ll have no problem with live resin, either. All in all, live resin is a high-quality, concentrated cannabis product that provides a flavorful, therapeutic smoking experience that all cannabis users can love. 

Takeaway

Live resin offers a unique experience compared to other concentrates. Its high content of terpenes, flavonoids, and other beneficial compounds make dabbing closer to smoking flower, but without the harshness often caused by combustion. If you enjoy a rich, flavorful concentrate experience, we recommend dabbing live resin — use lower temperatures to keep the flavor as vibrant as possible.

What is a Volcano Vaporizer and Why Should You Use One

Cannabis is everywhere, and people are eating it, drinking it, smoking it, rubbing it on their skin, and vaporizing it to reap the benefits of the wholesome plant. One consumption method that’s recently gained a lot of traction is vaping, which offers a new spin on traditional smoking methods. 

Whether you’re a new user looking for a high-quality way to start vaping cannabis, or a canna-connoisseur looking to upgrade your vape, the Volcano Vaporizer has a lot to offer. If you’ve been around the cannabis-market block once or twice, Volcano is a name you’ve likely heard before. But until you experience the vaporizer’s power for yourself, it’s almost an enigma—the type of vaping experience you assume you’d have at a high-end cannabis lounge.

Luckily, you can have the same high-quality vaping experience in your own home with one of Volcano’s many devices, assuming you’re just as impressed with the product’s specs as we are. We’ll discuss the Volcano vaporizer in detail — what we love about it, who it’s best for, and how to get the most out of it.

Volcano Vaporizer is an Industry Leading Vaping Device

what is a volcano vaporizer

The Volcano Vapor is made by Storz & Bickel, a vapor tech company that originated in Germany and hit the European and American markets in the late 90’s. The Volcano Vaporizer refers to their most iconic models, the Volcano table top vaporizer that hit the shelves in 2000. These devices are similar to other handheld devices in that they have a dry herb chamber and work to gently heat the cannabis to the point of vaporization. 

From there, the Volcano totally changes the game, passing the vaporized cannabis into a “balloon,” or attached bag that holds air. This balloon, made from food safe, flavorless, odorless materials, comes in two sizes, including “standard” and “XL.” The filling chamber on these vaporizers is generally larger than portable, single-use style vapes, and the vapor balloon holds quite a bit of active, THC-infused vapor. 

You can choose from a couple of options with their Easy Valve filling Chambers that allow you to vaporize both dry herb material and liquids. This innovative style of vaporizer was the first of its kind and provides several benefits where other vaping devices may falter. The Volcano Vaporizer is also suitable for vaping cannabis with larger groups, unlike some handheld devices that quickly overheat after consistent use. 

The balloon style mechanism also separates the vaping experience from the heating chamber. This is a huge plus when considering the dangers of handheld vapes, especially low-quality handhelds that have been known to malfunction or combust while in use. Plus, when the Volcano vaporizer first emerged, it offered a unique opportunity for caregivers to prepare a medical cannabis dose for ill patients. Now, the Volcano Vaporizer continues to lead the industry in quality and design, and their conical, metal vaporizers have become the icon for a high-quality vaping experience.

Why Does The Quality of Your Vaping Device Matter?

what is a volcano vaporizer why try one

When looking to buy a cannabis vaping device, you’ll find that there are many alternative options. However, the Volcano Vaporizer offers a level of quality unmatched by most vape brands. Those who are new to vaping or who do not understand the mechanics of vaporized cannabis may not understand the necessity of a high-quality vaping device.

The therapeutic and medicinal effects of cannabis are linked to one or more of hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes naturally found in the cannabis plant. These cannabis molecules are often incredibly sensitive, and many degrade quickly under inappropriate environmental conditions. Low-quality vaporizers often have a tendency to vaporize cannabis at too high of a temperature, which may burn away many of these beneficial compounds before inhalation.

Many poorly designed vaping devices are also inefficient and waste much of the plant material placed inside. Some vaporizers that utilize high temperatures may actually combust the plant material, which is no different than smoking cannabis. When using a Volcano Vaporizer, the vapor will contain most of the beneficial terpenes and Cannabinoids from the material you place inside. The leftover plant material, or Already-Vaped-Bud (AVB), will be of good quality, too, and perfect for using your AVB to make edibles later.

Benefits of Vaping vs Smoking Cannabis

what is a volcano vaporizer why try one

Many people are turning to vaping over smoking, which is why vaporizers like the Volcano are in high demand. There are several benefits to vaping cannabis over smoking. First, it’s important to note that the product of combustion, smoke, is harmful to the lungs. This is true for any kind of smoke, not just when smoking cannabis. Although research is limited, many speculate that vaping cannabis is easier on the lungs. 

Also, vaping cannabis gives users greater control over dosing, while providing the ability to easily use additives or flavored vape oils to further customize the vaping experience. Vaping usually provides less smell, too. Although you can still experience the pleasurable, floral aroma of fresh cannabis bud when adding it to the chamber, the smell of vapor fades more quickly than smoke and won’t stick to your clothes and hair the same way. 

The popularity of vaping has skyrocketed in recent years and is expected to continue to rise in popularity. For many, vaping provides a clean, discreet, and effective cannabis experience. For others, the Volcano Vaporizer is the best way to utilize the benefits of cannabis both during social and solo sessions. 

Takeaway

Volcano vaporizers are popular among cannabis connoisseurs, and for good reason. They are an effective and highly customizable way to consume flower, concentrates, and other cannabis and CBD products. The vapor they produce is gentler on the lungs than harsh smoke and makes an excellent alternative to combustion for people choosing to use cannabis or hemp medicinally as well as recreationally.

 

Synthetic vs. Real Urine: Why TestClear Human Urine is Superior to Competitors

If you’re trying to pass an upcoming urine drug test, you’ve probably seen plenty of urine substitution kits ranging from synthetic to the “real deal,” powdered and premixed human urine, with lifelike (though that may be a bit generous, given some of the kits we’ve seen) prosthetics or specialized dispensers for supervised tests. There are dozens of products available on the market, but which one will ensure a passing result 100% of the time (when used correctly, of course)?

While the differences between kits may not be immediately evident (or may not seem like a big deal in the face of substantial cost savings or a major time crunch), not all urine substitution kits are created equal. When you’re facing a drug test for something as significant as a new job or the outcome of a legal situation, there’s too much on the line to gamble with inferior products. So how do you, as a consumer, discern which products will help you pass and which to pass on?

Here, we’ll break down the science of urine substitution, discussing the general purpose of these products, the chemical differences between synthetic and human urines, and the risks and benefits of each type. We’ll finish with a brief discussion of our experience with TestClear Powdered Human Urine and why we prefer it to other substitution kits out there. 

Selecting Urine Substitution Kits

synthetic vs human urine drug test

If you’ve spent any time researching urine kits, you’ve probably noticed something a bit, well, peculiar: the labeling of some products for fetish purposes. Some urine substitutes are marketed as being for the purpose of fetish fulfillment, largely to sidestep regulations that restrict advertising of a product to “cheat” a drug test. We’re not trying to kink-shame (different strokes and all), but a fetish urine kit is not necessarily going to help you pass a drug test.

In a way, this marketing can be helpful, as it can serve as a signal that this is not the right product for you. This is because urine substitutes marketed this way have a tendency to be less rigorously formulated than others. In a way, this makes sense; after all, they’re theoretically marketed towards human urine fetishists and not laboratory equipment, meaning they likely won’t help you pass your drug test. 

With this in mind, in our experience it’s a good practice to skip these kits in favor of those formulated with the specific compounds tested for in urine drug tests (more on that in a moment). You need a kit intended to be read by modern drug tests as human urine, not flavored to taste like it.

Science of Urine Substitution: Powdered vs. Premixed Kits

synthetic vs human urine drug test

Another difference between kits you may notice is that some urine kits will come premixed, as a liquid, while others will be packaged as a powder meant to be mixed with water soon before your test. Sometimes “fetish kits” are sold premixed, which may serve as a hint when choosing a urine substitution kit: powdered is the way to go.

This is for a couple of reasons, the main one being that, essentially, there isn’t exactly an official regulation stipulating the expiration date of substitute urine in terms of how long it can legally sit on a shelf before being sold. The premixed urine kits lose some of their “freshness,” and therefore raise your risk of your test being flagged for tampering or a false positive.

From a consumer standpoint, this means that a premixed kit purchased at your local smoke shop may have been collecting dust for over a year before you bought it. During that time, compounds in the urine substitute have chemically changed, shifting the molecular profile of the sample and raising your risk of a false positive. This isn’t to say that it’s completely impossible to dupe a test with a premixed kit (depending on its starting composition, freshness, and other factors), but it does raise your risk of your sample being flagged for tampering — thereby failing you.

For this reason, we prefer to stick to powdered urine kits that you mix yourself shortly before taking your test. Since urine doesn’t stick around for days, weeks, or months inside your body, it just makes sense that you should mix your sample shortly before you take your test. So, now that we’ve gotten the major differences out of the way, there’s still one more to discuss: synthetic urine versus the real deal. 

Composition of Synthetic Urine

synthetic vs human urine

Synthetic urine uses the chemicals usually present in human urine to create a sample that, while not of human origin, contains all the markers read by drug tests to indicate that the sample is legitimate (and clean!). This can be achieved in a number of ways (and each company has their own patented formula for doing so), so no two products will be exactly identical. 

Generally, these products contain urea, creatinine, and potassium, magnesium, and calcium chlorides, along with sodium sulfate and ammonium phosphate and/or diphosphate. B vitamins or yellow dyes may be added for color, and chemicals called heat activators that bring the sample to temperature when water is added. A urine substitute formulated this way stands a good chance of helping you pass a drug test, but these ingredients are unlikely to be labeled, meaning there’s no knowing for sure what you’re getting.

To add to the uncertainty, a much simpler formula for substitute urine involves urea, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and sodium phosphate. The resulting liquid will look and smell very similar to urine (making it an adequate substitute for many experiments and, yes, fetish purposes), but won’t be convincing enough to fool even the most outdated of drug tests. 

Composition of Human Urine

synthetic vs human urine

Human urine, by contrast, varies from person to person depending on diet, metabolism, and other factors. It’s a complex liquid that contains about 91-96% water and both organic and inorganic substances. The approximate ratio of organic to inorganic solutes (the technical term for stuff dissolved in a solvent — water in this case) is 7:5, or 7 organic molecules to every 5 inorganic molecules.  

In this context, organic means simply that the compounds in question contain carbon molecules, while the inorganic particles do not. These chemicals are largely leftover traces from the foods and beverages we consume, but can also contain waste products from cellular metabolic processes. All these compounds combine to create a complex liquid that differs strongly from its synthetic cousins. 

Since human urine comes directly from the source, it won’t be missing any of the key markers tests look for to determine the authenticity of the sample. It also won’t contain any “red flags” that might raise eyebrows at the testing site — with human urine, you don’t have to worry about the yellow dye or heat activator raising the alarm that your sample isn’t genuine. This adds a peace of mind to the testing process that no synthetic urine can offer. 

Risks of Synthetic Urine in Drug Testing

synthetic vs human urine drug test

So, can you use synthetic urine to pass a drug test?  The short answer is: sometimes. This depends on a couple of factors, including the synthetic urine that you’re using and the rigor of the test you’re taking. 

Through diligent research and thorough examination of the product (and perhaps even direct conversation with the company providing the synthetic urine replacement), you may be able to determine that a product contains all the necessary compounds required to pass a drug test without flagging the sample for tampering. However, that’s a serious amount of work for a regular person to undertake, and it may not fully guarantee a passing result.

This is because drug tests are advancing all the time, getting better and better at filtering out the fakes from the real deal. Drug test companies and the people trying to beat them are locked in a sort of arms race, with each side constantly inventing better products to try to get past the other. 

With any synthetic urine substitute, there is always a non-zero chance (however remote) that the sample may be flagged for being fraudulent or having been tampered with. Such a result will trigger an automatic failing result for you, meaning you can kiss that dream job at your perfect company goodbye. While the risk may be numerically small, we feel that, with the stakes so high, it’s notable.

Benefits of Powdered Human Urine 

synthetic vs human urine drug test

When you use a powdered human urine like the urine substitution kit from TestClear, you can be confident that you will pass your test. We like the TestClear kit for its ease of use — simply add water to the powdered urine in the included plastic vial, then use one of the included warmers to bring the sample to the appropriate temperature for testing. When mixed about an hour before testing, the sample has plenty of time to reach its ideal temperature, and the slim vial is easy to store close to the body to avoid arousing suspicion on the way into the test.

The human urine powder within the kit will reconstitute to create a urine sample indistinguishable from other human urine by modern drug tests. Since the powder contained within the kit is of human origin, you don’t need to worry about the concentration of the compounds within. You can test with your head high, knowing that you will pass every time. Even against the most sensitive of drug testing apparati, TestClear human urine achieves a passing result 100% of the time. 

Takeaway

While it is technically possible to pass a drug test using a synthetic urine substitute, choosing and using a product is fraught with unnecessary risks that can compromise your chance of passing. With the stakes of a drug test being so high, we prefer to use the powdered human urine kit from TestClear. Using clean urine of human origin ensures a passing result and grants peace of mind when testing. 

 

10 Fast-Paced Jobs That Don’t Drug Test

There’s a good chance that you’ve had to take a drug test for employment purposes at some point in your working life — or that you may have to in the future. An estimated 56% of American employers require some form of drug testing and, while the continued expansion of cannabis legalization has helped facilitate a conversation surrounding pre-employment drug tests, they’re still a reality for millions of American workers. Jobs that don’t drug test used to be limited to cash gigs and some types of shift work, but that’s starting to change.

The tide is beginning to shift — New York City just passed legislation prohibiting employers from testing for THC, and other cities and states with legal cannabis markets are considering similar laws. Furthermore, drug testing is on the decline, largely because there’s very little evidence to support its effectiveness (not to mention the immense cost: American companies spent over $3 billion on drug testing in 2017 alone. With the cost and inefficacy of drug testing, jobs that don’t drug test are on the rise.

The legalization of cannabis has helped spur the conversation around the efficacy and benefit to drug testing, and American companies are beginning to take notice. That said, there’s still a long way to go before progressive attitudes toward drug testing for cannabis become the rule rather than the exception. 

While most states (and the federal government) are dragging their metaphorical feet about adapting Regan-era drug testing laws, some industries and companies are revisiting the attitudes that made drug testing so prevalent to begin with. Here, we’ll talk about 10 major companies that do not require a drug test when hiring. We’ll examine companies and jobs that don’t drug test, what’s good about them, and who they might be especially good for.

A Few General Notes

Before we get started, we need to note a couple of potential exceptions: warehouse, loss prevention, and asset management positions. Regardless of the company you’re applying with, these types of jobs are substantially more likely to be drug tested, both prior to hiring and during employment. 

For warehouse workers, this makes a lot of sense: employers want to make an effort to ensure that employees responsible for operating heavy machinery aren’t doing so under the influence in order to avoid accidents on the job. Some companies, like Amazon, predominantly use saliva tests for their warehouse employees, but others use urinalysis or hair testing.

For loss prevention and asset management positions, the concern is less about causing injury or property damage and more about ensuring that employees do not use their position or level of access to steal from the company. While employers are generally looking more for drugs like cocaine or opiates when testing these positions, a positive result for THC could be of concern.  If you are considering applying for one of these positions, be prepared to take a drug test of some kind — it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Additionally, you may be asked to submit to a drug test if you are injured on the job and file for worker’s compensation. This is to ensure that you were not intoxicated at the time of the accident, as that could allow your employer’s insurance to deny payment. If you are involved in an accident at work, be prepared to take some kind of drug test (most likely a urine or saliva screen). Even for jobs that don’t drug test prior to hiring, one may be needed if there’s an accident.

Google

While it’s notoriously difficult to get hired on at the tech giant, Google does not drug test its employees. This is in part to do with the fact that their headquarters is located in cannabis-friendly California, but also because the company would rather employ the most innovative people than the “straightest.” If your portfolio is strong enough to get you in at Google, you won’t need to worry about a positive drug test standing in the way of your dream job. Your work is more important to them than what you choose to do in your free time.

Chipotle

The ubiquitous burrito chain employs over 64,000 people at hundreds of US locations and drug tests none of them. While Chipotle may not be everyone’s ideal workplace, the company has made Forbes’ list of best companies to work for multiple times, providing health benefits, education, and bonus programs that are more generous than competitors in the industry.

The company also makes an effort to use sustainable ingredients where possible, utilizing non-GMO produce and pork raised without antibiotics. If you need a position with a flexible schedule and opportunities for advancement, consider dropping an application at Chipotle. The employer is a strong contender in the industry and offers an abundance of positions and jobs that don’t drug test beforehand. 

Apple

In keeping with its compatriots in the tech industry, Apple has no known drug testing policy for its employees — from retail employees to high-level management positions. Apple wants to hire people who excel at their jobs, and the company recognizes that zero-tolerance drug testing policies further limit an already small talent pool. So long as your habit doesn’t affect your performance (and provided you aren’t injured on the job — unlikely, but not impossible), you’re very unlikely to ever be tested at Apple.

Starbucks

The massive coffee retailer does not utilize drug testing for any of its workforce, from its thousands of retail employees to store managers to regional directors. The company is also permissive when it comes to “alternative” body modifications like visible tattoos, piercings, and unconventional hair colors or styles. In addition to a competitive benefits package, Starbucks also offers substantial employee discounts on their products, making them a potentially ideal workplace for coffee and tea enthusiasts with a knack for customer service.

Microsoft

Not to be outdone by competitor Apple, Microsoft does not drug test its employees — again, they’re after innovative thinkers, so as long as you come bearing a strong portfolio or resume, a positive drug test won’t keep you from working for the tech titan. Employees tend to rate the company very positively and, while there’s a large pool of people aiming for a spot, careers with Microsoft appear worth the intense competition it takes to swing them.

Whole Foods

No drug test required here, just a love of food and a willingness to educate yourself — and others — about it. If you’re into food and beverages but aren’t vibing with a traditional restaurant job, a position at high-end grocery chain Whole Foods might be perfect for you.

Based in beautiful (and surprisingly progressive, for the state) Austin, TX, Whole Foods has a reputation for taking good care of their employees, both with competitive benefits and a supportive company culture that values employee advancement and morale. If you’re a wine aficionado, an organic produce enthusiast, or a connoisseur of cheese, Whole Foods may present an ideal work environment for your skills to shine — no drug test needed.

Michael’s

For the artistically inclined, Michael’s offers a relaxed atmosphere working around varied crafting materials — no drug testing required. A position with the creative supplier might be appealing to people who prefer a quiet, easygoing workplace — or want to use the substantial employee discount to finance their own artistic endeavors. This makes the company ideal for prospective employees needing jobs that don’t drug test.

For those with the ability and desire to teach, Michael’s also offers the opportunity to host classes in everything from woodworking to cake decorating to sewing to crochet. Whether you’d like to share your knowledge of crafting with others or just enjoy the idea of a quiet, relatively relaxed workplace, Michael’s will allow you to get your foot in the door without a drug test.

Petsmart

At Petsmart, you won’t need to pass a drug test to spend your workday with animals of all shapes, sizes, and species. The store offers a wide range of positions, from retail associates to stockers to grooming specialists. An ideal career for animal lovers, a position at Petsmart will allow you to learn on the job while getting to interact with and care for a variety of animals, from lizards to birds to cats. If you connect well with animals and the people who love them, a career at Petsmart may be worth checking out. With positions ranging from stocking to management, there are plenty of jobs that don’t drug test available with the company.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

If you’re the type to routinely opt outside by camping, cycling, kayaking, fishing, hiking, or other outdoor activities, a job at Dick’s offers the opportunity to work closely with like-minded individuals in an active environment. The diverse array of products at the sporting retailer will allow you to work in your area(s) of expertise while learning more about sports and activities you may never have thought to try — perfect for people with a sense of adventure. 

Target

The familiar supermarket has made some big changes to their drug testing program in recent years: aside from warehouse and loss prevention employees, Target does not require drug testing for any of their workers. This makes the company an excellent resource for jobs that don’t drug test. The company also tends to pay a higher starting salary relative to comparable chains and offers significant benefits for full-time employees. The employee discount is enough to save you money on your grocery bill and there are positions available for everyone, from the most sociable among us to the least extroverted.

Takeaway

While drug testing is a formidable presence on the employment market, it isn’t ubiquitous — attitudes toward drug testing are shifting, and there are many companies who have made the decision not to test their employees for illicit substances. This is especially true in legal states, but an increasing number of national companies are opting to skip drug testing and focus their hiring process on what employees do at work, rather than penalizing them for things they do off the clock. The number of jobs that don’t drug test is starting to outpace the number of positions that do.

 

How to Use Detox Drinks to Pass a Drug Test

 

Urine drug tests are the most common type used by employers and legal authorities nationwide, largely because they’re some of the hardest tests to fake. Lipid-soluble compounds (like THC and its main metabolite, THC-COOH) stick around in urine for a very long time, making it difficult to flush the body of undesirable chemicals prior to testing.

Difficult, however, doesn’t necessarily mean impossible; while it’s true that you cannot successfully cleanse your body of THC without abstaining and detoxing for an extended period of time, it is possible to introduce water, electrolytes, and other substances to the body in such a way as to produce a temporary passing result. 

This is the aim of detox drinks, a popular-but-risky way to pass a drug test on very short notice. We tend to prefer to use the substitution method to pass a urine drug screen, but this may not be an option for supervised testing. If this is your situation, a detox drink might be just what you need — but there are some important things you need to know before starting your cleanse.

Here, we’ll break down how to use your cleansing drink of choice to maximize its cleansing power, helping rid your system of THC for the prescribed window and allowing you to produce a clean sample. We’ll also talk about what to look for in a detox drink before wrapping up with a couple of our favorite cleansing beverages for different usage levels. 

Before We Begin: A Few Possible Caveats

Before we get into the science of detox drinks and how to use them, we need to make an important clarification: detox drinks will only work to help you pass a urine drug test. They will not be effective at cleansing your system in advance of hair, blood, or saliva tests. Bear this in mind when choosing a detox product that’s right for you and the test you’ll be taking.

Second, detox drinks are similar to other cleansing products in that they won’t be effective if you don’t abstain from cannabis during your cleansing period. Your results will be better the longer you are able to abstain before your test. We recommend at least 48 hours of abstention for moderate to heavy consumers, though more time is always better. 

Finally, you’ll need to drink a lot of water with any detox drink you choose, and we mean a lot of water. Most detoxes ask that you drink a minimum of 32 fluid ounces of water after consuming the drink, but some request amounts as high as 48 ounces. As a general rule of thumb, more water is better (just don’t overdo it and send yourself into hyponatremia, a potentially lethal overhydrated state. It’s pretty difficult to get there, but not totally impossible), and be sure to urinate as many times as you can before you plan to test. 

How Detox Drinks Work

We need to open with an important distinction: it is not possible to truly eliminate all THC and its metabolites from your body in a protracted period of time. The only way to cleanse your body of THC (in the strictest and truest sense of the word) is to detox naturally, which can take anywhere from a few short days to a period of months, depending on how frequently you use cannabis. 

So, if these drinks aren’t zapping the THC from your cells, how do they help you pass a drug test using your own urine? We’ll cover the science momentarily, but the short answer is that detox drinks use a combination of chemical actions in your body to help you produce urine that will test clean during a certain window of time. After this period, you’ll test positive again — the cleansing effect isn’t lasting, but it will get you through your drug test unscathed.

Detox products work by a combination of a couple different mechanisms: first, they dilute your urine, and therefore any THC or its metabolites that might be present. Second, they adulterate your urine with compounds to help mask the presence of THC and give some of your dilute urine its color and chemical properties back. 

Finally, many detox drinks contain compounds that are believed to encourage the flushing of THC from your cells, removing the molecules from the superficial layer of your internal tissues. Note that this only takes place at the surface — your deeper tissues will still harbor THC and THC-COOH for as long as you continue to consume cannabis. That said, it can help improve your chances of testing clean. The effectiveness of these substances is improved by frequent urination.

First & Foremost: Use Exactly As Directed

Even the best detox drink won’t be effective if you don’t follow the instructions. This is because you need to drink not only the beverage itself, but also plenty of water — expect to refill and drink the container 2-3 times before testing per most instructions. 

You’ll also need to give your body the best chance possible to flush THC and THC-COOH from your renal system, which means that you’ll need to pee as much as possible before your testing. We recommend going at least three times between drinking the beverage and testing, but more is always better. 

Finally, be sure to replenish your electrolytes after testing. While detox drinks do contain necessary salts and ions to keep you from suffering the effects of dehydration, you may need to reup your body’s supply, especially if you’re an active person. Avoid caffeine and other diuretics, focusing instead on rehydrating and resupplying your body with necessary nutrients.

Ingredients to Look For

There are many different ingredients that are commonly used in detox drinks. Here, we’ve broken down the most effective and safest by category according to their purpose. The following ingredients are generally considered safe and effective for cleansing purposes when used as directed:

  • Diuretics, or ingredients designed to cause you to urinate more frequently, serve to help dilute your urine while promoting the flushing of THC from surface tissues. These ingredients include compounds like:
    • Caffeine, a well-known stimulant 
    • Ginseng, a naturally-derived supplement commonly used in energy drinks to boost focus — with the side effect of increased urination
    • Guarana, another plant-derived stimulant 
    • Taurine, a compound extracted from the livers of cattle that’s been found to increase energy (and urination, lots of stimulants have that effect) 
    • Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is often used to dilate blood vessels, invigorate the body, and speed up the body’s metabolism. This is the molecule responsible for the “niacin flush,” or reddening of the skin, that accompanies energy drink consumption in some consumers, and may induce a type of short-lived “head rush” when taken very quickly in large doses.
    • Cranberry extract. While it’s been shown to be ineffective at treating a UTI, cranberry may help cleanse the urinary tract of non-bacterial chemical elements and assist in flushing “surface” THC from the body
  • Adulterants, or ingredients included to help replace vital compounds in your urine to compensate for dilution while masking the presence of any residual THC. Many of these compounds are contained within your urine naturally; these ingredients are intended to put back together the chemical profile that’s distorted through the dilution process.These may include:
    • Creatine, a precursor to creatinine, a compound found in urine naturally and one of the most important markers for a testing lab that a sample is genuine and untampered with
    • Vitamins B6 and B12 are often used to return color to diluted urine, as are folate, or vitamin B9, and thiamin, or vitamin B1
    • Biotin, a compound necessary for healthy hair, skin, and nails 
    • Zinc, chromium, selenium, and manganese are trace minerals typically found in urine

A Cautionary Note About Herbal Extracts

While most herbal supplements are safe for consumption when used as directed, it is wise to be aware of the herbs included in your detox of choice and any interactions they could have with medications you take. For example, burdock root extract can be very helpful for flushing the kidneys, but could cause a reaction in people allergic to daisies or chrysanthemums. Milk thistle extract works well to protect the liver and soothe potential digestive discomfort resulting from using a detox drink rich in minerals, but could reduce the effectiveness of estrogen-based birth control pills. 

As with anything else, it’s important to consider the potential risks an ingredient might carry for you before making an informed decision. There are entirely too many potential ingredients and corresponding interactions for us to list here, but we’d like to present a few general precautions to minimize any risk of a negative interaction.

Firstly, please exercise caution with detox drinks if you are currently taking any diuretics or blood pressure medications. This is because detox drinks are quite diuretic on their own and could cause dehydration when combined with a similar medication. Secondly, be cautious if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and considering a detox drink. Most ingredients are fine, especially for one-off use, but may cause problems for high-risk moms or those with sensitive systems. 

We don’t mean to incite panic or scare you off of buying that detox, we just want to encourage you to be mindful of what you put into your body. The risk of adverse side effects is vanishingly small, but still non-zero; consequently, we feel we owe it to you to mention it as you consider the right detox drink for you.

The Day Before Testing

On the day before you are scheduled to take your test, make sure to eat sensibly and keep yourself amply hydrated. We recommend skipping out on fatty or fried foods during this time, opting instead for plenty of fiber and protein. Leafy greens, grilled chicken or fish, fresh vegetables, and fiber-packed root veggies like sweet potatoes or beets are good choices.

You’ll also want to take any pre-cleanse pills that were included with your detox on this day. Taking the pre-cleanse pills will help prime your system for tomorrow’s detox and remove residual THC from your system. Take them as directed with plenty of water — if you need something with flavor, try to opt for tea, coffee, or juice over sugar-packed sodas. 

Immediately leading up to your test, we advise avoiding strenuous exercise. If you already have an established exercise habit, keep it up! However, if you’re a habitual couch potato, now is not the time to take up jogging. This is because too much fat-burning during this time can cause THC trapped in your body’s fatty tissues to return to the bloodstream, becoming detectable in your urine. To avoid this, keep novel exercise to a minimum in the few days before testing.

The Morning of Testing

On the morning of the big day, make sure to have a big glass of water or two with your morning coffee — though perhaps limit yourself to one cup today. Keep breakfast low in fat and high in fiber (egg white veggie omelet, perhaps?) and wear comfortable clothes. Don’t fast until your test; not only will depriving yourself of food not help your chances of passing, but you’ll be cranky and more prone to unnecessary anxiety. 

Be sure to take your detox drink with you! You may remove the label if you’d like, or place it in a large water bottle or thermos for discretion. Make sure that you know the time and place you are supposed to take your test, as the next steps will depend on the timing.

Hours Before Testing

Since detox drinks give you a window of time during which you will test clean, time is of the essence. Your detox will be most effective three hours from the time of consumption (unless otherwise specified), with the window of effectiveness extending for up to 5 hours. For this reason, we advise taking the drink as close to 3 hours from your test as possible.

When it comes time to take the detox, down the whole thing as quickly as you can. We don’t mean you have to chug it (unless, of course you want to), but try to finish the bottle within 15 minutes or so. Then, immediately fill the bottle with water and drink that — again, doing your best to finish it within about 15 minutes. 

After that bottle is gone, go ahead and fill it up again — and don’t worry, you can take your time drinking this one. You’ll probably need to urinate pretty quickly after finishing the first bottle of water, so don’t fight the urge. The more you are able to go before your test, the better off you’ll be. Stay hydrated leading up to your test by refilling that water bottle frequently. 

The Test Itself

When collecting your sample for testing, use urine from the middle of your stream, as opposed to the beginning or the end. This minimizes the risk of trace THC ending up in your sample and gives you the best chance of providing a fully clean sample and passing your drug test. 

To do this, allow yourself to urinate for about 4-6 seconds before beginning to collect the sample. Once you’ve obtained an adequate specimen, clean up the cup (it’s just polite) and head out, being sure to wash your hands thoroughly. 

Takeaway

 

A detox drink like Mega Clean or XXtra Clean from TestClear can help you pass your drug test with flying colors, but these beverages aren’t bulletproof. Make sure that you follow the directions on the product that you choose, abstain with plenty of time to spare, and keep yourself well-hydrated throughout the process. 

 

Best CBD Companies of 2019

Perhaps you’ve been taking CBD for months or even years, or maybe you’re just beginning your foray into researching the cannabinoid for yourself. Regardless of your level of familiarity with CBD, you’ve likely heard a lot about it recently, and seen even more. But where can you find the best CBD companies and products in such a crowded market?

CBD is growing in popularity among the health-conscious community, especially as people seek alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs laden with side effects and potential for abuse. This surge in popularity has companies rushing to get while the proverbial getting is good, but how do you differentiate the substandard cash-grabbers from the best CBD companies with quality products?

While research is still ongoing, existing studies support broad potential applications for CBD; thus far, it has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, antidepressant, antipyretic, and hypnotic (sleep-inducing, not trance-inducing) properties. Of course, more studies are needed (there is hardly such a thing as too much data), but the preliminary findings are compelling.

There is good evidence to support the efficacy of CBD against a wide range of symptoms, but these benefits can only be achieved with a quality CBD product. Therein lies the problem: with so many manufacturers out to make a quick buck off of health-conscious consumers and little to no regulation of CBD, it’s up to the consumer to do their homework before selecting a product.

That sounds nice in theory, but it works out to a lot of work for consumers. You can spend a lot of time sifting through companies selling garbage in a bottle before finding one that’s worth your while, and most of us just don’t have that kind of free time. To help take the guesswork out of your CBD search, we’ve compiled our list of the top 3 absolute best CBD companies out there. Here, we’ll briefly outline our selection criteria before detailing what we love about each company, our favorite products from each, and what makes them stand out from the competition. 

Our Selection Process

best cbd companies of 2019

In the interest of full transparency, we want to begin by outlining our criteria for selecting the best of the best of CBD providers. After all, it’s only fair that we’re all operating under the same definition of “best.” First, each of the companies here uses only domestically sourced, organic, non-GMO hemp for their products — and a few go so far as to grow their own hemp entirely. 

Second, the CBD used in the company’s products must be extracted using a safe and effective method. This includes an organic ethanol wash, as well as both subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions, but not hydrocarbon extractions, which utilize potentially harmful chemicals like butane or propane to strip plant matter of its CBD. 

Third, the carrier oils used in the products must be safe and effective. These may include MCT oil, coconut oil, hemp seed oil, olive oil, or grapeseed oil. If a product does not contain a carrier oil (and isn’t formulated to be water-soluble), it doesn’t stand a chance against your symptoms, as the body cannot absorb CBD efficiently unless it is dissolved in an oil or fat, like MCT or coconut oils.

Fourth, each product the company produces must be batch tested for quality, purity, and potency. This means that every bottle should be 1) traceable to the batch it came from, 2) contain the level of CBD and other active ingredients it claims, and 3) free of harmful compounds like heavy metals or pesticides. Furthermore, these results should be confirmed by an independent (not affiliated with the company or any of its subsidiaries) laboratory — we’re all for in-house testing, but it must be confirmed through independent analysis to be considered valid.

Finally, as a vapor-specific consideration, any vapor products the company creates must be free of PG. Because of its tendency to degrade into known carcinogens like formaldehyde, arsenic, and benzene at high temperatures, we avoid PG (the abbreviation for propylene and polyethylene glycol) in vapor products altogether and encourage our readers to do the same. Each vapor product from the brands listed below is free of PG and other compounds currently understood to present health risks.

Joy Organics

best cbd companies of 2019

Joy Organics is a standout among CBD providers for a couple of reasons: for starters, they’re part of a movement among the CBD community committed to creating products entirely free of THC. Joy Organics accomplishes this through a proprietary technology which removes THC from their extracts while leaving CBD and other cannabinoids, along with the hemp’s terpene and flavonoid profile, intact. 

The result is a “broad spectrum extract” that’s somewhere between full spectrum and isolates. For people concerned about the potential impact of CBD on a drug test, choosing THC-free products like those from Joy might be the perfect solution. Joy’s line packs an intensive therapeutic punch, from their softgels and oils (the lemon flavor is seriously delicious) to their high-end skin care line.

Oh yeah, did we mention that Joy Organics makes a complete line of CBD-infused products for your skin? While there are CBD skin care products out there, many do not live up to the hype or don’t contain the same ingredients and concentrations their labels claim. Joy’s line is different — each product contains an intense dose of CBD (triple or even quadruple the amounts in competing products) combined with organic, botanically-derived supporting ingredients to improve the look, feel, and general health of your skin.

While it’s true that the line is a little pricey, our bougie side enjoys the indulgence — and the products don’t play. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD really shine when applied to the face, reducing redness, hyperpigmentation, and puffiness while improving skin texture and condition. We especially like the Day and Night Creams, and the CBD Sheet Mask is the perfect skin pick-me-up before a big event. If you’re into high-end skin care, slide the Tatcha and La Mer to the side for a week and give Joy Organics a try. 

Based in Colorado, Joy uses organic, non-GMO hemp and a food-grade ethanol extraction process (one of the only companies in the world to use food-grade ethanol) to produce their broad spectrum extracts. That extract is then pressed to remove undesirable plant solids like waxes or resins, then subjected to a nanoemulsion process that substantially improves the bioavailability of the finished product. Then, the resulting extract is used to formulate their oral, vapor, and topical products. In the case of their vape oils (which are some of the best we’ve tried to date), a proprietary blend of terpenes is added to enhance the flavor of the CBD oil within. 

Joy Organics’ founder, Joy Smith, created the company in response to the lack of regulation that dominates the CBD industry. Joy holds her company to exceedingly high standards of quality, purity, and potency, using organically derived, all-natural ingredients in support of the therapeutic doses of organic CBD in each product. We’ve had exemplary results with Joy’s products and, while they’re on the higher end of the CBD pricing scale, they’re well worth every cent.

Canna Comforts

best cbd companies of 2019

Where most CBD companies focus their efforts on extracting CBD from hemp to make their products, Canna Comforts seeks to give it to their customers straight from the source as hemp flower that looks, smells, tastes, and smokes just like the top-shelf, high-THC strains that inspired them. Organically grown in Colorado using sustainable agricultural practices, each of the strains offered by Canna Comforts are surprising in the best way — we’ll admit, we were skeptical going in, but our opinion changed in a hurry.

Jamie Evans founded Canna Comforts in Colorado after using high doses of cannabinoids to defeat a cancer that doctors had told him would require him to be on chemotherapy for the rest of his life. Rather than resign himself to life in and out of a hospital, Jamie went to Colorado and teamed up with medical and cannabis experts to treat his cancer with cannabis, monitoring his condition and the cannabinoid profiles of the treatments they were using. 

The intensive treatment process got Jamie interested in the therapeutic benefits of not just CBD, but CBN, CBG, and CBC, as well as the terpenes and flavonoids that make up the complete profile of the hemp flower. As he healed, he began to create his own strains of hemp flower, focused on a broad-spectrum terpene profile and an unparalleled smoking experience. 

Each of Canna Comforts’ strains (Wife is a favorite of ours for general purposes, with Special Sauce for pain and Elektra for anxiety) delivers an enjoyable user experience and a powerful dose of therapeutic cannabinoids. While they also make an excellent range of extract-based products (check out the bath bombs or the grapefruit salt scrub for an indulgent and restorative soak, or have a gummy to soothe pain), their flower is exceptional and one of our favorite ways to quickly and effectively alleviate pain without the intoxicating effects of THC.

Canna Comforts tests each harvest of their flower, as well as the finished products they make with it, and holds their products to high standards of quality. The company is also committed to sustainable business and cultivation practices, operating in a way that is ecologically conscious. 

A bowl of hemp flower from Canna Comforts guarantees a flavorful, pleasurable, medicinal experience packed with beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. The diverse array of cannabinoid profiles provides the opportunity to match your strain with your needs and symptoms, creating more variety and the chance to customize your CBD experience. Canna Comforts’ products are organic, sustainable, potent, full-spectrum, effective, and affordable — the total package.

CBDistillery

CBDistillery CBD Vape Pen Grand Daddy Purp Product Review

CBDistillery was founded by a group of Colorado natives (are you noticing a pattern here?) to provide affordable, high-quality CBD to patients everywhere. Focused on providing safe, organic, potent, plant-based medicine at a price that makes it possible for everyone to safely and effectively treat symptoms associated with a wide variety of conditions, CBDistillery carries both full-spectrum and isolate-based products in a wide variety of formulations — there is, perhaps literally, something for everyone.

CBDistillery’s process begins with organic, sustainably farmed, US-grown, non-GMO hemp, which is tested for cannabinoid content and any contaminants prior to extraction. After extraction (using an organic ethanol process for isolate-based products and supercritical CO2 extraction for full-spectrum products), the resulting concentrate is used to formulate CBDistillery’s wide array of oral and topical products.

CBDistillery is interesting in that it has so many different products available. There are the usual suspects like CBD softgels and tinctures, along with topical pain creams and PG-free vape pens (disposables here). However, their line also includes Terpsolates, a blend of 99% pure CBD isolate and beneficial terpenes, both wax and slab CBD dabs, and even a CBD suppository (which we giggled at to begin with, but could actually be a hugely beneficial way to alleviate severe symptoms very quickly in some consumers). As an added bonus, CBDistillery has a discount program for veterans and active duty military personnel (find details on the program here).

For those seeking potent, pure, organic, botanically-derived medicine, CBDistillery is an excellent source of therapeutic products at a reasonable price. Their attention to detail and customer-focused product line creates many opportunities for customizability and allows you to choose the perfect product for your needs and symptoms. The CBDistillery team is committed to helping their customers change their lives for the better with CBD they can trust.

Takeaway

With so many different brands and products vying for your dollar, choosing the best CBD brands can be difficult. We at Key to Cannabis seek to help narrow the field, making choosing the best CBD company easier for our readers. Whether you’re in need of CBD tinctures, softgels, topicals, or organic hemp flower, our top CBD companies have everything you need to take charge of your health and wellness today.

 

Pass a Urine Drug Test in 3 Hours: A How To Guide

The unthinkable has happened: you’re being subjected to a urine drug screen with practically zero notice, and you’re panicking. You know that THC sticks around for ages in urine compared to other substances, and you’re scared of what will happen if you fail. How are you supposed to pass a urine drug test in 3 hours?

Take a deep breath, then another. All is not lost, and you can pass a drug test with very short notice beforehand. Here, we’ll cover two methods to help you pass a urine drug test within three hours: the substitution method and dilution/adulteration using a detox drink. 

We should note that we’ve experienced success with the dilution/adulteration method for moderate THC consumption (meaning a bowl or two twice a week or so) using both Mega Clean and XXtra Clean detox drinks, available from TestClear. If you choose to use this method, it is imperative that you use a reliable detox drink — this is not the time to pick up the cheapest thing at the smoke shop and go!

We don’t mean to imply that a passing result is impossible with another product, but we do recommend making every effort to use a reliable, consistent, potent detox drink. We highly recommend Mega Clean or XXtra Clean (XXtra Clean is our favorite for more frequent consumers), and your results will depend on how closely you follow the instructions. Don’t get creative with your detox, and try to minimize your risk of failure wherever possible.

A Few General Guidelines

pass a urine drug test in 3 hours

Since short-notice tests like this tend to be pretty high-stakes (like for employment, insurance, or legal purposes), it’s in your best interest to have a substitution or cleansing method on hand just in case. We recommend having at least a powdered urine kit on hand at all times, with a detox drink as well if you suspect you might be subjected to a supervised test (unlikely, but super stressful!).

This might sound a little excessive, but if you work for a company that routinely or randomly drug tests their employees (or in an environment where a workplace accident is more likely, such as a warehouse or distribution center), being prepared can really save your proverbial bacon. If you have the product you’re using to pass on hand, you won’t need to waste valuable time tracking down a bag of fake urine or a cleansing product — and if you’re using the dilution/adulteration method, time is of the essence.

In that spirit, we strongly recommend choosing the substitution method wherever possible, especially if you smoke, vape, and/or take edibles more than three times per week. Substitution with powdered human urine (as opposed to the synthetic stuff)  is the most reliable way to ensure a passing result in every situation. If you can use the substitution method, we highly suggest you do so, as it’s the surest way to pass a urine drug test in 3 hours.

That said, all may not be lost if you have to take a supervised drug test. We’ve had good success with detoxing quickly — provided our use was light to moderate (for our purposes, generally 2 or fewer times per week). We don’t mean to imply that passing is impossible for heavier users with the dilution/adulteration method, but we do encourage you to be realistic about the capabilities of even the best detox products and plan for your drug test accordingly. If you smoke every other day or more, we strongly advise you to go for substitution over a detox attempt.

Gather Your Tools

pass a urine drug test in 3 hours

First, you’ll need to get your hands on the materials you’ll need for your chosen method, and soon. If you’re using the substitution method, a powdered urine kit from TestClear will contain everything you’ll need to mix and use your substitute sample. This includes the powder itself, a vial to mix your sample in, adhesive warmers to bring the sample to body temperature and maintain its warmth, and a precise temperature strip that changes color to indicate when the sample is in the right range for testing. 

If you’re using the dilution/adulteration method, get your detox of choice as quickly as possible. Hopefully, you have a bottle of Mega Clean or XXtra Clean on hand and ready to use, but if not, we suggest looking for a cleansing drink that contains plenty of fruit pectin, lots of B vitamins, trace minerals, and a hefty amount of creatine to give you the best chance possible. You might consider adding a dose of fruit pectin (available at the grocery store) to your detox if you have doubts about its efficacy.

Hour 1: Start the Process

pass a urine drug test in 3 hours

During the first hour, you’ll want to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible if you’re planning to use your own urine. For discretion, you can either remove the label from your detox drink or place it in a bottle of your choosing, such as a large sports bottle or something with opaque or colorful sides. Adapting the container you use for your detox will help you blend in and avoid suspicion while cleansing.

When you’re ready, drink the entire bottle of your chosen detox drink in one go, aiming to finish the bottle within about 15 minutes of starting it. Once you’ve downed it all, refill the bottle with water and, again, try to get it all down within about 15 minutes. 

After you’ve drunk the first bottle of water, go ahead and refill the bottle again with water, but drink this one at a bit more leisurely pace, finishing within 30 minutes of starting it. If you feel the urge to go, do it! The more you are able to urinate before your test, the better off you’ll be, since eliminating as frequently as possible before testing will help flush your system more effectively. 

This strategy will help set you up for success if you’re using a detox product by hydrating your body in preparation for the diuretic effects of the cleansing drink. All that extra water will help flush residual THC from your system, providing you with a window during which you’ll test clean. If you’re using Mega Clean or XXtra Clean, you’ll be at your cleanest about 3 hours from testing — be sure to read the directions if you’re using a different product!

If you’re cleansing first thing in the morning, it’s okay to have a cup of (black, possibly sweetened but with no creamer) coffee or tea in addition to the detox drink and the water after. That said, don’t overload yourself with extra caffeine, which can combine with the diuretic effects of the detox to produce dehydration, discomfort, and potential health consequences. This is especially true if you’re sensitive to stimulants. When in doubt, reach for water over other drinks during this time. 

If you’re using the substitution method, you can relax during this first hour. Make sure you have all your equipment and a bottle of water (we’ve used tap in a pinch with success, but we prefer something filtered for substitution purposes) to mix your sample with. We’ll put everything together and start preparing in earnest in the second hour.

Hour 2: Enhancing the Effectiveness of Your Detox Products

how to pass a urine drug test in 3 hours

When using a detox product to produce a clean sample of your own urine, you’ll want to use this second hour to keep yourself hydrated, using the restroom whenever you feel the urge and rehydrating frequently. We recommend drinking about two of your detox bottles refilled with water during this time, but if you feel the desire to drink more, go for it. 

Steer clear of coffee, tea, or energy drinks during this time; if you really need to have something other than water, try drinking some juice (we like apple or cranberry best for these purposes). Keep away from caffeine — after all, your kidneys are already working overtime, and putting them through extra stress with more diuretics than necessary just isn’t advisable. 

If you’re substituting your urine, you’ll need to mix up your sample at this time. This is simple and pretty foolproof: add some of your bottled water to the powdered human urine in the vial, filling it up to the line, and shake well to dissolve all of the powder. If any clumps of powder remain, try rolling the vial to allow these particles to dissolve properly. You should be left with a vial of liquid that looks, feels, and smells indistinguishable from urine (because it is).

Next, you’ll need to apply the temperature strip and warmer to start bringing your sample to body temperature. Simply adhere the temperature strip along the side of the vial, then apply the warmer so that it envelops the bottle in a cozy little hug. Once everything is mixed and the warmer is applied, stash the vial in a pocket (make sure the lid is tightly sealed to avoid accidents!), checking the temperature every 15 minutes or so.

Hour 3: Preparing To Test

pass a urine drug test in 3 hours

As the big moment draws closer, it’s time to finalize your preparations and get ready for the test itself. Regardless of which method you’ve chosen, this hour will mostly be spent in maintenance mode — keeping hydrated if you’re using your own urine, and holding your sample at temperature if you’re substituting it. 

If you’re using your own urine, keep up with your water intake (about 12-16 ounces every 30 minutes or so) and continue to flush your system by eliminating whenever you feel the urge to go. If you’ll be supervised, it helps to have some urgency so that you don’t suffer from “stage fright,” so drink up!

If you’re substituting your sample, check to ensure that your sample is at or near body temperature (if it’s a little warm, you might remove the heater about 15-20 minutes before testing to allow it to cool a few degrees). It’s also a good idea to drink some water during this time, to ensure that you are able to urinate while pouring your sample into the specimen cup (not being able to go could draw suspicion).

When it comes time to test, you’ll be ready. If using your own urine, collect your sample from midstream (as opposed to at the beginning or end of the stream) to take the cleanest possible sample for testing. When substituting, pour your sample into the specimen cup while you are urinating to avoid arousing any suspicion. 

Then, you’re done! Hand off your sample cup (after cleaning up any splatter, of course — don’t be that guy!) and walk out of the testing center with your head held high. 

Takeaway

While passing a urine drug test at extremely short notice is stressful and difficult, it isn’t impossible. A little preparedness can go a long way toward ensuring a passing result, so pick up a urine substitution kit and/or detox product to keep on hand in the event of a sudden test, especially if you work in an environment where workplace accidents are a semi-regular occurrence. When used correctly and appropriately, a detox product or substitution kit can help you pass your drug test, saving your job or your legal status. 

 

Do Drugstore Test Kits Work for Marijuana?

If you’ve recently been to a Walgreens, Wegmans, or even a Dollar Tree, you’ve likely seen small, marijuana-specific drug testing kits floating about on the shelves. Sometimes near the pregnancy tests and sometimes off in a section of their own, these kits claim to detect THC in urine. But do drugstore test kits work for marijuana?

You may have seen saliva drug tests, some for cannabis alone and others for the “big 5” of drug testing: cannabis, methamphetamine, cocaine, opioids, and amphetamine salts (like Adderall, Vyvanse, and other commonly abused stimulant medications). How well do these cheap kits actually work? Are they reliable?

These inexpensive testing panels claim to offer consumers the ability to test themselves (or, in some instances, their loved ones) for illicit substances in the privacy of their own homes at an affordable price. Some keep the promises minimal, while others claim very low detection thresholds capable of catching even very occasional use. That’s all well and good, but do these products actually work?

Here, we’ll talk about the science of drug tests, how these inexpensive kits rose to popularity, and whether they actually work. We’ll discuss important drug testing criteria (including thresholds of detection) and help lay out how to choose the right drug test for your needs. 

Urine vs. Saliva Testing: What’s the Difference?

do drugstore test kits work for marijuana

While both urine and saliva tests can be used to accurately detect the presence of THC in humans, the two types of tests work in different ways and have different periods of detection. This makes a difference depending on what your purposes are: saliva tests are usually used to detect THC over short periods of time, usually 48 hours or less. 

By contrast, THC remains detectable in urine for long periods of time, potentially weeks or even months in heavy consumers. This makes urine tests ideal for determining a person’s long-term consumption habits; where saliva tests only look at the past couple of days, a urine test can detect THC for much longer after the last use of cannabis. 

As cannabis becomes legal in more and more states (Illinois recently legalized recreational cannabis, becoming the 11th US state to do so), companies who utilize pre-employment drug testing are less interested in testing for THC. Those that do continue with established testing programs are starting to shift toward saliva testing and away from urine screens. 

This is because urine screens may show a positive result for someone who last consumed THC weeks ago, whereas a saliva test would show a negative result for the same person. Companies are starting to recognize that cannabis use doesn’t necessarily prevent a person from being good at their job, and policies are shifting accordingly — albeit slowly. 

That said, urine drug screens remain the most commonly used tool for THC detection, both in pre-employment and legal situations. Unless you know for a fact that you’ll only be subjected to a saliva screen, it’s helpful to be prepared for a urine test. For information on how to ensure a passing result for either test, check out our article on how to pass a drug test.

How Drug Tests Work

do drugstore test kits work for marijuana

Unsurprisingly, urine and saliva drug tests function very differently (after all, they are testing entirely different bodily fluids), but there are a couple of similarities between the two tests. Both detect THC in their respective testing media, and both are commonly used by prospective employers to screen potential hires and maintain a safe work environment. 

However, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Saliva testing is less invasive (a simple mouth swab, as opposed to peeing in a cup) and presents a clearer picture of current intoxication levels than urine screens. These tests detect the presence of THC and other substances in the saliva, which is generally a good indicator that the substance is also present in the subject’s bloodstream at the time of testing. 

To do this, saliva screens take a swab of the subject’s saliva (either with a mouth swab, spitting into a cup, or allowing a swab to sit in the subject’s mouth for 2-3 minutes, as with the SalivaConfirm drug test from TestClear). The saliva is then placed into a container for testing; results may take up to 10 minutes to show, but some tests show results in as little as three minutes.

Because they show THC levels at the time of testing, saliva tests are most commonly used in situations where employers need to know if a person is under the influence while at work, such as after a workplace accident or for insurance purposes. Saliva screens may also be used when companies are not necessarily concerned with long-term occasional cannabis use, but do want to be sure that a prospective employee is not stoned during the interview. 

Urine testing, on the other hand, does not paint a reliable picture of intoxication levels at the time of testing. This is because, unlike saliva tests, urine screens look for both THC and its main metabolite, THC-COOH. This is an important distinction because, while THC itself is broken down fairly quickly by the body, THC-COOH can linger in the body’s fatty tissues for months in heavy consumers. 

For this reason, urine testing is very commonly used by both employers and the legal system to determine a person’s long-term cannabis use or abstinence from THC. Unlike saliva screens, which test a person’s immediate level of “contamination,” urine drug tests provide institutions with an idea of what a person’s consumption habits look like over a longer period of time.

Urine testing relies on a type of test called an immunoassay, which uses special molecules that attach themselves to THC and THC-COOH molecules when they are present in the sample. When these molecules bind to THC or THC-COOH, they prevent the color indicator from rising to the surface of the test (the particles that create the line indicating a passing result). As long as even a faint line is present, you will be considered passing. However, if the line fails to form, you will fail your test. 

Drug store tests work using the same technology as their laboratory counterparts (in fact, many private label brands are made at the same facilities as higher-end tests, often with the same materials and components) and, for the most part, they’re pretty accurate. The only notable exception, which we’ll cover in more detail a bit later, is the threshold of detection, or the level of THC that needs to be present in order to yield a positive result.

Urine vs. Saliva Testing Kits: Which is Right for You?

do drugstore test kits work for marijuana

When choosing an at-home testing kit from your local drugstore, it’s a good idea to have your goals in mind. Is this for personal use, or do you intend to “check yourself” before going in to take a supervised drug test? Are you seeking to determine your level of THC contamination before embarking on a cleansing regimen? Do you need to help test a loved one for THC?

Whatever your reasons, you’ll want to make your decision based on what you need. If you need to know whether you’ll test clean on a urine screen for a new job, then choose a urine test. If you need to know if someone is presently under the influence (or has been very recently), a saliva test is the right choice for you. 

For most pre-employment tests, urine tests are the way to go: they’re affordable and give results in minutes without extensive laboratory testing, and they’ve long been considered the “gold standard” of drug testing. 8 times out of 10, if you’re being tested for employment or legal reasons, you’ll be taking a urine drug screen. 

That said, there are a few notable exceptions. A few companies (Amazon among them) have started to use saliva screens over urine tests since they’re less invasive, increasingly affordable, and don’t penalize subjects for occasional use in the same way that urine tests can. 

Furthermore, even if you took a urine drug test to be hired at your current job, a random drug screen or one that takes place after a workplace accident is more likely to be a saliva test than a urine test. This is because, for these types of tests, immediate intoxication is the most important detection need. Furthermore, saliva screens are easier to administer at random (we recommend keeping a bottle of Rescue Wash handy if you’re routinely subjected to random saliva tests).

Drugstore Kits vs. High-End Kits: Threshold of Detection

do drugstore test kits work for marijuana

The main difference between drugstore drug testing kits and their pricier counterparts is the threshold of detection, or the level of THC needed in a sample to be picked up by the test. As a general rule, higher price tags on a drug test indicate a lower threshold of detection, meaning they can find very low levels of THC in samples. 

Cheaper drug tests are still just as effective for most people as high-end tests, and compete well with their most commonly-used counterparts. In some instances, the test at the drugstore may be remarkably similar to the one you take at your prospective employer’s office. That said, there are a few situations in which a drugstore test kit might not cut the proverbial mustard.

For example, you might run into an issue if you take a drugstore test and pass, only to take a cutting-edge test for your local fire department that has a slightly lower threshold of detection that just barely fails you. This is pretty unlikely to happen (most tests have a detection threshold somewhere between  20 and 50 ng/mL, a pretty narrow window), but it is a non-zero possibility. 

If you know that you will be taking a test for a very strict company or for a legal entity, it might be a good idea to take extra precautions. We recommend using the substitution method for urine drug tests, though detoxes can also be effective for occasional to moderate consumers. It’s also a good idea to use a higher-quality test to prepare yourself for the big day, such as the at-home urine screen or SalivaConfirm panels, both available from TestClear.

We prefer substitution over dilution and adulteration because it removes most of the risk associated with using your own urine for the test. For saliva screens, we rely on Rescue Wash; check out or review for more details (we smoked mere hours before testing and still passed with flying colors). Regardless, know that the drug tests available at your local drugstore are plenty effective for detecting THC, and should be suitable for most purposes.

Takeaway

While there are differences between drugstore testing kits and their laboratory cousins, there are far more similarities. A drug test you pick up at a CVS or Eckerd is likely to be made with much of the same technology as high-end brands, even down to the components within the tests. That said, if you suspect you’ll be taking a highly sensitive test, it’s worth it to skip the drugstore and order a high-quality, low-threshold drug test from TestClear.

Best CBD Gummies of 2019

We are firm believers that, while CBD possesses well-documented therapeutic properties, not all CBD products are created equal. So, just how should consumers discern what is of high quality and what is potentially useless — or even actively harmful? What are the best CBD gummies of 2019, and what are just, well, the rest?

With very little federal regulation for CBD companies, we have made it our mission to make brand accountability a priority by independently testing all types of products from a consumer’s perspective. We have a strict vetting process that brands are required to pass before we recommend them to consumers to ensure their CBD is not only safe, but of top notch quality:

  1. Companies must use an organic starting material.
  2. They must implement safe and effective extraction methods.
  3. Carrier oils must also be safe and effective.
  4. Companies must batch test their products for potency and safety.

Using the above criteria, as well as testing every product ourselves, we are able to curate a list of what we believe are the best CBD gummies of 2019.

What is a CBD Gummy?

best cbd gummies of 2019

Like other ingestible forms of CBD, gummies are an easy way to get your daily measured dose of CBD that lasts for several hours – perfect for managing pain and acute flare ups, as well as for regulating mood. However, because effects come as the body metabolizes the CBD, it will take about an hour or two to start feeling the full benefits of relief.

Moreover, CBD gummies are a delicious and fun way to ingest CBD. Gummies come in all different shapes, sizes, doses, and flavors, so odds are there’s a CBD gummy out there to fit your needs. We suggest taking one to two gummies every morning as a daily supplement to encourage overall health and well-being.

Our Favorite CBD Gummies:

Canna Comforts Full Spectrum CBD Gummies

best cbd gummies of 2019

Why We Love It:

We love Canna Comforts as a company for their commitment to responsible, sustainable policies throughout their business model. The strains they grow are organic and non-GMO, and loaded with medicinal benefits and cannabinoids.

As for the Full Spectrum CBD Gummies, the onset of effects is a smooth transition, as gummies are a relatively small dose of 10mg of CBD. If you’re looking for stronger effects, it’s perfectly safe to take two gummies together – you’ll notice more uplifting effects that last a few hours longer.

Unlike many CBD products, these gummies are full spectrum, meaning they include a wider range of cannabinoids present in the hemp plants rather than a pure CBD isolate. Cannabinoids offer different medicinal effects, meaning that full spectrum products can provide greater relief than just CBD, depending on the ailments you’re trying to treat. This varied cannabinoid profile, combined with their delicious taste and conscious creation, make these some of the best CBD gummies of 2019.

Best Used For:

Keep in mind that these Full Spectrum CBD Gummies will take about 90 minutes to take effect. They can be useful for insomnia or easing pains that prevent sleep, but make sure to take them far enough in advance that effects are felt at the desired time. While these are great for all-day relief, Full Spectrum CBD Gummies are not recommended for patients who need immediate relief.

Because it doesn’t offer targeted relief like topical applications of CBD, these gummies are felt in about 60 minutes and can last for about eight hours. If you take one in the morning and feel the effects wear off come afternoon time, feel free to take another gummy to keep you going.mmies are great for managing multiple conditions thanks to CBD’s anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and relaxing effects that last half the day or more.

Nature’s Script Hemp Extract CBD Gummies

best cbd gummies of 2019

Why We Love It:

Nature’s Script’s products easily pass our vetting process, thanks to their quality and effectiveness. The company’s products are made of pure CBD isolate and contain no THC, making them legal in all states. They also use organic hemp grown sustainably and responsibly by experienced hemp farmers.

When it comes to the Hemp Extract CBD Gummies, they’re not only delicious, but also have noticeable effects even after ingesting just 15mg. Nature’s Script also adds white and willow bark and turmeric, which are known for their natural pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.

Best Used For:

These gummies are particularly useful for anxiety, depression, and stress, offering an overall sense of well-being and calm. Besides mental wellness, they also helped to ease chronic pain and inflammation associated with conditions such as arthritis, muscle tension, and menstrual cramps.

Pure Relief Cannabidiol Night-Time Gummy Bears

best cbd gummies of 2019

Why We Love It:

Pure Relief’s entire line of products also come with the full-spectrum benefits of a complete cannabinoid profile. Everything they sell is legal, and their potent CBD offers lasting relief from a variety of ailments and symptoms.

Their CBD Night-Time Gummy Bears are great for providing an overall sense of relaxation, while helping to easy aches and pains to aide you in drifting off to sleep. They’re loaded with 30mg of CBD per gummy – a strong dose that will offer intense relief.

Best Used For:

CBD Night-Time Gummy Bears contain melatonin – a hormone naturally produced in the body that helps to regulate the sleep cycle. In this way, they are definitely best used to help you get a good night’s sleep. Effects will take one to two hours to kick in and last for over four hours. If you plan on incorporating these into your daily bedtime routine, be sure to take them as you would a regular sleeping pill, about an hour before bedtime.

 

Best CBD Capsules of 2019

As a company, we believe that while CBD has demonstrable health benefits for many, not all CBD products carry equal therapeutic potential. Through the use of different extraction methods, varying soil conditions, and certain corporate values, CBD comes in all sorts of qualities. How do you discern the best from the rest? Here, we examine the best CBD capsules available on the market.

Because there’s very little federal regulation for CBD companies, we have made it our mission to make brand accountability a priority for this industry. We independently test all types of products from a consumer’s perspective, using a strict vetting process that brands are required to pass before we recommend them to consumers. By following these guidelines, we ensure that CBD is not only safe, but of top notch quality:

  1. Companies must use an organic starting material.
  2. They must implement safe and effective extraction methods.
  3. Carrier oils must also be safe and effective.
  4. Companies must batch test their products for potency and safety.

Using the above criteria, as well as testing every product individually, we have created a list of the best CBD capsules of 2019. We’ll talk about what makes them special, where to find them, and how they can help you achieve your wellness goals. 

What is a CBD Capsule?

best cbd capsules 2019

CBD capsules (or gelcaps) typically use an organic medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) coconut oil carrier along with a CBD extract. The MCT oil allows cannabinoids to more easily and quickly interact with the body. Like a tincture, CBD capsules are ingested orally – however, gel caps can be considered simpler to take, similar to taking a multivitamin every day.

The effects of CBD capsules last for several hours and can be felt throughout the day. However, it should be noted that relief is not usually felt for at least an hour. While relief is long-lasting, it is certainly not immediate.

Our Favorite CBD Capsules

NutraCanna CBD Daytime Tablets

best cbd capsules 2019

Why We Love It:

As a company, we appreciate NutraCanna for their commitment to working with small, sustainable family farms and their focus on minimizing their environmental impact. They use locally sourced hemp from organic, non-GMO farms that is held to rigorous testing standards.

When it comes to their CBD Daytime Tablets, we think they’re particularly useful first thing in the morning. Each tablet comes with 10mg of CBD and should be thought of similar to a cup of joe – while they won’t make you jittery the way caffeine will, some of us require more coffee than others to begin feeling the effects. Because it is virtually impossible to overdose from CBD, feel free to experiment with the number of tablets that provide you with desired effects.

Unlike traditional gel caps, these CBD Daytime Tablets are fast dissolving, and effects can be felt in about 15 minutes. We started to feel an enhanced sense of focus as well as more energetic. When taking just one tablet, CBD was effective for about five hours – giving you plenty of time to ease your way into the afternoon. And if you find you still need a little boost come lunch time, it’s perfectly safe to take another dose and still make it to bed on time.

Best Used For:

As implied by the name, the CBD Daytime Tablets are best taken as a morning supplement. Keep in mind that they kick in faster than most CBD capsules, making them a scent-free, non-inhaled alternative to products such as CBD flower or vape carts.

Tablets are made using CBD isolate rather than a full-spectrum product, meaning they are completely THC-free and will not show up on a drug test.

Biofield CBD Gel Capsule

best cbd capsules of 2019

Why We Love It:

Biofield uses only organic, US-grown, non-GMO hemp to extract a CBD isolate used for all products. Everything they sell is certified THC-free, proven through batch testing by an independent laboratory.

Compared to the NutraCanna CBD Daytime Tablets, these CBD Gel Capsules are much stronger at 25mg of CBD in each dose. The effects of CBD can be felt within an hour or two and last for up to six hours.

Best Used For:

Due to their strength, these CBD Gel Capsules are extremely helpful when it comes to stress and anxiety, offering patients an overall improvement of mood. Moreover, they can help with full-body pain relief when a topical CBD application would be ineffective.

As a gel capsule, it’s also an efficient way to give a precise dose of CBD – which is particularly useful with conditions such as autism, epilepsy, and neurological and inflammatory diseases that require constant monitoring.

Joy Organics CBD Soft Gel

best cbd capsules 2019

Why We Love It:

As a brand, we proudly support Joy Organics  for their organic, sustainable CBD growing techniques. Their domestic, locally-grown hemp is extracted using an organic, food-grade ethanol wash for safety, purity, and potency before being lovingly formulated into therapeutic products like these.

These CBD Soft Gel capsules are available in both 15mg and 25mg strengths. Effects can be felt after about 45 minutes and last a bit longer than the other two CBD capsules we’ve mentioned – up to eight hours, depending on your metabolism.

Best Used For:

These CBD Soft Gels are great for mood enhancement and relaxation – while you may feel tension release from your body, they are not quite strong enough to make you feel sleepy or sedated.

These Soft Gels are also good for treating chronic, constant conditions, such as anxiety, depression, inflammation, PTSD, and pain. Because effects last so long, we suggest taking one in the morning and redosing only if necessary throughout the day.

 

Best CBD Pain Salves of 2019

We firmly believe in the therapeutic potential of CBD, but we also understand that not all CBD products are as effective as they claim. So, how do we discern the best from, well, the rest? How do you separate the best CBD pain salves from the ones that aren’t worth your time or money? 

With very little federal regulation for CBD companies, we at Key to Cannabis have made it our mission to make brand accountability a priority by independently testing all types of products from a consumer’s perspective. We have a strict vetting process that brands are required to pass before we recommend them to consumers to ensure their CBD is not only safe, but of top notch quality:

  1. Companies must use an organic starting material.
  2. They must implement safe and effective extraction methods.
  3. Carrier oils must also be safe and effective.
  4. Companies must batch test their products for potency and safety.

Using the above criteria, as well as hand-testing every product individually, we’ve put together a list of what we feel are the best CBD pain salves of of 2019. We’ll tell you what we like about them, where to find them, and who they’ll benefit most.

What is a Pain Salve?

best cbd pain salves of 2019

Salves are CBD infused creams or gels that get applied directly to the skin, or “topically.” They offer relief to specific areas of the body that may be suffering from pain and inflammation, and even chronic conditions such as eczema.

Patients opt for pain salves when treating muscle and joint pains in specific, localized areas of the body. Relief from CBD in this form can be felt in 10 to 15 minutes – significantly faster than the 45 to 60 minutes it can take for ingested CBD in the form of an edible or gel capsule to take effect. Relief from pain salves can last for hours, and because there is no chance of overdosing on CBD, they can be re-applied throughout the day as necessary.

We suggest pain salves for patients suffering from general aches and pains, as well as those suffering from more serious chronic conditions such as arthritis, cancer, or autoimmune disease.

Our Favorite Pain Salves

Joy Organics CBD Salve

best cbd pain salve of 2019

Why We Love It:

As a brand, we proudly support Joy Organics for their organic, sustainable CBD growing techniques. They use Colorado-grown organic hemp for each product and easily passed our strict vetting process.

The effects of their CBD salve are strong and noticeable. Effects can be felt in as little as five minutes, with full effects delivered after about 20 minutes. We suggest applying a good amount of the salve on the affected area – the more you apply, the longer the effects will last.

Unlike some CBD Pain Salves, this one does not produce an icy/hot sensation – making it less noticeable but just as effective. We also appreciate that this salve uses organically grown hemp as a starting material. Further, all ingredients are plant derived, meaning there are no chemicals involved in the making of this product.

Best Used For:

We like to use the CBD salve rub on strained and tired muscles. Whether returning from a tough workout at the gym or simply feeling the effects of aging, this product offers quick, lasting relief to targeted areas on almost any part of the body.

While salves that include THC as well as CBD have been found to be more effective, we still stand behind the CBD salve from Joy Organics and appreciate the fact that it is a CBD-only product.

Biofield CBD Rapid Cooling Pain Cream

best cbd pain salves of 2019

Why We Love It:

Biofield is committed to using organic, US-grown, non-GMO hemp and ensures that the CBD isolate it uses is at least 99% pure. Their products are completely THC free, and the CBD they use is legal in all 50 states because it’s sourced through a federally protected hemp program that requires third-party testing.

As for their Rapid Cooling Pain Cream, we love this product because it uses menthol, which offers additional relief in the form of a cooling, analgesic effect. It also uses aloe, making it effective not only as a strong pain reliever, but also useful for flaky, dry skin. Effects are felt almost immediately and last throughout the day, as CBD is absorbed into the skin and goes to work on specific affected areas.

Best Used For:

Not only is the Rapid Cooling Pain Cream useful as a strong pain reliever, but it also helps with rashes, dryness, and other skin conditions that cause inflammation. It’s full of hydrating ingredients, making it useful for conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and even bouts of poison ivy.

We suggest using this product for bodily aches and pains where and when it’s needed. Due to the use of menthol, it is particularly effective in helping to reduce joint pain and sore muscles.

cbdMD CBD Recover Inflammation Cream

best cbd pain salves of 2019

Why We Love It:

cbdMD also uses hemp that’s organically grown in the United States. When plants are harvested and transported for testing, cbdMD carefully tracks each batch in order to ensure every product it produces meets their strict quality standards. Moreover, cbdMD encourages responsible cultivation that produces the lowest carbon footprint possible, making them sustainable as well.

As for the CBD Recover Inflammation Cream, we love this product for how gentle it is on damaged skin. It contains aloe vera and coconut oil, which help to soothe the skin and lock in moisture for severely dry and irritated skin. Relief can be felt within just a few minutes, leaving targeted areas feeling refreshed and pain relieved for up to six hours.

Best Used For:

Because it doesn’t give off a cooling sensation offered by products with menthol, like the Biofield Rapid Cooling Pain Cream, it is particularly useful for sensitive ailments like burns, healing scrapes, and irritated skin rashes caused by different medical conditions.

No product should be applied to open wounds, but we find this product particularly useful for dulling itchy, inflamed skin around healing cuts and sores. The CBD Recover Inflammation Cream also helps to reduce redness and swelling, and best effects are reached when applied regularly.

 

Best CBD Tinctures of 2019

At Key to Cannabis, we believe in the therapeutic power of CBD. At the same time, we also recognize that the explosive growth of CBD in health and wellness spheres has encouraged all kinds of companies to enter the market — including some that are less than reputable. How are you supposed to separate the best from, well, the rest? Through the use of different extraction methods, varying soil conditions, and certain corporate values, CBD comes in all sorts of qualities. How, then, can you be sure you’re using the best CBD tinctures, salves, gummies, and other products?.

Due to the lack of comprehensive federal regulation for CBD companies, we have made it our mission to make brand accountability a priority for this industry. We independently test all types of products from a consumer’s perspective, using a strict vetting process that brands are required to pass before we recommend them to consumers. By following these guidelines, we ensure that CBD is not only safe, but of top notch quality:

  1. Companies must use an organic starting material.
  2. They must implement safe and effective extraction methods.
  3. Carrier oils must also be safe and effective.
  4. Companies must batch test their products for potency and safety.

Using the above criteria, as well as testing every product ourselves, we have created a list of the best CBD tinctures of 2019 We’ll discuss what makes them stand out, why we support the product, and who might benefit the most from it.

What is a CBD Tincture?

best cbd tinctures of 2019

A CBD tincture is a liquid CBD concentrate that is taken orally with an under-the-tongue application. While some tinctures use an alcohol base, we recommend products that use a coconut or MCT oil base that allows for easy and quick absorption of CBD into the body.

Tinctures are applied under the tongue because it’s the quickest way for CBD to absorb into the bloodstream. Hold the liquid under the tongue for a few seconds before swallowing. While it starts getting to work within seconds, effects of CBD usually take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes to fully kick in – and they can last anywhere from four to eight hours.

Our Favorite CBD Tinctures:

Canna Comforts CBD Iso Oil 1000mg

best cbd tinctures of 2019

Why We Love It:

We love Canna Comforts as a company for their commitment to responsible, sustainable policies throughout their business model. The strains they grow are organic and non-GMO, and loaded with medicinal benefits and cannabinoids.

When it comes to the CBD Iso Oil, we love this product for its strong, long-lasting effects. It’s suggested that you start with a half dropper-sized dose to start, or 20mg. Relief is strong for over an hour, with lingering effects for several hours to follow. It can easily be taken along with your morning orange juice or coffee to help you get your day started.

While there are other CBD isolate products on the market, we like the Iso Oil for its easy and mess-free application compared to powdered forms.

Best Used For:

As a 1,000mg tincture, this CBD Iso Oil is stronger than many products on the market, so its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects are very noticeable and hard-working. It’s great for many chronic conditions thanks to its strength, and patients can distribute accurate dosages with the dropper.

Because it uses a CBD isolate as well as added terpenes for more medicinal benefits, the product is completely THC-free and won’t show up on a drug test.

CBDistillery CBDrop Full Spectrum CBD Oil

best cbd tinctures of 2019

Why We Love It:

As a company, we recommend CBDistillery for their high-quality, affordable, hemp-derived CBD products. The hemp they use is grown organically outdoors according to sustainable agricultural practices. All plants are free from pesticides and herbicides and are non-GMO.

The CBDrop Full Spectrum Oil utilizes the whole-plant hemp extract, meaning it offers slightly different and arguably stronger effects than a CBD isolate product. However, CBDrops contain no more than 0.3% THC, so don’t expect any psychoactive effects. It’s also flavorless, making it easy to add to drinks or smoothies for a more tasty application.

Best Used For:

Effects are felt within 30 to 90 minutes and last around 6 hours. Effects are both calming and uplifting, offering an overall sense of mental wellness and relaxation.

Moreover, the Full Spectrum Oil helps to relieve chronic pain and soothe inflammation that topical creams cannot help with. Effects are felt all over and for several hours, and patients can re-dose throughout the day as necessary. CBD tinctures are easy to use, making this a viable option to treat chronic illnesses such as neurological disorders as well as cancer-related pain and sickness.

Joy Organics CBD Tincture 500 mg

Why We Love It:

We appreciate Joy Organics for their commitment to the diligent testing of both extracts and finished products. Everything they sell is organic, non-GMO, and made from American-grown hemp.

This 500mg CBD Tincture offers a relatively lower dose compared with other products (about 17 mg per dropper dose), but it’s perfect for some patients who only need subtle relief to keep them going throughout the day. 

Best Used For:

Effects can be expected slightly sooner than some tinctures of higher dosages, with relief felt in about 30 to 45 minutes and lasting for around eight hours.

While it’s not a turbo-strong tincture, its effects are definitely noticeable. It’s great for mild pain and inflammation, or for helping to relieve symptoms of anxiety. The CBD Tincture can be taken first thing in the morning to help get you through the day, or before bed to help ease you into a peaceful sleep.

 

 

How to Choose the Best CBD Company

CBD is a huge topic of discussion among the health-conscious community; as many Americans look for alternatives to opioids, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and other pharmaceuticals, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid has garnered attention for its efficacy and safety. Finding the best CBD company, however, can be daunting.

While there are still many questions to be answered about the specific mechanisms by which CBD affects the body’s systems, current research indicates that CBD possesses anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic, antipyretic, antidepressant, and neuroprotective properties that may be used to treat a wide variety of symptoms (for more on the effects of CBD on the body, check out our in-depth article on the molecule’s uses and applications). 

Because of its potentially broad application, many people are eager to cash in on their corner of the CBD market. If you’ve searched for CBD online, you’ve likely noticed an overwhelming abundance of retailers, each claiming that their product is going to cure you whatever is ailing you. However, many of those slick marketing campaigns are not to be believed — inside that spiffy packaging are often inferior products, and even ingredients that could be harmful to consumers.

Since CBD is treated more like a supplement than a medication (and therefore not regulated by the FDA for purity and potency), it’s not advisable to trust what you see on the label or a company’s website. But if you can’t believe what you see or hear at face value, how can you be certain that you’re receiving a product that is safe, effective, and lives up to its label?  

Here, we’ll lay out our top criteria for choosing a CBD supplier. We’ll give you insight into what specific words and phrases to look for, how to use independent lab results to learn more about the product, and potentially problematic practices and ingredients to watch out for. We’ll also lay out the “why” for each of our criteria, so that you are able to make an informed decision based on what is most important to you.

First: Use Only Domestic, Organically Grown Starting Material 

how to choose the best cbd company

We list this criterion first because it is important for several different reasons: first, the use of only organic hemp material minimizes your risk of exposure to potentially harmful pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals in the finished product. By choosing to purchase organically-grown CBD over products of questionable origin, you are protecting yourself from trace compounds that could be harmful to you or your family and selecting a safer product. 

Secondly, organically grown plants are better for the environment and more sustainable than industrial farming. This is because these plants are grown without pesticides and herbicides, which often necessitates more natural forms of pest and weed control that are gentler on local ecosystems (or even work to actively support them). Organic farming helps to incentivize the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, helping companies reduce their impact on the environment and the communities they serve. 

We always appreciate when a company demonstrates their commitment to sustainable agriculture and energy sources, but simply choosing to grow hemp organically (or to only purchase hemp from certified organic farmers) is an excellent way to reduce a company’s environmental impact — and therefore the carbon footprint associated with consumption of their products. 

While it’s true that 71% of carbon emissions are produced by just 100 companies in the world  and no level of responsible personal consumption is enough on its own to offset that impact, choosing organically derived products (CBD included) helps keep you and your loved ones safer while supporting companies that are working to address sustainability concerns. 

We specify that the hemp should come from a US grower because the standards for organic produce in China and the EU (the two most commonly listed sources for CBD products) are not as rigorous as those of the United States. Hemp from these places may be contaminated with substances disallowed under US regulations, potentially raising your risk of an adverse reaction. We prefer not to gamble with our health and opt for domestically sourced CBD every time.

Second: Employ Safe & Effective Extraction Methods

how to choose the best cbd company

This is a big one, though it might take a little bit of research to find (and you should absolutely be wary of a manufacturer who is cagey about answering directly): what method does the company use to extract the CBD from its hemp material? While it might seem a bit nitpicky on the surface — surely extracted CBD is the same, right? — it’s actually a very important question to answer before placing your order.

What you’ll likely see frequently is the phrase “hydrocarbon extraction,” and it should be a red flag. We’ll explain: if you’re a cannabis consumer, you might be familiar with BHO, or butane hash oil. These THC concentrates (which include wax, budder, shatter, honey, and other dabbable substances) use butane — or another hydrocarbon like propane — to separate the THC from the organic solids and plant waxes, resulting in a thick, gooey concentrate. 

While these icky sticky substances produce intense highs, they’re nearly always contaminated with residual hydrocarbons. In layman’s terms, this means that when you use one of these products, you’re also consuming the leftover butane (or propane, methane… y’know, the type of compounds used as lighter or camp stove fuel) in every hit. While the exposure to trace hydrocarbons may not cause adverse effects 100% of the time, we’re not convinced that it’s fully safe, either — and, consequently, we think it’s best to skip these products.

So, if hydrocarbons are out, what is the best, safest way to extract CBD from hemp? There are two different methods we consider acceptable for CBD products: organic ethanol wash extraction and supercritical (or subcritical) CO2 extraction. An organic ethanol wash strips the organic material of its CBD and dissolves it into the ethanol. Next, the ethanol is evaporated away completely (unlike hydrocarbons, which remain trapped within the extract), leaving behind only CBD and other cannabinoids, which may then be processed further and purified into different types of extract.

CO2 extractions work similarly, though the results are subtly different. Both supercritical and subcritical extractions are executed using CO2 (carbon dioxide) that has been heated and pressurized so that, in simplified terms, it possesses the properties of both a liquid and a gas at the same time. This allows it to enter porous materials, extracting CBD and the hemp plant’s trichomes and terpenes. The CO2 then evaporates completely, leaving only the extract behind. 

The two methods are generally comparable, though subcritical CO2 does a better job at leaving the terpenes and trichomes of the hemp material intact. Ultimately, choosing among ethanol and CO2 extraction is mostly a matter of preference; each of these methods will produce an extract that is potent and free of any residual solvent. So long as you avoid products extracted using potentially harmful hydrocarbons, you’re on the right track.

Third: Products Formulated with Safe, Effective Carrier Oils

how to choose the best cbd company

This one requires a little basic chemistry to explain, so bear with us — we’ll keep it brief. Molecules, just like the earth or a magnet, have poles, or areas with a positive or negative electrical charge. The polarity of a molecule (the difference between the strength of its charges) determines what it can and cannot dissolve in, and solubility has a lot to do with how nutrients are absorbed by the body — CBD included. 

Polar liquids can dissolve polar molecules (like salt in water, for instance), but nonpolar molecules will not dissolve in a polar solvent (hence the separation between the nonpolar oil and polar vinegar of a salad dressing). Since your body is mostly water, a polar liquid, it’s hard for it to absorb CBD, a nonpolar molecule, effectively. 

So, how do CBD manufacturers resolve this dilemma? Easily: with carrier oils. Carrier oils (often MCT or fractionated coconut oil, hemp seed oil, or olive oil) are able to bond to CBD, and their chemical structure creates a kind of fatty “handle” that your body can grab onto and metabolize, bringing the CBD along with it. Carrier oils are included to ensure that you are able to absorb as much of the CBD in the product as possible (often discussed as having high bioavailability).

At a cursory glance, it might seem like most any oil would work. After all, all oils are nonpolar and will get the job done, right? While that’s technically true, there are definitely right and wrong oils to use. MCT oil is preferred (also sometimes labeled as fractionated coconut oil) because its medium-length molecules are easier for the body to metabolize (as opposed to longer, more difficult to process molecules from other fats). That said, hemp seed oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil are also relatively common carrier oils that are perfectly safe and effective, so don’t despair if you have a coconut allergy — there are plenty of other options.  

However, steer clear of products that do not list the carrier oil they use, or utilize PG (more on that in a moment) to dilute their products. Transparency is key when choosing a CBD supplier, and any manufacturer who won’t be candid about the ingredients they use isn’t worth your money.

We should note that some CBD products are specifically formulated to be water-soluble. While these products contain CBD that has been made easier for your body to absorb compared to oil-based products, they tend to be a bit pricey compared to their old-fashioned counterparts. However, the tradeoff may be worthwhile for you, and that’s okay. If you choose water-soluble CBD products, you won’t need to worry about carrier oils the same way.

Fourth: Products Are Batch Tested for Quality, Purity, & Potency

how to choose the best cbd company

This final note is exceedingly important, as you can use it to verify the information you gathered earlier: all products should be batch tested for quality, purity, and potency. When we say “batch tested,” we mean that each product should be traceable to the batch it was produced in, and the lab testing results for that batch should be publicly available. An independent lab is one not affiliated with the company or any of its affiliates — in-house testing is wonderful, but nothing beats independent analysis.

While more thorough tests are obviously preferable, a good lab report will contain the product’s CBD, THC, and THCA content, as well as any contamination with heavy metals. If the product is listed as being THC-free, then the lab report should reflect that result. The lab should also list its credentials and certification status on the report for full accountability. Some reports may choose to list other cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, or CBC, but this is not necessarily a requirement unless you’re looking for a highly specialized cannabinoid profile.

A Specific Note About Vapor Products

how to choose the best cbd company

Vaping is growing ever more popular among the cannabis community, and CBD is no exception. There are literal tons of CBD vape products out there, with oodles and oodles of oils in every flavor under the sun (and a few we think they just made up). However, just like with their nicotine-infused cousins, there’s a problematic ingredient that’s very common in CBD vape oils: PG.

PG, the standard abbreviation for propylene or polyethylene glycol (both behave similarly under conditions of regular use, so we’ll treat them as one entity for simplicity’s sake), is often used as a thinning agent for vape oils and juices. Since it’s generally considered safe for use in food, beverages, and cosmetics, it’s been largely assumed that the same must be true for vaping.

Emerging research, however, shows that PG may not be as safe as we thought. At the high temperatures needed to vape, PG begins to degrade into known carcinogens like formaldehyde, arsenic, and benzene. These compounds are not only known to cause cancer in humans after prolonged exposure, they can also produce toxic effects at high doses. 

While the scientific community is still uncertain about the long-term effects of PG and vaping, we feel it’s best to play it safe. We prefer to use vaporizers that contain only CBD and a carrier oil, with perhaps a terpene blend or essential oil for flavor. That said, products containing vegetable glycerin, or VG, are not shown to be unsafe at this time and are also acceptable in CBD vapor products. 

Takeaway

Sifting through all the different CBD manufacturers out there can be daunting, but don’t sweat it — there are simple criteria you can use to separate the good from the bad and the downright ugly of the bunch. It may take a little research, but we promise that your efforts will be rewarded with potent, pure, effective CBD. Don’t gamble on a shady product for the sake of a bargain — your health is worth more than what’s essentially a coin toss. Vet your CBD supplier thoroughly; your body will thank you.

 

TestClear vs. Herbal Clean Qcarbo32

When searching for a reliable drug test cleansing product, navigating the crowded field of search results can be difficult. There are hundreds of products out there that claim to work, but many of them aren’t as effective as their advertising makes them out to be. 

Here, we’re looking at Herbal Clean Qcarbo32, a popular cleansing drink available from a variety of retailers. We’ll compare it to the two most comparable products available from TestClear, Mega Clean and XXtra Clean cleansing drinks. This comparison is based on a combination of research into the product formulations and ingredients, our personal experience, and a sampling of reviews for both products from verified users.

A General Note On Drug Testing

testclear vs herbal clean qcarbo32

First, we need to talk a bit about the drug testing industry and its relationship with cleansing companies. The two fields are locked in a sort of arms race with one another: as drug test cleansing companies create products that can fool the tests, more advanced tests are created. This spurs the creation of more advanced cleansing and substitution products, and so on in a self-sustaining cycle of enhanced precision and more detailed formulas.

In some ways, this is a good thing — all that competition between the two industries spurs advancements in both of them. Furthermore, research into the development of new products enhances our understanding of the science of drug testing, improving our access to empirical information on the subject. However, it’s not so great from a consumer standpoint. This ever-evolving landscape makes it so that the product that worked last year might not work next week. When choosing a cleansing or substitution product, it’s crucial to make your decision based on the most current information available.

Cleansing Drinks & THC

testclear vs herbal clean qcarbo32

To thoroughly and fairly compare cleansing drinks, we need to start by talking a bit about how they work. There are a couple of primary means that urine test cleansing drinks work by: superficial cleansing of tissues, dilution of urine, and masking the presence of THC. There are some drinks out there that only work using one or two of these mechanisms, but the best cleansing beverages use a combination of all three processes for a more reliable clean.

There are different ingredients that are often included in cleansing beverages to serve different purposes. These ingredients vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but there are some that you can pretty much count on being in your cleansing drink. These include B vitamins, which are used to help flush THC from surface cells of the body, as well as to add color to the urine and ensure that it meets dilution standards. 

Secondly, cleansing beverages tend to utilize a blend of herbs, proprietary or otherwise, that support the goal of producing a clean sample during the specified window of time. These may include things like dandelion, burdock, or turmeric root extracts to help flush superficial fat cells of THC and its metabolites, along with diuretic compounds like uva ursi leaf and juniper berry extracts that encourage more frequent urination. 

Finally, these products contain essential nutrients and electrolytes like creatine and magnesium to help urine retain the necessary concentrations of these compounds to meet dilution standards. They’ll also use vitamins B1 and B2 to improve the color of the urine sample despite its dilution. Niacin is used to help flush THC from urine and tissues and, while it’s effective, it can be toxic in high doses — beware of products containing very high percentages of niacin, and avoid stacking multiple cleansing drinks simultaneously.

TestClear vs. Herbal Clean Qcarbo32: Ingredients

From an examination of the ingredients in Herbal Clean Qcarbo32, there are plenty of ingredients that are considered safe and effective in temporarily cleansing the urine of THC and its metabolites to produce a clean sample, including uva ursi, burdock, turmeric, and dandelion extracts alongside plenty of B vitamins and electrolytes. 

Both Mega Clean and XXtra Clean contain many of the same ingredients, though we noticed slightly higher concentrations of many essential vitamins in the Mega Clean and XXtra Clean formulas. We also noted a few extra components in the herbal blend utilized by Mega Clean and XXtra Clean — not necessarily better, just a different approach.

TestClear vs. Herbal Clean Qcarbo32: Use

Qcarbo32 is intended to be used in much the same manner as Mega Clean or XXtra Clean — drink the entire bottle within 15 minutes, then refill the bottle with water and drink that within 15 minutes. With all three beverages, consumers are encouraged to urinate frequently to flush as much THC from their systems before testing to ensure a clean sample. 

TestClear vs. Herbal Clean Qcarbo32: Customer Experience

When looking at reviews for Herbal Clean Qcarbo32, we noticed a trend across different sellers: for people who had plenty of time to abstain beforehand and were occasional to moderate cannabis consumers, the drink worked well and consistently. However, for consumers with fewer than three days to abstain or a long history of frequent cannabis consumption, the results were less reliable, and more users reported that the drink didn’t quite cut it. 

This highlights an important point in choosing a drug test cleansing product:  it’s crucial to find the right product for your level of THC exposure. A product that works perfectly for someone who takes a few hits before bed at night might not be enough for someone who goes through several joints per day. 

TestClear vs. Herbal Clean Qcarbo32: Final Thoughts

We like TestClear because the products they carry are formulated with maximum effectiveness in mind. While they carry products for less frequent consumers (like their 1-day and 3-day detox programs), most of their selection is geared toward helping consumers with heavier usage patterns produce a clean test result. In our experience, this leads to a more reliable clean and better results for consumers. 

Aside from the differences between the products themselves, we also noticed a major difference between sellers. While Herbal Clean Qcarbo32 is available from sellers like Amazon and GNC, we noted a significant number of complaints across different platforms relating to shipping, timeliness of the product’s arrival, and pricing. That’s the gamble of online retailers — some are reliable, but many are not. With something as important as drug testing, we feel it’s beneficial to choose specialized sellers over big-box stores.

Takeaway

By ordering from TestClear, you ensure a couple of things. First, you are receiving the product you ordered, not a knockoff in similar packaging. Second, you will receive the product in a timely manner — if you ordered overnight delivery, then you will receive it the next day, guaranteed. Finally, TestClear stands behind their products in a way that many retailers don’t, meaning that you’re covered in the event that a product doesn’t work out for you. 

We don’t mean to imply that Qcarbo32 is a subpar product — it isn’t, and it works just fine for many people. However, it isn’t the most reliable product available, and it may not work for people with less time to abstain or who have used cannabis more frequently for longer periods. For high-stakes drug testing, we prefer to stick to the product line available from TestClear. Their cleansing products work reliably, they ship in a timely manner, and they are supported by a guarantee of efficacy when used as directed that’s backed by TestClear.  

 

Topical CBD for Wound Care: Healing with Hemp

CBD has been shown to possess potent anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant properties that have been successfully applied to treatment protocols for many diverse conditions, from arthritis to dementia to diabetes to high blood pressure. Research also indicates that CBD may be effective at promoting wound healing, making it a natural choice for wound care applications as well. Topical CBD products can be used to care for wounds like burns, cuts, scrapes, bites, and broken skin, but [not all CBD topicals are created equal].

While CBD itself can be highly beneficial when applied to wounds, those benefits can be reduced (or potentially even negated) by the wrong supporting ingredients. Quality carrier oils and botanicals absolutely have a place in CBD wound care products, but since CBD isn’t regulated by the FDA the way that pharmaceutical medicines are, a few extra precautions are necessary.

There are many balms, salves, ointments, creams, and gels formulated with CBD available, designed to help treat everything from sunburns to cuts to abrasions to fresh tattoos. While many can be used effectively, some may contain questionable ingredients or potential allergens. Your skin works pretty hard to keep you healthy, and a break in the barrier can be a major stressor for the integumentary system. Using inflammatory ingredients can inadvertently add to that stress and prolong healing time.

Here, we’ll dissect the science behind effective wound care and the role CBD topicals can play in staving off infection and promoting healing. Next, we’ll discuss the role of supporting ingredients (beginning with carrier compounds, followed by botanicals and a cursory examination of common additives) individually, noting the potential benefits and risks of each. We’ll close with a couple of notes concerning sanitary practices for wound care and sustainability in wound healing, providing a bit of guidance to help you choose products that reflect your values and ethics.

How Does Wound Healing Work?

topical cbd for wound care

Wound healing is a highly intricate and complex process involving collaboration between many different types of cells and different body systems. While it’s impossible to convey every detail of the process here, there are a few key principles to know. Wound healing tends to happen in stages: inflammation, proliferation, and maturation. Each of these phases marks a focus on different cellular activities. 

The inflammation phase is the most well-known, as it’s a phase that’s often quite painful. Inflammation is the body’s immediate response to a wound: raising the alarm, heightening sensitivity, sending lots of immune cells to the site of the wound, and setting off frequent (and sometimes intense) pain signals. 

After a few days of inflammation, the proliferation phase begins. This is the time when the body begins to close the wound and is usually marked by wound contraction. During this important period, the body is building a matrix of new cells, collagen, and other tissues to replace the damaged or destroyed cells. Blood vessels and nerve connections re-establish themselves at the wound site during this time, making it more likely that [neuropathic pain] will arise during this period (though it may not be permanent).  

Finally, when it has closed fully and the supporting tissues have regenerated beneath the new skin, a wound is considered mature. At this point, there may be considerable scarring, but the wound will continue to mature for many weeks after closure. Over time, the scar tissue will soften and become less visible, itching and tingling tend to diminish, and discoloration starts to fade. 

The main goal of most wound healing technology is centered around accelerating the healing process, which can be accomplished in a number of ways. Reducing inflammation at the site helps the skin to move from the inflammatory to the proliferation stage more quickly, yielding faster wound closures and improved appearance of scarring. Promoting cellular movement and activity is also key to successful wound healing, as the healing process depends on high levels of oxygen

Wound care also requires ingredients to keep the area clean and free of harmful bacteria and other microbes. Finally, most topical wound care products also typically include some ingredients intended for pain management, reducing the alarm signals sent by damaged nerves at the site of an injury.

The Role of CBD In Wound Care & Healing

topical cbd for wound care healing

CBD, the common name for cannabidiol, has been shown to have many medical applications across a wide variety of conditions. The compound possesses potent anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antimicrobial properties (among many others) that make it especially beneficial for wound healing. It acts as a vasodilator, helping to improve oxygen supply to the wound and accelerating healing time. Together, these properties make CBD a promising therapeutic ingredient in wound care and healing products.

As with most CBD science, more research is necessary to determine the exact mechanisms that make CBD a good promoter of healing activity. However, emerging research is sufficiently compelling that many people are opting for CBD over old standbys from the pharmacy. While minor wounds likely do not present a safety concern for most people, more severe injuries may demand special consideration in product choice to avoid inadvertently causing additional inflammation and delaying healing.

If you prefer to use CBD alone (a completely respectable position that may be necessary for people with serious allergies or sensitivities), we recommend using a CBD tincture with no flavorings or additives. You could also dissolve some pure CBD isolate into the carrier oil of your choice (just be sure everything is clean!) to accomplish the same goal: CBD and oil, the end. However, if you are interested in using botanical ingredients and other bioactive compounds to accelerate wound healing, we invite you to consider the ingredients listed below.

Topical CBD Carrier Oils for Wound Care

topical cbd for wound care healing

Carrier oils determine the consistency of the product and help to amplify its skin-protecting properties. We highly recommend opting for ointments, balms, or salves for wound care over roll-on or lotion products. This is for two primary reasons. Firstly, roll-ons and lotions are often formulated with alcohols that can damage the bonds between skin cells — pretty counterproductive when you’re trying to support your skin’s healing processes. Secondly, roll-on products in particular are not possible to use in a sanitary way on broken skin. If you really need something formulated with an alcohol, try to reach for sprays over roll-ons. 

One benefit that salve and ointment formulas offer over their high-alcohol counterparts is their ability to create a physical barrier over skin. This helps to keep bacteria and other microscopic irritants out of your bloodstream while also protecting your skin from damage and moisture loss as it works to heal itself. We prefer to use products made with ingredients that specifically confer skin barrier benefits. 

These might include beeswax (which possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties), shea or cocoa butter (both yield anti-inflammatory benefits to healing skin), coconut oil (another anti-inflammatory oil popular in CBD formulas), and lanolin (a compound beloved for its skin-protecting properties that may also help promote healing). Olive, safflower, pumpkin seed, and grapeseed oils may also help to promote healing, though they do not offer the same skin barrier benefits as heavier oils and plant butters. 

Ointments are sometimes formulated with compounds like petroleum jelly (also called petrolatum), which is derived from fossil fuels. Because petroleum is a nonrenewable resource and its processing has some pretty detrimental effects on the environment, we prefer to steer clear of petroleum-based formulas. That doesn’t mean you have to, of course, but it might be something worth considering.

Supporting Topical CBD Ingredients for Wound Care

topical cbd for wound care healing

Because the skin is broken or damaged in the case of a wound or burn, wound care products have a special potential to contribute to the inflammation they’re meant to fight, especially in people with sensitive skin. If you have any skin sensitivities or allergies, please take special care to avoid ingredients that could cause an adverse reaction. If you aren’t aware of any allergies but find a product causes itching or redness, listen to your body and seek out a gentler alternative. 

A few common culprits of inflammation include ingredients like capsaicin, cinnamon oil, and menthol, which can cause pain and discomfort when applied to wounds. Though these compounds all act as anti-inflammatories on the skin’s surface, they behave a bit differently when applied to broken skin. Even seemingly innocuous ingredients like goldenrod or chamomile may trigger a reaction in some people when applied to wounds, so we advise being very picky about your wound care topicals, CBD and otherwise. 

  • Aloe Vera – Aloe vera (sometimes called aloe barbadensis on product labels) is a desert-dwelling succulent with well-known healing properties. The gel contained within its elongated leaves has been used by many cultures throughout human history to soothe burns and speed skin repair. The plant has been demonstrated to yield antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties that help it to heal skin damage, soothe pain, and reduce inflammation in injured skin. Clinical studies have shown aloe vera to be well-tolerated and hypoallergenic, making it an excellent healing option for many people. It is especially helpful for minor thermal burns and sunburns, reducing pain with a gentle cooling sensation and rehydrating damaged skin.
  • Chamomile Chamomile is a staple of soothing teas and aromatherapy products, but studies have demonstrated that it can confer significant benefits for wound healing as well. Chamomile flower extract acts as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antimicrobial when applied to broken or damaged skin. This allows it to help to reduce pain and inflammation while protecting skin and underlying tissues from harmful bacteria and microbes that can hamper the healing process and cause infection. A potential caveat: chamomile is a member of the family Asteraeceae, which includes ragweed and other common allergens, and can cross-react in those with ragweed allergies. However, the benefits likely outweigh the risks for most people without significant ragweed sensitivity.
  • Goldenrod – Goldenrod is a bit tricky to discuss, as it’s quite a common allergen and wreaks seasonal havoc on sinuses from coast to coast. This is because it belongs to the same family as ragweed and therefore frequently cross-reacts in people with ragweed allergies. However, in people without ragweed allergies, goldenrod has been shown to promote healing by acting as a powerful anti-inflammatory, reducing pain, swelling, and redness in the wake of an injury. This effect may make goldenrod particularly useful in the first few days of wound healing, when inflammation is at its peak. Goldenrod may also help to reduce pain and soreness as skin heals, including the nerve pain and discomfort that often arises as the healing nerves form new connections.
  • Lavender – Lavender carries many different therapeutic applications, inducing relaxation and reducing inflammation throughout the body. These properties also extend to wound care — when applied to broken or damaged skin, lavender reduces inflammation, dulls pain, and improves circulation to the affected area. It also possesses powerful antimicrobial properties that can be especially beneficial for people or wounds prone to infections. While it’s no replacement for a rabies or tetanus vaccine, lavender contains compounds that neutralize many types of bacteria and fungi that can hamper wound healing or cause infection. Lavender may also be applied to wounds in the proliferation stage to help address the pain and tingling that results from mending nerve cells.
  • Marigold – Also labeled as calendula, marigold flowers are an autumnal favorite with an abundance of beneficial bioactive compounds. Extracts of the plant and its blooms can contribute to wound healing, acting as an anti-inflammatory agent to soothe damaged skin and reduce pain. The plant also possesses antimicrobial properties that can protect skin from harmful bacteria and other microbes, preventing infection and further damage to the affected tissues. It is generally well-tolerated, but may trigger a reaction in people with an allergy to marigold or calendula.
  • Neem – Neem oil is derived from the neem tree (also known colloquially as Indian lilac) and is a popular health and wellness ingredient in much of Southeast Asia. The oil is rich in bioactive compounds, conferring powerful antimicrobial and antifungal benefits. This allows neem to help protect wounds from infection by fending off harmful bacteria and microbes. Neem can also help to alleviate pain at the site of injury. That said, it is a very intense oil and should only ever be applied diluted. Even in its dilute form, neem may cause an adverse reaction in some people, so exercise caution and be mindful when using neem for wound care.
  • YarrowYarrow has been used as a supplement and wellness ingredient by many cultures throughout human history. It is shown to act as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, reducing pain and inflammation when used on broken skin. It may also help to reduce bleeding in wounds, making it especially helpful for cuts and gashes (though it is not a substitute for medical attention in the case of severe injuries). 

Sanitary Use of CBD Salves & Balms for Wound Care

topical cbd for wound care healing

While there are a handful of ointments, creams, and other wound care products packaged in tubes, most of our favorite go-tos come in pots or tubs. This presents a bit of a dilemma, as it’s much more difficult to keep these products sanitary during regular use. Many products are sufficiently effective that we don’t mind taking a few extra precautions to use them for wound healing, but we hope to see more variety in packaging to make sanitary application of CBD topicals easier. 

To ensure that a salve, balm, or other CBD topical packaged in a jar or pot remains free from contaminants during its usable life, we suggest using a cotton swab or other applicator tool to dispense the product, as opposed to a fingertip. Hands are wonderful for many things, but using a single-use applicator (or a recyclable equivalent if you’re about that low-waste life) instead of your hands for wound care helps reduce the chance of something undesirable ending up in your ointment — or in the wound, for that matter.

If your preferred product comes in a jar or pot, we suggest using a sanitary tool like a cotton swab or scoopula (which can be sanitized after use) to remove your desired amount of product from the container. Once you’ve taken what you need, you can apply the product to the wound using your chosen applicator tool and dispose of or sanitize the applicator accordingly after use. You could also apply the product to a sterile bandage or dressing, or — in the case of a sunburn, new tattoo, or thermal burn — distribute the product over the skin using clean fingertips. 

Taking care to avoid contaminating your chosen wound care product(s) is important to supporting efficient and healthy wound healing. Salve and balm formulas can be just as effective as tube-packaged ointments, they just need a bit of extra finesse to function at their best from start to finish. 

A Note On Sustainability & Supporting Ingredients

topical cbd for wound care healing

While there is a growing consciousness surrounding where the products we use come from, we collectively pay fairly little attention to the sustainability of our purchases. Part of our mission of consumer education includes helping people learn to discern sustainable ingredients that allow them to take control of their health while making buying choices that are better for the planet. 

We also acknowledge that “better” doesn’t equate to “perfect,” and we aim to provide information in a way that educates without condescending — or worse, condemning — our readers for their decisions and lifestyles. Making conscious purchases can be difficult for many reasons, and we recognize the highly personal nature of those choices. No one is capable of single-handedly halting climate change or ecological damage by choosing one bottle over another, just as no one is the sole reason for habitat destruction or environmental pollution. Nonetheless, we believe that there is value in selecting sustainably sourced and manufactured products where possible.

We strongly prefer to reach for plant-based ingredients over animal products (and the same is doubly true for formulas made with petroleum products). This has to do with sustainability as well as concern for animal welfare, as sustainably-farmed plant products tend to have less of an environmental impact next to large-scale industrial animal husbandry. Plant-based ingredients are also generally well-tolerated and (with a couple of freaky exceptions like figs) vegan by default.

While we tend to prefer plant-based products, there are some animal-derived ingredients that can be hugely beneficial for therapeutic purposes (things like collagen, honey, beeswax, and lanolin). These ingredients are not vegan, but that does not mean that there aren’t ethical (or at least more ethical) ways to use them. Some people consider these ingredients an important component of their symptom management regimen, and that’s valid. Again, this stuff is very personal, so listen to your gut and do what is right for you.

We’ll close with a brief comment on the word “vegan.” A vegan product is one that is not derived from animal products in any way and includes non-food items like clothing, shoes, and cosmetics. Vegan products are becoming increasingly popular, with many brands choosing to make their entire product lines strictly vegan.

You may notice, however, that the above definition doesn’t include a requirement that the product’s components must be plant-based. This means that decidedly environmentally unfriendly products like plastics, petroleum products, and synthetic fabrics are considered vegan despite a demonstrably negative environmental impact. We don’t mean to imply that looking for vegan formulas is useless, just that it isn’t an automatic guarantee that the product in question is sustainable.

Takeaway

CBD is a promising ingredient for wound healing that can promote regeneration while reducing pain and inflammation in the skin and underlying tissues. However, because wound care products are applied to broken and damaged skin, it’s important to be choosy about the ingredients you incorporate into your medicine cabinet. Be conscious of any allergies or skin sensitivities you may have, use sanitary handling and dressing practices, and feel empowered to reach out to companies with questions before making a purchase. You can also consult with a medical professional about the safety of a particular product if you are unsure — it’s much better to play it safe with wound healing.

 

Topical CBD for Nerve Pain: Managing Neuropathy with CBD Topicals

Anyone who has experience with neuropathy knows that it’s a uniquely unsettling experience. The electric tingling, burning, stinging, and pinprick sensations tend to happen in the extremities, but can occur anywhere in the body. Nerve pain is unique in that it is caused by damage to the nerves themselves (be it from a slipped disc, a compressed nerve, chronic conditions like multiple sclerosis, or damage sustained in an injury) and not the surrounding tissue. Therefore, neuropathic pain is the result of a misfiring of your body’s pain perception system.. 

Because the damage is done to the nerve cells, the cells your body uses to relay signals to and from the brain, neuropathic pain can produce strange and unnerving sensations that make sleeping, eating, and other day-to-day activities difficult — or even impossible. Nerve damage is notoriously difficult to heal (though much research is devoted to the topic), and many conventional painkillers are of little help.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been shown to impart neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, and antispasmodic effects that may be successfully applied to a neuropathic pain management regimen. Derived from hemp and known for its effectiveness without risk of addiction or dependence, CBD can be consumed orally, inhaled, or applied topically for relief from neuropathic pain.

Because of their ability to manipulate sensations in the skin and body, many people find CBD topical products to be particularly helpful at soothing and alleviating neuropathic pain. Topicals offer faster relief than oral dosing methods, as well as a greater degree of customizability. Supporting ingredients like  cinnamon, ginger, peppermint, and capsaicin can change the way nerve cells fire, reducing or eliminating nerve pain when applied to the skin. 

While these supporting ingredients open many doors for more effective pain relief, they also raise the risk of adverse reactions, especially in people with sensitive or allergy-prone skin. CBD topicals have a place in neuropathic pain management, but the wrong supporting ingredients for your skin type can reduce (or even entirely negate) their benefits. 

Here, we’ll illustrate the physiology of neuropathy before discussing the role of topical CBD in alleviating it. Then, we’ll talk about the best carrier and supporting ingredients to soothe neuropathic pain, including how they work, what they’re best for, and any risks associated with them. Finally, we’ll close with a short note on sustainable ingredients.  

What Causes Neuropathic Pain?

topical cbd for nerve pain neuropathy

Your nervous system is made up of a couple of different key players: neurons, myelin, and glial cells. Neurons are like your body’s electrical wiring, carrying signals to and from your brain. They’re long, branching cells that use charged molecules to move signals down the length of the cell before relaying it to the next one.

Some neurons are covered with a substance called myelin, a protective coating that helps accelerate the movement of chemical messages. Cells called glia help to support the nerves and keep them functioning normally. In a healthy nervous system, these different types of cells work together and ionic messengers flow smoothly across synapses (the gaps between neurons that facilitate chemical communication between them).

Neuropathy occurs when any of these nerve cells are damaged. This damage can result from many different causes. While injuries like herniated discs or nerve compression can cause physical strain and injury to neurons, they aren’t the only possible cause. Chronic conditions like multiple sclerosis, diabetes (even pre-diabetes), and cardiovascular disease can lead to nerve cell damage by changing the body’s chemical environment or causing immune cells to mistakenly attack neural tissue.  

So, why is nerve damage such a big deal, and why does it cause such strange and severe pain? Think of your nerves and their myelin like an electrical wire coated with rubber. If that rubber coating is damaged, electricity will no longer flow neatly down the wire, but can cause short circuits, sparks, or even stop altogether. Your neurons work very similarly, and a damaged neuron is more likely to send errant pain signals in the absence of a problem; the more severe the damage to your nerves, the more intense neuropathy is likely to become.

How Can CBD Help to Manage Neuropathic Pain?

topical cbd for nerve pain neuropathy

This may sound a bit bleak so far, but stay with us. It’s true that the science of repairing nerve damage is still a ways out, but that doesn’t mean that relief is out of reach. While the research is still preliminary, current studies suggest that CBD possesses neuroprotective and antispasmodic properties that may help to calm frazzled neurons and ease neuropathic pain. 

The exact mechanisms of this action are still being studied, but what we do know is that CBD has a positive regulatory effect on many of the body’s systems, including the nervous system. This means that CBD can help to reduce the frequency and intensity of neuropathic pain signals by quieting overexcited neurons and reducing inflammation and pain often associated with them. It may also reduce the tingling, burning, stabbing, and prickling sensations common in neuropathy, as well as spasms and involuntary contractions often associated with the condition. 

Ongoing research suggests that topical CBD may more effectively manage neuropathy than traditional therapies, including opioid pain relievers. Because of the higher number of supporting ingredients relative to oral CBD, however, topicals carry a relatively higher risk of adverse or allergic reaction. Their effects can also vary substantially from product to product depending on the carrier and supporting ingredients it contains.

Topical CBD Carrier Oils for Nerve Pain

topical cbd for nerve pain neuropathy

Carrier oils and other base ingredients have a significant impact on the overall effect of the finished product, and especially its sensory effects. Because sensation is so important to effectively addressing and calming neuropathic pain, we feel that a bit of education around carrier ingredients can help our readers more easily navigate the baffling variety of topical CBD products available and find the best formula for their needs.

Because CBD is a nonpolar molecule, it doesn’t dissolve in water, a polar molecule. This makes it hard for our bodies to absorb and metabolize — we are over 70% water, after all, and it’s the solute for many of our biological processes. While it isn’t readily soluble in water, CBD does bond well to lipids like oils, fats, and plant butters. When it’s attached to these compounds, CBD is much more readily absorbed by the body, improving its effectiveness drastically. This applies to both topical and oral CBD products. Because of their oily composition and emollient properties, these ingredients tend to support soothing and warming sensations best.

Lipids aren’t the only type of molecule that can help make your CBD dose more bioavailable, though; other molecules with a relatively weak polar charge can also be effective. These compounds might include things like aloe vera gel, different types of alcohol, or glycerol. In contrast to the heavy, oily feel of lipid products, these “polar lite” molecules tend to evaporate more readily, making them ideal for supporting cooling, tingling, or numbing effects.

If your nerve pain tends to feel like burning, stinging, or pinpricks, a cooling product might help to regulate the firing of the damaged nerves, reducing pain. We suggest choosing products made with aloe vera, glycerol, or cetyl alcohol where possible. This is because other alcohols, such as isopropyl, stearyl, or ethyl, can cause damage to the bonds between skin cells over time, increasing dryness and triggering discomfort. Cetyl alcohol, by contrast, is a fatty alcohol derived from coconut that may be less damaging (though it should be avoided by those allergic to coconut).

If you desire something with more warming, relaxing properties to help ease spasms, we recommend opting for products formulated with oils, waxes, or plant butters. Oils from plants like olive, avocado, safflower, argan, jojoba, grapeseed, almond, and coconut can be used alongside plant butters like shea, cocoa, and mango for creamy formulas, while carnauba or beeswax can lend a firmer, more salve-like consistency. We find that more emollient formulas keep warming ingredients like ginger, cinnamon, and capsaicin active for longer periods, extending symptom relief.

If you prefer to refrain from using products that manipulate your sensation and perception, that’s okay! There are plenty of helpful CBD topicals out there that produce no thermal sensation whatsoever. We suggest selecting a carrier based on your skin type and avoiding ingredients that tend to produce changes in tactile sensation. These tend to be things like menthol, capsaicin, cinnamon, and ginger, but can sometimes include milder extracts like lavender or arnica, so listen to your body on this one. 

If you want to try topical CBD for nerve pain but have very sensitive skin that balks at most mainstream ingredients, don’t lose hope just yet. Instead of reaching for a topical formula with a lengthy ingredient list, try using an unflavored CBD tincture made with only CBD and a suitable carrier oil. You can apply it safely to your skin without worrying about hidden allergies while still reaping the analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic benefits of topical CBD. If you decide to try a topical formula, we suggest a salve or balm, which tend to contain fewer common allergens than cream, lotion, or roll-on formulas. 

Topical CBD Supporting Ingredients for Nerve Pain

topical cbd for nerve pain neuropathy

  • Capsaicin – The chemical that gives chili peppers their signature spice (and pepper spray its notorious burn), capsaicin certainly has the potential to cause inflammation. However, in small doses, the fiery compound can actually act as an anti-inflammatory, encouraging circulation and reducing pain and swelling. It also causes a warming sensation when applied to the skin (again, well-diluted) that may be beneficial in alleviating some types of nerve pain. Researchers believe that this analgesic effect may be due in part to this sensation, which helps to desensitize the skin and, therefore, the sensation of pain. Capsaicin is used in very tiny doses in topical CBD pain relief products and is generally well-tolerated. However, those with an allergy to peppers should take care to avoid it.
  • Clove – While it may not be as effective for deep-seated neuropathy in the fascia, clove oil works very well to soothe the sensation of neuropathic pain in the skin and superficial tissues. Clove is a small but mighty spice with surprisingly powerful analgesic properties. Clove oil has been demonstrated to be as effective as benzocaine at relieving pain when applied topically. There is also some evidence to suggest that clove may have a positive regulatory effect on nerves, helping to regulate their firing and, potentially, reducing the intensity and sensation of pain. Clove has an autumnal, spicy scent and is generally well-tolerated, but should be avoided by those with a clove allergy.
  • EucalyptusEucalyptus is widely used for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties (and its ability to clear stuffy noses). The extract of the fragrant tree native to Australia, eucalyptus may have a role to play in alleviating neuropathic pain. While the precise mechanism is not yet understood, two factors appear to be at work. Eucalyptus shows analgesic properties when applied topically and may help to reduce the sensitivity of damaged nerves, regulating their firing. Second, the aroma of eucalyptus may have an effect on the central nervous system’s processing of pain signals, reducing pain perception. Those with asthma should be advised that eucalyptus can trigger attacks in some people (though it may be helpful to others).
  • Feverfew – The name of this plant comes from its traditional use in treating pain and inflammation. Also known as bachelor’s button, feverfew leaves and flowers produce compounds that reduce muscle spasms and the burning, tingling, pins-and-needles feeling associated with neuropathic pain. It has been demonstrated to possess analgesic and antispasmodic properties when applied to the skin, though it isn’t fully understood how these effects are produced. Emerging research suggests that this may be due to the terpenes, flavonoids, and other bioactive compounds within feverfew extract. If that is the case, these terpenes and other phytochemicals could help to support the dose of CBD in a topical pain reliever.
  • Ginger – A piquant favorite in cuisine, ginger’s use as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiemetic has been well-documented throughout history. Extract from the root of the plant may help to alleviate neuropathic pain and soothe inflamed nerves when applied topically. It can also induce a gentle warming, tingling sensation in the skin, which may help to numb neuropathic pain while desensitizing damaged nerves, regulating their firing. These benefits are also apparent when ginger is consumed (though a separate supplement should be used), indicating that it may be beneficial to the diets of people struggling with neuropathy as well. Those with a ginger allergy or certain sensory integration issues should exercise caution before using topical CBD products made with ginger.
  • Peppermint – Peppermint (and other members of the mentha genus like spearmint) contains menthol, a popular ingredient in topical pain products for the cooling sensation it produces when applied to the skin. Some people may find menthol in particular to be helpful in managing their neuropathic pain. This may be due to menthol’s effect on receptors in the skin, sensitizing them to cold sensations and, therefore, potentially alleviating burning or stinging types of pain. Limonene and carvacrol, two other primary components of peppermint extract, have also been shown to help relieve pain and inflammation when used externally. To receive the full therapeutic benefit, look for products that list peppermint extract rather than just menthol among their ingredients — and keep any substance containing peppermint or menthol far away from mucous membranes. Exercise caution with peppermint (and other mints) if you are allergic or have especially sensitive skin.
  • Rosemary – A culinary darling popular in cuisine traditions across the globe, rosemary is a shrubby herb rich in terpenes, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals that may be effective against neuropathy. The plant has historically been used against pain, fever, and seizures, and current research suggests that it may possess antispasmodic properties. One study showed rosemary to be effective at relaxing smooth muscles (the muscles you don’t have conscious control over; they contract involuntarily and can cause debilitating pain due to their proximity to organs and bones). This characteristic may make rosemary a soothing antispasmodic addition to topical CBD products for neuropathic pain.
  • Turmeric – A brightly-colored root popular in Southeast Asian cuisine, turmeric is exceedingly high in a compound called curcumin. Curcumin has been utilized to combat pain, fever, and inflammation, and research suggests it may be helpful against neuropathic pain as well. While further study is needed, curcumin acts on receptors that can help block neuropathic pain signaling, relieving pain. When applied topically, curcumin may be able to regulate the activity of damaged neurons, reducing the frequency and intensity of neuropathic pain. It’s generally well-tolerated, but should be avoided by those with a turmeric allergy.

A Note On Sustainability

topical cbd for nerve pain neuropathy

Our goal at Key to Cannabis is to help our readers find CBD products that support their health and wellness goals, largely through consumer education. This includes not just the science behind CBD products, but their environmental impact as well. As our society grows more conscious of our relationship with (and dependence on) our planet and the ecosystems it supports, sustainability of ingredients is increasingly important to many people (ourselves included).

We recognize that, while there is value in making better buying decisions, “better” doesn’t really ever mean “perfect.” Our intent is not to shame anyone for making the decisions that they feel are best for them (in fact, those are exactly the decisions we want to support), but to encourage conscious consumption where possible. What that looks like to you is fully up to you, and we always want to empower you to define that for yourself.

Wherever possible, we prefer to select plant-based ingredients for CBD topicals, particularly over petroleum products. This is for two primary reasons: first, petroleum is a finite resource with a massive environmental impact at every stage, from extraction to refining to transportation to consumption. Second, a connection has been established between long-term use of some topical petroleum products and cancer later in life.

We also prefer plant products to those derived from animals, though we recognize that not everyone feels the same way. Some animal products, like beeswax, lanolin, and gelatin, are important components in the wellness lifestyles of many of our readers, and that’s valid. While it’s true that there are vegan alternatives to these ingredients, they aren’t viable options for everyone. Also, there’s some nuance to the label “vegan.”

The vegan description on a product label indicates that the product contains no animal products. However, it doesn’t necessarily denote a more sustainable product. Microplastics, pleather, plastic fur, polyester, and petroleum products are considered “vegan,” but aren’t exactly more environmentally friendly than their animal-derived counterparts. We don’t mean to imply that the vegan label is meaningless, but we are suggesting that it isn’t the sole criterion by which to measure a product’s sustainability.

Takeaway

Neuropathic pain is notoriously difficult to treat, but CBD may be able to provide relief where other treatments have failed. Topical CBD may be especially beneficial for peripheral neuropathy, soothing the tingling, burning, stabbing pain often associated with nerve damage. While CBD has strong therapeutic potential for neuropathic pain, the right ingredients can make a world of difference to your wellness experience. We encourage you to be choosy about what’s on the label of your go-to CBD topicals — when in doubt, reach out to the manufacturer with any questions or concerns.

 

Topical CBD for Muscle Pain: Alleviating Pain & Spasms with CBD

Muscle pain and discomfort is a fact of life for everyone at some point, and topical products are often a first line of defense against it. Whether it’s caused by tension, injury, an especially intense workout, or chronic illness, many people find relief from muscle pain by using topical pain relief products. When occasional pain becomes chronic, however, it often becomes more difficult to treat. Topical CBD can help to treat chronic pain even more effectively than opioids in some patients. 

Chronic muscle pain (and honestly, chronic pain in general) is especially difficult to address effectively, and many people feel forced to turn to opioid painkillers (transdermal and otherwise) and other pharmaceutical products for relief. Not only are these interventions often ineffective at curbing chronic pain, they also carry a high risk of addiction and a number of unpleasant side effects.

A growing number of chronic pain sufferers are looking to manage their symptoms without resorting to opioids, turning instead to CBD. CBD, the common name for the molecule cannabidiol, has been shown to be an effective remedy for chronic pain — more effective than opioid pain relievers. Derived from hemp (a close cousin of cannabis), CBD has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic, antispasmodic, hypnotic, and antiemetic properties, among many others, and may be applicable to therapies for a diverse array of conditions and symptoms. 

While CBD is often taken orally in the form of tinctures or softgels, its medicinal properties extend to topical application as well. This allows CBD to be used to treat pain more directly, at the site of soreness or tension, alleviating symptoms more quickly than oral delivery systems. It may also help to soothe muscle spasms and cramping when used topically. 

Topical CBD products offer many different opportunities for people to manage (and even eliminate) chronic muscle pain, tension, and spasms safely and effectively, especially in combination with a systemic dose of CBD. However, topical products often contain many more supporting ingredients than oral formulas. This makes them more likely to be made with potentially inflammatory or allergenic ingredients that can reduce the effectiveness of the CBD they contain — not to mention wreak havoc on your skin.

Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the most effective supporting ingredients for topical CBD pain relief. We’ll discuss the science of CBD topicals and their role in pain management before explaining how to use temperature therapies to manipulate pain perception. Then we’ll move on to discussing topical CBD supporting ingredients in detail, from carrier oils to botanicals to additives. We’ll examine the benefits different ingredients offer, along with any risks associated with their use. Finally, we’ll close with a note about sustainable ingredients and the environmental impact of CBD topicals. 

The Science of Topical CBD & Pain Management 

topical cbd for muscle pain

While more research is needed, CBD is demonstrated to possess potent anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antispasmodic effects in humans. These benefits aren’t limited to oral consumption or inhalation, either — CBD acts on many of the same pathways in the skin when applied topically. This can help to alleviate pain, reduce cramps and spasms, and release tension from sore or overworked muscles.

Existing research shows CBD to be a promising ingredient in topical pain relief products, and while many of the exact mechanisms are still unclear, the results are pretty compelling. What we know so far suggests that CBD engages with endocannabinoid receptors in the skin, helping to promote circulation, relieve inflammation, reduce spasms, and alleviate pain in muscles. 

Because they are applied at the site of pain, CBD topicals are quicker to provide relief than an oral dose of CBD. For this reason, it may be especially beneficial for people looking to manage symptoms that come on suddenly or rapidly spike in severity, such as cramping or muscle spasms. Topical CBD can also aid muscle relaxation and soothe tension, making it a good addition to massage oils and salt soaks as well. 

Because of the wide variety of product types that can incorporate the benefits of CBD into their formulas, there are many ways to customize your CBD experience to get the most pain relief possible from your dose. Product formulation plays a major role in this (which we’ll discuss in a moment), but there’s another significant factor that can dramatically impact pain relief: temperature sensation

Temperature & Pain Perception

topical cbd for muscle pain

There is a reason that temperature therapy is so commonplace in pain management. Ice packs, hot water bottles, warm salt soaks — even bags of frozen vegetables can help to manage pain and inflammation. If you’ve ever injured yourself, you were probably given the RICE protocol — rest, ice, compression, and elevation — to manage your pain and reduce the severity of the injury as much as possible. 

These principles are often applied to pain management as well, and not without reason. It turns out, temperature affects not just the way our body processes and responds to pain, but also the way we perceive it. This means that we can manipulate temperature to help support our bodies as they heal, but it also means that we can use compounds that create the sensation of temperature change without actually subjecting our cells to extreme temperatures for prolonged periods of time.. 

Unlike actual temperature fluctuations, these ingredients can influence cells to reduce pain without the side effects brought on by extreme temperatures. These compounds can also help to boost the anti-inflammatory action of CBD, aiding relaxation and reducing tension by alleviating the inflammation within the muscle. Cold sensations can help to numb pain and discomfort, while warm sensations can help to facilitate muscle relaxation and alleviate cramping or spasms.

Bengay, IcyHot, Tiger Balm … each of these drugstore standbys utilizes ingredients that manipulate your sensation of temperature with the goal of reducing pain perception. Ingredients like menthol, capsaicin, cinnamon oil, ginger, and others can be combined in different proportions, yielding sensations that range from warm to sensitive to tingling to icy (and lots of places in between). When utilized correctly, these sensations can help to dull pain while addressing some of the factors (like tension, inflammation, and swelling) that contribute to pain.

While these products often work well for some, they can also be quite intense — everyone knows someone with a disastrous IcyHot story after the product found its way to a sensitive area. For some people, especially those with sensitive skin or sensory processing issues, these products may be a bit much for regular use. However, many people find that their pain perception is dulled when they use products that manipulate temperature sensation, and this effect can often be achieved without causing discomfort.

Topical CBD Carrier Ingredients for Muscle Pain

topical cbd for muscle pain

Because temperature sensation is such an important factor in relieving pain, it will also be a central feature in our discussion of carrier ingredients. This is for a couple of reasons. First, the carrier ingredients a product is made of can help to extend or mitigate the effects of any warming or cooling ingredients it contains. Secondly, the carrier oil(s) of choice can alter the way the product feels on the skin, affecting the efficacy of the product.

Finally, carrier ingredients have the most potential to cause skin problems in some people, especially those who are prone to breakouts or have allergies. If your skin is sensitive or prone to things like dryness, itching, or breakouts, it’s especially important to be mindful of the stuff you put on your skin. Remember, the goal of all this is to find what works best for you.

Topical hemp products tend to be more subject to individual variation than oral CBD because of these supporting ingredients. Even the best CBD topical could work terribly if it’s made with stuff that doesn’t agree with you, and using the wrong products could actually negate the benefits of the CBD within them. For more on the role of skin health in overall wellness (and how to use CBD to support your goals), check out our dedicated article [here].

Cooling ingredients like menthol and arnica are demonstrated to help reduce the severity and intensity of pain sensation in many people. If this is true for you, we suggest reaching for products formulated with ingredients like aloe vera gel, cetyl alcohol, mango butter, or vegetable glycerin (propylene glycol also falls in this category, and while it isn’t our favorite, it is a safe topical choice for many people). 

These ingredients help to intensify the effects of cooling ingredients as they evaporate from the skin. The way it works is similar to the way sweat cools your body; heat energy is released when the product evaporates, creating a cooling sensation on the skin. While this isn’t the same mechanism by which cooling ingredients like menthol work (more on that a little later), it does contribute to the overall cooling effect, intensifying and extending it. 

We like to reach for aloe vera gel wherever possible, as it’s great for the skin and possesses anti-inflammatory and healing properties of its own. Vegetable glycerin (also labeled as glycerol) is also well-tolerated by most people and will help to get the most mileage out of your CBD experience. While we generally advise avoiding most alcohols (they tend to break down the connections between skin cells, leading to dryness in some people), cetyl alcohol is a possible exception. It is a fatty alcohol derived from coconut that contains emollient compounds that may help belay the damage done by its more astringent components.

Mango butter is another good choice (and gentler on the skin) because it carries cooling properties of its own, which can help to amplify the effects of other cooling ingredients. Mango butter is an excellent choice for people who desire a cooling effect without the potential dryness often caused by alcohol and other compounds. 

Warming ingredients like capsaicin and cinnamon, on the other hand, tend to be enhanced by oil-based formulas. If you’ve cooked with hot peppers or carry pepper spray on your runs, you might intuitively understand how this works. Oils work to keep warming ingredients active on the skin by making them more absorbable at the molecular level — very similarly to the way they help to improve the bioavailability of CBD. Since your skin is able to absorb and metabolize more of the warming ingredient when it’s attached to oil molecules, those soothing effects will be more pronounced.

Good carrier ingredients for warming compounds might include coconut oil, beeswax, shea or cocoa butter, carnauba wax, and oils from plants like olive, safflower, jojoba, argan, and grapeseed. With the exception of beeswax, each of these compounds are vegan, and most possess mild anti-inflammatory properties of their own. They are also more hydrating, making them better options for people with dry skin. 

We prefer to stay away from petroleum-based products, partly because of their environmental impact (which we’ll talk more about later), and partly because of the link established between use of products like mineral oil and cancer. In the interest of preserving your long-term health, we strongly advise avoiding petroleum products where possible, especially for the skin.

If you prefer to avoid products that affect skin sensation entirely in favor of more neutral topicals, there are still options for you. We suggest selecting milder formulas made without ingredients that trigger sensory discomfort for you. These are likely to include compounds like capsaicin, cinnamon, menthol, and ginger, but may also extend to ingredients like clove, arnica, and lavender. Listen to your body on this one — it may take some trial and error to find your balance, but you’ll find it all the same. 

If traditional topical formulas simply do not work for you (due to severe allergies, restrictions, or other reasons), you might try applying an unflavored CBD tincture to your skin instead. Since the CBD is bonded with oil in the tincture, you’ll reap its benefits without having to worry about the impact of supporting ingredients.

Topical CBD Supporting Ingredients for Muscle Pain

topical cbd for muscle pain

    • Arnica – Also known colloquially as mountain daisies, arnica flowers have been used traditionally to ease pain and reduce inflammation. While the exact mechanism is not yet clear, there are studies that suggest arnica may possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties when applied topically. Arnica extract may help to support the actions of CBD, improving the intensity and duration of relief. However, as a member of the (beautiful and often-problematic) Asteraceae family, arnica may be cross-reactive in people allergic to ragweed and related plants. 
    • Basil – A staple of both spice cabinets and herb gardens alike, basil is understood to possess anti-inflammatory benefits when applied to the skin. It reduces inflammation and calms cramping, acting as an antispasmodic and analgesic. These properties make it a good option for those recovering from injury or overexertion, as well as people who suffer from spasms and severe muscle tension — and it may help to alleviate soreness after intense physical activity or a medical event like a seizure.
    • Capsaicin – A fiery compound that produces severe inflammation in high doses, capsaicin is interesting in that it behaves very differently in small amounts. Capsaicin is responsible for both the kick in your chili peppers and the debilitating burn of pepper spray, but in very low concentrations it actually helps to reduce inflammation, opening blood vessels and improving circulation while oxygenating tissue. These properties can help to release muscle tension, dispel soreness, and relax away cramps and spasms. Most topical preparations that include capsaicin use very minute amounts, but even that little bit can trigger an adverse reaction in a small proportion of people. If your skin is on the sensitive side, proceed with caution.
    • Chamomile – Chamomile, a small yellow flower favored for use in relaxing teas and supplements, demonstrates anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antimicrobial properties when applied to the skin. The plant’s extract has been used to reduce pain, [promote healing], and quell inflammation while easing spasms and cramping. As such, it may help to bolster the anti-inflammatory and analgesic actions of CBD, though there is a potential caveat to consider. Chamomile belongs to the same family (Asteraceae) as ragweed, a common allergen, and often cross-reacts in people with ragweed allergies. It may not be a good option for those allergic to ragweed, but it may offer an added benefit to people who are able to use it: chamomile is shown to help reduce pain perception when used for aromatherapy. Like lavender, it demonstrates a soothing effect that subjects reported helped to diminish their pain after use.
    • Clove – An unsung hero of pumpkin spice season, cloves pack a surprisingly potent analgesic punch. One study found that clove oil was just as effective as benzocaine at alleviating pain during a dental procedure — the kind of acute pain that’s more intense and harder to soothe. This finding suggests that clove oil might make an extremely beneficial addition to topical CBD pain management products, especially for sharp, stinging, or burning sensations that often come on acutely (and can be very distressing).
    • Lavender – Lavender flowers and the extract produced from them are perennial favorites in spheres ranging from cuisine to gardening to beverages to essential oil enthusiasts. It’s an immensely popular fragrance for body and home alike and has received attention from medical experts for its ability to ease stress and reduce pain. Studies have shown lavender oil to possess anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, and anxiolytic properties when applied topically, and these effects align perfectly with the properties of CBD. Lavender can help to alleviate pain and soreness, promoting muscle relaxation while easing the anxiety often associated with chronic pain. While those with a lavender allergy should avoid it, we find it very helpful at alleviating chronic pain when used in conjunction with CBD on the skin.
    • Lemongrass – A hearty grass with a piquant citrus flavor, lemongrass is rich in phytochemicals and bioactive compounds that can help to bolster the effectiveness of CBD against muscle pain. The herb possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties in its own right; these effects can help to support the pain-relieving action of CBD. Emerging research suggests that lemongrass may be beneficial to injured muscles, helping to support athletic recovery and recuperation after an injury. 
    • Magnesium – Don’t let the name fool you — transdermal magnesium isn’t some weird synthetic compound. It’s been used to treat muscle soreness, pain, and cramping in the form of Epsom salts for many years, and for a reason. Magnesium is a compound crucial for the coordination and regulation of muscle contractions (both voluntary and involuntary). It is absorbed through the skin when dissolved in water, so the best way to use it is in a [CBD salt soak] or [bath bomb]. Try to soak for at least fifteen minutes, though you’re welcome to relax as long as you need to feel relief. 
    • Marjoram – To us, marjoram doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Often relegated to a dusty, untouched bottle on the back of the spice rack, marjoram is a delightful herb that’s packed with bioactive compounds that can enrich the effectiveness of your topical CBD dose. Studies reveal marjoram to possess antispasmodic and analgesic properties on its own; these actions can support relaxation and pain relief, especially in combination with CBD. As a fun and unnecessary bonus, the plant also smells wonderful, complementing other common herbal ingredients like lavender and lemon balm nicely.
    • Peppermint – The mother of menthol, peppermint (and other members of the mentha genus like spearmint) produce antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects when applied to the skin. The extract also induces a cooling sensation by sensitizing receptors in the skin to cold signals. This action, in turn, causes the nerves to relay messages to the brain saying “it’s cold over here!” The body then reacts to reduce swelling and slow activity in the area, much like it would if you were exposing it to actual cold temperatures. For this reason, we strongly advise against using mint of any kind near mucous membranes or adding it to a bath, as the potential for overstimulation of the skin is very high. With peppermint, less is definitely more. 
    • Tart Cherry – While research is still in its early stages, there is some evidence to support the use of tart cherry extract to treat muscle pain. One study found that tart cherry juice helped to alleviate soreness and muscle fatigue after an intense workout, and another found that compounds in tart cherry extract may help to calm inflammation and relax muscle tension, reducing pain in turn. As a stone fruit, tart cherry should be avoided by people who are allergic to peaches, nectarines, plums, and other drupes.
    • Willow Bark – The herbal ancestor of aspirin, willow bark (and maritime pine bark) contains compounds that reduce inflammation, pain, swelling, and muscle tension in humans. These benefits extend to both oral and transdermal dosing, making willow bark a natural accompaniment to the analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions of CBD. While it’s relatively rare, an aspirin allergy or sensitivity could cause an adverse reaction to topical  willow bark, so be aware of labeling if your body does not respond well to aspirin.

A Note on Sustainability

topical cbd for muscle pain sustainability

Our primary goal here at Key to Cannabis is to give our readers the information they need to make the best CBD purchasing decisions for their wellness and lifestyle goals. To that end, we feel it’s important to address the sustainability of different [types of ingredients] used in CBD products. As we’re collectively becoming more conscious of our relationship to our planet (and everything else on it), sustainably sourced ingredients are of huge importance to many people (ourselves included). 

We want to help educate people on how to make better buying decisions while acknowledging that “better” never quite means “perfect.” It’s true that no single consumer decision is going to make or break the planet, but nevertheless, we feel that there is still value in making the best choices we are able to, both for our health and for our world. 

We prefer to reach for plant-based ingredients wherever possible, especially over petroleum products (which are absolutely not sustainable, have a massive environmental impact, and have been linked to illness in humans when applied to the skin).  We also prefer them over animal ingredients, though we’re not strictly opposed to their use. 

It’s true that there are vegan alternatives to many things, but there are a few caveats to this. Firstly, the word “vegan” doesn’t necessarily mean that a given product is entirely plant-based. Polyester, microbeads, rayon, pleather, and other plastic products are also considered “vegan,” yet have a much greater environmental impact than their naturally-derived counterparts.  We don’t mean to imply that vegan labels are a meaningless distinction, but to illustrate the idea that the meaning of the word in labeling might be different from the idea of veganism as being plant-based. 

Second, the vegan alternatives available (especially for topical products) don’t necessarily work universally. Carnauba wax is an excellent example of this. Used as a vegan substitute for beeswax, carnauba wax causes an allergic reaction in some users and therefore isn’t a viable option. Finally, and most importantly, the decision whether or not to use animal products is a deeply personal one, and we don’t intend to shame people for making that choice. When they’re raised and harvested as ethically as possible, there is a valid place for animal products as part of a healthy lifestyle, which is what we’re here to support in the first place.

Takeaway

Topical CBD products can make a powerful addition to your muscle pain management regimen, but you’ll need the right supporting ingredients to get the most from your CBD dose. When choosing a product, consider the type of sensations (if any) that contribute to pain relief for you, then select carrier oils and ingredients that support your wellness goals. If you’re uncertain about something you see on the label, feel free to reach out to the company for clarification.

 

Topical CBD for Dry Skin: Healing Sensitive Skin with Hemp

Cannabidiol, or CBD, demonstrates significant anti-inflammatory benefits that have been successfully applied to therapies for a broad range of conditions. A growing body of evidence suggests that topical CBD products can be hugely beneficial to many of these conditions, whether applied alone or in combination with systemic CBD therapy. Many of these benefits create a compelling case for the applicability of CBD for dry skin, a common condition affecting millions of people.

While we tend to think of CBD as a predominantly therapeutic compound, and for good reason. More research is needed, but emerging studies support the application of CBD and other cannabinoids for the treatment of a diverse array of conditions and symptoms. Chronic pain, autoimmune conditions, dementia, cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, type II diabetes, psoriasis, arthritis, and many other conditions have been shown to respond positively to CBD, helping people lead healthier, happier, more comfortable lives without the expense and potentially harmful side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. 

CBD (and other beneficial cannabinoids) possess clearly evident therapeutic use, but they may also be beneficial to people looking for relief from dry skin. This might seem a bit obvious (after all, CBD is usually taken dissolved in an oil, and oils are commonly used to treat dry skin), but there’s a bit more to the relationship between CBD and skin health than you might expect.

Here, we’ll examine the causes of chronically dry skin before breaking down the science of how CBD acts on different parts of the skin to modify crucial processes. Then, we’ll discuss the secondary ingredients (which are [very important] to the effectiveness of topical products especially) to look for to get the most relief from using CBD for dry skin. We’ll talk about how and why some ingredients work, what works best, and what to avoid to keep your skin looking and feeling its best.

Why Does Our Skin Dry Out?

To understand how to heal dry skin, we need to know a little bit about what’s causing it. Everyone’s skin gets a little dry now and again — you’ve likely experienced chapped winter skin or scaly knees at least a time or two. These isolated instances are often due to climate or a sudden change in environmental conditions, but chronically dry skin may be rooted in a different cause (or even a few of them).

Our skin can grow dry when we become dehydrated, from over-cleansing with harsh soaps and detergents, after taking a long, hot bath or shower, in relation to chronic illnesses, or due to an underlying skin condition like psoriasis or eczema. Sometimes, however, our skin just tends to be on the dry side.

The moisture levels in your skin are largely maintained by the sebum, or oil, produced by your sebaceous glands. When these glands are overactive, we often see oily skin, large pores, and persistent acne. When they under-produce oil, however, our skin dries out, feels tight, and begins to crack, developing a rough, scaly texture. If left untreated, dry skin can actually result in open wounds in the skin, so addressing dryness at the first sign is important, especially for people with sensitive skin (including children and the elderly).

Topical CBD for Dry Skin: the Science

CBD has a regulatory effect on many of the body’s processes, including sebum production. A 2014 study found that topically applied CBD had a positive regulatory effect on sebaceous glands. In patients whose skin was overly dry, researchers found that application of CBD helped to stimulate their sebaceous glands to produce more oil. This, in turn, led to higher cutaneous moisture levels (a measure of skin hydration) and improved skin health for study participants. 

There is also evidence to support the idea that topical application of CBD affects the skin differently compared to oral or inhaled CBD, especially in treating skin conditions. This is because CBD engages with receptors in the skin in different ways than when it is absorbed through the lungs or digestive tract. While we still have much to understand about the specific actions by CBD on different receptors, emerging evidence indicates that CBD has a regulatory (or homeostatic) effect on skin in general, alleviating itching, soothing inflammation, protecting against environmental damage, reducing hyperpigmentation, and maintaining hydration

Topical CBD Carrier Ingredients for Dry Skin

When using CBD to address dry skin specifically (or choosing topical products for therapeutic reasons when you have dry or sensitive skin), the supporting ingredients are of special importance. If you’ve struggled to find a go-to moisturizer on drugstore shelves, you probably understand why: many common ingredients in lotions, creams, serums, and other topical moisturizers contain ingredients that can actually dry out your skin even more. An otherwise outstanding CBD product won’t effectively address dry skin symptoms if it’s formulated with the wrong carrier ingredients.

Moisturizers tend to fall into one of four categories: humectants, emollients, ceramides, and occlusive moisturizers. Humectants include things like aloe vera, glycerin, and honey that attract moisture to the skin throughout the day, helping your body hold onto hydration in the environment more easily. Emollients serve to fill in the gaps between skin cells, improving texture and alleviating much of the sensation of dryness. Emollient ingredients include things like shea and cocoa butters, plant oils like olive, sweet almond, and avocado, and lanolin (a waxy molecule commonly derived from sheep’s wool). 

Ceramides are a class of waxy lipid compounds found in skin cells that help the body to repair bonds between cells, improving skin condition and preventing moisture loss through damaged skin. Occlusive moisturizers, which include things like mineral oil, beeswax, argan oil, and jojoba oil, work by creating a barrier that helps skin retain more moisture throughout the day. Some compounds (including beeswax, argan oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, and safflower oil) work by two or more of these mechanisms, which may make them more effective.

If dry skin is your primary concern, there are a few carrier ingredients to steer clear of. Alcohols are major offenders common to lotion and cream formulas. Alcohol possesses strong astringent properties and is consequently used in many lotions to help break down bonds between skin cells to help the product penetrate better. This may be fine for oilier skin types, but it can be a real nightmare for dry skin. 

We recommend avoiding stearyl, ethyl, and isopropyl alcohols because they tend to be the most drying. If you must reach for something formulated with an alcohol, try to opt for cetyl alcohol, a fatty compound derived from coconut that is far less damaging to skin. If cetyl alcohol triggers an allergic reaction for you, stearic acid (a large lipid molecule found in cocoa butter) might be a better alternative, though products formulated with it may feel more buttery than creamy.

Supporting Topical CBD Ingredients for Dry Skin

    • Almond Oil – Almond oil makes a good moisturizer for sensitive skin, as it’s non-comedogenic and demonstrates anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. This makes it an especially good choice for people prone to acne, as it can help reduce redness and inflammation associated with cystic acne while reducing bacteria on the surface of the skin. Almond oil also possesses some occlusive moisturizing properties, protecting skin from excessive water loss throughout the day. 
    • Aloe Vera – The clear, jelly-like substance contained within the leaves of the aloe plant (also commonly called aloe barbadensis) possesses powerful hydrating properties for the body and skin. Many cultures have used it traditionally to heal burns and scrapes, but it may also be applied as a moisturizer. Aloe possesses antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that can help speed healing and protect skin from environmental damage due to sun exposure. The plant extract may also help diminish signs of aging, improving skin texture and tone by increasing the moisture content of skin cells at the surface. 
    • Argan Oil – Made from the nuts of the argan tree (native to Morocco), argan oil has become something of a cosmetic darling in recent years. It possesses impressive antioxidant effects (potentially helpful for people who spend a substantial amount of time in the sun) as well as high levels of  vitamin E, which is shown to promote healing and hydrate skin. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, making it a good option for many with skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. However, it may cause breakouts in some people, especially those with tree nut allergies, so approach with caution if your skin is especially sensitive.
    • Beeswax – While it isn’t strictly vegan, there are some compelling arguments to be made for the use of sustainably harvested beeswax in skin products. Beeswax has been used throughout human history to soothe and heal dry skin, protecting it from damage while helping it retain moisture. It truly is a powerhouse of skincare, forming a strong barrier on the skin’s surface while nourishing and helping to restore bonds between skin cells. It acts as a humectant, drawing moisture into the skin from the environment, and confers powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also well-tolerated among users with sensitive skin and does not clog pores, even when used in acne-prone areas of the face and body. That said, it can cause an allergic reaction in a small proportion of users, especially those who are allergic to poplar trees, from which most beeswax is derived.
    • Carnauba Wax – Derived from the leaves of a palm tree native to Brazil, carnauba wax behaves very similarly to beeswax and is often used as a vegan alternative. It does offer many of the same skin-protecting and occlusive benefits as beeswax, and carnauba helps topical products stay solid and glide on smoothly as well. However, there’s a bit of a catch: carnauba wax tends to be more associated with breakouts compared to beeswax, and some people are allergic to it. It’s also important to use sustainably harvested carnauba wax, as the trees die if too many leaves are harvested at once.
    • Cocoa Butter – A product of cacao processing, cocoa butter is a thick, rich, highly emollient plant butter that is popular among people with dry skin — and for good reason. While it may be too heavy for more delicate skin (and especially the face), cocoa butter yields a rich texture and lasting protection from the elements. Its characteristic richness comes from its high fatty acid content, which provides both emollient and occlusive hydration. Like the cacao it comes from, cocoa butter also contains lots of antioxidants and yields anti-inflammatory benefits. 
    • Coconut Oil – Coconut oil has emerged as something of a darling in the health world, touted as a cure-all for a myriad of ails. While it isn’t exactly a miracle oil, coconut oil (and its sister in the beauty world, Monoi, which is coconut oil infused with the Tiare flower of Hawaii) does confer some powerful moisturizing benefits. Coconut oil is composed largely of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which act as both emollient and occlusive moisturizers to improve skin hydration. Coconut oil also shows to have anti-inflammatory properties when applied to the skin and may be beneficial in wound healing. It is a heavy oil, however, and may cause some people to break out, especially with continuous use. Coconut is also a potential allergen for some folks, so be sure to check the label — especially on products like salves and balms, which often heavily feature coconut oil.
    • CucumberOne of the few botanicals on our list, cucumber packs a surprising punch of moisture without oils or buttery compounds. The hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties of cucumber come from its balance of antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin C, and lots of good old-fashioned water. Cucumber may help to protect skin from environmental and sun damage, promote healing, reduce redness and puffiness, and alleviate itching while improving the skin’s ability to retain moisture. While it may not be heavy enough to do the job on its own, cucumber extract can work very well alongside more emollient moisturizers to hydrate without smothering the skin. It’s generally well-tolerated, though those with cucumber allergies should avoid it.
    • Grapeseed Oil – Grapeseed oil is, in our opinion, rather an underrated carrier oil. Unlike many of the other oils listed here, grapeseed oil (derived from the leftover seeds from wine grapes) absorbs nearly instantly into the skin, leaving behind no greasy residue. It’s also non-comedogenic and well-tolerated among sensitive skin types. Grapeseed oil has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well, and may help to promote healing while protecting skin from damage. Of course, take care to avoid grapeseed oil if you are allergic to grapes.
    • Jojoba Oil – While jojoba oil (derived from the nut of the North American desert-dwelling jojoba plant) has historically been used by many indigenous cultures, it’s a relative newcomer to mainstream Western beauty and hygiene products. The oil possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its high vitamin E content, and it acts as a humectant, drawing in moisture all day long. It’s also non-comedogenic (it’s quite similar in composition to the body’s natural oils) and suitable for sensitive skin. It is generally considered to be hypoallergenic, though there are a few rare exceptions.
    • Mango Butter – Pressed from the pits of the tropical fruit, mango butter is similarly rich in texture to shea and cocoa butters. However, its composition is subtly different, conferring many of the same benefits without causing breakouts. Mango butter is non-comedogenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and hydrating to the skin. It can also yield a cooling effect, helping to soothe the itching and discomfort often associated with severe dry skin. While mango butter may be beneficial to many different people, it should be avoided by anyone with a mango allergy.
    • Neem – Also known colloquially as Indian lilac, neem trees yield a potent oil rich in bioactive compounds that may help soothe skin. However, because it’s quite strong, it may cause inflammation in some people. Like any essential oil, neem should only be applied diluted (and should be avoided if it produces an adverse reaction). That said, it demonstrates powerful antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties that may help protect skin from environmental and microbial damage. Preliminary research has shown it to be effective at reducing the severity of psoriasis symptoms when used consistently in diluted form, and it may be effective against some types of acne as well.
    • Papaya – A tropical fruit popular in Southeast Asia, papaya contains high levels of vitamin C and lycopene. These compounds give the fruit extract antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Papaya may help to reduce inflammation, itching, and dullness associated with chronically dry skin. However, it may be best reserved for the occasional application, as it can contribute to dryness in a small proportion of people. 
    • Pumpkin Seed Oil – Pressed from the seeds of the favorite autumnal gourd, pumpkin seed oil contains antioxidants, fatty acids, and phytonutrients that may help promote healing while hydrating and protecting the skin. These include linoleic acid, an occlusive moisturizer, alongside the antioxidant compounds called sterols and tocopherols. Pumpkin seed oil is non-comedogenic and may help to reduce redness, itching, and swelling. It’s also generally well-tolerated, though those with a pumpkin or squash allergy should opt for other ingredients instead. 
    • Shea Butter – Shea butter has been historically used by African cultures to hydrate, soothe, and protect skin and hair. A richly emollient substance derived from the nut of the African karite tree, shea butter is high in antioxidant polyphenols and essential fatty acids. It acts as an occlusive and emollient moisturizer that can help shield skin from environmental damage while encouraging healing and improving skin texture and elasticity. It is a rich, intensive plant butter that is generally well-tolerated, but may be associated with breakouts in some users. 
    • Tamarind – Tamarind, a piquant fruit popular in cuisine around the world, may possess antioxidant properties that can help promote healing and prevent skin damage when applied as a prophylactic. While the precise mechanisms aren’t yet completely clear, preliminary studies demonstrate tamarind seed extract to be beneficial to the skin, helping prevent the damage caused by the sun’s UVA rays. Tamarind extract may also help to promote healing in severe dry skin, though it could cause an allergic reaction in some people, particularly those who suffer from peanut allergies.

A Note About Sustainability

In a consumer environment where relatively little attention is paid to the sourcing and sustainability of ingredients, making conscious buying decisions can be a challenge. While we want to use our platform to help people choose products that are better for both them and the planet at large, we also recognize that “better” often doesn’t mean “perfect.” 

We want to empower our readers to make their own decisions, and part of that conversation involves an understanding that individual values differ from person to person. In the spirit of education, we’d like to offer some general advice for choosing better (though not necessarily perfect) products where possible. None of us can single-handedly change the world with our purchasing decisions, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in choosing to support sustainably sourced products where we can.

We prefer to use plant-derived ingredients over animal products wherever possible, and certainly over petroleum products. This is largely to do with sustainability, as petroleum is a nonrenewable resource and animal products require a great deal of resources to produce. In general, plant-derived products have a lower impact on the environment (especially when farmed organically) and tend to be well-tolerated by most skin types. They’re also vegan, with a few weird (but cool!) exceptions like figs.

That said, there are a couple of animal-derived ingredients like collagen, honey, beeswax and lanolin that are able to be harvested sustainably. While these ingredients are not considered vegan, some people may find that they play an important role in managing their symptoms. If this is true for you, make the decisions you feel are most appropriate for your situation. 

Lastly, about that word “vegan” — it may not mean what you think it means. You might have seen the term vegan applied to cosmetics, clothing, shoes, and other non-food items.  In labeling, “vegan” indicates that no animal products were used to make the product, but that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily better for the earth. Vegan materials include things like pleather, acrylic, polyester, and rayon, which are made of petroleum-based plastics — not exactly natural or great for the planet. We advise you to closely examine products labeled as “vegan;” they may not be as environmentally conscious as they appear.

Takeaway

Topical CBD can be highly beneficial for soothing and healing dry skin, but its effects can be reduced by the wrong supporting ingredients. When searching for a topical CBD product to alleviate dry skin, look for plant-derived ingredients with emollient and hydrating properties over synthetic or petroleum-based ingredients. Be mindful of any special concerns you may have, such as sensitivities or allergies, when examining product labels to find the best CBD topicals for your skin.

 

CBD Topical Ingredients by Condition: Finding What Works


Roll-ons, salves, balms, creams, sprays, gels — there is no shortage of variety with CBD topicals. If you’ve looked into using CBD for pain relief, you’ve probably seen half a dozen of each of these formulations, each with different carrier and supporting ingredients. There are even CBD topicals dedicated to addressing skin care, wound healing, and other concerns outside of pain management. Even within the pain management sphere alone, topical products can be used to produce varying sensations to alleviate different types of pain, from aching joints to tingling neuropathy to pulled muscles.  

This variety is due largely to the supporting ingredients a particular product is formulated with. While the active ingredient (CBD) remains the same across these formulas (provided they meet our CBD Buyer’s Guide criteria), the carrier and supporting ingredients can modify its effects, enhancing certain effects by acting in concert with CBD. This broad range of potential products presents some potentially wonderful outcomes for patients and consumers (which we are absolutely here for), but not without some potential pitfalls.

Part of our mission at Key to Cannabis is a commitment to helping our readers make informed purchasing decisions that support their well-being in both the short and long terms. In that spirit, it’s important to us to share the current science of topical CBD products. This includes details about how different ingredients work as well as what symptoms they might help alleviate. Skin plays a significant (and often overlooked) role in overall wellness, and we believe strongly in empowering our readers to treat it — and themselves — more kindly.

Here, we break down supporting ingredients by condition, highlighting the most effective product formulations, herbal extracts, and minerals for your symptoms. We’ll also discuss potential concerns associated with topical use of these ingredients, focusing on sensitive skin types and common skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. If you’d like to read up on the general purpose and usefulness of topical CBD products, check out our article [here].

CBD Topical Ingredients by Condition

Below, you’ll find a list of different symptoms beginning with types of pain before addressing symptoms of injury like swelling and broken skin. We close with dry skin because it’s such a common issue (check out our article on CBD and skincare for skin-specific concerns). We’ve chosen to limit this discussion to medicinal use, as there’s quite a bit of ground to cover. For a more detailed breakdown of ingredients for a certain symptom, look for links to our dedicated articles on CBD topicals in each listing. 

  • CBD Topicals for Joint Pain – There are many potential causes of joint pain and swelling, from  sprains and injuries to chronic conditions like rheumatoid, psoriatic, or osteoarthritis. Regardless of the root cause, the pain and swelling you feel in your joints is the result of damage to the joint capsule itself, which causes debris to create friction within the joint and induces an inflammatory response that disturbs the fluid balance of the joint. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and mobility problems and may be influenced by factors like barometric pressure, humidity, and temperature.
    • Topical CBD Carrier Types for Joint Pain – Because of the nature of joint pain, temperature sensation is of special concern — and different temperatures can work differently to alleviate joint pain. 
      • Most of the time, we tend to prefer warmth over cooling on our joints, as the temperature can help encourage better circulation and fluid movement. To that end, we prefer oil-based or waxy products, like salves or balms, for use on joints. We find that these formulations better support the warming action of ingredients like ginger or capsicum, aiding circulation and extending relief. Our preferred ingredients include:
        • Plant oils like those from coconut, olive, grapeseed, and avocado make for nourishing and sustainable carrier oils that maximize the absorption of CBD.
        • Beeswax is a heavier ingredient that hydrates and soothes skin while providing a protective barrier over the surface. It isn’t vegan, but can be collected sustainably, so use your discretion here.
        • Natural butters like shea or cocoa have long been used to hydrate skin, and their lipid-rich compositions make them ideal carrier ingredients — just know that their intensive emollient properties may be a bit heavy for oilier skin types.
      • When we’re looking for a cooling sensation to ease swelling and freeze away pain, we reach for a product with a lighter formula. While alcohols like stearyl and cetyl are often used (and may be effective for some people), they can be quite drying for others, especially when used regularly. Our preferred carrier ingredients for cooling products include:
        • Aloe vera juice provides plenty of hydration while contributing to cooling by evaporating quickly — the benefits of alcohol without the skin damage.
        • Vegetable glycerin (sometimes noted as glycerol or just plain glycerin) is often used to improve the texture of products like roll-ons, thinning and smoothing them for better application while providing some skin-soothing and hydrating benefits. Propylene glycol may also be used for this purpose, which is mostly fine for topical products (though it may negatively affect some people in high concentrations). 
        • While we prefer to skip alcohol-heavy products, we’ll definitely choose cetyl alcohol over stearyl or isopropyl any day. This is because cetyl alcohol, a fatty alcohol derived from coconut, has a high lipid content that can help return moisture to the skin, minimizing the potential drying effects of alcohol.
    • Supporting CBD Topical Ingredients for Joint Pain
      • Aloe Vera – While we tend to think of aloe vera for burns and other acute injuries, there’s evidence to show that it may have joint pain-relieving properties as well, and that these benefits are available when the plant is used topically. Aloe vera extract also helps hydrate, soothe, and protect the skin, and is well-tolerated by most people.
      • Capsaicin – You might know this molecule as the stuff that gives peppers their heat (and yes, it is the active ingredient in pepper spray), but it’s more than just the kick in your hot sauce. Capsaicin is excellent at improving circulation in the skin and underlying tissues when applied topically — in low concentrations, of course. This compound can produce a warming sensation that helps soothe pain while it dilates blood vessels and increases the ability of fluids to move through your tissues, making it potentially highly effective at addressing joint pain and stiffness (especially the pain caused by weather changes and cold snaps).
      • Cat’s Claw – This is a tricky one, so use with awareness and caution. Cat’s claw is an herb that has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, which may be beneficial to many people suffering from joint pain. However, there’s a potential catch for rheumatoid arthritis patients in particular, as that immune-boosting power might send an already-overactive immune system into full-on beast mode, worsening symptoms as the body attacks its own tissues. Cat’s claw may work well for people with osteoarthritis, but those with rheumatoid arthritis should proceed with caution.
      • Epsom Salts – Don’t overlook bath salts for joint pain! Epsom salts can help soothe soreness, and some evidence suggests that they might be useful in helping restore electrolyte and mineral balance to joints and muscles. They also combine well with heat therapy to alleviate pain and help improve mobility.
      • Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus is another plant with wide-ranging medicinal benefits, including pain management. Eucalyptus contains a hefty dose of tannins, which help reduce the inflammation and swelling that exacerbate joint pain. If your joints are especially swollen and painful, eucalyptus may help alleviate inflammation and restore balance to your tissues.
      • Frankincense – Also known as Boswellia, this plant resin may be especially beneficial to sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune illnesses. This is because frankincense helps block the action of leukotrienes, chemical messengers for the immune system that increase inflammation. This action may help support the anti-inflammatory action of CBD, especially when used consistently over a longer period of time.
      • Ginger – Sometimes called zingiber on product labels, ginger has been used in traditional medicine for millennia to treat a wide range of symptoms, including joint pain. When applied to the skin, the extract can help improve blood flow and circulation to the skin and underlying tissues. This action, in turn, can support the body’s ability to clear tissues of excess fluid and promote healthy circulation. This effect may produce the secondary benefit of reducing swelling when ginger is applied topically.
      • Green Tea – One of the world’s most popular beverages, the anti-inflammatory action of green tea has been used for medicine by many cultures and traditions throughout human history. While the specific mechanisms are still being studied, researchers believe that compounds called polyphenols help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress throughout the body, both when ingested and when applied to the skin. Green tea is about 30% polyphenols by weight, and extracts from the plant are full of these helpful molecules.
      • Turmeric – Not just for culinary use, turmeric (sometimes labeled as its active ingredient, curcumin) has long been used to help soothe pain and inflammation, both internally and topically. Emerging evidence suggests that turmeric may be useful in slowing the advance of rheumatoid arthritis, and its soothing properties may help alleviate swelling and inflammation, thereby reducing pain and stiffness in sore joints. 
      • Willow Bark – This one goes back to the days of Hippocrates, who described patients chewing the bark to relieve pain and swelling. The plant can help alleviate pain and inflammation when ingested, but evidence suggests that these benefits may also extend to topical application. While willow bark is usually taken orally, we’re starting to see it added to topicals more often. 
  • CBD Topicals for Nerve PainNerve pain can be symptomatic of a variety of conditions ranging from diabetes to cancer to autoimmune conditions. The root cause of nerve pain is damage to your body’s nerve cells, which causes them to misfire and behave erratically. Nerve pain often feels sharp, like pinpricks, and may have an electric element to the sensation, making it potentially very disrupting and debilitating. Fortunately, topical products can be very beneficial for neuropathic pain, reducing the severity and frequency of pain. 
    • Topical CBD Carrier Types for Nerve Pain – Ultimately, the best type of product for you will depend on how your nerve pain feels. Different products will produce different sensations, which can be helpful to counter the pins-and-needles feeling of neuropathic pain.
      • For burning or stinging pain, you might prefer lighter products with a cooling sensation. We find that products formulated with things like  aloe vera juice, cetyl alcohol, or vegetable glycerin produce a stronger cooling effect than heavier, oil-based products.
      • If you prefer more of a warming effect, we recommend using products with a base made of oils, plant butters, or waxes. The lipid-dense composition of ingredients like avocado oil, shea butter, and beeswax can help amplify and extend the effects of warming ingredients, helping you feel better longer.
    • Supporting CBD Topical Ingredients for Nerve Pain
      • Capsaicin – While it isn’t for everyone, products that feature small amounts of capsaicin (the compound that gives chili peppers their characteristic heat) may help soothe some types of nerve pain. Researchers believe that capsaicin may have a desensitizing effect on the skin, helping to temporarily reduce the sensation of pain.
      • Clove Oil – The humble clove is a botanical pain relief powerhouse; one study found its oil to be as effective as benzocaine at alleviating pain during a medical procedure. While the exact mechanism remains poorly understood, researchers think that the analgesic properties of clove oil may be due in part to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 
      • Eucalyptus – The analgesic properties of eucalyptus may extend to nerve pain as well, though current research suggests that this may have more to do with its aromatherapeutic application than through transdermal use. Eucalyptus can trigger asthma attacks in some people, so it’s best used well-diluted and with caution.
      • Feverfew – Long used to treat fever and pain in traditional medicine, the leaves and flowers of the feverfew plant (also known as Bachelor’s Button) may help reduce muscle spasms and the tingling or burning often associated with neuropathic pain. This may be due to the terpenes and flavonoids within the plant, according to emerging research.
      • Ginger – Ginger has been used to treat pain and inflammation for centuries, and its anti-inflammatory properties may benefit people struggling with nerve pain. Research suggests that the plant can help soothe pain and inflammation, whether consumed or applied topically
      • Lavender – A darling of the aromatherapy world, lavender is prized for its soothing, anxiolytic, sleep-inducing properties. However, the plant also possesses antifungal, antibacterial, and analgesic properties. Current research shows that lavender can help alleviate migraines compared to placebo, and may be applicable to other types of nerve pain.
      • Peppermint – Peppermint contains, among other compounds, menthol, which is well-known for the cooling sensation it gives when applied to the skin. This cooling may be helpful for some types of nerve pain, providing a pleasant numbing effect. Limonene and carvacrol, other major constituents of peppermint, may also help alleviate pain and inflammation when applied topically.
      • Rosemary – Current research suggests that this beloved culinary herb may be used to treat seizures and pain. Rosemary has been demonstrated to help relax smooth muscle (the muscles that contract automatically, without your control), which may help to reduce the pain caused by erratic nerve firings.
      • TurmericCurcumin, the active compound in turmeric, possesses powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. In fact, turmeric was found to be as effective as ibuprofen for pain relief when used over a period of weeks.
  • CBD Topicals for Muscle Pain – Muscle pain can result from a number of common conditions such as stress, injury, strain, or overuse. The pain is caused by trauma to the muscle fibers themselves, which send pain signals when the tissue is flexed or stretched. Topical CBD products may help support healing within the muscles while alleviating inflammation and pain in the immediate term. Evidence suggests that topical CBD can help relieve muscle pain, support athletic recovery, and ease inflammation in injured muscles.
    • Topical CBD Product Types for Muscle Pain – Your preferred product will likely vary depending on the severity of your pain and the sensations you most enjoy: cooling, warming, a combination of the two, or neither of them. For people looking for the most neutral experience possible, we recommend cream- or oil-based products with minimal added ingredients.
      • For patients seeking a cooling or tingling sensation, we suggest a lighter product formulated with something like cetyl alcohol. The more volatile base means that the product will evaporate quickly, amplifying the cooling sensation and increasing immediate numbing and pain-relieving effects.
      • If you desire a more warming product, we recommend something formulated with a heavier base like coconut oil, cocoa butter, or olive oil. These base ingredients will help extend the warming effects of other supporting ingredients, thereby prolonging relief.
    • Supporting CBD Topical Ingredients for Muscle Pain
      • Basil – Research has shown basil, a common garden herb and spice cabinet staple, to possess anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. When applied to the skin, basil oil can help reduce cramping and soreness, as well as aid in recovery.
      • Chamomile – You might know chamomile flowers from your tea cabinet. Often used to promote sleep, chamomile can also provide soothing benefits when applied to the skin. Evidence suggests that chamomile may possess antispasmodic properties, soothing cramps and easing tension.
      • Capsaicin – Capsaicin, the chemical compound that gives hot peppers their fiery taste, is a vasodilator that promotes circulation and widens blood vessels. This can be very beneficial for muscle pain, especially pain resulting from an injury or overuse.
      • Lavender – A perennial favorite among essential oil enthusiasts, lavender acts as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic when applied to the skin. Research shows it to be effective at reducing muscle pain and tension when used topically (diluted, of course).
      • Lemongrass – Lemongrass, a staple herb of Thai cuisine, may have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. When applied to the skin, emerging research showed lemongrass to reduce pain and inflammation in injured muscles. 
      • MagnesiumTransdermal magnesium has been used to treat muscle pain for many years in the form of Epsom salts. Magnesium is crucial for regulation of muscle contractions, and a 15-minute soak can help relieve pain and cramping in sore or injured muscles. 
      • Marjoram – Marjoram is a bit of an unsung hero of the spice rack. The herb possesses antispasmodic and analgesic properties, helping to alleviate pain and reduce cramps and spasms when applied topically. 
      • Peppermint – Peppermint oil possesses antispasmodic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory effects when applied topically. It also produces a cooling sensation that can help numb pain within a few minutes of application (again, diluted!).
      • Tart Cherry Juice – Emerging research shows that tart cherry juice may help reduce pain in both the short and long terms. Participants using tart cherry extract in a recent study reported less pain 24 and 48 hours after a strenuous exercise session compared to participants using a placebo. 
  • CBD Topicals for Swelling – Swelling is, essentially, an inflammatory response that causes the body to retain fluid. While this often occurs in the extremities or at the site of an injury, swelling can also affect mobility, quality of life, and general physical comfort. Topically applied CBD has shown to be effective at helping to reduce swelling, both in the skin and in the underlying tissues. 
    • Topical CBD Carrier Types for Swelling – Cooling to neutral products tend to be more effective against swelling compared to warming topicals, though there are some exceptions. We recommend starting with a product formulated to emphasize cooling and anti-inflammatory effects, then gradually moving toward warming products if you feel they are more effective for you.
      • To amplify cooling ingredients like peppermint or arnica, we suggest choosing a more liquid formula like a roll-on. These products tend to be made with things like cetyl alcohol or sunflower seed oil, which absorb more readily into the skin and evaporate relatively quickly, soothing pain and swelling in the immediate term.
      • If you find that warming ingredients like capsaicin and turmeric are better suited to your body, reach for oily or waxy product formulas. These might be made with coconut oil, shea butter, or beeswax and may help extend the effectiveness of warming ingredients as well as amplify them.
    • Supporting Topical CBD Ingredients for Swelling
  • CBD Topicals for Wound Care & Broken Skin – CBD can be applied to cuts, burns, sores, and other injuries that break the skin’s surface, but you should be especially choosy about carrier and supporting ingredients. While there are benefits to applying CBD to a wound, those benefits could be reduced or even negated by ingredients not intended to be applied to broken skin. If you’re in doubt about a product’s safety, opt for a pure CBD oil with no added flavorings or colorings.
    • Topical CBD Carrier Types for Wound Care – We strongly recommend using ointments or balms for wound care over roll-ons or other fluid products. This is for two reasons: first, roll-on applicators in particular are not sanitary for use on broken skin. Second, the oil-based nature of ointments and salves helps to create a protective barrier over the skin that supports healing. Gels and liquids do not offer this benefit as strongly (though they may be used effectively for things like mild burn or sunburn).
      • When looking for a CBD product to apply to broken skin, seek out something specifically formulated for broken skin. The best carrier ingredients for wound care tend to be things like coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter, or lanolin. These ingredients will help protect your skin from irritants while promoting healing activity in skin and underlying tissues.
    • Supporting CBD Topical Ingredients for Wound Care – This is probably the situation where individual skin sensitivities have the most potential to cause discomfort or other issues, so knowing your body is important. Also, there are some ingredients to avoid. These include capsaicin, cinnamon, menthol, and other intense ingredients — it’s best to stick to gentler botanicals (if you choose to use them at all). These may include:
      • Aloe Vera – One of the gentlest botanicals available, aloe vera gel has been used throughout human history to treat burns, cuts, scrapes, and other forms of skin damage. The gel within the plant’s leaves has been shown to possess skin-healing and protective properties, making it an ideal addition to wound healing CBD topicals. 
      • Goldenrod – While it often gets a bad rap for causing allergies (like chamomile, it’s in the same family as ragweed and may cause reactions in some people), goldenrod can help promote healing activity by reducing inflammation at the site of injury.
      • Lavender – The soothing properties of the  lavender plant extend to wound healing as well — not only can lavender extract reduce inflammation in injured skin, it can also help keep infection at bay while a wound closes. This is because lavender possesses antibacterial properties alongside its anti-inflammatory and analgesic compounds.
      • Marigold Marigold flowers, also known as calendula, are favored among landscapers, but the plant and its blooms may provide wound-healing benefits beyond their aesthetic appeal. Research suggests that marigold flowers may promote skin healing through anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial actions.
      • Neem – Neem oil is widely used in southeast Asia for skin, hair, body, and even oral hygiene products. Neem is a powerful antimicrobial and antifungal, helping protect wounds from infection. It may also help to reduce inflammation and promote healing in injured skin.
      • Yarrow – Yarrow, a plant used by many cultures to reduce pain, inflammation, and anxiety, may help promote healing and reduce bleeding when applied to wounds. 
  • CBD Topicals for Dry Skin – Topical CBD can be very beneficial to dry skin, especially parts like elbows and knees that are more prone to flaking and scaliness. When combined with hydrating and humectant ingredients (more on those below), CBD can help alleviate itching while soothing skin, protecting against free radical damage while improving symptoms like hyperpigmentation and rough texture. 
    • Topical CBD Carrier Types for Dry Skin – When using CBD to treat dry skin, it’s crucial to select products made with quality carrier ingredients. It’s best to choose emollient ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter, or olive oil for intensive, lasting hydration. As an added benefit, these ingredients will help to create a protective barrier over the skin’s surface (beeswax is especially good for this), helping to heal damage and prevent further injury. 
      • It’s best to avoid products formulated with isopropyl or stearyl alcohols for dry skin, as they can actually exacerbate the problem. This is because alcohols chemically break apart the bonds between the cells on your skin’s surface. While this is intended to help hydrating and humectant ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin, it can do more harm than good in very dry skin. If you must use a product with alcohol, opt for cetyl alcohol, a fatty alcohol derived from coconut that is shown to be less damaging to the skin. 
    • Supporting CBD Topical Ingredients for Dry Skin
      • Almond Oil Almond oil is an excellent option for people with very sensitive or acne-prone skin. This is because almond oil possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe cranky skin. Almond oil is ideal for dry skin because it hydrates in the short term and protects from excessive water loss in the skin in the long term, maintaining moisture balance throughout your busy day.
      • Aloe Vera – A favorite for burns and scrapes, aloe vera is an intensive, non-comedogenic (won’t clog your pores) hydrator that restores moisture to skin quickly and effectively. Aloe vera gel also gives the added benefit of absorbing well into skin while still creating a protective barrier over skin, shielding it from damage that can occur when the top layers of skin are dehydrated.
      • Beeswax – Beeswax acts as a very effective skin protectant and can help attract moisture to the skin throughout the day, promoting long-lasting hydration. Because of its intensity, beeswax may be best used in areas prone to dryness, such as elbows, knees, and hands.
      • Cocoa Butter – Richly emollient cocoa butter is a good option for skin that is very prone to dryness and cracking, though it may be a bit too heavy to use all over for many people. Cocoa butter is demonstrated to be an effective moisturizer and skin protectant, and its thick consistency gives it a luxurious feel.
      • Cucumber – There’s a reason that cucumber slices are such a pervasive component of spa treatments: the vegetable contains compounds that help restore hydration to the skin’s surface. Cucumber also helps your cells to retain the moisture it imbues them with and is especially gentle for sensitive skin types.
      • Grapeseed Oil – A sort of dermatological powerhouse, grapeseed oil offers a plethora of skin-nourishing benefits. First, it’s non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and gentle for even sensitive skin types. Second, it contains high levels of vitamin E and linoleic acid, two compounds shown to help reduce scarring and hyperpigmentation while improving skin tone and texture. Grapeseed oil also possesses mild anti-inflammatory properties and helps to reduce the appearance of spider veins, hyperpigmentation, and other inflammatory skin conditions over time. 
      • Mango Butter – Mango butter is shown to provide intensive, lasting hydration to skin, especially in people prone to dryness. The butter, extracted from the pit of the mango, contains high levels of vitamins A and C, which may help brighten dull skin and improve overall texture and tone. Because of its richness, mango butter is likely best kept away from the face and any areas of the body prone to breakouts.
      • Neem – Neem oil is demonstrated to hydrate skin while extending anti-inflammatory benefits that may be especially helpful for people with dry, itchy skin. The oil also possesses antifungal and antimicrobial properties, making it a good option for people looking to protect skin damaged by severe dryness.
      • Papaya – While it’s less common in the West, many cultures have historically used papaya to nourish skin, fight aging, and reduce inflammation. Papaya is rich in antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, C, and E, all of which play important roles in restoring and maintaining skin health. Papaya may help to soothe inflammation, itching, and redness while hydrating dry skin.
      • Pumpkin Seed – A tasty byproduct of Halloween Jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin seeds are high in skin-protectant, anti-inflammatory components like linoleic acid, tocopherols, and sterols. These compounds are found in high concentrations in pumpkin seed oil, which can confer both nourishment and protection while alleviating red, itchy skin.
      • Shea Butter – Shea butter is a richly emollient plant butter that possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It may also provide skin-protecting benefits, though further study is needed.
      • Tamarind Seed – A tangy fruit popular among many cultures and cuisines across the globe, tamarind seeds may possess antioxidant properties. While the exact mechanism isn’t yet fully understood, early studies show tamarind seed extract to be effective at preventing skin damage from UVA rays. 

Takeaway

While CBD can be used to effectively treat pain, inflammation, injury, and a variety of skin conditions, its effects can be modified and enhanced by the ingredients working alongside it. When searching for a topical CBD product, be mindful of the label and reach for formulas that are targeted to alleviate your symptoms. Selecting the best formula for your needs can help ensure a more satisfying experience that supports your health and wellness goals.

 

CBD for Skin: Making Sense of CBD Topicals

If you’ve been looking into (or even actively experimenting with) using CBD for pain relief, you’ve likely seen topical products like roll-ons, balms, and creams. These products are usually marketed towards people seeking pain relief, but as the CBD market continues to grow, products targeted toward skin care, wound healing, and other concerns are starting to emerge. As an ingredient, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest CBD for skin health is effective, but using CBD for skin may not be that straightforward.

To improve their effectiveness, many of these topical products include supporting ingredients that help modify the effects of CBD to amplify the desired effect(s). This makes for more diverse choices and greater customizability for CBD users (and we’re here for that!), but it also makes navigating the field of available products more difficult. How can you know which product to choose? 

We at Key to Cannabis seek to help our readers make informed purchasing decisions that support both their immediate and long-term wellbeing. To us, part of this mission includes providing information about the current science of topical ingredients and their potential impact, both on symptoms and on overall health. The role of skin in wellness is often-overlooked, and we feel that consumer education can help support healthier lifestyles for our readers and the CBD community as a whole. CBD for skin can be a valuable part of a treatment plan for a variety of conditions, and we seek to support that.

Here, we talk about why being conscious of what goes on your skin is so important and break down a little bit of the science of how your skin supports homeostasis. We’ll then discuss CBD topical supporting ingredients by condition, highlighting what works and what to watch out for. We’ll close with a special note for people with skin allergies or sensitivities that highlights common inflammatory culprits and provides some guidance for navigating product labels when searching for CBD for skin.

Your Skin & You: Promoting Homeostasis

topical cbd for skin care

If you’ve researched the ways that CBD affects different systems within the body, you may have noticed the term homeostasis popping up repeatedly. Homeostasis is the term for your body’s natural equilibrium — sweating when you’re hot to bring your temperature down, signaling hunger when your blood sugar is low, and even your inflammatory response to stress or an injury are all examples of your body attempting to maintain homeostasis. CBD has a regulating effect on many of the body’s systems, including the skin — and that’s important, because your skin works hard to support your health.

Your skin really doesn’t get enough credit. We tend to take it for granted, but it’s responsible for much more than just containing your insides and defending your body from damage, pathogens, and debris. Your skin is an organ — in fact, it’s the largest organ you have — and, as such, its duties are vast and diverse. It helps regulate your body temperature, synthesizes important hormones and vitamins, senses and relays information to your brain, and absorbs beneficial nutrients and hydration from the things it comes into contact with.

Your skin shields you from UV rays, pollution, and environmental contaminants. It’s constantly changing throughout your life, and it helps keep your body in balance as you go about your day. It plays an obvious role in things like temperature regulation and sensation, but it’s also the site of synthesis of a couple of important compounds that have widespread effects on the body. 

The first is the hormone vitamin D (yup, it’s correct. Sometimes scientists name things before they’re understood), which is crucial for bone strength and may play an important role in gut health. The second, melatonin (involved heavily in sleep and wakefulness regulation) plays an important role in protecting your cells from damage due to oxidative stress, the kind of stress environmental factors like pollution and solar radiation inflict on your body. If your skin is stressed, inflamed, or damaged, your body’s ability to synthesize and process these two critical hormones may be compromised.

Because of the composition and intimate connection to other systems of the body, the skin can also provide early warnings of underlying problems. The skin can serve as a sort of “canary in the coalmine” of systemic inflammation, showing signs of underlying illness before other symptoms become apparent. If you’re having skin issues, there may be other forces at play under the proverbial surface — and if you’re having trouble controlling pain and inflammation, don’t neglect your skin! Topical CBD for skin can help to support your integumentary system as well as what’s underneath it. 

Why Do Topical Ingredients Matter?

topical cbd ingredients

We tend to assume that, as long as our skin isn’t cut, burned, or broken out, it’s fine, and that’s not exactly wrong. However, it isn’t exactly the whole story, either. Your skin keeps lots of stuff out, but it’s more permeable than it appears, especially at the molecular level. If you’re using products with inflammatory ingredients, you may inadvertently sabotaging yourself. CBD can be very effective against muscle and joint pain, inflammation, and neuropathic pain, but its benefits could be reduced (or even negated) by the wrong stuff.

Product formulations also play a role in how the ingredients behave and function in a practical setting. For example, an alcohol-based roll-on won’t double as a massage oil the way a heavier, oil-based salve might. Something made of volatile (meaning “quick to evaporate,” like isopropyl or ethyl alcohol) carriers that evaporate more readily will have a stronger cooling effect than an oil-based formula (and the reverse is also true: an oily product will produce a more lasting warming effect than something alcohol-based). In this way, two products with otherwise very similar supporting ingredients might behave very differently when the basic formulation is changed.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, everyone’s skin is different! There are, quite literally, as many different skin types as there are people on earth, and everyone has different needs and concerns. Knowing the composition of the topical products you use helps you avoid things that don’t agree with your body and choose products that support your individual health goals. 

In the spirit of serving individual goals, conscious consumption also helps keep you from inadvertently compromising your values through your purchases. Knowing the origin of the ingredients can help you make safer, more ethical, more sustainable buying decisions that align more closely with your values. This could include buying vegan, kosher, cruelty-free, certified organic, non-GMO, local, and any number of other criteria that are important to you.

Carrier Ingredients: What Type of Product Do You Need?

topical cbd ingredients for your skin

The main difference between different product formulations and consistencies is the carrier ingredients they utilize. A carrier ingredient is one that is used to dilute the active ingredients in a product while making it more absorbable into the skin. Carrier ingredients are also used in oral CBD products (usually MCT oil, though hemp seed, olive, almond, and other oils may also be used), but our focus here is on topical carriers.

Since CBD is lipid-soluble, the most effective CBD skin care carrier ingredients tend to be non-polar molecules like fats, oils, and alcohols. While petroleum jelly and other oil products are sometimes used, the high environmental impact of these ingredients inclines us to pass on them.

For salves, balms, lip products, and other intensely emollient formulas, carrier ingredients often include things like coconut oil, shea or cocoa butter, beeswax, mango butter, and other plant-derived oils. The consistency of formulas based in these ingredients ranges from waxy to whipped to creamy, and they often feel rich and heavy on the skin. Some absorb fairly quickly, while others take on a tacky or oily texture for some time after application. 

Because of their characteristic heaviness, these ingredients may cause some skin types to break out (coconut oil is a particularly common offender) when used all over, especially on the face. For dry skin, however, heavier formulas may be preferred to lighter products. Effects like the warming sensation brought on by capsicum or the tingling induced by peppermint tend to be extended in these buttery formulas. This may be especially helpful to people seeking to manage pain or relax muscles.

For hydration and skin protection without the waxiness, we suggest reaching for formulas that use plant-derived oils as a base. The options are pretty broad here; you’ll likely see oils from sources like olive, safflower, apricot seed, hemp, grapeseed, sweet almond, avocado, jojoba, argan, Monoi, and others. These oils will do a good job of extending the effects of warming or cooling products, though olive and Monoi may contribute to breakouts for some skin types. 

These ingredients yield products ranging in consistency from very fluid oils to more viscous lotions. Some absorb quickly without much residue, while others may leave a lingering oily feeling on the skin after application. To minimize greasiness, we suggest reaching for products that blend plant-derived oils with an even lighter ingredient like aloe vera juice or cetyl alcohol.

The lightest and most volatile (quick to evaporate) carrier ingredients aren’t oils at all, but a sort of semi-polar group of ingredients that include aloe vera juice, vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and alcohols like isopropyl, stearyl, or cetyl. Of these, we strongly prefer aloe vera juice, vegetable glycerin, or cetyl alcohol, which tend to be gentler on the skin than alternatives. This is because propylene glycol, while generally safe for topical use, may be inflammatory for some skin types.

Isopropyl and stearyl alcohols have a tendency to dry skin over time due to their impact on the bonds between skin cells. These ingredients may be okay to use once in a while, but we prefer to stick to products we don’t have to second-guess reaching for again and again.

Cetyl alcohol, a coconut-derived fatty alcohol, is less damaging to skin due to its higher emollient content. Aloe vera juice is a very well-tolerated and non-comedogenic moisturizer for even the most sensitive skin types. Vegetable glycerin, like cetyl alcohol and aloe vera, evaporates quickly and is gentle enough for general use, even for sensitive skin. Since these ingredients evaporate from the skin more readily, they’re ideal for enhancing the cooling effects of things like peppermint, arnica, and chamomile. 

Plant-Derived Compounds & Botanicals

topical cbd ingredients botanicals

In the interest of sustainability, we prefer to opt for plant-derived ingredients wherever possible. Additionally, the terpenes found in plant extracts may help improve the efficacy of CBD and other cannabinoids. Terpenes can modify the effects of CBD by amplifying specific effects or adding complementary properties of their own. 

We should note that just because an oil or extract is natural doesn’t mean that it’s completely without risk for everyone. Undiluted essential oils like peppermint, tea tree, and cinnamon can cause chemical burns if applied undiluted to the skin, for instance, and chamomile may provoke a potentially dangerous allergic reaction in people sensitive to ragweed or other members of the Asteraceae family. “Natural” ingredients are equally capable of producing an adverse reaction as synthetic ingredients, so don’t assume a product labeled “vegan” or “all-natural” is automatically safer by default. We love our botanicals, but they aren’t fully risk-free.

One of the main therapeutic effects of CBD is its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory, reducing excess inflammation and taming related symptoms like redness, fever, swelling, and pain. The natural world is full of anti-inflammatories — aspirin is derived from willow bark, for instance — that may be utilized to enhance the soothing properties of CBD. These may include green tea, turmeric, ginger, capsaicin (extracted from chili peppers), lavender, chamomile, frankincense, resveratrol, arnica, peppermint (or any other variety of mint), cinnamon, clove, lemon balm, and other plant extracts. 

Many of these compounds also possess pain-relieving properties when used topically, including willow bark (and some types of pine bark), turmeric, ginger, lavender, frankincense, arnica, clove, lemon balm, and cinnamon. In addition to analgesic effects, many herbs can produce temperature sensations in the skin that may help to reduce pain perception.

For example, herbs like peppermint, arnica, frankincense, and lemon balm yield cooling, tingling sensations that may help to reduce swelling. Plants like ginger, peppers, and cinnamon can induce a sensation of warmth, helping muscles to relax and ease tension. Herbs with differing effects can be combined to produce more of a tingling sensation that can help stimulate nerves in a way that reduces nerve pain in many people. 

Because there are so many different compounds that work through so many diverse mechanisms in the body, herbal ingredients are often a major source of difference in function between otherwise comparable products. The scent produced by a particular blend may also be a benefit, as there’s some pretty compelling evidence to suggest that scent is important to how we perceive pain. Eucalyptus, lavender, chamomile, citrus, and cinnamon are popular in aromatherapy circles, but you should use whatever you find soothing or comforting.

Vitamins, Minerals, & Unpronounceables

topical cbd ingredients for your skin

While some products (usually salves and balms) consist solely of CBD, a carrier oil or two, and a few botanical ingredients, products like roll-ons, lotions, sprays, and other more modern formulas will have at least an ingredient or two that looks a little intimidating. These might include things like L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C, a skin brightener and antioxidant), niacinamide (vitamin B3, a humectant and skin protector), retinol (vitamin A, an antioxidant that helps fight signs of aging), or alpha tocopherol (vitamin E, used to restore moisture to the skin and protect it from damage). 

For the most part, these ingredients are included for a reason and likely bring some skin-nourishing benefits to the table. That said, you may need to be on the lookout for things like phthalates and parabens (plasticizers used to emulsify ingredients that can cause adverse reactions in some skin types), DMDM hydantoin (a preservative known to release formaldehyde over time, which is irritating to most skin types), and phenoxyethanol (a stabilizer linked to allergic reactions in some consumers). 

These are some of the most common causes of allergens in topical products, so try to avoid them if you are prone to breakouts or skin allergies. That said, it isn’t an exhaustive list — sodium laureth sulfate (and other sulfates), fragrances, dyes, and other compounds can also act as irritants in some people. If you have a bad reaction to a product, discontinue use immediately and monitor your symptoms. If they persist longer than a day or two, visit your doctor to make sure there isn’t an underlying problem at work. 

Other additives might include something like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (mineral sunscreens that form a barrier between skin and damaging solar radiation). Thickeners or emulsifiers may also be used to maintain product texture (hydroxyethylcellulose is one, but others might include xanthan gum, guar gum, carrageenan, or potassium sorbate). These ingredients aren’t necessarily anything to panic about, but may cause adverse reactions for those with especially sensitive skin. For this reason, we recommend exercising caution with unfamiliar compounds and researching them when necessary.  

Takeaway

CBD topicals can be therapeutic beyond their active ingredient alone. Especially with topical products, the supporting ingredients added to the formula have the potential to substantially modify the effectiveness of the CBD they contain, helping make less potent products more effective and maximizing the therapeutic potential of high dosage strengths. Learning to utilize supporting ingredients can help you maximize the benefit of your dose of CBD while avoiding problematic ingredients and allergens. 

By noting which botanicals, carriers, and other supporting ingredients work best for you, you can find a product (or even a full regimen) that is effective for you. When considering the right products to choose, take a look at our breakdown of CBD topical ingredients by condition for an idea of what to look for on product labels and how to navigate the different choices available. We also have more detailed articles available addressing the specific mechanisms of different ingredients, again broken down by symptom. CBD topicals offer strong therapeutic potential for a broad range of symptoms.

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Weed Guide: A Visual Glossary of Cannabis Terminology

This comprehensive visual guide will help you navigate the often-confusing cannabis terminology. It is important to note that because cannabis has been illegal for so long, many of the terms have no formal ‘Websters’ definition. Many words have multiple meanings and some can be used interchangeably. Please keep in mind that while some of these words may have a slightly different meaning depending on your geographic location, I have done my best to address the common nuances of each term.


Backroll

See Inside Out


Baseball Bat

See Cone


BHO

An acronym for Butane Hash Oil (BHO) used to identify cannabis concentrates extracted with butane as the solvent. This type of cannabis concentrate can take on a variety of consistencies including shatterbuddersnap n’ pull, and sap.


Blunt

A blunt is a cannabis cigar. The term originated from the Phillies Blunt brand cigars but has since been used to refer to any inexpensive cigar or cigarillo that is hollowed-out and then re-rolled using ground cannabis or organic hemp flower. Learn how to roll a blunt.


Bong

A bong, also known as a water pipe, is a filtration device used to smoke cannabis or organic hemp flower. As the user inhales, the smoke passes through the water and bubbles up into the chamber prior to being cleared, filtering the smoke for a smooth hit. Bongs are typically comprised of at least two pieces, the larger tube (that holds the water) and a smaller bowl piece where the ground buds are loaded.  That said, there are many different types of bongs that may include multiple chambers with percolators, ice catchers, and more.


Bowl

A bowl is the part of a smoking pipe or bong that is used to hold ground cannabis for smoking.


Bud

The bud sites and associated flowers produced by the cannabis plant. Also refers to the dried, trimmed, and cured flowers familiar at the consumer level.


Cannabis

Cannabis can refer to the hemp plant itself and/or the various parts of the plant from which psychotropic drugs are prepared. Commonly (and unless otherwise specified on our blog), it refers to bud. The cannabis plant is tall with a stiff upright stem, divided serrated leaves, and glandular hairs.

Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants that includes three different species, cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis. These species are native to Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent.  Industrial hemp is technically a subspecies of the cannabis family, but in the interest of clarity we’ll refer to it as organic hemp flower unless otherwise specified.


Carb Cap

A carb cap is a tool used to helpfully vaporize cannabis concentrates or CBD isolate at lower temperatures. The carb cap is typically dropped on top of the nail, creating a partial seal. Think of it as creating a tiny oven for optimum vaporization of concentrates.


Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is one of over 85 active phytocannabinoids identified in cannabis. It is non-psychoactive and is considered to have a wider scope of medical applications than THC.  CBD is available in many concentrated forms, but it can also be consumed in the form of organic hemp flower, just as you would traditional cannabis buds.


Cannabinoid

Cannabinoids are a class of diverse chemical compounds found in cannabis (and in the human body — these are referred to as endocannabinoids) that act on cannabinoid receptors in the body. There are over 85 identified phytocannabinoids, the most prevalent being THC and CBD. These are the compounds responsible for the therapeutic effects associated with cannabis.


Canoe

A term used to describe a joint that burns unevenly. Typically, a portion of the cherry burns faster than the rest of the joint, creating a long run of burnt herb in the joint.  Typically, this is the result of an improperly rolled or lit joint. For more on how to avoid this annoyance, try our tips for rolling better joints.


Caregiver

Individuals allowed to assist specific, state-registered medical patients by cultivating medical cannabis on their behalf.


Cherry

The burning portion of bud in a joint or bowl that stays lit without further ignition.  Ideally, it should be round and compact to prevent canoeing or torching the bowl.


Chillum

A chillum is a straight, usually one-hitter pipe with an end-to-end channel. A chillum does not have a carb like a traditional pipe, providing a direct hit each time for maximum smoking efficiency.


Cola

A cola refers to the part of a female cannabis plant where the flowers or buds grow together tightly. This is known as the terminal bud in plant physiology.


Collective

See Dispensary


Concentrate

The separated or extracted resin obtained from cannabis; synonymous with hash.


Cone

A joint shape that flares from a small base to a larger-diameter tip.


Crutch

A device, typically made of wood pulp or glass (but easily MacGyvered from just about any paper or card stock material), that is incorporated in the joint rolling process to create a mouthpiece. Also known as a filter or tip, you can learn more about their benefits in our crutches guide.


Dab

A dose of cannabis concentrate. See dabbing.


Dabber

A tool used to collect cannabis concentrate and apply it to a heated nail, skillet, or chamber. They are typically made of titanium, stainless steel, or glass. Be mindful of materials, as using a sub-par dabber could allow heavy metals to leach into your dab — yikes!


Dabbing

The process of dropping a dose of cannabis concentrate onto a heated water pipe attachment (known as a nail) and inhaling. jAlso applies to using a more traditional pen-style vape to consume cannabis concentrates. Looking for tips to help maximize the flavor of every dab? We can help!


Dab Rig

A dab rig is a water pipe specifically designed for consuming cannabis concentrates as opposed to ground buds. The primary difference is that a dab rig generally has a male joint as opposed to the female joint usually found on a bong (male joints are ideal for most nails). Typically, a dab rig is also smaller than a traditional bong.


Dankrupt

To be out of cannabis.


Dispensary

A legal clinic, medical and/or recreational, that provides cannabis products to medical cardholders and/or recreational users.  As CBD becomes more popular, this term is also being applied to stores that sell CBD products in accordance with federal regulations.


Draw

To suck or take in air; inhale.  Also referred to as a hit.


Dry Sift

Dry sift is a form of solventless hash that involves using a series of taught silk screens of varying microns to separate the trichome head (where all the good stuff is) from the stalk and plant matter.


Filter

See Crutch


Flower

See Bud


Grinder

A grinder is a device designed to break the bud or organic hemp flower into fine, evenly ground bits. For more on grinders click here.


Hash

Hash, also referred to as hashish, is the oldest term still currently in use to refer to a cannabis product composed of separated or purified trichomes. Hash is considered to be a form of concentrated cannabis. There are many separation and extraction methods; both solvent and non-solvent based.


Hemp

Hemp refers to high-growing, industrial cannabis plant varieties, and their products. Hemp is grown primarily for its fiber, oil, and seed, but increasing attention is being paid to creating high-quality organic hemp flower strains that look, smell, taste, and smoke just like their high-THC counterparts. Hemp is low in THC, typically less than 0.3 % according to federal regulations.


Ice Water Hash

Ice water hash is a form of solventless hash that is extracted using ice and water to break the brittle trichome heads off of the plant material.


Indica

Cannabis plants of the indica variety grow short and bushy. Indica leaves are short, wide, and deeply serrated. Cannabis indica plants typically mature in 6 to 8 weeks. The effect of cannabis indica is typically described as a body high and is characterized by physical and mental relaxation, sleepiness, and often “the munchies.”


Inside Out

A European rolling technique also referred to as a backroll, in which the orientation of the rolling paper is flipped and the excess paper is torn off after completing one rotation around the rolled cannabis. To learn how to roll inside out, check our step-by-step instructions.


Joint

A rolled cannabis or hemp flower cigarette created with paper, as opposed to a tobacco, palm, or hemp leaf wrap.


Kief

Kief is a grade of dry sift that contains a mixture of trichome heads, stalks and cannabis plant matter. Kief often accumulates in grinders with chambers for that purpose, but it can also be sifted from dry cannabis or hemp buds with a mesh screen, sieve, or similar tool. Kief is an Arabic term meaning ‘pleasure or intoxication’.


Live Resin

Live resin refers BHO made from freshly harvested, flash-frozen plant material (as opposed to dried and cured buds/trim). Live resin captures the terpenes and flavonoids — and the resulting aromas and flavors — present in the living plant immediately after harvest, many of which would be lost in the curing process.


Nail

A nail is water pipe attachment for dabbing, typically made of titanium, quartz, or ceramic materials for safety at high temperatures. It is heated using either a torch or an electric coil for the purpose of dabbing cannabis concentrates.


Pearled

A term used to describe a perfectly rolled, visually appealing joint.


PHO

An acronym for Propane Hash Oil (PHO) used to identify cannabis concentrates extracted with propane as the solvent. Although others are possible, the consistency of PHO is typically budder/wax.


Pinner

A thin, straight, cigarette-shaped joint, as opposed to a cone.


Pipe

A narrow tube, typically made from glass (though metal, ceramic, wood, bone or antler, and even silicone are also common), with a bowl at one end for containing burning cannabis, the smoke from which is then drawn into the mouth through the other end of the tube.  Many pipes feature a carb, but some do not.


Pre-Roll

A pre-formed rolling paper that’s manufactured in a cone shape. This term may also apply to pre-rolled cannabis or hemp flower joints or blunts. For more on pre-rolls click here.


Resin Gland

See Trichome


Roach

The remaining end of a jointblunt or spliff after most of it has been smoked.


Rolling Paper

Rolling papers are small sheets, rolls, or leaves of paper that are sold for rolling cigarettes, joints, or spliffs either by hand or with a rolling machine. Learn more about sizes and material types to find the right paper for your rolling style.


Rosin Tech

Rosin, also referred to as rosin tech, is a solvent-free process used to extract concentrated cannabis resin from either dried flower/budor solventless hash using heat and pressure. It’s safe and easy to make at home!


Run

See Canoe


Sap

A term used to describe the soft, viscous, sticky consistency of some cannabis concentrates. This consistency is typically pliable, oily, and forgiving to work with.


Sativa

Cannabis plants of the sativa variety grow tall and lanky. Its leaves are long, narrow, and narrowly serrated. Cannabis sativa plants typically mature in 10 to 16 weeks. The effect of cannabis sativa is typically described as a cerebral high.


Scooby Snacks

A common term for bits of ground cannabis and resin that get sucked through the bottom of the bowl or end of the roll and enter the mouth when inhaling. Scooby snacks are typically the result of not using a crutch or screen.


Shatter

Refers to cannabis concentrates of a hard, smooth, glass-like consistency. As the name indicates, this type of cannabis extract breaks easily into shards and is often referred to as being ‘stable.’  That said, it’s not as forgiving as softer concentrates.


Snap N’ Pull

As the name indicates, snap n’ pull refers to concentrates with a consistency between shatter and sap (the two extremes), similar to a taffy. It can stretch or snap when pulled based on ambient temperature and amount of force used, making it exceedingly forgiving and easy to work with.


Spliff

A cannabis cigarette mixed with tobacco.


Strain

Cannabis strains are either pure or hybrid varieties, typically of sativa and indica. Varieties are developed to intensify specific characteristics of the parent plants. Strains are named for purposes of identification.  There are also strains of organic hemp flower as CBD grows in popularity.


Tips

See Crutch


Terpene

Terpenes are the aromatic compounds found in plant resins (trichomes), including those from cannabis and organic hemp flower. There are thousands of terpenes found in the plant kingdom and more than 100 found in cannabis alone. Terpenes provide the aroma and flavor of cannabis varieties and may support the action of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids in the body.


Trichome

A trichome is a small hair or other outgrowths from the epidermis of a plant, typically unicellular and glandular. In the case of cannabis and hemp flower, the trichomes contain the beneficial phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. To learn more about trichomes in the context of cannabis, read this article.


Twax

A term coined by @WA5280 to describe applying hash or concentrates to the inside, outside, or tip of your rolls/bowls in any way shape or form. View our step-by-step guide showing how to twax your joint or blunt!


Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC is the primary chemical responsible for most of the psychoactive effects associated with cannabis. It is found in the trichomes or resin glands of the cannabis plant.


Vaporizer

A vaporizer is a device that heats cannabis or hemp buds and/or concentrates to 315-440°F (157-227°C), which causes the cannabinoids stored in the plant’s trichomes to evaporate into a gas without combusting any plant material. It’s a healthy alternative to smoking cannabis.


Wax

This term refers to cannabis extracts that have been whipped into a creamy, buttery consistency. The consistency is comparable to a soft wax and tends to crumble when being handled. Also referred to as budder or crumble.

15 Unique Jobs to Consider in the Cannabis Industry

Want to get into the cannabis industry? There are tens of thousands of new jobs created every year in this sector, and companies need great people now more than ever as the growth continues. Here are 15 jobs that you should consider for your first foray into the world of cannabis. They have backgrounds in various roles and can be tailored to all kinds of unique skillsets. We hope you join the industry and help – the more people invested in the movement the faster we succeed!

Sales Rep

Every product wants to be in dispensaries, that’s where the transactions are being made. Help a company land lucrative in-store real estate.

Wholesale Buyer

Those same dispensaries need discerning buyers evaluating all the potential product offers they receive. You should probably know both the plant and the ancillary market for this role.

Tour Operator

420 tourism has become a huge draw for visitors to legal states. If you love sharing your knowledge with groups, companies always need great tour guides for dispensary tours and cannabis themed experiences.

Strain Reviewer / Writer

Love to smoke and write? Have an excellent nose and palette for the plant? There are multiple cannabis-oriented blogs that have whole sections of their website dedicated to strain reviews.

Concentrate Extractor

Love working in a science lab? The extraction companies in legal states are producing the highest-potency THC and CBD concentrates in the world for people who need extremely high dosages.

Edibles Maker

Are you a chef or baker looking to elaborate on your skillset? All you need to do is add a little cannabis oil to your recipes and you’re in business.

Trimmer

The bud has to get a little trim before it hits the shelves. If you’re fast with a pair of scissors and love getting in the zone, this is a great option.

Grower

Always had a green thumb? States that have legal cannabis programs are starved for quality farmers who love cultivating medicine for their patients.

Legal Counsel

Not every law firm will touch a cannabis case or client. Go niche and serve the cannabis industry!

Security

Some of these companies are still operating in cash ONLY. Their stores and employees need protection and transportation services.

Budtender

If you’re a people person, you should be standing behind the counter educating patients on the qualities of each product and what they can expect after consuming it.

Delivery Service

Want to keep things mobile? The future of cannabis certainly has a delivery component to it, so look for the startups trying to make it happen.

Regulator

Have a background in politics and law? Whether you’re for or against cannabis, the social and political war for complete legalization rages on.

Web Dev Provider

Cannabis companies need great websites just like every other business today. Specializing in cannabis-centric branding and marketing will make you relatable and relevant to young companies looking for help.

Store Owner

Ready to run a retail store? If you can build the team and have the connections to the industry, it’s time to launch your brand.

How to Microdose Cannabis

In a society stoked by abundance and over-indulgence, microdosing has emerged as a humble sigh of relief with an excess of benefits. This growing fad among smokers advocates that less is more when it comes to cannabis consumption. Microdosing involves ingesting small amounts of cannabis to receive all the benefits while skipping over unwanted side effects. The recently widespread legalization of cannabis has piqued the interest of many Americans, prompting them to check out all the hype. Microdosing presents a welcoming experience to newbies, while perhaps changing the game for seasoned smokers.

What is Microdosing?

Microdosing delivers the medical perks associated with THC without any of the psychoactive properties. Instead of smoking with the intention of being incapacitated, people mindfully use tiny amounts of cannabis to regulate the experienced sensations and relieve physical or mental discomfort. 5 milligrams THC is the typical starting point for microdosers, but experiment to find your cannabis sweet spot. This limited amount allows practitioners to go about their day with an uninterrupted mindset and mood while still reaping the benefits of THC. Increased self-awareness and respect for the healing qualities of marijuana has made microdosing the new mantra for many.

Methods for Microdosing

When it comes to choosing a method for microdosing, it’s important to consider the anticipated outcome that’s best for you. Reflect on the advantages and disadvantages posed by each option before committing fully to one route. Keep in mind that what feels best for one person may not jive well with another.

Ingestion

Tinctures and edibles often provide longer-sustained effects with a heightened sense of control over dosages. Some become drawn in by its discreet ability to deliver THC without smoke inhalation. Edibles take much longer to produce noticeable impressions, so exercise caution and don’t let impatience get the better of you.

Combustion

Although pipes and joints are convenient and readily available, they’re not economically friendly and present the most challenging system for accurately managing dosages. For those who enjoy the aesthetic appeal of smoking, try a transparent glass pipe so smoke is visible before entering the body and it’s obvious when the pipe needs a cleaning.

Vaporization

Vaporizing makes it easy to control doses while avoiding carcinogens. It’s grown increasingly popular as new technology for vapingbecomes accessible to smokers. Many devices allow users to adjust the temperature, creating different flavor profiles and enhancing the experience.

What Are The Benefits?

The sensations brought on by microdosing depend highly on the different cannabinoid profiles and the body chemistry of the smoker. Many consumers report feeling focused, creative, happy, energetic or somewhere in the middle as a result of microdosing. Others use it to alleviate pain, tension, or stress. Many are attracted to strains boasting relaxing or sedative properties as a method for unwinding naturally. Those having trouble meeting their daily calorie intake can rest assured that most strains will boost their appetite.

The personal nature of smoking implies that everyone perceives it uniquely; it’s all a matter of exploring the available choices to find what’s a good fit for you. Start by investigating what you hope to achieve through microdosing; do you crave peace of mind, an energy boost, or relief from pain? Use this information to determine what method and strain will best serve your intention. With cannabis being so widely accessible it may be tough to moderate, but for those seeking to remain attentive and poised throughout the day, you might rethink that extra toke because if microdosing teaches us anything, it’s that less indeed is more.

How to Use Cannabis with Yoga

If you’ve ever thought about elevating your downward dog with cannabis, you’re not alone. Maybe it’s the scent of patchouli wafting out of studios, or the frequency of dreadlocks among practitioners, but something has people stereotypically connecting yoga and weed. The desire to enter a higher state of consciousness and deepened relaxation attracts many yogis to experiment with the effects of cannabis on their practice. As cannabis becomes recreationally acceptable across the country, more are beginning to wonder what all the hype’s about. This curiosity is satisfied by the increasing number of studios adding classes that present a safe space for experimentation with yoga and cannabis. Whether you’re on board with stoned salutations or not, there’s no denying the positive influence it’s had for many yogis.

Why Yogis Smoke

The relationship between yoga and cannabis is nothing new; in fact, there’s evidence that the two have remained close throughout history. As ganja-friendly classes start to pop up in studios all over the country, practitioners are becoming more aware of the significance of cannabis in ancient yogic theory. The choice to indulge is highly personal, and for some, their reasoning is attached to the symbolic value deeply ingrained in the history of yoga. For others, their use has nothing to do with historical context; they simply appreciate the calming effects of cannabis on their practice.

How Cannabis Influences Yoga

Many practice yoga to find a sense of balance, focus, and clarity, all of which are also reasons for some to seek cannabis. With people stepping on their mat and lighting up with similar goals in mind, it’s no wonder, then, that the two are so often blended. Using yoga as a vehicle to spiritually get where you need to go is a valuable tool that alters our consciousness state and enhances the connection between mind and body. Cannabis nourishes an open-minded perspective which helps students understand teaching cues and improves their capacity to feel movements on a broader level. This combination, however, doesn’t necessarily provide yogic bliss for everyone and should be thoughtfully weighed before planting roots in any practice.

Thoughts to Consider

Now before you go hitting a joint and jumping into a headstand, there are a few points to ponder. Set the stage for your experience by selecting the appropriate strain and dosage according to the atmosphere you’ll be practicing in. Smoking yourself to the point of awkward discomfort won’t be fun in a crowded yoga room, and frankly, it could be dangerous for your neighbors. The person next to you likely won’t be amused by the ‘too high’ excuse if you topple over on them during practice. Likewise, if you hinder your ability to focus on the instructions provided in class, you’ll be that flailing distraction in the back, and nobody wants that. A word to the wise: know your limits beforehand and stick to the styles of yoga that benefit from the introduction of cannabis—slower classes like Yin are great! Getting high and going upside down isn’t for everyone, it’s about learning to embrace that you’re more of a savasana smoker.

How to Smoke Cannabis Without Getting Too High

As any cannabis consumer can attest, if there’s one feeling no one enjoys, it’s being too high. It can happen to anyone: maybe you took too big a hit trying to impress some friends, maybe the edible kicked in three hours late after you’d already eaten another thinking they weren’t working. Maybe you tried concentrates for the first time and underestimated their potency, or maybe you just have a lower tolerance than most. Whatever the cause, the result is the same: you’re in a whole other world, uncomfortably high, and feeling like you’re never coming down.

First of all, follow the immortal advice of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and DON’T PANIC! Nearly every cannabis consumer has been there at one point or another, and we’re all still here to tell the tale. To date, cannabis overdose has resulted in exactly zero deaths. As miserable as you may feel, you aren’t going to die. The next several minutes to several hours may be quite the journey, but you’ll be around to tell about it when it’s all over. First, we’ll discuss some ways to avoid getting to that “too high” point. Then we’ll present some potential strategies that may provide some relief after you’ve already crossed that threshold.

Avoid Getting Too High: Know Your Limits

Unfortunately, the key to not getting too high is to, well, not get too high!  This doesn’t sound helpful on its surface, but hear us out: in order to avoid getting too high, you need to know your limits. This means you need to know how much cannabis you need to consume to produce the effects you desire without going overboard.

It takes experience, and a little experimentation, to find the dose that’s right for you. If you’re just starting to use cannabis, start small and work your way up to a larger dose. The principle works the same as with any other substance: you can always take more, but you can’t un-smoke that last joint or negate that extra edible once it’s in your system.

Conscious Consumption: How Not To Get Too High

First, an important note on selecting a strain: studies have shown that CBD, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, can help negate the negative sensations that THC, the psychoactive component, can cause in some users. When starting out (or if you commonly experience paranoia or anxiety as a side-effect of cannabis), try selecting a strain that is relatively high in CBD and lower in THC. This may help you experience the positive effects of the herb without the intense negative side-effects.

We recommend starting by smoking the flower, vaporizing flower or cannabis concentrate, or using cannabis tinctures, as these methods allow you to consume cannabis in smaller increments, letting you fine-tune your dose until you find an amount that suits you.  Consuming cannabis through one of these methods also allows it to take effect more quickly, which in turn allows you to more accurately discern how much and which of the effects you are feeling.

For this same reason, we suggest holding off on using edibles until you have a better idea of your tolerance level. This is because edibles tend to take much longer to take effect than cannabis consumed through the mucous membranes of the lungs or mouth, making it more difficult to detect when you’ve had enough. Every edible cannabis consumer has a story about eating one (or several) too many edibles and suffering from the dreaded “couch lock” that comes with the intense physical high they produce.

If and when you do decide to try edibles, go for an option from a dispensary that lists the dosage on the packaging. If you’re making them at home, you can manipulate the potency to find a dose that suits you but isn’t overpowering. A good rule of thumb when trying edibles, especially as a beginner, is to start with one serving (usually 10mg THC), then wait three hours before consuming more. While three hours may sound extreme, edibles can take a very long time to “kick in,” differing greatly even in the same person. For this reason, they carry a higher overconsumption risk and should be used with caution.

You may choose to consume cannabis concentrates, such as dabs or shatter. Like edibles, these forms of cannabis require extra caution, as it’s easy to overconsume without realizing it. While you may be consuming cannabis with a friend who dabs regularly or takes massive hits of shatter on a daily basis, you are under no obligation to keep up with them! Start with a small amount, then give it at least 15 minutes to take effect before you consume more, especially if it’s your first time. You can always take more, but a large dabis enough to knock even the most seasoned cannabis consumer temporarily senseless, so exercise caution.

Now, let’s discuss cannabis use in conjunction with alcohol. Alcohol has been shown to enhance the effects of cannabis, making your cannabis high significantly more intense and combining with the effects of the alcohol to produce undesirable side-effects. For cannabis consumers who have “cross-faded” like this, the feeling of vertigo, often resulting in nausea (commonly known as “the spins”), is a familiar and wholly unpleasant feeling.

Because even small doses of alcohol can drastically influence your blood-THC levels, it’s best to stick to one beer, cocktail, or glass of wine when consuming cannabis in conjunction with alcohol. Wait an hour, and then consume another drink if you desire. It’s always better to pace yourself than to find you’ve gone too hard too quickly, especially in social situations, especially in social situations such as parties or festivals.

Coming Back: When You’ve Gone Too Far

The first and most important step to bringing yourself back to a comfortable space is to hydrate yourself. Water is obviously best, but herbal (or decaffeinated) tea, sports drinks, and other beverages will do in a pinch—whatever it takes to get you to consume fluids. Note that this rule does not extend to alcohol, as it will only enhance the already too-intense effects of the cannabis in your system. Sugary and caffeinated beverages should also be avoided, as they tend to act as diuretics, dehydrating you in the long term.

Do you have “the munchies?” Cannabis can often make us feel hungry, and consuming a light snack may help you feel less impaired. Fruits, nuts, vegetables, and cheeses are all good choices to satisfy your cravings while nourishing your body. It may not be a good idea to eat a heavy meal, as this can induce feelings of sluggishness, drowsiness, and potentially nausea.

It’s a good idea to keep some black peppercorns on hand—many long-time cannabis consumers swear by this trick. Chewing on a few peppercorns, or even sniffing some ground black pepper, may provide some relief if you find you’ve overindulged. The science behind it is fairly simple: the terpenes in the black pepper bind to the same receptors that cannabinoids do, resulting in a synergistic effect that yields feelings of calm. This means that black pepper could help you mitigate feelings of anxiety or paranoia that can result from getting too high.

If you’re still feeling uncomfortably “elevated,” now is a good time to find a place to rest for awhile. Dim the lights, find a soft blanket to curl up with, give yourself all the pillows you need—whatever you need to do to make yourself completely comfortable. If you’re experiencing “the spins,” you can try placing one foot on the floor to help “ground” yourself; many cannabis consumers find that this helps stave off feelings of vertigo. Once you’re situated, just relax. You may find you drift off to sleep, or you may not. Take a nap if you can; you might wake up a bit groggy, but you’ll feel much better. If you find you can’t sleep, don’t fret. Just rest, and rise when you feel you’re ready.

As we discussed briefly earlier, there is some evidence to suggest that CBD can counteract the effects of THC, particularly the negative effects. If you order CBD oil tinctures, you might consider taking a dose (most are consumed sublingually and absorbed by the mucous membranes of the mouth, so they act relatively quickly) and seeing how you feel over the next fifteen minutes or so. For instantaneous relief, you could try inhaling from a CBD vaporizer cartridge or dabbing some 99% CBD Isolate. Worst case scenario, you won’t feel any different from before—CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it can’t possibly get you any higher than you already are.

Restless Soul:  When You Can’t Sleep It Off

Sometimes cannabis gives us energy, and that energy needs to be directed someplace. That’s okay! Taking a walk can provide the release you need, grounding you in the present and refocusing your mind. Most cannabis consumers will agree that a walk in a natural setting is more peaceful than walking through a crowded square or street, which can aggravate feelings of paranoia and self-consciousness. Find a park or quiet trail to walk if you can, though just getting some fresh air by stepping onto a patio or into a backyard may do you some good.

Perhaps it’s raining or otherwise unpleasant outside (cold weather, in particular, can be especially insufferable when you’re too high). That’s okay, you still have plenty of options! The goal is to take your mind off how high you feel. Take a bubble bath or a shower and enjoy the heightened sensation, as well as the relaxation. Draw how you’re feeling, or grab a coloring book and settle in for a bit. Cuddle your significant other or your pet, or talk with your friends (who are hopefully right beside you, encouraging you that everything is going to be okay).

If you’re by yourself, you can use media options to pass the time while you “come down.” Play a video game and get “zoned in” for as long as you please. Listen to a favorite album while sitting in your favorite chair. Watch something that makes you laugh (I mean really laugh), and enjoy the endorphin rush. Put on a nature or space documentary if you’d rather contemplate a little while enjoying striking and evocative visuals, or a cooking show for a little culinary inspiration: you can make yourself something delicious, being as creative as you please! By redirecting your attention, you can change your perception of your high long enough to get through it.

Conclusion

Whether you’ve found yourself past a point of seemingly no return with cannabis in the past, or are new and trying to avoid that “too high” feeling altogether, knowing your limits is key to maintaining a pleasant cannabis experience. As with any other mind-altering substance, cannabis’ effects increase with dosage, and taking too much can produce undesirable sensations. Knowing how to consciously consume cannabis and recognize your personal limits can keep you from reaching that dreaded “never coming down” feeling in the first place.

Why Does Cannabis Affect Everyone Differently?

If you’ve spent any time in the cannabis community, you’ve probably heard a variety of different cannabis experiences from fellow users. Not only are there vast numbers of different strains that produce different effects, each individual strain can have widely different effects across different patients, even at the same dose. How can this be? Fortunately, scientific analysis of the effects of cannabis yields some potential reasons for these differing levels and types of experiences among users.

To begin, it is important to note that many pharmaceutical drugs, each carefully manufactured, dosed, and administered, can still produce widely different effects across patients. From opioid painkillers to psychotropic drugs to sleep aids, everyone reacts to medications differently. This does not preclude these drugs from being widely used and prescribed by physicians for a variety of conditions, and we accept that we may have to work with our physician to find the right dosage and medication, or combination of medications, to make us well.

Cannabis is no different in that we should not expect it to act uniformly across our varied, complex, vastly intricate systems. As with any substance with medicinal properties, different people with different biology will respond to it in different ways. This knowledge naturally leads us to the conclusion that different people should consume cannabis differently, if they elect to consume it at all; however, it does not demonstrate that cannabis is inherently dangerous in any way. 

Here, we’ll discuss several factors that can influence the way cannabis is processed by the body, thereby changing the effects it produces. While some of them are a little high-tech (I don’t expect most of us will run out and have ourselves genotyped, after all), we hope that they’ll provide some potential insight into your own cannabis experience.

Cannabis Response: It’s In Your Genes

According to a study conducted in 2013, the long-term effects of cannabis are determined in part by your genes. The study took 83 cannabis smokers and 58 people who did not use any drugs, genotyped each subject (essentially, coming up with each subject’s genetic “blueprint” in order to determine genetic differences between subjects) and tested them in a variety of cognitive functions.

Interestingly, the study found no statistically significant correlation between lifetime cannabis consumption and long-term decline of executive function (the action that takes place in the frontal lobe of your brain and helps you make decisions), counter to the expectations of the researchers. However, it did find some genetic differences in the way cannabis affects us in the long term.

Researchers analyzed the effects of two genes, COMTval158met and 5-HTTLPR, on sustained attention (a measure of your ability to maintain focus over an extended period) and monitoring/shifting (your ability to keep track of moving objects or components simultaneously). This requires a bit of background science to explain, but don’t glaze over just yet: we’ll get to the interesting stuff shortly.

There are two alleles, or possible different expressions of the same gene, that you can carry for the COMTval158met gene:  val or met.  Since you carry two alleles per gene (one inherited from each parent), your genotype, or personal genetic makeup, can either be val/valmet/met, or val/met. Each of these three combinations of alleles produces a different expression of this gene, which influences how cannabis affects us in the long term.

Researchers found that val/val carriers who smoked scored lower in sustained attention than val/val carriers who didn’t smoke, suggesting that val/val carriers might be more susceptible to negative effects of cannabis on the ability to sustain focus.

The study also found that cannabis smokers who carried the val allele (meaning their genotype is val/val or val/met) made more errors in the shifting/monitoring test than did met/met carriers who also smoked. This is interesting because among non-drug users, met/metcarriers tend to do worse in shifting/monitoring than val/val carriers. Cannabis use appears to reverse this trend in the presence of this particular gene expression.

Concerning the 5-HTTLPR gene, the study concluded that “there is also evidence that the proposed link between cannabis use and depression is only present in cannabis users carrying the s/s genotype.” People carrying the s/s expression of this gene, which affects the production of a protein related to the transport of serotonin in the brain, have been shown to have a predisposition toward depression. In these people, cannabis use appears to exacerbate this risk.

Cannabinoid Content: Why It Matters

There is scientific evidence to show what cannabis users have been saying for decades: all strains are not created equal. A study conducted in 2010 examined the combined effects of THC and CBD, the two most prominent cannabinoids in cannabis. They found that CBD has the ability to act as a “blocker” for some of the negative effects of cannabis that can be produced by THC in some users, such as feelings of anxiety.

If you’re someone prone to anxiety or paranoia when you smoke, it may be helpful to try a strain with a relatively high CBD content and lower THC concentration, or to dose with a CBD concentrate before consuming THC. By increasing the amount of CBD, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, that you consume, you may be able to mitigate or eliminate some of the negative effects of cannabis. Conversely, you should avoid high-THC, low-CBD strains, as these are more likely to produce unwanted side-effects or bring about that uncomfortable, “too high” feeling.

Cannabis and Environment:  Setting the Mood

As far back as 1971, researchers have suggested that the effects experienced by cannabis users is in part dependent on the environment in which it is consumed.  This isn’t to say that a cannabis high is “all in your head.” However, consuming cannabis in an environment in which you feel comfortable and at ease, while you are in a good mood, can help you experience more of its positive aspects. Cannabis can act as an amplifier for what you’re feeling, meaning that while a joint or puff off a vape can make a good day even better, you may find yourself going down a “rabbit hole” of negativity or consumed with anxiety if you smoke at the wrong time.

Consuming cannabis at a crowded event may help calm you, but it can also induce paranoia and fear in some users. If you’re new to cannabis, skip that joint at a festival or party and opt for a quiet toke at home with a friend or two (there’s evidence that we have more positive experiences with cannabis when we consume it with others, especially loved ones). Once you’ve gained a bit more experience and have a better idea how cannabis interacts with your system, you can begin to experiment with using it in different situations. Be cautious of dabs and other concentrates, as you may find yourself higher than you intended on relatively little product.

Conclusion

There is no single reason that cannabis affects any one person differently from another. Scientists have found over 113 compounds within the cannabis plant, and due to the difficulty involved in performing research (thanks to the continued Schedule I status of cannabis at the federal level), our understanding of its effects and the mechanisms behind them remains sorely limited. Much more research is necessary to fully account for the subtle differences in the ways our bodies process cannabinoids, but this article helps give you a starting point.

How to Use Cannabis with Meditation

Meditation invites us to draw our awareness inward, away from outside distractions, and calm the cluttered waves of the mind. Onlookers might view this as glorified sitting, but to find a real sense of stillness amidst chaos takes a ton of mental control. It challenges us to abandon the inner dialogue that dictates much of our existence and stay present with every breath. That means stop going over the rapidly-accruing to-do list in your mind, let go of tomorrow’s anxieties, and forget about the embarrassing thing you said to your cute coworker last week. Easier said than done, right? That’s where cannabis comes into play and can make all the difference for those struggling to find their zen. In this age of acceptance, the combination of cannabis and mindfulness has become increasingly popular among practitioners. So next time you’re fighting for some peace of mind, consider lighting up before turning down.

Benefits of Meditation

In today’s hustle, it’s imperative we take time for a mental reboot every now and again. I’m not talking about margarita therapy or a lavish vacation to the tropics. Meditation is an accessible and healthy way to relieve stress and anxiety while providing relaxation and clarity. When left to their devices, negative thoughts have the power to plague our minds and run rampant with our emotions. Meditation intervenes by shining awareness on the destructive patterns of thought that inhibit our quality of life. This heightened level of consciousness restores control over our emotional state and deepens our sense of self. A regular meditation practice cultivates an internal safe-haven away from the hyper-stimulating world in which we exist. When you’ve got a hundred deadlines or the traffic is unbearable, or you’re just overwhelmed in general, this space of stillness is there to take some of the load off.

How Cannabis Supports Meditation

Restoration, mental focus, and stress release are all intimately connected with both cannabis and meditation. It’s no wonder, then, that many are turning to this combination for an enhanced reflective practice. Cannabis interacts with our unique endocannabinoid system to produce a euphoric sensation, making it the perfect tool for reaching a desired state of mind. It’s worth noting that the varying characteristics of cannabinoid profiles should be well-thought-out when choosing to enlighten with marijuana. Mixing a notoriously uplifting or energizing strain with meditation likely won’t bring the tranquil experience you were expecting. It’s wise to explore all the prospects before embarking on your meditative journey. When first integrating cannabis and meditation, we suggest combusting or vaporizing your cannabis as opposed to ingesting it. That’s because consumption methods that involve inhalation make it easier to control dosage and intensity. We’ll go over specific strain recommendations below as those should be chosen on conjunction with the type of meditation you intend to practice.

Methods and Strains for Meditation

Gazing

Find a strain that promotes focus and concentration to help keep your sights set during a gazing meditation. Centering on a fixed object over a length of time encourages wandering thoughts to pass without attachment. Maybe for you, it’s a flickering flame or perhaps a rippling body of water that can naturally draw you into a trance. Settle your attention on whatever brings a full-body sense of calm and allows the waves of the mind to slowly dissipate.

Breathwork

When we’re physically and mentally relaxed, the body reflects this sensation as deeply rejuvenating breaths. Alternately, when we’re in a state of fear or panic, breathing becomes shallow and rapid. This physical translation of emotions has a profound impact on our overall well-being, which is why many use breathwork to regain control. An uplifting strain with the ability to suppress anxiety best serves the purpose of harnessing the power of the breath.

Body Awareness

For some, calming the mind is a piece of cake, while sitting still is the most challenging aspect of meditation. This stationary form of reflection empowers us to facilitate an inner conversation with the body, observe areas of tension, and mindfully allow them to relax. An indica dominant strain that delivers a thick body high without dulling the mind puts us right where we need to be for the physical release of collected stress.

Cannabis & Creativity: Chris Soll’s Sativa Revelation

Chris Soll is graphic designer, blogger, business owner, and creative powerhouse with his hand in a variety of unique projects. I linked up with Chris after stumbling upon his amazing Instagram account. In this exclusive interview, Chris discusses the positive role cannabis has played in his life, and specifically how it has unlocked his creative potential.

Give me a little background; where are you from and where do you live?

I’m originally from Germany, though I’ve spent 20 years living in Sydney Australia now. I speak both languages fluently and feel like I’m returning home whenever I fly out to either place.

All it takes is one look at your Instagram to recognize your pension for design and creativity; when did this all start?

I’ve been drawing since I can remember. Most of my school life was spent by me covering my arms, desks & bags with intricate little patterns. My grades naturally reflected that; and although they weren’t great, I always maintained a solid ‘A+’ in Art. This was a very early sign that I’d end up in some kind of creative industry. With the advent of computers, I managed to merge my passion with technology and decided to become a graphic designer. I studied for 3 years at college, then spent 6 years working for various big brands in their design departments, before finally going freelance about 5 years ago. I’ve never looked back.

At what point did you recognize that cannabis played a positive role in your creative abilities?

Well, it took a while. In Australia, cannabis still has quite a bad reputation; many people think it will destroy your life, make you fat & lazy, and all those other silly outdated stereotypes. I had personally tried cannabis about 10 times over roughly 10 years (starting at 16). Every time it had the same effect, I’d laugh, my eyes would get droopy, then I’d get hungry, and soon I’d be asleep. I thought this was all there was to it, so I never gravitated towards it very much, instead sticking to alcohol like everyone else.

It wasn’t until I visited some friends in Germany in 2012 that things changed. At a party someone was passing a joint around, and I had a few drags – expecting the usual response. However, I noticed that 15 minutes after, my eyes were still wide apart, no drowsiness or droopiness. Thinking it was a weak strain, I had more, and soon realized that I was completely high…but without the usual associated lethargy. Asking the guys at the party, they assured me that I must just have been smoking the wrong shit (Indica vs Sativa)…which was news to me. The next morning I woke up, a little dazed, trying to remember the last hours of the night before. Walking to my work desk, I noticed a crossed out “to-do” list of most of my outstanding freelance design jobs. It suddenly came back to me that I had stayed up once I’d come home, still stoned, feeling creatively invigorated. After proofing the work, I was amazed to discover that it was all great, very meticulous, very creative, and completely on point.

Can you tell me a bit more about why it helps your design process?

Sure, after returning to Australia it took me quite a bit of searching to find someone who could supply cannabis sativa, so that I could replicate the effects I experienced in Germany. Since then, it’s been a great tool in my creative tool belt. Whenever I need to brainstorm ideas or have a design job that takes meticulous attention to detail, this wonder plant helps me temporarily bridge the low level of ADD I feel I now have from all phones, TV’s & social media.


Without it, I’m certain my life would look a lot different right now – probably not as creative, interesting, free and spiritually connected


I used to never contemplate working on projects that would take me longer than a day to finish, but while under the influence of cannabis, I’m more than happy to take my time, slow-flow, and really put in those hours needed to create highly detailed work. It also lifts my mood, which plays a huge role in wanting to stick at a certain project that I might otherwise try to rush through or put off.

What advice do you have for anyone interested in a creative, design, or photography role?

When everyone goes right, go left 🙂

But seriously, I would recommend anyone who makes a living off their ideas or their hand craft to at least give cannabis an open minded try. But be aware, I didn’t start smoking until I was 27, which is 2 years after my brain’s frontal lobe completed construction. Because I was already older, I’m finding it easier to control my intake, whereas I feel a lot of younger people tend to overindulge and then burn themselves out. My common practice is to roll a nice joint, in a calm & meditative fashion. It’s a ritual for me, and I have respect for the plant.


I’ve found it’s made me infinitely more interested in subjects I would usually not spend any time exploring


I will then take just 3-5 inhales, before I put the joint back in my little tube and put it aside for at least 2-4 hours. Doing this allows me to get into the state, but without going so far to create any mental confusion, which can sometimes happen for a little while when first coming up. I will do this 2-3 times over a work day, and I tend to only use it 2-3 days a week, in particular on my content creation & creative thinking days. This allows me to stay clear & focused, using the plant to it’s maximum capacity without any negative/scattered/lethargic side effects. In the future, I’ll be adding a vaporizer into the mix, since I know that inhaling smoke isn’t healthy, even though it’s still a long way away from the damaging effects of commercial tobacco.

Since I began working from home and adding cannabis to my weekly working schedule I’ve found it’s made me infinitely more interested in subjects I would usually not spend any time exploring. As a result of this added interest, in the last 4 years I’ve practically stopped drinking alcohol, I’ve learned meditation (life upgrade!), I’ve overhauled my diet (which is now giving me the energy levels of a 15 year old), and I’ve stopped watching TV and instead started reading books. The end result; I’ve learned to build a passive income business that makes money while I sleep. I’m not saying one can’t do these things without cannabis. What I am saying is that if I hadn’t been high a couple of times a week over the last few years, I’m certain my life would look a lot different right now – probably not as creative, interesting, free and spiritually connected as it currently is 🙂

What other special projects are you involved in?

Well, I launched a merchandise brand focused on metallic tattoos just over a year ago named iamucollective.


I noticed there was a gap in the market, since I thought I could create better looking designs than what was already out there. I then spent many focused hours creating 7x different tattoo collections, of which we’ve sold over 10,000 units in the first year.

This has enabled me to quit working freelance for other people, and I’m now completely focused on my own projects. I also have a travel blog with my partner where we produce content through our travels. On the horizon are more product lines for iamu, a new charity contribution scheme, and some information products to share the things I’ve learned over these last 4 years of being unusually interested in everything from diet, the mind, online business, philosophy and many other topics. Things are looking very good, and I’m incredibly grateful for the turn my life has taken during the later years of my 20’s.

You have traveled all across the world, what is the one place everyone should visit?

Some of my favorite places on this earth of ours are Fiji (in particular Qamea Island), the Greek Islands (special mention: Crete), and my favorite city Berlin: a place where creativity & individuality is praised. You know what they say, life is a book and those who don’t travel read only the first page.

Olympian Ross Rebagliati On Unlocking Your Full Potential With Cannabis

Ross Rebagliati is a Canadian professional snowboarder and Olympic gold medalist. After winning the giant slalom event at the 1998 Nagano games, he was found to have THC in his blood and was automatically disqualified. The controversial decision was later overturned as THC was not actually on the list of banned substances, and Ross was given back the gold medal. But why strip the medal from any Olympian for testing positive to a substance that wasn’t actually banned? It was out of this frustration that Ross began to fight back – becoming an activist, businessman, and spokesperson for cannabis. We sat down to talk with Ross about how you can incorporate cannabis into your life in a healthy way.

What is your preferred consumption method?

I prefer edibles for the morning and the evening if I have a busy day. Concentrate vaporizers are also convenient for certain situations.

Many perceive cannabis as a lazy drug, how do you manage to stay so active and motivated while consuming?

The perception that cannabis is a lazy drug is nothing more than that. Each person has a choice in life to be productive or not. Sure an inexperienced user could inadvertently get they’re hands on some heavy indica and end up in a couch lock situation, but that’s not how educated cannabis users operate. For me, cannabis unlocks the potential within everyday. Whether its with my family or pulling extra hours at work, cannabis helps me appreciate every moment for what its worth. Personally, cannabis also has an uncanny quality of bringing priorities to the surface, helping me better manage my day, week, month, year and life in general.

Can you tell me specifically about your cannabis regimen as it pertains to athletics?

With regard to athletics, my cannabis consumption regime isn’t much different then another day. I always wake up around 5 or 6 am and have coffee with medicated honey as sweetener. If I’m going to the gym (like most days at 6am), I’ll use my RossGold vape pen with wax or shatter in the parking lot right before I go in to increase motivation and focus. Typically, I’ll have 3 or 4 puffs. This dose would vary depending on ones individual tolerance. Depending on the activity, I would also use cannabis as a recovery tool. For example, after a 60 mile bike ride, I would use a high CBD strain of flower or extract to conquer achy, inflamed muscles. If I actually incur an open wound i.e. a cut or road rash, then I use a sativa with lots of THC to manage that kind of pain. Mixing two of these strains together in a joint or vaporizer can be effective in treating both kinds of pain at the same time. Hybrids are now becoming standard with sativa and indica bred together with varying ratios of THC to CBD. When I need to get to bed early and recover from a crazy day, I will eat 2-4 medicated chocolates (2 doses per chocolate), which aid with sleep. I will have 2 chocolates at night on a normal day and increase the dose depending on my physical output and stress level that day. Getting the required sleep each night is perhaps the most important aspect of being healthy. Muscles grow and recover best during deep sleep.

What’s in your snowboarding stash? How do you carry it?

Over the years my snowboard stash has changed with the times. It would normally be 3 or 4 joints for the day, totaling 3-4 grams. I like to pre-roll if possible. These days it’ll be using edibles in the morning to combat sore muscles from the day before and then using high-THC activity-ready sativa strains during the day for focus, awareness, and alertness. Our RossGold vape pens are great in a blizzard as they can be operated with gloves on in gale force winds. In the old days, I would use a film container. Kids these days wouldn’t even know what I’m talking about…(laughs).

 

Do you think that the stigma of cannabis users has changed as of recent?

The stigma surrounding cannabis use has changed for the better. The continued research and scientific evidence is changing the way open minded individuals perceive cannabis use. People now realize the ideological thinking of the past that kept cannabis illegal was a mistake. The benefits of cannabis are far reaching and have yet to be fully explored. Having said that, the safety (lack of toxicity and side-effects) of cannabis makes its mainstream recreational acceptance stellar when compared to other legal, recreational products like alcohol and tobacco.

What else do you recommend people to do help refine the perception of cannabis?

Practice sensible ‘sensi’ etiquette, but also, many businesses could provide appropriate smoking areas. This would get puffers off the chairlift and into a designated public consumption area. Spaces where people can get together and be social – ski resorts, golf courses, hotels, tour groups, etc. need to include this marketing adjustment into their future business plans; providing areas and/or entire venues that are cannabis friendly. The financial upside would be enormous. This sort of action would really be forward thinking and help normalize cannabis use. Get it out of the shadows and be proud, just in a respectful way!

Perfect Skincare With Cannabis: Why and How?

The benefits of CBD are never-ending. CBD is becoming increasingly popular in skincare (Ulta recently introduced a line of CBD-infused skincare products, and more are sure to follow suit). Still, lack of regulation means that many of the products on the market are at best inconsistent and, at worst, downright ineffective.

For those of us who have experience with them, skin ailments and conditions can be devastating and embarrassing, affecting the physical and mental well-being of those who have them. With the increasing use of harsh chemicals in skin care products, it makes sense people are searching for more organic and natural beauty products.

Beauty products like face masksday creams, and body lotions with CBD as its active ingredient are emerging rapidly in the market. Whole plant CBD and hemp-derived CBD are natural anti-inflammatories, which makes them ideal for combatting skin ailments.

Why Use CBD for Skincare?

It is well known that CBD was used as a curative herb thousands of years ago. It is now known as the magical herb having a myriad of health benefits. It is known to aid in the treatment of a wide range of skin diseases ranging from psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and acne to minimizing seizures, stress, and insomnia.

Here are a few reasons as to why CBD works well in the skincare regime.

1. Healing Properties of CBD

CBD has therapeutic and anti-inflammation properties and can work better than vitamin C and A as an antioxidant. This can help to treat and soothe irritated skin, painful acne and stimulate cell regeneration for a healthier, youthful look.

2. CBD Produces Lipids

Research indicates that CBD has the ability to produce lipids, which are essential components of skin and play a crucial role in the skin’s barrier function. Thus, CBD helps in increasing the skin’s hydration and barrier function, and in regulating and treating the skin cells.

3.  CBD is Anti-Bacterial

Due to the presence of the terpenes in it, CBD has strong anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and sebum-reducing components. When applied to the affected area, it can work as both an anti-inflammatory and an antibiotic to heal and cure the infected area.

4. Immunosuppressives of CBD

CBD, like other cannabinoids, has immunosuppressive properties, which means it can partially or completely suppress the immune response of an individual. This helps CBD to work on skin conditions from the inside out. This can help to treat severe skin diseases like Psoriasis.

5. CBD Provides Ultraviolet Protection

Hemp oil, extracted from marijuana seeds, is loaded with fatty acids that address sun damage. UV rays are associated with a number of skin ailments like aging and cancer, so using CBD oil can ease dry skin and result in a healthier, more protected skin.

6. CBD Stimulates The Endocannabinoid System 

CBD stimulates activity in the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system plays a key role in the regulation of sebum production. If your body is producing too much sebum, CBD can calm the sebaceous glands by regulating oil production. It can also provide much-needed balance to a deficient endocannabinoid system.

How To Incorporate CBD In Your Skincare?

1. CBD Oil for Skin

People have been using coconut oil and tea tree oil for centuries in their skin care routine but there’s an important ingredient to use – CBD oil. Apart from using CBD for anxiety, it can also be used directly as a night serum or can be added to your scrubs and face masks for instant hydration and rejuvenation. Opt for pure CBD oil with no THC content for best results.

2. CBD Infused Creams for Skin

Switch your regular cream with a CBD infused cream for replenished and supple skin. Many of these come with non-greasy and entirely plant-based formula and are specially designed to work with your natural pH to deliver the ultimate skin protection. There are sunscreens also available which are infused with CBD.


3. CBD Topicals for Pain Relief

Topicals are the best method of application of CBD to give instant pain relief. Many people use these to treat aching feet and joints and to soothe cramped muscles. The anti-inflammatory properties are also perfect for prevention of wrinkles and acne.

4. CBD Lip Balms

If you’re skeptical about using CBD beauty products, CBD infused lip balms are the best way to try out this trend. They work to hydrate and moisturize chapped and dry lips to give soft, supple lips and are available in fresh mesmerizing flavors.

5. CBD Facial Cleansers

With CBD-infused cleansers, your daily skin care routine can benefit from the naturally nourishing and rejuvenating properties of CBD. These cleansers are sulfate free and gently washes away dirt and oil to leave your face smooth and youthful looking. Using it can help to keep your pores clean and skin clarified.

Obstacles concerning the legal use of cannabis can also obstruct its use.

CBD is legal to purchase online — as long as it is derived from industrial hemp and not marijuana. The trick is to find a brand that is able to put this powerful ingredient effectively combined with other good ingredients in a modern formula. One of our favorites is Joy Organics.

Joy Organics removes all traces of THC from their CBD extract.  This process yields a full-spectrum product that provides the benefits of secondary cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids without the risk of THC contamination.

Joy Organics has created a line of skincare products that combine CBD with other skin-nourishing ingredients to improve the look and feel of any complexion over time.

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Juicing Cannabis: Medicine without the High

The act of juicing leafy greens like kale and spinach may not come as a surprise to many of you, but have you ever thought about juicing raw cannabis? Believe it or not, cannabis is one of the most nutritionally complete food sources known to man. And what many don’t realize is that raw cannabis, which simply is freshly harvested material as opposed to dried or cured, delivers therapeutic effects without the traditional ‘high’, similar to CBD. We will help you understand the benefits of consuming raw cannabis and how to do so effectively.

What’s so Great About Cannabis?

Simply put, cannabis is powerhouse of a vegetable. The seeds alone contain fatty acids (Omega-6, Omega-3, Omega-9, and stearic & palmitic acid), protein, vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6, C, & E), and minerals (like iron and calcium). In its protein, it contains all known amino acids, including those most important to the human body; those which we cannot synthesize on our own. Juicing leaves extracts vital antioxidants, minerals and elements found in other rich leafy greens (such as kale) like calcium, iron, potassium, carotenoids, zinc and selenium. In terms of plant phytochemicals stored in the leaf tissue and trichome heads, the cannabis plant has more variety and abundance than almost any other species on earth. It shares beta carotene with carrots, limonene with lemons, and high levels of anthocyanins with blood oranges/cherries. Anthocyanins are known to be a non-narcotic but highly effective analgesic. In addition to its nutritional value, raw cannabis also contains the terpenes and cannabinoids (in their acidic form) that provide nearly all of the therapeutic effects associated with cannabis.

What are the Benefits of Raw Cannabis?

Raw cannabis is rich in plant-derived cannabinoids and essential nutrients capable of preventing and healing many diseases. Specifically, raw cannabis juice has been used to treat autoimmune disorders like Lupus, severe arthritis, and even brain tumors. In your daily life, it can boost your energy level, enhance your health, ease your pain, and more. Other known benefits to regular consumption include reduced inflammation, gastrointestinal relief, and decreased muscle pain and soreness.

Raw cannabis juice activates the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors and triggers an antioxidant release, removing damaged cells from the body. For those who are unfamiliar, nearly every human and animal on earth has an endocannabinoid (EC) system responsible for managing a vast range of physiological processes including mood, memory, pain-sensation, and appetite. The EC receptors are found in the brain, organs, connective tissue, glands and immune cells – all throughout the body. Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids to drive all those functions, but we’ve discovered that cannabis is also capable of stimulating our EC receptors and boosting our well-being.

The primary cannabinoids found in raw cannabis are THCa and CBDa – the ‘a’ designating they exist in their non-psychoactive, acidic form. Given that THCa is non-psychoactive, it can be metabolized in much larger doses than THC, making it an attractive option for those seeking the powerful medical benefits without the traditional cannabis ‘high’. The key here is that raw cannabis leaves allow for administration of therapeutic levels of cannabinoids without sending you to the moon. For a full list of the medical benefits associated with each cannabinoid, click here.

How to Juice Cannabis

You don’t need to go crazy with the extra ingredients. Our recipe is simple, delicious, and designed to compliment the cannabis flavors with a refreshing, organic taste. Feel free add your favorite fruits and vegetables to achieve your preferred juice blend.

30 grams of raw, fresh cannabis leaves (or 10-15 grams of raw, fresh cannabis buds)

1 Cucumber

1 Apple

½ of a Lemon

2 Carrots

1 Piece of ginger (based on personal preference)

Assuming you have access to raw, fresh cannabis material, the act of juicing it is relatively simple – just follow our visual guide.

  1. Use a Masticating Juicer

    Masticating juicers (aka cold pressed juicers), use a slower, crushing and squeezing action as opposed to centrifugal juicers, which use sharp teeth and high speeds to spin pulp around in its chamber. This is an important distinction as the high speeds associated with centrifugal juicers cause heat, which can inadvertently convert your THCa into THC. This process of converting cannabinoids in their acidic (non-psychoactive) form to their activated (psychoactive) form is known as decarboxylation, and is accelerated by heat. Although masticating juicers are more expensive than centrifugal juicers, they are twice as efficient and effective when it comes to extracting the juice from leafy greens. You may as well get the most out of your plants!

  2. Select the Appropriate Strain

    You should select a strain with a cannabinoid profile that is effective in treating your specific symptoms or ailment. What we mean is that certain combinations of cannabinoids are more effective at treating Lupus, while a different combination may be more effective for treating those that suffer from seizures. Not sure where to start? Check out our guide detailing the therapeutic benefits of each cannabinoid. Any and all of the cannabinoids can be combined for synergistic relief – this is known as the entourage effect. The good news is that even if you only have access to high-THC strains, juicing the plant allows you to extract a cannabinoid-rich juice with no risk of psychoactivity.

  3. Use Raw, Freshly Harvested Plant Material

    The important part here is that you use raw, freshly harvested plant material as the decarboxylation process begins to occur immediately after harvest. Recently harvested cannabis can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few weeks. You can juice nearly any part of the cannabis plant; the colas (male, female, or hermaphrodite), leaves, and even the seeds. Please note that the colas, or buds, have a higher concentration of cannabinoids than the leaves. Either part of the plant can be used alone, but a combination is ideal. Leaves can be taken in either the vegetative or flowering stage of the plant’s lifecycle. The plant material should appear green and healthy, without evidence of mold or pests. We recommend using only plants that were grown organically. If using plants grown with synthetic nutrients, please ensure that they are properly ‘flushed’ prior to juicing. We recommend avoiding plants that received potentially toxic foliar sprays (insecticides, fungicides, etc.).

  4. Wash the Fresh Cannabis

    It is recommended that you wash the plant material prior to juicing.

    You can soak the leaves and/or colas in cold water for a few minutes and then drain the water.

  5. Juice the Plant Material

    It’s finally time to turn on the masticating juicer and run the plant material through it. The specifics of this process will depend on the model of juicer you are using.

    Typically, the juice comes out of one side, while the pulp and fiber is released separately.

  6. Save or Consume

    As a general rule of thumb; the raw cannabis juice is best if consumed immediately following the extraction. However, it can also be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen into ice cubes and stored in the freezer for several months. The raw juice has a strong, bitter, leafy green taste; therefore, we recommend combining the cannabis with the juice of other fruits and vegetables.

Common FAQ’s

How much do I consume?

Dr. William L. Courtney, the foremost specialist on raw cannabis juice, recommends you start with a small taster dose (a sip of juice) to ensure there are no allergic reactions or psychoactivity. Once accustomed, he recommends progressively increasing the dose to 10-15 grams of fresh, raw cannabis buds each day as a supplement. For reference, this would equate to roughly 30 grams of fresh leaves. These plant material weights coincide with Dr. Courtney’s suggested daily intake of 250-500mg of plant-based cannabinoids in the form of non-psychoactive acid.

Can I combine cannabis with kale/spinach/other leafy greens in my favorite juice recipe?

Yes! As long as you are using a masticating juicer, feel free to add cannabis juice to any and all recipes.

Where can I access raw, fresh plant material?

The best source of freshly harvested cannabis is a personal garden. If this isn’t an option, we recommend contacting your local dispensary or caregiver. Both dispensaries and caregivers are willing to work with these patients, as commercial gardens produce significant quantities of fan leaves that can be harvested at any time in the plant’s life cycle.

Are there any other ways to get relief without the high?

Yes! Hemp derived CBD products like tinctures, salves, and ingestible gel caps all provide relief without the traditional high caused by THC. This is because CBD is non-psychoactive in all forms and has a greater medical efficacy than THC – this is why CBD is used to treat children and the elderly. The best part? CBD is completely legal to purchase online and can be shipped to all 50 states.

Does Juiced Cannabis Contain CBD?

This will all depend on the specific strain of starting material used. Unless you are working with hemp or a known high-CBD strain, chances are there are only trace amounts of CBD in the juice. Each strain of cannabis contains different ratios of cannabinoids; some of which get you ‘high,’ others of which are non-psychoactive.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

    Cannabis is a powerhouse of a vegetable that everyone should consider
    Juicing allows you to add the benefits of cannabis to your diet without getting high
    Use fresh, raw cannabis in a slow-speed, masticating juicer

 


How to Smoke a Joint Properly: 10 Rules and Tips

No matter your smoking experience level, it’s always important to stay current on your joint etiquette — nobody wants to be “that guy.” By following the code of conduct below, you’ll ensure you don’t embarrass yourself the next time you’re handed a joint. Think of this guide as a sort of cotillion for joint smokers – retain your invite to the smoke circle with these helpful tips.

How to Smoke a Joint

  1. Respect Rolling Seniority

    You don’t have to be the best joint roller in the world, but you should know how your rolling skills stack up against others. If you can’t roll well and you know someone else can, it’s best to let him or her take the reins. Everyone will have a more enjoyable experience smoking a pearled joint instead of your hack-job. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice though! One day you might find yourself as the most experienced roller available, and we can help you improve your joint rolling skills for when that day comes.

  2. Learn to Use a Crutch

    A crutch can be made from just about any paper-like material (a paper scrap, a business card, we’ve even seen one MacGyvered from a straw wrapper — anything goes), and you can even buy pre-cut crutches. There is no need to hand someone a sloppy joint that barely rips. Crutches eliminate Scooby snacks, soggy ends, and make the entire social smoking experience more pleasant. Furthermore, you can use the crutch as a handle when you hand the joint to the person next to you. Similarly, if you’re on the receiving end of the hand-off, grab the joint by the crutch instead of crushing the tube of ground cannabis.

  3. Don’t Expect to Hit it without Contributing

    We all know someone who frequently jumps in the joint rotation without contributing – not cool! Don’t be this person. Even if you don’t have bud, it’s appreciated when someone offers cash, food, or something else useful if you want in on the joint. Those who typically smoke out the group will take notice, and you’ll maintain a comfortable, open invite.

  4. He Who Rolled Shall Light

    The person who rolled the joint has the right to light it and hit it first. While this sounds trivial, wouldn’t you be upset if the joint you just spent time rolling was carelessly lit like a cigarette by an amateur? It’s acceptable for the roller to offer this privilege to someone else, but they have full control over the ignition process.

  5. Puff, Puff, Pass

    This is the cardinal rule of joint smoking – take two hits and then pass that thing! Don’t hog the joint or it may be the last time you’re welcome in that smoking circle. If you’re smoking with close friends and you have a different rule, that’s okay – house rules are a thing, after all — but in most scenarios, stick to puff, puff, pass unless otherwise instructed.

  6. Ash Before You Pass

    You don’t want to be responsible for ruining your friends favorite piece of clothing or furniture – ash before you pass! It’s very simple. Nobody likes to be on the receiving end of an un-ashed joint, so don’t put that on the next person in rotation.  Ash, then pass.

  7. The Joint is Not a Microphone

    Cannabis has a unique way of bringing people together and part of getting acquainted is telling stories. By all means, keep sharing, but please don’t use the joint as your personal microphone! Remember rule #5? Nobody likes it when you hold the joint and forget to smoke it until the cherry goes out.  The joint is not the Talking Stick, so please don’t treat it as such!

  8. Stick to the Original Rotation

    Regardless of whether you’re actually standing in a circle, everyone should stick to the original joint rotation. Typically, the joint roller lights the joint and passes it to the left. The joint continues to be passed left until everyone hits the joint once and the ‘circle’ is completed. It’s more relaxing when this order is maintained until the joint is finished. Otherwise, no one knows who’s turn it is, making for a confusing time and creating the possibility of skipping someone inadvertently.

  9. Keep Your Exhale to Yourself

    This is a common accident, but be mindful of the direction and force with which you exhale your hit. As pleasant as cannabis smoke is, no one likes to take a cloud to the face. A slight upward or downward tilt of the head when exhaling can alleviate this faux pas. And, if you do accidentally exhale right in someone’s face, own up to it — then, try not to let it happen again.  It’s common to get tripped up by a breeze or fan on occasion, but it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence.

  10. Don’t Pass the Roach

    weed etiquette

    The passing of the joint is a ritualistic process, and being on the receiving end means two more hits…unless, you get passed a roach. Not cool. If the joint is gone, put it out – there’s no need pass the roach. It’s like getting a gift wrapped box with no present inside.  When it’s time to let it go, let it go.

CBD Joints: Relief Without the High

Everyone loves the classic cannabis joint, but did you know you can also roll a doobie of organic hemp flower?  It won’t give you the psychoactive effects of THC, but you will receive a fast-acting dose of CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids to target pain, inflammation, and anxiety, among other symptoms.

We like the organic, non-GMO, sustainably-grown hemp flower from Canna Comforts, which look, taste, smell, and smoke just like the classic top-shelf marijuana strains that inspired them (one of our favorites – Special Sauce (read our review OR just buy it) – shown in image below). Federally legal and batch-tested for quality, purity, and potency, we trust Canna Comforts for a delicious and therapeutic smoking experience.

Bonus: Carry Your Joints Responsibly

Part of polite social smoking is carrying your stash responsibly. Not everyone enjoys the smell, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave your stash behind! We recommend a discreet, smell proof stash box for storing your joints and rolling supplies. We’ve all rolled a nice joint and saved it for later – only to find it’s been destroyed your pocket. Not anymore! The Safety Case is the ultimate storage solution for joint smokers of all ability levels.

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How to Use Cannabis for Sleep

Proper sleep is crucial for a healthy lifestyle, but it eludes many of us.  According to the American Sleep Association, between 50 and 70 million adults nationwide exhibit symptoms of a sleep disorder. Approximately 30% of all adults will experience insomnia at some point, and about 10% of people will find themselves suffering from chronic insomnia. Pharmaceutical sleep aids often leave you groggy the next day and are laden with side effects, leading patients to seek a more natural, safer alternative: cannabis.

Cannabis can help restore the body’s natural sleep cycle, which is often disrupted by modern schedules. Especially when combined with good sleep hygiene, it can help alleviate sleep problems in a variety of ways and works smoothly with your body’s natural processes to help induce sleep. Its analgesic properties can ease chronic pain, while its anti-anxiety properties can help soothe a racing mind, making falling and staying asleep easier.

Are you thinking of trying cannabis to improve your sleep? In order to get the most from your cannabis experience, there are some things you should keep in mind when making your treatment plan. Here we’ll discuss what you need to know to use cannabis to its maximum benefit for sleep.

Cannabis and the Science of Sleep

As you may already know, there are two dominant chemical compounds within cannabis. One, CBD (or cannabidiol), has a number of health benefits but is non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t give you the “high” feeling associated with cannabis use (you can find the CBD for sleep guide here). The other, THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol), is psychoactive and makes you feel the “high” associated with cannabis. THC is also the compound that is responsible for the sleepy feeling we’re seeking, so you should choose a strain that is higher in THC than CBD when selecting a strain for sleep.

According to a study conducted in 2008, consumption of high-THC cannabis can reduce REM sleep, meaning that your body spends more time in the deeper, more restful phases of sleep and less in REM, or the dream-inducing phase of sleep.  This can result in more peaceful sleep, especially for those who have trouble staying asleep or struggle with nightmares. However, it is also important to note that REM sleep is a necessary phase of sleep that helps improve cognitive functioning, so it may not be a good idea to use cannabis as a sleep aid for long periods of time.

Choosing a Strain:  Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid?

If you’ve spoken to your physician and they’ve recommended cannabis as a potential treatment for sleep disturbances, or if you’ve made the decision to try cannabis to help with sleep, then the next step is to choose a strain that’s right for you. Different strains have different effects on the body and it’s important to choose a strain that suits your needs and health goals. Different strains fall in one of three categories:

 

  • Indica strains are generally relaxing and soothing, producing a mellow, drowsy effect.
  • Sativa strains have more euphoric, energizing effects and are best for daytime use.
  • Hybrids vary between being more Indica- or Sativa-dominant and are blends of the two strains, the specifics of which are often left up to the grower or dispensary.

 

 

While the dispensary staff can be helpful when choosing a specific strain, there are a few overall guidelines to keep in mind. First, Indica or Indica-dominant hybrids are the most likely to help you relax and doze off with ease, since they lack the cerebral “head high” of Sativas that can be overwhelming when you’re trying to sleep. Second, we recommend sticking to a strain that is about 20% THC or less. This is because super-strong strains can make dosing more difficult and are more likely to leave you feeling groggy the next morning. If you find you need something stronger, you can always increase your dose, but you can’t reduce it once you’ve ingested it. Start slower and work up if you find you need to.

How to Ingest Cannabis for Sleep

There are many different options available for cannabis ingestion. Some people prefer to smoke the flower in the form of a bowl or a joint. Others prefer to vaporize flower or cannabis concentrates (be careful when using these for sleep, they’re very potent!) through a pen or volcano vaporizer. Still others use cannabis tinctures, which can be dropped under the tongue and absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth. Ultimately the delivery method is up to you; choose whatever you feel most comfortable with.

Second, there is the question of how to find the correct dosage.  This may take a bit of trial and error, so perhaps it would be best not to start at the beginning of the work week!  Start slow, with just a few puffs when smoking or vaping, or a drop or two of tincture. Take note of how you feel after ingestion. Signs that you are feeling the effects of cannabis include feelings of euphoria, drowsiness, increased sensation, and a delayed sense of time. If you find you need to re-dose during the night, go ahead—just avoid dosing within four hours of your scheduled wake-up time.

How to Time Your Cannabis Dosing for Sleep

Timing is very important when using cannabis for sleep. This is one of the reasons we didn’t include edibles in our recommended ingestion methods, as the time they take to become effective is unreliable, from thirty minutes to two or three hours. You’ll need to be much more precise than that when dosing with cannabis for sleep. Edibles can also affect our bodies for much longer since they’re processed by the digestive tract and liver, as long as 8-12 hours. This can cause grogginess the next morning. For sleeping purposes, it’s best to stick to vaping, smoking, or tinctures, all of which are absorbed into the bloodstream and not processed by the gut.

While everyone processes cannabis differently, it is generally a good idea to dose about an hour before bedtime. The effects of cannabis will last three to four hours, helping you fall asleep. However, the immediate effects of cannabis, especially the sense of euphoria, can make you temporarily more excitable and therefore make it harder to sleep. Taking cannabis an hour before bed allows these effects to subside, making for a more restful sleep.

Final Considerations About Cannabis and Sleep

As with any sleep aid, cannabis may not work for everyone and does not work the same across all patients. Additionally, some people have difficulty using high-THC strains because they find it increases their anxiety and causes feelings of paranoia. If this is true for you, you can try experimenting with different strains, especially those high in CBN, which is the strongest sedative of any of the known cannabinoids. We always suggest discussing your needs with your dispensary and asking for a recommendation. You may find that certain strains can help you sleep without triggering anxiety. As with any sleep aid, cannabis is most effective when combined with good sleep hygiene.  Provide yourself with a good environment for sleep, choose a consistent bedtime, and try to take a break from screens at least an hour before bed.

Additionally, consumption of cannabis by those pregnant or breastfeeding is not recommended. If you’ve recently had a heart attack, consult a physician before using cannabis, as some research has shown an increased risk of myocardial infarction associated with cannabis use. More research is needed to assess the risk of other illnesses such as COPD related to the smoking of cannabis, as well as the medical uses and benefits of cannabis.

More research on cannabis is forthcoming, as this herb (which is legal in some states, but remains illegal at the federal level and in much of the country) has been shown to have numerous health benefits and acts in similar ways to many existing pharmaceutical drugs, with far fewer and less severe side effects.

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