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What to know before buying your mom CBD for the holidays

So you want to buy your mom CBD gummies for Christmas. Get educated first.

There may only be 12 days of Christmas, but there are approximately 12 million CBD products trying to capture your attention. And most of them you shouldn’t buy.

It’s hard enough to get a handle on what CBD will actually do for you. Picking which product to buy amid the plethora of options — which face little to no regulation — adds an extra layer of difficulty. Then there’s the wrinkle of buying CBD as a gift. Any time you use a CBD product, you’re basically acting as a guinea pig. When you buy CBD for your mom for Christmas, you’re treating her as one, too.

As Martin Lee, the director of CBD advocacy group Project CBD says, “There’s good-quality products, and there’s a lot of crap out there.”

Here are eight things to keep in mind while shopping for CBD this holiday season.

1. Consider what you want the CBD to do

Before buying CBD as a present, consider why you think your mom should use it. Children experiencing debilitating seizures have gotten relief thanks to CBD, but will it help your mom with her arthritis or insomnia? That depends on who you ask.

Researchers have found CBD, a non-intoxicating compound in cannabis, shows promise when it comes to treating inflammation, specifically when it’s caused by arthritis, but plenty of scientists and health professionals warn more evidence is needed. It’s the same case for treating sleeplessness and anxiety.

When Colorado-based clinicians gave it to mental health patients and Brazilian researchers tested it separately on people with social anxiety tasked with public speaking, they both found it reduced anxiety. A majority of the mental health patients who took CBD also slept better. The FDA, which put out a new advisory about CBD earlier this week, lists drowsiness as a side effect. However, when given to healthy volunteers, University of Chicago researchers found CBD had “minimal behavioral and subjective effects.”

While research is being done on CBD’s effectiveness for a variety of symptoms, there’s room for much more. A lot of what you’ll hear about CBD’s prowess will be anecdotal or marketing hype.

2. Pay attention to where the plant is grown

With that said, if you still want to buy a loved one CBD, one of the first things you should look for is where the plant that the CBD came from is grown.

CBD products can be made from both marijuana and hemp, but hemp seems to be especially popular due to federal regulations. (Marijuana is legal in some states, but not federally. Confusingly, hemp is legal under federal law, but it’s not in all states.) Hemp is often used to clean soil; it was even tapped to suck contaminants out of the ground at Chernobyl. You don’t want the CBD you give as a gift to come from hemp grown in poor-quality soil. Look for CBD that was sourced organically, without pesticides, for the same reason.

If the product doesn’t say where the hemp was grown, ask a store clerk or email the website selling the products for more information. If they don’t know, or don’t provide a way to contact a human being for answers, shop elsewhere.

It’s also advisable to seek out CBD companies that get their hemp from states where marijuana is legal, either recreationally or medically. Those states are likely to employ more regulatory oversight than say, countries like China, which is a hemp juggernaut moving quickly to export CBD. In Colorado, for example, agricultural officials field-test hemp farms and work to curb the use of illegal pesticides.

“Pesticides, avoid that at all costs,” says Dr. Mitch Earleywine, author of Understanding Marijuana and psychology professor at the University at Albany, SUNY.

Companies that painstakingly decide where to source their hemp usually note in marketing materials that it’s grown in a certain state and is certified organic. Those are the ones you should gravitate towards, but it won’t be cheap. High-quality CBD oil can easily cost more than $100 a bottle.

3. Inspect the label and ask for third-party test results

If the product’s label doesn’t have ingredients, don’t buy it. If the product doesn’t say how much CBD is in a serving, don’t buy it.

If the product makes outlandish health claims, avoid it.

Ask to see third-party test results if they’re not immediately available. Some products will include QR codes that direct you to the tests (this is mandatory in Indiana, for example). If a company won’t provide you with lab results, move on to another that will. Once you get the lab results, check if the amount of CBD found in each serving matches what’s on the label and whether any solvents, contaminants, or heavy metals were detected.

4. Don’t buy CBD at a gas station

Not only is this a good rule of thumb for any gift for mom, but it’s especially so for CBD. It’s safest to buy CBD at a dispensary, if you’re in a state where marijuana is legal. If you’re not, you can buy it online or in CBD-specific stores. Get a feel for the place you’re shopping at; if it feels sketchy, back away. Same goes for the packaging. If it looks off, put it down. If the product makes outlandish health claims, avoid it. “It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement,” according to the FDA.

“One has to be a discriminating shopper just as one would be in the supermarket or at the health food store or at the farmers’ market,” Lee says.

5. Think about dosage

When it comes to how much CBD to take at a time, well that’s something you, or your mom, will have to figure out with some trial and error. Most CBD proponents advise to start low and increase the dosage over time. I’ve seen some CBD tinctures suggest using only 2.5 mg for your first dose.

For the scientific research mentioned earlier, the mental health clinic gave patients at least 25 mg of CBD a day, the Brazilian researchers gave participants 600 mg an hour and a half before the public speaking test, and the Chicago researchers used between 300 mg and 900 mg doses. That’s a lot of CBD. Vials of CBD oil tend to contain anywhere from roughly 500 mg of CBD to 1500 mg. Meanwhile, CBD gummies mostly range from 5 mg to 25 mg per serving. Dr. Esther Blessing, an assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine, told the New York Times, one needs 300 mg to treat anxiety. (Lee of Project CBD, who also wrote Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana, discounts her assertion.)

The negative effects of taking too much CBD may include upset stomach and diarrhea, according to the FDA, which also warns that CBD may potentially cause liver injury or negatively interact with other medications.

6. Vape pens vs. lotions vs. tinctures vs. edibles

The amount one takes may also depend on how the CBD is consumed.

For example, vaping 25 mg of CBD may have a different impact than eating a 25 mg gummy. CBD edibles pass through your liver before going to your bloodstream and lose some strength along the way. How much of those 25 mg become activated in your body after that journey is hard to say, according to a review of studies on the subject.

Vaping has a more direct route to your bloodstream, which speeds up the effects, but it’s not immune to diminishing returns. Importantly, you should avoid vape products that contain MCT oil, vitamin E acetate, vegetable glycerin, or propylene glycol. These oils can be dangerous to inhale, especially when heated. Vitamin E acetate particularly has been linked to the lung crisis rocking the vape industry.

Moreover, it tends to be easier to take a consistent amount of CBD when you consume it versus smoke it, according to researchers at the University of Turin in Italy.

Tinctures are generally known for speedily entering the bloodstream, but only when applied under the tongue. If you plop a few drops in a smoothie, for example, it’ll pass through your liver just like an edible.

Lee suggests avoiding edibles made with high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors. They’re signs of an inferior product in his mind.

Topical products like salves, lotions, and transdermal patches may be helpful for specific areas of the body you want to treat for inflammation, the Turin researchers wrote. But it’s possible that some products won’t even get past your skin to get to the muscle that’s aching. Or if you do feel some relief, it may be because of other ingredients in the salve, such as menthol or camphor. To top it off, you may also need lots of CBD for a topical product to work, which can drive up the cost.

Nanotechnology, basically shrinking the molecules to absorb more efficiently, has become a trendy buzzword in the CBD world. It’s being used to make products like CBD water, which Lee describes as bunk.

“If it’s water don’t even bother,” Lee says. “Buy the water to drink the water, but don’t buy it for the CBD.”

At the end of the day, though, which form of CBD you buy is a personal preference, says Earleywine.

7. Avoid brands caught cheating

Some CBD producers will lie about how much CBD is in their product. They can also be intentionally shady about what’s inside.

Cannabis reviewer Leafly recently tested 47 products and found that nearly half delivered within 20 percent of the advertised amount of CBD (getting within the 20 percent range is somewhat of an industry standard). Four, including Platinum X CBD Cherry Lollipops and CBD Living Water, delivered none at all.

“If a company promises 300 mg of CBD and actually delivers 300 mg, it’s probably not cutting corners in other areas,” according to Leafly.

Last year, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University unexpectedly found synthetic cannabis, which may cause psychoactive effects, anxiety, and confusion in CBD e-cigarettes made by manufacturer Diamond CBD. They also detected a cough suppressant, which acts as a sedative. A few months ago, The Associated Press tested 30 vape products sold as CBD both legitimately and on the black market and found a third included synthetic cannabis, commonly known as the dangerous street drugs K2 or spice.

While CBD proponents have called for more FDA regulation, the agency is slowly gathering data on the subject. It keeps a depository of warning letters sent to CBD marketers mislabeling products as health supplements and test results on its website.

8. Full-spectrum or isolate

A lot of the CBD products out there use something called CBD isolate, which means the compound has been removed from the plant and is flying solo. That’s because several states require less than 0.3 percent THC in a CBD product, and it’s easier to follow that rule when you avoid the THC altogether (or just use hemp rather than marijuana).

Plenty of cannabis advocates scorn isolate and trumpet full-spectrum. (Although there’s no industry-wide definition of full-spectrum beyond it contains more than one cannabinoid.) The CBD works best when interacting with other elements in the plant, they claim. Terpenes and flavonoids found naturally in cannabis (the compounds that impact smell and flavor) can also have other effects, like making one feel relaxed or tired. Again, more research needs to be done to provide greater clarity here, but evangelists of the so-called entourage effect point to this 2011 study to bolster their arguments.

The bottom line

When it comes to buying CBD, there’s a lot to learn. And none of it may work for your giftee at all. That’s why it’s worth your time to do the research before deciding to spend $45 on CBD gummies.

Earleywine suggests considering other less expensive items that may help with sleeplessness, arthritis, and anxiety before going the CBD route.

For sleep, he advises not looking at screens an hour before bed or going to bed at a regular time every night before “shelling out for any alleged sleep aid.” As for anxiety, he quips, “12 sessions of psychotherapy may be cheaper than a lifetime of CBD.”

That said, getting your mom a card that says stop looking at your phone before bed or a psychotherapy appointment may not go over well at Christmas dinner.

The information contained in this article is not a substitute for, or alternative to information from a healthcare practitioner. Please consult a healthcare professional before using any product and check your local laws before making any purchasing decisions.

CBD shopping can be tough. Here are eight tips and tricks to help you feel more confident when buying CBD oil or CBD gummies.

Is Gas Station CBD Oil Worth Buying? Why Quality Matters with CBD

Is gas station CBD safe? With the hemp CBD industry still widely unregulated, it’s key that you take extra care to ensure that you buy CBD that is both safe and high-quality.

For Americans living in the 2020s, cannabidiol (CBD) is not hard to find. In fact, it’s sort of hard to miss. Whether in conversations or in gas stations, hemp-derived CBD has become a presence in American culture. But what makes some CBD products better than others?

As with other health and wellness fads, there are those who are only seeking profit without consideration of consequence by pushing CBD products in high traffic places. This list includes gas station CBD, shopping mall CBD, and even some grocery store CBD.

If you’re confused about the regulation of CBD and whether the quality and safety of gas station CBD products are monitored, you’re not alone. Most Americans are confused about who regulates CBD.

Yes, CBD oil has shown itself to hold exciting beneficial properties, but because the hemp CBD industry remains overly unregulated, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re buying only safe and quality CBD oil.

So how do you know what CBD is of high quality and worth purchasing, and what CBD products aren’t up to par?

CBD Quality Makes a Difference

With CBD popularity on the rise, there is much miscommunication when it comes to actual quality. That’s why it’s helpful to find a CBD business who has been around for a while and has the experience to know what CBD oil offers the most value.

Medical Marijuana, Inc. was the first company to bring hemp CBD oil products to the market in 2012. That was after nearly a decade of research and development. We wouldn’t toot our own horn unless we could back it up.

It’s worth noting here that there are two distinct variations of CBD oil on the market, hemp-derived CBD oil and marijuana-derived CBD oil. Hemp-derived CBD oil is available just about anywhere and that’s what this article is focused on.

CBD oil made from hemp is federally legal because by law hemp contains less than 0.3 percent THC, the intoxicating chemical compound which can cause is known to give that “euphoria” feeling. Without only trace amounts of THC, consuming hemp-derived CBD oil products doesn’t elicit euphoric effects.

Some types of cannabis oil come from marijuana and contain higher levels of THC, which can have intoxicating effects. The only legal place to find cannabis oil with higher THC concentrations is in a marijuana dispensary in states that have legalized recreational or medical marijuana. If you do not live in a state with full legalization and see a CBD product claiming it has intoxicating effects, it’s likely from the illegal market or just false advertising.

So before reaching for one of those gas station CBD gummies or inexpensive CBD oils near the check outline, take some time to gain the knowledge to make a safe decision about CBD. Luckily, we are here to help give you the facts.

The Risks of Gas Station CBD

Is gas station CBD safe? Let’s just start there. Unlike most health and wellness products that fly under the radar of regulation, CBD has proven itself to be beneficial by supporting the body’s endocannabinoid system. There is simply no denying that CBD oil is one of the most revolutionary substances in the health and wellness space today.

When addressing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at a special public hearing in 2019, our CEO Dr. Stuart Titus explained, “We believe that non-psychoactive hemp products containing CBD and other cannabinoids, as they support our endogenous cannabinoid system, are an essential nutritional supplement for optimal health, just as is Vitamin C. In addition, botanical hemp products containing CBD are safe and extremely well-tolerated.”

The tricky part is that as of now, there are not any official federal regulations on CBD from the FDA. The federal agency has yet to evaluate the CBD products available in gas stations, grocery stores, shopping malls, or anywhere else, leaving consumers susceptible to potentially low quality and unsafe products.

The following is a statement from the FDA, which sums up what they do know about cannabis-derived products, including hemp-derived CBD.

“FDA recognizes the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds may offer and acknowledges the significant interest in these possibilities. However, FDA is aware that some companies are marketing products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and that may put the health and safety of consumers at risk.”

So to address the question again– Is gas station CBD safe? It’s hard to say. What this all means is that there are no rules that CBD manufacturers have to follow when it comes to growing hemp, extraction, formulation, packaging, testing, and more. The gas station CBD you come across could be made with unsafe practices from hemp grown using potentially-toxic methods, and may not even contain CBD.

The FDA is currently under tremendous pressure to release regulations for CBD products, but the latest reports show it could take several years. Until they get that sorted out, it’s up to the consumer to do their due diligence.

Where the CBD Oil You Buy Comes From

Just like any other product people consume, it’s important to know where CBD comes from, seed to soil to oil. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, it is now fully legal to commercially cultivate hemp here in the U.S. but prior to December 2018 federal laws strictly limited hemp production inside the U.S.

Because of this, other countries are way ahead of the game when it comes to hemp cultivation. Some European countries have been cultivating hemp for more than 700 years. After searching around the globe for the ideal growing microclimate, farming practices, and the perfect plant variety of hemp, Medical Marijuana, Inc. selected a generational family-owned farm in the Netherlands. This is where the high-quality hemp used in Medical Marijuana, Inc. products is grown.

Location is one important factor in choosing your CBD oil brand. Another is what goes into the hemp growing process. For many, non-GMO and natural foods are a staple in the home, and so should it be with CBD.

Our hemp-derived CBD is grown naturally, without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers. By sticking with the natural practices passed down from farmer to farmer over generations, the hemp seeds grow from the pure, rich soil to twelve-foot-tall, with robust, leafy green stalks.

Another sign of high-quality CBD is in the techniques used in the extraction process. We use clean, naturally-occurring CO2, rather than damaging solvents, to extract the full-spectrum CBD oil from the stalks of the hemp plant.

Can you find that on the label of the gas station CBD product? Probably not.

Consistently High-quality CBD

Another problem may arise in purchasing gas station or convenient store CBD products, consistency. Perhaps you or someone you know has already tried out CBD from the convenience store. It’s likely the product didn’t quite add up to what was hoped based on the product label. There’s a good chance that the ingredients in the inexpensive CBD oil or gummy were not tested for quality assurance.

Another roll of the dice consumers may take when buying gas station CBD gummies or inexpensive CBD oils, is the accuracy of dosage on labels. As noted before the FDA does not evaluate CBD products. Unless you happen to run a private laboratory with testing capabilities, there’s no verifiable way to tell what the actual CBD content is unless you are looking at high-quality CBD products.

Each batch of our hemp CBD oil undergoes our rigorous Triple Lab Testing® standard, which involves examining quality and safety at three points of the production process.

First, the oil is tested after extraction from the hemp plant. It is tested again after it arrives from the Netherlands and clears U.S. Customs. Finally, our hemp oil is examined a final time after formulation into one of our award-winning final products.

These tests are critical for measuring cannabinoid content, as well as checking for any contaminants. This unique, Triple Lab Tested® process ensures that each time someone purchases high-quality CBD oil from Medical Marijuana, Inc. they can feel comfortable that it is both safe and contains a reliable level of CBD.

If that’s not enough to raise your CBD standards, hold on, there’s more.

Seal of Approval for CBD Products

There’s another approach to finding out whether any CBD product, including that gas station CBD you may have eyed, is safe and high-quality. Even if you are considering buying your CBD online, there is a literal seal of approval that can help distinguish high-quality CBD products from the rest.

The U.S. Hemp Authority Certification is the first of its kind quality certification program for CBD products. The certification program launched in 2018 and is essential for CBD product transparency. Medical Marijuana, Inc. was among the first companies to make the cut and consumers can find the seal of approval on our product labels.

The hemp and CBD businesses that earn the Certified Seal from the U.S. Hemp Authority have met the organization’s stringent self-regulatory quality and safety standards, in addition to passing a third-party audit. To date, only 27 Certification Seals to hemp and CBD businesses have been awarded.

CBD Oil Products

As you go to buy CBD oil, you’ll find that there are several common ways to ingest CBD and add the compound’s natural balancing properties to your body’s systems. Unlike many gas station CBD products, all of our CBD products are packaged with easy-to-understand labels that provide you with information on CBD concentration and ingredients.

To get high amounts of CBD and the nutrients in hemp oil, CBD oil consumption, CBD oil concentrates are a great way to go. Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s flagship hemp oil concentrate product, Real Scientific Hemp Oil® (RSHO®) CBD oil concentrates, is as close as you can get to the natural hemp plant. This pure hemp oil extract is packaged in a convenient oral applicator tube and designed to be used under the tongue, swallowed, or added to foods.

CBD oil capsules deliver the benefits of CBD oil concentrate in a handy pill and can be a convenient way to get a daily serving of CBD. We have a variety of CBD capsules to choose from with an easy-to-read label showing the exact CBD amount available in each capsule.

CBD tinctures and liquids deliver CBD oil in a versatile liquid form and are taken under the tongue for the fastest absorption, swallowed, or mixed into foods and beverages. Our CBD tinctures also come with easy-to-read labels.

Another popular way to enjoy CBD is by taking CBD edibles, which provide your body with the natural benefits of hemp-derived CBD while enjoying their naturally delicious flavor.

If you’re looking to buy CBD oil but need some more guidance on finding out which CBD oil is right for you, visit our CBD products catalog or take our CBD oil product recommendation quiz.

More on CBD

Discover more about CBD, its benefits, and how to make sure you make educated CBD buying decisions by visiting our CBD oil education page.

Is gas station CBD safe? Click to learn whether the quality and safety of gas station CBD products are monitored, and tips on how to buy only quality CBD.