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Cannabidiol, popularly referred to as CBD, has been the subject of scrutiny over the past few years. With its proponents claiming it to be a “panacea” and even several studies to back up some of the claims, CBD has managed to secure a strong position in the food and drinks industry. It’s also penetrating many other sectors, as the uptake of CBD oral sprays, topicals, capsules, and cosmetics only continues to grow sporadically.

CBD infused food and drinks are a new breed of emerging healthy foods, making waves in the food and healthcare industry today. With all the hype surrounding this trend, how do you know if CBD infused foods and beverages are right for you?

Read this ultimate guide to CBD infused food and drinks to get a comprehensive look at all the information available on the subject. The article tackles the myths and misconceptions about CBD foods and beverages. It will help you get a clear understanding of what they really are and how to take them the right way.

What is CBD?

First and foremost, it’s important to note that CBD is not marijuana. It’s one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBD and THC are the most popular of all the cannabinoids, but THC is less prevalent in food and drinks due to its psychoactive effects.

CBD is extracted from the rest of the cannabinoids as a low tetrahydrocannabinol oil, commonly referred to as “CBD oil“. Although CBD has only gained the spotlight over the past few years, its use dates back centuries. In the past, the use of CBD was only limited to ingestion in the form of oils or tinctures. Now that people are finding more creative ways to take CBD, their confidence has been boosted by several scientific studies that prove the health benefits of CBD.

The result is the multi-billion dollar CBD infused food and drinks industry you see today. The development of CBD drugs and cosmetics is also underway, to harness its reported potential in the treatment of numerous health conditions.

If Cannabis contains CBD, why not just add the Cannabis itself to the food or drink—why extract CBD?

The extraction of CBD from the cannabis plant is very critical. In fact, it’s non-negotiable if you want the health benefits of cannabidiol. Adding raw cannabis to the food will not only cause an unpleasant taste but also have very little effect on the body compared to concentrated extracts. Furthermore, the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant can only be absorbed in the body if they are decarboxylated. In order to successfully decarboxylate them, heat is needed.

Thus, extracting CBD is not only done for the sake of convenience but to separate important cannabinoid components that are beneficial, absorbable and safe for the human body. Raw herbal cannabis often hosts numerous microbes that can be harmful to health if not properly extracted and purified.

The Role of Cannabinoids in the Body

CBD is a member of the cannabinoid class of compounds. Our bodies have got what’s known as the endocannabinoid system. This system produces its own natural cannabinoids, responsible for homeostasis and other critical functions in the human body. 

The existence of the endocannabinoid system was not well understood until the early 1990s. Over the years, there has been extensive research into the effects of cannabinoids on the human body and researchers were motivated by the need to understand: does the human body produce its natural equivalent to phytocannabinoids synthesised by the cannabis plant? 

Research has shown that the human body does, in fact, produce two natural compounds of a similar nature. These two compounds— endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG, are today recognised as prominent analogues to plant produced THC and CBD. The plant synthesised equivalents have the same qualities as their naturally secreted counterparts. These substances have an influence on mood, appetite and many other functions in the human body. The conclusion is, therefore, that plant synthesised phytocannabinoids can be used to supplement their natural equivalents and can effectively bring the body back to a state of equilibrium.

Why should you take CBD in the form of food and drinks?

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CBD has been persistent in its penetration into the food and drinks industry. Today, consumers are spoilt with a variety of CBD edibles to choose from. From gummies to candies and even modified versions of brownies, the list of CBD edibles is endless. This begs the question: is this just hype, or there are specific benefits to taking CBD in the form of food and drinks?

CBD foods and drinks have a few advantages over other CBD products:

  • It tastes good

Is there any better way to take any supplement than through your regular daily meals? Probably not!

  • Effects last longer

CBD taken sublingually or through vaping quickly goes into the bloodstream and produces results faster, but they are short-lived. On the other hand, when CBD is taken in the form of food or drinks, it has to go through the digestive system where it is likely to be held longer. This way, it will gradually produce the needed effect over a more extended time period.

  • No prescription needed

You don’t necessarily need a prescription or go out of your way to buy CBD foods or drinks.

  • It’s easy to DIY CBD food and drinks:

While you can’t easily make your own CBD shampoo or cream, you can quite easily create your own CBD coffee brew or edibles using oil or isolate powder. You will find plenty of CBD recipes online to get you started!

  • It’s easy to keep up with the dose:

Measuring the amount of CBD you are taking with an oil dropper can be a hassle. CBD foods and drinks are often labelled with the specific pre-measured CBD dose to help consumers keep up with the amount of CBD they are taking in their body.

  • Whole-body effect:

CBD foods and drinks act on the whole body.   

21 Miraculous Health Benefits of CBD-infused food and drinks [Proven By Science!]

Is cannabidiol one of the many popular supplements that eventually get busted by science after being found to be mere placebos? Apparently not!

Dig into these 22 health benefits of Cannabidiol supported by science:

N.B. Never try to substitute professional medical healthcare for CBD. Always consult with your medical practitioner if you intend to include CBD in your treatment regime.

FDA Approved For:

Seizures

A lot of people who have suffered from seizures testify that taking CBD improved their conditions significantly even when nothing else in the past had proven to work. This is the most solid use for CBD. In fact, it’s the only FDA approved use of CBD.

On the 25th of June 2018, the U.S. FDA approved EPIDIOLEX®, an oral solution to be used for the treatment of seizures associated with two epilepsy syndromes—Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex is the first FDA approved drug to treat Dravet syndrome seizures. In both syndromes, CBD can only be used for people who are at least two years of age or older.

Possibly Effective For

Can be used as an alternative to pain killer drugs 

A considerable number of studies have shown that CBD can be effective in pain management. Cannabinoid receptors are scattered throughout the human body, but the first group (CB1) are very dense in the pain pathways of the nerves, spine, and brain. CB2, which is the second group, mainly acts on the immune system, and it also regulates inflammation. This is why some researchers believe CBD can effectively reduce both pain and inflammation by acting on these receptors. 

A close analysis of 18 clinical trials revealed that cannabinoids are highly effective and safe in the treatment of chronic pain, whether neuropathic, arthritis, HIV, multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia. Another review of 16 other studies also supported the use of CBD in treating chronic pain.

CBD can be very promising and favourable pain treatment, because, unlike opioids that cause tolerance, CBD is pretty much safe in the long-term.

Diabetes

According to a few studies, taking CBD infused food and drinks can lower the probability of diabetes-prone individuals developing the disease. In one study, diabetes-prone young mice were given CBD. Results showed that they were less likely to develop diabetes compared to the non-treated ones. Another research on mice also showed that CBD was linked to reducing the rates of destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Limited Evidence For

CBD has also been reported to help treat the conditions below. However, so far, there is insufficient evidence to support its effectiveness in treating the following conditions:

  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Nausea and Appetite
  • Quitting Smoking
  • Schizophrenia
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety

Animal & Cell Research (insufficient evidence)

  • Inflammation and Autoimmunity conditions
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Antibacterial Activity
  • Mad Cow Disease
  • Heart Health
  • Bone Health
  • Depression
  • Psoriasis
  • Acne 

Why is CBD suddenly very Popular?

CBD has been making the headlines lately. Much of its popularity is owed to its alleged health benefits. The commercial hype CBD infused food and beverages are garnering is also fueled by the vigorous marketing campaigns parading CBD as a “panacea” healthy food. In some cases, CBD proponents even claim it’s a natural alternative to alcohol, sugar, and opioids due to its alleged “feel-good” effects. However, do take note that taking CBD to get a “high” will be quite a disappointing experience as cannabidiol is actually non-intoxicating.

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Why do companies put CBD in food and drinks

Over the past few years, opinions towards cannabis have been softening in most parts of the world. As a result, more and more brands have begun to experiment in new ways by which they can use the plant. More and more people are becoming conscious of the health benefits of CBD, and its demand is higher than ever—which also translates into high-profit margins. Every manufacturer wants to get their own bigger chunk of this new lucrative market.

Despite the current lack of uniformity in the regulation of CBD infused food and drinks, the future of the industry looks bright. A prominent marijuana research firm, Greenwave Advisors, predicts the growth of the CBD foods industry to shoot up to a $3 billion industry by 2021. These are just modest numbers as the industry has been affirmed to have the potential to grow even up to $200 billion a year. 

CBD sources

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To ensure your safety, you might also want to know where your manufacturer sources their CBD. Cannabis is one of the best and most popular phytoremediation plants. This means that the cannabis plant can absorb contaminants with its fast-growing roots which transform toxins into a harmless substance or stores up the toxins.

Thus you should always make sure your CBD is farmed on ordinary farmland free from toxins.  Did you know that Cannabis was used at Chernobyl, following the nuclear disaster to remove radioactive strontium and caesium?

 

 

How is CBD extracted from Cannabis?

CBD is one of the 113 cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. Of these 113 cannabinoids, CBD and THC are the most popular, and as of late, the former has officially reached stardom.

There are several methods of extracting CBD from the cannabis plant. While some of these methods are safer and possibly more effective than others, they all have their advantages and disadvantages.

  • CO2 extraction.

 As you have already deducted from the name, this method leverages carbon dioxide under shallow temperatures and high pressure to isolate CBD, preserving, and maintaining the purity of the oil. 

The end product from this process is one of the safest, highly potent, and even free from chlorophyll. The only drawback is that it requires expensive equipment and a steep operational learning curve. 

  • Ethanol. 

This is quite a simple procedure, yet it creates high-quality cannabis oil, suitable for use in vape pen cartridges, among other products. The downside is that plant waxes that might also have health benefits are destroyed in the process.

  • Olive oil.

 Olive oil provides one of the safest and yet inexpensive methods for extracting CBD. You don’t risk starting any fire with this method. Too good right?

Here’s the only catch, CBD-dominant cannabis-infused olive oil or THC-rich oil—is perishable! Therefore, you should do your due diligence and keep it in a cool, dark place.

The resulting concentrated substance from all these methods is what manufacturers then infuse into the food or drinks to make edibles. The majority of industrial-scale manufacturers extract their CBD from hemp, due to its naturally high CBD and lower THC ratio. Because of this moderate THC level, hemp CBD edibles are allowed in the U.K. and several other countries.

Understanding the difference between CBD & THC

Apart from CBD, one of the other most talked about cannabinoid is THC. THC is a known cognitive component of marijuana. The two compounds have different effects on the human body, given that CBD is non-intoxicating contrary to THC. CBD has been associated with feelings of euphoria and relaxation in some people. As such, some people find CBD very useful in countering conditions such as anxiety, nausea and other physical discomforts like joint pain. Based on the data available from studies and reports by users, it has been established that the effects of CBD might differ from person to person. What sets CBD apart from THC is its lack of psychoactive effects.

Getting started with CBD Food and Drinks

Beginners are advised to initiate their CBD intake by taking low doses. For regular use, taking 1 milligram of the compound for every 10 pounds of body weight is a good starting point. You should allow the body to determine how much it can handle gradually; each individual is prone to a different encounter with foreign substances.

Under normal circumstances, it takes CBD approximately 30 to 40 minutes to start taking effect. Note that in some cases, your body might have to acclimatise to the CBD first. Following your first dose, if you don’t feel anything, wait at least 24 hours before you can take another dose.

Let’s demystify the CBD food and drinks jargon

While there are so many alleged CBD containing foods, not all of them are honest with their labels. You need to do your due diligence to understand the CBD market so that you won’t buy ineffective or even harmful fake CBD products.

Full Spectrum CBD vs Isolate vs Broad

There are mainly three groups of CBD containing products on the market: 

 

  • Full Spectrum

 

As you have already guessed, full-spectrum CBD preserves all the cannabinoids in the final product. For individuals who want the best therapeutic effect of CBD, this is the best option. The only possible downside is that full-spectrum CBD will also come with a trace amount of THC, which might contribute to the “entourage effect”.

The entourage effect means that cannabinoids work together synergistically, and the unique interactions that the cannabinoids can have in full-spectrum CBD results in the greatest possible health benefits.

 

  • Isolate

 

Isolate refers to singular lab-extracted cannabinoid. This is usually THC or CBD, the two most common cannabinoids. Thus individuals who want to reap the CBD benefits without having to get the psychoactive effects of THC can take a CBD isolate. Unfortunately, in its isolate form, THC or CBD lacks other cannabinoids which contributes to the entourage effect and amplifies the therapeutic effect.

 

  • Broad-spectrum

 

This is the perfect option for those who disdain THC. In broad-spectrum, only the THC cannabinoid is removed, thus preserving the entourage effect. THC in the hemp plant is usually very low; therefore, the process is not that complicated.

When shopping for CBD products always keep an eye on the above. Examine every product to see if it is made with a full spectrum extract or CBD isolate. If you need a more potent effect, it’s better to go with the full spectrum CBD.

What Is Bioavailability?

This is simply the medical term used to describe the amount of a substance that the body will be able to absorb into the bloodstream, within a specified time.

Technically, the best way to take CBD would be through an injection. This way, you will deliver 100% of the compound into the body. However, considering CBD is not such a vital medication, most people are quite reluctant to start fiddling around with injections every day. 

Do you ever wonder what is the difference between hemp and CBD? Or hemp vs hemp seed oil? 

What is Hemp?

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A CBD flower and Hemp flower are almost the same things. The major distinguishing factor between the two rests on the availability and quantity of THC. 

Hemp contains THC, a psychoactive substance that is federally regulated and cannot contain more than 0.2% of THC. CBD flower has quite a considerable concentration of THC.

If you see a “hemp extract”, it’s referring to CBD rich oil made from dried hemp flower. You will find real and effective CBD also labelled as follows:

  • ‘hemp oil’,
  • ‘full-spectrum hemp.’ 
  • ‘PCR (phytocannabinoid-rich) hemp rich extract.’

Hemp seed oil is obtained from squeezed hemp seeds. Therefore, it doesn’t contain CBD. Watch out for products that simply print CBD “cannabidiol” or “cannabis extract” without mentioning further details or ingredients.

5 CBD Infused Food and Drinks You Should Try

Health-conscious brands have begun infusing CBD into regular foods as a way to maximise the opportunity for people to take CBD more. With a market share of over $2.1 Billion dollars, investing in CBD is also a very lucrative venture.

Below are a few trending CBD foods and drinks you should definitely try this year:

Coffee Cold Brews

Everyone loves the benefits of caffeine such as improved concentration, alertness and high energy among many others. But for some people, these benefits come at a cost. They may experience some jittery sensations or even tachycardia. Fortunately, CBD can help eliminate these unwanted side effects, allowing them to enjoy a cold coffee brew like anyone else. 

Kombucha

As far as wellness trends go, Kombucha is probably one of the most popular drinks on the planet. This fermented tea has numerous health benefits on its own, and when coupled with CBD, you can expect to reap some serious health benefits. Most of Kombucha’s health benefits match those of CBD—boosting the immune system, relieving several symptoms, among other health benefits.

CBD Cocktails

Considering alcohol is associated with several negative factors, it’s quite comforting for some people to be able to drink an alcohol cocktail with health benefits. CBD cocktails mainly come in two forms—oil and tincture. The tincture has the same density as the alcoholic drink; therefore, it will blend well, but the oil will float, so it will serve as a topper. 

CBD Edibles

The culinary community continues to come up with new recipes for adding CBD in food. This includes gummies and even a modified version of brownies. Edibles are popular because of their reasonably low doses of CBD, allowing first-time users to gradually get used to the new substance in their bodies and see if there are any allergies. 

Unlike other cannabis edibles, CBD edibles are non-intoxicating. They have significantly less THC; thus, they cannot be used to induce a “high.”

  • CBD Gummies

These are mostly your typical regular gummy sweets, except in this case they are infused with CBD. They come in different shapes, fruits, rings, and gummy bears, among many other forms. Just like the usual gummies, they are delicious, making them the ideal option for children who need CBD but don’t want to take the standard oils and tinctures.

  • CBD Sugar-Free Gummies

For diabetic individuals or people who are trying to cut down on sugar in general, there are also numerous sugar-free versions of CBD gummies, with natural sweetening alternatives such as stevia

  • CBD Protein Bars

For sports enthusiasts, there are now CBD protein bars. The bars contain a healthy dose of protein along with an optimal CBD dose as well. While standard CBD protein bars are great, it would be a plus if your bar also contains hemp seeds!

  • CBD Dried Fruit

What if you don’t have a sweet tooth? Or you aren’t a gym enthusiast? Well, there is still a healthy edible for you. CBD infused dried fruits are steadily gaining a lot of popularity as a healthy alternative. To date, there is a large variety of CBD infused fruit options to try out!

Debunking CBD product labels

Now that you have a better understanding of CBD and know what you are looking for, it’s time to decode the label.

Reputable Third-party testing & COAs

Reliable manufacturers adhere to specific industry standard regulations. They send all their products to a third-party testing organisation before they can sell the product. Make sure that the label on your CBD food or drink indicates a few details of third-party testing. This can simply be “Made on 01/01/2020, Tested by Green Leaf Labs 01/14/2020.” Some organisations will even go the extra mile to indicate details like testing facility, test batch number, total CBD per milligram, and tested date for greater transparency.

Third-party testing institutions beyond the manufacturer help to build trust between consumers and manufacturers. For all the products tested, they’ll provide a detailed analysis of the ingredients in the CBD containing food or drink along with their concentrations. This information will be compiled into a certificate of analysis or COA. You should only buy CBD from brands that indicate their COAs to make sure that the products of your choice are safe, reliable and tested.

Always check the label with caution. Some CBD manufacturers might indicate that their products are made in facilities that may expose products to allergens like wheat and soy.

CBD foods and drinks ingredients

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It’s recommended to always go for edibles that use natural ingredients. For instance, a CBD food or drink that contains cane sugar instead of corn syrup, or fruit juice.

Individuals who are taking CBD for full therapeutic effect will be better off with products devoid of colouring (Red dye #40), emulsifiers or preservatives, glucose syrup or high fructose corn syrup, and other artificial sweeteners.  

Understanding CBD Dosage and Serving Size

Fortunately, CBD is well-tolerated in the human body, and there haven’t been any recorded cases of overdose. However, this doesn’t give leeway for you to take CBD carefree without taking note of the dosage.

If you are taking CBD for the first time, it’s recommended that you start with a very low dose, preferably 5mg or lower and then work your way up. This is probably the reason why most gummies are portioned to contain 5 mg each. After taking each CBD dose, it’s recommended to wait at least 30 mins before taking the next one. This will give your body enough time to process the serving fully and also allow you to observe and see how a specific dose affects your body. 

For regular use, 10mg is pretty much the baseline for most people, and 25 mg is more on the potent side. Extreme doses beyond 1,500 mg can make you feel drowsy or even have adverse effects. It’s essential to keep your CBD doses at reasonable levels and always consult with your physician.

Are there any side effects of CBD foods and drinks?

CBD itself hardly has side effects, and therefore CBD foods and drinks are mostly safe. To date, there haven’t been any reported CBD overdose cases. Nonetheless, considering CBD is a foreign material you are taking in your system, like any medication or supplement, it can have some side effects. Usually, CBD is not recommended in immunocompromised patients because of its immunosuppressant effects. It lowers cytokine production and inhibits T-cell function.

Some people have experienced the following side effects from taking CBD foods and drinks:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue

If you happen to experience any of the above symptoms after taking CBD infused foods or drinks, it’s usually because you took too much. Try to reduce the dose in the upcoming days, and see if it makes a difference. In the case that the side effects persist, stop taking CBD and consult your physician.

Are CBD Infused Foods And Drinks Legal?

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The answer to this question greatly varies by the geographical location. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration approved an oral solution of CBD, epidiolex, for use in the treatment of epilepsy. Does this imply that CBD can officially be added to food and drinks?

The issue is debatable. Besides, regulations pertaining to CBD are rather lax and rudimentary in most jurisdiction. This is why product manufacturers have assumed their freedom. The good news is that CBD to date there haven’t been any adverse effects associated with CBD. Therefore while the main concern can be whether CBD is effective for all the conditions it’s alleged to treat, at least safety isn’t much of a concern.

Some strict states, such as New York have reportedly cracked down on food outlets, infusing CBD into foods and beverages. In the U.K., however, CBD is actually legal on one condition: manufacturers have to satisfy that their CBD is extracted from a cannabis plant with 0.2% THC or less.

If CBD-infused food and beverages are illegal under U.S. law, why are they everywhere?

According to experts, drafting and implementing regulations around CBD could take several years.

Although CBD lacks the psychoactive THC, it’s still considered illegal at the federal level. This is because the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act refrains addition of any drug (even the approved ones) in interstate commerce.

The Farm Bill of 2018 authorised hemp, but this is not a leeway for brands to use hemp-derived Cannabidiol. Technically, it’s still in limbo because CBD can be extracted from both the hemp or cannabis plant. In the case that the hemp plant has over 0.3 per cent of THC (the substance responsible for the “high” in marijuana), then technically it’s a “marijuana” plant.

Some people also argue that CBD falls into the new conception of health, wellness and functional foods supplements which have non-intoxicating benefits.

How Long Does It Take for CBD Food and Drinks to Take Effect?

Generally, CBD infused in food and drinks will take longer compared to other methods such as inhalation or sublingual. If you take tinctures, you can expect to see the effects in CBD within 15 minutes. There are many factors that contribute to this. The main reason is that when taken with food or drink, CBD has to go through the digestive system and pass through the liver where it might be metabolised and its potency reduced. 

As a result, an edible might take around 30 minutes to two hours before one can start feeling the effects. Genetic factors, height and weight, activity level, and other foods you have eaten during the day can also contribute to the rate of absorption of CBD. This is why the effects of CBD greatly vary from one person to another.

Alternative ways to take CBD beside infused food and drinks

Simply drink it

In this case, instead of just swallowing the oil directly into the stomach, it’s better to squeeze the drops of CBD oil onto a spoon or on your finger and put it under your tongue before swallowing. If the CBD oil is already decarboxylated, it will be able to be absorbed through the tongue. 

The upside to this route is that it offers faster delivery. When you swallow CBD, it goes through the digestive system and has to pass through the liver where its potency is significantly reduced. On the other hand, when you take CBD under the tongue, it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and will be able to act faster and more effectively since it escapes liver metabolism.

For convenience, there are now also CBD capsules that you can take without the hassle of measuring.

Vape it!

The lung presents the largest surface area for gaseous absorption in the human body. This is why many health-conscious consumers prefer to vape CBD oil. This way, they can absorb the cannabinoids through the lung’s large absorptive surface area directly into the bloodstream. It’s better than directly swallowing the CBD whereby it has to be metabolised in the liver. 

Smoke it

It’s possible to smoke CBD, without necessarily the need to roll a joint out of high CBD marijuana, which also happens to contain the psychoactive THC. Use an “oil rig,” quite similar to a water pipe. Use a small metal tool (dabber) to place the CBD oil concentrate onto a small chamber (the “nail”) When you heat the nail, a CBD concentrated smoke will be produced.

Apply it topically!

CBD products you apply on the skin are not absorbed into the bloodstream, but they have a very significant positive impact on the skin. The cannabinoids and other active ingredients in CBD oil provide more focused nourishment and the natural relief vital for healthy skin. CBD topical applicants are best for sore muscles, skin conditions like acne and migraines. The balm can be applied directly to any sore areas—the back, or a sore neck. To relieve migraines, you can apply it to your temples.

Wash and condition your hair with CBD

CBD has a plethora of benefits, both inside and outside the stomach. Besides skin nourishment, CBD can help you nourish and protect your hair from the damage caused by free radicals and environmental exposure. CBD oil shampoos and conditioners can help to cleanse and repair the moisture and restore the shine to your hair.

You are ready!

Alright smarty pants, you are good to go! Now that you are an informed CBD buyer, you know what you really need and can shop for your CBD food and drinks insightfully—and dodge the common mistakes.

CBD is here to stay! And the best you can do is take advantage of its endless health benefits!

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