How Much Salt Is Too Much?

According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of sodium that adults of any age should eat is 2,300 milligrams. That’s the same as about 6 grams of table salt. However, the ideal limit — what we should all aim for — is actually a much lower 1,500 mg sodium/4 g salt per day. Some people are more sensitive to salt than others, so some doctors give people personalized diet recommendations.

Salt and Heart Health

Why does keeping salt levels down matter? The answer has to do with your heart. Salt absorbs extra water, so the more sodium in your blood, the higher your blood pressure. High blood pressure puts additional stress on your heart and can damage your arteries.

On the other hand, lowering your salt intake gives you a much lower risk of health issues:

  • Heart attack

  • Stroke

  • Kidney problems

  • Gout

  • Osteoporosis

  • Stomach cancer

This is why doctors recommend that people with a family history of heart disease or kidney problems be especially careful with salt.

High-Salt Outlaws

Some products are consistently high in salt because of how they’re made. Anything with “salted” on the label obviously has a lot of sodium. The same thing goes for foods in brine, such as olives, pickles and capers. Here’s how much salt some popular food items have (prepare to be shocked):

  • Bacon: Just three slices of bacon (35 g) have almost 1.5 g of salt. That’s over 4 g per 100 g serving!

  • Cheese: Each slice of American cheese contains a whopping 1.5 g of salt. Fortunately, there are low-salt options, too, such as cottage cheese, Swiss and low-sodium mozzarella.

  • Pickles: One medium pickle (65 g) has almost 2 g salt. A large pickle can have double that.

  • Pizza: The next time you’re tempted to order a pizza, choose your toppings wisely. Between pepperoni, sausage, cheese, crust and pizza sauce, each slice of pizza can contain 8–10 g of salt. That’s way more than what you’re supposed to get in the whole day.

  • Burgers: There’s a reason doctors encourage you to eat homemade meals with fresh ingredients and eat out less. Many burgers from fast food restaurants have over 7 g salt, and some have a jaw-dropping 18 grams!

One thing that surprises many people is that bread often has a LOT of salt. I’m not just talking about biscuits, croissants and French bread. “Healthy” bagels, multigrain bread and whole-wheat bread can pack a lot of sodium in each slice. Freshly baked bread sold in supermarkets is almost universally high in salt.

Success With Sodium

Hitting the goal of 1,500 mg sodium a day is doable, but it requires good planning at the grocery store. Check labels carefully and don’t fall for the “serving size” tricks some manufacturers like to use. To make the amount of salt seem less, some brands list a serving of pickles as one-third of a pickle. Who eats one-third of a pickle?

Cooking at home makes it easier to control salt intake. All fresh fruit and veggies are naturally low in sodium, so include them abundantly. Using fresh garlic, herbs and spices is a great way to make tasty meals with less salt.

The Best Desserts To Use Up Summer Fruit While It’s Still in Season

Summer Fruit for Dessert

Have you ever looked at a beautiful display of fruit at the farmers' market and kept on walking because you didn't know what to do with it? Maybe you don't like snacking on fruit, or perhaps you're in the "apples and bananas" club. You know, where you only eat apples and bananas because they're familiar and they're available t the supermarket all year long. Whatever the reason for your seasonal fruit resistance, these simple, fruit-based dessert recipes are sure to turn you into a true fan of all the glorious fruit that summer has to offer.

Simple Peach Crisp

First, spray an 8x8 pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease it with butter. Lay about four cups of peach slices in the pan. You'll have more than a single layer. In a mixing bowl, combine half a cup each of brown sugar, flour, and cold butter cut into pieces. Add a teaspoon or so of cinnamon and a pinch of salt, and blend with two forks, a pastry blender, or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in a cup of rolled oats, and pour over the peaches in the pan. Bake in a medium-hot oven (around 350 degrees) for 30 minutes.

Easy Berry Compote

"Compote" sounds so fancy and complicated, doesn't it? What it actually is, though, is a syrupy, sweet fruit stew. Also, it's delicious. The best part is, a compote is extremely simple to make with whatever fruit you have on hand (even if it's in a can). To make a compote from fresh berries, melt a half a stick of butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Add a couple of squeezes of fresh lemon juice and a quarter cup of brown sugar, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Next, add three-quarters of a pound of berries (about three cups), and simmer and stir for a few minutes. Once the berries start to soften, take the pot off the heat. Serve the compote warm over yogurt, ice cream, pound cake, waffles, or whatever else sounds good to you.

Miniature Cherry Pies

For this recipe, you need a muffin tin and some store-bought pie crust. If you want to simplify the process even more, you can use canned cherry pie filling. To make the filling from scratch, though, mix a quarter cup of cornstarch with a half cup of cold water. Next, combine two pounds of pitted cherries (around five cups), a half cup of sugar, a splash of lemon juice and the cornstarch mixture in a medium saucepan. Stir and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes. While the pie filling cooks, unroll your pie crust and use a biscuit cutter (or the rim of a drinking glass) to cut several rounds of crust. Press them into the cups of your greased muffin tin. When the pie filling is done, spoon it into the tiny pie crusts and then create lattice tops with the remaining scraps of crust. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for around 25 minutes.

These desserts are so delicious and so pretty that they're good enough for company. On the other hand, they're so simple and so fresh that they're also perfect for weeknights with the family. Once you've tried them, you'll never be intimidated by a summer fruit stand again!

6 Foods That Are Toxic to Pets (Cats, Too)

Toxic Foods for Pets

I have a couple of cats at home, but I love dogs, too. Sometimes I like to show my love by sharing a treat, such as hard-boiled eggs, turkey or bananas. However, there are many human foods that you should never give a cat or dog. Avoid these six dangerous foods when cuddling with your cat or dog:

1. Caffeine

The reason chocolate is bad for pets is that it contains caffeine. Pets are extremely sensitive to caffeine. It can overload their hearts, kidneys and nervous system, causing high fever, coma or organ failure. Never give dogs, cats, ferrets or other pets any foods with caffeine:

  • Chocolate

  • Coffee

  • Green tea

  • Caffeinated beverages

  • Energy drinks

If you catch your pet lapping up a little bit of coffee, don’t panic. The small amount of caffeine will probably just make them sick, not seriously ill. On the other hand, chocolate and dark chocolate have a huge amount of caffeine, so you’ll want to call a veterinarian immediately.

2. Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins may seem perfect for dog treats, but don’t let the small size fool you. Something in grapes causes rapid kidney failure in dogs. Just one or two raisins can be enough to trigger a severe reaction.

Scientists still don’t know what chemical compound is responsible, but it’s very dangerous for all canines. The jury is out on felines, but most vets recommend not giving grapes and raisins to cats just to play it safe.

3. Alcohol

No pet should ever drink any kind of alcohol. Just like with caffeine, animals react much more strongly to alcohol than humans do. This includes beer and wine, too. The small organs in most pets aren’t equipped to deal with intoxication, so their heart rate may slow dangerously or they may lose consciousness. With enough alcohol, even large dogs will stop breathing.

4. Garlic and Onions

Cats are more sensitive to garlic than dogs, but dogs can still have problems if they eat enough of it. Any part of the onion family (green onions, too) can hurt your pet’s red blood cells, causing anemia and muscle weakness. Garlic powder is especially toxic since it’s a concentrated form.

5. Nuts

Most nuts are high in specific fats that lead to pancreas inflammation in dogs. Macadamia nuts are the worst for canines, causing shaking, fever and vomiting. You don’t have to panic if your dog just eats a few peanuts or almonds. But if you find them raiding a whole jar of nuts, call the vet immediately.

6. Artificial Sweetener

Be careful if you want to give your pet cookies, gum or other packaged sweets. Many of these products contain artificial sweeteners. Even small doses of a sweetener called Xylitol can trigger liver failure in virtually all pets.

How can you tell if your pet has been affected? Dogs and cats experience a strange loss of balance, like they were drunk. They may seem unusually tired or lethargic. Actually, any time a pet acts really strange (except for catnip) I think it’s a good idea to call the vet.

It’s hard to resist giving an affectionate pet treats. Just make sure not to choose any of the items on this list. This can literally save your pet’s life. Go with crunchy carrots and tasty bananas instead.

5 Time-Saving Kitchen Tools for Cooking From Scratch (Like a Pro!)

Who has time to peel and cook fresh ingredients? Actually, modern technology has made it easier than ever to make breakfast, lunch and dinner quickly. Here are my favorite tools for cooking like a pro.Who has time to peel and cook fresh ingredients? Actually, modern technology has made it easier than ever to make breakfast, lunch and dinner quickly. Here are my favorite tools for cooking like a pro.

1. Food Processor

If we’re talking about kitchen tools that save time on food prep, a food processor tops the charts. This little beauty makes short work of every task imaginable. Plus, the list of things you can make is endless. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Fresh basil pesto

  • Homemade broccoli cheddar soup

  • Roasted tomato soup

  • Nut and coconut lemon bars

  • Low-fat pizza dough

  • Garlic mashed potatoes

  • Secret spaghetti sauce (it has green olives)

  • Real almond butter

Slicing, dicing, grinding, blending, mixing, shredding — you name it — food processors do it all in literally seconds. This is especially great if you have any kind of pain in your hands or wrists since you don’t need to worry about wielding a heavy knife.

2. Immersion Blender

Not feeling in the mood to find and assemble your countertop blender for one smoothie and then have to wash the whole contraption? No problem. Get an immersion blender instead. This lightweight, portable and simple hand-held device takes care of blending easily. Even better, it completely replaces whisking, whipping, mixing and mashing by hand.

To make a great smoothie, put the ingredients in a jar and blend away. An immersion blender can handle bananas, kale, mangoes, blueberries, ginger, yogurt, granola and other tasty mixes for a perfect morning start. Cleaning up is a breeze afterwards compared to a conventional (and heavy) upright blender.

3. Pressure Cooker

Cook beans from scratch in under an hour, wild rice in 20 minutes and a pork roast in 45 minutes? Yes, please. A pressure cooker speeds up cooking times amazingly. Also, when you cook ingredients under pressure, they become moist, super tender and incredibly flavorful.

Does the idea of owning a pressure cooker make you nervous? Modern versions are made with tons of safety features (automatic pressure control, temperature sensors, etc.) so there’s nothing to worry about.

4. Dutch Oven

The beauty of Dutch ovens is preparing a meal and letting it cook by itself for hours. These large enameled multi-cookers are amazing for one-pot recipes:

  • Chicken and rice

  • Casserole

  • Chili

  • Lasagna

  • Au gratin potatoes

  • Spanish paella

  • Chicken curry

My favorite way to use them is for beef roasts. There’s nothing as delicious as melt-in-your-mouth meat with a little oven char. All I do is sear the roast, toss in veggies and red wine, and let everything cook low and slow. Then I go to read a book or do some exercises while the heavenly smells fill up the kitchen. Perfect for Sunday dinners with the kids.

5. Cast Iron Skillet

If you can look past the increased weight, a trusty cast iron skillet may soon become your new best friend in the kitchen. It’s so versatile and simple. One minute you’re browning food on the stove top (using practically no oil) and the next your meal is cooking happily in the oven. I don’t care what anyone says, nothing is as good as homemade corn bread or deep-dish pizza baked in a cast iron skillet.

With these must-have kitchen tools, you can cook any meal in a flash. At the same time, you get tons of healthy nutrients and flavor while cutting salt and fat.

Get the Facts on 5 Plant-Based Meat Substitutes

If you've been thinking about going vegetarian for health, environmental or animal rights reasons, you may wonder how you'll live without your carnivorous faves. With so many innovative plant-based meat substitutes on the market now, it's easier than ever to eat less or even no meat while still enjoying your go-to dishes. Consider this your guide to the bevy of faux meat options you'll find at your local grocery or health food store.

Tofu

Depending on how you prepare it, tofu is an incredibly versatile plant-based meat option that can sub in for seafood, chicken, pork or even beef. This soybean product, which has long been used liberally in Asian cuisine, can soak up the savory flavors of your chosen marinades and spices. When you incorporate tofu in your diet, you'll also enjoy the benefit of calcium, protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and iron. In fact, tofu is a complete protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids the body needs for optimal function.

Even if you've tried tofu before and found it too tasteless or mushy, try purchasing an extra-firm variety and using lots of seasoning. You might be pleasantly surprised about how satisfying soy-based meat can be when you spice it up and throw it on the grill. Tofu also provides an excellent alternative to cheese and eggs if you plan to go completely vegan.

Tempeh

Although tempeh is also made from soy, the use of the whole soybean and the fermenting process create a product with a stronger flavor and an even greater nutritional value. Tempeh, which comes in small cakes or patties, is rich in vitamins, fiber and protein and offers benefits for your digestive health. You may also find tempeh products mixed with grains such as barley and quinoa.

The firm texture of this meat substitute works well in sandwiches, salads and stir-fries, or try a traditional pairing with Thai peanut sauce. Crumble it to use in place of ground beef in your favorite taco and chili recipes.

Seiten

If you avoid soy, try seitan. This pure wheat gluten product is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. You can buy seitan in premade vegan versions of burgers, bacon and sausage, or purchase straight seitan and make your own meat alternatives. Seitan is easy to prepare and can be baked, stir-fried, grilled, sauteed and marinated to your heart's content. However, keep in mind that seitan is not an option for individuals with celiac disease or other forms of gluten sensitivity.

Jackfruit

This new kid on the block is a tropical fruit with a mild taste and meat-like texture that make it an ideal substitute for pulled pork. The sweet taste pairs well with barbecue sauce and other spicy flavors. Just roast the jackfruit in the oven with your seasonings of choice for about 15 minutes for a chewy texture that will make your tacos, sandwiches and stews sing. Best of all, this fruit is rich in fiber, potassium and vitamin C. According to Medical News Today, studies show that jackfruit consumption in animals boosts "good" (HDL) cholesterol levels and decreases the levels of "bad" (LDL) cholesterol.

Mushrooms

Fungi are another outstanding meat substitute if you prefer to eat whole foods rather than processed products. The naturally meaty flavor and texture of mushrooms make these veggies a natural for tacos, stir-fries and sandwiches. You'll also get a healthy dose of fiber and very few calories, which makes mushrooms a filling no-brainer if you're trying to achieve a healthy weight.

When you're experimenting with these meat substitutes, keep an open mind and an open spice cabinet. Refer to recipes that provide step-by-step instructions on how to prepare these unfamiliar ingredients to become an expert in no time.

The Truth About Essential Oils

If the wonderful woman who cuts my hair is to be believed, essential oils are nothing short of magic potions. They’ve done everything from cure her back pain and rejuvenate her nail beds to make her house smell like Thanksgiving all year long. Sounds great, right?

Before you load up on essential oils, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. Essential oils can provide an exciting array of benefits for your well-being, but some of the health claims made about them have stirred up controversy.

Fact: Essential Oils Are Plant Extracts

Essential oils are aromatic compounds that are derived from plants. Sometimes they’re harvested using a cold press or other mechanical means; sometimes they’re distilled using steam. Once those appealing aromatics are separated from their plants, they’re combined with an oil for ease of use.

How that oil is made matters. When buying essential oils, stick to those that are chemical-free and list the aromatic’s botanical name, like “cinnamomum zeylanicum” instead of “essence of cinnamon bark.”

Fact: Essential Oils Are Good for Your Limbic System

One very popular way to use essential oils is to add a few drops to some water in an oil diffuser, which will disperse the scent of the oil, or combination of oils, throughout the air. Studies show that smelling these aromas can stimulate your limbic system. That’s the part of your brain involved in behavior, emotion and memory. Inhaling certain scents can have a calming effect by reminding you of cherished places and events. For example, when I mix a few drops of clove, cinnamon and orange oils in my diffuser, it takes me right back to holidays in my grandmother’s kitchen, even if I’m firing my diffuser up in mid-July.

Fiction: Essential Oils Are Good for Your Blood Pressure

While research proves that essential oil-based aromatherapy can boost your memory, the jury’s still out on whether or not it can lower your heart rate or blood pressure, or improve any respiratory functions.

Fact: Essential Oils Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety

The keyword here is “can.” There’s no guarantee that inhaling essential oils will rid you of your worries, but research has shown that certain scents can reduce stress for certain users. For example, that Christmas kitchen oil cocktail I mentioned earlier often does wonders for my state of mind, but that’s because it tends to stir up pleasant memories.

Ultimately, it’s virtually impossible for researchers to do a blind study when scent is involved, so it’s been equally tricky to come to any strong scientific conclusions in this area.

Fiction: Essential Oils Are an Alternative to Antibiotics

While some essential oils, such as tea tree oil, have demonstrated antibacterial properties outside the human body, none of them have proven effective in fighting bacterial infections in people. In other words, adding tea tree oil to your homemade counter cleaner is a great idea. Taking a big swig of it after you wipe down your kitchen is absolutely not.

Fact: Essential Oils Can Reduce Headaches

While more research is needed, several studies have shown that rubbing peppermint oil or lavender oil on your temples or forehead can reduce headaches.

Fiction: Essential Oils Are Safe for Your Pets

According to the ASPCA, essential oils can be extremely harmful to some pets. It varies from animal to animal, of course, and the type of oil and the amount that the animal inhales, ingests or comes into physical contact with all matter as well.

Does this mean you need to junk your essential oil diffuser? If you have a pet bird, then yes, you probably should. They have exceptionally sensitive respiratory systems. For other pets, stationing the diffuser in an open area and out of your pet’s furry reach should be safe. If you’re worried, ask your vet.

Essential oils can be a great way to cozy up your space or take the edge off your migraine. As with any wellness product, however, you should do your homework first and read all labels.

How To Increase Skin’s Collagen Production

Collagen is your body’s secret weapon. It not only makes your skin appear more youthful but also strengthens your body as a whole. It’s the most abundant protein in your body, and when you have a healthy level of it inside, you look and feel healthy on the outside. Here are six simple, non-invasive ways to kick-start your body’s production of collagen.

Vitamin C

Is there anything vitamin C can’t do? It’s great for your bones and a healthy immune system. Adding citrus to your diet can increase iron absorption and decrease the time it takes wounds to heal. And it helps your body create collagen by synthesizing hyaluronic acid, which decreases naturally as we grow older.

To give your skin a more robust glow, pick up a hyaluronic acid concentrate at the pharmacy or load up on colorful, vitamin C-filled foods such as the following:

  • Oranges and grapefruit

  • Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries

  • Mango, papaya and kiwi

  • Watermelon and cantaloupe

  • Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli

  • Kale, spinach and cabbage

  • Red and green bell peppers

  • Tomatoes

  • Sweet potatoes

Ginseng

Sometimes helping your skin is as simple as brewing a soothing cup of tea. Ginseng, which has been used in medicine for hundreds of years, provides a handful of health benefits for your skin. It can increase collagen growth, reduce inflammation and fend off UVB rays. It’s also packed with the antioxidants you need to fend off free radicals for radiant skin. If ginseng tea turns you off, no problem. Try a ginseng supplement or tincture.

Antioxidants

Ginseng isn’t the only way to aid the antioxidants in your blood stream. Several foods, beverages and spices contain antioxidants:

  • Green tea

  • Yerba mate

  • Thyme, oregano and basil essential oils

  • Blueberries

  • Various extracts including coffee, licorice, mulberry and pomegranate

Some of these delicious flavors increase collagen production, while others simply aid your body’s existing antioxidants. Either way, you have no shortage of reasons to snack on a second bowl of fresh blueberries.

Aloe Vera

You’re probably well aware that aloe vera is great for sunburns, but did you know that it’s all because of its collagen-boosting properties? You can apply it directly to your skin or ingest it via supplement. Either way, studies show that its knack for stimulating cell growth can enhance your skin’s appearance. In fact, one study found that taking aloe vera orally caused the participants’ production of both collagen and hyaluronic acid to double.

Cilantro

I know, I know. You either love it or you hate it. I happen to love it, and not just because it’s full of vitamin C and linolenic acid, both of which have anti-aging potential. You already know that vitamin C has been found to elevate collagen levels. Linolenic acid, meanwhile, contains those helpful antioxidants your skin craves, giving you all the more reason to add an extra handful of cilantro to your salsa or pick up some cilantro extract online.

Algae

For the more adventurous of us, algae is quickly gaining steam as a popular treatment for supple skin. Here’s why: It stops oxidation, which is what happens when your skin comes into contact with environmental factors, thereby preventing pollution and its undesirable pals from stripping your skin of collagen. Odds are, you won’t be able to pick up algae on your next trip to the grocery store, but it’s a health food store staple.

Fine lines and wrinkles are inevitable as we age, but that doesn’t mean we have to welcome them! Partner any of these collagen-intensifying tips with a healthy skincare routine that’s low on UV rays to help your skin look and feel fantastic, no matter how old you are.

Does CBD Really Work?

I’ve never believed in a miracle drug, which is why I shook my head when everybody started talking about CBD. People were claiming it could cure everything from anxiety to excess gas and I thought it was all ridiculous. But then, I realized something strange. Unlike most fads that fade into the background within a few weeks, CBD wasn’t going away. That piqued my curiosity, because if it was a scam, surely it wouldn’t stick around so long.

I started to get curious about what everyone was saying, so I did the unthinkable … I tried the product. Now, before you go making fun of me, you should see what happened when I actually gave CBD a try. Maybe my experience will help you answer your own questions about whether or not CBD really works.

What Is CBD?

Before I tell you my story, I want to make sure you know what CBD is, and what it isn’t. CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is an active ingredient found in cannabis (otherwise known as marijuana). However, the CBD found in products today is derived from the hemp plant, which is a close cousin of marijuana.

Contrary to popular belief, CBD does not cause the “high” for which marijuana is known. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, CBD doesn’t exhibit any effects indicative of substance dependence or abuse. That was good news to me, since I didn’t want to get high as a kite after taking the product to calm my nerves.

Is CBD Legal?  

Just to clear things up, if CBD wasn’t legal, I wouldn’t have taken it. But my state allows me to use it. In fact, all 50 states have legalized CBD to some degree. Different states have different levels of restriction against the product, though. That’s why you need to understand the laws in your state before you buy.

Does CBD Work?

Now, I need to throw this out there right now: There is no evidence that CBD can cure cancer. So make sure you follow the advice of your doctor when dealing with a cancer diagnosis. I would never recommend treating cancer with CBD alone, though it could certainly be used to help minimize pain associated with cancer. As with any drug, it’s really important to talk to your doctor about using CBD to manage pain from cancer or any other health condition.

Though it probably can’t cure cancer, there is evidence that CBD can help with many other conditions, including fibromyalgia pain, anxiety, muscle spasticity and sleep disorders. In my case, it helps calm my anxiety and improves my everyday mood. You’d think that at my age, I’d have very little to worry about. But anxiety can sneak up on you whether you’re 15 or 95. When I start to feel anxious, I take CBD and start to calm down within a few minutes.

Multiple studies reveal that CBD can be used to treat multiple anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I’ve learned that it’s best to take CBD before a known stressful event, such as speaking in front of people or even having the grandkids over for the afternoon.

Is CBD Safe?

Like all pharmaceutical products, CBD is associated with some minor side effects. The good news is that these side effects are typically minor compared to the side effects associated with many common medications. Here are some of the unpleasantries you might experience when you start using CBD:

  • Increased irritability

  • Nausea

  • Fatigue

  • Reduced appetite (although I’m not so sure this one is a negative side effect, to be honest!)

  • Dry mouth

  • Drowsiness

  • Diarrhea

If you experience any of these symptoms, you may want to reduce the amount of CBD you use, or discontinue using it altogether. It’s also important to talk to your doctor about the appropriate dosage for your age and health needs.

Is Buying CBD Oil Legal?

If you’re wondering whether it’s OK to buy cannabidiol oil, you’re not alone. Many older adults are investigating this question because of what they’ve heard about the ability of CBD oil to reduce pain, inflammation and nausea. Will you get in trouble if you buy CBD?

Why CBD Is Sometimes Legal but Sometimes Not

CBD is often legal to buy, but you have to check your state’s laws first. According to federal guidelines, CBD oil is legal as long as it comes from a hemp plant with less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the substance that produce’s marijuana’s “high.” However, the FDA prohibits companies from making any health claims about CBD products, so any supplement that violates this rule is technically illegal.

In addition, some states specifically prohibit CBD. Why the fuss over THC content?

What CBD Oil Is and What It Isn’t

Many people think that pure CBD oil is the same thing as medical marijuana, but it’s not. Cannabis plants have countless varieties. Hemp is a different variety of cannabis than marijuana. This is an important difference because hemp contains almost no THC (under 0.3%) while many marijuana plants contain around 12% THC.

CBD oil doesn’t produce the “high” or feeling of euphoria that THC creates. Instead, CBD benefits focus on overall well-being for the body. This can include relief for a number of general conditions:

  • Pain
  • Migraine
  • Anxiety
  • Inflammation
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Inflammatory bowel disorders

Hemp plants produce an abundance of CBD. Each plant contains about 12–18% CBD plus hundreds of other chemical compounds and antioxidants.

What State CBD Laws Say

Even though CBD oil made from hemp is legal under federal regulations, individual states may have their own laws. Laws can change constantly, so it’s always important to check into your state’s latest guidelines about CBD oil.

As of 2020, Idaho and Nebraska consider CBD oil (and hemp plants) illegal, regardless of the use. South Dakota currently allows CBD oil that comes from hemp but has strict penalties for possession of other types of cannabis.

Why It’s Important To Find a Company You Trust

One major factor in the question of whether CBD oil is legal comes down to how much you trust the product’s manufacturer. This is because the FDA doesn’t actively investigate CBD oil products, similar to its treatment of most supplements. The description you see on the bottle may not be what’s actually inside.

To ensure that CBD comes from hemp instead of other varieties of cannabis, trustworthy companies grow the plants in a carefully monitored environment. These companies also use special chemicals to extract pure CBD oil.

On the other hand, dubious companies may try to save money by getting CBD from marijuana plants. This type of CBD is illegal in most states. Disreputable suppliers sometimes use cheaper extraction methods that don’t remove THC correctly.

How To Make the Final Call

Before buying any CBD products, make sure your state allows them. Look for third-party testing for CBD purity and only buy from well-known companies you trust. As long as it’s legal where you live, high-quality CBD oil from hemp may help you find relief from pain and anxiety symptoms. It’s worth looking into.

Can CBD Oil Get You High?

Products containing cannabidiol, which is more commonly known as “CBD,” are everywhere these days. It’s hard to go anywhere these days without seeing lotions, oils, sprays, tinctures, capsules, vapes and concentrates that claim to contain some level of the stuff. The prevalence of CBD products may have piqued your interest, but before you give any of them a try, you may wonder, can CBD oil get you high?

In a nutshell, the answer is no, CBD oil cannot get you high. However, to understand why that is — and to have peace of mind that we’re telling you the truth — you need to understand what CBD is and how it differs from THC.

The Basics of Cannabidiol

CBD is just one of the hundreds of compounds found in the cannabis and hemp plants. It is extracted from the plant and separated from other compounds, such as the other popular compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (which we will explain more below). CBD comes mainly from the stalks, stems and leaves of cannabis plants, and from the flowers of hemp plants. Manufacturers of CBD products do their best to ensure the compound is as pure as possible before infusing it into edibles, topicals, sprays, oils and other products.

Differences Between CBD and THC

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, does produce the psychoactive effects most people associate with marijuana. Common effects include pleasure, euphoria and forgetfulness, though in some people, the compound can cause increased anxiety and paranoia. If you’re one of the latter types of people, or if you’ve simply never had the desire to try marijuana, it may reassure you to know that CBD does not produce any of the effects of THC.

Unlike CBD, which derives mostly from the stems, leaves and stalks of a plant, THC comes mostly from the flowering portions. This is why many marijuana breeders seek out plants with lush, flower-heavy stalks.

The Effects of CBD 

So, we’ve determined that CBD cannot get you high, but that does not necessarily mean it doesn’t produce some kind of mood-altering effect. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be so popular.

Both THC and CBD are mood-altering compounds that produce several therapeutic benefits. Those include nausea and pain relief, inflammation reduction and management of seizure disorders. However, whereas THC is intoxicating and can alter users’ perceptions of time and space, CBD merely promotes feelings of relaxation and well-being.

Of course, there are exceptions to this. For instance, some people just react differently to different drugs. Just how some people experience euphoria when using THC and others experience paranoia, some people may find that CBD has negative effects on their state of mind. Then there’s the issue of purity. Though uncommon, some users may experience intoxicating effects if a CBD product contains even trace amounts of THC. For this reason, it’s important that individuals interested in CBD products test various ones to see which are right for them.

CBD Oil

CBD oil is one of the most popular of all CBD products, and one of the most versatile. It produces all of the beneficial effects of cannabidiol, such as relaxation, reduced anxiety, pain relief and reduced stress, but you can use it in one of three ways: Add it to food, drinks or vape, take it sublingually (beneath the tongue) or apply it topically by infusing a lotion or cream with it. Like other CBD products, CBD oil should not produce any psychoactive effects.

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