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Deep Dive Into 6 Popular CBD Gummies: The Good, The Bad, and The “OK”

Remember sour worms and gummy bears from good days gone by? Of course you do. The rough texture that becomes slimy and soft as you let stringy pieces of sugar melt away on your tongue…the memories alone make you crave the sweet sensation of these tasty treats.

But as you grew up, people started to tell you that you needed to eat healthier. You can’t eat the junk that comes in a plastic package, because “it’ll rot your teeth and your brain.” Shame on you for even thinking of the delicious goodness of Sour Patch Kids.

CBD gummies, on the other hand, changed the game. Candy, chocolate, and specifically gummies are among the most popular items in the growing market of edible CBD goods. The challenge now is figuring out what’s good and what should get tossed. CBD doesn’t come cheap, so when you’re making a decision about what to buy, don’t be impulsive and more importantly, don’t get ripped off. Make sure you properly vet the brands out there that are pushing CBD gummies.

We know the choices are overwhelming, so we’ve tried tons of different kinds of sour and sugary pieces of CBD candy – bears, worms, frogs and plain ol’cubes. At CBD expositions, samples of products flood convention halls, direct from various CBD retail stores and curated CBD boxes where you get a variety of surprise samples each month. We put together a review to share our team’s consensus of 6 popular CBD gummy brands on the market. Each gummy was evaluated, based on 4 key factors:

  1. Taste/scent – (goal: we would eat or use this if there wasn’t CBD in it)
  2. Price per mg – (goal: doesn’t break the bank, get the best bang for your buck)
  3. Lab reports – (goal: properly tested for undetected harmful ingredients)
  4. Full spectrum/broad spectrum/isolate – (goal: we want that Entourage Effect)

Here are our honest reviews of the best and the worst:

1. Best: CBD NYC Mini 20 mg Bears

At 20 mg each and with 30 pieces per bottle, these gummy bears offer a cheaper price per mg of CBD than any edible we’ve seen ($49.99 retail price for 30 pieces at 20 mg per gummy). On top of getting kudos for being on the cheaper end, these baby bears are super effective and tasty. They come in an assortment of fruit flavors and go a long way to help you ease tension. The teeny tiny size doesn’t make you feel bad about having 2 or 3…or 4. There is no aftertaste or sugar coating which can scratch up your tongue like many gummies out there. These are void of THC and gluten, and sourced from non-GMO, organic USA-grown hemp.

Lab reports are posted on their site, so we knew exactly what we were getting.

These bad boys are broad spectrum, our favorite kind of CBD (more to come on that in a future blog post).

2. Best: Smokiez High Clarity 25 mg Hemp Gummies Chew

Oregon-based Smokiez gummies provide 25 mg of CBD per piece in their chews (10 calories each, including 2 grams of protein). One pack has 10 pieces of chews (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and sugar-free options). The soy-free proprietary formula is something special despite being void of THC. These sweets are perfectly cut, soft and chewy. With a shelf-life of 1 year, you are safe to store these without them going bad, although let’s be honest – you’ll likely ravish them much sooner. Our team prefers two pieces in one sitting. The favorites of all flavors are sour watermelon and jamberry (which tastes like a blueberry, strawberry and raspberry mash-up). The least favored among reviewers was straight raspberry. The only downside was that we called in and wanted to find out if these were isolate, broad spectrum and full spectrum. No one picked up their phone – we only got a voicemail box. Note to Smokiez – invest in customer service!!

A single serving is one 25 mg gummy, with only ten pieces per package. Each package will cost you $24.95. Lab results can be found here.

3. Favored, but not a favorite: Upstate Elevator Co CBD Worms 30 mg

The fruity flavor tart worms from this Vermont-based company are awesome. Each wiggly worm has 30 mg of CBD, so they are pretty potent. Also included in one serving is 100% of your daily recommended dosage of Vitamin C, which is always nice. There is no THC or artificial preservatives; other ingredients include organic carrot juice and turmeric. There’s also no hemp aftertaste but lots of sugar on the worms. These are isolate hemp gummies, but we had to call in to find that out. We didn’t find that information listed anywhere on their site.

There’s 30 mg per gummy, and 25 gummies per bottle. Each bottle will cost you $69.99. Lab reports can be found here.

4. Favored, but not a favorite: Kushie Bites CBD Variety Pack

You get 1000 mg of CBD in this $40 variety pack of gummy chews, worms, bears, rings and one big octopus. What’s there not to like? The Colorado-made CBD company hooks you up with so many options with and without sugar on top. Each gummy has anywhere between 25-50 mg of CBD. You get 20 pieces in the variety pack, which equates to about 550 calories. Although they are gluten, fat and dairy-free, these do taste much sweeter than our favorite CBD gummies. The calorie count speaks to that, too. Our favorite in the pack is the rainbow that looks like you twisted up a sugared rainbow sour strip and trimmed it into a few pieces. Keep in mind, these are isolate. We had to call their representatives to figure that out – note to Kushie Bites, list that on your site!!

We found their lab reports here.


5. Needs Improvement: Just CBD 7 mg Emoji Gummies

When you are having a bad day, and are looking for CBD gummies, if they have a smiley face, you expect to start smiling. Just CBD just doesn’t do the trick. Although the branding is cute – these emoji gummies are coated with sugar and the flavors don’t taste very different. The 7 mg of CBD per moji is lower then most edibles so you need to have a lot for them to be effective, and the sugar from 5 or more can be annoying on your tongue. This is not a terrible option for first-timers who want an extremely low dose of CBD per gummy. These gummies have isolate hemp in them – you won’t get the entourage effect, but you will get CBD delivered into your system in its purest form.

These gummies will run you $40, but you can probably find a Groupon deal and get them at a discount. Lab reports are here.

6. Needs Improvement: Joy Organics 20 mg

These 8-ingredient serene orchard gummies have a subtle apple flavor and very hempy aftertaste. The high CBD content coupled with minimal additive ingredients likely create the residual taste after you chew. We wish that Joy would do something about the bitter taste, it’s not a serene flavor despite the clean ingredients and pleasant chew.

A 15-pack with 20 mg per chew will run you $44.95. These are broad spectrum, so you’ll get the benefits of that. But, we advise that you choose one of our favorites and save your money. Lab reports can be found here.

So, that’s a wrap for our gummies post! We hope you liked our breakdown of the best and worst in CBD gummies. Please leave us a comment below! Until next time… 😉

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THC Therapy – Note, This Post Would Only Be Legal in About 13 States

By Morris Henderson

Our former presidents have admitted to smoking marijuana, there is evidence that alcohol is more dangerous for consumers than marijuana, and yet we are still far, far away from decriminalizing (let alone legalizing) THC across the nation.

While I’ll veer away from the political tirade I’d like to go on, I’m going to get down to brass tacks here.  In the words of Rick James (sort of), Mary Jane is a hell of a drug. In a perfect world we’d have an Amazon of THC bath bombs, THC edibles, THC gummies, THC skin creams and THC cosmetics. We can buy alcohol online in 2019 – yes, a beverage that can cause you to become so inebriated and stupid that you break into a bar brawl at 2 A.M. It’s not viewed as high risk, though it does require some licensing. However, you need a specialized merchant service to even do business with something as innocent as CBD.

Let’s talk about a few of the legal products on the market, where to get them and when to use them.

First, I live in Maine and recreational marijuana is not legal in my state.  So, what’s a guy to do?  Obviously, I drive down to Massachusetts and hit up a few of my favorite dispensaries to purchase, eat, smoke and apply my favorite THC products.

Quick disclaimer, y’all.  I do not endorse buying marijuana illegally.  Sure, it’s ridiculous that marijuana is illegal and people have gone to prison for possessing it.  But, street drugs are the real Wild Wild West. You have no clue what’s in your bud, and I suggest staying away from it.  There are plenty of states that have legalized the growth and distribution of marijuana.  Can’t get the recreational kind?  Well, there are a number of ways to get a medical marijuana card.  Just be mindful that if you have a gun license, states like New York will prohibit you from having both.

Anyway, on my last trip to MA I dropped into NETA (New England Treatment Access) in Northampton.  Of course, there was a line to get in.  Since there are only a few dispensaries that have been approved to sell in Massachusetts, there’s constantly people queuing at the doors.  This, of course, is a good sign.  The legitimate dispensaries are taking business away from the illegal distributors – more people are getting their hands on bud that has been tested and regulated.

Once they let me inside, I get on line and their salespeople hand me a menu.  Some stuff is highlighted as just medical, while other stuff is recreational.  There’s a way to order ahead and come pick up your items, which is something I’ll definitely do next time I’m on my way down from Maine.

So, how do I pick my items?  It’s really a matter of what I’m looking for.  Personally, I’m not looking for the purely psychoactive effects of THC.  I do want to relax, but I don’t necessarily want to be high out of my mind.  The D-line lumens are great for a soothing calm – each has 5 mg of THC, and they don’t taste bad.  They’re not the overly sweet gummies you find at CBD stores, they’re really just subtly sweet edibles with a bit of sugary coating.  The packaging is interesting – I don’t know if it’s due to regulations but the packages are pretty low-key.  The gummies are $30, and come in sort of a medicine bottle with labels that are in shades of green.  I’ve noticed that the more frequently I take these, the harder it is to feel any type of high from the lumens.  For instance, the first time I took a gummy, it was an instant high (with just 5 mg!)  The second time I ate one, I didn’t feel a thing.  I need to eat more at the same time or really take time off between chewing on these.

Quick disclaimer on these – do not eat one or two and then even think about driving within a two or three-hour timeframe.  These will hit you later, not immediately. Be safe and responsible when you are consuming a psychoactive substance.

Next, there’s the sucking candy. Yes, there’s sucking candy with THC in it, and it’s FAMAZING. These are called “gems,” and well, what gems they are (sorry for the corny play on words).  I got the 5 MG Watermelon gems, and they hit you within 30 to 60 minutes. Similar to the gummies, you don’t want to take too many of these at once. The THC “taste” is pretty subtle; it’s easy to enjoy these watermelon goodies if you prefer to suck on your THC (heh, heh).

So, that wraps up our “edible edition” of THC Therapy, brought to you by Yours Truly.  We’ll be back with more reviews on SMOKABLE THC (I know that’s what you guys are really here for ;)).

Next time, we’ll bring you the latest and greatest in CBD gummies. Until then!!!

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How Accutane led me to CBD, and What to Look for in Your Fave CBD Products

For 13 years, I struggled with acne. It was indiscriminate and all over my body. The skin condition was cystic, nodular and every other variety; it was on my face, chest, back and every other crevice. My confidence and ability to be intimate with anyone for years was non-existent. This sk-insecurity prevented me from attending pool parties, dating, revealing my skin in any way, even looking into the mirror. I tried every over-the-counter topical treatment one could find at drug stores and Sephora – benzoyl peroxides, glycolic and salicylic acids from Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, Acne-Free, Olay and Proactiv. I spent thousands of dollars on facials, microdermabrasion & acne focused spa treatments to reduce breakouts and help with scarring. I was so dedicated to improving my skin that I went on a journey to try holistic solutions and took up vegetable juicing. I consumed and topically applied Coconut Oil, Fish Oil, anything and everything with collagen, retinol,Vitamin E & C, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Nothing worked consistently for me and it became a lot to manage. Many products were a hit or miss.

Every dermatologist that I visited recommended Accutane. The magic pill was said to permanently rid my body of acne. It sounded divine – but I was hesitant because no doctor could explain to me how it actually worked. Wikipedia couldn’t give me the facts either. It came to a point where I was desperate. I felt like my skin was controlling my life – without the confidence I so eagerly desired, I couldn’t perform as well as I wanted to at work. I found an excuse to never let any dates finish with a happy ending and any positive affirmation felt like a joke.

I took a leap of faith and decided to give Accutane a try. This is what was required: enrollment in iPledge, a program that all Accutane users must adhere to. The program requires patients to have monthly blood tests, ensuring vitals are not impacted by the drug. As a woman, I also had to have two consecutive blood tests to prove that I was not pregnant prior to being prescribed Accutane. If you are pregnant, there is absolutely no way you can take this drug. The packaging reinforces this – every pill is dispersed after pushing through a a big, bold image of a pregnant woman that has a huge fat Red X over it. My doctor explained to me that it was absolutely critical I have multiple methods of birth control – a birth control pill was preferred, but if not, iPledge makes you attest to all of your pregnancy prevention methods. After you submit your strategy to avoid a bundle of joy in the system, your doctor must also submit the same responses or your prescription is blocked.

It is a process that can be overwhelming but curing acne for life was the promised golden snatch so I went with it.

To say the side effects “sucked” is an understatement. I was constantly tired, at times lethargic. As if that wasn’t enough, my joints ached, my eyes & nose were dry, but even worse – my skin was severely dry. My face, especially around the chin area, resembled a flaky old beehive. I luckily didn’t experience anxiety or depression, which I was advised could both be side effects. What I did experience, which was revealed through my blood tests, was elevated levels of a protein produced by my liver. The alarming protein is naturally created when your liver isn’t properly functioning and signals a potential shutdown on the way. My body was raising a tired hand to alert whomever read my blood tests that something was wrong.

The only thing different (besides excluding all other types of medicines, alcohol, vitamins and even carrots) that I was doing was taking Accutane. Safe to say correlation implies causation in this case.

Outside of the liver impact, my white blood cell count was on a steady rise. During the 3 month period that I was committed to the regimen, my white blood cells rose from a normal range to nearly quadrupling at the end of month 3.

In addition to being scared shitless about my liver and overall health, I then developed anxiety which didn’t do much to help my well-being! My morale was ruined for a long time until I went further down the natural path of health, wellness and healing and came across CBD. And let me tell you – I’m very grateful. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD have done wonders for my skin. I did a lot of research to learn that everybody has an Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which naturally produces natural cannabinoids. These compounds help regulate bodily functions via 2 main receptors (CBD 1 and CBD 2), which are key to the nervous and immune system. Added plant cannabinoids (ingested or applied topically) help these receptors function more efficiently, leading to a stable and more balanced body. 

No Endocannabinoid system is the same, but what works for me may work for you. I apply CBD oil topically to my face after the shower and other parts of my body where I’m having skin issues. I also take either CBD capsules or ingestible tinctures (also some gummies from time to time). When buying your products, look for Full Spectrum. Full Spectrum items contain terpenes and cannabinoids including THC (the component responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis); but,in such a small amount that you will not high. Full Spectrum is the strongest, highest quality of CBD because the inclusion of all of the phyonutrients in the cannabis plant (even that tiny amount of THC) complement each other, growing stronger, more effective bonds. The more full the spectrum of cannabinoids, the quicker and better those bonds will work, helping you treat an ailment or get the relaxation you are trying to achieve. Broad Spectrum is not a bad option, it’s just stripped of THC; so, a little less effective. The more cannabinoids in the spectrum, the more synergistic the effect. A CBD isolate, although still beneficial is the mildest of the three and contains the least amount of cannabinoids.

Also important when buying CBD – take a look at the ingredients and review the lab report. Many products although marketed as CBD or Hemp contain Hemp Seed Oil, which is very different. Pay attention to the Certificate of Analysis (COA) Lab Reports. The COA will tell you the complete breakdown of what the CBD and plant that the CBD came from was tested for. I’ve seen a number of Lab Reports that don’t test for harmful toxins, despite being FDA-compliant. Most CBD products have a QR code which when scanned, pulls up the lab report; but the company’s website should also have it. Stay informed on the quality of your CBD!

Another tip, specific to edibles: looked for “CBD-infused”. Another unsettling thing that we have learned while staying up late looking at lab reports is that some companies are spraying edibles with CBD rather than infusing the food with it. This significantly reduces the quality of what you are buying as the spray rubs off on the packaging and unevenly spreads the CBD across each piece.