The Definitive Guide To CBD

Brandless has all of your CBD needs covered

CBD has billboards in Times Square, but most Americans still don't know what it really is. Is it just a placebo effect?

There's a lot to know. The online marketplace, Brandless is trying to break down these knowledge barriers by educating and informing about this massively beneficial substance. They only sell high-quality products at reasonable prices, so if you need a resource and top-notch CBD, head to their CBD marketplace.

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Here's everything you need to know about CBD oil (and how to get the best products).

What exactly is it?

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is derived from the hemp plant. It will not get you high.

Is there THC in this?

There can sometimes be trace amounts! Check the spectrum:

  • Full Spectrum - less than 0.3% THC
  • Broad Spectrum - less than 0.1% THC
  • Isolate - No THC

At such small percentages, even a full-spectrum product will not get you high. It's included for a well-rounded effect. - the same way that indica strains of cannabis are more calming than sativa, the presence of THC can support and amplify the benefits of CBD.

Will CBD products get me high?

CBD products cannot get you high.

If you're still worried, go with a CBD Isolate - a NO-THC product, like Brandless' offering of Plant People's Stay Calm capsules.


CBD has been said to-

  • Ease discomfort and muscle aches
  • Supports feelings of calmness
  • Promotes a restful night

How do I take it?

There are multiple ways:

  • Tinctures - This is the bottle with the dropper. Hemp is distilled down to an oil for maximum absorption. You place a dropper's worth under your tongue, hold for 30 seconds, and swallow. This sublingual method is the most effective, because it gets into your bloodstream faster than other methods.
  • Balms & Topicals - For common aches and pains, massage the CBD topical or balm directly into the problem area to ease discomfort from muscle and joint aches.
  • Capsules - Ingest like you would any other pill. Because the CBD goes through your digestive tract, it can take slightly longer to take effect.
  • Other - There's CBD protein powder, chapstick, gummies, bath soaks, hair growth formula, sports bras, toothpaste...lubricant…. everything you can think of.

What should I look for when buying?

Look at the spectrum, the MG amount, and always look for a Certificate of Analysis (COA). Hundreds or even thousands of companies are starting to get into the CBD business, and finding reputable brands with Certificates of Analysis (COA) is the best way to differentiate the real deals from the scams, or the overvalued products.

How much do I take?

There's always a recommended serving on the package, but because everyone is different, it's best to start with a small amount and increase it until you find your desired effect.

What does it cost?

The average ranges from about $0.03 per MG to $0.25 per MG. What accounts for the range is supporting independent farms, using organic and sustainable practices, the method of plant extraction, the use of third-party testing, and the addition of other balanced ingredients, like ashwagandha to further promote calmness and relaxation or arnica for easing discomfort.

The higher MG per serving (the potency), the higher the price, in general.

If you're canna-curious, Brandless has the full rundown on each of their products - the method of ingestion, the THC level, the additional supportive ingredients, etc. Looking for a tincture to promote a restful night? A balm for easing discomfort? A capsule to help you unwind?

They've got it all. Check out their marketplace for all your CBD needs (there's even a protein powder!).

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Not intended as medical advice. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. If you have specific healthcare concerns or questions about the products discussed, please contact your licensed healthcare professional for advice

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Living with Chronic Pain: How CBD Can Give You Back Your Freedom

This silent condition can be hard to treat, CBD has many possibilities for chronic pain patients.

Chronic pain is a silent condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a major medical problem that is quite difficult to treat. Though there may be no outward signs, an individual can spend their lives battling against the unpredictable and incapacitating effect of living with chronic pain. The condition affects an estimated 50 million adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, with another 19 million affected by high impact chronic pain. However, in recent years, the development of cannabidiols has changed the game for many chronic pain patients.

Chronic pain is pain that has lasted three to six months (or more, in some cases), and high impact chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts six months or more while substantially restricting life activities.

Those who suffer this long-term pain come from all walks of life, young and old, and the condition can drastically alter one's life. Symptoms range from a dull ache, throbbing, burning, soreness, stiffness, and inability to fully move. The physical effects are debilitating, while mental anguish includes depression, self-doubt, and sadness, which are sometimes indescribable. Chronic pain can affect sleep, appetite, mood and make a person feel weak and have little energy.

Learning to live with a new normal, knowing what your body can and cannot handle, and trying remedy after remedy for any hope of relief can leave sufferers battling symptoms, financial burdens, and long term changes to overall quality of life. Treatment often involves expensive surgeries, repeated injections and long-term use of prescription painkillers, which can lead to dependence, as well as lasting effects on relationships and other aspects of personal and professional life.

Cannabidiols and Chronic Pain

Photo by Harrison Haines from Pexels.

Research into the use of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat long term pain shows that it has pain-relieving effects, can help to relieve inflammation, can improve appetite, stabilize mood, and help to reduce other symptoms suffered by chronic pain patients. In studies done on rats, topical CBD treatments for arthritis and inflammation show a reduction in swelling, as well as lower pain levels. For decades, CBD has been studied in combination with cancer treatments, proving effective in the treatment of pain, vomiting, and lack of appetite from chemotherapy treatments. When used in combination with opioids, CBD showed more relief than opioids alone. The bottom line here is that research and patients report that CBD helps to treat what are often untreatable symptoms of chronic pain.

CBD can be derived from both plants that contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that causes psychoactive reactions when smoked or ingested, and hemp plants that do not contain high levels of THC.

Legally, CBD derived from cannabis was reclassified as a Schedule 1 narcotic in 2018 by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Drugs that contain a finished dosage formula of CBD with THC below 0.1% are considered Schedule 5 drugs after approval from the FDA. (So far only one drug has been approved, Epidolex, used to treat rare forms of epilepsy). CBD from hemp is not regulated by the FDA, and, as such, there are many products that make wild and unproven claims about its "'miracle" healing properties.

How CBD Treats Pain

So how does CBD treat pain? The human body has an endocannabinoid system, responsible for the regulation and balance of cannabinoid-like compounds that occur naturally in the body ("endo" refers to a substance that's produced normally within the body). The human body has receptors in the nervous system that endocannabinoid and cannabinoids bond with. These receptors are labeled CB1 and are located in areas of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and the central nervous system. CB2 receptors are found in the digestive system, the immune system, and the peripheral nervous system, which affects the extremities.

CBD has no psychoactive effects. It has shown very promising properties for treating pain, muscle disorders, seizures, anxiety, Parkinson's, Crohn's disease, and many other conditions. Research studies on animals have shown the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD can inhibit pain receptors, while THC can have helpful effects on treating nerve pain. CBD is thought to stimulate CB2 receptors to tell the body to make more of its own natural cannabinoids, thus aiding in treating pain.

One issue the industry and patients face right now is that the regulations on products vary to make sure they are safe and truly contain levels of CBD that are effective. On a federal level, hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC are legal, however, as previously mentioned they are not regulated by the FDA. Consulting with a doctor or industry expert is a good place to start when looking for the right CBD product for your pain and to make sure you are getting a product with effective doses of CBD.

Many products will have filler ingredients so paying attention to what is in the product and reviewing the dosage information is an important first step. The Harvard Health blog shares with us that the main concern with products is that they are marketed to treat pain but will not have the active CBD ingredients.


One of the best ways to treat pain is with CBD oil. CBD oil has been used since ancient times to treat a variety of conditions. It can be taken in very small doses and when used subtly it does not cause the mental fuzziness associated with opioids and other prescription painkillers. The American Marijuana Association tests and rates products for their quality and potency (they have paid testers who personally test and rate each product). Their recent review rates Spruce CBD Oil as the most potent. PopularCBD Brands.com published a review of CBD products after testing over 150 brands of CBD oil. They rate BioMDPlus as a top brand for pain relief CBD products.

There are also a variety of edible, smokable, and topical CBD products out there. Self-dosage is tricky, so consult a professional and talk with your doctor about interactions between CBD and any current medication you are taking.

Many products will have filler ingredients so paying attention to what is in the product and reviewing the dosage information is an important first step. The Harvard Health blog shares with us that the main concern with products is that they are marketed to treat pain but will not have the active CBD ingredients.

What all of this tells us is that CBD has serious potential to help treat chronic pain and can open up a world of options to those who suffer from this condition daily. Though it is still a debated and growing field, there are a lot of benefits to explore as an alternative to long term use of painkillers or expensive pain treatments and surgeries.

The Essential Beauty Regimen for Men in 2020

Stop washing your face with dish soap, you're an adult.

For many men, their poor self-care habits are well disguised in the summer. Everyone is tan, glowing, and seemingly healthy. But winter eventually comes, the air gets dry, and that bar of soap you effectively used to wash your face in the summertime is now the bane of your existence. Your skin is patchy, dry, and pimply. Your hair is dehydrated from the cold wind, the bags under your eyes are suddenly twice as prominent as they were in the summertime heat. As we welcome 2020, it's important to remember that there is a great deal of winter left and a great deal of time to look pale and sickly before a tan can camouflage your neglect.

Beauty regimens are a necessary evil. It's true that there is a lot of expensive, useless crap out there, and that can make starting a routine incredibly daunting, but a healthy routine can (literally) add years to your life and make you look pretty good in the process. For the men out there looking for affordable and effective methods to look and feel healthier in the winter, Trueself is about to break it all down for you.

Essential Vitamins – Spirulina

Spirulina is one of the most imperative probiotics on the market. Offered in both pill and powder form, Spirulina is jam packed with essential nutrients. As a type of blue-green algae, Spirulina has everything from protein to B Vitamins 1, 2 and 3, and even potassium and iron.

Essential Vitamins – Citrus Bioflavonoids

These capsules are imperative for those who suffer from nosebleeds in the winter. Extracted from citrus fruits, bioflavonoids work to strengthen blood vessels and also help with hypertension, bruising, and hemorrhoids.

Essential Vitamins – Vitamin E

While B vitamins help with moisturizing skin, vitamin E is imperative to maintain glowing, healthy skin in the winter. It effectively gets rid of acne and is an oil-soluble vitamin that better protects the skin against dehydration. While offered in capsule form, it can also be rubbed on your skin as a moisturizing oil, and it can also be found in nuts, seeds, and fruits.

Essential Vitamins – Buffered Vitamin C Powder

We all know how essential Vitamin C is in the winter. It boosts the immune system and helps with overall optimism during the cold months, but many of us don't realize just how much Vitamin C we actually need when our immune systems are low. The average packet of Emergen-C contains only around 1,000 mg of Vitamin C, and it's mixed in with a lot of sugar. On a good day, a person needs at least 2,000 mg of Vitamin C in their body at all times, but when warding off infections in the winter, that still may not be enough. Buffered Vitamin C powder offers a whopping 4,000 mg of Vitamin C, and while it may not taste great, it's one of the most effective ways to prevent sickness during flu season.

Essential Skincare – Facial Cleanser

Now that you're taking the right vitamins, let's initiate a simple skin care regimen to revitalize and give your skin that extra boost. While what's listed here is by no means the definitive guide to perfect skin, it's a great starting point for men who find themselves lost and confused in the sea of skincare branding.

First and foremost, that bar of soap you've relied on to clean your face for months needs to be replaced with a facial cleanser, ideally something infused with Witch Hazel. While Aesop offers one of the best all-in-one facial cleansers on the market, it can be a little pricey. In its stead, pick up an effective face wash and just buy a bottle of Thayers Witch Hazel to rub on separately after wash. Thayers is alcohol-free and reduces skin redness, while its aloe vera formula helps moisturize and fight acne.

Essential Skincare – Eye Cream

The skin under our eyes is much more sensitive than the rest of our bodies and thus requires special attention. An effective eye cream can get rid of dark rings or ease inflammation and puff from tired eyes. It can also reduce wrinkles and aid in hiding crow's feet. While eye cream can be pricey, it only requires a dollop to see maximum results, so one bottle can last a while.

Burt's Bee's Herbal Complexion Stick

For those stubborn blemishes that just won't die, Burt's Bee's Complexion Stick is one of the most effective on-the-spot skin solutions and gives your skin a little extra boost to help tackle tough acne. Mainly comprised of Willow Bark Extract, it contains Beta Hydroxy Acids, which work to exfoliate the skin and unclog tough pores. Its blend of Tea Tree Oil also adds in extra anti-bacterial goodness.

Essential Skincare – Argan Oil

While many people are gravitating towards Coconut Oil for moisture, Argan Oil is actually much kinder to the pores on your face and should be used instead. Nicknamed "liquid gold" in Morocco due to its beauty benefits, Argan Oil is packed with fatty acids, vitamin E, and essential proteins. It can also be rubbed on your scalp to strengthen hair follicles.


UV rays from the sun can be detrimental to our skin's health, even in the winter. As a result, you should finish off every skincare regimen with sunscreen. Try to stay away from moisturizers that have a small amount of SPF, and instead just buy a hydrating sunscreen. This way, you can wear it in addition to your Argan Oil without clogging your pores.

Essential Haircare – Alcohol Free Shampoo

Split ends and fly aways are all too present in the winter. Instead of suffering through a multitude of bad hair days, a few simple steps can seriously aid in maintaining healthy hair. First of all, stop shampooing every day. Shampoo strips the hair of essential oils needed to keep your strands looking luscious and healthy. If you're prone to greasy hair, shampooing every other day is recommended. For thick, curly hair, you should ideally only shampoo about once a week, and even then it should ideally be with dry shampoo.

It is also imperative that when you do wash your hair, you use a shampoo that is alcohol free. While alcohol aids in that "squeaky clean" feeling, it sucks the moisture out of your hair, making you more prone to split ends and damaged roots. OGX is one of the most effective and affordable shampoo brands out there. Its blend of coconut milk, coconut oil, and egg white protein aids in elasticity and hydration. Its conditioner, which you should use every single day, is equally as powerful in maintaining healthy hair.

Essential Haircare – Deva Curl Stylers

The reigning champion of hair care products, Deva Curl is the only, and I repeat only, hair care product worth the money. Offering a range of products meant to reduce frizz and split ends, anything by Deva Curl is an essential purchase for those looking to have healthier hair. It is completely free of sulfates, doesn't leave your hair greasy, and uses wheat protein to make hair stronger.

How to Heal Yourself Through Lucid Dreams

A DIY guide to ancient dream healing.

In ancient Greece, the demigod Asclepius represented healing and medicine. Some myths say he was capable of bringing people back from the dead, making him an enemy of Hades, while others propose that he was merely an excellent mortal physician.

According to legend, Asclepius spent his life traveling with a band of physician-priests, learning the art of medicine and developing the science of dream healing. After his death, Asclepius was deified as a hero, inspiring a cult of devoted followers who believed that even in death, he possessed the healing powers they so desired.

Followers built intricate temples in honor of him and often spent the night sleeping inside them. They believed that Asclepius had performed many of his healing miracles inside of dreams, and they wanted to ask his spirit to work its magic on them while they slept.

The Greeks, like many other ancient cultures, believed that healing needed to happen on both spiritual and physical dimensions. Though the Asclepian cult is considered the zenith of dream healing, the art of dream incubation—or attempting to commune with deities through dreams—has existed for thousands of years. It may have originated in Egyptian cults; it appears in dream yoga, an aspect of Tibetan Buddhism, and on ancient papyrus scrolls written by Babylonian mystics. For as long as humans have lived, we have been dreaming and trying to figure out just what those midnight hallucinations might mean.

For Asclepius's worshipers, therapeutic sleeping was a ritual that required a great deal of preparation. Patients would often fast, bathe, cleanse themselves in specific sacred fountains, and would possibly even inhale psychotropic substances before embarking on their sleep odysseys. Then the patient would spend the night at a dream temple. If it all went well, the patient would be visited by some sort of prophetic dream and ultimately would receive the advice and healing they required from the spirit of Asclepius himself.

Dream Healing Today

Over the years, dream healing has clearly lost credibility among mainstream scientists, and that's fair enough. But more recently, members of the scientific community have begun to re-emphasize dream healing as a viable way to address deep-rooted problems.

The famed psychologist Carl Jung was fascinated by the art of Asclepian dream incubation. He believed that dreams could allow us to access the collective myths that bind humanity together across time and space. He also believed that every person is capable of analyzing their dreams and using what they find to learn more about themselves and their place in the universe. "All consciousness separates; but in dreams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the darkness of primordial night," he wrote.

Carl Jung Dream Book Illustration

In more recent times, research has proven that healing can actually take place in dreams—particularly lucid dreams. The scientist Robert Waggoner writes, "Being consciously aware in the dream state may allow the lucid dreamer to influence unconscious body mechanisms, much like excellent subjects in deep hypnosis. In any case, the anecdotal reports show lucid dreamers have had apparent success with stopping internal bleeding, reducing fever and signs of infection, speeding recovery from fractures, reducing uterine cysts, and healing scar tissue."

While of course most people cannot stop internal bleeding in their dreams, the act of healing oneself through dream work might be somewhat effective because the body, in its dream state, is particularly susceptible to hypnosis. We know that hypnotherapy can be an effective form of therapy, allowing you to take control of your behaviors. Just like hypnosis can reveal deep-rooted truths, dreams—even non-lucid ones—can also provide clues about the sources of various problems. "When a patient dreams of dirty water, this could be connected with kidney problems and the urinary system," says Nida Chenagtsang, a doctor of Tibetan medicine. "The dream may signal problems on a energetic level, before those problems manifest on the physical level."

Even if it doesn't contribute directly to physical healing, dreams can provide an altered state that can shed light on reality. "You get a different take on things," says Charles T. Tart, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of California. "This isn't an instant cure. There are no guarantees. But so many of our problems persist because we see them in only one way and keep beating our head against the same wall. Lucid dreaming can be a way to open to new insights."

How to Heal Through Dreams

Dream healing should never be a replacement for medicine and professional care. But if you're, say, sick, stuck at home and sleeping a lot already, you might as well try to see if you can heal your subconscious as you heal your physical form.

In general, DIY dream incubation involves four steps. First, you'll need to set the stage. Make space for yourself to dream with a few rituals inspired by the ancients—say, a cleansing bath or shower, a puff or sip of lavender tea, mugwort, CBD, or your relaxant of choice. Clean your space and act like you're literally going to perform a ritual. Unplug everything, turn all the lights off, light some candles or incense, and do what you need to do.

Then, set your intention. If you think about dreaming before going to bed, or meditate on lucid dreams and ask your subconscious to let you into a lucid dream, you're far more likely to actually have one. So if you want to practice dream incubation by yourself, begin by making a request of your subconscious mind before bed. Do you want to meet a family member in your dreams? Do you want advice about the future? Do you want to try to solve a particularly confounding philosophical dilemma? Do you want to know what you should be paying attention to? You might want to write down your question in a journal, even a few times over, before you go to bed. In your pre-sleep meditation, be sure to imagine yourself dreaming a solution and visualize yourself waking up having come to a conclusion.

Of course, your dream incubation efforts don't have to involve a specific question about your own life. You might meditate on a symbol or a particular deity, depending on your own faith and preferences. Ancient dream incubation practitioners would usually meditate on a deity before sleeping, and they'd often sleep in sacred places—like Aesclepian temples—sometimes surrounded by icons, or even drawing the face of their deity on a cloth and binding it to their hands.

When you wake up, be sure to write down your dreams. It's so easy to forget your dreams, even if they feel mind-blowing in the present moment. If you wake up in the middle of the night: Make sure to write down your dream before you go back to sleep. (Of course, if your dream was a nightmare that you'd rather forget, you might prefer to let it swim away into oblivion). Whether you were visited by a deity in the form of a snake or caught in the middle of a labyrinthine journey through a botched onstage performance, you should be able to find some gem of wisdom in the abstraction.

Try this process several nights in a row and see if it works. You might not dream, or you might not succeed in lucid dreaming—but hey, we have to fall into voluntary unconscious hallucinations every night. You might as well ask the sheep and shadows of your unconscious mind if they have anything to tell you.


Are CBD Beauty Supplements Worth It?

CBD can have remarkable beautifying effects, so we've selected the best CBD beauty supplements to give you glow from the inside out!

Beauty and health are closely interlinked, so it's no surprise that CBD, our favorite remedy, can have remarkable beautifying effects. We've already profiled some amazing topical CBD skin care products, but CBD beauty supplements can be even more potent. They can have an effect on everything from your skin to your hair and nails, not to mention your internal wellbeing, which is reflected in those external features.

What are CBD beauty supplements good for?

We know that CBD can act as an anti-inflammatory, which is especially important for the skin and hair. As an anti-inflammatory, CBD might be able to calm down sebocytes to reduce acne, and we suspect it could also help soothe facial redness caused by other issues like rosacea or contact dermatitis. Inflammation also reduces the hair follicles' ability to generate strong hair, so if you're struggling with hair brittleness or loss, CBD could help.

Stress is one more factor that has a serious impact on how we look. When we're stressed the skin looks dull and lifeless and the hair can lose its luster, so CBD's ability to dissipate stress and anxiety can also transform our appearance. Similarly, lack of sleep also takes a serious toll, and CBD has been shown to help promote better sleep.

What to look for in CBD supplements?

We found that the best CBD beauty supplements go above and beyond just giving the benefits of CBD. They also incorporate other nutrients that are key for keeping the body healthy and supporting its functions to promote beauty–especially biotin, B-vitamins, and antioxidants. We've selected the best CBD supplements out there for beauty, taking into consideration compositions and potency levels to suit different kinds of needs.

CBD supplements for every experience level

If you're relatively new to CBD, a beauty supplement can be an excellent way of introducing it. Most CBD beauty supplements contain relatively low amounts, which is perfect for beginners looking to perfect their dose and to enjoy simpler benefits. If you're an experienced user, you can introduce CBD supplements into your routine for the additional ingredients they contain and then continue to enjoy a full-spectrum hemp oil the rest of the day.

The Best CBD Beauty Supplements to Try

Vegamour Full Spectrum Hemp Gummies for Hair

The Vegamour Full Spectrum Hemp Gummies were created specifically with hair health in mind. Each gummy contains 10 mg of CBD, and the recommendation is that you take two a day to enjoy the hair-boosting effects. They include other important nutrients, like biotin, which is known as the "beauty vitamin" thanks to many reports of its ability to promote hair and nail growth. There are a few other B vitamins in here, as well as zinc and vitamins A, C, D, and E, so it's a comprehensive beauty supplement that can aid your health in multiple ways. As a bonus, they are tasty, low-calorie, and vegan, so everyone can enjoy them guilt-free!

Liposomal Multivitamin With CBD

If you prefer to stick to low doses, we like this CBD beauty supplement option. Cibdol Liposomal Multivitamin With CBD contains a few must-have vitamins like C and D, with each serving also including 3 mg of soothing CBD. We love that it includes a robust B-vitamin complex to help prevent anemia-related hair and nail brittleness, as well as beautifying biotin. The coolest thing about it is the liposomal delivery system that encapsulates the vitamins and CBD, making them more bio-available for the body. You just dissolve a few drops in water, and your body will take it all in.

Irwin Naturals CBD + Daily Multi

Irwin Naturals Daily Multi is technically a daily multivitamin that anyone can take, making it a great supplement for everyone in your household who is of age! In addition to a B-complex, minerals, vitamins A, C, D, E, and even biotin, these vitamins also contain flaxseed oil, which is rich in omega-3 and is critical for optimal CBD absorption. They're also formulated with a black pepper extract that research suggests helps with nutrient absorption, and since they are liquid soft-gels they are very quick and easy to swallow. We think these are the best choice for general well-being, better hair, and a low-dose of CBD.

Irwin Naturals CBD + TURMERIC

If your main concern is inflammation, Irwin Naturals CBD + TURMERIC is the CBD beauty supplement to take! Turmeric is extremely rich in curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that has antioxidant properties, so it helps with redness and swelling, and it can also help to mitigate the aging effects of pollutants on the body. It may also help the immune system (though it should probably be taken in conjunction with a multivitamin). When combined with CBD, the result is a potent remedy for stress and inflammation that can quickly improve the look of your skin.

Naturopathica CBD + Wellbeing Capsule

The Naturopathica CBD + Wellbeing Capsules offer a slightly higher dose of CBD than the other options on our list, with 5mgs per capsule. It's an immune-boosting option that contains all of the important antioxidant vitamins, along with a full dose of B12. B12 is particularly important for women, especially ones experiencing fatigue or hair brittleness, which is frequently a symptom of B12-deficiency. If you're looking for a CBD beauty supplement that doesn't contain biotin, this is the one to choose!


Are You a "Super-Taster?" How Genes Influence Your Sense of Taste

Your bad taste in food might not be your fault.

How do you trust your tongue? Specifically, how do you trust your sense of taste? It turns out that flavor is surprisingly subjective: It's not so much a quality of the food itself as it is your brain's way of processing of your sense of smell combined with your sense of taste. Depending on your genes, you might have unique sensitivities to different kinds of tastes, which can wield surprising influence over your diet and portion control.

Generally, humans can detect five tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory (technically called umami). Some argue that fat is a sixth taste, which would make sense in light of our evolutionary development. Taste has developed as a response to our environment in order to help us survive, in the same way our brains use anxiety or disgust to warn us. On that base level, sweetness draws us to sugar as a source of energy; umami signals that we've found a source of protein, and sourness alerts us that a food source has probably spoiled and should be avoided. The taste of certain foods is particularly divisive, like cilantro, which many describe as "soapy." Another contentious example is pork, which contains a compound that some people say smells like sweat or urine, some describe as pleasantly floral, and others can't even detect.

taste profile Cilantro: Herb or Soap?High Moving Seeds

Most people can be grouped into one of three groups: "super-tasters," "non-tasters," and people in between. How can you tell which one you are?

Super-tasters: 25-30% of the population

Linda Bartoshuk is a physiological psychologist at the University of Florida. After examining how the human gene pool predetermines different types of palates, she coined the terms "super-taster" and "non-taster" to note that some people are genetically sensitive to bitterness. "A supertaster is safer in a new environment, because they can pick up those bitters," said Bartoshuk, "but a non-taster eats better in a safe environment, because they like more foods."

Bitterness is the result of a chemical named 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP). About 25 percent of the population have taste receptors that are so sensitive to PROP that they detect unbearable bitterness even at very low amounts of the chemical. As a result, they tend to consume more salt than others in order to mask bitterness. Super-tasters are also typically averse to hot, spicy foods because they have more taste receptors—the more taste receptors you have, the more pain receptors you have surrounding them. On average, super-tasters are less likely to smoke or enjoy the taste of alcohol.

Non-tasters: 25% of the population

Meanwhile, another 25 percent of people are non-tasters who possess fewer taste receptors than the majority of the population. Not only do they tolerate bitterness well, but they're typically satisfied with any food. If anything, their inability to detect PROP or other strong chemicals in food means they rely on potent seasonings and prefer hot, spicy foods with bold flavors. This also means that, on average, non-tasters prefer foods high in fat and sugar, and they have higher rates of alcohol intake.

Statistically, super-tasters tend to be thinner than non-tasters, but non-tasters tend to consume higher amounts of vegetables and have a lower risk of colon cancer. Additionally, as Harvard Health notes, "On the positive side, super-tasters, especially female super-tasters, have a reduced preference for sweet, high-fat foods, have a lower body mass index (BMI), and tend to have superior cardiovascular profiles."

"Normal" Tasters: 50% of the population

As for the rest of us: "normal" tasters make up 45-50 percent of the population. They tend to have a balance between foods they like or dislike but nothing that absolutely repels them. Similarly, they tend to use fewer seasonings or additives like salt or hot sauce.

But what does it all matter? Considering today's booming diet culture and wellness industries, it's surprising that taste profiles aren't more commonly discussed. People who are prone to overeating are often assigned the stigma of having poor self-control, while picky eaters are said to be difficult or entitled. In reality, people experience food wildly differently. As Bartoshuk says "People live in different worlds of taste intensity. Supertasters live in a 'neon' taste world, while others live in a 'pastel' world."