Black Hole Safety Video

If you were a small one-eyed monster, would you want to visit a black hole? Well the one in this video does -- but should it? No, actually, but since our little friend is insistent on going, the video informs it what black holes really are, and how to be as safe as possible when visiting. Black holes are clumps of matter so dense that light cannot escape. Pairs of black holes, each several times the mass of our Sun, have recently been found to merge by detection of unusual gravitational radiation. The regions surrounding supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies can light up as stars that near them get shredded. The closest known black hole to the Earth is V616 Mon, which is about 3,300 light years away. The best way for our monster friend to stay safe, the video informs, is to not go too close. via NASA

Viewing a Launch From Above

Expedition 60 astronaut Christina Koch photographed the Soyuz MS-15 crew ship ascending into space after its launch from Kazakhstan. via NASA

Orion Rising over Brazil

Have you seen Orion lately? The next few months will be the best for seeing this familiar constellation as it rises continually earlier in the night. However, Orion's stars and nebulas won't look quite as colorful to the eye as they do in this fantastic camera image. In the featured image, Orion was captured by camera showing its full colors last month over a Brazilian copal tree from Brazil's Central-West Region. Here the cool red giant Betelgeuse takes on a strong orange hue as the brightest star on the far left. Otherwise, Orion's hot blue stars are numerous, with supergiant Rigel balancing Betelgeuse at the upper right, Bellatrix at the upper left, and Saiph at the lower right. Lined up in Orion's belt (bottom to top) are Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka all about 1,500 light-years away, born of the constellation's well studied interstellar clouds. And if a "star" toward the upper right Orion's sword looks reddish and fuzzy to you, it should. It's the stellar nursery known as the Great Nebula of Orion. via NASA

MyCn 18: The Engraved Hourglass Planetary Nebula

Do you see the hourglass shape -- or does it see you? If you can picture it, the rings of MyCn 18 trace the outline of an hourglass -- although one with an unusual eye in its center. Either way, the sands of time are running out for the central star of this hourglass-shaped planetary nebula. With its nuclear fuel exhausted, this brief, spectacular, closing phase of a Sun-like star's life occurs as its outer layers are ejected - its core becoming a cooling, fading white dwarf. In 1995, astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to make a series of images of planetary nebulae, including the one featured here. Pictured, delicate rings of colorful glowing gas (nitrogen-red, hydrogen-green, and oxygen-blue) outline the tenuous walls of the hourglass. The unprecedented sharpness of the Hubble images has revealed surprising details of the nebula ejection process that are helping to resolve the outstanding mysteries of the complex shapes and symmetries of planetary nebulas like MyCn 18. via NASA

The Latest in a Cannabis Documentary Series Focuses on CBD Exclusively

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s fifth documentary on the cannabis industry, WEED 5: The CBD Craze, will premiere this Sunday, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.

The hour-long film will focus exclusively on CBD and the emerging industry. Gupta published an op-ed ahead of the film’s release. He argues that lack of regulation in the marketplace can be harmful to consumers.

“Without the respect of being treated like the medicine it is, or reasonable regulation when it is purchased as a supplement, CBD has been hijacked by unscrupulous actors peddling crooked, corrupt and contaminated products,” Gupta writes. “They’re making a quick buck and disappearing into the ether without a trace.”

He cited a JAMA study that shows 69 percent of a group of 84 CBD products purchased online were inaccurately labeled.

“The legitimate vendors of CBD, who took the time to ensure consistency, safety and quality, are now sadly lumped together with the dishonest and dodgy ones, leaving the consumer confused about where to turn,” Gupta adds.

According to a CNN spokesman, WEED 5 will follow Gupta as he travels around the country to learn about the CBD industry. The film includes footage from New York City, Utah, Colorado, Virginia and South Carolina, the spokesman says.

Gupta also provides updates on families he met during his previous WEED documentary projects, including a 12-year-old girl named Charlotte Figi, who uses a CBD-rich extract known as Charlotte’s Web to treat her seizures.

“Make no mistake: Cannabis is a medicine,” Gupta writes. “Over the last six years, through countless articles and essays, and now five documentary films, my team and I have made that case and we have provided the proof. At times, it can heal when nothing else can. Denying people this substance represents a moral issue just as much as a medical one.”

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An Analemma of the Sun

This week the equinox found the Sun near the middle, but not at the crossing point, of an analemma in its annual trek through planet Earth's skies. In this scenic view, that graceful, figure-8-shaped curve was intentionally posed above the iconic Danube River and the capital city of Hungary. Looking south from Budapest's Margaret Bridge it combines digital frames taken at exactly the same time of day (11:44 CET) on dates between 2018 September 24 and 2019 September 15. That puts the metropolitan Pest on the left, regal Buda on the right, and the positions of the Sun on the solstice dates at the top and bottom of the analemma curve. December's near solstice Sun is just hidden behind a dramatic cloud bank. via NASA

Astronaut Candidate Frank Rubio

Frank Rubio was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class and reported for duty in August 2017. via NASA

The Annotated Galactic Center

The center of our Milky Way galaxy can be found some 26,000 light-years away toward the constellation Sagittarius. Even on a dark night, you can't really see it though. Gaze in that direction, and your sight-line is quickly obscured by intervening interstellar dust. In fact, dark dust clouds, glowing nebulae, and crowded starfieds are packed along the fertile galactic plane and central regions of our galaxy. This annotated view, a mosaic of dark sky images, highlights some favorites, particularly for small telescope or binocular equipped skygazers. The cropped version puts the direction to the galactic center on the far right. It identifies well-known Messier objects like the Lagoon nebula (M8), the Trifid (M20), star cloud M24, and some of E.E. Barnard's dark markings on the sky. A full version extends the view to the right toward the constellation Scorpius, in all covering over 20 degrees across the center of the Milky Way. via NASA

Finding Intermediate-Sized Black Holes

In this image, a galaxy called ESO 243-49 is home to an extremely bright object called HLX-1. Circled in this image, HLX-1 is the most likely example of a black hole in the intermediate mass range that scientists have found. via NASA

Da Vinci Rise

An old Moon rose this morning, its waning sunlit crescent shining just above the eastern horizon before sunrise. But earthshine, light reflected from a bright planet Earth, lit the shadowed portion of the lunar disk and revealed most of a familiar lunar near side to early morning risers. In fact, a description of earthshine in terms of sunlight reflected by Earth's oceans illuminating the Moon's dark surface was written over 500 years ago by Leonardo da Vinci. One lunation ago this old Moon also rose above the eastern horizon. Its sunlit crescent and da Vinci glow were captured in stacked exposures from the Badain Jilin Desert of Inner Mongolia, China on August 29, 2019. This year marks the 500th anniversary of Leondardo da Vinci's death. via NASA

The Pelican Nebula in Gas, Dust, and Stars

The Pelican Nebula is slowly being transformed. IC 5070, the official designation, is divided from the larger North America Nebula by a molecular cloud filled with dark dust. The Pelican, however, receives much study because it is a particularly active mix of star formation and evolving gas clouds. The featured picture was produced in three specific colors -- light emitted by sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen -- that can help us to better understand these interactions. The light from young energetic stars is slowly transforming the cold gas to hot gas, with the advancing boundary between the two, known as an ionization front, visible in bright orange on the right. Particularly dense tentacles of cold gas remain. Millions of years from now this nebula might no longer be known as the Pelican, as the balance and placement of stars and gas will surely leave something that appears completely different. via NASA

These 5 Professional Athletes Swear By CBD—Here’s Why

The CBD industry is hot—even professional athletes are jumping in. On September 5, a group of athletes including Olympic champion Gabby Douglas announced Motive CBD: a new line of CBD products to help athletes train, perform, and recover from intense physical activity.

“Motive was created by athletes for athletes and our goal is simply to keep people active and pain free,” said Corey Poches, founder and CEO of MotiveCBD. “We provide a line of consistently-tested CBD products, formulated to fit any routine, that help athletes of all ages, shapes and sizes recover from sports-related conditions.”

MotiveCBD is far from the only athlete-endorsed CBD brand. Olympians Lolo Jones and Kerri Walsh Jennings, both of whom are preparing to compete in the 2020 Olympics, have partnered with cbdMD.

In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances. This decision corresponded with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision to craft regulations for the sale of CBD. WADA continues to prohibit the use of “cannabis, hashish, marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids.” A reasonable observer would suppose that WADA’s regulations are similar to the FDA’s—defining CBD as the byproduct of a cannabis plant containing .3 percent or less of THC—but the regulations are not definitive.

These are just a few of the names and faces that believe in the potential of CBD.

Gabby Douglas, Olympic gymnast: uses CBD for pain relief

“My experiences in using CBD have led me to believe that I could have been more pain free throughout my gymnastics career if CBD had been allowed,” Douglas said. “I am glad that athletes across all Olympic sports will now have the opportunity to use these products and hopefully experience their benefits.”

Kerri Walsh Jennings, Olympic beach volleyball player: uses CBD for sleep

“As a mother, I’m a big fan of sleep,”Walsh Jennings said. “Implementing cbdMD’s CBD PM into my routine has improved my sleep and I definitely see a change in my overall well-being.”

Lolo Jones, Olympian athlete in track and field and bobsled: uses CBD to increase recovery speed

“I’ve always worked hard to take care of my body and be in the best shape possible, Jones said. “I’ve integrated cbdMD products into my daily routine, noticed the change in my recovery speed, and am proud to partner with them to educate others about my experience.”

Teal Stetson-Lee, professional cyclist: uses CBD to treat injuries and sore muscles

Stetson-Lee wrote on her personal blog back in 2017 about her decision to partner with 

Reno-owned KYND Cannabis Company and the MYNT Dispensary. She called herself “the first ever professional athlete, cannabis ambassador in Northern Nevada.” Recreational cannabis use became legal in Nevada in 2017.

“Most professional athletes who have come out as advocates for cannabis do not do so until after their careers are over, for fear of immediate repercussions,” wrote Stetson-Lee. “That is exactly the reason why I feel the need to take this stance, while I am still in the prime of my competitive professional career.”

“As an athlete, the CBD tinctures and creams are extremely useful for injuries and sore muscles,” she added.

Judith Hagger, professional triathlete: uses CBD as a muscle relaxant

The muscle relaxant was the main thing for me, particularly after my more intense training sessions, said Hagger, who partners with CBD company Spirit of Hemp. “I also found my sleep improved massively—I was able to really relax and recover through deeper sleep.”

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Stuck on the Rings

Tethys appears to be stuck to Saturn's A and F rings from this perspective. via NASA

Sand Dunes Thawing on Mars

What are these strange shapes on Mars? Defrosting sand dunes. As spring dawned on the Northern Hemisphere of Mars, dunes of sand near the pole, as pictured here in late May by ESA's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, began to thaw. The carbon dioxide and water ice actually sublime in the thin atmosphere directly to gas. Thinner regions of ice typically defrost first revealing sand whose darkness soaks in sunlight and accelerates the thaw. The process might even involve sandy jets exploding through the thinning ice. By summer, spots will expand to encompass the entire dunes. The Martian North Pole is ringed by many similar fields of barchan sand dunes, whose strange, smooth arcs are shaped by persistent Martian winds. via NASA

Expedition 61 Soyuz Rollout

The gantry arms close around the Soyuz rocket after it was raised into vertical position on the launch pad, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. via NASA

The Tulip in the Swan

Framing a bright emission region, this telescopic view looks out across a pretty field of stars along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy, toward the nebula rich constellation Cygnus the Swan. Popularly called the Tulip Nebula, the reddish glowing cloud of interstellar gas and dust is also found in the 1959 catalog by astronomer Stewart Sharpless as Sh2-101. About 8,000 light-years distant and 70 light-years across the complex and beautiful nebula blossoms near the center of this composite image. Ultraviolet radiation from young energetic O stars at the edge of the Cygnus OB3 association, ionizes the atoms and powers the emission from the Tulip Nebula. via NASA

Hubble Takes Closer Look at Not-So-'Dead' Neighbor

Because they lack stellar nurseries and contain mostly old stars, elliptical galaxies — Like Messier 110 — are often considered “dead” when compared to their spiral relatives. But scientists have spotted signs of a population of young, blue stars at Messier 110's center, hinting that this neighbor of our Milky Way may not be so “dead” after all. via NASA

Saturn at Night

Still bright in planet Earth's night skies, good telescopic views of Saturn and its beautiful rings often make it a star at star parties. But this stunning view of Saturn's rings and night side just isn't possible from telescopes closer to the Sun than the outer planet. They can only bring Saturn's day into view. In fact, this image of Saturn's slender sunlit crescent with night's shadow cast across its broad and complex ring system was captured by the Cassini spacecraft. A robot spacecraft from planet Earth, Cassini called Saturn orbit home for 13 years before it was directed to dive into the atmosphere of the gas giant on September 15, 2017. This magnificent mosaic is composed of frames recorded by Cassini's wide-angle camera only two days before its grand final plunge. Saturn's night will not be seen again until another spaceship from Earth calls. via NASA

Layers in Mars' Danielson Crater

This image shows sedimentary rock and sand within Danielson Crater, an impact crater about 42 miles or 67 kilometers in diameter, located in the southwest Arabia Terra region of Mars. via NASA

Space Station Downlink with Actor Brad Pitt

Actor Brad Pitt speaks with NASA astronaut Nick Hague who is onboard the International Space Station, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. via NASA

Franklin Chang-Diaz Performs a Spacewalk on the STS-111 Mission

In this mage from June 2002, astronaut Franklin R. Chang-Diaz works with a grapple fixture during a spacewalk to perform work on the International Space Station. via NASA

A Long Storm System on Saturn

It was one of the largest and longest lived storms ever recorded in our Solar System. First seen in late 2010, the above cloud formation in the northern hemisphere of Saturn started larger than the Earth and soon spread completely around the planet. The storm was tracked not only from Earth but from up close by the robotic Cassini spacecraft currently orbiting Saturn. Pictured here in false colored infrared in February, orange colors indicate clouds deep in the atmosphere, while light colors highlight clouds higher up. The rings of Saturn are seen nearly edge-on as the thin blue horizontal line. The warped dark bands are the shadows of the rings cast onto the cloud tops by the Sun to the upper left. A source of radio noise from lightning, the intense storm was thought to relate to seasonal changes when spring emerges in the north of Saturn. After raging for over six months, the iconic storm circled the entire planet and then tried to absorb its own tail -- which surprisingly caused it to fade away. via NASA

Here’s What We Know About CBD for Period Relief

Ask around your friends or family members and you probably won’t be surprised that many who experience a monthly period also experience the wide variety of not-so-pleasant side effects: cramping, headaches, sore muscles, tender breasts, joint pain, bloating, diarrhea, trouble sleeping and more. 

For a number of years, the generally accepted way to handle these symptoms was to pop a Midol while clutching a hot water bottle. Thankfully, times have changed, and with more and more people understanding the potential pain-relieving power of CBD, many are finding actual relief from typical menstruation symptoms.

My own relationship with menstruating has (excuse the pun) ebbed and flowed throughout my life. After getting my period for the first time at age 12, I went through monthly bouts of intense cramping, sore back muscles, and nausea so bad that I would occasionally miss a day of school. I started birth control pills at 15 to help with the worst of the symptoms, but didn’t catch a break until after I gave birth and my period stayed away for a glorious 18 months postpartum. Unfortunately, it returned with a vengeance and a host of similar side effects, only this time I had more tools in my arsenal to help combat them, including CBD. 

“I absolutely see it as a viable treatment option,” says Katie Stem, CEO of Peak Extracts. “CBD can be useful in treating pain, inflammation and smooth muscle spasm, all of which are present during the experience of menstrual pain and discomfort. In addition, CBD often has a calming or anti-anxiety effect, which can be useful for the emotional side of PMS.”  

It might feel a bit overwhelming—especially when CBD seems to be everywhere—to find what works for you. First, take stock of your symptoms and then, with the guidance and approval of your doctor, decide which type of treatment you’d like to try, and if you’d prefer something topical, oral, or both. Stem, who has a background in health and science, prefers oral methods for faster, more potent relief.

“In my experience,” Stem says, “inhaled or oral use tends to be more beneficial, as menstrual pain is typically referring from deep in the abdomen. Tinctures, chocolates or other edibles will have an onset of about an hour, and will last four to six. Vape pens will have an immediate onset, but not last as long. Some people swear by topical application over the abdomen for cramps, and it’s certainly worth a try to see if it works for you. There aren’t a great deal of suppositories on the market, but I have heard great things about vaginal suppositories as well, which is sort of a hybrid between topical and internal use, as CBD is absorbed by the vaginal mucosa.”

Cramps, Aches and Pains

When you menstruate, your body releases hormones that cause muscles in your uterus to contract. These contractions can cause painful and uncomfortable cramps and back pain, a symptom that more than 90 percent of women with periods experience. CBD may be able to help combat this pain at the source. The cannabinoid has muscle-relaxing properties, easing the tightness of your uterus and, in turn, your discomfort. 

In addition to your uterus, CBD could benefit other areas that experience soreness during your period. From tender breasts to joint pain, the influx of hormones during this time can lead to aches throughout the body. The inflammation-reducing properties of CBD may provide noticeable relief for these areas. CBD also works on your vanilloid receptors (receptors in your brain that regulate pain), which can help ease the pain you feel. 

You can either rub a CBD topical into your sore spots, or take an oral dose of CBD. If you’re like me, you’ll go for the double shot of topical and oral.

Try: Moonlight Herbal Belly Balm; New Highs Tincture 

Mood Swings

The influx of hormones before and during a period can often cause a rollercoaster of emotions, making feelings like anxiety, sadness, or even anger feel extra heightened. CBD has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, and we know it interacts with the limbic system (responsible for regulating our feelings), so taking some internally, such as a tincture, in the days leading up to your period and throughout it could help combat the extreme emotions that we can experience. For a brief pick-me-up, a topical application can be useful, especially when combined with calming essential oils.

Try: White Fox Tranquility Tincture; The Healing Rose Relax & Restore Roll On Blend

Nausea and Bloating

Stomach woes can be a monthly symptom for many, resulting in bloating, queasiness, and diarrhea. CBD has been shown to help alleviate stomach issues by regulating our bowel movements, which can be especially needed during menstruation. Also, by reducing inflammation in the bowels, CBD can help reduce bloating and feelings of nausea. Although topicals can help, oral via tincture or even inhaled CBD oil via a vape pen could help target these symptoms faster. 

Try: DRAM’s Gingergrass Drops; KURED Relax OG Kush CBD Vape Oil

It is important to note that everybody’s endocannabinoid system is unique, so the way one person reacts to a certain serving size may be different than someone else. Start with a low dose and work your way up until you find what works for you. Also, make sure that the CBD product you are using is high quality, as this will provide better results. 

Stem notes that there’s some evidence that in high doses CBD can compete for liver enzyme activity, which can be a concern for folks on other medications that are metabolized by the liver. “If you are on prescription medication it’s a good idea to consult with a physician or pharmacist about possible interactions,” she says.

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Mae Jemison Trains for Her Space Shuttle Flight

Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space, participated in crew egress training for Space Shuttle Endeavour's STS-47 mission during the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test. via NASA

The Iris Nebula in a Field of Dust

These cosmic dust clouds drift some 1,300 light-years away along the fertile starfields of the constellation Cepheus. The beautiful Iris Nebula, also known as NGC 7023, blossoms at the upper left. Not the only nebula in the sky to evoke the imagery of flowers, its pretty, symmetric form spans about 6 light-years. This nebula's dominant blue color is characteristic of the pervasive dust grains reflecting light from a nearby hot, bluish star. But darker, obscuring dust clouds cover most of the nearly 4 degree wide field of view. At the right is the LDN 1147/1158 complex of Lynds Dark Nebulae. Stars are forming there, still hidden within the dark cloud cores. A search through the sharp image can identify Herbig-Haro objects though, jets of shocked glowing gas emanating from recently formed stars. via NASA

Remembering September 11th and Looking to the Future

This 2019 photo of Manhattan, taken by astronaut Nick Hague from aboard the International Space Station, shows a city totally recovered from the attack on September 11, 2001. via NASA

IC 1805: The Heart Nebula

What energizes the Heart Nebula? First, the large emission nebula dubbed IC 1805 looks, in whole, like a human heart. The nebula glows brightly in red light emitted by its most prominent element: hydrogen. The red glow and the larger shape are all powered by a small group of stars near the nebula's center. In the center of the Heart Nebula are young stars from the open star cluster Melotte 15 that are eroding away several picturesque dust pillars with their energetic light and winds. The open cluster of stars contains a few bright stars nearly 50 times the mass of our Sun, many dim stars only a fraction of the mass of our Sun, and an absent microquasar that was expelled millions of years ago. The Heart Nebula is located about 7,500 light years away toward the constellation of Cassiopeia. Coincidentally, a small meteor was captured in the foreground during imaging and is visible above the dust pillars. At the top right is the companion Fishhead Nebula. via NASA

18 Hemp Crops Were Destroyed in Hawaii for Exceeding Legal THC Levels

Farmers across the nation are jumping into the hemp business. According to Farm Journal’s AgPro, legal hemp farms in the U.S. have quadrupled during 2019, compared to 2018 numbers.

Still, confusion over the legalities of hemp versus cannabis cultivation reigns.

In Hawaii, more than half of local hemp growers’ crops have been destroyed over the past year, according to an AP report, due to unlawful amounts of THC. All of the growers are participants in Hawaii’s first industrial hemp pilot program.

Hemp and cannabis issues are inextricably linked, given that both products are derived from the same cannabis sativa plant. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has defined “hemp” as the product of the cannabis sativa plant, containing less than .3 percent THC. Higher derivations of THC legally define the plant as “cannabis.” This definition has proved problematic for hemp producers across the country.

The cultivation of legal hemp is particularly challenging in Hawaii. Shelley Choy, Hawaii’s hemp program coordinator, explained to AP, “It’s honestly expected and fairly routine in the sense that it is really hard to grow a plant that is 0.3 percent or below, and it is also really difficult in Hawaii because we have a really unique climate and photoperiod [hours of sunlight] as compared to other states.”

Recreational use of cannabis is not legal in Hawaii, though the legislature recently voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis (the possession of 3 grams or less of cannabis will be punished with a fine of $130 beginning Jan. 11, 2020). Current law in Hawaii makes the possession of recreational cannabis punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 and potential jail time.

The islands’ reticence to legalize recreational cannabis is noteworthy in light of the state’s cannabis culture—no fewer than 40 cannabis strains are named in honor of the Hawaiian Islands. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, some of the most potent cannabis (in terms of THC concentration), is grown outdoors in Hawaii.
Hawaiian legislators have shown definite interest in legalizing recreational cannabis, but have thus far failed to make the move to recreational cannabis.

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How This Publicly Traded CBD Company Is Preparing for the Future of a Multi Billion-Dollar Industry

CBD Spotlight: Kara Harms Finds Comfort

How CBD Could Help You Live as Young as You Feel

Getting older happens. And although the second half of our lives can be extremely rewarding, it also comes with its own set of issues. As time ticks by, we start experiencing a loss of vitality, little aches and pains become more persistent and pronounced, and for some, more serious health concerns become a reality.

Many older adults require prescription medications; others are taking over-the counter medicines, vitamins and other supplements to find relief from a variety of health concerns. But, with cannabidiol (CBD) getting federal legalization across the U.S., there are a growing number of seniors turning to this non-psychoactive cannabinoid to find relief.

According to a recent study by Remedy Review, 9 percent of seniors 54 and older have tried CBD for health reasons. Of those who have tried it, 51 percent said their quality of life improved, and 89 percent reported that they would recommend it to a family member or friend. The same study found that the most common health complaints spurring seniors to use CBD was for issues relating to inflammation, chronic pain, poor sleep, arthritis and anxiety with 78 percent of CBD users saying they were very satisfied with the results. 

So let’s take a look at CBD usage and the associated benefits and side effects for health-related issues older adults commonly have to deal with.

CBD for Chronic Neuropathic and Inflammatory Pain

Chronic pain is roughly grouped into two categories: neuropathic and inflammatory pain. Neuropathic pain is largely caused by the release of a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Glutamate is responsible for activating neurons in the glutamenergic system, a major excitatory neuronal pathway, which cause sensations of pain. 

One of the main reasons seniors experience pain relief when using CBD is because of its potential to suppress α3 GlyRs receptors, the main mechanism responsible for chronic pain. In addition, CBD may also restore the balance of endocannabinoids such as anandamide and FAAH, which are thought to play a role in blocking pain signals. Moreover, CBD activates the CB2 receptors, which suppress pain processing.

Inflammatory pain is similar to neuropathic pain but is caused by immune responses to things such as environmental stressors, toxins and infections. And unlike neuropathic pain, which is limited to neural pathways, inflammatory pain can present itself throughout the body.

As with neuropathic pain, CBD acts as an analgesic for inflammatory pain through its interaction with the glutamenergic system. However, CBD also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it specifically suited to inflammatory pain. CBD has the ability to decrease the activity of the enzyme cyclooxygenase, inhibiting the release of prostaglandins, which is the main reason the body triggers an inflammatory response. CBD also has the added benefit of fighting inflammation and its associated oxidative stress by exerting an immunosuppressive effect on the cells that play a role in inflammation.

CBD for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be associated with oxidative stress causing a loss of neurons in the brain and is believed to underlie the subsequent decline in cognitive and motor function these patients experience. In addition, scientists also implicate a range of mutant genes and environmental toxins, though the underlying mechanism is not completely known.

It’s important to understand that CBD cannot cure dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but it may be able to help improve the health outcomes of these patients by:

CBD for Bone Health

Erroneously associated with menopausal women, osteoporosis and low bone mineral density affects both men and women. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) half of all adults 50 and older are at risk of breaking a bone and should be concerned about bone health.

As we grow older, bone mineral density loss occurs silently and progressively, with bones becoming more porous and fragile over time. Scientists have found that a key contributor to a decline in bone density and health is related to an endocannabinoid deficiency in the CB2-receptors, which are present in osteoblasts, osteocytes, and osteoclasts that make up bone. Moreover, research has not only shown that CBD has the ability to target the receptors responsible for bone health, but that it may actually help enhance with the healing of fractures as well.

CBD for Sleep and Mood Conditions

Many seniors also have to deal with other types of lifestyle and psychological conditions ranging from difficulty with sleeping to anxiety and depression.

For example, many older adults report changes in their sleep patterns as part of the normal aging process. As people age they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger. This often leaves them feeling tired during the day. CBD has been shown to help with sleep difficulties in a number of different ways.

Similarly, according to a Harvard Medical School report from 2019, generalized anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses affecting older adults, 60-plus. But, because older adults are more prone to the side effects of benzodiazepine medications—most typically prescribed for anxiety—it’s also very difficult to treat. CBD is a great alternative treatment option for anxiety without the side effects normally associated with prescription medications.

Although aging once evoked images of wheelchairs, old age homes and pillboxes filled to the brim with prescription drugs, CBD has the ability to change this perception. Thanks to this little cannabinoid, an increasing number of seniors are now experiencing improved quality of life, finding relief from a variety of symptoms: everything from chronic pain to sleep quality. And with CBD’s favorable safety and side-effect profile, for many seniors it may become increasingly appealing.

Aging adults everywhere can benefit from CBD oil. However, as with any other new treatment option, it is always best to speak to your treating physician or a medical professional before embarking on this journey.

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Recipe: CBD Pumpkin Brownies

Who doesn’t love a brownie? Chocolate cookie goodness in fudge-y cake form! These brownies are not your average brownies: the base is pumpkin puree, which is loaded with fiber and tons of antioxidants, plus the almond butter is a great source of protein, which makes these brownies nutritionist-approved. 

Makes 12 brownies

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3/4 cup almond butter (or any nut butter of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 6 personal servings CBD of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8×8 pan with an oil or butter of your choice and line the bottom and sides with baking paper. Using a stand mixer, combine the pumpkin puree, almond butter, cocoa powder, maple syrup, baking soda, salt, egg, CBD and pumpkin pie spice. Mix until well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan using the parchment paper to lift. Either let them cool completely or enjoy right away!

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Pluto in True Color

What color is Pluto, really? It took some effort to figure out. Even given all of the images sent back to Earth when the robotic New Horizons spacecraft sped past Pluto in 2015, processing these multi-spectral frames to approximate what the human eye would see was challenging. The result featured here, released three years after the raw data was acquired by New Horizons, is the highest resolution true color image of Pluto ever taken. Visible in the image is the light-colored, heart-shaped, Tombaugh Regio, with the unexpectedly smooth Sputnik Planitia, made of frozen nitrogen, filling its western lobe. New Horizons found the dwarf-planet to have a surprisingly complex surface composed of many regions having perceptibly different hues. In total, though, Pluto is mostly brown, with much of its muted color originating from small amounts of surface methane energized by ultraviolet light from the Sun. via NASA

Testing and Training on the Boeing Starliner

NASA astronaut Mike Fincke works through a check list inside a mockup of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner during a simulation at NASA's Johnson Space Center on Aug. 21, 2019. via NASA

Learning to Track Water Using NASA Satellite Data

It's Back to School Week and NASA has activities to keep students motivated. via NASA

M31: The Andromeda Galaxy

How far can you see? The most distant object easily visible to the unaided eye is M31, the great Andromeda Galaxy, over two million light-years away. Without a telescope, even this immense spiral galaxy appears as an unremarkable, faint, nebulous cloud in the constellation Andromeda. But a bright yellow nucleus, dark winding dust lanes, luminous blue spiral arms, and bright red emission nebulas are recorded in this stunning six-hour telescopic digital mosaic of our closest major galactic neighbor. While even casual skygazers are now inspired by the knowledge that there are many distant galaxies like M31, astronomers seriously debated this fundamental concept only 100 years ago. Were these "spiral nebulae" simply outlying gas clouds in our own Milky Way Galaxy or were they "island universes" -- distant galaxies of stars comparable to the Milky Way itself? This question was central to the famous Shapley-Curtis debate of 1920, which was later resolved by observations favoring Andromeda being just like our Milky Way Galaxy -- a conclusion making the rest of the universe much more vast than many had ever imagined. via NASA

Perijove 11: Passing Jupiter

Here comes Jupiter! NASA's robotic spacecraft Juno is continuing on its 53-day, highly-elongated orbits around our Solar System's largest planet. The featured video is from perijove 11 in early 2018, the eleventh time Juno has passed near Jupiter since it arrived in mid-2016. This time-lapse, color-enhanced movie covers about four hours and morphs between 36 JunoCam images. The video begins with Jupiter rising as Juno approaches from the north. As Juno reaches its closest view -- from about 3,500 kilometers over Jupiter's cloud tops -- the spacecraft captures the great planet in tremendous detail. Juno passes light zones and dark belt of clouds that circle the planet, as well as numerous swirling circular storms, many of which are larger than hurricanes on Earth. After the perijove, Jupiter recedes into the distance, now displaying the unusual clouds that appear over Jupiter's south. To get desired science data, Juno swoops so close to Jupiter that its instruments are exposed to very high levels of radiation. via NASA

In Wolf s Cave

The mysterious blue reflection nebula found in catalogs as VdB 152 or Ced 201 really is very faint. It lies at the tip of the long dark nebula Barnard 175 in a dusty complex that has also been called Wolf's Cave. At the center of this deep and widefield telescopic view, the cosmic apparitions are nearly 1,400 light-years away along the northern Milky Way in the royal constellation Cepheus. Near the edge of a large molecular cloud, pockets of interstellar dust in the region block light from background stars or scatter light from the embedded bright star giving the the nebula its characteristic blue color. Ultraviolet light from the star is also thought to cause a dim reddish luminescence in the nebular dust. Though stars do form in molecular clouds, this star seems to have only accidentally wandered into the area, as its measured velocity through space is very different from the cloud's velocity. Another dense, obscuring dark nebula, LDN 1221, is easy to spot at the upper right in the frame, while the more colorful planetary nebula Dengel-Hartl 5 is just below center. Faint reddish emission from an ancient supernova remnant can also be traced (lower right to upper left) against the dust-rich complex in Cepheus. via NASA

Clues for Mars in the Australian Outback

Scientists with NASA's Mars 2020 mission and the European-Russian ExoMars mission traveled to the Australian Outback to hone their research techniques. via NASA

Recycling Cassiopeia A

Massive stars in our Milky Way Galaxy live spectacular lives. Collapsing from vast cosmic clouds, their nuclear furnaces ignite and create heavy elements in their cores. After a few million years, the enriched material is blasted back into interstellar space where star formation can begin anew. The expanding debris cloud known as Cassiopeia A is an example of this final phase of the stellar life cycle. Light from the explosion which created this supernova remnant would have been first seen in planet Earth's sky about 350 years ago, although it took that light about 11,000 years to reach us. This false-color image, composed of X-ray and optical image data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope, shows the still hot filaments and knots in the remnant. It spans about 30 light-years at the estimated distance of Cassiopeia A. High-energy X-ray emission from specific elements has been color coded, silicon in red, sulfur in yellow, calcium in green and iron in purple, to help astronomers explore the recycling of our galaxy's star stuff. Still expanding, the outer blast wave is seen in blue hues. The bright speck near the center is a neutron star, the incredibly dense, collapsed remains of the massive stellar core. via NASA

Satellite Captures Four Tropical Cyclones from Space

On Sept. 4, 2019, a loose chain of tropical cyclones lined up across the Western Hemisphere. via NASA

The Large Cloud of Magellan

The 16th century Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan and his crew had plenty of time to study the southern sky during the first circumnavigation of planet Earth. As a result, two fuzzy cloud-like objects easily visible to southern hemisphere skygazers are known as the Clouds of Magellan, now understood to be satellite galaxies of our much larger, spiral Milky Way galaxy. About 160,000 light-years distant in the constellation Dorado, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is seen here in a remarkably deep, colorful, image. Spanning about 15,000 light-years or so, it is the most massive of the Milky Way's satellite galaxies and is the home of the closest supernova in modern times, SN 1987A. The prominent patch below center is 30 Doradus, also known as the magnificent Tarantula Nebula, a giant star-forming region about 1,000 light-years across. via NASA

Could CBD Treat Cancer? Here’s What the Science Has to Say

Among the many diseases that cannabidiol (CBD) shows promise as an effective treatment, cancer is probably one of the most far-reaching. There are two ways in which CBD can help cancer patients: First, it slows and in some cases even stops the growth of cancerous cells (treatment and prevention); and second, it helps to deal with the symptoms of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy (symptom management).

There have been many studies focussing on CBD for the treatment of various cancers. And although researchers are still exploring the exact mechanisms with regard to CBD’s effects on cancerous cells, the results are promising. 

Here we explore the effects of CBD on cancer and how it may help ease the side effects of cancer treatments.

CBD for Treatment and Prevention

Although most experiments on CBD and cancer concentrates on laboratory and animal experiments, some human clinical trials exist. From this body of research, scientists believe that CBD could help treat various types of cancer via the following mechanisms:

1. Apoptosis and Necrosis (Cell Death)

Researchers postulate that the main reason CBD may help treat cancer is because it has the ability to kill tumor cells through two mechanisms: cell apoptosis and cell necrosis. In a 2011 study, scientists found that CBD may work similarly to chemotherapy through a complex interplay between tumor cell death and the destruction of the tumor cells in CBD-treated breast cancer cells. Similarly, in a 2014 review, scientists found that in both in-vitro (outside the body) and in-vivo (inside the body) studies, CBD reduces the viability of tumor cells by “programming” these cells to kill themselves off (apoptosis), while at the same time causing a toxic environment that leads to traumatic cell death (necrosis). 

2. Autophagy (Cell Disposal)

Another way CBD may help treat cancer is by speeding up the disposal of dead tumor cells via a process known as autophagy. CBD seems to increase an activator called caspase-3 that moderates cell death and helps with the breakdown of the dead cancer cells. Simply put, the CBD may not only kill cancer cells, but it may also help with the dismantling of the dead cells and make their elimination from the body easier. 

3. Antimetastatic Effects

Cell division is an important mechanism, helping to renew and restore our bodies. However, when it comes to tumors, this mechanism is what makes tumors grow and spread to other tissues. Scientists have long tried to target cell division (amitosis) of cancer cells as a therapy to treat cancer. They have now shown that CBD has potential antiproliferative effects, halting the cancer cells ability to metastasize . Similarly, in another study, scientists found that CBD also targets GPR12, a protein that may be involved with pathological conditions such as metastatic cancers. 

4. Angiogenesis

CBD may also reduce tumor size by starving tumors of their blood supply through a process known as angiogenesis. Several studies have now shown that CBD has the ability to inhibit the growth and migration of tumor cells while simultaneously killing them off through various pro-angiogenic signals. Moreover, unlike other types of aggressive cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, CBD targets only cancer cells and does not appear to affect normal cells.

5. Decreasing LD-1 expression

CBD has also been shown to significantly decrease Id-1 expression, the gene thought to be a key regulator of the metastatic potential of several types of cancers. This implies that CBD not only helps to potentially prevent and treat cancer, but that it can particularly help control aggressive tumors through the down-regulation of aggressive tumor growth.

CBD for Symptom Management

For many cancer patients, treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can be even more debilitating than the disease itself. Side effects of these treatments include nerve and muscle pain and inflammation, nausea and vomiting as well as mood changes. There is a growing body of evidence that shows that CBD could help complement cancer treatment in several ways.

1. Pain and Inflammation

For many patients, one major issue is dealing with the pain of both cancer and its treatment. Tumors can put pressure on internal organs, cause nerve injury and result in inflammation that causes pain. Similarly, because of the way conventional cancer treatments affect both cancer and healthy living cells, these can also cause severe pain and inflammation. CBD has been shown to help reduce inflammation and provide widespread pain relief in cancer patients without diminishing nervous system function nor chemotherapy efficacy.

2. Mood

Many cancer patients often become stressed, anxious and depressed. Not only are cancer patients facing a potentially life-threatening situation, but they also have to deal with the fallout their disease has on their day-to-day lives, the lives of those around them, as well as the debilitating symptoms and side effects. CBD is believed to help reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

3. Increase Effectiveness of Chemotherapy

Research into CBD and cancer indicates that it may be a complementary therapy that not only help patients cope with symptoms and side effects, but it does this without interfering with the efficacy of other medical treatments. However, a recent study found that, especially for chemotherapy-resistant glioblastomas, CBD can actually increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy. In a similar study on triple negative breast cancer (TNBC)—an aggressive disease with limited therapeutic options—researchers showed that CBD activated TRPV2-increased chemotherapy drug uptake and potentiated toxic activity in these breast cancer cells.

Using CBD for cancer is generally not accepted as an alternative treatment option for cancer, however, the limited research does show positive results for the therapeutic abilities of CBD for cancer. As with any other treatment, it’s crucial to consult your oncologist or treating physician before starting CBD. 

It’s also important to use high-quality CBD—and do so regularly—to experience maximum potential benefit. Similarly, because of the cumulative effect of other cannabinoids (known as the entourage effect), a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD product could be beneficial. Serving guidelines have not been studied specifically, scientists have found that 1 mg / kg of body weight per day of CBD could be effective for chemopreventive effects. If relief is not felt at this serving, the amount of CBD can be increased by 10 mg per day until desired effects are achieved.

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Recipe: 30-Minute Hemp Snack Balls

I’m always looking for easy, on-the-go snacks that I can have for a light breakfast or to hold me over in between meals. My criteria: it has to have protein and fiber and, most importantly, taste good. Although these certainly are not my prettiest creations, they taste delicious and have tons of healthy benefits—especially with the added boost of a high quality CBD product added into the recipe.

30-Minute Hemp Snack Balls 

Makes about 30 balls

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1 cup dates, pitted (about 10 large dates)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 servings CBD of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons toasted shredded coconut for topping

Pulse the pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, dates, cocoa powder, almond butter and CBD in a food processor until well-combined (approximately 50 seconds). The texture will be crumbly. Shape the mixture into teaspoon-sized balls with your hands. Add the coconut to a flat surface or a plate and roll the balls in toasted coconut. Place them into the fridge for 30 minutes. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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An Infrared View of the M81 Galaxy

Located in the northern constellation of Ursa Major, which also includes the Big Dipper, nearby galaxy Messier 81 is easily visible through binoculars or a small telescope. via NASA

Jessica Meir Climbs Aboard a Soyuz Trainer

At the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, Expedition 61 crewmember Jessica Meir of NASA climbs aboard a Soyuz trainer during final crew qualification exams on Aug. 30. via NASA

Unusual Signal Suggests Neutron Star Destroyed by Black Hole

What created this unusual explosion? Three weeks ago, gravitational wave detectors in the USA and Europe -- the LIGO and Virgo detectors -- detected a burst of gravitational radiation that had the oscillating pattern expected when a black hole destroys a neutron star. One object in event S190814sv was best fit with a mass greater than five times the mass of the Sun -- making it a good candidate for a black hole, while the other object appeared to have a mass less than three times the mass of the Sun -- making it a good candidate for a neutron star. No similar event had been detected with gravitational waves before. Unfortunately, no light was seen from this explosion, light that might have been triggered by the disrupting neutron star. It is theoretically possible that the lower mass object was also a black hole, even though no clear example of a black hole with such a low mass is known. The featured video was created to illustrate a previously suspected black hole - neutron star collision detected in light in 2005, specifically gamma-rays from the burst GRB 050724. The animated video starts with a foreground neutron star orbiting a black hole surrounded by an accretion disk. The black hole's gravity then shreds the neutron star, creating a jet as debris falls into the black hole. S190814sv will continue to be researched, with clues about the nature of the objects involved possibly coming from future detections of similar systems. via NASA

Hurricane Dorian Seen From Aboard the Space Station

NASA astronaut Christian Koch snapped this image of Hurricane Dorian as the International Space Station during a flyover on Monday, September 2, 2019. via NASA

The Moon and Jupiter over the Alps

What are those bright lights in the sky ahead? When hiking a high mountain pass in northern Italy three weeks ago, a conjunction between our Moon and the distant planet Jupiter was visible as both rose together in the southwest after sunset. The picturesque mountains in the distance are Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Three Peaks of Lavaredo), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and three of the best known mountain peaks in Italy, the Dolomites, and the entire Alps. In the foreground on the left is Locatelli Hut, a refuge for tired hikers as it is located over an hour from nearest parking lot. The bright sky object on the upper left is Saturn. The entire scene was captured on a single 8-second exposure. Jupiter and Saturn will remain prominent in the western sky after sunset this month, while the Moon, in its monthly orbit around the Earth, will pass near Jupiter again in about four days. via NASA