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Gage Skidmore

By Jake Johnson

As U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief and reigning number one seed in the "worst Trump cabinet member" bracket Scott Pruitt attempts to beat back accusations that he violated ethics rules by renting a room from the wife of powerful energy lobbyist J. Steven Hart, the New York Times revealed late Monday that Pruitt approved a massive pipeline project supported by Hart's firm at the same time he had access to what critics argue was an unusually low-priced rental.

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The water utility at Ebeye, Marshall Islands, February 2012.. Erin Magee / DFAT / Flickr

By Whitney Webb

Since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory—which rarely garners much attention from the national media—has received widespread coverage which has focused on the Trump administration's slow response to the disaster.

The situation in Puerto Rico is undoubtedly dire, as many struggle without power and access to basic necessities for more than a week after the storm struck. In addition, the Trump administration's response has been notably lackluster in several regards, which has brought renewed scrutiny to its attitudes and performance.

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Remedy Pics / Unsplash

In the throes of a pandemic that has people around the globe racked with anxiety, the desire for something safe and effective at taking the edge off may be greater today than at any time in recent history. For someone battling COVID-19-related stress, cannabidiol (CBD) presents an appealing alternative to harmful or dangerous behaviors. Whether it's full-spectrum CBD oil, broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate, the selections in the space are nearly endless—and continuing to grow.

If you're a newcomer to the scene, it can be easy to get confused about not only the different types of CBD but also what it's made of and what it does to your body. First, you should know that CBD is one of more than 100+ cannabinoids (naturally occurring chemical compounds) found in the cannabis plant. If the word cannabis sets off alarms in your head, it's probably because you're equating it to marijuana and getting high. The difference is that marijuana gets you high because of the presence of another cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, not CBD.

We'll get into the details later about how (and why) these different cannabinoids affect your body in the ways that they do, but the important thing to remember is that experiences can vary greatly based on the chemical composition of the product you're using.

What is full spectrum CBD?

Some of the most popular products on the market today are those that contain full-spectrum CBD oil. While the delivery mechanism can be anything from a tincture you take under your tongue with a dropper to gummies you swallow, these are great products that contain more than just CBD.

Full-spectrum CBD products incorporate additional parts of the cannabis plant, including other cannabinoids and terpenes, aromatics found in the plant's essential oils that supply the strain with its unique scent. Beyond just CBD, some of the most popular cannabinoids that you'll find in full-spectrum CBD oil are trace amounts of THC, cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabichromene (CBC).

Full spectrum vs. CBD isolate vs. broad spectrum

Full-spectrum CBD oil won't be for everyone. Some might be put off by the presence of both CBD and THC, while others may not enjoy the oil's earthy and musky flavor profile. The good news is there are several other categories of CBD products to dabble in that might make you feel more comfortable or that you find easier to stomach.

We already talked about how full-spectrum or is derived from cannabis plants, but we should also mention that it comes from industrial hemp plants. These are cannabis Sativa plants that contain high concentrations of CBD and less than 0.3% THC, a ratio that legalizes the plant's contents on a national level, thanks to the passage of the 2018 United States Farm Bill. As mentioned, these hemp plants contain other cannabinoids and terpenes, making use of the whole plant.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you will find CBD isolate. Products that feature CBD isolate have been heavily purified and distilled of any and all terpenes and cannabinoids besides CBD. These THC-free products are great for anyone looking to take advantage of pure CBD's therapeutic properties without worrying about THC's psychoactive effects (though products derived from industrial hemp plants shouldn't cause them anyway).

Broad-spectrum CBD oil exists right in the middle of full spectrum and CBD isolate. Similar to CBD isolate, broad spectrum is THC free, but it does include some of the other terpenes and cannabinoids that you might find in full spectrum like CBN and CBG.

What are the benefits of full spectrum CBD oil?

There's a reason why CBD has been praised by everyone from grandmothers to athletes and movie stars to physicians. It has the potential to pack a punch and a whole litany of health benefits.

It certainly isn't intended to prevent any disease, and you should always consult with your doctor before trying any new regimen, but CBD's reputation speaks for itself. For one, scientific research conducted on mice has proven that CBD and other cannabinoids can be effective in the management of difficult to treat pain.

Earlier, we mentioned the ongoing pandemic and the impact the current state of affairs is having on our collective mental state. CBD has already been shown to reduce social anxiety and multiple other forms of anxiety disorders, as studied in animal models.

Other animal and human studies have illustrated potential benefits of full-spectrum CBD oil that include:

The reason why CBD has such a profound effect on the body is due to a functionality called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS works hard to keep your body in a state of steadiness called homeostasis so that your sleep, mood, appetite and other bodily functions remain stable. It does this by interacting with cannabinoid receptors throughout the body.

One of the most significant advantages to full-spectrum CBD oil comes courtesy of something called the entourage effect. This concept reinforces that the whole of the cannabis plant is greater than the sum of its parts—meaning that when multiple cannabinoids work together, the effects of each become supercharged and intensified.

Best full spectrum CBD oils

As you start to explore the world of full-spectrum CBD oils, it's natural to wonder which product is the right one for you. The best thing to do is to try multiple different products and doses until you find one that you're comfortable with and that achieves the results you desire. However, we have put together a shortlist of three of our favorites that were selected based on a strict criteria that includes price, hemp sourcing, customer reviews and third-party lab tests that help to verify exactly what's in the product.

Spruce CBD Oil

Spruce is a family business that produces American-made, lab-grade CBD products of the highest quality. It offers its full-spectrum CBD oil in multiple strengths—a 2,400-milligram "max potency" bottle and a 750-milligram bottle, or what it calls "moderate strength." Of note, the 2,400-milligram product can be purchased with either organic hemp seed oil or coconut oil as the carrier oil. The stronger product comes in at $269 for a 30-milliliter bottle, while the moderate strength is $89.

There are a couple things to really like about Spruce. They use no pesticides, are third-party tested and offer a subscribe and save option that drops the price by 15% and adds free shipping.

CBDistillery

CBDistillery is one of the CBD industry's most well-known and reputable brands. And when it comes to full-spectrum CBD oil, this brand delivers on its promise to create high-quality products made from non-GMO industrial hemp. CBDistillery offers 30-milliliter bottles in four different strengths: 500 milligrams, 1,000 milligrams, 2,500 milligrams and 5,000 milligrams. The cost for these CBD tinctures ranges from $35 to $240 with a subscribe and save option knocking an additional 20% off the one-time purchase price. Of note, despite that these products are full spectrum, they contain 0% THC.

We like how CBDistillery is an established, dominant producer that you can trust. The company's full-spectrum CBD oils are all third-party lab tested and are created from natural farming practices.

FAB CBD

Looking to spice up your oil with a little flavor? FABCBD might just be your go-to. In addition to natural, these full-spectrum products come in multiple flavors like citrus, mint, berry and vanilla. You'll also be able to choose between strengths that span from 300 milligrams to 2,400 milligrams in 30-milliliter bottles. To pick up one of these FAB oils, you can expect to spend between $39 and $129, depending on the strength you choose.

We really like the options that FAB offers, from the flavors to the potency. The brand also has a 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren't happy with your purchase.

Is full spectrum CBD oil right for you?

As with anything related to wellness, there are many variables in play—so it's hard to say. There are definitely advantages to full-spectrum CBD oil that you just can't get with CBD isolate or even broad spectrum. CBD should never make you feel high, but products that contain even trace amounts of THC could cause a positive drug test. You should always keep that and your personal circumstances in mind as you select your CBD products. Also know there are many organic options available.

We haven't touched much on the safety of CBD, but it bears mentioning that the World Health Organization has said, "CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile." One of the few side effects beyond fatigue or a mild stomach ache is an adverse reaction between CBD and other prescription medicines. If you're currently undergoing a course of medication, check with your physician to ensure you can safely add CBD to the mix before beginning to dose.

U.S. Air Force

By Whitney Webb

Amid statewide efforts to clean up the aftermath left by the historic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Pentagon announced last week that it had dispatched C-130H Sprayers from the Air Force Reserve's 910th Airlift Wing in order to "assist with recovery efforts in eastern Texas." However, these "recovery efforts" have little to do with rebuilding damaged structures or with the resettlement of evacuees. Instead, they are set to spray chemicals in order to help "control pest insect populations," which they allege pose a "health risk to rescue workers and residents of Houston."

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Mike Mozart / Flickr

The agrochemical and seed giant Monsanto, one of the world's most controversial corporations, is attempting to take down a World Health Organization (WHO) agency that in 2015 linked the Monsanto product glyphosate to an increased risk of cancer in humans. That year, the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found that the widely used herbicide is "probably carcinogenic to humans."

The decision was a major blow to Monsanto as its most popular product, Roundup, is glyphosate-based. Following the IARC's decision, the European Union began to consider banning the product altogether, potentially depriving Monsanto of a significant stream of revenue. Monsanto, which is seeking the EU's renewal of the chemical's license for the next 10 years, is now also fighting a high-profile court case attempting to bring IARC's 2015 decision—as well as the agency itself—under scrutiny.

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Ray Kemble of Dimock, Pa., displays a jug of what he identifies as his contaminated well water. (AP/Matt Rourke)

Ever since the dangerous consequences of natural gas extraction via hydraulic fracturing—popularly known as "fracking"—entered the national consciousness, the small town of Dimock, Pennsylvania has arguably been "ground zero" for water contamination caused by the controversial practice.

Now Cabot Oil & Gas, the massive energy company responsible for numerous fracking wells near Dimock, is suing one of the town's residents for $5 million, claiming that his efforts to "attract media attention" to the pollution of his water well have "harmed" the company. According to the lawsuit, Dimock resident Ray Kemble's actions breached an earlier 2012 settlement that was part of an ongoing federal class action lawsuit over the town's water quality. Kemble has stated that Cabot's fracking turned his groundwater "black, like mud, [with] a strong chemical odor."

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www.youtube.com

By Redacted Tonight

The "Oil to School" pipeline, the fossil-fuel industry's effort to pour pro-petrol propaganda into K-12 classrooms, is more widespread and pernicious than previously thought, a new investigation has shown.

Big oil can exploit the fact that schools are underfunded, and provide resources and then take the opportunity to write the resources which somehow manage to omit the dangers of climate change and pollution.

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Michael Toledano

Thirteen Louisiana residents who live in the shadow of one of the most toxic factories in the country recently filed a lawsuit against the facility's co-owners, DuPont and Denka, in an attempt to stop or reduce the production of an air pollutant linked to serious health problems, including cancer.

The plaintiffs are currently seeking approval from a local judge to file a class action lawsuit that would allow anyone who has lived, worked or attended school within a defined boundary around the plant over the past five years to take legal action against the plant's owners.

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Transparent GMU / Facebook

By Brandi Buchman

Accusing the state school of violating public records law, a group of George Mason University students and alumni brought a lawsuit to shed light on the support it gets from billionaire energy tycoons Charles and David Koch.

Augustus Thomson, a current undergraduate, filed the complaint on May 26 with the student-led group Transparent GMU, saying they have been waiting nearly two months for a response to their request for records on the school's contribution and gift records from 2008 to 2012.

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Abandoned Air Force Base in Greenland. Ken Bower

By Whitney Webb

Last week, mainstream media outlets gave minimal attention to the news that the U.S. Naval station in Virginia Beach had spilled an estimated 94,000 gallons of jet fuel into a nearby waterway, less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean.

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John Bowler, RSPB Tiree

By Carey Wedler

The Guardian reported last Tuesday that Lulu, the full-grown whale who died, "was a member of the UK's last resident pod and a postmortem also showed she had never produced a calf. The pollutants, called PCBs, are known to cause infertility and these latest findings add to strong evidence that the pod is doomed to extinction."

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No one person encapsulates the enduring legacy of the "robber barons" of the Industrial Age quite like David Rockefeller. Rockefeller, who died Monday at the age of 101, was the last surviving grandson of John D. Rockefeller, the oil tycoon who became America's first billionaire and the patriarch of what would become one of the most powerful and wealthiest families in American history. David Rockefeller, an undeniable product of American nobility, lived his entire life in the echelons of U.S. society, becoming symbolic of the elite who often direct public policy to a much greater extent than many realize, albeit often from the shadows.

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Photo credit: Greg Webb / International Atomic Energy Agency

By Whitney Webb

While media attention has largely drifted away from the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in the years since the disaster, a recent and disturbing development has once again made Fukushima difficult if not impossible to ignore.

On Feb. 2, Tokyo Electric Power Company or TEPCO, quietly released a statement regarding the discovery of a hole measuring 2 meters in diameter within the metal grating at the bottom of the containment vessel in the plant's No. 2 reactor.

Though news of this hole is indeed concerning, even more shocking was the associated jump in radiation detected in the area. According to estimates taken at the time of the hole's discovery, radiation inside the reactor was found to have reached 530 sieverts per hour, a massive increase compared to the 73 sieverts per hour recorded after the disaster. To put these figures in perspective, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's maximum amount of radiation exposure permitted for astronauts over their entire lifetime is 1 sievert.

Human exposure to 5 sieverts would kill half of those exposed within a month, while 10 sieverts would prove fatal to nearly all exposed within a matter of weeks. An official with Japan's National Institute of Radiological Sciences told the Japan Times that medical professionals with the organization had never even considered working with such high levels of radiation.

A nearly 1-square-meter hole is seen in a walkway in the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. It is thought that the heat of the melted nuclear fuel caused the walkway to give way.TEPCO

TEPCO initially tried to counter public fears by stating that most of the reactor's nuclear fuel remained in the containment vessel despite the hole. However, on Feb. 3, TEPCO spokesman Yuichi Okamura was quoted as saying that "it's highly possible that melted fuel leaked through." At the time, TEPCO said that it would send a robot into the area to survey the full extent of the damage in order to definitively determine whether fuel had leaked outside of the reactor into the surrounding environment.

The first robot, deployed on Feb. 16, was unable to conduct any meaningful measurements, as the extreme conditions within the reactor forced operators to abandon it within the containment vessel. The "scorpion" robot, manufactured by Toshiba, was meant to record images of the reactor's interior and collect accurate—instead of estimated—data on the levels of radiation within. Within three hours of deployment, the device stopped responding to operators despite its stated ability to withstand high levels of radiation. TEPCO has not commented on its new plans to gauge the damage recently uncovered in the reactor in the wake of the robot's malfunction.

When a second robot was sent to investigate, it also failed.

One of the World's Worst Nuclear Disasters Grows Even worse

Despite a lack of widespread media coverage and TEPCO's reassurances that things are under control, there is concern that the nuclear disaster at Fukushima—already one of the worst nuclear disasters in human history—is quickly growing even worse.

PBS News reported last year that more than 80 percent of of the radioactivity from the three damaged reactors was released into the Pacific Ocean, as 300 tons of radioactive water have leaked from the reactors every day since an earthquake and subsequent tsunami crippled the plant in 2011.

The Pacific Ocean may have diluted much of the radiation, due to its massive volume, yet radiation and debris from the disaster has been detected along the western coast of Canada and the U.S. Traces of Fukushima radiation were first detected in early 2015, when trace amounts of cesium-134 and cesium-137 appeared in samples collected near Vancouver Island. Then, in December of last year, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution detected seaborne cesium-134 along the Oregon coast.

Though no link between the presence of radiation has been officially established, fisheries along the entire western coast of North America have been collapsing. Last month, the U.S. secretary of commerce reported on the failure of nine salmon and crab fisheries in Alaska, California and Washington—all due to "unexpected" yet steep declines in fish populations.

While scientists and government authorities alike are "stumped" as to the cause, fish caught along the West Coast have showed high increases in the levels of cesium for years—as far back as 2014. Researchers have maintained that fish, however, are still "safe" to eat despite the fact that at least one group of doctors agrees that there is "no safe level of radionuclide exposure, whether from food, water or other sources, period."

The Japanese government, TEPCO and mainstream media continue to insist that this massive release of radiation into the environment has had no effect on human or environmental health. However, thyroid cancer rates have soared in Japan, with 131 children developing thyroid cancer in the six years since the disaster. That total is equivalent to about 600 thyroid cancer cases per million children, while the child thyroid cancer rate elsewhere is about one or two children per million per year.

Despite the marked increase in cancer rates, TEPCO and the Japanese government insist that Fukushima radiation is "unlikely" to result in a greater incidence of cancer cases. However, exposure to Iodine-131, the main radionuclide released into the air and water during the meltdown, is known to increase human risk of thyroid cancer and is the most clearly defined environmental factor associated with thyroid tumors, suggesting that a correlation between radiation and exposure likely exists.

This latest breach in one of the plant's damaged reactors as well as TEPCO's inability to even properly gauge the extent of the damage suggests that we have yet to see the full devastating potential of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Reposted with permission from our media associate MintPress News.