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A 9-year-old goes in on standardized tests and ends with the best mic drop of all time

When 9-year-old Sydney Smoot stood up at her local school board meeting, I doubt they expected this kind of talking to.

A 9-year-old goes in on standardized tests and ends with the best mic drop of all time

If you need proof standardized testing is setting students up for failure, just ask the students.

Sydney Smoot has a bone to pick with the Hernando County School Board. The issue? The Florida Standards Assessment Test, or FSA for short. On March 17, 2015, Sydney bravely stood up at her local school board meeting to share how she felt about the test and why she believes it's failing students and teachers.

"This testing looks at me as a number. One test defines me as either a failure or a success through a numbered rubric. One test at the end of the year that the teacher or myself will not even see the grade until after the school year is already over. I do not feel that all this FSA testing is accurate to tell how successful I am. It doesn't take in account all of my knowledge and abilities, just a small percentage." — Sydney Smoot

Can we give this little girl a medal? She was speaking right to my soul with that speech!

I reached out to Sydney and her mom, Jennifer, via email to find out more about what prompted this passionate speech.

What inspired you to write your letter?

"What inspired me to speak all started one day when I came home. My mom asked me how the testing went, and I told her I was told not to speak about the test to anyone. I had not felt comfortable signing something in the test. I had concerns about this test because there was a lot of stress put on students and myself. I was a little nervous before the speech, but when I was called up to the podium, I did not feel nervous because I knew this speech was going to help a lot of people."

Have you ever thought about running for president? Cause I'd vote for you!

"I've thought about running for president because if I'm president, I will be considerate about the people in this state."

You gotta admit, she looks pretty good up there, right?

Parents have a right to be concerned about standardize testing regulations.

One thing that really stuck out to me in Sydney's speech was that the FSA prohibits students from talking to their parents about the test. So I was anxious to hear what Sydney's mom thought about the stipulation. She had this to say:

"When my daughter came home telling me she had to sign a form stating she couldn't talk to anyone including her parents, I got concerned. Not only that I didn't like the fact that the last four of her Social Security number was on the test labels along with other personal information. In today's world of identity theft, it doesn't take much for people to get a hold of these things and use them.

I would like to tell other parents to learn more before these tests start in your children's school and know what they are testing. They have options, you can opt out so to speak, and the child can complete alternative testing if they are in the retention grades; or, if the child wants to take the test, support them and let them know that no matter how they do, it does not define them as a person.

It's a test and a poorly designed one at best."

Standardized tests are changing the classroom. And not for the better.

As Sydney shared in her speech, she and her classmates are feeling the pressure when it comes to preparing for the FSA. But they aren't the only ones. Teachers are also struggling to get students ready and are often forced to cut corners as a result.

What standardized tests also fail to take into account is that in many ways, test-taking is a skill, one that not every student is ready for. When I was in school, we spent months gearing up for the dreaded FCAT, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. And if months of test prep wasn't bad enough, if you didn't pass the FCAT, you couldn't graduate high school. Talk about stressful! The pressure of your high school career rides on one test, combined with the fact that standardized tests don't accurately measure what students have learned. Plenty of capable students fail these tests due to increased anxiety and stress. If high school students are struggling to handle the pressure of standardized testing, imagine how difficult it must be for elementary school students like Sydney!

Young Sydney is a testament to how important it is that we listen to students and create curriculum that challenges and educates them, rather than scaring them into "learning." I think Sydney's suggestion of three comprehensive tests throughout the year makes way more sense than one big statewide test that interferes with teachers' schedules and stresses students out. And let's be real, when's the last time you heard a kid ask for MORE tests?! Clearly standardized tests aren't the answer or at least need some serious work. Hopefully Sydney's message will make an impact and get her school board and schools across the nation to rethink how we measure students' success.

This article originally appeared on 03.27.15


3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.

“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes


1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)


1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4


1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano


1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics

O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4


1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)


1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

A nasty note gets a strong response.

We've all seen it while cruising for spots in a busy parking lot: A person parks their whip in a disabled spot, then they walk out of their car and look totally fine. It's enough to make you want to vomit out of anger, especially because you've been driving around for what feels like a million years trying to find a parking spot.

You're obviously not going to confront them about it because that's all sorts of uncomfortable, so you think of a better, way less ballsy approach: leaving a passive aggressive note on their car's windshield.

Satisfied, you walk back to your car feeling proud of yourself for telling that liar off and even more satisfied as you walk the additional 100 steps to get to the store from your lame parking spot all the way at the back of the lot. But did you ever stop and wonder if you told off the wrong person?

What if that person on the receiving end of the note had a perfectly good explanation for why they're driving car with a disabled sticker and tag?

That's exactly what happened to Emma Doherty, who was surprised to see someone pen such vitriolic words to her in this letter she found on her car.

The language in the note is pretty harsh:

"You lazy conning b-tch. You did not have a disabled person with you! These spaces are reserved for people who need them!!!"

I get that avoiding conflict is something that's been trained into us, but maybe if whoever wrote this note decided to say something to Emma, this entire thing could've been cleared up entirely.

Instead, she had to take to Facebook to pick apart the anonymous grouch and explain her situation to the rest of us. And hopefully whoever wrote the note (if they see her post) understands why they were terribly wrong.

Emma is the mother of a terminally ill child, Bobby. Her ruthless and powerful message sheds light on the misconceptions associated with disabilities and helps to break the stigma that all impairments are visible, because they're not.

"To the person who put this on my car, which I had put my disabled badge fully on, I'm not angry at your pure ignorance, I'm actually upset with it. How dare you ever accuse anyone of not needing a disabled badge without knowing. I wish you had the balls to say this to my face and I would have told you (even tho I don't need to explain myself to the likes of you) but I'd have happily said why I have a badge."

"I promise to get the stigma away from people with disabled badges who don't "look disabled." I hope this gets shared and back to you and you will see my son is terminally ill, he's had over 15 operations, 3 open hearts, 2 stomach, lung and diaphragm and countless artery stenting operations and spent half his life on intensive care."

respect, community, disabilities, visible disability

Emma Doherty and her son Bobby.


In her post, she delineates the severity of Bobby's illness, which has put the young man through multiple surgeries and procedures that are no walks in the park.

"He's had 2 strokes and was paralyzed, brain damaged and has a spine and hip condition as well as a massive heart condition. The reason I didn't get his wheelchair out was because I was running late because my son, who had a MRI scan, CTSCAN and a dye for heart function yesterday, only got discharged late and was back in this morning so carried him in."

"But for your information not everyone who holds a blue badge needs to have a wheelchair! I've told ... security and broke down, I've sat through things nobody should see but why did your note break me? Because it's your pure ignorance towards others. I'm a single mom trying my best to hold it together for my son who's in and out if hospital. NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE and I hope you regret doing this and learn your lesson!”

Throughout her post, Emma simultaneously castigates the person and drives one important point home: Just because someone isn't in a wheelchair or crutches, doesn't mean they aren't disabled or in need of physical care or assistance.

I knew something would be said one day as every day I get looks and stares and see people whispering to each other about me and Bobby walking from the car. Everyone needs to stop and think before acting. I hardly ever let anything upset me but this did. How aggressive as well, and as for conning my son's disabled pass... [It] is not a con, he's actually seriously ill. I've added a picture of him to prove not everyone looks ill or disabled but can be seriously ill.

The mother clarifies at the end of the message that she's sure it wouldn't be a hospital staff member who wrote the message, because those who work in healthcare are well aware of the various reasons someone would have a disabled tag on their vehicle.

"I'd like to point out this has nothing to do with the hospital itself. They were lovely with me when I was upset and they treat us with every respect, always have [in our] 3 long years with them. They've saved my son's life many times. It [was] just somebody who was parked [there].”

Her post quickly went viral, with many people echoing her sentiments and thanking her for helping to clear up that tons of people suffer from different disabilities and that not all of them are so readily apparent.


And as it turns out, Emma isn't the only parent who's dealt with judgmental individuals who gave them flack for having a disabled sticker on their car. As if having to deal with a sick child isn't enough, they also have to suffer through getting guff from randos on the street over a measly parking spot.


Bobby's condition has left him without pulmonary artery function, which means that blood will not pump throughout his body. As you can imagine, walking long distances — or performing many physical tasks otherwise healthy individuals take for granted — are out of the question for the 3-year-old.

As a result of her son's condition, Emma has to take him to the hospital for treatments throughout the week, and seeing the note on her car while having to deal with that ultimately set her off. Thankfully, she used her anger to send a positive message.

Floored by the positive response to her message, Emma went back online to thank people for being so receptive and helping to spread awareness that disabilities come in many forms.

"My inbox is full of people who have told me they have been stared at or even spat at. This is a serious problem and I just want it to change. I am hoping by sharing what I went through people will start to think before acting."

This article first appeared on 11.26.19.

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.


Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

If you're one of the more than 53 million individuals dealing with arthritis pain, you may benefit from adding CBD to your pain management plan. CBD is growing popular among Americans seeking to manage moderate to chronic pain, and for many, it's become part of their daily regimen.

While CBD may not be the end-all for your arthritis pain, it can provide some discomfort relief and may even offer additional wellness benefits like reduced stress, relaxation, and improved sleep. If you're curious about this cannabinoid’s pain-relieving properties, check out our top choices for the best CBD for joint pain.

Best CBD Products for Joint Pain

1. Best Overall CBD for Joint Pain: Aspen Green Relief Organic Full Spectrum CBD Gummies

2. Best Topical CBD for Joint Pain: R&R CBD Pain Creams

3. Best Broad Spectrum CBD Oil Products for Joint Pain: Canna River CBD Pain Gummies

4. Most Potent CBD for Chronic Inflammation: CBDfx Original Mixed Berry CBD Gummies

5. Best Fast-Acting CBD for Arthritis Symptoms: Soul Rapid Relief Cream

Potential Benefits of CBD

CBD is growing in the wellness industry as a natural aid for various ailments, such as chronic pain relief and stress. While research is still evolving on the short- and long-term effects of CBD use, many promising findings indicate CBD could be an excellent solution for pain relief, improved mood, better sleep, and reduced stress.

  • Pain relief: The potential of CBD as a pain reliever is one of the more common reasons people use CBD. Many researchers have explored CBD as an option for chronic pain relief, especially as an alternative to opioids. Pure CBD is non-intoxicating, making it a much safer chronic pain relief option than opioids, which can be highly addictive.
  • Improved mood: One potential benefit of CBD is easing anxiety and mental tension. Many people enjoy CBD for its calming effects, which help them unwind and relax after a long day. Some research is even looking at ways to use CBD as a treatment for mood disorders. Although it's not yet proven to help mood disorders, preclinical and clinical evidence suggests it could provide relief for conditions like bipolar disorder or depression.
  • Reduced stress: Because CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which is a system in the body that helps regulate stress, research indicates that CBD is effective in relieving stress.
  • Better sleep: Many people who use CBD find it helps them fall asleep. Part of this is because CBD may help lower stress and reduce pain, which could inhibit people from falling asleep. Initial research also suggests that CBD may help relieve insomnia, leading to better sleep.

Best CBD Products for Joint Pain

1. Best Overall CBD for Joint Pain: Aspen Green Relief Organic Full Spectrum CBD Gummies

What we love

The Aspen Green Relief gummies are a physician-formulated blend of full-spectrum CBD oil and THC meant to alleviate pain while promoting recovery. These certified USDA organic gummies are vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO. Each flavorful piece contains 50mg CBD and 2.5mg hemp-derived THC, plus various other phytocannabinoids like CBG and CBC for the ultimate entourage effect.

What customers love

Customers rave about the Aspen Green Relief gummies, mentioning they are some of the most effective full-spectrum CBD gummies they've tried. People mention that with regular use, these gummies cut discomfort and help individuals get a restful night's sleep. The pain-relieving properties of these gummies have worked on knee, elbow, and neuropathic pain. This full-spectrum CBD extract works wonders for those who use it in conjunction with other remedies.

About Aspen Green

Aspen Green promises customers pure CBD options for optimal well-being. The company's pillars are quality, integrity, and transparency, which it implements at every step of its process, from sourcing to selling the final product. All products from Aspen Green come from organically farmed hemp, are physician formulated, and tested by third parties for potency and safety.


  • Subscription discounts available
  • Vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO
  • Certified USDA organic
  • Physician formulated


  • Only comes in one flavor


  • CBD type: Full-Spectrum CBD
  • Size: 30-count container
  • Strength: 50mg CBD and 2.5mg THC per gummy
  • Flavor(s): Cherry

Learn more about Aspen Green Relief Organic Full Spectrum CBD Gummies today

2. Best Topical CBD for Joint Pain: R&R CBD Pain Creams

What we love

Massage your stubborn joint pain with doctor formulated R&R CBD pain cream. This extra-strength, full-spectrum CBD topical cream blends up to 5000mg of cannabinoids like CBD, THC, CBG, and CBN to help relieve acute to chronic pain. Additional active ingredients in their proprietary formula include jojoba oil and MSM to reduce inflammation, and arnica montana to promote recovery.

What customers love

Customers love R&R CBD products, and many mention that the company makes some of the most effective products they've tried. Customers also note that they are long-time users and have had positive experiences with R&R's customer relations team.

About R&R

R&R was among the first CBD brands to earn the USDA Organic Certification in 2019. A veteran and employee-owned company, R&R infuses all its products with a proprietary organic extract from local farming partners to produce a quality product. R&R also operates an FDA-registered facility and is registered with the FDA and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).


  • Subscription discounts available
  • Both full and broad spectrum available (with or without THC)
  • Comes from certified organic-grown hemp
  • 60-day money-back guarantee


  • Only comes in one size


  • CBD type: Full-spectrum CBD
  • Size: 2.5fl oz container
  • Strength: 1000mg, 2500mg, and 5000mg CBD per container
  • Flavor(s): N/A

Learn more aboutR&R CBD Pain Creams today

3. Best Broad Spectrum CBD Oil Products for Joint Pain: Canna River CBD Pain Gummies

What we love

The Canna River Pain Gummies are perfect if you're looking for a flavorful CBD option that tastes like candy. Choose from four delicious options, all naturally flavored and colored. These gummies provide the ultimate pain relief with 50mg of CBD and CBG to help your body and mind feel at ease.

What customers love

Aside from tasting great, customers say the Canna River Pain Gummies are great for pain relief and inducing sleep. Many people use these gummies to help with arthritis pain and muscle soreness.

About Canna River

The Canna River's mission is to provide customers with quality CBD products at affordable prices. All products come from non-GMO hemp sourced from Oregon. The company also provides free carbon-neutral shipping for a more sustainable product. In addition to gummies, Canna River also sells CBD tinctures, topicals, and vapes.


  • Free of gluten and alcohol
  • Plant-based
  • Made with natural flavors and colors
  • Cruelty-free


  • Only comes in one potency
  • No subscription pricing to help save on recurring orders


  • CBD type: Broad-Spectrum CBD
  • Size: 30-count container
  • Strength: 50mg CBD and 50mg CBG per gummy
  • Flavor(s): Passion Orange Guava, Pink Watermelon, Red Berry, Strawberry Mango

Learn more about Canna River Pain Gummies today

4. Most Potent CBD for Chronic Inflammation: CBDfx Original Mixed Berry CBD Gummies

What we love

Sometimes when you have a pain flair-up, it might take an extra-strength product like CBDfx CBD gummies to do the trick. These broad-spectrum CBD gummies contain up to 200mg of CBD per serving. They're made with all-natural ingredients and organic hemp, so you can feel confident you're only putting quality ingredients into your body.

What customers love

CBDfx CBD gummies have nearly 2000 reviews about flavor and quality. Customers say they've helped with pain relief, elevated mood, and better sleep. Customers also mentioned how easy it is to order and how quick shipping is.

About CBDfx

CBDfx started in 2014 with a mission to improve the quality of CBD products in the industry. The company uses a single-pass CO2 extraction method on all products to produce an ultra-premium CBD oil made from USA-grown hemp plants, guaranteeing a safe experience with maximum benefits. Besides gummies, CBDfx sells CBD oils, capsules, topicals, vapes, and pet products. The certificate of analysis on any of their CBD oil products is easy to find, a crucial point for safety.


  • Subscription discounts available
  • Vegan and gluten-free
  • Made with all-natural ingredients and organic hemp
  • Cruelty-free


  • Only comes in one flavor and size


  • CBD type: Broad-Spectrum CBD
  • Size: 60-count container
  • Strength: 25mg, 50mg, or 100mg of CBD per gummy
  • Flavor(s): Mixed Berry

Learn more about CBDfx Original Mixed Berry CBD Gummies today

5. Best Fast-Acting CBD for Arthritis Symptoms: Soul Rapid Relief Cream

What we love

When the joint pain hits, you need a fast-acting CBD topical like Soul Rapid Relief Cream. This soothing cream contains 1500mg CBD and menthol to help ease even the most stubborn pain. It also contains organic coconut oil to help moisturize the skin while relieving discomfort. This topical comes from organically farmed hemp and contains no THC.

What customers love

Customers rave that the Soul Rapid Relief Cream is fast-acting and helps soothe sore muscles and joints. Many users mention this cream is a staple of their workout recovery and something people use to assist with arthritis pain.

About Soul

Soul began with two siblings who wanted to eliminate the guesswork associated with good health and natural wellness. They designed their CBD products to be effective, great-tasting, and doctor-formulated. Soul’s products are made with clean ingredients and triple-tested for quality assurance.


  • Subscription discounts available
  • Organically farmed
  • Made with USA-grown hemp
  • Fast-acting


  • Only comes in one size and strength


  • CBD type: Broad-Spectrum CBD
  • Size: 3.4fl oz container
  • Strength: 1500mg CBD per container
  • Flavor(s): N/A

Learn more about Soul Rapid Relief Cream today

What Is CBD and How Does It Provide Join Pain Relief

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many active compounds in cannabis from hemp plants. It's closely related to the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), also found in cannabis, but without producing a “high.”

When CBD is extracted from hemp, it comes with various other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavoids. All elements combine to provide an entourage effect, essentially the ultimate calmness and relaxation, but not a high.

CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system. This bodily system plays an essential role in helping to regulate many functions throughout the body, including pain. Many CBD products also include other natural substances known for their anti-inflammatory properties to act as a potential pain management solution. If you can’t just rely on CBD oil to relieve pain, consider working it into your routine for overall wellness.

How To Find The Best CBD Products for Your Pain Symptoms

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the endless CBD options on the market. Not all CBD products are made the same, and it's important to find the right CBD option to manage your pain symptoms. You'll want to consider the CBD type, potency, intended benefit, form, scent, flavor, and affordability.

CBD Type

There are three types of CBD: broad-spectrum, full-spectrum, and CBD isolate. Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD contain additional cannabinoids aside from CBD that work together to provide a more profound effect. CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, containing no other cannabinoids.

Most CBD products for pain management come from a broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD oil. Both will provide similar results, the only difference being that full-spectrum contains small levels of THC.


Potency refers to the strength of the CBD product. Understanding the potency of a product is essential because too mild of a concentration of CBD may not deliver your desired results while a too-strong product can lead to adverse side effects.

In general, if you've never taken CBD before, it's best to start with a lower potency product (around 25 or 30mg CBD per serving). If you're a CBD veteran or low-potency products aren’t providing you with the desired results, try an extra-strength CBD product. In many cases, people trying to relieve arthritis pain or chronic pain tend to find better results with higher-potency CBD options.

Intended Benefit

CBD has many potential benefits, all of which you can achieve simultaneously. However, some CBD products include additional active ingredients to provide further relief for a specific ailment, such as pain relief.

When shopping for CBD to provide pain relief, you may notice natural anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, white willow, or Boswellia. These ingredients work alongside CBD to help reduce pain and inflammation of the joints and muscles.

CBD Form

CBD comes in different forms. The most common forms include CBD oil or tincture, gummies, capsules, and topicals. Most forms of CBD will provide similar results, and choosing a form is more about your preference for convenience and serving control.

While any CBD form can help with pain relief, many people find success with topical CBD products. When using a topical, you rub the CBD directly onto the affected area. Not only does the skin absorb CBD for fast-acting relief, but many topicals have additional active ingredients to help with other things that may be causing pain, such as inflammation.

Scents and Flavors

Oral CBD products, like CBD oils and gummies, tend to come in various flavors. Hemp has an earthy taste that you either like or don't. People who like the natural taste of hemp may go for an unflavored product or try something with a natural flavor. People who don't like hemp can look for artificial flavors or sugars that can help mask the taste.

Topical products may have a naturally or artificially enhanced scent, making them more pleasant to apply. Some products may also contain menthol, which can help with pain relief but also has a strong scent.


CBD is available at a range of prices to fit any budget. Like any dietary supplement, expensive doesn't necessarily mean better. There are plenty of affordable options that provide incredible results.

If you are looking for CBD on a budget, consider brands that offer subscriptions that help you save on recurring orders. Subscribers often receive free or discounted shipping. You can also look for companies with a 30- or 60-day money-back guarantee if you try a product that doesn't work.

Types of CBD

When shopping for CBD products, brands will indicate whether the product is broad-spectrum, full-spectrum, or isolate CBD. This indication is the type of CBD. All types of CBD provide similar results, but small differences between the three are important to understand when choosing CBD products.

Full-Spectrum CBD

A full-spectrum CBD product contains all the natural cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids from the cannabis plant, including small levels of THC. All these compounds interact to create the entourage effect, which leads to a greater sense of calmness, relaxation, and pain relief.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum, containing many of the natural cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids from the cannabis plant. However, broad-spectrum products undergo an extra process to remove any THC. It will still provide an entourage effect and benefit, although some people find the intensity of the effects to be lower than full-spectrum CBD.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD. Unlike broad and full-spectrum products, it contains no other cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. CBD isolate will be the mildest of the CBD types, but it can still provide similar benefits.

Types of CBD Products

CBD type refers to how you take CBD, whether that's a great-tasting edible, beverage, oil, or topical. Most CBD types provide similar results, so it's about finding something that works for you and your pain management regimen.

CBD Tincture

CBD tincture, also called CBD oil, is one of the most common types of CBD products. One of the plus sides to CBD oil is that you have more control over the dose than you would with a capsule or gummy. You can find CBD oil to help with pain relief, sleep, or stress. You can also find broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oil.

CBD oil is easy to take. You can put it directly into your mouth or mix into a favorite beverage or smoothie. They come in tons of flavors, potency, and sizes, making them one of the more diverse CBD options.

CBD Gummies

If you're looking for a convenient CBD option that you can take on the go, you might like a CBD gummy. People tend to gravitate toward gummies because each piece contains a premeasured amount of CBD, so you don't have to worry about measuring the correct dose with each use. People also like gummies because they're discreet, as they look and taste like candy.

CBD Topicals

A CBD topical is a lotion or cream infused with CBD oil that you rub onto your skin. Topicals are primarily used for pain management, relieving discomfort from the area where you apply them. Many CBD topicals include menthol and botanicals to help with inflammation, making them a great option for joint or arthritis pain.

CBD Drinks

CBD drinks are growing in popularity as an alcohol alternative. They're not the best choice for pain management, but they provide a calming effect that may help relieve stress, tension, or discomfort. CBD drinks come in tons of options, such as infused sodas, seltzers, teas, and carbonated waters.

CBD Capsules

CBD capsules are perfect if you like the convenience of gummies but aren't a fan of the flavors or candy-like consistency. Like CBD gummies, capsules contain a premeasured amount of CBD per capsule, making them easy to consume or take on the go as part of your pain management plan. You can find capsules in broad and full-spectrum options like CBD oils and gummies.

Potential Side Effects of CBD

CBD is a dietary supplement. And with any supplement, there are potential side effects to using CBD, including:

  • Changes to alertness
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Mood changes
  • Dry mouth

Side effects are more likely to occur if youconsume high amounts of CBD in one sitting or use higher-potency products. Most side effects will disappear after a few hours once the CBD wears off.

It's important to know that CBD may interact poorly with alcohol and prescription medications. If you're taking prescription medications, it's best to consult with a doctor before using CBD to ensure it's safe.


Is CBD safe?

CBD is relatively safe when taken responsibly. Always follow CBD instructions when using a CBD product, and stop use if you experience any adverse side effects.

Is CBD legal?

CBD is federally legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill that removed hemp and hemp-derived products from the Controlled Substance Act. However, some states may have regulations on purchasing, selling, and using CBD, so it's always important to understand local laws before using CBD.

How much CBD should I take for joint pain relief?

The amount of CBD you take for joint relief will depend on your CBD tolerance and the type of CBD you use. If you've never taken CBD, start with the lowest recommended serving advised by the CBD product you're using. Depending on the product, the starting dose can range from 15 to 30mg of CBD. If you're not feeling the desired effects, slowly increase your consumption or look for a higher-potency product.

Will CBD make me high?

No, CBD is not a psychoactive compound and will not cause a high. Even full-spectrum products, which contain THC, don't cause a high because the amount of THC is so low; it won't give you the psychoactive effect. However, some products do have added THC, which may lead to a high. It's always important to read labels and ingredients to ensure you know what you're taking. You can also look at a product certificate of analysis, which breaks down what's in each product.

Can I take too much CBD?

While not advised, research indicates that the average person can tolerate up to 1,500mg of CBD per day. However, taking that much CBD is likely to lead to unwanted side effects such as dry mouth, changes in alertness, diarrhea, and irritability.

How fast does CBD work for joint pain relief?

CBD works at different speeds depending on the person and the product. Most oral CBD products, like oils or capsules, can start working in as little as 15 minutes or as long as 3 hours. Topical CBD can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.

Can CBD help with rheumatoid arthritis pain?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints, causing severe pain, swelling, and stiffness. CBD is not medical cannabis and is not a treatment or cure for rheumatoid arthritis; it may be beneficial within a larger pain management plan to reduce symptoms such as chronic pain. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, it's always best to consult with a doctor before using CBD, especially if you're taking prescription medications for your rheumatoid arthritis.

Can I take CBD with other pain medications?

Studies show that CBD does negatively interact with some prescription medications, such as anti-epileptics, antidepressants, and opioids. If you are taking prescription medication, talk to your doctor before starting a CBD regimen.

Will CBD show on a drug test?

CBD will most likely not show on a drug test. However, if you're using a full-spectrum CBD oil with added THC, regular use of the product may lead to a positive drug test.

Find The Best CBD Oil Product For Your Pain Relief!

You don't have to suffer from joint pain, and CBD may be the solution you need to manage your arthritis pain as part of an overall pain management plan. There are plenty of CBD oils, gummies, and topicals, with additional active ingredients to soothe discomfort. If a product isn't providing you with the pain relief you deserve, don't be afraid to try high-potency products or different brands until you discover the best CBD for your joint pain.

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The calm after the storm: how CBD creams are changing pain management

via Rob Dance (used with permission).

CEO Rob Dance holds a list of things he's "sick" of hearing from his employees.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted workplaces worldwide, there has been a greater push for improved work-life balance and many companies are taking notice. The exciting thing is that when companies become more flexible, their employees become happier and more productive.

It’s a win-win for all involved.

Rob Dance, the CEO of ROCK, a technology consulting company in the UK, recently went viral for posting about his approach to work-life balance on Instagram. What, at first, appeared to be a CEO reprimanding his employees revealed a boss who knows how to get the best out of is team by treating them like adults.

The post was of Dance holding a whiteboard that reads:

Things I’m sick of hearing from my employees:

- Can I leave early today

- I’ll be late in the morning

- My child is sick, can I rush off

- I’ve got a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, is that okay

- I’m going to be late back from lunch, I’ve got some things to sort.

I don’t care.

I hired you for a job and I fully TRUST you to get it done.

I don’t need you to account for every single hour.

Times have changed, and the workplace is different these days.

People are sick of being treated like children.

All that should matter is that everyone is happy, and that the work gets done.

He also shared his advice for companies on how to treat their employees. “Treat your staff like adults. That’s it, that’s the big secret,” he wrote. “Give them autonomy. Respect that they have lives outside of work. Don’t gaslight them into being grateful for not being fired every day.” Because in the end, the only thing that matters is if they get the job done. “Output should always trump hours,” he concluded.

Upworthy contacted Dance, who explained why managers still hesitate to treat their employees like adults.

“Many bosses don't trust their employees and keep extremely close tabs on them because of past experiences and a desire for control. They might believe that micromanaging ensures productivity and prevents issues,” he told Upworthy. “Additionally, the pressure to meet business targets can drive bosses to monitor employees obsessively, thinking it will lead to better outcomes. This approach, however, only undermines trust and destroys morale in the workplace. It creates a toxic environment where employees feel undervalued and stressed, leading to higher turnover rates and decreased overall performance. Instead of fostering a culture of accountability and growth, this behavior only promotes fear and resentment.”

Dance says that technology has helped drive demand for improved work-life balance.

“Mobile technology definitely started to blur the lines between one’s professional and personal life, making it tough to switch off from work,” he told Upworthy. “As a millennial leader, I've always valued work-life harmony for my staff, helping them to achieve both flexibility and finding purpose in their work.”

The ROCK CEO also has advice for employees who’d like to gain their employer’s trust.

“Always deliver quality work and aim to meet or exceed expectations. Keep communication lines open by regularly updating your manager on your progress, challenges, and successes,” he told Upworthy. “Take the initiative to go beyond basic requirements, showing your willingness to contribute more. Act with integrity by always being honest and ethical. Seek honest feedback and make tangible improvements based on it, demonstrating your commitment to growth. Finally, a big one is building positive relationships with everyone you work with, as strong connections are what help to build real trust.”

Ileah Parker (left) and Alexis Vandecoevering (right)


At 16, Alexis Vandecoevering already knew she wanted to work in the fire department. Having started out as a Junior Firefighter and spending her time on calls as a volunteer with the rest of her family, she’s set herself up for a successful career as either a firefighter or EMT from a young age.

Ileah Parker also leaned into her career interests at an early age. By 16, she had completed an internship with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, learning about Information Technology, Physical Therapy, Engineering, and Human Resources in healthcare, which allowed her to explore potential future pathways. She’s also a member of Eryn PiNK, an empowerment and mentoring program for black girls and young women.

While these commitments might sound like a lot for a teenager, it all comes down to school/life balance. This wouldn’t be possible for Alexis or Ileah without attending Pearson’s Connections Academy, a tuition-free online public school available in 31 states across the U.S., that not only helps students get ready for college but dive straight into college coursework and get a head start on career training as well.

“Connections Academy allowed me extensive flexibility, encouraged growth in all aspects of my life, whether academic, interpersonal, or financial, and let me explore options for my future career, schooling, and extracurricular endeavors,” said Ileah.

A recent survey by Connections Academy of over 1,000 students in grades 8-12 and over 1,000 parents or guardians across the U.S., highlights the importance of school/life balance when it comes to leading a fulfilling and successful life. The results show that students’ perception of their school/life balance has a significant impact on their time to consider career paths, with 76% of those with excellent or good school/life balance indicating they know what career path they are most interested in pursuing versus only 62% of those who have a fair to very poor school/life balance.

Additionally, students who report having a good or excellent school/life balance are more likely than their peers to report having a grade point average in the A-range (57% vs 35% of students with fair to very poor balance).

At Connections Academy, teens get guidance navigating post-secondary pathways, putting them in the best possible position for college and their careers. Connections Academy’s College and Career Readiness offering for middle and high school students connects them with employers, internships and clubs in Healthcare, IT, and Business.

“At Connections Academy, we are big proponents of encouraging students to think outside of the curriculum” added Dr. Lorna Bryant, Senior Director of Career Solutions in Pearson’s Virtual Learning division. “While academics are still very important, bringing in more career and college exposure opportunities to students during middle and high school can absolutely contribute to a more well-rounded school/life balance and help jumpstart that career search process.”

High school students can lean into career readiness curriculum by taking courses that meet their required high school credits, while also working toward micro-credentials through Coursera, and getting college credit applicable toward 150 bachelor’s degree programs in the U.S.

Alexis Vandecoevering in her firefighter uniform

Alexis, a Class of 2024 graduate, and Ileah, set to start her senior year with Connections Academy, are on track to land careers they’re passionate about, which is a key driver behind career decisions amongst students today.

Of the students surveyed who know what career field they want to pursue, passion and genuine interest is the most commonly given reasoning for both male and female students (54% and 66%, respectively).

Parents can support their kids with proper school/life balance by sharing helpful resources relating to their career interests. According to the survey, 48% of students want their parents to help them find jobs and 43% want their parents to share resources like reading materials relating to their chosen field.

While teens today have more challenges than ever to navigate, including an ever-changing job market, maintaining school/life balance and being given opportunities to explore career paths at an early age are sure to help them succeed.

Learn more about Connections Academy’s expanded College and Career Readiness offering here.

Can a dog really trust you?

Dogs can smell fear, but can they sniff out the truth? Your dog might actually be smarter than you're giving it credit for. It turns out, dogs are pretty good at picking up on human behavior. Science says so. A team led by Akiko Takaoka of Kyoto University in Japan conducted a study which found out that dogs actually know if you're to be believed or not.

The study involved tricking dogs in the name of science. Humans have known for a long time that if you point at an object, a dog will run to it. Researchers utilized this information in their study. During the experiment, they pointed at a container that was filled with hidden food. Sure enough, the dog ran towards the container. Then, they pointed at a container that was empty. The dogs ran towards it, but found that it had no food.

The third time the researchers pointed at a container with food, the dogs refused to go to the container. They knew the person pointing wasn't reliable based off their previous experience. 34 dogs were used in the experiment, and every single dog wouldn't go towards the container the third time. This experiment either proves that dogs can spot a liar or that dogs have major trust issues.

animals, trust, science

Puppy in a bowl.


In other words, if you lie to your dog, your dog forms the opinion that your word isn't good and will behave accordingly. "Dogs have more sophisticated social intelligence than we thought. This social intelligence evolved selectively in their long life history with humans," said Takaoka, who was also surprised that dogs were quick when they "devalued the reliability of a human.”

John Bradshaw of the University of Bristol in the UK, who wasn't involved in this study, says that the results indicate that dogs prefer predictability. When gestures are inconsistent, dogs tend to become nervous and stressed.

The researchers have plans to repeat the experiment swapping out the dogs with wolves because wolves are closely related to dogs. The point of this isn't to get bitten by wolves, but rather, to see the "profound effects of domestication" on dogs.

This article originally appeared on 06.06.19.