Cbd oil for skin uk

Here’s everything you need to know about CBD and the best CBD products to buy

CBD has taken the skincare and self-care space by storm. Searches for the ingredient have skyrocketed, turning it from relatively unknown to the power term on every big skincare and wellness brand’s hit list. In fact, the CBD market is one of the fastest growing in the world, with some predictions estimating it will be worth more than $20 billion by 2024, thanks in part to the influence of celebrity fans. Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow take it to cope with stress and Alessandra Ambrosio takes it for anxiety. There’s now even a National CBD Day (which is 8th August, FYI), and with 24% of Brits expressing the desire to use holistic remedies to alleviate the anxieties felt in lockdown, there’s no better time to invest in its calming powers.

Simon Manthorpe, CEO of EOS Scientific – the UK’s leading CBD oil testing service – said: “The number of UK users of CBD oil has almost doubled in the last year, with many claiming the cannabis-based product to be a more natural and easily accessible way to manage their mental health. We are seeing increasing numbers of people turning to more alternative remedies, not just for their mental health but for a number of ailments which can include insomnia, psoriasis and eczema.

“During a period in which people many people are suffering from increased stress levels due to the impact of COVID-19, we would recommend CBD to try to alleviate the pressures felt during this time.”

Certainly, there’s no shortage of CBD products to choose from – it has infiltrated the offerings of leading beauty retailers like Cult Beauty, Selfridges and Boots. But whilst it’s undeniably a talking point, it remains a head-scratcher for many. Why has this ingredient taken off quite so monumentally? And what actually is CBD?

We’ve answered all the questions you may have about CBD and rounded up our favourite products to help you enjoy the benefits for both skin and mind.

What is CBD?

CBD (it’s full name is Cannabidiol) is a type of cannabinoid, which is a group of chemical compounds derived from the cannabis plant. CBD is said to have many benefits, namely relieving feelings of pain, stress, depression and anxiety as well as helping to reduce insomnia.

While it is derived from cannabis, it’s important to note that CBD won’t make you feel high. The reason why people feel high when taking cannabis itself is because cannabis also contains another cannabinoid called THC (or Tetrahydrocannabinol), which has strong psychoactive properties and creates feelings of euphoria and sedation.

Is CBD legal?

The short answer is that yes, CBD is legal in the UK when sold as a cosmetic product (so long as it meets the strict cosmetic regulations set out in UK law) or a food supplement (so long as it meets the standards set by the Food & Drug Administration and the brand has submitted a Novel Food Application – this measure was introduced earlier this year to ensure higher quality products and attempt to regulate the booming industry).

While CBD is legal, another component of cannabis, THC, is illegal and any product containing THC is prohibited by law. Cannabis contains both CBD and THC and is illegal, except in very rare medical circumstances.

How is CBD used in medicine?

In the UK, cannabis is prohibited by law due to the fact it contains THC. However, there are a few rare medical circumstances when doctors can legally prescribe cannabis to a patient who suffers from a specific medical condition. These conditions are limited to severe epilepsy, muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) and vomiting and nausea caused by chemotherapy. Cannabis is not authorised as treatment of any other medical condition in the UK.

Some medical professionals advocate the use of CBD oils and supplements as a form of alternative medicine (remember, CBD within a cosmetic product or food supplement is legal in the UK). Dr Danielle Gordon, a specialist in cannabis medicine prescribes CBD to patients with conditions including chronic migraines and epilepsy, but at low doses you can’t expect miracles, she says. “It’s kind of like the turmeric lattes you can get at Starbucks,” she explains. “They’re not going to treat your inflammatory arthritis or stop your brain ageing, but it’s certainly not a bad thing and it’s bringing awareness to [CBD] as an ingredient.”

In her clinic, Danielle might start a patient on a dose as low as 5mg and increase it gradually. “Everyone has a different threshold, so it really is an art and science,” she says. “What I use [CBD] for most often is anxiety,” she says. “It binds to the serotonin receptors in the brain and in the body, so it’s a natural anxiety relieving medication with virtually no side effects.”

But recent studies have revealed that the benefits of CBD are best realised when it is combined with THC (for example, in cannabis itself), leaving people who could benefit from treatment at a loss – anxiety is not one of the approved medical conditions for which doctors can prescribe cannabis for. There is ongoing debate within the medical and legal professions as to whether there is cause to expand the list of conditions that can receive a legal prescription for cannabis.

How is CBD used in wellness?

CBD is making waves in wellness amongst claims that CBD oil supplements can help relieve an array of issues. Hemp and Cannabis Consultant at Naturopathica, Yewande Okuleye explains: “We have lots of information about CBD but the official research is incomplete so we can’t categorically say CBD is anti-inflammatory or that it’s going to help you sleep better, but we do know from the way it affects our endocannabinoid system [an internal bodily system that works to regulate a number of our functions such as pain, anxiety and appetite] that there’s a likelihood it will help.” Plus, anecdotally, there are millions of cases where people feel that CBD has helped with conditions such as stress and insomnia, which are also encourgaing.

How is CBD used in skincare?

Unlike when taken as a supplement, topically applied CBD can’t enter the blood stream and will deliver benefits directly to the skin. Samir Juneja, Founder of CBD of London explains: “Through scientific research we’re finding that CBD could be a powerful compound in fighting a multitude of skin ailments including psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, acne, redness or itching. We’re also seeing provenance for CBD as a powerful anti-ageing compound, anti-inflammatory and as an anti-oxidant.”

The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-acne properties are what gives CBD extra appeal – celebs like Olivia Wilde and Mandy Moore both use CBD oil topically, while brands including Origins, Ohana, MGC Derma and Aurelia all feature it in their skincare. CBD balms and bath bombs are also used as pain relief for aching muscles.

“A major benefit, is that CBD shares part of the ‘fingerprint’ of our genetics, allowing the body to instantly recognise it – and utilise it accordingly,” explains High Winters, CEO of cannabis-focused beauty brand MGC Derma.

What is CBD oil? Everything you need to know, plus the 14 best products

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Learn what the oil actually is, what its side effects are, plus what benefits to expect, should you use it.

CBD oil is officially mainstream, with the fitness, wellness and beauty industries embracing its many potential benefits.

Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston are all said to be fans of the anxiety-reducing, sleep-boosting oil – a bit like collagen supplements, it’s popularity has soared in recent years, with Forbes predicting the US CBD market to surpass $20 billion by 2024. You can now buy everything from CBD oil, to CBD gummies, to CBD tampons, but for your complete guide to the oily stuff, keep reading.

Learn what CBD oil is – plus, how you’re supposed to actually use it, and how it could benefit your day-to-day – with our complete Marie Claire UK guide.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is an oil derived from the cannabis plant. It is different to THC (tetrohydrocannabinol), which is the part of the plant that creates the ‘high’ associated with smoking weed.

‘THC is the compound in cannabis that gets you high but CBD alone won’t get you high at all,’ explains Charlotte Ferguson-Quilter, psychotherapist and founder of Disciple skincare.

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‘It is important to check that your CBD products contain minimal THC if you don’t want to feel high – also any products with more than 2% THC are considered psychoactive in the UK and are therefore illegal.’

How does CBD work?

Let’s start with how CBD works. We all have internal Endocannabinoid System (ECS for short), which affects things like our mood, appetite and memory. CBD can support the ECS, helping with things like anxiety.

Benefits of CBD: What are they?

Read our extensive guide to the many CBD benefits, here, but for a more brief overview, know this: CBD can help with everything from sleep, to joint pain, to anxiety, to pain relief.

‘The popularity of CBD says something about how stressed and anxious we are as a society,’ Ferguson-Quilter explains. ‘By far the most popular benefits are pain relief and anxiety. It’s thought that CBD interacts with receptors in the brain and immune system to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. CBD is also great for sleep issues and insomnia.’

Although more research is needed, studies conducted in recent years have suggested CBD oil can help with a range of problems. Recent studies cited by Medical News Today are an interesting read, highlighting the effectiveness of CBD oil with anxiety, arthritis and a whole other host of symptoms.

CBD side effects: will I get high?

Short answer and as above: no.

There aren’t any side effects of CBD, per se: as Rosie Joly, beauty and wellness director at OTO explains, taking CBD has no negative side effects. “During the day, when you are already alert, it will not make you feel drowsy or tired,” she explains. “Instead, CBD can help to maintain balance within the body.”

Positive side effects can include help with sleep, stress, mood, and certain skin conditions, she shares, as well as pain management and inflammation. “It’s also important to note here that CBD will not make you ‘high’ – rather, it is a naturally occurring substance that’s used in products to impart a feeling of relaxation while targeting specific issues.” Got it?

Another positive side effect of CBD can come at nighttime – Joly explains that, if you use CBD before bed when your body’s circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle is already primed for sleep, you can calm certain anxieties that may interfere with you falling (and staying) asleep.

“Remember, CBD is not a sedative, so it will not make you sleepy if your body is not already at that point in its circadian cycle,” she adds. “Instead, CBD assists with naturally calming excess nervous activity which can interfere with the circadian cycle.”

Side effects can also include anti-inflammatory effects on joints and muscles – “it can reduce our perception of pain in the affected area,” she concludes.

How to take CBD

On board with CBD? There are a number of ways to try out the trend, from sipping a smoothie to smothering it onto your skin.

Drink it

Several boujee health food cafes now serve smoothies or coffees with CBD extract in the ingredients list. Glow Bar in central London, for example, serves a moon milk (golden, available hot or iced) that contains Wunder Workshop Golden Mylk and CBD. Planet Organic also offers CBD Oil Coffee, which features espresso, butter, coconut oil and CBD oil.

While drinking your CBD at cafés is a treat, this is obviously not an ideal daily consumption method due to money and time constraints. Another option is to eat your CBD; Green Goddess Wellness now offer a ‘Bliss Bar,’ which uses vanilla flavouring, dark chocolate and CBD oil. Delish.

CBD oil drops

Perhaps the most versatile way to incorporate CBD into your life, CBD oils can be taken orally or applied topically onto skin. We’d recommend checking out Disciple’s range of Miracle Drops, which offer CBD levels of 2.5%, 5% and 1000mg.

All you need to do is swallow half a dropper’s worth (of the actual glass dropper, not just half a drop), or mix it into a drink to take it orally. Alternatively, you can apply it directly onto skin.

CBD in skincare

Skincare is another realm of the beauty and wellness industry that is embracing CBD oil. CBD Oil has great moisturising properties, notes Charlotte, making it great for dehydrated complexions. It’s also good for acne-prone skin:

‘CBD creates a highly effective sebostatic effect; this essentially means that it is amazing at balancing sebum and skin oils. Both of which are catalysts for the series of issues that result in skin breakouts and acne,’ explains Charlotte.

While many brands are taking time to perfect CBD formulas that we hope to see in future, there are a few options you can already buy. Revolution’s Nourishing Oil – CBD Oil is perfect for dry, dull skin that needs soothing, while MGC Derma has a whole range of CBD Oil-based skincare, from creams to serums.

One of the brands we’re most excited about is CUBID, sustainably sourced and containing 65% CBD with zero trace of THC. The core collection includes a hand cream, face cream, along with body butter and the hero Stay Active Cream, £30, a CBD-infused tea tree cream which helps relieve tension and inflammation and with daily use, can help acne, psoriasis and eczema – a perfect, post-workout cream, that’ll help sooth and de-stress joints.

Where to buy CBD

Lots of online beauty retailers now offer CBD (Lookfantastic and Cult Beauty we’re looking at you), but you’re also able to shop for it IRL. Founded by industry experts Johan Obel and Clemens Böninger, The Drug Store is a new dedicated store in Marylebone for all things CBD – two whole floors of it, in fact – where you can ask any questions you may have about products and useage before you buy.

‘The brands and products sold by The Drug Store are all personally handpicked by myself and Clemens,’ Johan said shortly after the launch. ‘We feel passionately about incorporating a careful edit of boundary-pushing brands with innovative formulations of the highest quality.’ Amen to that.

In short, CBD oil is definitely worth a try for anyone suffering from anxiety or pain-related symptoms. Scroll on for our favourite CBD oil buys below.

CBD skincare: Moneymaking gimmick or beauty powerhouse?

The skincare industry has always loved jumping on the bandwagon with ingredient trends, whether it’s retinol, activated charcoal or the timeless classic, vitamin C.

The latest ‘must-have’ is CBD (cannabidiol) – one of over 110 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids which are found in the cannabis plant.

You’re no doubt aware that CBD can be taken orally for ailments such as anxiety, arthritis and epilepsy, but what’s the deal with slapping it on your skin?

CBD applied topically can’t hit your bloodstream, which is why a CBD salve won’t make a dent on your anxiety. Instead, it’s absorbed through the epidermis, making its way to cannabinoid receptors in nearby skin cells.

Cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body, as part of its endocannabinoid system, which helps balance a whole host of bodily functions like pain sensation, mood, memory and appetite.

Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids, which are the equivalent of those found in the cannabis plant – but often, we need a little boost.

As with ingesting CBD, there are currently no known side effects from applying it topically – the main risk seems to be the potential of wasting your hard-earned cash.

What does CBD skincare claim to do for skin?

Numerous studies have indicated that CBD can have anti-inflammatory effects when applied to the skin, which could help sooth sensitive conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.

It’s even claimed that topical CBD application can alleviate muscle soreness, as well as relieve sunburn and bug bites.

Research also shows that CBD has the potential to decrease excess sebum (oil) production, which could assist in the reduction of spots, and it’s also thought to have antioxidant properties, which may help with fine lines and aging.

However, way more research needs to be done before it’s confirmed what CBD can and can’t do when it comes to our skin.

‘CBD is like a typical vitamin E or vitamin C where you won’t necessarily notice the results straight away,’ says Jasmin Thomas, who founded Ohana skincare after making her own topical CBD creams when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis back in 2015.

‘You won’t instantly look 10 years younger but it has a long-term impact on your skin.

‘Consistency is key and people with skin ailments notice it quicker. It’s definitely more apparent in people who have ailments like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rosacea, etc.’

Which strength of CBD oil skincare should I buy?

‘Companies don’t actually have to specify exactly how much CBD is in their products,’ explains Charlotte Bowyer, senior consultant at cannabis consultancy Hanway Associates.

‘I’d certainly recommend that consumers look for companies which do, as some may try and get away with using tiny amounts.’

CBD strength is specified in either a percentage or in milligrams.

High end skincare brand MGC Derma (which stands for ‘medical grade cannabis’) chooses not to state how much CBD is in its products as: ‘The perception is that a volume number such as 1000mg can then be compared to other products on the market.

‘The reality is much more complex.’

MGC Derma uses a patented process called “Aquiol”, which it claims provides CBD that performs at the highest levels, providing certificates to ‘relevant authorities detailing our claims’.

CBD comes in varying forms and qualities, so it’s true that comparing numbers is simplifying a process, but it does give bewildered consumers somewhere to start.

To confuse matters even more, there isn’t currently any solid evidence on how much CBD should be in a skincare product to make it effective.

‘If you look at other actives like retinols, the therapeutic recommendation is normally between 0.25% – 1%, maybe 1.5% at best,’ says Ohana’s Jasmin.

‘Why are people using more? There’s a company that sells a body oil for £285 and they put 7% CBD in it.

‘Your skin cannot absorb that much so it’s a total waste of CBD and a total waste of customer money.

‘I could go on about this forever but it’s the whole problem with the industry – lots of people in the market at the moment don’t know much about it and aren’t working with experienced formulation scientists.’

Unfortunately, there is little to no research on how much product to use, or how much CBD needs to be in said product. Useful.

What regulations are in place for CBD skincare?

A Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR) is required for all cosmetic products in the UK but there are no specific regulations regarding CBD skincare – except for it not containing any THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid) and not claiming it can cure you of disease.

‘CBD cosmetics products are prohibited from making any kind of medical claim,’ explains Charlotte.

‘Brands should avoid claims like “treat bruises”, “fight eczema” or “healing skin”.’

You’ll notice that many products contain disclaimers, such as: “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease”.

As mentioned above, companies aren’t obligated to tell you how much CBD is in your product, so they’re not actually breaking any laws if it turns out there’s a minimal amount of the ingredient present.

We’re dealing with a relatively new ingredient when it comes to skincare and it may be a while before consumer protection laws catch up, so tread carefully.

CBD oil is not the same as hemp seed oil

This is important. On my quest to find CBD skincare products to try, I was left incredibly confused.

Some online stores include hemp seed oil products that don’t contain cannabidiol under their ‘CBD’ category.

It doesn’t help that some beauty journalists don’t seem to know the difference either, repeatedly including products that don’t contain cannabidiol in CBD roundups.

CBD oil comes from the hemp plant (a cousin of the marijuana plant), and is taken from the leaves, flowers, stalk and stems.

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Hemp seed oil comes from – you guessed it – the seeds of the hemp plant, which are the only bit of the plant that don’t contain CBD. In fact, they don’t contain any cannabinoids at all.

Hemp seed oil is a beauty wonder in itself and and is not to be sniffed at – it’s known for its non-comedogenic (non-pore blocking), anti-inflammatory and moisturising properties.

While CBD has similar benefits, it binds to cannabinoid receptors in the skin – which hemp seed oil cannot do – and it’s much more expensive.

So, don’t be fooled by sketchy marketing.

If you’re unsure about whether a product contains CBD, then check the ingredients list AKA the INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients).

Ingredients are listed in descending order of weight, meaning the product contains more of the ingredient at the top of the INCI than the one at the bottom.

The INCI should contain ‘cannabidiol’, ‘CBD’, ‘phytocannabinoid-rich/PCR-rich hemp oil’ or ‘broad spectrum hemp oil’ somewhere on it – these are all recognised names of CBD.

If it doesn’t say either of those and just says ‘cannabis sativa seed oil’, be aware that this is hemp oil and does not contain CBD.

Tried and tested CBD skincare products

We wanted to see what all the hype was about so Metro.co.uk got in some CBD skincare to test.

5% CBD oil, LDN CBD, £35 for 10ml

I normally use a steroid solution for flare-ups of scalp psoriasis, so I switched to applying a few drops of CBD oil.

I used LDN CBD oil once or twice a day, depending on the severity of the itch. It wasn’t a miracle cure, though it did seem to calm the scalp and keep it soothed for longer.

It’s a way more expensive option than my usual NHS prescription of Betacap but I’d rather use it than steroids, so I’ll keep testing other CBD options on it.

I also tried using the LDN CBD drops directly on my face as a serum, as well as adding them to existing moisturiser, which felt hydrating and didn’t cause breakouts, which I was concerned about.

However, I’ll stick to ingesting the drops for my anxiety, as I didn’t notice enough of a difference on my fae to justify the cost.

Super boost night drops, Votary, £95 for 30ml

I’ve been using these drops – which contain 2% pure CBD – for a few months now. I wish I hated it as it’s expensive but alas, it’s dreamy.

Despite being fragrance free (I prefer my skincare routine to be a somewhat aromatherapeutic experience) it feels really luxurious, soothing and hydrating, without leaving my skin feeling sticky or clogged.

Plus, the bottle looks great on your bathroom shelf, which is always a bonus.

CBD super serum, Revolution Skincare, £12 for 30ml

Metro.co.uk’s tester loved this serum, containing hyaluronic acid, hemp seed oil and CBD oil (though it doesn’t say how much CBD oil).

She noticed her breakouts calming down after a few weeks of using the serum once a day and says her skin feels super hydrated after using it.

Eye serum for dark circles and puffiness, MGC Derma, £80 for 15ml

Really into this eye serum – it’s light and refreshing and can be used under an eye cream, or alone. I use it alone on my eyes in the morning and it feels great. No idea if it’s the CBD, the caffeine or the vitamin C – most likely the combo.

The pump tube is great as it keeps the product fresh – eye creams that come in little jars are just asking for bacteria to grow.

As mentioned above, MGC Derma does not state how much CBD is in its products, which is frustrating when deciding if you want to spend £80 on an eye serum. (I do not, despite enjoying this product.)

MGC Derma SPF 30 day cream with natural mineral sunscreen (£85 for 50ml) is also great but – like every mineral sunscreen I’ve ever used – it leaves a white cast on my face.

The chalkiness is less apparent than other mineral offerings, but still enough to stop me from buying another bottle, which is a shame as it’s great otherwise and doesn’t feel greasy – even when used in a hot, humid climate.

Age control eye cream, Provacan, £24.99 for 15ml

Containing 100mg CBD, this eye cream claims to support and stimulate the naturla production of collagen, to maintain young, firm and healthy skin.

‘This was nice to use in the morning on puffy eyes as it was really cooling,’ says our tester.

‘However, I’m not convinced of its effects on aging around the eyes.’

CBD clay face mask, Hugg, £19.99 for 50ml

Metro.co.uk’s tester was a huge fan of this face mask, which contains 50mg CBD as well as combination of shea butter clay, coconut oil and essential oils.

‘The face mask was really good, it didn’t feel dramatically different to anything that doesn’t have CBD in but it did feel really good quality,’ she says.

‘It felt purifying and moisturising which is rare. One of the best face masks I’ve used.’

CBD body balm, Raised Spirit, £49.99 for 120ml

This luxurious balm contains 400mg CBD per (beautiful) jar and is handmade in Oxfordshire.

It’s incredibly rich thanks to the shea butter, and it moisturises dry legs and feet like a dream.

As it’s hella expensive I save mine for nights where I’m doing yin yoga right before bed, so I can let the potent hempy lavender scent lull me into a relaxing sleep.

Renew hand cream, Cubid CBD, £30 for 50ml

Never thought I needed a CBD hand cream, but here I am, with a bottle of £30 (!) hand cream sitting pretty on my desk.

The scent is a little bit ‘old lady’ but the cream is pretty great – it feels rich yet sinks in instantly, soothing my witchlike hands.

As well as 250mg CBD, the hand cream contains jojoba oil, sweet almond oil and cocoa butter.

It’s wonderful but I’m not convinced it does a better job than my usual (much cheaper) hand cream.

CBD+ cool stick, Wildflower, £24.99 for 28g

Not skinare per se, but this little stick deserves a mention. Containing 100mg CBD, hemp oil, peppermint and menthol, it claims it can soothe sunburn, aching muscles and headaches.

I was sceptical that it would be better than the Siddhalepa ayurvedic balm I normally use, but it seems to take away the itch from mosquito bites faster, and has been great for rubbing on temples/forehead when I have an anxiety headache, so I’m sold.

Skin balm, 1CBD, £29.99 for 50g

Also worthy of a mention is 1CBD skin balm which Metro.co.uk’s tester used on his sore back. He said the balm – which is infused with 300mg full spectrum CBD per jar as well as lavender and eucalyptus oils – was great for soothing muscle pain.

Are CBD skincare products worth the hype?

In some cases, absolutely – judging from anecdotal evidence. However, there’s not enough scientific evidence to back most claims up because not enough relevant clinical trials have been done.

‘It’s a new industry and people are struggling to raise capital, so they can’t do everything that they need to do, like study groups and trials,’ explains Jasmin.

As with everything concerning CBD, a lot more exploration needs to be done before we truly know its powers.

There’s also no telling if something would be good anyway, without the addition of CBD. A product may be shady in its minimal use of cannabidiol, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth using. (Although, do you really want to give your money to a company with loose morals?)

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Unless you’re made of money, it’s probably not worth experimenting with expensive CBD skincare unless you have a skin condition that bothers you.

It’s also worth noting that a high price tag doesn’t necessarily equate to a product’s quality – CBD is an expensive ingredient but do be aware that skincare usually has huge gross margins.

It’s a murky world out there – as with anything, do your research before you splurge, and don’t expect miracles. There’s no one-size-fits-all cure when it comes to skin, and change doesn’t happen overnight. You usually have to use a new product for a few weeks before you start to notice a difference.

Trust your own opinions and don’t take what the cosmetics industry or beauty journalists (who can be biased) tell you as gospel.

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