I’m always looking for something to help me manage my anxiety and day-to-day stress. I’ve struggled with an anxiety disorder since I was young, and as much as I rely on my prescription medication from my doctor, I’m always looking for other ways to feel more centered and at ease. I couldn’t even begin to tell you just how many times I’ve Googled “easy ways to manage stress,” “anxiety tips,” and “how to cope with stress.” It’s a never-ending cycle of meditating, essential oils, and getting more Vitamin D.
In my quest to find new tricks to help my anxiety, I came across a little thing called CBD. Cannabidiol (or better known as CBD) is a medicine derived from cannabis. Now, it’s everywhere. It’s in my mascara (amazing by the way), I’m seeing it at smoothie bars, and it’s all my friends are talking about. It would be a crime not to finally test it out for myself.
How it works
More and more scientists are open to the idea of studying how cannabinoids can affect our bodies. The endocannabinoid system is a part of the body that naturally produces certain cannabinoids, similar to that of CBD. There are two parts to the endocannabinoid system: the CB1, which is mostly located in the brain; and the CB2, which are located in the immune system, spleen, and in your tonsils. The CB1 receptors are responsible for our mood, our emotions, movement, coordination, appetite, and how we register pain. Therefore, scientists have discovered that adding new forms of cannabinoids, such as CBD, into the body help promote this CB1 system and a healthier endocannabinoid system overall.
Don’t worry, you won’t get high
Oh, yes, I am also thinking of all the marijuana puns as I write this. However, it’s important to note that CBD isn’t going to cause you to get giggly or see double. While hemp and marijuana are part of the same plant species, they’re categorized differently. Hemp is less than 0.3% THC (the part of marijuana that gives you a “high” feeling), while marijuana is over 0.3% THC. While you can purchase marijuana-derived CBD in states where marijuana is legalized, hemp-derived THC is your best bet if you’re looking to avoid getting high while also taking in all of the medicinal benefits.
So, what’s so great about it?
I’ll admit, I was very skeptical about trying CBD at first… until I started researching the various benefits it has for both the mind and the body:
Natural pain relief
We all probably know that marijuana is used for pain relief in cancer patients and those with disorders that involve chronic pain. CBD is a natural, legal-all-states way of doing just that. It is known as an anti-inflammatory, so it helps reduce pain-causing inflammation all throughout the body. I have endometriosis, so I’m in pain pretty often — CBD helps both my body and mind relax, so I’m not focusing so much on the pain in my body. CBD attaches to those CB1 receptors and helps take my mind off of the pain my body is experiencing.
Stress and anxiety
This is the biggest reason I wanted to try CBD. I’ll pretty much try everything that says it will relieve my stress, whether it’s a face mask, a body lotion, or an oil for my diffuser.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated that in studies with animal subjects, CBD has helped lower the mental and physical signs of stress and anxiety, such as lowering the heart rate. For me, it calms me down like no other. While I suffer from clinical anxiety, I also am pretty prone to stress. (I tell myself being busy makes me more productive — wrong!) If I have an interview, a big meeting, a first date, or a long day full of back-to-back events, I pop about two droppers full of CBD in my coffee or morning smoothie. In around 10 to 15 minutes, my palms are less sweaty, and my heart starts to slow down.
Remember how I said CBD is good for inflammation? Well, acne has finally met its match. Acne is caused by inflammation in the body as well as overactive oil glands. Not only is CBD anti-inflammatory, it helps in the overproduction of sebum. CBD can be used topically or taken orally to help with this. Are you fully obsessed yet? (If not, keep reading.)
For your pets
If your cat or dog suffers from anxiety (especially separation anxiety — they miss us so much when we’re at work!), seizures, arthritis, or just need general pain relief, CBD is an amazing, natural alternative. People swear by the effects of CBD on their pets for many reasons. My dog (she’s a chihuahua named Baby, and I love her) hates taking any kind of medicine, and I hate to force her. I can easily pop some CBD oil right on top of her food or add about 10 drops into her water, and bam, she automatically calms down.
Of course, what works for other people’s pets might not work for yours, so make sure to contact your veterinarian before adding something like this to your pet’s wellness routine.
Because CBD can help you calm down, it is also known to help with sleep. The endocannabinoid system helps regulate your sleep patterns, meaning you’ll sleep longer and possibly spend more time in REM, the deepest part of your sleep when you get the most “rest.”
While marijuana medicinally can be used to help cancer patients with pain, in pre-clinical studies, CBD has helped to actually prevent cancer and diabetes. CBD has an anti-tumor effect and has also been shown to stopping the spread of cervical cancer cells. In another study, researchers split up two groups diabetes-prone non-obese female mice. 32% of the group treated with CBD developed diabetes, whereas 100% of the untreated group did. This science obviously hasn’t been proven in humans yet, but if you’re already using CBD for the aforementioned benefits, potentially fighting off cancer and diabetes doesn’t hurt!
What forms does it come in?
You can purchase CBD as both oils (sometimes called tinctures) and capsules. The oil isn’t the best tasting thing on the planet, I’ll be honest. It’s a thick oil (because it’s derived from a wax), so it’s kind of a weird texture if you want to down it straight. (If you’ve ever tried black molasses, it’s a similar consistency!) I prefer to put my oil in coffee or a smoothie. You can also mix it in with water, but seriously, don’t do that because it’s like drinking a glass of death.
If you really can’t handle the taste, capsules are for you. You’ll want to talk to your doctor about which dosage is right for your body and your needs.
Where can I buy it?
Now that you’re just as obsessed with CBD as I am, it’s time to buy. Hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states, so you can purchase it in most health food and supplement stores and online. If you live in a state where medicinal or recreational marijuana is legal, you can also find both marijuana-derived and hemp-derived CBD in dispensaries.
Have you ever tried CBD!? What was your experience like?
This article was originally published on October 5, 2018.