- CBD Oil for Anxiety & Depression: The Pros & Cons
- 1. Depression & Anxiety
- 2. What Is CBD Oil?
- 3. How Does CBD Oil Work?
- 4. CBD for anxiety
- 5. CBD for Depression
- 6. How to use CBD
- 7.Disadvantages of CBD Oil
- 8. Other Alternative Anxiety & Depression Treatments
- Explore TMS side effects
- CBD for Stress & Anxiety
- Anxiety: How It Becomes Chronic
- Chronic Stress & Anxiety Damage Your Body
- Stress Messes with Your Brain Chemistry
- Weed’s Secret Anti-Anxiety Ingredient
- Evidence that CBD Soothes Stress & Anxiety
- How CBD Combats Anxiety
- Integrative Treatments for Stress & Anxiety
- I Drank CBD Coffee for a Week. Here’s What It Did to My Anxiety.
- My 5-day CBD coffee experiment
- Chill or Anxious AF? How Weed Affects Anxiety
- How CBD Oil Has Changed My Life
- What Happened When I Tried CBD for My Anxiety
CBD Oil for Anxiety & Depression: The Pros & Cons
So, you want to know more about CBD for anxiety & depression?
Everyone’s talking about it, so we’re here to help you weigh up the pros and cons, without bias.
The pros & cons of taking CBD oil:
- Depression and anxiety
- What is CBD oil?
- How does CBD oil work?
- CBD for anxiety
- How does CBD oil work?
- How to use CBD oil?
- Disadvantages of CBD oil
- Other alternative treatments for anxiety and depression
- Explore TMS side effect
1. Depression & Anxiety
With symptoms like excessive worry, extreme self-consciousness, chest pain, and panic attacks, anxiety can be a debilitating condition. Depression can be equally destructive—feeling sad, with little interest in the activities you once enjoyed.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of options for treating anxiety and depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are popular, but they come with a host of side effects. Others have the risk of addiction.
Many people search for a safer, more natural way to treat anxiety and depression, so new options are being developed and researched all the time.
One emerging treatment is CBD oil. It’s becoming more popular with each passing day, but there are still major questions about how effective it is at treating anxiety and depression—and how exactly it helps.
As a fairly new and little-understood product, it’s important to learn as much as you can about CBD oil for anxiety and depression—and speak to your mental health provider—before you decide to try it.
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2. What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a type of cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are chemicals that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol is extracted from the plant and made into an oil.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is another type of cannabinoid. It’s the chemical responsible for the “high” one feels after using marijuana. Because CBD is not THC, you cannot get high from using CBD oil.
CBD oil is suggested to have positive effects for people with:
- and other mental health disorders
- in addition to depression and anxiety
- Studies have shown inconclusive results for most of these uses, with the exceptions of epilepsy, anxiety, and depression
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3. How Does CBD Oil Work?
CBD oil for depression and anxiety is still being studied and doesn’t have as much research to back it up as many other treatments do. Make sure you talk to your doctor about whether it’s a good fit for you and how to incorporate it into your treatment plan.
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4. CBD for anxiety
It isn’t known exactly how CBD oil combats anxiety, but it’s thought to work with a receptor in your brain called CB1. Researchers believe the interactions between CBD oil and CB1 alter serotonin signals.
The core problem at the heart of anxiety disorders is low serotonin—a neurotransmitter related to mood and well-being. SSRIs, for instance, work by blocking the absorption of serotonin in your brain, meaning you get more serotonin. CBD oil may do something similar.
Studies have shown that CBD oil can be effective in treating various types of anxiety, including:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Social anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Behavioral symptoms of anxiety and physiological symptoms of anxiety, like rapid heartbeat, were reduced in some studies. It’s also been shown to be effective against anxiety-related insomnia.
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5. CBD for Depression
CBD oil works similarly for people suffering from depression because depression happens when serotonin levels are low. Increasing the amount of serotonin in your brain has a positive effect on your emotions and motor skills.
CBD oil may also affect the hippocampus, which plays a large role in regulating your emotions. When you have depression, your hippocampus doesn’t function as well. CBD oil may help promote neurogenesis or the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus.
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6. How to use CBD
You take CBD oil by either putting a few drops under your tongue with a dropper or mixing it with food. CBD gummies are also becoming popular.
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7.Disadvantages of CBD Oil
While CBD oil for anxiety and depression holds promise, there are significant disadvantages to its use.
First, it isn’t widely available. You can only buy CBD oil in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Second, no CBD oil products are approved by the FDA for the treatment of anxiety or depressive disorders. Only one CBD oil product is FDA-approved, and that is for the treatment of epilepsy.
Without the oversight and regulation of the FDA, CBD oils vary widely in quality. Manufacturers can more or less put whatever they want on labels.
According to Marcel Bonn-Miller, adjunct assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 43% of CBD oil products contain too little CBD, while about 26% contain too much.
Due to its lack of regulation, approximately one in five CBD products contain THC, meaning they could give you a high. THC can increase anxiety instead of reducing it. The additional risk in taking CBD oil is that even if the product contains trace amounts of THC, you could still test positive for marijuana on a drug test.
Quality CBD oil is considered safe, but it does come with a few side effects.
- Dry mouth
- Sleeping problems
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
More concerning than these side effects is the potential harm CBD oil can inflict on your liver. About 10% of people taking CBD in studies showed increases in liver enzymes. This increase could indicate potential liver damage. These concerns were severe enough for 2% to 3% of participants in the study to drop out due to concerns from the people running the study.
There is also the potential for dangerous drug interactions when taking CBD oil with another medication. If you are taking an antidepressant or any other medications, be sure to consult with your doctor before taking CBD oil.
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8. Other Alternative Anxiety & Depression Treatments
Although CBD oil as a treatment for anxiety disorders and depression is a potentially viable option, there are alternative treatments—besides medication—that are safe and effective.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is one such treatment. It offers hope for patients with anxiety disorders by restoring the neurons in the amygdala—the part of your brain involved in the fight-or-flight response—to a normal level of functioning. In those with depression, TMS stimulates the thalamus and hippocampus, which work to control the brain’s emotional responses.
TMS does this by stimulating your brain using painless electromagnetic pulses. It has very few side effects, and results can be felt in just two weeks.
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Explore TMS side effects
Many people are searching for natural treatments for anxiety and depression, and it isn’t hard to see why.
It’s always a good idea to be open-minded to new treatments, especially when there is clinical evidence to back them up. The most important things to do are conduct thorough research and discuss any options you’re considering with your doctor.
CBD for Stress & Anxiety
- Should I take CBD oil for anxiety?
- What are the benefits of taking CBD oil for stress?
- CBD oil, gummies, vapes and potions… what’s the best way to take CBD for emotional wellness?
Stress vs Anxiety
We all know what it feels like to “stress out” before an exam or important event. But sometimes a challenging job, family demands, or just surviving the unexpected events of life can feel like a continual test. If that impending sense of disaster is never-ending it’s a sign of chronic anxiety, and you might need an intervention to reset your baseline stress-response.
Unfortunately, the medical system’s solution to anxiety falls short for many people. If you struggle with chronic stress or anxiety, you may be considering supplementing your treatment with CBD oil, CBD vape pens, or CBD gummies. But what’s the evidence that CBD works?
The growing popularity of CBD products as anti-anxiety supplements is backed with plenty of convincing research, though there’s still a long way to go. Several clinical trials with humans are currently underway, but there is already good evidence of CBD’s usefulness for:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
To understand how CBD works, let’s dive into the science of how stress affect your body & brain. (If you’re already up on this topic, feel free to skip ahead to the CBD sections…)
Anxiety: How It Becomes Chronic
One in four Americans will suffer from an anxiety disorder during their lifetime — where feelings of dread, unpreparedness, and imminent danger recur more and more often, leading to racing thoughts and physical reactions. Where do these feelings come from?
A major contributor is our genetics. Small differences in our hormones or neurotransmitters (like serotonin and norepinephrine) can massively impact how we respond to stress. Another piece of the puzzle includes environmental & lifestyle toxins that affect our neurochemistry.
But probably the biggest source of anxiety is stress. Chronic stress trains your brain to feel anxious — it wants you to “remember” so you can anticipate (and hopefully avoid) more stress in the future.
If we were still running free in nature — avoiding bears and quicksand — this stress response would be useful. But we’re required to walk into stressful situations over and over and over again — and each time we have to bring our best selves without “remembering” that we’d be better off running away to a tropical beach.
Chronic Stress & Anxiety Damage Your Body
Small bursts of stress hormones tell your body to prepare for a “fight or flight” situation. Unfortunately, our bodies weren’t designed to handle a perpetual state of panic. Chronically high levels of stress hormones — particularly cortisol — wreak havoc everywhere, with consequences that include:
- Heart disease
- Digestive problems
- Weakened immune system
- Weight gain
- Muscular tension
- Endocannabinoid imbalance
The good news? If you’re constantly stressed and also suffer from any of these problems, treatment could help your symptoms improve.
Stress Messes with Your Brain Chemistry
In addition to damaging your body, chronic stress also rewires your brain. Stress hormones tell the brain to: “Focus, feel less and get ready.” Unfortunately, when this message is never turned off, your brain will make changes to tune out the message.
Scientists are still discovering the many layers of changes that take place in response to chronic stress — but they include both the brain’s structure and chemistry. Certain regions of the brain become hyperactive, while others atrophy and even shrink, and levels of neurotransmitters (like serotonin, dopamine and endocannabinoids) and their receptors also change.
Even if you manage to de-stress your life, these changes could persist — along with their negative impacts on the rest of your body. When this happens, you may need support restoring balance to your brain.
Weed’s Secret Anti-Anxiety Ingredient
If you’ve experimented with cannabis products, you’re probably familiar with the spectrum of reactions people can have when they get “high.” In movies where a character smokes weed, one of two scenarios plays out — either they sit back, relax and enjoy themselves… or they turn into a paranoid, twitchy mess.
It turns out that this unpredictability comes mainly from variations in the quantities and ratios of phytocannabinoids and synergistic terpenes. Too much THC can overstimulate the body’s CB1 receptors, while THC’s non-intoxicating sister molecule, cannabidiol (CBD), can directly and indirectly counteract the anxiety people experience from too much THC. Different cannabis strains have different concentrations of these two molecules — which is one reason for vastly different anxiety responses.
Thanks in part to medical marijuana and legalization efforts, humanity is experiencing a renaissance in cannabis research and production techniques — making it much easier to produce whole-plant CBD without any THC, creating products with the healing properties of cannabis without the cultural stigma or unpleasant side-effects traditionally associated with cannabis.
Evidence that CBD Soothes Stress & Anxiety
Beyond the glowing testimonials of individuals who successfully treat their anxiety with CBD oil, there is also a growing body of scientific evidence that CBD works. Most research has been done in rodents. A recent review discusses 32 different rodent studies that tested CBD’s effects on anxiety — and only one didn’t see useful results.
Human experiments are costly and legally complicated — which makes it no surprise that human studies are fewer and less conclusive. But overall, two exciting uses for CBD in anxiety have emerged for both rodents and humans:
- Less anxiety in response to stress. These experiments put test subjects in a stressful situation and measure their anxiety levels:
- Rodent evidence: In one example, mice were placed in a cage with a boa constrictor. Mice given low doses of CBD (equivalent to a 20 mg dosage for a 150-pound person) spent more time scanning their environment and choosing the most strategic location to run instead of panicking.
- Human evidence: Public speaking is the human equivalent of a boa constrictor. CBD improves performance anxiety both for people without anxiety disorders and also for people with social anxiety disorder.
- Extinction learning: One way we get over anxiety is through “extinction learning,” or learning to let go of triggers when there’s nothing left to fear. These experiments often train test subjects to associate something harmless with something painful, and then measure how long it takes to stop fearing the harmless trigger after they stop delivering pain. This is particularly relevant for people suffering from PTSD:
- Rodent evidence: Rodents freeze in fear when they are conditioned to expect an electric shock. However, if scientists give them CBD during the extinction learning process, they are less likely to freeze up in expectation — even after the CBD has worn off.
- Human evidence: People have also been conditioned to expect an electric shock when they see a visual cue. Those who inhaled a 32 mg dosage of CBD during extinction training (without shocks) were less expectant of receiving a shock when tested two days later — long after the CBD had worn off.
How CBD Combats Anxiety
Cannabidiol has more than 65 targets throughout the body, which makes it difficult to pinpoint the sources of its many different therapeutic properties. Studies currently suggest that CBD counters anxiety by stimulating neurotransmitter systems and neural regeneration. Here’s the evidence:
- Serotonin: Most people associate serotonin with happiness. However, the role of this neurotransmitter is very complex, and its effects depend on where it is and what it binds to. (Contrary to popular belief, more serotonin is not necessarily better — dysfunction can stem from low or high levels of serotonin, as well as from malfunctions with their receptors.) Serotonin has at least 14 different receptors, but CBD specifically binds to 5-HT1A which is thought to have the strongest role in anxiety disorders. The anti-anxiety drug buspirone also binds to this particular receptor, which explains the anti-anxiety effects of CBD on rats exposed to stressful situations.
- Endocannabinoids: Your body naturally produces cannabinoids, which are used throughout your body and brain in the endocannabinoid system. This system can become dysregulated under chronic stress. However, CBD could help restore balance to the endocannabinoid system by preventing overstimulation of your CB1 receptors and by boosting your body’s production of endocannabinoids. Rodent experiments show that CBD relieves OCD and other anxious behaviours by acting on the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in processing and forgetting our fears — vital for extinction learning.
- Neural regeneration: Although chronic stress can damage neurons and even shrink brains, certain areas of the brain are still capable of regeneration. Throughout our lives we continue to form new neurons, make new connections, and grow our brains — and CBD apparently boosts this process. This means that CBD could help to counterbalance the brain damage caused by chronic stress. Numerous studies have proved that CBD encourages neural regeneration, particularly in the hippocampus. In fact, its ability to reduce anxiety in chronically-stressed mice comes from CBD’s power to stimulate the growth of new neurons. (For more on CBD’s role in neuroplasticity and neural regeneration, see our upcoming article on depression.)
Integrative Treatments for Stress & Anxiety
With so many constant sources of stress, people often need a more holistic approach to heal from anxiety. Even medical doctors have begun suggesting that people combine traditional psychotherapy & pharmaceutical treatments with relaxation techniques like yoga & meditation.
If chronic stress and anxiety have rewired your brain, it will take work & time to undo the damage. Eventually, you can change your habitual mind patterns, but you might get there even faster if you actively help your brain neurons grow and rebuild. (For more on this topic, see our upcoming article on natural ways to increase neural regeneration.)
If you choose to supplement with CBD, it will work best as part of a comprehensive anxiety treatment plan. We encourage you to speak first with a trusted medical professional about your plans, especially if you currently take prescription medications. Similar to grapefruits, CBD could interfere with your body’s ability to metabolize drugs. A doctor or integrative practitioner can also help you rule out any contributing deficiencies and other worrisome health issues.
We wish you success on your journey and deep healing for your brain and your body.
More articles by: Genevieve R. Moore PhD
Anxiety is not literally my middle name (it’s Alexandra) but it could be. Like my name, anxiety has been with me always. And until I had kids, everyone — including me — thought that I was simply a really good planner, a hyper-conscientious worker, and one of those 10-steps-ahead people who wards off problems before they occur.
No one tells you this, but having children can ratchet up the mind-grind exponentially, turning it into a major liability. When my twins came along 16 years ago, my constant mind-grind became a liability — it was hard to simply enjoy their adorableness, because I was so distracted by the next thing I urgently needed to make happen or that could go horribly, catastrophically wrong.
For those who are not anxious puppies: Anxiety physically feels like fear, except that what you’re afraid of isn’t actually happening. Let’s say the pediatrician sat you down and told you that your kid had a serious illness. Understandably, you’d freak — your heart would beat faster, your face would flush or go pale and your chest might tighten, making it hard to breathe. Perhaps your brain would even glitch briefly, making you feel far away. That’s how it is to have anxiety, except that you’re reacting to the idea that your child could conceivably become sick one day in the future, and it’s hard to shake the thought — it feels as bad as if it were happening in that moment. Anxiety can be triggered by some-thing obvious, like reading a news report, or seemingly nothing at all.
For me, anxiety drained a lot of the pleasure out of being a mom. When my kids were little and ran out giggling ahead of me in the playground, I’d flash to the thought of them splatting out and permanently marring their wee soft faces. If our food didn’t arrive quicklyat a restaurant, I’d sit, braced for a screaming melt down and the wrath of other diners — even as the kids sat bliss-fully coloring. Now that they’re older, my anxiety swirls around what could happen to them if they do the dumbass, risk-taking things I did as a teenager. Never mind that they have decent judgment and most teens survive into adulthood — I obviously did. Tell that to my anxiety.
And then, three years ago, my unquiet mind — which I had learned to manage fairly well through exercise, meditation, an antidepressant, and therapy — really turned up the volume. What’s going on in the news, especially politics, can send me into a state, and all the #MeToo stories roused some sleeping PTSD around events that I’d shoved into the recesses of my brain. I slept poorly, which kept me on edge during the day. My doctor prescribed lorazepam, the generic form of the anti-anxiety drug Ativan, and that helped in a pinch, but it also made me spacey. So I asked her what she knew about cannabidiol (CBD), one of hundreds of compounds in the cannabis plant
What is CBD oil, and is it legal?
The answer: not much. This was just over a year ago, before CBD was being sold everywhere from the organic manicurist’s office to the local bodega. But she did know a fair amount about marijuana, CBD’s more famous cousin: She said some patients found that pot helped their anxiety, allowing them to relax and sleep better, but others said it made their anxiety much worse. Having tried it decades ago (see “dumbass teenage antics” mentioned earlier), I knew it turned me into a giant Oreo-sucking slug who panicked that she’d drown if she didn’t swallow her saliva faster. So fun.
THC, short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the best-known compound in cannabis — the one that makes you high (and, in my case, paranoid). But straight CBD oil, I’d read, does not. It was said to provide only the chill factor, and for some a sense of alertness, with none of the disorientation.
I decided to do some research. I called a friend of a friend, Lynn Parodneck, MD, a former OB/GYN in Bedford, New York, who now exclusively treats medical marijuana patients for things like chronic pain, Parkinson’s, and PTSD. She explained that CBD is found in both marijuana (illegal on a federal level, but legal in certain states) and hemp (now legal everywhere on a federal level, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill; but there are some grey areas, which I’ll explain in a sec).
Whichever type of cannabis plant it comes from, generally speaking, “if it has less than 0.3% THC, it’s considered hemp-derived CBD, and in general it is being sold over the counter,” Dr. Parodneck explains. It can also be shipped to all 50 states if ordered online. But there is a caveat: There are still areas in which CBD is not considered legal, as it is taking time for local laws to catch up with federal law, so be aware of the rules where you live. In some areas, folks have occasionally been busted for having CBD products, either because it comes from a species of the cannabis plant, which remains illegal in some places, or because even the tiniest amounts of THC are entirely illegal — so check the rules where you live and travel. (Aaaannnd… as if that’s not complicated enough, now that the FDA has approved the first CBD-based prescription medication for rare forms of epilepsy, CBD is considered a drug and — guess what? — it’s illegal to sell food products containing drugs, such as CBD-infused coffee or juice shots. How strictly that’s enforced can also be wonky, depending on where you live.) Oh, and you should know that it’s possible for CBD to show up on drug tests for up to 30 days, because even if it says “pure CBD” on the label, it may still contain a teensy-tiny bit of THC.
In any case, CBD derived from pot, she says, contains other compounds that are thought to enhance the effectiveness of the CBD, something known as “the entourage effect.” But CBD from hemp can also be effective, she says.
How does CBD oil work?
Effective for what, you ask? Research is preliminary, but CBD seems to help with pain and certain neurological conditions. It is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and more, says Joseph Cohen, D.O., a cannabis doctor in Boulder, CO. Taken orally — as a tincture, in a capsule or vaped — some find that it can also alleviate anxiety and depression by working on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in self-regulation, mood and relaxation.
Here’s the deal with the endocannabinoid system: Our bodies produce endocannabinoids every day, says JosephMaroon, M.D., clinical professor and vice chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. These bind to receptors all over our bodies, says Dr. Parodneck; it may be that people who don’t produce enough cannabinoids themselves are the ones who benefit from exogenous phytocannabinoids — i.e., taking CBD from plants — which then bind to those receptors. Another theory is that taking CBD allows our bodies’ naturally produced cannabinoids to stick around longer, prolonging the calming effect, says Dr. Maroon.
The thing is, there is not a lot of clinical data on CBD, because until the Farm Bill was passed last year, all cannabis (whether it contained lots of THC or not) was classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency, along with heroin and Ecstasy, as a Schedule 1 drug — the most restrictive classification. That made it hard for medical researchers to study it (though the FDA recently approved the first CBD-based drug for rare forms of epilepsy).
But doctors in states where cannabis is legal are hearing positive reports from their patients about CBD helping with anxiety, and scientists feel confident that it is not dangerous: It won’t damage vital organs even at doses as high as 5,000 mg a day, says Jahan Marcu, Ph.D., director of experimental pharmacology and behavioral research at the International Research Center on Cannabis and Mental Health in New York City, and nobody has died simply from overdosing on a cannabis product, including marijuana.
Are there side effects to CBD oil?
That information convinced me to at least try it, but I wanted to know what side effects to look out for. While CBD is tolerated well by most people, Dr. Parodneck advised me to “start low and go slow.” “Everybody is different and what kind of effects they’ll see depends on what their underlying condition is, as well as their tolerance,” she says.
“Anxiety is not something you can just snap out of,” says the author. .
If you have a history of smoking marijuana, some strains of which are relatively high in CBD, you may develop a tolerance, meaning you have to ingest more to get the same effect.
“When the body gets used to CBD, it makes fewer endogenous cannabinoids,” so you may need more CBD to feel anything. Too much, however, can give you stomach upset or make you tired. Some people feel a big fat nothing.
For me, a non-pothead, and for most adults, “10 milligrams is fine to start,” says Dr. Parodneck. If that amount doesn’t help, she advised, I was to increase my dose in a week. “If it’s too much, you’ll feel sleepy or have diarrhea, which means you should go back to where you were the week before.” She recommended I write down what I took when and how I felt, to see if it was working. (If you are going to try CBD, be sure to tell your doctor, because it may interact with certain medications such as blood thinners.)
What form of CBD is best and how much should I take?
So off I went, first trying a brand a friend recommended. I took 10mg of a CBD tincture at around 11 a.m., held it under my tongue for a minute as advised, and then waited to feel like the secretly chill person I know I am deep down inside. Nada. I did this every day for a week and didn’t notice a difference.
The next week I tried the same thing, but also bit a 10mg CBD gummy in half, bringing my dosage up to 15mg. After a week of this, I thought maybe I felt a bit calmer an hour or two after taking it…but I couldn’t be sure.
Then one day the following week, another friend gave me a hit from a CBD-oil vape pen at a moment when I was starting to panic about being late to our movie. Within less than a minute, I felt a de-escalation, and after a few minutes, I felt noticeably, appreciably calmer. I reported back to Dr. Parodneck. “That makes sense,” she said. “When you vape, 50% of the product gets utilized. With edibles, it’s between 10 and 20%, and it takes longer to kick in because your body must metabolize it.”
Does CBD work for anxiety?
Since then, I’ve been vaping between one and three hits each morning, which helps me feel subtly but noticeably calmer as I organize and set out for my day, and I also keep my vape pen on hand for emergencies. If something happens that amplifies my panic, I step outside and take a hit. The CBD also seems to help me with the dramatic, intrusive thoughts that come with my PTSD, and it lets me be more in the moment, because I’m not constantly anticipating what might go terribly, horribly wrong. I still meditate and do all the other stuff, but CBD is one more thing that helps me.
Where can I find CBD oil?
But here’s the thing: It’s not for everyone and all CBD products are not created equal — not by a long shot. I get my vape cartridges from a small vendor Dr. Parodneck recommended, but she cautions that because CBD quality varies wildly depending on the manufacturer, it’s buyer beware. A 2017 Journal of the American Medical Association study found 43% of the CBD products that the researchers ordered online had more CBD than indicated, while 26% had less. Some even had more than a trace of THC.
“There’s a 75% chance of getting a product ordered or available online where the CBD is mislabeled,” says Marcu, one of the study’s coauthors. Adds Dr. Maroon, “Buying from a reputable manufacturer is crucial, because it matters how the plant is cultivated and processed.” One clue is cost: If it’s too cheap, it may not be the real deal. My half-gram vape cartridge is $50, but it lasts a long while, and for me that’s a very small price to pay to be able to enjoy my kiddos.
The wisest thing to do is to buy CBD made from American-grown hemp, ideally from a state such as California or Colorado (Dr. Parodneck likes this one). Why? If you purchase CBD oil in the U.S. from one of the 10 states where both recreational and medical cannabis use is legal, there’s a better chance you’ll get a higher-quality product than if you buy one made with hemp-derived CBD oil imported from abroad, says Martin Lee, director of Project CBD, a nonprofit that promotes medical research on CBD.
Also note the amount of CBD and THC per dose. There’s no definitive amount that’s appropriate for everyone, but the ratio of CBD to THC will indicate how psychoactive the product is and if it’s legal in your state. The more CBD compared with THC, the less of a high, and vice versa. “Managing psychoactivity is key to successful cannabis therapy,” says Lee, author of Smoke Signals. “Amounts should be made clear on the label and lab-certified so people know what’s helping them and what’s not.” Finally, look for “full-spectrum” or “broad-spectrum.” These terms mean that all or most of the components that can be extracted from the hemp plant are in the oil. The wider the range included, versus just CBD, the greater the potential medicinal benefit of the product, says Lee.
In no way would a few hits of CBD from my vape pen be enough to manage my world-class worrying on its own, but I’m grateful to have another figurative chill pill in my figurative medicine cabinet. I’m still a little self-conscious about taking a toke in front of other people — I’m a health editor and don’t want anyone to think I vape anything harmful! — so I step outside my office and skulk in the doorway feeling like a sneaky teenager. At some point, however, I predict that CBD-using anxious puppies like yours truly will be able to live out loud and proud.
Stephanie Dolgoff Deputy director, Health Newsroom, Hearst Lifestyle Group Stephanie, an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author, has written and edited about health, fitness, and wellness for such publications as Good Housekeeping, Self, Glamour, Real Simple, Parenting, Cosmo and more.
I cleaned up my act in January and decided to switch to a hemp oil pill from a trusted supplement company. The problem with supplements is they are unregulated. Who knows what was in the CBD oil that was not “working” for me. It could have had less active ingredients than it claimed or other components not listed on the bottle.
So I switched to a reputable company that I knew and trusted, where I buy most of my supplements (fish oil, protein powders, creatine, etc.). My diet was back on track, I was exercising regularly, but I didn’t notice any discernible improvements in pain. It was a habit to take the hemp oil pill every day — it didn’t seem to be “working” for my pain but it was expensive, so I figured I would at least finish the bottle before I wrote it off as ineffective.
My heightened anxiety from December had subsided a bit, but through December and most of January I was feeling increasingly down. I had a cloud over my head. The activities that usually brought me joy, like blogging and training, felt overwhelming. I was unmotivated and uninspired, I wasn’t handling stress well, often felt defeated, and my workouts were sluggish.
I was feeling depressed from my usual mood and life outlook. What was wrong with me? I attributed feeling a little off in December due to my lifestyle choices, but in January I was back to normal with no improvement in my mood.
Then I thought it must be the colder weather, earlier sunset, and increased stress at my marketing job, but I knew deep down that this wasn’t me — Life circumstances haven’t changed, but I suddenly felt like life was hard.
I woke up one Saturday towards the end of January and decided on a whim not to take my hemp oil pill. I certainly didn’t associate the pill with my mood at that point, I just decided not to take it.
By the end of the day, I started to feel better already. By Sunday the cloud had completely blown away. I was feeling like myself again, and I felt hope. I felt motivated. For the first time in weeks, I started brainstorming ways to increase my business, rather than feeling like I should shut it down.
I almost couldn’t believe that it may have been the hemp oil pill that made me feel depressed. Maybe it was a coincidence. Perhaps I’d wake up the next day feeling like crap again. But no. I felt like myself again — day after day.
I started researching (aka Google) if CBD oil could increase depression and anxiety like I had been experiencing, and in a sea of articles touting its anxiety-reducing benefits, I found one single article that said a tiny percentage of people on a Reddit thread reported an increase in anxiety.
After taking the hemp oil I didn’t experience pain relief, and I felt emotionally worse.
I am not writing this to say that hemp oil is wrong or you shouldn’t take it. I am clearly an outlier. It does appear to be useful for most people. It’s just an important reminder that there is no single solution, whether it be a specific diet, exercise plan, or supplement, that is effective for 100% of the population. Our bodies are different and may not respond in the same way as in our friends, co-workers, or Joe Rogan.
In the end I am disappointed that it didn’t work for me. This post is not intended to discourage anyone from trying CBD oil. I am writing this article because when I searched for cases of people that had a negative CBD experience, I couldn’t find anything except for that single article citing a Reddit thread. I hope that if you decide to try CBD or hemp oil that it works miracles for you, but if you experience an increase in anxiety or depression like I did, that you’ll make the connection sooner so that you don’t suffer needlessly.
This was my experience and it may be different than yours. I can’t recommend that you take or don’t take any supplement. As always, please contact qualified medical professionals when making decisions about your health.
Strange, right? Was your experience different than mine? I’d love to hear about it. Anyone out there feel like I did after taking CBD or hemp oil?
Did you like this post? Do you know someone who might benefit? It helps me when you share my blog posts with your friends and followers.
I Drank CBD Coffee for a Week. Here’s What It Did to My Anxiety.
Health and wellness touch each of us differently. This is one person’s story.
Even if marijuana is legal in your state, it continues to be illegal under federal law.
Cannabidiol (CBD), the compound in cannabis that doesn’t get you high, is popping up in everything from salads to sundaes.
According to studies, CBD may tout several therapeutic benefits, including decreasing anxiety, reducing seizures, and minimizing inflammation. As someone who lives with anxiety, I’m personally most interested in the anti-anxiety factor.
Although you can take CBD several ways, from vaping to gummies, one unique way to consume CBD is through coffee.
Proponents, like Craig Leivent, PharmD, co-owner of Flower Power Coffee Co. (a maker of CBD-infused coffee and edibles), say that the combination of CBD and coffee will give you the alertness of coffee but without the jitters.
But High Times magazine, which covers all things marijuana-related, thinks the idea was ridiculous. Their logic makes sense: If CBD is known to make you sleepy, wouldn’t it fight with the caffeine and leave you groggy?
In terms of potentially helping with anxiety, wouldn’t the caffeine, which may make anxiety worse for some, override the anti-anxiety effect of the CBD?
Bonni Goldstein, MD, a California-based physician who specializes in cannabinoid therapy, is also skeptical. Especially when it comes to proper dosage and the temperature of coffee.
“Those who want to use CBD for serious medical conditions, such as seizure disorders or inflammation from autoimmune disorders, should not take CBD in this manner, as accurate CBD dosing is extremely important for efficacy in these types of illnesses,” Goldstein says.
“For a healthy person who wants to take CBD as a nutritional bonus or supplement, issues are not as important.”
Goldstein also adds that a recent study looking at CBD stability in cannabis tea found that temperature affects CBD content, “meaning the milligram amount of CBD someone might require for his or her condition will not be consistent when delivered in a heated drink,” she explains.
But some people are really loving CBD coffee. Ian Ford, owner of Caffeine Underground, a coffee shop in Brooklyn, New York, says that since he started selling the brew, business is booming. It’s becoming so trendy, even Willie Nelson has launched his own CBD java.
So we decided to test it for ourselves.
If I drink CBD coffee for five days, will I be able to work? Will it still curb anxiety, even though coffee may increase it? Can I stay focused?
My 5-day CBD coffee experiment
For this trial, I used CBD-infused ground coffee from Flower Power Coffee Co. I made this decision completely based on convenience. There are two nearby cafes in Brooklyn serving and selling bags of the brand.
However, there are numerous CBD coffee products on the market I was interested in trying, including the Wellness Blend from New Hampshire-based Vera Roasting Company, which was founded by a professor of organic chemistry.
It’s also important to note that as part of my daily routine, I strictly limit my coffee intake to two or three medium cups a day and absolutely no coffee after 2 p.m. — hard stop.
Since instilling this strict cut-off time (I may have cheated a few times with espresso martinis, but that doesn’t really count, right?), I’ve been sleeping well without any sleeping aids, despite living with anxiety.
Share on PinterestThe menu at Caffeine Underground, Brooklyn. Image via Melissa Malamut.
Day 1: From focused at work to an unplanned afternoon nap
It’s my day off, so I order a CBD latte with almond milk from Caffeine Underground in Brooklyn. The latte is delicious and goes down smooth. I can’t taste anything except a regular almond milk latte.
After a few minutes, I feel alert and focused.
It’s different than just a caffeine boost, but hard to nail down the exact feeling. I start to breeze through emails.
I’m hungry, so after about 15 minutes, I order a piece of toast with CBD-infused jam.
I wish I hadn’t. It tasted fine, but then the headache sets in.
Having two “doses” back to back was too much for me, apparently. As soon as I get home, I hit the couch and crash hard for two hours. It would’ve been a great nap, but I have deadlines and an early day tomorrow.
I’m not a regular napper, and feeling pressure to meet my deadlines in less time isn’t good for my anxiety.
Goldstein says that CBD affects everyone differently, and that contrary to popular belief, CBD is actually a stimulating compound in low doses. So the combination of CBD and coffee could be overstimulating to some, which could be what was going on with me. For others, it may be just right.
Still, I like how I felt after that first cup, so I wasn’t too discouraged.
Day 2: Feeling alert, yet calm
Outside the cozy Vittles Cafe in Brooklyn, there’s a chalkboard highlighting “cannabis lattes.” I order one iced with almond milk and chat with the cafe’s owner about CBD and its potential health benefits for the body.
As I drink my CBD coffee, I tell her about what happened yesterday and how I may have taken too much. She suggests spacing out the doses more, waiting at least three hours between each serving.
As I finish my latte, I feel great: super alert, but surprisingly calm. And I figure out what the sensation was that I couldn’t nail down from yesterday.
It was as if someone spiked my latte with teeny tiny bits of Xanax.
Just enough to take the edge off, but not enough to make you feel like you’re under the influence of a drug.
Before I leave, I buy a bag of Flower Power’s coffee ($15) to finish the experiment at home. I decide to walk the 3 miles home because I’m feeling great. No nap today!
Share on PinterestMy bag of Flower Power and Vittles Cafe, Brooklyn, NY. Image via Melissa Malamut.
Day 3: Is drinking one regular cup of joe first the trick?
I’m a full-time freelancer, but I work as a weekend producer and editor for a large website. It’s only around 16 hours a week, but it’s intense as hell. I start early — 7 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays — which means I stumble out of bed and walk the 7 feet to my desk at 6:58 a.m. and log in.
It’s a demanding role where I need complete focus.
These weekend shifts are usually three-cups-of-coffee days. I start the morning with a regular cup of coffee and get to work.
I decide that cup No. 2 will be the CBD cup. I’m nervous how it will affect working, but attempt it anyway. At 9:30 a.m., I make the Flower Power coffee.
The coffee’s instructions say to only use a teaspoon and a half for proper dosage of 5 milligrams of CBD for a 6-ounce cup.
I prefer my coffee black and only drink it with almond or oat milk when in a cafe. I opted for the New York blend, and I really like it. It’s dark and rich with no hint of CBD or “marijuana” flavor.
I’m plowing through my shift and feel great. Maybe that’s the key? One regular coffee first and one CBD? I feel even better than yesterday.
I’m alert with no headache. Caffeine can sometimes give me heart palpitations and shaky hands, but today I feel calm. I don’t feel any anxiety or added stress over deadlines, and the day is flying by.
I look at the clock and it’s already 2:30 p.m., so today is a two-cup-only day. It may be the first time in months I didn’t have three cups of coffee during a weekend shift.
After my shift, I go for a 6-mile run in Central Park in the summer heat. I feel really sleepy much earlier in the evening than usual. I can’t blame the CBD, since it’s most likely the sun and exercise, but it’s something to note.
Day 4: Anxiety in overdrive
I slept well and wake up refreshed. I have two regular coffees in the morning before 9 a.m., forgetting I’m supposed to be drinking the CBD coffee.
I make the CBD coffee on my third cup, but it wasn’t the best idea. I have a headache and it’s only 10:30 a.m. I still have more than four hours left of my shift. I know my headache could be from lack of sleep, dehydration, and the 95-degree heat wave we’ve been having all week, but it’s a rough morning.
I survive the shift but felt like I could’ve put my head down on my desk at any minute and fallen asleep. I’m worried about any potential typos I could’ve made, and my anxiety is in overdrive. I feel pretty wrecked.
I spend the rest of the afternoon and evening watching TV and sipping a large glass of wine. I turn in for bed early.
I think three cups of coffee is too much, CBD or not.
Day 5: Feeling sluggish at softball
I decide to start my last day of the experiment with one regular cup of coffee, followed by the CBD coffee. That seems to be the best combination for me.
I think the Flower Power CBD coffee is delicious, and it goes down smooth.
Pricewise, drinking this daily isn’t really an option for me. One bag yielded 4 cups (servings), so that’s almost $4 a cup.
Today I feel good, almost like my body was getting used to the CBD. It didn’t feel as “strong” as it did the first few days. I also don’t have a headache nor do I feel sleepy. I punch out two interviews and two short freelance stories and head to my softball game.
I feel good at softball and score twice, but I do feel a little sluggish running the bases. Perhaps CBD won’t be the next performance-enhancing drug in sports. Share on PinterestTrying my own mix of matcha and CBD oil. Image via Melissa Malamut.
Overall, I enjoyed the coffee and can see myself giving it out as a novelty gift. But it’s not something I’d drink every day, and I’m not convinced I prefer it to regular coffee.
I think when it comes to CBD, it may take a few tries to find the proper dosage that works for you. Talking to your doctor could help.
I’m also interested in seeing how other CBD products, like gummies, lotions, and tinctures, will affect me.
With so many new CBD products hitting the market, it looks like I’ll be able to try new forms of it for years to come. Maybe one of them will even consistently help with my anxiety.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
Melissa Malamut is a writer and editor living in New York. Follow her on Twitter.
Chill or Anxious AF? How Weed Affects Anxiety
The first thing to understand about cannabis and anxiety is that not all weed is created equal.
There’s hundreds of compounds (known as cannabinoids) produced by the cannabis plant, but when it comes to anxiety, there’s two you need to know about: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is what most people think of when they think of cannabis. It’s the compound responsible for getting you “high.”
CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychotropic — meaning it’s not going to produce the same “oh man, I’m so stoned” feeling you get from THC.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to cannabis — it’s not like CBD is better than THC or vice versa.
But understanding the differences between the two — and how it relates to your particular brand of anxiety — can help make your experience with cannabis more anxiety-relieving and less anxiety-inducing.
“There are a lot of different types of anxiety which will definitely influence how people respond to different forms of treatment or therapeutic intervention with something like cannabis.
“Anxiety can be anticipatory or it could be generalized or it can be connected to depression or it could be more of a panic disorder,” says Emma Chasen, cannabis educator and founder of Eminent Consulting Firm. “And so all of those different types will respond differently to cannabis.”
If your anxiety goes hand in hand with an overall “blah” feeling, THC can be just what you need to lift your spirits. “For people who have anxiety connected to depression general dysphoria, THC can actually be really helpful because it is euphoric,” says Chasen.
But THC — especially in high doses — can cause a cascade of side effects, like elevated heart rate or racing thoughts. This can actually exacerbate certain kinds of anxiety. And that’s where CBD comes in.
“CBD is non-psychotropic, so it’s not going to give you any of those negative side effects,” says Chasen.
“It may help to alleviate some more anticipatory anxiety, some more generalized social anxiety and may even help with panic disorders because it does influence and interact with your serotonin system.”
So, in a nutshell, too much THC can definitely create a more anxiety-inducing smoke sesh, while CBD can help you chill out, but won’t get you stoned.
Luckily, you can have your cake and eat it too — according to Chasen, a mix of THC and CBD may be the best approach to using cannabis to feel less anxious and more relaxed (and get a nice buzz in the process).
“I would definitely look for something with a mixed ratio of cannabinoids,” says Chasen. “A 1:1 or a 2:1 ratio of THC to CBD will typically be very helpful at stimulating euphoria and decreasing anxiety — especially if you take it very slow and low dosage.”
How CBD Oil Has Changed My Life
Many people have finally started to become wise to the fact that, as humans living in the United States, our government does not truly have our best interest at heart. Our healthcare system is a giant mess no matter how you look at it. A vast majority of this country’s idea of healthcare is to charge the average citizen more than they make in a year just to get medical care during an emergency. We are given drugs (often costing more than most people make in a month) that tend to merely mask our symptoms (assuming they actually work) and come with horrific side effects more often than not. At least some of these drugs are also highly addictive. Another increasingly common “cure” is simply telling patients that, no matter what your problem is or what size you are, that you should simply lose weight…because that always makes everything better, right? Reality check…WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.
Why I Went Searching for a Better Solution and Found CBD…
As someone who personally deals with chronic illness on a daily basis, I can tell you from experience that the medical world is full of a lot of useless junk in many ways. Now, you may assume from this statement that I am against medical science, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. There are times when modern medicine has done what it rightfully should and has helped me immensely. Most of the time, however, I have found more natural alternatives to be much more effective in treating my many ailments. It is incredibly important, first of all, to have a doctor who actually cares about YOU and truly healing YOU. These days, you usually get stuck with a doctor who is just interested in pushing pills or trying to do as little as possible so that you have to keep coming back to them. The goal of a majority of the healthcare system (as depressing as it is to think about) is to buy your doctor’s fifth Porsche, NOT to eliminate your illness so that you can live your best life. As long as your doctor is living it up, they usually couldn’t care less about how much you struggle just to get through a day. I have experienced this with a vast majority of the doctors I have seen in my life (and I have seen many even if they haven’t truly seen me in return). Modern medicine definitely has the potential to do great things, but it is heavily shadowed by large companies whose only desire is to make as much money as possible off of other people’s pain and misery. The medical industry basically enjoys your suffering. Keeping you sick intentionally while covering their tracks allows them to steal your money and your comfort in broad daylight without you even thinking about fighting back. It feels so good to be taken advantage of like that, doesn’t it? We teach our children as a core value that it’s NOT okay for others to take advantage of them in life, yet we allow our healthcare system to do it to us every single day. I, for one, have decided to take my health into my own hands as best I can. It is my way of giving those who don’t care if I live or die a big middle finger. I will not fund that CEO’s third condo in Hawaii if I can help it. I don’t appear to be the only one who feels this way either. People who are sick and tired of always being sick and tired are starting to take a stand for their right to live a full and healthy life. And no, I’m not talking about fad diets or lifestyles that use health as an excuse to push their own personal beliefs and agendas (a majority of fad diets and lifestyles wind up being disproven over time for one reason or another… no single diet works for every body either). I’m talking about real solutions with real results that government owned healthcare doesn’t want you to know about and utilize. Real solutions that they want you to think are just a fad or a fairy tale. And that’s where CBD comes in…
I am always in pain. As time marches on, my overall pain gets worse. My joints ache. My muscles ache. Even my bones ache on really bad days. The nerves throughout my body (especially in my hands and feet) often feel pinched or like somebody is trying to stab a knife through them. Any time I am on my feet, especially when I try to walk or dance for extended periods of time, my legs (and sometimes my entire body) literally start to feel like someone doused them with gasoline and set them on fire. I can no longer tolerate hot and cold extremes, which is a huge problem where I currently live. And these are my “good days.” Despite my doctors admitting that this level of pain is not normal, they refuse to give me any type of pain relief. I guess someone coming to you in tears because they are in an unspeakable amount of pain and just want to feel good enough to live their life isn’t enough of a reason to help them. I was just told, “We can’t help you, sorry. Maybe you should lose some weight.” The funny thing about that is that I have had to have my thyroid removed due to thyroid cancer. Before that, I had severe hypothyroidism. My body no longer responds to any attempts at weight loss. I already eat healthy and I become extremely physically ill if I don’t. My profession as a performance artist requires constant intense training in dance and swimming. I exercise more in a week than most people do in a year. So no, simply “losing weight” is not a realistic option; not to mention it’s a completely ridiculous suggestion in so many ways. My pain stems from my chronic illnesses, and so does my current weight. Fix my chronic illnesses (or at least help me control them), and guess what? Maybe I’ll lose some of the weight that you are so obsessed with. My only silver lining was when one of my doctors finally casually mentioned CBD in one of our conversations. It was not a direct recommendation either, so I had to read between the lines and do all of the research on my own. And now…
My world is so much brighter thanks to CBD!
After what felt like forever researching different brands, I have finally settled on a variety of brands and products that help me personally. I now sell CBD products for three different companies (I test each one personally for quality before offering them to my clients). Each company offers unique and innovative ways to get your CBD. As for me, I use multiple products. I have a specific topical oil that has literally eliminated the chronic knee pain that I suffer from. I was no longer able to sit cross-legged without severe pain, and I would constantly be shifting my legs when working at the computer because I couldn’t get comfortable. Floorwork as a dance artist was becoming a nightmare. With this oil, none of this is an issue anymore. Tinctures have also become my best friend. In addition to greatly reducing my stress and anxiety levels, I have also experienced a huge increase in my ability to focus on my work. My memory has improved and, though it is generally said that CBD helps you sleep, it actually helps to increase my energy levels. I believe that this is due to having no thyroid, which means that my body reacts to certain things differently (for example, most people get more energy off of caffeine whereas I get incredibly sleepy from it). All of these things are very promising and have greatly improved my quality of life. Is my body perfect? No, and it never will be. But when I can actually live my life without the constant distraction of pain and inability to focus on simple tasks, it makes my world a much happier place. At the end of the day, I have to live inside of my own body. That means taking care of myself and making sure that I can function to the best of my ability. Otherwise, I can’t contribute to the world in the way that I am meant to. CBD helps me to do that without the risk of altering my state of consciousness. I love that. It is much more satisfying to spend money on something that I know helps me without side effects than it is to spend tons of money on doctors and medicine that either does nothing constructive or has terrible side effects. But that’s just me.
A Side Note…
There are even CBD options for your pets! I use one such product on my felines and all four of them are thriving on it. My munchkins have all been rescued as strays or via adoption, and they each come with their own unique set of health issues. I have seen this oil help them with everything from hair loss to severe separation anxiety. Their coats are incredibly shiny, they are more mellow, and they seem to be feeling healthier overall.
Please know that everything I have stated in this article is from my own personal experience with different products containing CBD. It is NOT doctor or FDA approved. Make sure that you understand the laws surrounding CBD for your area. Also realize that, just as I said above, there is no miracle cure for every body. CBD very well may not work for you, and that’s okay. It’s just another option that happened to work miracles for my family.
It is assumed that you will accept personal responsibility for any action you choose to take on behalf of your health after reading the above information. Be smart. Do your own research and ALWAYS be careful when selecting what you are using on and in your body. Our bodies are temples. We only get one. Be wise in taking care of it. I send you lots of love for a long and prosperous life.
What Happened When I Tried CBD for My Anxiety
Photos: Kristina Strasunske / Getty Images
I was born with ants in my pants-it’s very difficult for me to calm my brain. And when my brain isn’t calm, my body isn’t calm. It’s something I’ve experienced my whole life, but it didn’t become an issue until I grew up.
The more I added to my life (work, social life, romantic relationships, family responsibilities)-plus the addition of a smartphone-the more my anxiety became a constant struggle. (Here’s how to know if you have an anxiety disorder.) It wasn’t in social situations, it was just because of everyday life. Everything was piling on, and I’d become so overwhelmed and feel so uncomfortable, it was like I always had knots in my stomach. I carried a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders, so I always had headaches. I would get massages at the gym and they’d ask when I’d last gotten a massage because I had so many knots-when I had just gotten one two days ago. I would grind my teeth at night, which gave me even more headaches. It was too much, and I couldn’t find relief.
For a long time, I tried to manage it holistically. I take really good care of myself: I eat clean, I exercise, I drink a ton of water, I don’t smoke or drink, I meditate, and I do yoga. I was doing absolutely everything to keep my brain and body calm and to relax. But I still felt overstimulated all the time. (Related: Try This Guided Meditation for Anxiety)
The Prescription Fix
I went to the doctor, and they were quick to suggest a remedy: prescription anxiety medicine. I opted in and noticed the effects almost immediately. (Literally, 15 to 20 minutes later.) The feeling of being overwhelmed and uncomfortable went away. I felt a little bit tired too (which I didn’t love), but I liked the results otherwise and it seemed worth it.
With this anxiety medication, you take it as needed. But I found that the more I took, the more I needed it. I found myself burning through a 30-day supply pretty quickly and having to call my doctor to get my prescription upped. I was very aware that I wanted and needed more to feel comfortable.
I never had issues sleeping before. But soon, I found that if I didn’t pop a pill before bed, I wouldn’t be able to sleep. At that point, I realized I was becoming very dependent on it.
After two years, I talked to my doctor and decided to come off of the prescription meds. As I did, I found that my anxiety was worse than before. Ten times worse. The doctors suggested things like meditation and taking a bath-nothing particularly helpful. All my symptoms were back, and I was willing to try anything. I did acupuncture. I hadn’t eaten much processed or added sugar in about 10 years, but I decided to cut it out completely, in case it was the cause of my chronic headaches. I even stopped caffeine. I would peruse the wellness department at the natural food stores and I tried everything-melatonin, valerian root, kava-to no avail.
I kept hearing about all the benefits of CBD (including for anxiety), but I dismissed it for a while. It sounded questionable, expensive, and too good to be true, like modern-day snake oil. I was reluctant because I had also tried all the other holistic remedies I’d heard of, and it all seemed fruitless. (Related: How One Woman Used Alternative Medicine to Overcome Her Opioid Dependency)
I was feeling more overwhelmed than ever and had no leads on a fix. This was my rock bottom.
Trying CBD for Anxiety
So I decided to try CBD for my anxiety. After all, what did I have to lose?
I started taking a tincture every day, without expecting any results. At about the seven- to 10-day mark, I realized that it was helping. It wasn’t a huge aha moment, because I was used to prescription drugs that hit me instantly with a really harsh effect. This was more subtle: I realized that I felt much calmer, relaxed, and just ~good~ all-around. All the tension that I’d had in my neck and shoulders felt like it had melted away. People were actually commenting on how relaxed I seemed. I had thought that feeling anxious and stressed was inevitable when you’re a busy person and a mom and you have a job and you sit in traffic and you spend too much time on devices. But it wasn’t normal. Once I started taking CBD, and once I started feeling good, I realized what I had been feeling wasn’t normal at all. CBD changed my life, and I was obsessed. (BTW, CBD doesn’t get you high. Here’s the difference between CBD, THC, hemp, cannabis, and more.)
After using CBD for about a year and a half-and being obsessed with it for just about as long-I decided to go work for a CBD company. Eventually, my passion for the product (and how it changed my life) inspired me to start a CBD company of my own: The H. Hemp Company.
Without being a total cliché, I’m feeling the way I always wanted to feel. And now I get the chance to help other people feel that way too-no prescription required. (Want to give it a try yourself? Read up on how to buy the safest and most effective CBD oil products.)
- By By Hilary Morse as told to Lauren Mazzo
Four kids, law school, and multiple businesses keep Kim Kardashian pretty busy. But when she does have some downtime, she counts on CBD to help her relax.
“How do I do it all? It is exhausting,” she told People. “I just say CBD. But I do. It really has gotten me through a lot.”
Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a non-intoxicating chemical found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC found in marijuana, CBD doesn’t make you high. Kim explained to People that though she like trying various types of CBD products, she is “not a weed smoker at all.”
She adds: “That’s not my thing. I got into CBD a few months ago. It’s saved my life. Even to sleep at night. I like the gummies. I will just use a little bit and fall asleep . I don’t think I would take a Xanax or an Ambien again.”
CBD has become trendy, earning a reputation as a cure-all for everything from anxiety to depression and even acne.
Recently, news emerged that Kim tested positive for lupus antibodies. The Season 17 premiere of Keeping Up with the Kardashians on Sunday ended with Kim being informed by her doctor that antibodies associated with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis were found via blood tests.