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I Took CBD Oil Every Day for My Anxiety—Here’s What Went Down

what is cbd oil - kelsey clark in robe

When I first learned about CBD oil, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical. My mind immediately turned to weed and the unnerving experiences I’d had with heightened anxiety in college. For me, a person who’s already predisposed to overthinking, marijuana, no matter what the form, would typically put my mind into overdrive and result in a common yet dreaded side effect: Paranoia. But, let’s back up a bit. What even is CBD?

What is CBD?

A bit of online digging led me to realize that the active ingredient in Charlotte’s Web Everyday Plus Hemp Oil, the product I’d been offered to test, was the chemical compound CBD, which stands for cannabidiol. Unlike THC, the other crucial compound in hemp and marijuana plants, CBD (when derived from the hemp plant) does not produce the psychoactive effects that make you feel “high”; instead, emerging science has hinted that CBD may actually ease anxiety, and therefore, makes you less likely to freak out.  

For example, one study comparing the effects of THC and CBD found that, while THC increased anxiety by activating the neurotransmitters involved in the “fight or flight” response, CBD actually repressed autonomic arousal—or the nervous system response associated with sudden increases in heart rate or respiration.   In other words, CBD may be ideal for people looking to relax and unwind.

While the science behind CBD’s effectiveness for treating anxiety, pain, and insomnia is still in its infancy,   Charlotte Figi’s inspiring story sounds promising. Figi, a 6-year-old girl diagnosed with a rare and resistant form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, was placed on hospice care and given a “do not resuscitate” order when her parents, desperate and frustrated with pharmaceutical medication, considered medical marijuana; specifically, a strain low in THC and high in CBD. Charlotte is now nearly seizure-free since she began supplementing with Charlotte Web’s CBD oil, which the brand named after Figi.

Legal and Safety Things To Know About CBD

The current CBD industry is like the internet’s early years. the Wild West. Legally, speaking, a Harvard Medical School blog post reads, “All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it.”   With heightened interest around CBD, it’s important to note that because CBD is currently unregulated, it’s difficult to know what you’re getting (whether that’s a tincture—commonly referred to as CBD oil, which is often combined with a carrier oil like coconut oil—topical products like creams and balms, sprays, or capsules), despite product labels and brand promises, the blog post further reads. It’s also important to note that people experience CBD differently. For the most part, the National Institute of Medicine says that while most people can tolerate CBD, side effects do exist. They might include dry mouth, drowsiness, and reduced appetite, among others.  

That said, those interested in exploring the potential benefits of CBD should consult with their doctor (especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or currently taking medication) and be mindful of your dosage, writes Consumer Reports. And before you buy, Megan Villa, co-founder of the hemp-focused website and shop Svn Space, told Shape magazine to seek out a certificate of analysis. “Ask for a COA for the batch number of the product you have, since these products are made in batches,” she said. “You need to match the batch number to the COA that pertains to it.” Then, scan the report for potency (i.e. does the number of milligrams of CBD that the product label touts match the lab report?), contaminants and pesticides, and mold (which should live under the “Microbiological Testing” part of the report). Go a step further and note whether the testing lab is GMP (Good Manufacturing Principles) certified, and whether the lab is registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Shape magazine also suggests purchasing CBD products made from domestically-grown hemp, and reading up on the difference between full- and broad-spectrum and CBD isolate.

With that, I threw caution to the wind and asked for a sample. Here’s what happened—including what it feels like—when I took one full dropper of Charlotte’s Web’s Everyday Plus Hemp Oil in the mint chocolate flavor every morning for seven days.

My First Impression

It was actually a bad bout of jet lag after a trip to California that inspired me to finally test out the CBD oil (I’ll admit that my weed-based reservations kept me from trying it for the first few months). Knowing that the oil had also helped people with sleep issues, I squeezed one full dropper of the Everyday Plus oil onto my tongue, per the instructions, and waited.

Thirty minutes later, I was surprised by how subtle the effect was. While I expected a hazy nodding-off effect similar to melatonin’s, the oil simply relaxed my body ever so slightly—my heart stopped pounding against my chest, my legs stopped kicking beneath my sheets, my mind stopped racing. I wasn’t sure if it was the oil or the late hour, but eventually, physical relaxation gave way to mental relaxation, and I drifted off to sleep.

Reflecting the next morning, I was most surprised by the fact that I never felt “high” in any way—there was never a moment of It’s kicking in; I can feel it now like with pain medications or even anti-anxiety drugs. Considering it takes time, consistency, and the right dosage to experience the full effect, I continued taking the oil once a day for the next six days. Here’s what went down.

It Made Me Less Anxious and Edgy

Rather than overthinking a sternly worded email or analyzing a social interaction, I found it easier to recognize the irrationality of these thoughts and actually let them go.

While normally I’d be slightly tripped up by little things like an overly crowded subway car or a full inbox at work, the CBD oil seems to have taken the edge off of my anxiety a bit. Rather than overthinking a sternly worded email or analyzing a social interaction, I found it easier to recognize the irrationality of these thoughts and actually let them go. In some ways, I feel more like myself. With that said, I’ve still experienced some social anxiety when meeting new groups of people—I’d be interested to see what taking the full recommended dose would do.

I’m More Focused At Work

I work well under pressure, but being extremely busy at work has almost made me less productive—I’m constantly distracted by email, Slack, and the people around me, to the point where getting my work done becomes difficult. This week, however, I’ve found it easier to put my blinders on, block out all distractions (especially social distractions), and focus on one task at a time. I think this is partly related to the lessened anxiety—I feel more frazzled and off task when my anxiety is running high. It almost feels like a newfound sense of clarity and calm that enables me to focus.

I’m Falling Asleep Faster

I assume this is also a side effect of feeling less anxious, but I seem to fall asleep faster; within the 20-30-minute range rather than my normal 45 minutes to one hour (or longer). Not only do I seem to be skipping or at least shortening the whole tossing-and-turning phase of my sleep cycle, but I’m able to snap out of the overthinking that often keeps me up at night. Of course, there’s no telling whether a big life event would disrupt this newfound bliss, but I’d like to think it’s helped on a day-to-day basis.

My Experience With CBD

Would I say that CBD oil has fundamentally changed my life? No. But per the Charlotte’s Web website, this is the typical first experience. “Anyone who has ever started a new vitamin or supplement routine knows the short answer to how long it takes to kick in is—’it depends.’ For many newcomers, they’re not sure what to imagine, or some anticipate a huge change right away. For most of us, though, dietary supplements take time.”

With that said, I’m definitely intrigued enough by the subtle effects to continue taking the oil and to possibly up the dosage to the recommended two full droppers of the 30mL bottle per day. Plus, I take comfort in knowing that it’s an all-natural product that’s responsibly grown on family farms in Colorado. Something that’s safe, legal, requires no prescription, and makes me less anxious, less scatterbrained, and more focused? I’m definitely on board.

Explore the World of CBD

Looking to learn more about CBD? These are some of my favorite products to help get you started.

For those new to CBD, Charlotte’s Web recommends this hemp oil. Containing 17mg of CBD per 1mL serving, this CBD oil is also U.S. Hemp Authority Certified. Choose from four different flavors including Lemon Twist, Mint Chocolate, Orange Blossom, and Olive Oil.

Go deep on the subject of CBD with this book that includes case studies, interviews with doctors, an overview of the latest cannabis research, and how scientists are exploring cannabis for various medical uses. There is also an explainer about the difference between CBD products made from industrial hemp versus in a lab, and products made from the whole marijuana plant.

Charlotte’s Web inaugural CBD oil product comes in two flavors; Olive Oil and Mint Chocolate. It’s also its most potent. According to its website, its Original Formula Hemp Extract Oil comes with 50mg CBD per mL.

Gretchen Lidicker puts a lifestyle spin on the world of CBD as the author draws on the “knowledge of leaders in the health and wellness world” to explain why CBD has become a top beauty and wellness trend for top athletes and celebrities. The book also includes recipes and recommendations for how to choose a top-quality CBD product.

This travel-friendly roll-on is packed with CBD and fragrant essential oils, including lavender, bergamot, and chamomile, for an easy de-stress quick fix. The result? “That elusive feeling of wakeful calm,” reads the Sagely Naturals website.

With this book, CBD is explained from A to Z and breaks down the good, bad, and ugly of a fledgling industry that is poised for rapid growth. CBD: 101 Things You Need to Know About CBD Oil covers what it is, why people take it, who it’s for (and who it isn’t for), its myriad forms, and more.

Lord Jones High CBD Body Oil

Lord Jones’ High CBD Formula Body Oil combines CBD with organic avocado, jojoba and safflower oils for smooth, hydrated skin. Each bottle has 100mg of CBD.

Charlotte

Charlotte’s Web’s Extra Strength Capsules feature 25 mg of CBD per capsule. The website offers capsules as a convenient and precise way to take CBD—on the go, stash them in your gym bag, pocket, etc.

One editor explains how she took CBD oil every day for a week to help her anxiety, plus the difference between CBD and weed. Learn more here.

CBD is great for sleep, but will it make you tired during the day?

It’s no secret, CBD has a close association with marijuana. So it’s perfectly natural that people wonder, “will CBD make me sleepy?” When it comes to sleep, one study showed that nearly 80% of Americans have trouble sleeping at least once per week. While 30-35% of Americans have symptoms of insomnia. Studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that CBD can help with sleep. So, what about taking CBD during the day? Will you suddenly get tired and go in search for a dark corner to take a nap?

In order to understand this better we need to look at exactly what CBD is, as well as THC. Then we will look at how CBD actually aids in sleep, and whether or not it will actually make you sleepy or not during the day. The answer will likely surprise you.

What is CBD and THC

THC is the active component of the marijuana plant, and what is known for causing the “high” associated with smoking it. Medicinal marijuana patients often seek after indica strains of marijuana to aid in sleep because of its sedentary properties. Individuals struggling with insomnia often see benefits from indica strains of marijuana.

CBD on the other hand, is non-psychoactive, and contains loads of therapeutic benefits. It’s also known to be a great sleep aid that is legal in most states without a perception or medical marijuana card. CBD has also been the primary focus regarding medicinal benefits surrounding cannabis.

How Does CBD work as a sleep aid?

There are two thoughts about how CBD works to aid in sleep. One is that CBD helps relieve anxiety and pain, both issues that can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. The other is that CBD interacts directly with receptors in the brain that govern the body’s sleep and wake cycle.

Anxiety is one of the many causes of sleep issues. If you struggle to turn your mind off at the end of the day, CBD might be what you are looking for. Stresses throughout our day, such as demands from work, tense relationships, horrible traffic, and constant distractions from social media are very common in todays society. For some, all these stresses pile on and lead to anxiety.

CBD works by interacting with our bodies endocannabinoid system (ECS), a series of receptors in our body that help create homeostasis and perform other regulatory functions, such as: appetite, memory, sleep, mood and perception of pain. When we ingest CBD, the cannabinoid goes to work to help improve the brains capacity to deal with stress. The result is a calmer mind, which leads to the ability to fall asleep faster, and stay asleep.

So, to put it simply: CBD helps you sleep by calming the mind.

What if I don’t struggle with Anxiety, will CBD still help me sleep? Despite the lack of research, anecdotal evidence suggests that most people taking CBD experience better sleep. This is mostly due to the relaxing effects brought on when taking CBD.

CBD Product Quiz

So will CBD make me sleepy during the day?

Simply put, no. As we have already seen, CBD works by calming the mind, not by inducing a sleepy state, or creating the intoxicating effects found with THC.

CBD can actually help you focus and be more alert: Another way to look at CBD, is to see it as an adaptogen. It works with your bodies natural rhythms. If you are awake and trying to focus on writing a blog post about CBD, it just might help you stay focused, but when going to sleep after a long day, CBD will help calm your mind for a restful nights sleep.

CBD works to increase focus and reduce anxiety by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. So, taking CBD won’t make you sleepy, but it can help you be more productive and get better sleep.

In conclusion

Whether you are looking to stay focused on an important project, or shut down a racing mind in the evening, CBD can help you achieve both focus and better sleep. You might want to experiment with different delivery methods though to figure out what works best for you. Some people might get more benefit from a capsule, but most people get the most direct benefits from using an oil.

It’s also important to experiment with your dosages as well. Some people might need as little as 10mg per day. Others might need 30mg twice daily, or even more. Be sure to check out our, “How much CBD oil should I take” guide.

You may also want to check out my post about, “How long does it take for CBD oil to work.” This will help give you an idea of when you can really start to see results.

Many people know that CBD wil help you sleep, but it actually doesn't make you tired if taken during the day. It might even help with focus and energy.