If you've ever flown with a toddler, you've probably experienced the manifestation of Murphy's Law firsthand. The red lights you keep catching on your way to the airport, the copy of the birth certificate you swore was in his diaper bag, the milk that exploded in your purse, and — yes — the diaper blowout that happens as soon as the plane lifts off from the tarmac.
On a recent flight to Portland with my 17-month-old son and husband, I was on the receiving end of this joyous chain of events. We were heading to visit my husband's family, whom I adore, for 10 whole days. And despite my genuine desire to see them and spend quality family time, another part of me — the deeply anxious and very introverted side — knew that the trip would trigger things that were hard to explain.
It was on day two of our 10-day stay when my anxiety attack hit. We'd had a blast at the Portland Zoo with my brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, three nieces, two nephews, and our son, but after nine hours of a day that entailed schlepping kids on public transportation and navigating a crowd of zoo-goers with our own caravan of strollers before heading back to the house for family dinner, a feeling started to emerge. It was panic.
I seemed to be the only one drained by the day. I was desperate for a stretch of antisocial silence, an activity I could control, something soothingly stimulating. Screen time, anyone? My husband, a gregarious, slightly hyperactive extrovert, was having the time of his life, and who could blame him? I could feel myself getting "weird." Tears started to well up in my eyes. Embarrassed, I got up from the sofa and silently walked out the front door for a breather. What was wrong with me? And more importantly, how was I going to fix this so that I could actually enjoy my family vacation?
As I stood in the front yard weighing my options, I suddenly remembered an article I had read about CBD's powerful effects on anxiety. CBD is an active component of cannabis, but it doesn't get you "high" like the more commonly known, psychoactive cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (aka THC). Referred to as "liquid Xanax from Mother Nature," it's a legal, natural way to reap the medical benefits of cannabis. While you can order it online without a medical marijuana card, I knew I didn't want to wait that long.
The next day, I walked into one of Portland's many recreational marijuana dispensaries open to anyone 21 and older and purchased my first pack of CBD gummies. Wyld's gummies come in a small box filled with 10 edibles. Each gummie contains about 12 mg of CBD. Not knowing exactly how my body would react, I decided to eat half of a gummie. The first bite tasted just like you'd imagine a fruit gummy to taste: the sugar coating gave it an extra kick of slightly crunchy sweetness followed by a mild strawberry tartness. But the more I chewed, the more I began to identify another taste. This was the CBD aftertaste I'd read about. It tasted like what I imagined it would be like to eat a half-smoked joint, but the smoky flavor faded away after a few sips of water. Thirty minutes later, I didn't feel much, so I popped the other half in my mouth and waited.
After 10 minutes, I could feel a small shift. My mind started to fall into a comfortable state of rest as we sat gridlocked in late-morning traffic. Pregummy, I was mentally occupied with the self-imposed burden of planning our perfect day in Portland. Postgummy, the idea of go-with-the-flow spontaneity actually seemed appealing. Preferred even. I felt clearheaded, relaxed, and present. We decided to pull over and visit a park down the street from a Whole Foods for an impromptu picnic.
Buoyed by my magical gummies, I decided to take a whole one before heading to my sister-in-law's for dinner. Five minutes later, I felt a mild warming sensation in my chest and core that spread to my shoulders and upper thighs. I definitely felt relaxed, but a few hours later I was ready for bed. That night, I slept like a rock.
I continued to eat the gummies throughout the trip, experimenting with how much to eat to reach the desired effect, whether it was taking the edge off of my social anxiety or quieting my mind to unwind before bed. The flight back home was the polar opposite of the flight that kicked off the trip. I wasn't stressed or anxious, which helped me focus on one thing at a time, avoid making absent-minded mistakes, and shrug off the inevitable ones.
CBD affects everyone differently, and some may even be turned off by the stigma of mixing cannabis and parenthood, regardless of the legality. Self-care can take many forms, whether it's drinking a glass of wine, treating yourself to a massage, unwinding in a yoga class, or enjoying a CBD edible. The most important thing is to find what works for you. I'm still trekking along in my CBD journey and just purchased CBD oil ahead of the holidays. Parents: if you're searching for a way to alleviate stress and anxiety, I highly recommend this as a personal stocking stuffer.