I have to admit, I'm nervous to share this story . . . in large part because of the stigma around marijuana, regardless of the reasons you're using it or which component of it you're using (THC vs. CBD, specifically). But that in and of itself made me realize how much more I do need to share this story. Because if we break through the stigma, there's a product here that has the capacity to change lives and help millions of people heal naturally. And no, it won't make you into a stoner.
A few weeks ago, the people at Charlotte's Web Hemp reached out to see if I wanted to try CBD for myself. To be honest, my initial reaction was "hell no." I don't smoke, I never want to be "high," I'm not into weed, and I'm not in any way, shape, or form into illegal drugs in general. However, I am a huge fan of naturopathic remedies like Chinese herbs and probiotics, acupuncture, and essential oils. I had been reading about how CBD is natural and legal, doesn't make you feel "high," and could mitigate effects of anxiety (in addition to a laundry list of other things).
Before we get into it, a quick breakdown: CBD oil is cannabidiol, an active component of cannabis. You're probably familiar with another cannabinoid: tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC . . . you know, the stuff that gets you high. There are over 85 cannabinoid compounds in a cannabis plant, but THC is the only one — seriously, just one — that is psychoactive (aka brain altering).
Charlotte's Web assured me that CBD does not in fact get you high and would essentially be liquid Xanax from Mother Nature. It also mentioned I wouldn't need a medical marijuana card (which I don't have), as it's a totally legal product. I was in.
CBD would essentially be liquid Xanax from Mother Nature.
A few days later, I received the CW "Everyday Plus" Hemp Oil in olive oil and CW "Everyday Advanced" Hemp Oil in mint chocolate flavor ($75 and $150, respectively). And as most respected professionals do, I tried it in the office at my place of employment, midday, with one of my coworkers. Legalities aside, I was still nervous that I'd get the psychoactive effects and lose control of my mental faculties, but coworkers assured me that "everything is fine" and basically told me to chill out and eat the oil. The experiment had begun.
Dose: Two droppers full of Everyday Advanced, mint chocolate flavor
The "two droppers" was per the recommendation I received from CW. This apparently equates to two servings, though the supplement recommends taking two droppers full twice daily. This was roughly 92 mg of Hemp CO2 extract. I remember thinking, "This tastes like a mint chocolate ash tray."
Effects: Extremely sleepy during the day. That said, got "100 percent" sleep quality according to my Sleep Cycle app that I use nightly. No adverse side effects.
Dose: One dropper full of Everyday Advanced
I decided to scale back so I wouldn't be so tired. I also had SoulCycle scheduled that night, and I really wanted to look alive in the front row, you know?
Effects: Relaxed, but not much to report on from this day either. I felt great during SoulCycle, and I didn't get too sore, which is somewhat unusual . . . maybe because of the CBD? TBD.
Dose: One dropper full of Everyday Plus, olive oil flavor
By the third day, I decided to try the scaled-back, olive variety of these oils, which has 25 mg of Hemp CO2 extract per serving. I started small with one dropper just to be safe.
Effects: I honestly didn't feel much of anything! It wasn't a particularly anxiety-inducing day, so there wasn't much to stimulate my experiment.
Dose: Two and a quarter droppers full of Everyday Advanced
This . . . this was the day of days. The day when I realized CBD can change lives. Also the day when I realized I had taken more oil than usual, which left me feeling not at all like myself as the hours went on. Background: driving is an anxiety trigger for me, and I was stuck in traffic for over three hours (for a trip that is usually just one hour) with a panic attack slowly building and tears starting to flow, so I reached for the oil — and decided to try a tiny little bit extra.
Effects: Anxiety relief within 30 minutes; it quite honestly felt miraculous. I was relaxed and laughing, and I felt like myself again. However, a few hours later, things took a turn. At risk of embarrassing myself, I'll just say that I became extremely spacey, couldn't focus on anything, and was starving — I had finished a substantial Italian dinner at 7 p.m. but decided at 8:30 p.m. that I needed a S'mores Frappuccino (truly deviating from my normal eating habits) . . . and then I needed an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's Half Baked. It was a scene. I don't know how it happened, but fair warning: this was too much for me. Though I was mildly traumatized, my best friend thought it was hilarious.
Dose: One *half* dropper full of Everyday Advanced
Fully scarred from the day before, I scaled back significantly as I knew my duty was to continue the experiment for all seven days.
Effects: I felt relaxed! No anxiety to report on, and no adverse side effects.
Dose: One dropper full of Everyday Advanced
I recovered from the fear of day four and scaled back up to a full dropper and had a very relaxing day. I drove back to SF and felt completely comfortable in traffic and even had a couple cups of coffee — which normally could give me a panic attack — and felt totally fine.
Effects: Mitigated anxiety from caffeine consumption, great sleep.
Dose: Two droppers full of Everyday Advanced
Curious to see if day four's high was possibly a fluke, I decided to be brave (ha!) and scale back up — but was mentally prepared this time for anything that could happen. Aaaand I didn't get high! A win all around.
Effects: I had a deep sleep that night — so deep, in fact, that it was a little harder to wake up in the morning.
I'm still figuring out that sweet-spot dose for myself, but my initial impression is extremely positive. I'm astounded at how well this prevented a panic attack and mitigated my anxiety in a naturopathic way. The idea that I could avoid potentially addictive psychotropic drugs while still managing stress and anxiety — in a way that won't make me high or impact my ability to think and work clearly — is unbelievable. It really is Mother Nature's liquid Xanax.
I am a goody-two-shoes, nonsmoking fitness editor, and I fully recommend trying CBD as part of your wellness routine.
Because it's so safe and the side effects have been minimal, my personal recommendation is to try it, but just to be careful with your dose. Also keep in mind — as I did not know this when I first tried it — CBD oil may cause you to fail a drug test. Fortunately for me, POPSUGAR is pretty chill about this, but this is something that could present a serious issue if you're looking for a job or in a line of work that tests regularly.
I was super uncomfortable with the perception, labeling, and stigma around the use of cannabis products, but the profound pros that CBD oil has to offer me medically significantly outweigh any kind of cons I might endure from social stigma. I do think it's important to break said stigma around cannabis use of all kinds, whether it's CBD or THC, recreational or medical use. So here I am, a goody-two-shoes, nonsmoking fitness editor, here to share my side and my experience — and I fully recommend trying CBD as part of your wellness routine.