CBD Oil. It’s all the rage, am I right? If you told me a few years ago that I’d be really into this oil derived from the cannabis plant, I probably would have laughed at you.
what are you talking about?!
And yet, I’ve become such a big fan of this new wellness trend over the past 2 years. It’s helped ease my anxiety when I’m stressed and overwhelmed, it helps calm my mind at night so I can fall asleep (and stay sleep!), and I feel way better about taking a droplet of CBD vs. Advil pills when I feel a headache coming on.
I thought it was a game changer when I wrote this post last year, but now in April of 2020, CBD is my #1 self care product that I don’t want to live without! With all of the uncertainty going on in the world, the stress of rescheduling our wedding, and the anxiety and sadness that creep in nearly every day – CBD has helped me stay calmer as we navigate through everything. I am especially grateful for it at night since the one night I didn’t take my softgels, I woke up every few hours reading news on my phone. BAD IDEA, FRIENDS. Instead, it helps me fall asleep and stay asleep so I can feel rested and keep my immune system up. To say I’m grateful for it would be a huge understatement.
But before we dive in to what CBD oil is and what it can be used for, I just want to remind you that I’m not a scientist or doctor! Even though I did a lot of research and this post is full of information, I highly recommend that each of you read the studies I linked to, seek medical advice, and try to learn about it on your own. I did my best, but I’m still not an expert and I certainly can’t cover EVERYTHING that’s out there about this semi- controversial topic. With that said, let’s get to it!
what is cbd oil?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a chemical compound from the cannabis plant (cannabis sativa). Unlike the THC in cannabis, CBD is a non-psychoactive part of the plant. This compound can be extracted from the plant, and then added to a carrier oil… aka cannabidiol CBD oil. This, as well as edibles like CBD gummies, has become a very popular way for people to get the benefits (like reduced anxiety, pain, inflammation, etc) without the extra effects of THC.
does cbd oil get you high?
Nope! Both CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are found in cannabis, but only THC has the psychoactive compounds that can get you high. Any of the side effects you think of when you think of marijuana doesn’t apply to CBD. They affect the body in completely different ways.
how to use cbd oil
put it under your tongue
There are a lot of fancy ways to use CBD oil, but I usually just put a dropper of oil under my tongue since that’s what the bottles I’ve tried have put in their usage directions. I hold it under there for about 10-20 seconds and then wash it down with some water. That’s it! Also, if you’re worried about the taste, Equilibria now has flavored oils – the yuzu is my favorite!
add it to a beverage
If you don’t like the taste, you can also add a dropper of oil to your morning coffee, tea, or smoothie!
take a soft gel
I take Equilibria softgels at night because it is a slower release than the oil – but this is a great option if you simply just don’t like the oil! Swallow it like you would any other pill with a glass of water.
eat a gummy
There are a lot of delicious gummies out there – I’ve tried both Sunday Scaries and Not Pot. While they taste good, you’re obviously not getting straight CBD… there’s sugar and other ingredients in there to make them taste like a treat. Just something to keep in mind since the addition of sugar can be really counterproductive, especially at night.
apply cbd lotion
If you have achey joints, sore muscles, or even menstrual cramps – I recommend Equilibria’s relief cream. Adam asks me to help me put it on his knees and back nearly every night now! I love that it tingles a little bit after you put it on. It’s very relaxing!
my favorite brands
Okay, so you want to try CBD… but where do you start? There are SO many brands out there it can be really overwhelming. Especially since the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doesn’t have a clear stance on these products. Like everything I talk about in this post, I encourage you to do your own research. But here a few brands that I’ve tried so far.
My new favorite CBD company! Not only is it based in Chicago and founded by women, but they also take so much pride in making sure you get the best possible product… and it works. I was pretty up front about the fact that CBD could have had a placebo effect on me when I first started using it, but I have zero doubt about this one.
Why? About a year ago, there were the two mass shootings within 24 hours sent my anxiety through the roof. I didn’t even want to leave the apartment at all that day, but after a dropper of the oil, I got up the courage to go to Trader Joe’s! Might sound small, but it was a huge win. I’ve also been sleeping like a BABY since using their products – and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
Safi’s Daily Wellness Tincture is unlike a lot of the other brands I’ve tried because it literally has NO taste at all. Seriously, I was shocked the first time I tried it! I would take it every night before bed and even though I couldn’t taste it, I still think it helped me fall asleep. I’m not sure it worked as well as the others for stress management though, which I think is because it is 100% THC free, and I’ve read that for CBD oil to be effective, it needs a little bit of THC in there to “activate” it. (We’re talking a VERY small and very legal amount in the others, don’t worry!)
The first brand of cbd oil that I ever tried! I actually got it on a whim from Thrive Market because I was having trouble sleeping and Adam suggested that kind of thing might be helpful. I still love this product, but it definitely has a distinct taste to it (I got the Mint Chocolate flavor). They recently came out with new flavors for the oils and a brand new line of gummies though… so those might taste better!
Populum gifted me a bottle of this oil and I liked it a lot – but not as much as the other brands. It has an orange taste to it that wasn’t bad, but definitely not something you’d want to add to coffee if that’s how you’d prefer to take it. I only ever had one bottle of this one, so it’s hard to say if it’s better or worse than the others. If you’re into orange flavors, it might be worth a try?
I’m a sucker for Not Pot’s branding, and their gummies are a fun alternative to an oil! I used to bring these with me when I travel so I wasn’t worried about oil spilling in my bag. (I bring Equilibria’s softgels now!) Obviously, they don’t have any marijuana in them (hence the name). But they do taste like there’s a little bit in there… just keep that in mind if that will bother you!
While there’s a slightly herbal flavor in Not Pot gummies, there is ZERO of that in Sunday Scaries. They honestly taste like straight-up sour candies – which is good and bad for me They were gifted and I’m not sure I’d buy them again, just because I don’t want to be tempted to eat more than the recommended dosage! Seriously, CANDY.
cbd oil benefits list
cbd oil benefits for anxiety
This is why I started taking it! When I get stressed or overwhelmed, anxiety has become almost inevitable. I’ve figured out ways to combat it (yoga, meditation, sleep, etc.), but sometimes those things are easier said than done. CBD oil has helped calm me down, even on busy days. It’s also helped my mind from racing before bedtime… allowing me to sleep better.
Since I’m obviously not a doctor or expert (remember?!), I don’t have a ton of information on the actual science that supports this experience. That being said, Dr. Chin (an osteopathic physician and a medical cannabis expert) says “CBD tells your body to calm down and reminds you that you’re safe. It mellows out the nervous system so you’re not in a heightened ‘fight or flight’ response.”
A recent study also found that CBD can help people who do public speaking. I also think this study about Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders and this information about oxidative stress is really interesting, too!
cbd oil benefits for sleep
This really goes hand in hand with the anxiety benefits for me. You know those nights when having so much on your mind that you just can’t shut it all off? That’s what this helps with. Whether it’s a never-ending to-do list or creaky noises making you nervous in an old house, the anti-anxiety properties help me relax. And that helps me sleep better!
I found this article really interesting if you’re looking for more information about this particular benefit.
cbd oil benefits for skin
There a lot of research to support that CBD suppresses your body’s inflammatory response (that will come up in a lot of other benefits on this list, too!). But what you might not realize is that a lot of acne is an inflammatory condition, so it makes sense that CBD could help! I also want to learn more about how it might help with anti-aging and sensitive skin. I need to do a little bit more digging on those subjects, though.
cbd oil benefits for pain
I found this article on Medical News Today particularly helpful when it comes to CBD for pain management. They say “CBD stops the body from absorbing anandamide, a compound associated with regulating pain. So, increased levels of anandamide in the bloodstream may reduce the amount of pain a person feels.” That makes so much sense, right?!
But it’s not just theory. There are a bunch of studies that show substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults. You can read more here and here.
cbd oil benefits for multiple sclerosis
I’ve realized that this is quite a controversial topic – as it is in regard to almost all medical conditions! That being said, there is definitely evidence that shows that CBD oil can reduce the levels of spasticity a person feels. Most people are just waiting for more clinical studies to support these claims.
cbd oil benefits for epilepsy/seizures
A 2017 study published that there is now class 1 evidence that “adjunctive use of CBD improves seizure control in patients with specific epilepsy syndromes.” That same year, there was another trial that concluded cannabidiol resulted in a greater reduction in convulsive-seizure frequency than the placebo when given to patients with the Dravet Syndrome, a form of epilepsy disorder associated with drug-resistant seizures in children.
cbd oil benefits diabetes
This one is particularly interesting to me since my Papa had diabetes. Since excess inflammation is one of the factors that lead to the development of insulin resistance, it is likely that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can help people with type 2 diabetes. In addition, this medically reviewed report showed that CBD helped in reducing inflammation in the pancreas, therefore lowering the incidence of type 1 diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Very interesting.
cbd oil benefits for cancer
While there isn’t a connection between cancer cells and CBD that could help with cancer treatment, it can still help manage symptoms by helping stimulate appetite, as well as help with pain relief and nausea.
cbd oil benefits for dogs
Unfortunately, there aren’t any formal clinical trials on how CBD affects dogs. However, the American Kennel Club’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Jerry Klein, believes that dogs can benefit from CBD’s anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties, as well as help with pain management and controlling seizures.