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

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?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, which comes from the Cannabid sativa plant (also known as marijuana). It’s a naturally occurring substance used in oils and edibles to help calm and relax.

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.

The Verdict

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

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 “the most hemp extract and cannabidiol (CBD) content per serving.”

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.

Charlotte’s Web’s body cream combines aloe, coconut oil, and shea butter with 300 mg of CBD per ounce. It’s also available in an unscented version, and both are made with GMO-free and sustainably grown ingredients.

Sagely Naturals’s Relief and Recovery Capsules includes 10 mg of CBD per capsule, with the addition of turmeric and vitamin E.

Charlotte’s Web’s Extra Strength Capsules feature 18 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.

When is the Best Time to Take CBD?

Here, on the frontlines of the CBD movement, we get asked this question all the time. Since CBD affects everyone differently, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, let’s look at the main factors to consider when determining what time of day is best for you.

3 key factors that help determine when to take CBD

  1. Reasons for taking CBD
  2. Dosage
  3. Type of CBD product

Listen to Your Body

Before we explore these main factors, the recurring theme here is to listen to your body. What gets one person to sleep may help another maintain energy throughout the day. Why are there such massive discrepancies with the effects of CBD? Well, it’s complicated .

The Human Endocannabinoid System (ECS) regulates many physical processes including pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, immune function, and reproductive function. CBD acts upon the ECS on a molecular level. Given the complexity of this regulatory system, the potential effect that CBD can have on these processes is totally unique. When beginning your journey with CBD, choose a time of day when you can safely experiment.

For example, if you decide to try CBD for improving sleep, logic would dictate that taking it before bedtime would be most effective. However, some people may feel stimulated when they are trying to catch some z’s . To complicate matters even more, it is possible that when taking CBD in the morning it has a different effect than in the evening. All this leads back to the idea that you want to create enough space to safely experiment. For most of us, that often means the early evening when we are done with the demands of the workplace, and still hours before bedtime. Doing so should safeguard against any potential disruptions to your daily/nightly rhythms. After sufficient time, you will gain more insight into how CBD interacts with your body, and this will ultimately lead to an intake schedule that works best for you.

1. Reasons for taking CBD

People are using CBD for a variety of reasons. Stories range from treating specific symptoms like seizures and acne, to regulating moods, appetite, and more. What time of day you take CBD should largely be based on the reasons you are taking it in the first place. Back to our sleep example. Some of our customers simply take their daily dose before bed, while others take it during the day and find that having it in their system throughout the day helps improve their sleep behavior at night.

Food for thought: my acupuncturist prescribed Chinese herbs for me (they taste gross!) and said, “the best way to take these herbs is to take them.” Meaning, that despite their rancid taste and elaborate boiling protocol, I needed to take them. Similarly, despite our tincture’s great flavor, all the nuances we are discussing here are secondary to the main point: keep taking CBD!

2. Dosage

CBD products often include a serving size or daily dose suggestion. However, here too it is important to experiment and find what works best for you. For instance, we recommend starting with 1ml of our regular strength tincture per day, and for some of our customers, this feels right.

Get Creative / mix it up:

  1. Split the recommended dosage: taking .5ml in the morning and .5ml in the evening allows the effects to be more evenly spread out through the day.
  2. Double the dose: for some, taking 1ml in the morning and another in the evening provides relief beyond the recommended dose.

For whom the bell curves?

For thee, of course! CBD has been shown to have a bell curve in regards to its effectiveness. This means that as you take more, its effectiveness will ramp up to a maximum efficiency rate before beginning to fall off as you reach saturation levels, resulting in wasted product. Think about your ECS as a gas tank. When you are pumping gas, eventually the pump will click off once the tank is full. You can try to keep squeezing the handle to put more in, but no more will fit. Once your tank is full, you need to put some miles in before it’s necessary to refuel.

Once you know how you react to CBD, play with dosage amounts and times. Think about when you need relief, and plan timing around that.

3. Product Choice

The type of product you are using is a strong consideration when deciding what time you should use CBD. Products like CBD Capsules will have more of a slow, gradual effect since they must be processed through your digestive system. Conversely, a CBD vape will have more immediate effects as vaporizing is one of the most bioavailable ways to consume CBD. Let’s look at the different ingestion methods and how to think ahead for timing your dose.

CBD Capsules
Think about what you are up against, and how a slow fuse product will interact with it. Do you have anxiety during daytime hours? You will probably want to take CBD capsules in the morning so they can slowly begin working as you go about your day. Do you have trouble sleeping through the night? You will want to take CBD Capsules before dinner, so your body has time to process them before bed.

CBD Softgels

Full Spectrum CBD Capsules

CBD Tincture

Original CBD Tincture

CBD Tincture
Often called CBD Oil, tincture is taken sublingually and absorbed into glands under your tongue. This will yield a faster result since the tincture will enter your bloodstream more directly than swallowing. Because tincture takes time to work its way through your system, it is much easier to dial in for timing. We recommend 1ml of tincture per day to start with. Most consumers choose to take their daily dose of tincture in the morning so they have CBD pumping through their veins throughout the day. If you find that any results you are experiencing wear off quickly, you may want to double up and take a dose in the evening as well.

What time of day to take CBD varies from person to person, but keep these factors in mind if you’re just getting started with CBD.