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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?

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

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.

Does CBD Make You Sleepy?

If you haven’t already heard, CBD oil and CBD products are sweeping the nation. People are excited by CBD and its potential to help manage their health symptoms like anxiety, chronic pain, and inflammation. But can CBD also make you sleepy?

One of the best parts about CBD is the few side effects it has. This is one of the reasons why people are choosing to use CBD. However, CBD is not entirely without side effects. A common question people have is whether CBD makes you sleepy or not.

In this post, we will explore all of CBD’s potential side effects, including if CBD can cause drowsiness, as well as if there are strategies to mitigate these effects.

To answer the question, “Can CBD make you sleepy?” we will need to take a more in-depth look into how CBD affects the brain and what the potential side effects of CBD are. Let’s begin with how CBD affects the brain.

How Does CBD Affect the Brain?

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a molecule that is found in the industrial hemp plant. This plant is in the same family as the marijuana plant: the Cannabis sativa family. However, these plants are very different.

The marijuana plant also has CBD; however, it also contains tetrahydrocannabinol or “THC.” This is the psychoactive component of marijuana. The industrial hemp plant only contains traces of THC, to begin with, and CBD products sold in the United States are purified to contain less than the legal limit of 0.3% THC. This means CBD does not have the psychoactive effects that marijuana has.

CBD activates the endocannabinoid system. This system influences pain perception, inflammation levels, as well as stress and anxiety levels.

When CBD activates the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system, it modulates anxiety, stress, and pain. It is well known that the endocannabinoid system exists throughout the body, brain, and skin and has many roles in a person’s physiology. Scientists are finding more and more roles the endocannabinoid system plays in human health and research on CBD shows it does have some effect on sleep, wakefulness, and fatigue.

Also, CBD stimulates the 5-HT1a serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (a chemical in the brain) that is associated with anxiety and depression.

Some people who have used medical marijuana products already know that it is common to become sleepy after using. Does CBD have the same effect?

Can CBD Make You Sleepy?

The medical community has determined that CBD is a safe product even at very high doses. However, this doesn’t mean that it has no side effects whatsoever. Studies that look at what side effects people report when using CBD found that the most commonly reported side effects are:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite

What’s interesting is, fatigue or drowsiness is the most common side effects people report in CBD studies. However, there is research on both animals, and humans to suggest that CBD promotes wakefulness.

This is in contrast to THC and marijuana. It has been well established that THC, which is found in marijuana, can cause drowsiness. Studies have found that fatigue is prevalent when using cannabis, with 7/10 users reporting fatigue in one study.

The exact mechanisms of how CBD promotes wakefulness is still yet to be discovered. It seems that the answer to whether CBD can make you sleepy is more complicated than a simple yes or no answer.

Another consideration is mistaking feelings of calm and relaxation for sleepiness. CBD has a calming effect on the nervous system. Many people are used to feeling anxious and stressed every day. When they begin to feel relaxed and calm after using CBD, they may not be used to these feelings and might believe they, instead, feel tired.

For the most part, research suggests that CBD can make you sleepy as it is the most commonly reported side effect. However, it has also been shown to improve wakefulness in animals and people. All this to say that more research and a better understanding of how exactly CBD affects this part of the brain is needed.

How Do I Avoid Getting Sleepy with CBD?

At this time, we don’t quite know if CBD promotes wakefulness or sleepiness. The answer is likely more complicated than what meets the eye and depends on individual differences between people.

If you are interested in using CBD but do not know if it will make you sleepy or not, it is a good idea to try it for the first time when you have free time during your day. Avoid trying CBD for the first time when you have to drive, operate machinery, or tend to responsibilities like work.

After trying CBD, you will have a better idea if CBD makes you sleepy or not. Keep in mind, different dosages or delivery forms (vape, tinctures, oil, gummies, etc.) may have a slightly different effect on you than other forms or dosages.

Look at the CBD product label. Some products also contain other herbs or constituents like melatonin which are known to cause sleepiness.

Remember that if you are already tired, or it is late at night, CBD may have a different effect on your fatigue level than during other parts of the day.

Always trust products which have been third-party tested. These products are tested for their CBD levels, THC levels, and other contaminants. It is essential to know your product does not contain more than the legal limit of 0.3% THC. THC is also known to cause drowsiness.

In short, each person is different, and each of them will respond differently to different CBD dosages. Always look at the label and read the mg of CBD per serving, the other ingredients, and review for third-party testing. Try CBD when you have free time and can lay down and relax if needed.

Can CBD Help with Sleep Issues?

There is a potential for CBD to help people get better sleep, depending on what is preventing them from achieving proper sleep. Common causes of sleep issues are:

  • Anxiety and racing thoughts
  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Uncomfortable bed or bedroom

CBD has the potential to help with some of these issues. No, CBD won’t make an uncomfortable bed comfortable, but it may help with sleep deprivation due to anxiety, stress, or pain. This is why some people actually use CBD as a sleep aid.

For instance, a recent study found that CBD can help with sleep issues due to anxiety disorders and improve sleep quality in people who suffer from anxiety. Also, research shows that CBD helps manage anxiety symptoms.

As far as pain goes, a recent review study concluded that CBD can help with chronic pain in people.

In short, CBD may help people sleep better if CBD improves the underlying reason why they are having issues with sleeping.

Final Thoughts

Researchers are still investigating whether or not CBD can make you sleepy. Some animal and human studies indicate that CBD actually promotes wakefulness; however, the most common side effect reported with CBD use is drowsiness.

CBD is also commonly used as a sleep aid and has been shown to help with stress and anxiety levels.

Each person is unique, and CBD can affect people in different ways. Remember that if you are going to try CBD, ensure you have read the label to assess the ingredients and look for third-party testing verification.

Feeling tired and getting the munchies are side effects of using marijuana, but what about using CBD oil? Check out if CBD oil makes you feel sleepy!