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.
Can You Get High from CBD or CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid, a type of natural compound found in cannabis and hemp.
It’s one of hundreds of compounds in these plants, but it’s received more attention lately as changes to state and federal laws have led to a rise in the production of CBD-infused products.
Another well-known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This compound is known for its psychoactive effects when consumed with cannabis, or marijuana.
THC produces what many consider a “high,” or an altered state characterized by euphoria, pleasure, or heightened sensory perception.
CBD doesn’t cause a high like THC.
CBD does have some positive health benefits, like helping people with anxiety and depression. If you’re seeking out CBD as a means to get high, you won’t experience that.
Both THC and CBD naturally occur in cannabis plants. CBD can be isolated from the cannabis plant and the THC compound. People infuse CBD into tinctures, oils, edibles, and other products without the high-inducing THC.
Still, many individuals might assume CBD causes the same effects as marijuana, because both can be found in the same plant. However, CBD alone is nonintoxicating. It won’t cause a high.
What’s more, CBD can also be derived from the hemp plant. Hemp has no psychoactive effects, either.
In fact, in many states only hemp-derived CBD is available legally. These products, by law, can have no more than 0.3 percent THC. This isn’t enough to create any psychoactive symptoms.
Once extracted from hemp or cannabis, CBD can be added to several products, including tinctures, lotions, and oils.
CBD oil is one of the more popular CBD products. You can take it sublingually (under the tongue) or add it to drinks, food, or vape pens.
Some of these products are promoted as a natural way to relax or lower anxiety. Indeed, research has found CBD can reduce some symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is still not equivalent to the high marijuana causes.
High concentrations of CBD (or taking more than recommended) could cause an uplifting effect. That’s not the same thing as a high.
What’s more, taking high doses of CBD could cause some side effects, including nausea and dizziness. In that case, you may not even experience the “uplifting” effect at all.
CBD and THC are two types of cannabinoids found in cannabis. They both have an impact on cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain. However, the type of impact tells you a lot about why they produce such different results.
THC activates these receptors. This causes a euphoria or the high associated with marijuana.
CBD, on the other hand, is a CB1 antagonist. It blocks any intoxicating impact caused by the CB1 receptors. Taking CBD with THC may inhibit the effects of THC.
In other words, CBD may block the high effects.
CBD can have several positive effects. Some of these research-backed uses of CBD even suggest it may help you feel relaxed. That can feel a bit like a high, though it’s not intoxicating.
Research suggests CBD is beneficial for relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. It might also ease inflammation and pain .
Some people with a history of epilepsy may find relief from seizures when using CBD. The Food and Drug Administration approved the first CBD-based drug, Epidiolex , for treating epileptic seizures in 2018.
What’s more, CBD has also shown promise as a way for doctors to help people with schizophrenia avoid side effects of antipsychotic medication.
People who use CBD-rich marijuana strains may also be able to prevent THC-induced psychosis , a potential side effect of the drug.
As research into cannabis- and hemp-derived CBD expands, doctors and healthcare providers will have a better understanding of how CBD works and who might benefit most from it.
The World Health Organization says CBD is safe. However, more research is still needed to understand the full spectrum of effects and possible uses.
Despite general acceptance, some people may experience some side effects when they take CBD, especially at high concentrations. These side effects can include:
- mild nausea
- excessive fatigue
- dry mouth
If you take any prescription medications, talk with your doctor before using CBD. Some medicines may be less beneficial because of CBD. They could also interact and cause unintended side effects.
U.S. federal law still classifies cannabis as a controlled substance. But in December 2018, Congress lifted the prohibition on hemp plants. That means hemp-derived CBD is legal in the United States unless outlawed at the state level.
By law, CBD products can have no more than 0.3 percent THC. In states where medical marijuana or recreational marijuana is legal, marijuana-derived CBD may also be available. CBD-to-THC ratios will vary by product.
CBD can be extracted from a cannabis plant, but it doesn’t have the same ability to create a “high” or state of euphoria as marijuana or THC.
CBD may help you feel relaxed or less anxious, but you won’t get high if you choose to use a CBD-infused oil, tincture, edible, or other product. In fact, if you use CBD with THC-rich cannabis products, the CBD may lessen how much of a high you get from the THC.
Before you begin using any CBD product, talk with your doctor.
Be sure to also source high-quality CBD products. Check for a label that confirms the product has received third-party testing for quality. If the brand you’re thinking of buying doesn’t have that, the product may not be legitimate.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
CBD may help you feel relaxed or less anxious, but you won’t get high if you choose to use a CBD-infused oil, tincture, edible, or other product. Here's why.