I Started Using CBD Oil Every Day—and This Is How It Changed My Life
Better sleep, energy for workouts, and a compliment from my husband make it all worthwhile.
I’m not well-schooled in the ways of cannabis—figuring out what CBD is took some time. Until recently I didn’t know my hemp from my weed. THC, CBD…IDK. It’s like trying to get the square root of a number: If I concentrate for a minute, I can figure it out, but really I just don’t care, you know?
Then my friend started selling CBD oil. She’s a stay-at-home mom-turned-yoga instructor and a total straitlaced health nut. I thought, if she was into it, maybe I should learn more. So I found out CBD stands for cannabidiol, a natural extract from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It’s not the chemical in marijuana that brings the high—that’s the THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.
There are still plenty of studies to be done, but so far science has shown that CBD appears to target more than 65 areas in the brain and body that are involved in regulating pain, mood, and sleep. Notably, CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system, enhancing and balancing the messages sent via endocannabinoids and neurotransmitters. By doing so, it has the potential to lower inflammation, ease pain, bring a sense of calm, help those coping with anxiety, and improve sleep.
I want all those things. Inflammation can lead to aches, pains, and acne, and—yes, at the age of 47—I’d be happy to get rid of them. Given that my husband and son have nicknamed me Yelly Melly, I’m guessing I could also do with a deeper sense of calm. And I’m a busy working mom, so sure, I’ll take better sleep!
Inflammation can lead to aches, pains, and acne, and—yes, at the age of 47—I’d be happy to get rid of them.
There are numerous CBD oils and balms (and drink mixes and bath salts and dog treats), but I gravitated toward an oil by Beam for a couple of reasons: It’s THC-free (I’ve learned that some companies don’t filter out traces of THC—I’m not here to get stoned, people), and it’s broad-spectrum, which means beneficial plant compounds, like terpenes and flavonoids, are left in the extract.
I began taking a one-milliliter dropperful of oil, containing 66.7 milligrams of CBD, morning and night. There isn’t an industry-standard recommended dose, so I started with the brand’s lowest potency. I held the drop under my tongue for a minute or so, in order for the cannabidiol to seep into my bloodstream rather than get digested (which is also a good delivery system—just not as direct). It tasted fine, sort of neutral, with a hint of plant life.
A few days later, I took my first barre class. I hadn’t worked out in a year, thanks to a shoulder injury, and I was nervous I’d be in serious pain afterward. It wasn’t too bad. After class, I rubbed some CBD balm on my shoulder. The idea behind balms and lotions is that CBD gets absorbed through the skin, without taking a trip under the tongue and through the bloodstream, so it goes straight to the receptors that need it most. The next day, I took a yoga class (all hail, Groupon!), which didn’t leave me extra-sore or strained either.
Could all this pain-free movement have been a result of the placebo effect? Sure. But I like to think my inflammation was kept in check by my new CBD regimen. Still, I’m no medical expert, so I reached out to Staci Gruber, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core and the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. She told me that anecdotal evidence and pre-clinical trials suggest CBD helps with pain and inflammation, but “we don’t have clinical trial data.”
Also, I stopped having nightmares. Weirdly, I get them a lot—like, I’m driving down the road and suddenly I’m in the ocean. That kinda thing. But since I started taking CBD oil, the nightmares haven’t come. My daily stressors remain the same, but my stress symptoms have lessened, so I’m totally giving CBD oil the credit. I also spoke to David L. Nathan, MD, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and founder of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. He agreed there could be a connection: “All drugs that can help with sleep—and CBD may be one of them—will not affect just the onset and duration of sleep but also the quality of sleep,” he explained.
Inspired by my reduced chronic pain and stress-free slumber, I also started getting up at 5:50 a.m. for a brisk 2-mile walk with my neighbor every morning. And yeah, I’m still taking barre and yoga classes. I’ve got energy for everything!
But the most concrete proof that CBD oil is doing good things for me came about two weeks after I started taking it. I hadn’t mentioned my new CBD routine to my husband, in part because I wanted to assess for myself whether it had an impact. But out of the blue one night while watching TV, he turned to me and said, “Hey, I’d like to thank you for not getting so frustrated lately with me and the boy. I appreciate it.”
Better sleep, energy for workouts, and a compliment from my husband make it all worthwhile.
I Tried beam’s CBD Products for Two Weeks. Here’s Why You Should Give It a Go
In partnership with:
It feels like the term CBD has been thrown around a lot lately.
There are CBD pills, lotions, powders, patches. You name it, there’s probably a company out there that’s figured out how to infuse CBD into it. I literally saw a CBD Pumpkin Spice Latte on the menu at a local coffee shop last week. I may be basic AF, but even I raised an eyebrow to that one.
But the potential benefits that CBD boasts are too hard to ignore. The proverbial “they” say it can help with everything from muscle recovery, to brain function and mood, to sleep issues.
Um…yes please. Yes to all of that.
I’m 32, I’ve been CrossFitting for 10 years, I own my own business plus do freelance work on the side, and try to keep my sh*t together enough to keep my household running for my husband, two dogs, and six chickens. Life is stressful, to say the least. I’m sore, tired, and firing on all cylinders pretty constantly. So ANYTHING that can help me get through the day and feel good doing it is beyond welcome.
So I did an experiment.
The 14 Day beam Challenge.
For two weeks, I tested out three products from beam consistently, incorporating each of these products into my daily routine and tracking my progress through this vlog.
- revive capsules — which help with overall recovery
- fixer — a topical salve for soreness/muscle fatigue
- dream — a powder to help with sleep
The results were not what I was expecting.
But before we get into the results, here’s a little background on CBD.
If you’re not familiar with the product you may find yourself wondering if I was just high as a kite for two weeks straight. Ha. I wish. No, no. CBD stands for cannabidiol — a naturally occurring essential oil extracted from the hemp plant. No THC involved here. So there aren’t any ingredients that cause psychoactive effects. Nothing smells skunky either. Instead, CBD works together with the body’s internal endocannabinoid system which has receptors in the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, gastrointestinal system, and connective tissue. So, areas that can help with cognitive brain function, anxiety and depression, digestion, and inflammation.
Cool. Sign me up.
Week One: Is this working?
So night one I ripped open the dream powder, mixed it with a cup of warm water, and prepared for something that tasted like medicine. But instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find I was drinking a sweet, chocolatey, tea-like drink.
I crossed my fingers that I’d find some reprieve from the restlessness that has found its way into my nightly routine (thanks 2020), and downed the mug fast.
Then I rubbed some of the fixer salve onto the back of my neck and down onto my traps. I work at a desk all day and I’m addicted to the ‘gram — so I’m the queen of tech neck.
Suffice to say, Beam had its work cut out for it.
Spoiler alert, I didn’t wake up feeling any different.
But, sticking to the experiment, I packed the salve and revive pills into my gym bag and kept at it. I followed up with another serving of the dream powder before bed and something weird happened: As soon as I was done drinking it I was instantly sleepy. Like, ready for bed sleepy. Like, I didn’t want to scroll through my social feeds or check my email one last time or do anything like that. Strange for me. But a good strange.
I didn’t wake up feeling any different, so I’m not convinced the CBD was helping me stay asleep. But was it starting to help me fall asleep even after just two days?
I continued using the revive capsules after evening workouts without any noticeable results for the first couple of days. The fixer salve smelled nice and soothed my neck.I was starting to think that it might be stopping additional soreness or spasming from taking its usual hold on me.
But the biggest shock came to me on day five.
Two notifications popped up on my sleep app, the first revealing I’d just had the best sleeping heart rate dip since I started tracking X# years ago, and second, that my sleep rhythm over the past four days was at its peak.
Four restful nights, five nights of dream powder. Maybe it’s not such a coincidence.
Day 6: Squat, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.
You know that post leg day feeling when you do a CrossFit Games WOD RX then add Karen (150 wall balls) on top?
Well welcome to day six, as in the day I can no longer walk.
After jogging around the block trying to shake out my quads in preparation for squat cleans later that evening, I popped some revive capsules and slathered my legs in the fixer (and prayed).
I instantly felt some soreness relief, and I smelled like a tranquil botanical garden, so that was a plus. Fast forward four hours and I was able to RX the squat clean workout. That is BIG for these Bambi legs…not even considering the level of soreness I was feeling. OKAY CBD. I see you.
Week Two: Wait…This is actually working!
At this point I was fairly convinced I was sleeping better, but I didn’t realize how much better until I skipped the dream powder before calling it a day.
Not only did I have trouble falling asleep but I ended up waking at 3:00 AM doing that whole tossy turney, please just let me go back to snoozeland thing that left me pretty crabby the next day.
Two days later, we stayed out late and had a BIT TOO MUCH FUN in the adult beverage category and I woke up with an in-my-30s-hangover. That was the first time I really felt the revive pills work. I popped some first thing in the morning and felt much less like I had been hit by a truck by the time lunch rolled around. THAT is definitely new (and necessary) in the post-20s-era of my life.
By day 11, I had finally gotten a handle on how to best use the revive capsules (not just for hangovers). After morning and mid-day workouts, soreness and tightness would creep in by dinnertime, but THAT’S where the revive seemed to make the biggest difference for me. It stopped me from feeling wrecked before bed.
Days 12-14 just had me feeling good. Like, overall good.
That’s weird for me to say. My life just feels too crazy and stressful for me to say “I feel good.” Those words just aren’t really in my vocabulary. But between figuring out how/when to best use revive , spot treating my sore muscles with the fixer , and actually getting good sleep for the first time since college probably; the cumulative effects of CBD were really starting to show.
Needless to say, my 14-day experiment has turned into more of a staple in the Brazier household. Sorry not sorry.
A Final Note
There is one honorable mention I need to throw out there. Beam makes a powder called Clarity that helps with focus, something I don’t typically struggle with during the work day. But at the suggestion of my friend and Games athlete Steph Chung I gave it a try one morning.
To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of its Earthy taste, but HOLY MOLY could I feel its effects RIGHT AWAY. I felt like I had been shot out of a cannon. Like I could change the world in just that one single day! I re-folded and re-organized all my leggings that day. ALL. MY. LEGGINGS. That, my friends, is a serious undertaking. Highly recommend.
If you’re thinking about doing an experiment of your own, I’d look into giving these products a go. This wasn’t my first tango with CBD products but this was my first time dedicating two weeks straight to this type of trial and my first time seeing these types of positive results.
So, why beam? Well, to get kind of nerdy for a minute, beam uses nano CBD to make their products more effective. The really small particles within the products give them the highest absorption potential, which means they can start to take effect more quickly.
It doesn’t hurt that the founders are CrossFitters and former pro-athletes, and literally started the company because they couldn’t find a CBD product on the market that was all-natural and transparent about their ingredients. So they made their own. Thanks guys.
If you’re interested in giving these or other beam CBD products a try, check them out and use code “MCU” to save 15% on all your goodies.
I Tried beam’s CBD Products for Two Weeks. Here’s Why You Should Give It a Go In partnership with: It feels like the term CBD has been thrown around a lot lately. There are CBD