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how does cbd oil make you feel?

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

what is cbd oil - kelsey clark in robe

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 Body Oil

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

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.

I Took CBD Oil for Two Weeks Straight, and Here’s How It Made Me Feel

Rachel Lapidos

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CBD is the major, non-psychoactive cannabinoid complex from the cannabis plant that offers significant health benefits. I’ve explored these benefits via skin-care products, body wash, and in my workout recovery routine—but I’ve yet to take it internally, which many say is the most direct way to absorb it.

Taking CBD oil has been studied to have pain-relieving, inflammatory-fighting, and anxiety-reducing prowess, so ingesting it on the reg seems as though it might not be the worst idea in the world. “A daily dose of CBD will rebalance imbalances within the body and, depending on the specific individual, the benefits manifest themselves differently,” explains Emily Heitman, co-founder, COO and CMO of Leef Organics. “As a regulator and a modulator, CBD acts in a dynamic and comprehensive fashion to get to the root of individual issues. I believe it should be part of everyone’s daily routine for maintenance and preventative support.”

As for how it actually makes you feel, it’s more of a subtle effect. “CBD is used and repurposed by your body in the way you need it most, so the feeling by each individual tends to be a bit different,” says Heitman. “However, I think everyone feels relief and balance from daily use of CBD.”

“If you have pain or anxiety, once the effects of CBD start setting in, it’s almost like it’s whisked away and it’s not there anymore.” —Drew Todd

Drew Todd, co-founder of new CBD brand Feals, notes that taking CBD oil is more about what you don’t feel. “The way we describe taking CBD is that it’s not about what you feel, but it’s more about what you don’t feel,” he says. “If you have pain or anxiety, once the effects of CBD start setting in, it’s almost like it’s whisked away and it’s not there anymore.” But it’s not about totally changing your current state: “It’s not about getting high or really feeling any psychoactive effects; it’s more about melting away whatever’s getting in your way of living well, so that you can focus on living your life.”

Now, obviously, everyone is different, and it’s important to remember that you should check with your doctor before introducing something new into your regimen. But given its cred, I was ready to give it a go. Here’s what happened when I did.

1. I slept better

I began taking a full dropper of Feals (around 30 mg of CBD) before I went to bed by holding it under my tongue for 30 seconds—which Todd and most all CBD brands recommend as the fastest way for your body to absorb the ingredient. Within roughly 15 minutes, I felt a comforting, warm sense of calm wash over me that was deeper than when I take melatonin. Over the next half hour or so of watching TV, I became increasingly tired and proceeded to fall fast asleep and woke up feeling rested in a way that some sleep supplements don’t allow me to (which FWIW, a small study has shown). So yes, it’s now a steady part of my nighttime regimen.

2. I became less stressed-out

I hate to admit this, but I’m a very stress-prone person. I’ve gotta hit several deadlines each day, survive a number of meetings, and juggle a work life, a romantic relationship, and very dear friendships (in other words: I’m like every other person). In the past, though, I’ve let all of this pressure get to me, and could almost feel coritsol surging in my body. However, I found that taking CBD oil regularly has eased this stress (something it’s scientifically proven to do), and I’m able to get through my day without feeling as though the completion of my to-do list is set to the tune of major stress.

3. I was able to focus more

On a related note, I’m also able to focus better when I’m at work. That’s likely due to CBD oil’s proven effects at relieving anxiety, which therefore results in a clear mind that’s better able to cross things off of my to-do list. Before trying out the ingredient, I’ve often felt overly anxious at work when I have a lot going on at once—but taking CBD regularly (and honestly probably wrapping my head around my to-do list in a healthy way) has allowed me to think more rationally about what’s on my plate, rather than sit and freak out about it.

4. My muscles were less sore

I’ve used CBD oil topically to relieve sore running legs, but didn’t realize that ingesting the wellness ingredient can have a similar effect. Studies have shown, though, that taking CBD has anti-inflammatory benefits, and muscle pain is a sort of inflammation, so I’ve found it to help. As someone who works out almost daily, my legs are almost always sore. I traded my CBD topical oil for the kind you ingest, and still felt a very subtle perk of muscle pain relief. The CBD oil helps my body repair itself in recovery mode, fighting that newfound inflammation from my hardcore workouts and allowing me to do it again the next day without feeling like my legs are made out of cement.

After ingesting CBD oil for two weeks straight, I’m now a true believer in the wellness ingredient’s superstar prowess. Its calming effects are so legit, but my fave perk of all is that I get better sleep. Nowadays I’m taking CBD right before I brush my teeth at night, and you know what? I’m now a better-rested, more calm person—who just so happens to be on the CBD train.

To be clear: Hemp oil vs CBD oil are very different things. But in terms of the buzzy ingredient, these are the 6 best CBD products that experts love.

Many people wonder about the buzzy wellness ingredient: How does CBD oil make you feel? One editor tries it out and experiences a lot of health benefits.