CBD Oil 101: What it is, is it worth it, and my experience

Introduction to CBD Oil ( Cannabidiol Oil) for wellness. Everything you wanted to know as a CBD oil curious consumer. 

*August 2018 update: recent events have brought CBD into a legal "grey area". Remember, always follow the law in your state and keep tabs on legislative changes*

You've probably seen CBD oil mentioned somewhere recently. It's been mentioned in food publications. In more mainstream media thanks to changing laws. But I'll bet you have questions and when you do a search, the results are conflicting and overwhelming. Same. As someone who works in the wellness industry, CBD oil has been on my radar for several months- with a personal interest. Over the past year I dove into adaptogens for stress relief (specifically ashwagandha) but the more I read about CBD oil, the more I thought it might be an even better solution for me. 

So this post is your intro. It's the research I've done to answer my own questions and hopefully give you an all in one place to see if CBD oil is right for your wellness routine. The long and the short of it is this: Chris and I have had an incredibly positive experience with CBD oil. It has done more for me than even ashwagandha in terms of stress levels, mood and sleep.

I'm a skeptic. I like research and I need proof and I need to know the why. CBD has earned a place in my routine and I hope the below information can help you find what you need. 


 Introduction to CBD Oil ( Cannabidiol Oil) for wellness. Everything you wanted to know as a CBD oil curious consumer. 

What is CBD Oil? Is CBD Oil "Weed oil"?

CBD oil is legal when it is derived from industrial hemp and therefore available everywhere. There is no THC in CBD oil. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana that makes it illegal in some states. CBD oil is derived from industrial hemp and must contain less than 0.3% THC.  Marijuana on the other hand has 5-20% THC. There are many compounds in hemp and cannabis and over time, different industries have bred and isolated certain attributes for what they desire. Hemp and cannabis come from the same species of plant. But hemp has been used for a long time for fibers, food (hemp seeds/hemp hearts) and skin care.

When you are purchasing CBD Oil the name designates it has no or only trace amounts of THC (depending on your brand and where you are purchasing). For example, if you are buying CBD oil from a medical marajuana dispensary, it's proooobably going to contain THC and is likely derived from cannabis, but should designate this on the packaging.

CBD oil derived from industrial hemp is not marajuana. It will not give you a 'high' because it is not psychoactive. Always follow laws in your specific state, period.


Why is hemp often grouped together with marijuana?

Unfortunately like many things, sometimes items get grouped together when they shouldn't be for the sake of messaging simplicity. In the 70's when the Controlled Substances Act was passed, hemp was lumped in with marijuana, creating the misconception it was a 'drug' and harming one of the oldest domesticated crops.

But things are obviously changing. As marijuana becomes legalized in states, the acerage of hemp cultivation specifically has increased 140% from 2016-2017.  I think as people become more knowledgable about marijuana and hemp and their obvious differences, the lingering unnecessary taboo nature of hemp will disappear. 

I actually received an email from the VA Farmers Market newsletter in April of 2018 with an announcement that Virginians may begin growing and marketing hemp products through a simplified registration process under a Virginia research pilot program. 


How do you take CBD oil?

CBD oil is consumed as a liquid either added to a smoothie, on your food or in a spoon straight up (my method of choice).  There are other CBD products available that can be applied topically etc, but for the purposes of this post, we're talking about CBD oil taken orally. 


How does CBD Oil work in your body (what is the mechanism)?

Cannabinoids (CBD and THC) attach to specific receptors in the body. CB1 and CB2 receptors relate to different things. THC attaches to CB2 receptors which deal with coordination, movement, pain, emotions, mood, thinking, memory and appetite. CB2 receptors are what CBD attach to and are found mostly in the immune system. They affect inflammation and pain. There is also some current research indicating perhaps CBD also acts in encouraging the body to use it's own produced cannabinoids. 

CBD works with seratonin receptors and therefore creates an anti-anxiety effect.  For inflammation, CBD binds to TRPV1 receptors. You can really dig into the specifics, but for the 101 version, CBD binds to and activates receptors that result in a calming, mood boosting effect. 


What are the benefits of CBD Oil?


Is CBD safe while pregnant or breast feeding?

All of my research is turning up the answer we get to basically every question related to a supplement and pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding: there's not enough information to form a conclusion. Then again, will we ever see any studies with supplements and this population? Think about it- I'm not insuring anyone testing on this population.

I've read pieces that say CBD oil (again, remember- no THC) is safe in both cases and a good alternative to many prescription drugs and their side effects. HOWEVER, I can't find scientific evidence to give you this answer. I think if we wait a few years we'll see studies come out on this. 


Can I give CBD oil to my child?

CBD likely has benefits for pediatric epilepsy BUT just like above, more studies need to be done for efficacy and safety in the pediatric population. 


What CBD Oil product do you take?

NOT SPONSORED. PERIOD. My first and current product with CBD is CAP Beauty's The Daily Hit. It has CBD in an avocado and coconut oil base. It has adaptogens including reishi as well as other ingredients like sea pearl for improved skin. Daily Hit is $96 for one bottle (half teaspoon is a serving). I know some people will look at that and think it's expensive but here's how I calculate if something is "worth it" or not. 

When Chris and I look at the noticeable benefits it has produced for both of us, we calculate how much we would have spent on other methods to produce the same result. For me, that means the cost of adaptogens plus massage plus the cost of time- when I feel anxious and shitty and stressed that significantly reduces my enjoyable and productive time. The cost of feeling happy and calm depends on the person. 

Are there other products out there? DEFINITELY. But I hesitate to switch because I have had such a good response to this product. 


What have you personally noticed while taking cbd oil?

When Chris and I start a new wellness routine we check in with each other to verify results. "Have I been X?" "How do you feel in X area?". It helps us figure out if a change is due to the new addition, a placebo effect, or something else. We did this with ashwagandha for verification. The other reason we do it? Chis is the person who will literally get the "5% of consumers have this side effect" they're studying from a medication and haven't released the official results to yet. BUT, Chris has had no negative side effects thus far. We also both agree, on a day when not taking it, you don't feel like the polar opposite to when you're taking it. There's no 'addiction'. There's no crazy swing backwards. So if you know you're going to have a relaxed day, you can totally skip. With that said, if you have it on you, and the day is just NOT going well, you can definitely take a dose and it starts to work in about 20 minutes.

In general we both feel CBD oil may be a good fit for you if you are stressed, anxious and also have something in particular you need to "get over" mentally. For example: if it stresses you out to have people over, take CBD oil, have people over- you'll be totally relaxed and calm about it and then you'll realize it was fine. It's kind of a mental habit breaker related to anxiety inducing activities.


  • Better mood and tolerance for stressors: This is the biggest benefit for both of us. Highly noticible. Unimportant things that would bother me or stress me out just don't seem like such a big deal any more. My threshold for what causes me to really stress out has been raised. I'm more calm and happy. 
  • Better sleep: If this is one of your main goals, I've seen suggestions to take it 20 minutes before bed. This was just a nice residual bonus for me after taking it in the morning. I also want to note this does not make me SLEEPY, just calm.
  • Reduced appetite: We think it may have curbed stress induced snacking or possibly seeking dopamine hits/rewards with food due to serotonin increase? 
  • Reduced checking of social media/email: CBD oil can have serotonin boosting results, and checking social media produces a hit of dopamine. So was my increase in serotonin reducing my dopamine seeking hits? My other explanation is because CBD regulates mood, maybe we're not seeking external methods of 'medicating' for reward hits. 
  • Works well with those with generalized anxiety/ ADD: Chris has ADD but does not take medications. This has helped without the extremely shitty side effects that can come with some ADD medications. 


I'm interested in your experiences, questions and additional reading. Send it my way!

Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.