CBD is the best thing I’ve taken to help with my stress and anxiety. Here’s why I became interested in CBD:
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All stories start with some form of selfishness. I had a problem. I wanted the problem fixed. My problem was chronic stress and anxiety, and I felt like I had tried everything to fix it. As a dietitian and someone involved in the wellness world, I had done my research on lots of options. Feeling like you've run out of solutions is frustrating. And when you stumble upon a glimmer of hope for something you haven't tried, you become curious… maybe boarder-line obsessed to get more information.
The problem was, this was 2017, and the information available online for CBD was extremely limited. Which, let's be honest, only made me want information even more.
It's not that my stress is worse than your stress. Or that my stress required prescription medication to resolve chronic stress and anxiety. It doesn’t. I have the privilege of being very healthy and happy, and having the education to understand my body.
My stress is self-imposed stress to be honest. My husband and I run our own business. We are renovating a historic house ourselves (thanks to a bad situation with a contractor). We had sick family members. I was sitting on a board of directors for a volunteer organization and putting out “fires” daily. It was just life. But I knew I could and should be doing to help my body deal with it.
If you’re familiar with the Enneagram personality test, I’m a “one”. It means by nature I’m organized, productive and feel the need to do things “correctly”. It also means I push my stress and emotions into a tiny box and, as I’ve heard it so perfectly described, put it on a shelf that says “to deal with later”. The problem being, eventually you have to deal with all of it at once “later” and you don’t let anyone else see the result.
I had tried meditation (which did help. Headspace is excellent!). I tried adaptogens (ashwagandha was the first thing that ever made a beneficial impact for me in the supplement world). I got an exercise routine. I talked to friends. I had a gratitude journal. But day to day, it wasn't enough. I held my stress, anxiety, and definitely my emotions inside. The routine above helped tamp down the eventual outburst my body would have twice a year, forcing me to slow down, evaluate, and wonder what I could be doing better. The in between always manifested visibly, as a cold sore, a break out or under-eye circles.
I started seeing tiny mentions of CBD in my periphery of sources that were pretty deep into the wellness world. No one was talking about CBD the way they are now. The farm bill hadn't passed (December 2018). Hemp was technically still in the same category as cannabis. There were substantially less products being sold. It was very much a legal grey area. But the information I was seeing was promising, and it sounded like people like me were seeing results. Inevitably, when you see or talk to people who seem like you, and they like a product, your brain tells you to try it.
The funny thing is, when I first started researching CBD, I never saw CBD as part of a cannabis-related conversation. I have never smoked pot before. I've never had the college weed brownie experience (I was a rule following, club president control-freak hell-bent on getting into post-graduate internships and passing organic chemistry). Even when I wrote my first article on CBD in early 2018, people mentioned (and still mention) to me how much they enjoyed the fact it was me writing and experimenting in this space. I didn't fit their perception of what someone in the CBD conversation “should” look like (a stoner, crunchy granola person, etc. and a conversation that deserves its own post).
I saw CBD as more of an extension of the wellness adaptogen, plant healing space. And I still do (although I have a much better understanding of the botanical and societal intricacies of CBD and cannabis). Cannabis was not something I used. I did not hear about CBD because of it. I tell you this because you might be like me: someone who is looking for a wellness tool to get better but is nervous about the general public perception of misinformation related to CBD. And if you’re the other way around- someone who utilizes cannabis for wellness and heard about CBD because of it- that’s fine too (you do you!).
These are, perhaps, the two most significant barriers to entry for people in the world of CBD. They equate CBD to cannabis (I still have colleagues who believe CBD is the exact same thing as illegal-in-some-states cannabis …it's not). And/or they are afraid to try something that feels like 'someone like me' wouldn't add to their wellness routine.
If we jump back to why I started taking CBD, we were in the midst of "she did her research and is actively looking for excuses/reason to take/not take CBD." I was traveling for work and met up with someone who worked in the wellness world. Long story short, she hands me extra CBD she has on hand. I am, therefore, out of excuses.
I come home, we try CBD and both my husband and I immediately- truly within an hour- cannot get over how we feel. I don't mean to be dramatic, but we feel life-changing-good. And that is beyond annoying because I could have had those results much sooner. This was no placebo effect. Chris and I are hyper-aware of how we feel, where we feel it and we cross check against eachother. We keep notes. We try to be objective.
That shit worked.
I feel significantly less stressed and anxious. I am instantly "over" worrying about all the shit that I had been unnecessarily stressing about. We accomplished home/life-related projects we had been putting off for weeks because they had felt too emotionally stressful.
CBD doesn't dull you or suppress you. For both my husband and me, our experience with CBD is it tells your inner critic/stress dealer to STFU so you can accomplish what you need to do. You don't always feel like the next email, or forgetting something at the grocery will be the thing that sets you off into being unnecessarily upset. For Chris, it makes him stop his cycle as information gatherer to “know everything” before starting a project. He just starts. It takes the stress peaks out of the days you need it. It gave me the emotional/stress reduced headspace I needed to sort through daily emotions instead of packing them away.
I'm a skeptical, science-driven person. And even as I convey my CBD experience to you, it sounds too good to be true. It seems like every supplement claim out there in a market full of scams. But it's not.
Since I started taking CBD over a year and a half ago, it's gotten me through a lot. It's helped me through family deaths and care-taking that exhausted us for nearly half a year. It's gotten me through a project so big I would have typically cracked multiple times by now. I’ve had a single cold sore in a calendar year (by comparison I would get them about once a month).
We don’t take CBD every day. We take it occasionally, and in times of deep stress, daily for a week or two. It’s not an answer to everything, but it is by far the best tool in my wellness toolbox.
Without a doubt, CBD is the one wellness thing that has changed my life the most. This isn't some massive, dramatic reveal of CBD and "fixing" disease. I share this because you might be like me: someone privileged to be healthy, happy, and informed, but who needs some help.
You don't need to look a certain way or have been "into" cannabis in your teens and twenties to be interested in CBD. In fact, you don't need to do anything except your own research.
If this is the excuse you’re looking for to try CBD, you’re out of excuses now.
Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.