Let's talk CBD: My Experience & Brand Reviews
If there's one thing I can't shut up about these past few months, it's how different I felt ever since I took my first dropper of CBD oil. Every person I talk to wants to know why I take it, and many people around me are really nervous about it and think I am 'brave'. I didn't realize there was so much fear around CBD and cannabis in general, so I wanted to share my honest experience and feedback, as well as some incredible findings and research about the cannabis plant itself. This is going to be a long one... you ready?
Let's be honest, CBD is confusing AF. Is it Cannabis? Is it hemp? Is it a drug? Is it safe for everyone? Are you going to get high? All questions I was asked when I first started telling friends I took it every day. So let's break it down:
WTF is CBD?!
CBD stands for cannabidiol. Both CBD and THC are different forms of cannabidiol, they both come from the cannabis plant, but only THC gets you high. Pretty simple!
How does it affect our body?!
It’s tough to say what CBD really does for the body, because it does something different for everyone which is what makes it so incredible. What most people use CBD for is health issues like pain and anxiety relief, insomnia and digestion, and as an anti-inflammatory.
From a scientific perspective, we can better understand how it affects us. Inside of our body, we have an internal system called the "endocannabinoid system" comprised of receptors that interact exclusively with cannabinoids like THC and CBD. This system is responsible for regulating homeostasis in our body, i.e. maintaining balance and equilibrium. What is amazing about the discovery of this internal system is that it shows that our bodies were actually designed to interact with cannabinoids!
Endocannabinoid receptor sites are present throughout numerous functions of the body, which suggests that they play a role in maintaining the health of each of our bodily systems. So, if you imagine the body like a well-oiled machine, each system within the machine works together to keep it functioning optimally. The endocannabinoids within each of these isolated systems (digestion, brain, immune system, etc.) help to maintain these systems and keep them in their best state. In fact, research reveals that when CBD bonds with CB1 or CB2 receptors, it alters and can improve the capabilities of that receptor site, thereby improving its functionality.
"By bonding with our body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD not only helps to maintain vital health functions― it helps to restore the homeostasis, or balance, within the body. This is the root of its many health benefits" - Medium
When your body is more balanced and less stressed health-wise, it puts you in a more optimal healing state. What is amazing about taking CBD for health reasons is that it is helping your body to move towards homeostasis, the ideal healing state, without ever building up a tolerance to it (which means we can't get addicted!).
What is the difference between marijuana and Hemp?
To make this simple, let's start by talking about the plants themselves. Basically, cannabis is the umbrella term that includes both hemp and marijuana plants. Cannabis Sativa is actually the scientific name of the cannabis plant (Cannabis = genus; sativa = species), and hemp and marijuana are just two different “varieties”.
The key difference between hemp and marijuana is that hemp contains almost zero THC (the one that gets you high). In order to be classified as a hemp plant, a cannabis plant must contain less than 0.3% THC by volume. This is really important because it’s actually the whole reason why hemp products are legal to buy, sell, and ship in the United States. Capiche?
How do I get CBD into my daily life?
Good question! If you are in a state where cannabis dispensaries are near you, I would go take a look at the options they offer, and chat with a consultant. I found this to be so helpful when getting started on my CBD health regimen. There are so many ways to take it: as a concentrated oil or tincture, a topical cream, in food and drinks, as supplements in pill form, in vaporizers, patches and more!
If you are not in a state where dispensaries are nearby, you can buy a full spectrum Hemp Oil online, since Hemp has many benefits including high doses of CBD without the THC element.
So... is CBD legal?
With increasing legalization of cannabis and cannabinoids across many US states, its constituents including THC and CBD for either medical or recreational use are now legal. But it is still not federally approved, which might be confusing for some because of the legalization of hemp (not exactly the same as the marijuana plant, remember). Since marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, but legal on a state-by-state basis (it is fully legal here in California, obviously), growers and cannabis businesses cannot transport marijuana and THC-containing products across state lines.
To put it simply: states that have legalized marijuana see all CBD products as legal. There are only four states that consider all marijuana-derived products, including CBD, to be illegal: Kansas, Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
What kinds of benefits can I expect?
It seems like everyone can benefit from CBD in some way! Here are many things I have read:
- reducing chronic pain
- reducing inflammation
- reducing anxiety
- reducing nausea
- depression treatment
- helping with insomnia
- reducing psoriasis
- lower risk of diabetes
My personal experience with CBD
Let me just preface this portion by saying that I did not start taking CBD for any one reason in particular, and I do not suffer from any diseases. I wanted to try CBD because I had read lots of studies about the body and its natural homeostasis, and I wanted to see how I felt and what areas of my life were improved. So I didn't have any huge expectations!
With that said, here is what I noticed:
Immediate clear-headedness, focus, higher energy levels. This was HUGE for me. I usually don't get a surge of energy until the afternoon, despite sleeping well, taking adaptogens, removing blue light, cutting coffee, all the things I was told to do. CBD changed my life by giving me more hours in a day where I feel ALIVE, focused, and energetic. I cannot stress enough how huge this was for me.
Another big one for me was digestion. I have always had a slower digestive system because I have low stomach acid, and I know this about myself. I often get bloated after meals, and feel like it takes me FOREVER to get hungry again. After taking CBD for a week, I never had bloat once. I digested my food so well, and went to the bathroom regularly.
I also noticed a significant decrease in anxiety. This was something I didn't even know I suffered from, but as soon as I started taking CBD, I realized that my complete "chill", lack of racing heart, and lack of stress in new situations or while driving in traffic just wasn't there. I didn't get irritated during the day, I was so patient and calm with situations that used to give me major stress attacks, and it was mind-blowing to me. I feel like the most calm and collected person on the planet, guys!
Brands I Have Tried & My Feedback
Cost: $40 USD
These were the first CBD drops I ever tried, they were recommended to me by a professional at our local cannabis dispensary. Their CBD oil is extracted from sustainably grown CBD-rich cannabis in Northern California’s Emerald Triangle.
The Ratio of 18:1 stands for 18 CBD to 1 THC. So this tincture does contain small amounts of THC, although I felt no high whatsoever. The package does warn against driving a car immediately after taking this, so that shows how strong its effects can be on the body and mind.
My thoughts: The first week I started taking this I noticed an immense sense of calm.
The second week I noticed that I had 0 brain fog, and was so focused and accomplished during the day.
On my third week I got my period, so I doubled my dosage when I felt cramps coming on. They were GONE completely within 20 minutes. My mind was blown.
How to take it?
I took half a dropper under my tongue once daily in the morning.
Would I buy it again?
Definitely, I absolutely loved this product.
Cost: $40 USD
I was drawn to this one immediately because of the packaging and the fact that it was local to my area. What's more, they are a women-owned company with a commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices and quality ingredients. Humboldt Apothecary’s Sweet Jane 20:1 CBD:THC tincture is made with clean cannabis oil from some of the most nurtured indica and sativa cannabis hybrids on the planet.
This tincture has a coconut MCT oil base, so it tastes smooth and round and mild. It’s not the cheapest tincture available, but one bottle lasts awhile due to its efficacy and small dosages. This tincture supports relief of minor pain, mild inflammation, stressful feelings, muscle spasms, and anxious feelings.
My thoughts: I have been obsessed with this since I brought it home, maybe it is just because of the packaging, but I literally am in love. The ingredients are so clean and pure, the taste is clean and flawless, and I can take much smaller doses (4-5 drops) than the other tinctures I have tried.
After taking a dose of this, I feel xxxxxxxx
How to take it?
Take 4-5 drops under the tongue and hold before swallowing. This one is strong, so a little goes a long way.
Would I buy it again? 10000% YES. This one is my absolute FAVORITE.
Cost: $25 USD
Unlike the other tinctures I tried in this post, this one comes from the whole hemp plant, not the leaves of the marijuana plant. So technically this is not a "CBD" oil, but a full spectrum Hemp Oil, which contains CBD by default.
This full spectrum hemp oil is rich in Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, and is also known to have strong anti-inflammatory properties due to high levels of CBD. There are also studies that reveal hemp oil can help with anxiety and help calm you down after a long day. This particular oil does not disclose the levels of CBD present in each dosage, and if there is, how much per serving.
My Thoughts: This tastes absolutely awful. To be honest, it takes exactly like rancid hemp oil, and it was so gross to me. 30 drops is a huge serving size, so your mouth feels like it is drowning in oil, which was very unpleasant. As far as effects, it was not immediate. I wouldn't say that I noticed a huge effect on my mood or focus levels, but it definitely had a calming effect when used a few days in a row.
How to take it? Take 30 drops under the tongue daily. Wait for it to dissolve.
Would I buy this again? Full disclosure: I did not purchase this at retail cost, as I received it as part of a collaboration with Palm and Organique Science. If I am fully honest, I would not purchase this product in the future just becuase of the taste and serving size. However, this could be a good place to start if you are looking into using hemp for overall wellness purposes, and don't need it for any issue in particular.
"Papa & Barkley products are made with premium sun-grown cannabis combined with a little heat, pressure, and a whole lot of love". All of their tinctures provide a holistic, discreet and flexible option for those needing strong pain and anti-inflammatory relief.
My thoughts: Very strong flavor in the mouth, but not particularly unpleasant. I like that this has a very high ratio of CBD to THC, 30:1.
How to take it? A few drops under the tongue.
Would I buy this again? Yes, I would!
My Concluding Thoughts
Research shows strong evidence that THC and CBD are a powerful duo, and that they actually work best together. Scientific studies have established that CBD and THC interact synergistically to enhance each other’s therapeutic effects, which is why many CBD oils have a small amount of THC present in them, because they are derived from the marijuana plant and not the hemp plant. Anti-cannabis parties want to continue to demonize THC because when taken in large quantities, it can give you a high - but the truth is, it is all part of the same plant and all of its parts interact with our bodies to provide benefits.
My experience mirrored these findings, I genuinely felt a difference in my wellbeing when there was a significant amount of THC present in the product. My most underwhelming experience was with full spectrum hemp oil, but I should probably consider that since I started with a strong CBD:THC tincture, I perhaps didn't notice as strong of a result by comparison. This is not to say that it doesn't work, but since I saw such huge changes in my anxiety and mental clarity on tinctures made from marijuana plants and not hemp, I would conclude that for myself I feel the best when both cannabinoids are present and working together. I do not see myself ever stopping my daily drops of CBD oil, I can honestly say that they have changed my LIFE and that I will continue to experiment with different tinctures, edibles, inhalants, and topical creams and definitely explore different CBD:THC ratios as I go.