Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis that actually gets you high and causes symptoms like red eyes, cottonmouth and sleepiness. But as the race to produce even more powerful strains of hemp is becoming more intense each day, another vital chemical in this plant is having its moment: cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD, a naturally occurring cannabinoid constituent of cannabis, can’t get you high but still may have positive effects on your body.
Cannabidiol is available in different forms such as oils and extracts, as well as hemp flower strains that have been bred for high CBD content. It’s recommended that you find out the effects of CBD, regarding how it may or may not make you feel, before deciding to make your way to the market to buy CBD products.
Calmness and Relaxation
Unlike THC, which has been proven to modulate the neurotransmitters that are involved in fight-or-flight responses—and as a result, triggers anxiety for some users—CBD has been shown to have the complete opposite effect. Many CBD users say that it eases stress and anxiety, helping them achieve a sense of calm.
Relieves Inflammation and Pain
By interacting with other endocannabinoid receptors, CBD may also reduce pain, swelling and inflammation for some users. Science has shown that cannabidiols have some analgesic properties. This is the reason behind the huge number of topical creams and salves that have been infused with CBD, and they have been designed to be applied directly to the skin.
While the potential for CBD’s health benefits appears promising, there is still much research that needs to be done before it is considered as a medical treatment. The following are some of the effects reported thus far by CBD users and the limited studies that are currently available.
CBD may have the ability to improve mood and benefit people experiencing symptoms of depression. Based on what we currently know, it doesn’t necessarily boost serotonin levels, but might have an impact on the way chemical receptors in your brain respond to the existing serotonin in your system.
A 2018 study that was conducted on depressed mice and rats (no kidding) found that a single dose of CBD can help to reduce symptoms of depression for up to one week. For part of the study, the animals were placed cylinders filled with water and forced to swim; those that received an injection of CBD were able stay mobile, or continue swimming, longer than the animals that received no injection. A reduction in “immobility time,” the researchers explained, indicates antidepressant-like behavior. The same scientists also discovered CBD didn’t cause any effect on the motor functions of the rats and the antidepressant effect was primary influenced by CBD.
Control Your Mental Health
As CBD is explored more, the conversation about the effects of CBD also continues. This is especially focused on how CBD works together with its counterpart, THC. With the information above, however, you might have noticed the whole conversation about how CBD “feels” depends on what you don’t feel when you take it, such as depression, inflammation, pain, anxiety or nausea. This is the main point of comparison for both chemicals. They may have similar advantages regarding therapeutics effects, but they also carry some other effects, which are not all predictable or benign.
Compared to marijuana, which contains higher levels of THC, you might consider CBD the “safer” alternative. If you strictly follow the prescribed dosage of CBD, you will most probably know it’s working due to the gentle fading away of the condition that ails you.
Here’s What Happened When I Took CBD Oil for Anxiety
Let me first admit that I was a bit skeptical when I first learned about hemp oil. The first thought in my mind was marijuana and all the bad experiences I had with it in college. I am a person who’s already prone to anxiety and overthinking, and using marijuana, in whatever form, would automatically result in my mind going into overdrive and lead to a side effect that I have grown to dread: paranoia.
Just a little bit of online search led me to discover a good hemp oil that contained CBD as the main ingredient. For testing purposes, this is the product that I had been offered. Compared to the other vital compound in marijuana and hemp plants, THC, which will make you feel high, I learned that CBD actually has the opposite effect.
I must admit that the science that supports the use of CBD seemed to calm my nerves. However, it was the inspiring stories shared by many users of the product that really motivated me to try it. One of the users, Charlotte, who was only six years old, was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy identified as Dravet Syndrome. She was then placed under hospice care, and her parents became very desperate and frustrated that pharmaceutical medications weren’t working. That was when they considered medical marijuana. As we’re speaking, Charlotte is now 99% free of seizures since she began supplementing her medication with CBD oil. The brand was actually named after her, Charlotte Figi.
I was left in complete awe at the powerful effects of CBD oil. This was especially true when I learned that it might help with everyday ailments like nausea, pain, migraines, inflammation, and anxiety. Given this information, I was satisfied that CBD was quite safe to use and I asked for a sample. For seven consecutive days, I took a full dropper of CBD oil.
My First Impression
I had recently been to California, and the bad bout of jet lag that resulted from the trip inspired me to try out CBD oil. My reservations about cannabis-based products had understandably kept me away from trying it out for a few months. Knowing that the CBD oil had helped some people deal with their sleep issues, I confidently squeezed a full dropper of the CBD oil, with full adherence to the instructions that I had been given, on to my tongue. Then, I waited.
Half an hour later, the effect was surprisingly subtle. I expected that there would be an effect similar to that of melatonin, but the CBD oil went way off my expectations. My body just relaxed ever so slightly. My mind slowed down, my legs relaxed, and my heart ceased its constant heavy pounding against my chest. I was feeling calm. I can’t tell for sure if it was the late hour or the effects of the oil but as time faded away, physical relaxation lead to mental relaxation, and before I realized it, I was fast asleep.
As I woke up the following morning, what surprised me the most was the fact that there was not a single moment in which I felt “high”. It simply never happened. Similar to anti-anxiety drugs or pain medications, I can feel it now. Since for it to work completely, you have to wait a bit with the right dosage as well as consistency, I kept on taking the oil each day for the next six days. I only took it once a day.
Here’s what I felt:
- My anxiety levels went down
Under normal circumstances, I would feel heavily affected by simple things like stress over work, or a crowded subway car. However, the CBD oil seemed to have eased my anxiety to a great extent.
Instead of thinking too much about a stern email or overanalyzing a social interaction, I found it easier to recognize how irrational these thoughts are and just let them go. In some ways, I felt like I was coming back to myself. That said, I have gone through some social anxiety, especially when meeting new people. I would definitely be interested to know what would happen if I took the full dosage.
- I’m now more focused when working
I have discovered that I’m now more productive when working under pressure. There are always constant distractions at work, especially from emails, the people around Slack and me. This continues to a point where it gets difficult to complete my work. However, this week has been different. It has become easier to block out all distractions (especially social) and “put my blinders on” when completing assignments. I am also able to focus on a particular task at a time. I’m of the opinion that this is thanks to the reduced levels of anxiety. I often feel frazzled each time my anxiety runs high, but now, I feel a new calm and clarity that enables me to focus.
- I’m falling asleep faster
The eased anxiety might also be responsible for this effect. It’s now taking just about 20-30 minutes for me to fall asleep rather than the normal 45-60 minutes. I am not only able to keep my mind off daily worries that keep me awake, but I am also able to shorten, or entirely skip, the tossing-and-turning phase. I obviously can’t tell if anything will disrupt this wonderful bliss, but I’m grateful it seems to be helping for now.
I certainly wouldn’t say that CBD oil has changed my life fundamentally. “It depends” is the typical response when you ask anyone who has taken supplements how long it takes to feel the effects— but the effects of CBD oil seem to be more subtle.
Given this information, I am curious to see the effects that will arise if I take the recommended dosage of two droppers each day of the 30ml bottle for one week. I also take some comfort in the fact that CBD oil is a natural treatment that may have promising effects for daily stress and anxiety. It’s important to note, before taking any CBD, a hemp-derived product, it is important to consult with your doctor.
*The majority of cannabidiol (CBD) products, including those sold by Blue Forest Farms, have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to be used for medicinal or therapeutic treatment. Since there has been no FDA evaluation of these products, many questions and data gaps exist concerning their benefits and toxicity.