While this post mentions a product and company that I love, it is not sponsored!
CBD oil. I’m pretty sure that we’ve all heard of it at this point. I first heard about CBD in 2016, during my junior year of college. Some of my classmates were very excited because a local tea house had started carrying CBD-infused tea. They basically saw it as a way to access marijuana legally, since this was in Indiana after all. I was kind of curious about CBD oil, but I decided not to look into it. I always meant to try the local CBD tea, but I never got around to it.
Fast forward a couple years, it’s 2018. And the CBD craze is real, people! I started seeing bloggers and wellness influencers post about it more and more, but I still wasn’t exactly sure what it was. All I knew was that it couldn’t get you high. Meanwhile, I would walk into my local health food stores, like Lucky’s Market and Fresh Thyme, and see CBD all over the supplement section. Finally, after becoming pretty oversaturated in advertisements and Instagram posts about CBD oil, tea, lip balm, and body lotion, I had to start doing some of my own research.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for ‘cannabidiol’. It is one of the naturally occurring compounds extracted from the hemp, or cannabis, flower. Cannabidiol had been known in the past for its therapeutic properties. What CBD oil (or hemp oil) does is stimulate the endocannabinoid system, which helps to promote homeostasis in the body. This is what lends it properties that help with stress, pain, and anxiety. But with the negative opinions currently surrounding marijuana, CBD is just now resurfacing.
CBD is both safe and non-addictive. It has been the subject of extensive scientific research, and has been thought to provide relief for chronic pain, inflammation, depression, and anxiety. It is also being researched for its potential to treat people with many different disorders and illnesses. These include Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, autism, ADHD, Crohn’s, colitis, psoriasis, and so on.
So, based on this brief overview of the “powers” of CBD, why would a person with no serious health conditions or disorders (like yours truly) take CBD regularly? The answer is: anxiety.
My Experience with Anxiety
It’s hard for me to write about all of this and throw it all out there, but I need to be transparent and honest with you guys.
I had an inkling that I had anxiety for a long time. I have always had trouble meeting new people or even holding a conversation with classmates and acquaintances. In my childhood and teenage years, I was fearful of answering the phone, sending emails, or even ordering food for myself at a restaurant. My “anxiety” worsened during my years of poor health in high school, and I basically became irrationally concerned when anything “out of the ordinary” was happening with my body. I also developed breathing problems and was prescribed an inhaler that I probably didn’t need (today I don’t need the inhaler, and I think the breathing issues were caused by anxiety).
Most of my anxiety symptoms manifest themselves physically. Shallow breathing, heartburn, headaches, dizziness, fogginess, numbness, chest pain. I’ve experienced all of these things with anxiety.
When I was around 18 years old, I basically self-diagnosed myself with social anxiety. Knowing that such a thing existed (thanks Tumblr!) was very comforting for me. However, I still struggled during my sophomore year of college. I became super anxious about my arms falling asleep at night or that my hands were shaking. I was afraid of having some kind of neurological disease. Eventually these things went away and I was at peace.
During the summer after my sophomore year, I had a, may I say, “mental breakdown” while at a music festival in Colorado. Basically, I was alone, in the woods, in a cabin with no air conditioning or heat. I didn’t have any friends at all, my roommates always left me out of their activities, there was no Internet or cell service, and the bathroom was outside (silly, but walking in a storm just to get in a shower filled with moths and spiders was stressful, ok). Giant moths and wasps kept getting in the cabin, and I was always so worried I could barely sleep.
Camping has never been something I enjoy, but this, with no support from basically anyone, was almost traumatic. I was crying about 24 hours a day (besides when I had orchestra rehearsal). Eventually, I realized that the experience was really destroying my mental health and that I had to go home two weeks early. I do not regret doing that, but I don’t think my parents will ever forgive me.
After that, things were going pretty well in my life (besides a little “postpartum depression” after adopting my cat junior year). Then came the Fall of my senior year of college. This was when anxiety hit me the hardest, and when I knew that I finally had to get help.
The Last Straw
The first semester of my senior year is a blur to me now. I can only really remember that I was obsessed with the fact that I could be going crazy or developing a more serious psychological disorder, particularly schizophrenia. Granted, I was super miseducated about schizophrenia, but I was still completely obsessed with the thought that I could have it. I was so worried that what I was seeing was an illusion, or that I was hearing things that weren’t actually real. I was even worried that my cat wasn’t real! Now, all of these things that I remember thinking about seem silly. But at the time, they were so real to me.
I remember one day, it snowed in Bloomington. I sent a photo of the cars outside my building to my mom. Then, I asked her if she could see the snow.
Racing thoughts were consuming me. I felt miserable almost every second. I knew in my heart that I didn’t have any serious psychological disorder, but that it was just anxiety. But I kept wrestling with myself. I knew the anxiety had to end as soon as possible for me to continue with the two most important semesters of my undergraduate career. Graduation was right around the corner. I had tried almost everything. Drinking less coffee, journalling, moving my body, getting outside more often, taking vitamin D. I tried it all. With the waitlist that my university had to see a therapist, I knew that I had to see a doctor off campus to get medical attention. I was desperate to put an end to my own suffering (cheesy!).
Looking back on this whole situation, I can say that I was experiencing this anxiety because I was about to go through graduate school auditions and a major move and shift in life. But at the time, I was so sad and every day seemed impossible. I finally saw a doctor and was prescribed 50mg of Zoloft.
Managing My Anxiety with Medication
It took a really long time for me to see improvement with Zoloft. I eventually bumped up my dosage to 100mg, and I still take this dosage today. I can confidently say that Zoloft has helped me in more ways that I imagined. Usually, I experienced indigestion and breathing problems, but now I know they were caused by anxiety. I haven’t had either of those problems since I started taking medicine. The obsessive thoughts took until the summer after I graduated college to go away completely, but now I never think about these things unless there is some kind of trigger. I usually feel pretty good! But I still experience a little bit of anxiety with phone calls and emails and social situations. Medication doesn’t solve all problems, and it doesn’t make you a super happy person with no other emotions. It helps me feel more like me.
I do have some problems with Zoloft though. The main thing is that I get really, really crazy dreams. This started happening when I upped my dosage from 50mg to 100, and I have heard that this is pretty common for people on Zoloft. My dreams are so vivid that sometimes I think they actually happened. This gave me even more anxiety at first, but now I know that it’s just a thing that is always going to happen. But this little issue is what initially piqued my interest in CBD.
Finding and Choosing an Oil
The CBD oil that I use today is from the brand Ned, based in Boulder, Colorado. They refer to their product as full-spectrum hemp oil. I first heard about this brand through the blogger (whom I’ve talked about before) Addie Martanovic. She has written similar blog posts on using Ned’s hemp oil. She had a discount code for Ned, so I decided to look into the brand and the benefits of CBD oil.
Before I go on, I want to emphasize that Ned cannot cure any illness or disease. Most of the following information is based on Ned’s FAQ page.
To summarize, I chose to use Ned’s full-spectrum hemp oil because it doesn’t have any unnecessary ingredients in it. The only additive that Ned uses is MCT (coconut) oil. Ned doesn’t use any synthetics or CBD isolates (a lab isolated CBD compound that doesn’t contain other beneficial phytocannabinoids). Ned cold extracts their oil straight from non-GMO hemp flowers, and their oil contains other phytocannabinoids (which are other naturally occurring compounds along with CBD). These include CBG, CBC, CBDV, and hemp terpenes (which are what contributes to the oil’s unmistakable scent). Ned’s full-spectrum hemp oil also contains the smallest trace of THC (less than 0.3%), and it will not get you high.
Ned offers three different concentrations of their hemp oil: 300mg, 750mg, and 1500mg. The difference between these three is the ratio of the hemp oil to the MCT oil. Ned recommends that a new user should start with 10mg of the oil. This is one full dropper of the 300mg as compared to about a fourth of a dropper of the 750 and just a tiny bit of the 1500. So, the bottles with a higher concentration of hemp oil are way more cost effective! I currently use the 750mg.
If you choose to use a different CBD brand than Ned, please do your research! Know what you are putting into your body!
Now, let me delve into my own personal experience taking hemp oil daily for two whole months.
2 Months of CBD
I first started with the 300mg concentrate of Ned. My routine with it was taking one full dropper of the oil in the morning and again right before I went to bed. What I will say was the most shocking about taking the oil for the first time was the smell and the taste! Ned totally smells like pot. Very high quality pot. The taste is also the same, like pot. It takes a little getting used to (and plugging your nose), but I think it’s worth it!
CBD in the Morning
Initially, I didn’t really notice a difference. It definitely took me a few weeks to notice the effects (also I ran out of my 300mg bottle within 2.5 weeks or so! So the higher concentrations that Ned offers are a better deal as you run out less frequently!). Eventually, I began to see that taking the hemp oil made me feel a little more at peace in the mornings. It has helped me feel less panicked while getting ready and thinking about all the things I have to accomplish in the day. Now that I have switched to the 750mg, the same holds true.
CBD for Sleep
In regards to sleep, hemp oil hasn’t helped me very much. Typically, I don’t have any trouble falling or staying asleep, but I think CBD oil can be really effective for people that do have these issues. I was hoping that CBD would help ease my crazy Zoloft dreams, but it hasn’t. I think the only way to make these vivid dreams stop is to eventually wean myself off of Zoloft. It’s a little unfortunate! But of course, this product isn’t a miracle worker!
Now, I take Ned once a day- in the morning. I found that taking it at night made it a little difficult for me to wake up early, as I sometimes have to wake up at 5:30AM for my coffee shop job. Sometimes, I found myself feeling a little groggy in the morning if I took Ned the night before. If I had a lifestyle in which I could wake up later than 8AM every day, I would be fine taking Ned before bed!
Another important thing about CBD is how you take it. Personally, I follow the instructions that Ned provides and drop the oil under my tongue. Then I let it sit for about 30 seconds and swallow. I only put it in my coffee one time, but I have heard from other people that put it in their drinks that it is just as effective! I just wasn’t a fan of oil floating on top of my cold brew, and I wasn’t sure if I was getting the full dosage because of that.
A Summary of My CBD Experience
I think Ned’s full-spectrum hemp oil has been positive addition to my life. Ned is great because they don’t use any additives in their products, which means you can feel good about what is going into your body! While hemp oil hasn’t helped me personally with sleep, it has helped me calm down in the morning and look forward to the work ahead of me rather than panic.
I truly feel like Ned is a great company that is honest about its ingredients and effects of their product. Seriously, I feel that the hemp plant has powerful healing properties to help people in their everyday lives, as well as to possibly assist those with serious illnesses. I am happy to see the CBD “trend” grow, as well as wellness and food brands that are transparent that aim to make a positive impact on the world and people’s health!
I hope this post was helpful to you all! Have you tried Ned or another brand of CBD oil? Let me know below or send me a DM on social media! I’m always curious to and want to hear from you guys!