Wellness fads seem to come and go every year, as this health-obsessed writer vividly remembers when charcoal juices and kale had their overexposed day in the sun. And now, it seems CBD is the next superstar ingredient to get its turn in the spotlight, as the wellness market seems to be suddenly flooded with an influx of CBD-infused beauty balms, supplements, and chocolates within the last year.
Before we write off CBD as just another annoying health trend, it’s safe to say that the buzzworthy ingredient may hang around for quite a while, as NASDAQ reported last year that CBD sales in the United States will top $2.1 billion within the next two years. It has also become a more frequent ingredient in the kitchen.
Read more: Are You CBD Curious? Here’s Where to Start in the Kitchen.
Wait, What Is CBD?
Cwanza Pinckney, MD, an emergency-room doctor, explains that CBD is short for cannabidiol, the second most common cannabinoid in the cannabis plant after THC. CBD is not psychoactive, but it can give you a sense of relaxation — mentally and physically.
CBD, Pinckney says, can come from marijuana or hemp, and is allegedly used to treat a variety of ailments including seizures, pain, inflammation, abdominal pain, and neurological disorders, without being psychoactive. These benefits, however, aren’t exactly proven to be 100 percent true by medical professionals, making it something to keep in mind if you are indeed thinking about giving CBD a try.
Choosing your CBD product can be tricky, as Pinckney suggests that not all CBD products are created equal. CBD products, she says, vary greatly depending on whether the product is hemp- or cannabis-based, and on the strength of the product in question. But if you are pretty new to the whole CBD shindig and don’t know exactly where to begin, Pinckney recommends starting off low and slow and carefully building your daily CBD dosage over time.
I Tried CBD for a Month and Here’s My Experience
Ready to give CBD a try myself, I purchased both CBD supplements (Hemp Fusion Full-Spectrum PhytoComplex 3.0, $29.99) and CBD tinctures (Lord Jones High CBD Pain & Wellness Formula Tincture, $60 each) to see which product fit better into my daily routine. I consulted my local health food store to make sure I was getting what I was looking for. Below, I break my down my month-long experience with both products. Would it really make me less stressed? Would it relieve some of my inflammation? Let’s find out.
Week 1: CBD Supplement
Taking Pinckney’s advice, I decided to add CBD into my routine slowly and cautiously through supplements first — especially since I am used to taking a multivitamin regularly.
I was recommended to try the Hemp Fusion 3.0 supplements from a supplements advisor at my local health food store, as she explained that the product was easy for CBD newbies to take, and was derived from hemp oil extract (mature stalk and seed). The hemp seed oil in this product is blended with black pepper fruit and clove oil to support the endocannabinoid system, which is ideal for those seeking a daily level of phytocompound support. Phytocompounds surprisingly have their share of benefits, as a study published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health suggested that they contain both antioxidant effects and antimicrobial properties, and are increasingly gaining popularity for the prevention and treatment of viral diseases.
Alleged benefits aside, I will admit that taking my CBD supplements during the first week wasn’t a difficult challenge whatsoever. Throughout the week, I would usually take one capsule alongside my multivitamin first thing in the morning with breakfast. However, given that I was starting off with such a low dosage, I didn’t notice too many benefits (or side effects) immediately.
The first week I didn’t notice any decrease in my joint pain or that my anxiety (or sleeping habits) had drastically improved overnight. However, I was pretty glad that these supplements didn’t cause unwanted stomach aches, allergic reactions, or weird belches, something I have experienced with other trendy supplements before in the past.
Week 2: CBD Supplement
Week two proved to be a slightly more positive experience with my Hemp Fusion supplements, as I noticed a slight increase in my energy levels once I upped my dosage to two pills a day.
This also seemed to have a slightly more positive effect on my mood too, as I was satisfied with the number of things I was able to get done in a day, making me a somewhat happier individual that week. However, this, of course, could be the result of a placebo effect, as believing my supplements would work may have actually been the reason why they were “working” to begin with. Whatever the case, I was pretty pleased with how well the supplements fit into my daily routine without disrupting my work duties and performance at the gym.
Again, I couldn’t say these supplements were dramatically alleviating my pain (my joints did feel a little less stiff in the morning, though) and anxiety levels, but I definitely felt like I was doing something positive for my mind and body, as I tend to neglect the whole self-care thing a little too much.
Week 3: CBD Tincture
Week three meant that it was time to switch to over to my CBD tincture, something I was very excited about, considering that liquid supplements tend to be more effective (and fast-acting) in my eyes.
Each tincture (comes in lemon and peppermint flavors) contains up to 250 milligrams per bottle and is formulated with five simple ingredients including organically grown hemp. And unlike CBD supplements, these special liquid drops also retain the plant’s original terpenes and phytocannabinoids. Terpenes, according to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, have a very positive effect on human health, as they are allegedly known for their anti-inflammatory and even anti-tumorigenic benefits in some patients.
Each dropper offers approximately 10 milligrams of CBD, meaning you can take as much (or little) as you’d like. With this in mind, I started off carefully using one dropper a day (which is placed under the tongue) to see if it would make a difference.
Surprisingly enough, the effects from this liquid tincture were felt pretty quickly, as my chronic migraines had become more tolerable within days after taking it. Even my anxiety-related palpitations saw some kind of relief, as I felt somewhat calmer throughout the week as well.
Again, this could be a whole placebo thing for sure. However, I definitely felt my tincture acted a lot faster than my supplements. In just one week of adding into my routine, I felt a lot calmer and headache-free than before, making me eager to see what my fourth and final week would bring along.
Week 4: CBD Tincture
Given that I was halfway into my lemon-flavored tincture now, I was curious to see if the brand’s peppermint tincture would be any different. The peppermint-flavored bottle still offered up to 250 milligrams of CBD (with 10 milligrams per dropper), and this time around I took a full dropper and a half to see if that extra dosage would reap more positive results.
Thankfully, the extra dose did seem to help my achy knees! Fifteen minutes after I took it on an empty stomach, the joint pain I normally experience in the morning greatly subsided. My sleeping habits also seemed to improve; although I go to bed at a pretty reasonable time, I am a very restless sleeper and can be up for hours in the night, waiting to go back to sleep. When I took some of the CBD drops before bed, they seemed to help me wake up less in the night, making me feel a lot more rested (and not to mention productive) in the morning.
So,Was It All Worth It?
The short answer is yes. During my month-long experimentation with CBD, I felt like I had more energy, noticeably fewer migraines, lower anxiety, and at the end — as I mentioned — I even felt some relief with my ache-y knees. I definitely enjoyed the liquid drops from Lord Jones more than the supplements, but the price of the tincture might deter me in the future. But I’ll tell you this — for me, at least, the benefits were real.
Have you been trying CBD at all? Has it affected what you eat or how you cook? Tell us all about it!
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