CBD: What Is It and Does It Really Work?

 Pin this photo to read the post later! 

Pin this photo to read the post later! 

Suddenly, cannabidiol (CBD) oil seems to be everywhere. People are dropping it into their morning coffee, swallowing capsules, and loading it into their vape pens. There are claims that it relieves anxiety and depression and masks chronic pain. Many of you know that I have been obsessed with testing out various CBD products over the last few months!

So, what is it and does it really work? Over the past few months I have experimented with various forms of CBD oil to monitor how and if they helped alleviate the symptoms of my anxiety. 

Disclaimers: (1) I am not a medical professional, nor a CBD expert. The goal of this post is to share information about CBD and my personal experience with it. I did my best research and fact-checking for accuracy.  (2) I was not monetarily compensated for these brands nor do I receive affiliate dollars if you buy them. They are honest opinions and reviews.

INTRO TO CBD

What is CBD? CBD is one of many compounds, known as cannabinoids, that are found in the cannabis plant. 

So, is CBD marijuana? Until recently, the most well-known compound in cannabis was THC. This is the most active ingredient in marijuana (and the one that alters the mind and makes you high). Marijuana contains both THC and CBD, but the compounds have different effects on the body. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. This means that you will not be getting stoned (sorry).

Is it legal? That depends. The legality of CBD depends on which state (or country) you reside in. There are 2 kinds of CBD. Hemp CBD products are available widely online (and what is legal here in West Virginia) whereas cannabis derived CBD products are only available in some states at medical dispensaries. I have only tried hemp derived CBD. 

Does it create a dependency? Research shows that CBD does not cause dependence. It can be a great alternative for those trying to stay away from opioids or pharmaceuticals in general. 

What dosage is right for me? Start by taking small doses and observe what happens. Listen to your body. Make small adjustments. 

THE BENEFITS

Why are people using it? 

  • CBD has been proven to have natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties. This is great for those suffering from chronic pain from diseases like fibromyalgia or even pain associated with cancer. 
  • CBD has been proven to have anti-seizure properties. 
  • It can also be used to topically treat skin conditions. More and more CBD is being recommended for those with acne or eczema! It can be worked into your regular skincare routine, regardless. 
  • Struggling with nausea or vomiting? CBD can be used to treat it. 
  • And the big one: anxiety. The whole reason I sought out CBD products was to help treat my anxiety symptoms. CBD has been shown to reduce levels of stress and anxiety even in individuals that suffer from PTSD or OCD. 

HOW TO USE IT?

CBD comes in a variety of forms; the selection of products can be overwhelming! Some more expensive than others. There is everything from oil, tincture, sublingual spray, topical creams, infused with essential oils and even edibles. You will want to determine what symptoms you are hoping to alleviate to determine which method of consumption is best for you. 

If you are wanting to use CBD oil for its anti-inflammatory properties on your muscles or joints, a gel or cream would probably be best. Similarly, if you want to use it to treat or prevent acne, a topical treatment would be ideal. For very low doses, some companies sell CBD infused with essential oils in a roller form. 

For all other symptom treatment, you will want to choose something that has the dosage you are looking for that is easy for you to consume. You can place drops of oil under your tongue (and let it soak in), you can add it to foods or drinks that you consume like coffee or tea. CBD capsules are also an option, these are typically a higher dosage, but not always. You can also purchase a spray that you can aim at the back of your mouth. 

 Blue Ridge Hemp CBD gel - great for muscles and joints!

Blue Ridge Hemp CBD gel - great for muscles and joints!

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE  

I tried many variants of CBD products. I tried products from Plus CBD, Blue Ridge Hemp and Appalachian Cannabis Company. In fact, I tried most of the product types that I listed above. I wanted to use CBD to see if helped alleviate some of the symptoms of my anxiety. That being said, I do find that taking CBD orally does help. However, it does not erase my anxiety. Unfortunately, anxiety doesn't 'go away' but taking CBD regularly alleviates the tight feelings in my chest, as well as making me feel an overall more calm feeling. 

As for my preference in which product to use, I honestly preferred the softgel capsules. It was easy, tasteless and provided the right dosage for me. I did not take one of these daily, only about every 2 to 3 days. I also enjoyed this tincture of peppermint CBD added into my morning coffee. This has been a great alternative to sweeteners or creamer, so if you drink something that you would like adding peppermint to, try a tincture. 

I also saw a benefit from CBD in my sore muscles. I used this ointment after lifting heavy at the gym, and noticed that my muscles were not as sore the next day than on days where I did not use the ointment. If you have joint or muscle pain, I would highly recommend adding in a topical CBD product to your routine. 

I have yet to try CBD bath salts or sunscreen, but I am very interested in these two products and will update this post as I try more things! Some still see CBD as controversial, and that is okay. I encourage you to open your mind and try it out, especially if you suffer from an ailment that it has been proven to help with. 

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