So before you tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about because I’m not doing it right, let me say this – this site is full of my opinions, gleaned by using my own body as a test subject and going off at the deep end where wellbeing is concerned. Along with some well-researched information from credible sources on the tested and proven effects of CBD, of course.
I should also caveat the next few statements by saying that personally, I don’t like the feeling that cannabis produces in my body or my mind. And the more I speak to those suffering with anxiety disorders or PTSD the more I realise that while cannabis seems to soothe and heal a great many people, for others, it really messes with us, fogging us up, reducing our control over our thoughts and motor skills, inducing paranoia, irritability and, in the worst case, panic attacks. Not to mention weed tastes like the bottom of a wheelie bin. So what’s so different and special about CBD? Does CBD work like people say it does?
What is CBD?
I’m not a weed smoker and I’ve always been sort of gutted about that – I’ve liked the idea of weed and the way other people describe its effects, but whenever I’ve tried it I’ve never felt high or relaxed, just strange and strung out. And don’t get me started on ingesting the stuff. Edibles, marijuana in baked goods and all associated yummies provoke what I can only describe as daytime nightmares for me. So naturally, when rumours began to circulate that pure organic CBD was all the good stuff with none of the psychosis-inducing side effects, I was excited.
So for a little context, cannabidiol, or CBD, is a nonpsychoactive component of the cannabis plant. Conversely to tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC which is psychoactive component, the active compound CBD doesn’t make you feel high. It’s been suggested that CBD can help ease inflammation and physical pain by affecting the body’s neurotransmitters. It’s also been rumoured that CBD might ease anxiety symptoms and help with depression and insomnia.
So, I went shopping and also graciously accepted hemp-derived product samples. I used CBD drops under my tongue every night, glugged the infused smoothies, used the lube – which I’m a fan of, it must be said – and generously applied the face cream, the muscle rub and the lip balm. I even popped some strawberry flavoured CBD gummies on occasion.
How to take CBD
The idea with this stuff is to take it topically until you find the right dose for yourself. You have to allow it to build up a presence in your body and affect your existing endocannabinoid system – which is why if you read an #ad on Instagram that says ‘just a few drops on my tongue when I’m too anxious to sleep and I’m out like a light’ you probably shouldn’t believe it. It’s a very mild, unregulated plant-based medicine, it’s not chloroform and it definitely doesn’t work instantly.
So, after a few weeks of dosing myself and trying to find a routine that worked for my body, imagine my disappointment when that familiar feeling rose in my stomach – the anxious, slightly off, adjacent-to-reality feeling. Granted, it wasn’t as bad as it had been when I’d tried smoking weed but, cards on the table, it was a taste of the same feeling and I didn’t like it. ‘What a hoax’, I thought to myself. And then I assumed that all the bloggers saying it had helped them sleep, relieved period cramps and headaches and reduced anxiety were simply just lying.
However, later I did some thinking about how we each respond to medicines. When some people talk about ‘soothing their anxiety’ I assume they’re talking about the medically diagnosed, obsessive white knuckle anxiety I often experience. But they’re usually not talking about that. They’re just a bit stressed out by something or feeling a little insecure or overtired. Which begs the question – who’s conducting the clinical trials for these products, what’s the anxiety level of the people testing them and who are the people asking ‘does CBD work?’ What’s the relation between these three data points?
Does CBD work?
Everyone feels anxious because it’s one of the body’s most natural responses, but not necessarily to the point where their anxiety becomes a psychological issue that prevents a person from functioning properly. There are some things CBD simply can’t fix in certain people, and in some cases, CBD has actually been reported to have induced anxiety, nausea and irritability. And hey, that’s ok because not everything works for everyone.
I admit, I was a little upset when I’d assumed it was a hoax – and perhaps where some unregulated CBD products are concerned, it is a scam – but I’ve now more or less made my peace with the fact that it does absolutely nothing for me. After I’d accepted it just wasn’t a product that I vibed with, the thing that actually began to bother me more than whether or not CBD was effective in treating pain and anxiety, was where it came from.
Is CBD ethical?
CBD is everywhere now, so who’s behind the massive commercial boom? Who’s churning out the stuff to sell to wellness brands and cosmetics companies? I began to feel sceptical again because at this point, all I could think about was how demand drives market price, how competitive industries thrive at the expense of those at the bottom of the chain and how opportunists never miss a chance to exploit for profit.
Just look at how dicey things got with avocados and almonds. Health-loving vegan millennials weren’t thinking about markups, droughts, cartels or extorted farmers, because why would they? I thought about the sheer scale of the CBD industry and felt a little queasy – but that might have just been the strawberry gummies.
What do you think? Does CBD work for you? What are your thoughts on the health claims associated with cannabinol? Do you have any information about where the ingredients in your products comes from? I’d love to know. Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.