CBD, a compound found in the cannabis plant and an acronym for cannabidoil, is one of the most trending topics in the wellness world right now. With the promise of a slew of health benefits minus the psychoactive effects of THC (CBD’s bad-boy cousin), many are looking to it as a way to alleviate anxiety, aid in sleep, and combat high cortisol levels, among other things. While I’m relatively new to the routine of it, I’ve started taking full-spectrum CBD drops every night before bed (and gently pressuring my husband to do the same). In a surprisingly short amount of time (we’re talking about a week here), we’ve both experienced more restful sleep and decreased anxiety overall. The placebo effect? Perhaps. But Gabe Kennedy, co-founder of NYC-based Plant People, a start-up that sells CBD capsules, oils, and balms, insists “After trying it, some people will say they’ve had their best night’s sleep in years.”
CBD-curious yet? Good. You should be. Based on my own personal experience (and the expertise of Gabe), here’s what you need to know.
The first night my husband and I used the drops, I kept asking, do you feel anything yet? Then 5 minutes later, how ‘bout now? My husband, who drove a VW bus in high school while listening to The Grateful Dead on repeat, finally rolled his eyes and said, “not like that.” I knew this wasn’t meant to get us high, but I kept expecting to feel something...I don’t know, trippy. “It’s feels like the equivalent of getting out of a warm bath,” says Gabe. “Your shoulders relax and all seems ok.” Put simply: Because CBD oil does not contain THC (the cannabinoid that does get you high), there’s really no possibility that you can get high on it, no matter how much take. You will, however, get quite nicely relaxed. Once I stopped focusing on it “kicking in,” the edges softened ever so slightly and a calmness I hadn’t noticed before was now faintly detectable.
“We’re talking about a holistic medicine and not a pharmaceutical,” says Gabe. “It’s not going to feel like you took a Xanax.” In an over-prescribed society accustomed to the fast-acting effects of synthetic drugs, it’s hard for many of us to be in tune with what a more holistic approach feels like. There’s a subtlety to natural remedies that has sadly become foreign to us. “The expectation can sometimes be that this is going to be a cure-all, and it’s not,” says Gabe. “I had a customer once who wanted to return her product because she thought it was going to fix fundamental problems in her life. It was during the fires in LA, her sister was in the hospital, she had lost her job. I wish I could promise that you’re going to feel better as soon as you take it, but that’s not how it works.” Like incorporating any healthy habit into your life, you need to be disciplined about using it. “It’s like eating vegetables or meditating,” Gabe continues. “The profound shift happens when you commit to do it every day.” Also: it can’t be your only healthy habit. Taking CBD oil every night does not constitute a wellness routine; the good news, however, is that it can inspire you to adopt one. “It can perpetuate healthy living,” says Gabe. “There’s definitely a downstream effect.”
While the initial effects of CBD oil may only be mildly discernible, the reports are that over time (and not that much time) you’ll start to notice a level of calm enter all areas of your life. Like the temperature being turned up in a room, you may not notice an immediate and drastic change, but that doesn’t mean nothing’s happening. The effects show up smoothly and quietly. “I look at these compounds as balancing agents,” says Gabe. “CBD oil helps drive your body toward homeostasis. When our bodies are out of whack, that drives them toward disease.” So just how do we get the best results? “Start low and slow,” says Gabe. “Everyone is going to have a different experience, so there’s no prescription. Take 10mg, then see how you feel. If you want, take 10mg more after that. I personally take about 20mg every day.”
Knowing where the hemp was grown is important. Colorado is considered to have one of the best hemp programs, so a CBD product made from hemp grown there is always a good place to start. Also key is the extraction method. The Ministry of Hemp says, “We highly suggest going after CBD processed through ethanol and/or supercritical CO2 extraction.” Finally, only buy from companies that manufacture their CBD oil from the whole plant rather than only part of the plant. (Just look for a “Full Spectrum” label on the product.) The Ministry of Hemp goes on to say, “Using the whole plant ensures that the oil contains not just CBD, but also the full range of primary and secondary constituents of the hemp plant. These include terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids that are generally believed to work synergistically with CBD, making the benefits exponentially higher than CBD alone.”