Photo by Creative-Family Creative via Getty Images

My anxiety, however, seemed to stay the same

Rebecca Firkser
May 09, 2018

Food and lifestyle publications have recently gotten way into CBD oil as the new “it” supplement. CBD, the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, is baked into desserts at trendy bakeries and blended into coffees at hip cafes. You’ve probably seem your favorite Instagram influencers drop the oil under their tongues or into their morning green smoothie, saying it helps with anxiety, inflammation, chronic pain, and other day-to-day complications. As someone with pretty regular anxiety, I was eager to try incorporating CBD into my routine to see if these testimonials rang true.

CBD oil is wrapped up in the increasingly mainstream conversation about the legality of cannabis. Specifically, it’s becoming impossible to ignore the different way cannabis is covered by media based on its consumer. For example, an article will pop up about cool moms, typically white women, who smoke weed (obtained legally or illegally) as part of their daily self-care routine, characterizing a hit of a joint as no worse than a sip of wine. Conversely, the ACLU reports that of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88 percent were made for those who simply had marijuana on their person, and that black people were 3.73 percent more likely to be arrested than white people. While CBD and THC (the psychoactive drug in cannabis) are not the same thing, the topics shouldn’t necessarily be kept separate.

Currently, CBD is legal the United States, but there are some caveats. CBD can be either hemp- or marijuana-derived, the former containing 0.3 percent or less THC (not enough to get you high), and the latter containing up to three times that amount. While most CBD oils indeed contain that minimal amount of THC, some states will incorrectly characterize the oil as cannabis, which could get certain people into trouble.

l live in Manhattan, and I’m a white woman, so even though CBD is legal, I of course ran into no problems when I bought a vial of Charlotte’s Web CBD oil from my local health food store. I decided to incorporate the oil into my morning coffee for a week. While the packaging explained that the serving size was 1 milliliter of the oil, which would contain 10 milligrams of hemp extract, this didn’t mean that amount was necessarily the right dose for every person. Dr. Michelle Weiner, an interventional pain management physician, spoke to Popsugar explaining that the best way to start taking CBD oil is to start low and slow. "In general, while 25 milligrams a day is a healthy wellness dose, some may choose to start at 10-15 milligrams per dose," Dr. Weiner told Popsugar.

I started with 10 milligrams of CBD oil blended into my morning cup of drip coffee and a splash of milk. I suppose I could’ve just stirred it in, but I was worried about the oil separating to the top of my coffee. Three hours later, I noticed nothing different, but I was maybe a bit sleepy.

On day 2, I upped the dosage to 15 milligrams in my coffee. By the time I got to work, I was shocked at how tired I was feeling. I’d gotten plenty of sleep, so I wondered if I’d accidentally been too intense with my morning workout, but that seemed unlikely. Other than the sleepiness, I can’t say I felt any differently than any other day.

Days 3 and 4 were similar, and I stuck with the 15 milligram dose of CBD in my coffee. I found no change in my anxiety or mood, but still was pretty ready to take a nap for most of the day. It was also around this time that I started to think this would’ve been a better nighttime experiment.

On day 6, I planned to switch my CBD-ing to an evening caffeine-free drink. However, I actually found myself out at a breakfast meeting and was told by my server that CBD coffee was now available at the restaurant (though it wasn’t on the menu). My breakfast companion and I both ordered a cup, and I drank about 4 ounces of it. An hour later, I was ready for a beach chair and a long nap. We weren’t able to find out how much CBD was in that cup of coffee, but I imagine it was at least 20 milligrams. Had I not been back at the office at this point, I could imagine this dose would’ve eased my worries and lulled me off to a dreamless sleep. As I couldn’t leave work, I instead felt like I was operating on about 2 hours of sleep.

I'll be honest, I went back to 10 milligrams for day 7 because I was mostly annoyed. I was really hoping the CBD oil would make me feel soothed and bright-eyed, like being wrapped in blanket after a refreshing shower. It didn’t. At least, not for me, and not in the morning before work.

Ultimately, I think I need to experiment with different times of day before I can adequately determine what CBD does for me. I’d also probably need to commit to CBD oil for a longer period of time before I find what feels right. Like all supplements, it’s pretty impossible to judge exactly how they make your body feel after one week. Further, it’s impossible that what is right for me will be right for anyone else. If you’re interested in taking CBD, shop around. If you can, go shopping in person and talk about the different options available with someone at the store. If you’re already on medication, it’s probably best to chat about adding CBD to your diet with a health professional before plunging in. Experiment if you want, but don’t feel like you have to commit because it’s the new trendy thing. For all we know, it'll be out of vogue next month.

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