Chances are you’ve heard of CBD. It seems to be popping up in all sorts of trendy products, from supplements and skin-care creams to lattes served at local coffee shops. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is one of the many compounds found in cannabis and hemp plants. Supporters of the stuff anecdotally say that it causes a state of calmness and relaxation. But unlike THC, the most recognized cannabinoid, it is not a psychoactive compound nor is it intoxicating, meaning it won’t get you “high.” What’s more, CBD has been shown to have a host of health benefits, from providing relief for stress-related conditions to alleviating pain and inflammation to improving sleep quality.
But is it really worth all the hype it’s been getting? Skeptical, I recently set out to see whether CBD could help me chill the eff out. After doing some research online and attending one particularly informative panel discussion, I connected with Holiday, a company that produces CBD gummies that are sourced from organically grown hemp (meaning it isn’t exposed to pesticides or toxins) and THC-free. They offered me a one-month supply of the gummies, each with 10 mg of CBD extract, so that I could stress test the benefits for myself.
Here’s what happened when I took CBD gummies before five stressful situations. Spoiler: For the most part, I’m sold.
I enjoy working on multiple projects and tend to work well under pressure, but I will admit that my workload lately has challenged my time management skills. Because CBD has been shown to improve focus, I decided to take one gummy every morning before work for a week. On the first day, I didn’t notice much of a difference, but over the next few days, I found that I wasn’t over-analyzing tasks, was experiencing less writer’s block, and was less distracted by what was happening around me in our open office. I assume this was all related to my stress response, but I definitely felt less scatterbrained by the end of the week.
My thoughts tend to run wild at night, causing me to toss and turn. So knowing that CBD has helped people with sleep issues, I was eager to take the CBD gummies before bed. Unlike the nodding-off effect of melatonin, I found that they didn’t necessarily make me sleepy but instead helped me relax so that I could fall asleep faster. Though subtle, I could also feel a difference in how fast my heart was beating, and instead of overthinking things from the day or going over the following day’s schedule in my mind, I was able to settle into shut-eye within an hour – which, for me, is good! I should note that consistency is key; for best results, I would suggest taking CBD daily and giving it an hour or so to kick in before bedtime.
Before a flight
Full disclosure: Most of my travel-related anxieties could be avoided if I were a better planner. I’m usually running late for flights or worried that I forgot things because I chose to pack my suitcase last minute. Still, there are certain instances that are out of everyone’s control, like when my recent flight to South Carolina was canceled. Luckily, I had taken a CBD gummy before leaving for the airport, and I can say with certainty that it took off some of the edge. Instead of feeling completely tripped up, I was cooler and more collected than in situations past, allowing me to make other arrangements with a clear head.
For another flight two weeks later, I made sure to pop a gummy and felt Zen during a bout of turbulence and 45-minute delay in the sky. Needless to say, these are now a staple in my carry-on. (The Transportation Security Administration, aka the TSA, recently updated its policies about traveling with medical marijuana, stating that it’s completely legal to travel with hemp-derived CBD products.)
I know what you’re thinking: Sex isn’t stressful. But sometimes when I find myself struggling to get in the mood or reach orgasm, sex makes me terribly tense. Let’s call it performance anxiety. One lazy Sunday I decided to take a gummy, and later that afternoon my boyfriend and I started fooling around. The result was pretty mind-blowing. I was more relaxed, easily aroused, and quick to climax. Based on my research, this effect is likely because the human body has a network of cannabidiol receptors that latch onto chemical compounds like cannabidiol. They are located in our nervous system, immune system, digestive system, and, you guessed it, the female reproductive system to help the stress response, mediate sensations, and release muscle tension.
A recent report found that CBD can help relieve the inflammation and soreness caused by exercise, as well as shorten recovery time. As someone who exercises five or six days a week, incorporating a mix of cardio, strength training, and high intensity interval training, my expectations were low for this scenario. And to be honest, I didn’t notice much of a difference in muscle soreness when taking the CBD gummies. What I did notice, though, was less discomfort while working out, specifically from a pinched nerve on my lower back that I’ve been struggling with. While it didn’t take away the pain, I found it was less prominent during certain moves. This very well may have been in my head, or it could be thanks to CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects.
Want to try them yourself? Use code GLAM10 for $10 off CBD gummies at holidaycbd.com.