I first began taking Cannabidiol (CBD) several years ago. My goal was to help stabilize the insane roller coaster that was my mood. I had already been put through the conventional psychiatry ringer and was tired of pills: SSRIs, mood stabilizers, beta blockers. They had all failed me. CBD, however, did not fail me. Here’s what I’ve learned from taking CBD.
It’s been the only thing that’s ever worked for me so far, and for that I thank the heavens daily.
What I’ve Learned from Taking CBD
I’ve spent the last few years writing articles about CBD, reviewing CBD products and making my own CBD oils. In that time I’ve come to learn that CBD, just like any other compound, requires a bit of finesse and education before you can potentially harness its full therapeutic value. Here’s what I’ve learned about CBD so far.
Lesson #1: Every body is different (and that’s okay)
One of the most common complaints I hear about CBD is “it didn’t work for me.” Let’s unpack that statement.
CBD is a phytocannabinoid—a cannabinoid produced by plants. CBD can feel so good because phytocannabinoids can interact with our bodies in a similar manner to our own natively produced endocannabinoids. This all takes place in our Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which governs several key body functions including mood and metabolism.
CBD can feel really potent to me but may not feel very strong at all to others. Many factors can govern how you respond to CBD including your metabolism, age and pre-existing conditions. Because of these factors, it’s always good to check in with your doctor to figure out the best course of action and dosing plan that works best for you.
In short: CBD may affect everyone differently. Which brings us to…
Lesson #2: What’s in a high?
Another common misunderstanding about CBD is whether or not it will get you “high” like THC does. The answer is no, it won’t get you high like THC…but it’s a little more complicated than that.
As mentioned prior our ECS systems and unique body chemistry is what determines how CBD will affect us. For those of us with certain conditions — say anyone with chronic pain — the mere absence of pain can seem like a high in and of itself. I’ve seen people smoke hemp straight out of the bag and still question themselves: “Is this really JUST hemp? Are you
sure this isn’t THC?”
Yes, it really is just hemp. No, you aren’t high. That’s just euphoria which may come from a lack of pain. The same could be said of treating anxiety, too.
To stay on the safe side until you’re sure how CBD affects you, it’s best to stay at home during your first dose.
Also Read: 3 Pros and 3 Cons of Intermittent Fasting
Lesson #3: Quality, quality, quality
The quality of your CBD can make a HUGE difference between success and failure.
Cannabis plants, including hemp plants which contain <0.3% THC, contain many different phytocannabinoids beyond CBD. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another one of them.
Scientists have found that CBD isolate—lone CBD extracted from hemp plants—is often only effective up until a certain dosage. Full spectrum CBD, however, contains all of the plant’s other cannabinoids rather than just CBD alone. As such, full spectrum CBD extracts are often more therapeutically effective than CBD isolate. This is another one of the things I’ve learned from taking CBD. If you’ve tried CBD and nothing has happened, check out our guide to see how you can change that.
People looking to extract the maximum therapeutic value of CBD should consider for full spectrum products. If you’re averse to THC you can try broad spectrum products instead. They contain CBD and all of the plant’s additional phytocannabinoids except for THC.
The same goes for homemade products. If you can make your own CBD oil from fresh hemp flower at home it should be rich in terpenes. Terpenes are volatile aromatic compounds found within cannabis plants that lend their own unique therapeutic properties.
Also Read: Do you know what CBD stands for?
Lesson #4: Don’t fear THC
Remember how we said cannabis plants contain many phytocannabinoids? Full spectrum cannabis extracts often work so well because all these phytocannabinoids work better together than they do alone. This idea is called the Entourage Effect. This is another term I’ve learned from taking CBD.
Adding a little THC to your CBD can boost its efficiency and therapeutic properties. This is a good option to consider if you’re using CBD primarily to treat pain. The small amount of THC isn’t likely to get you high. However THC isn’t a good candidate for everyone, especially those who are negatively predisposed to it, so consider your options carefully. And always speak with your doctor before starting or increasing your CBD dose.
Many patients opt for a 1:10 or 1:20 THC to CBD ratio in CBD oil formulations.
Lesson #5: Choose your consumption methods wisely
CBD is available in many different forms. The method of consumption you choose will affect your experience profoundly.
I, for instance, rarely felt the effects of CBD gummies. But once I tried CBD oil under my tongue the experience was completely different. I later learned this was due to the fact that I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which affected my body’s ability to digest edibles.
You can learn more about which type of CBD product is right for you here.
Lesson #6: Consistency is key
One lone CBD gummy will likely not produce major effects. If you’re looking to use CBD therapeutically, taking it consistently may be the key to its success. I personally take my CBD oil 2-3x a day as needed.
You’ll also need to experiment with dosage for some time until you find your “just right” CBD dose. Start slow and wait up to 2 hours before taking any more.
Lesson #7: Be wary of drug interactions
I got up on a Monday morning, took my CBD oil and decided to brew a pot of ceremonial drinking cacao.
An hour later I felt like I had was completely out of it.
One unique property CBD boasts is its ability to interact with our CYP enzymes. CYP enzymes are responsible for metabolizing drugs within our bodies. This means CBD can have some significant drug interactions. You should always consult your doctor before taking CBD, especially if you have preexisting conditions or take regularly prescribed pharmaceuticals.
Lesson #8: CBD isn’t for everyone
My mom never tried CBD until she got cancer. And even then she acknowledged that, while helping her tremendously with pain, she didn’t like the “woozy” side effect she associated with CBD.
And you know what? That’s okay. Not everyone will enjoy the way CBD affects them. My mom decided she’d only use CBD more sparingly for pain. I personally use CBD from morning until night. Whatever works for you is what’s right for you. And your doctor can help guide you through this process.
What lessons have you learned from taking CBD? Got any tips or tricks to tell us about? We’re all ears.
Janelle Lassalle is a writer and content creator that specializes in cannabis. She’s also an insanely passionate advocate and expert in all things CBD. You can find her work featured in a variety of publications such as Healthline, The Huffington Post, Leafly, Forbes, and High Times. Check out her portfolio, or follow her on Instagram @jenkhari.