I began taking a one-milliliter dropperful of oil, containing 66.7 milligrams of CBD, morning and night. There isn't an industry-standard recommended dose, so I started with the brand's lowest potency. I held the drop under my tongue for a minute or so, in order for the cannabidiol to seep into my bloodstream rather than get digested (which is also a good delivery system—just not as direct). It tasted fine, sort of neutral, with a hint of plant life.
Then my friend started selling CBD oil. She's a stay-at-home mom-turned-yoga instructor and a total straitlaced health nut. I thought, if she was into it, maybe I should learn more. So I found out CBD stands for cannabidiol, a natural extract from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It's not the chemical in marijuana that brings the high—that's the THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.
Inflammation can lead to aches, pains, and acne, and—yes, at the age of 47—I'd be happy to get rid of them.
I want all those things. Inflammation can lead to aches, pains, and acne, and—yes, at the age of 47—I'd be happy to get rid of them. Given that my husband and son have nicknamed me Yelly Melly, I'm guessing I could also do with a deeper sense of calm. And I'm a busy working mom, so sure, I'll take better sleep!
A few days later, I took my first barre class. I hadn't worked out in a year, thanks to a shoulder injury, and I was nervous I'd be in serious pain afterward. It wasn't too bad. After class, I rubbed some CBD balm on my shoulder. The idea behind balms and lotions is that CBD gets absorbed through the skin, without taking a trip under the tongue and through the bloodstream, so it goes straight to the receptors that need it most. The next day, I took a yoga class (all hail, Groupon!), which didn't leave me extra-sore or strained either.
Could all this pain-free movement have been a result of the placebo effect? Sure. But I like to think my inflammation was kept in check by my new CBD regimen. Still, I'm no medical expert, so I reached out to Staci Gruber, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core and the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. She told me that anecdotal evidence and pre-clinical trials suggest CBD helps with pain and inflammation, but "we don't have clinical trial data."
There are still plenty of studies to be done, but so far science has shown that CBD appears to target more than 65 areas in the brain and body that are involved in regulating pain, mood, and sleep. Notably, CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system, enhancing and balancing the messages sent via endocannabinoids and neurotransmitters. By doing so, it has the potential to lower inflammation, ease pain, bring a sense of calm, help those coping with anxiety, and improve sleep.
However, at higher doses, too much activity at the receptor site can lead to the opposite effect. This would take away the helpful effects of CBD.
The study also looked at stroke volume (the amount of blood remaining in the heart after a heartbeat). The stroke volume in the men who took CBD was lower than that in the placebo group, meaning the heart was pumping more efficiently.
Drugs that could potentially interact with CBD include:
Possible Side Effects
CBD oil contains CBD mixed with a base (carrier) oil, like coconut oil or hemp seed oil. The bottled CBD oil is called a tincture and is sold in different concentrations.
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After researching CBD, I learned that guessing a dosage that “might” work was a classic beginner’s mistake. It usually takes two to four weeks of using CBD with expert guidance to get a good idea of its effects. Each person’s natural endocannabinoid system (which interacts with CBD) is different and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all CBD dose and dosage regimen.
Natural Flavor CBD
$45 per container