I want to start this blog post off with the most important info of all – a disclaimer – that I am not a doctor, a medical professional, or anyone who holds any higher education in counseling folks on what is best for their health. I always strongly advocate that you fact check anything you read on the internet, and talk to your doctor before taking anything that may impact your health. Do not stop taking prescribed pharmaceutical medication unless under the direct supervision of a medical professional, and do not begin taking any new supplements unless you have ensured with your medical professional that it is safe. This blog post is to offer my anecdotal experience with trialing CBD for sleep and mood support and should not be taken as medical advice. Long story short – be smart. This is *my* research – and I am not a doctor.
Since having kids, I have struggled off and on with sleep disturbances (aka nursing babies in the middle of the night, insomnia, anxiety keeping me awake at night, feeling exhausted with solo parenting and not getting enough sleep, etc). Before having babies, I worked as an Addictions Counselor and as such, I fully understand the magnitude and implications of self-medicating. A few glasses of wine to fall asleep at night wasn’t an avenue I wanted to explore. After consultations with my wonderful family physician, I began taking melatonin. I struggled to get the dosing right, and I often felt really groggy when I woke up in the morning (not an easy thing to combat with two small kids who have big needs). Some days melatonin did nothing at all to help me stay sleeping at night. I quickly learned melatonin wasn’t right for me. Instead, I focused my energy on trying to create good sleep patterns (no screens 1 hour before bed, no sugar after 8pm, getting myself into bed at a decent hour). While I have always found it easy to fall asleep at night, staying asleep all night was a whole ‘nother thing entirely.
Anxiety. I think I have had anxiety to some degree my whole entire life. Through mindfulness-based therapy, CBT (cognitive-behavioural therapy), guided imagery, and meditation, I have had some good success with be able to avoid taking pharmaceutical medication to manage my anxious thoughts. I recognize this isn’t the case for everyone, and I champion and advocate for the use of pharmaceuticals when natural interventions aren’t effective. The year 2020 though was unlike anything we have ever experienced. Global pandemic. Home schooling. Financial concerns. Racial tensions escalating and civil unrest. America, the closest ally to Canada, in turmoil. The world felt so damn scary and overwhelming. My sleep patterns got worse – I stayed up later, unable to quit doom-scrolling the news – and still woke up early in the morning with the kids. Where previously my anxiety was always triggered by something specific that if I worked through the trigger I could eliminate the anxiety, now it felt like my entire existence was anxious. Everywhere I turned, something was making me anxious. I couldn’t eliminate all the triggers. So, I did the responsible thing and made an appointment with my family physician.
In the meantime, my sister-in-law said to me, “Have you considered trying CBD for your sleep and anxiety struggles?”
Okaaaaay. CBD is like weed right? Marijuana? Definitely legal, but definitely stigmatized. Nah. I didn’t want to be high around my kids, I solo-parent for up to 2 weeks at a time. My responsibility is to them and to ensure I am always in a sound state of mind.
“Not at all”, she said. “CBD comes in many forms. I use it (THC-free) and I am seeing HUGE relief”.
What? That’s a thing? So, my research began.
First – What is CBD?
- CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the Cannabid sativa plant. It’s a naturally occurring substance that’s used in products like oils and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm. Unlike its cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the major active ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive.
What is Hemp oil?
I have heard the terms cannabis, marijuana, and hemp all tossed around in relation to CBD. What I learned was that the plant Cannabis sativa has two primary species, hemp and marijuana. Both contain CBD, but there’s a much higher percentage in hemp, which also has very low (less than 0.3%) levels of THC compared to marijuana. When people talk about hemp oil, they’re referring to oil extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. There are no cannabinoids—CBD or THC—in hemp oil. This ingredient is packed with healthy fats and often appears in beauty products for its moisturizing benefits.
Okay, CBD oil won’t make me high. And it might help with sleep and anxiety – so how should I take it?
- What I understand is that it really depends on what your goal is and why you’re taking CBD in the first place. The biggest differences between tinctures (ie, a CBD oil you put under your tongue), edibles, and vape pens are speed of delivery and how long the effects last. Vape relief is faster but wears off faster too – you can see relief in 10 minutes, but it wears off usually in about two hours. There is a ton of controversy about the safety of vaping and lung health though, and it wasn’t something I felt comfortable exploring (the Big Bad Virus has made me value my lungs so much more). Tinctures (like CBD oil taken sublingually under your tongue) and edibles take longer to work but last four or five hours. These typically take 30-60 minutes for relief.
I have read what The Google has to say – but what about LEGITIMATE research?
- Research is limited. Studies show that CBD doesn’t produce psychoactive effects, but we need more studies. Early evidence suggests some benefit for anxiety and sleep related disorders with promising results, but we just don’t know enough yet. Much of what we DO know is anecdotal. Some research suggests that in order to maximize CBD’s full benefit, some amount of THC should be present to achieve the “Entourage Effect”, aka the max benefits.
After a comprehensive amount of my own digging, I felt compelled to give it a shot. My sister-in-law had given me CBD gummy bears with melatonin (she was taking them with great success so she suggested I give them a try) so I took them to my doctor and asked his advice. His words echoed the rest of the medical community – anecdotally, there are a lot of cases of people who swear by them. There isn’t enough medical research to determine their efficacy and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, but he supported me trying them as they wouldn’t cause me harm or get me high, and would be a good non-pharmaceutical alternative to try for my increased anxious feelings before resorting to the next step (pharmaceutical intervention).
(*Note: my doctor’s words to me are not to be taken as medical advice – he counsels every patient based on their very specific medical background, current medication profile & contraindications, allergies and intolerances, and past medical history. I will reiterate again the EXTREME importance of consulting with your medical professional prior to taking anything that may positively or negatively affect your physical or mental health).
It has been a few months now and I will show you what I have been using that works for me. (Update February 19, 2021 – they have reached out to offer me a coupon code for your exclusive use! Code BOWS20 saves you 20% off at checkout)
I have been buying from Happy Bears Edibles. I feel confident in their products, their FAQ page was robust with many good questions and answers, and most importantly, I was seeing success with their products (thanks to my lovely sister-in-law for that introduction). These CBD Hemp Infused “Sleep Eze” Gummy Bears (100mg) have been really great for my sleep struggles. I take one gummy bear about an hour before bed and I fall asleep quickly but most importantly I stay asleep. They have no strange aftertaste to them – taste exactly like normal blue gummy bears (keep far out of reach of children always). I wake up in the morning with NO grogginess or feelings of a normal “bad sleep night hangover”, and when I am woken up in the middle of the night due to the tiny womb fruit, I wake easily but fall back to sleep immediately – no struggles to fall back asleep after.
I have also been using these CBD Hemp Infused Mini Sour Rainbow Belts for mood support. I think we can ALL agree that the state of the world is a little heavy lately. When I find that my normal methods of meditation and mindfulness aren’t enough, I take one of these and within about 45 minutes I feel calmer. Not zoned out. Not foggy. Just more capable of coping with the big emotions and seeing that they are temporary and not all encompassing. I use the 100mg dosage of these as well. There is no aftertaste or weird flavours I don’t want in my mouth. Just taste like a normal candy. They say they’re sour, but they’re not sour. Just delicious.
Lastly, I have tried their CBD Hemp Infused Bath Bombs (because Shark Week is bullshit, if you know what I’m saying) and have also really really loved them. I am so *lucky* to get really uncomfortable cramping both during ovulation and menstrual cycle, and this is another non-medicinal way to for me to seek assistance with pain-relief. From my understanding, it works in a transdermal approach, the CBD together with the epsom salts and magnesium work their way in to help with inflammation and pain. I have found them really helpful. My skin is fairly sensitive, but I haven’t personally experienced any irritation with the colourants or fragrances used, but your mileage may vary,
Please know that all my reviews above aren’t sponsored – I am not aligned or employed in any way by the Happy Bears Edible company.
I *have* affiliated the links above if you feel so inclined to purchase after doing your own due diligence for safety, so that I may earn a small commission for my authentic review and information contained within this blog. This costs you nothing at all and is a means to help sustain the costs of running an ad-free blogging platform.
I know mental health is still so stigmatized, and I know that in the same way we aren’t comfortable admitting we need help, we are just as uncomfortable admitting we are taking medication or seeking alternatives to medication. I just found that I really liked their products after authentically using and testing them the past few months and if you know me, you know I always love a good Canadian company. I appreciated their free shipping threshold, and found shipping through Canada Post to be reasonably quick (all current pandemic restrictions considered). I found their website to be informative, and appreciate the CBD hemp oil dosage infographic to be quite helpful as well.
I know pharmaceutical intervention is absolutely necessary for many people and I support whatever is best for anyone’s health. I felt confident and hopeful that I could find something a bit more natural that could work for me, and I am happy to share my anecdotal experiences here. I am finally sleeping properly, and my anxiety has lessened considerably (allowing me to manage comfortably in my day-to-day life). Today is a new day.
Again, I am not a doctor, and nothing I have said within this anecdotal review should be taken as medical advice. None of the relief or success I have seen is guaranteed, as each and every human is beautifully and wonderfully different and results may vary. Always consult with a physician before use of any supplement related to your health (especially if you are pregnant or nursing, have a serious medical condition or use prescription medications, or are sensitive to essential oils). None of these products are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or physical/mental illness.