Should I Try CBD? A Primer On What To Know & How TO Dose
Written by Erin Feher
Photography by Photo courtesy of Wildflower
Women are no strangers to the marketing of miracle ingredients, from charcoal in our shampoo to kombucha in our face creams to jade in our vaginal eggs. But it seems like the latest cure-all to capture the attention of health and wellness aficionados is poised to make a more lasting impression. Yep, we are talking about CBD, pot’s straight-laced little sibling. These days it can be found in everything from eye serums to spicy meatballs, and it’s touted as a treatment for inflammation, anxiety, depression, hormone imbalance, insomnia, and low libido.
Considering that list, it should come as no surprise that CBD has surged in popularity with mothers. “Moms use CBD more than anyone I know to handle mood, stress, hormones, and to maintain optimal health,” says Jewel Zimmer, a mama of two and founder of Juna, a line of CBD oil drops.
But does CBD actually work? And if it does, is it safe (and do you swear I won’t get high?). We wanted to run a few questions by the experts and, more importantly, get the low down from some mothers who have tried the stuff. Read on for our CBD primer for moms.
What is it?—CBD is short for cannabidiol. It’s one of the chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is another one. THC is the compound that gets people high. CBD does not. If THC is the unruly toddler, CBD is the babysitter. But that doesn’t mean it just hangs out and does nothing.
What Does is Feel Like?—For those of us who haven’t smoked pot in years (or ever), the idea of finding ourselves unexpectedly stoned while waiting in the school pick-up lane sounds like a nightmare. So, we asked moms who use CBD to tell us just what it feels like. Read their accounts below:
“It makes me feel relaxed at night so I stop doing things around the house. I try and drink it an hour before I want to be in bed asleep,” says Terra Andrews, mother of two.
“My body physically relaxes, the thoughts don’t race around my head as much, and I laugh more. But it’s really subtle, which I like,” says Jasmine Firchau, mother of two.
“I feel a sense of balance. Whether it’s my mood, pain, or anxiety, it seems to just relax my muscles and lift the heaviness I’m feeling,” says Diana Mariscal, mother of one.
“I like to describe the effects as calming my crazies. Imagine closing your eyes and deep breathing or practicing 15 minutes of meditation and feeling grounded after the pause. CBD offers a sense of calm to me, because truthfully, I struggle to sit down. A gentle relaxation without a buzz. It helps me focus on the matter at hand instead of getting lost in my long mental list of to-dos,” says Teresa Piro, founder of Can Can Cleanse and mother of two.
“I feel the same as usual. Maybe more calm?” says Audrey Bodisco, mother of one.
“What I notice personally with CBD is my body relaxing and returning to a more natural state,” says Mel McGraw, founder of Monk Drinking Botanicals and mother of one.
Does it Work?—While some marketers are spinning CBD as a healthy alternative to a glass or two of wine, few moms we spoke to use it that way. Because CBD doesn’t get you high, moms tend to use it throughout the day, versus hanging out with friends or pairing it with a meal. The women we spoke with used CBD to combat specific ailments, from muscle soreness to anxiety to postpartum depression—even the side effects of diabetes. This past June the FDA approved the first government-sanctioned medical use for CBD—a drug called Epidiolex that treats severe forms of epilepsy. Dr. Esther Blessing, an assistant professor at the NYU School of Medicine who is studying the use of CBD as a treatment for post-traumatic stress and alcohol abuse, told the New York Times that “CBD is the most promising drug that has come out for neuropsychiatric diseases in the last 50 years.” Meanwhile, the women we asked used CBD for a wide variety of reasons:
“I’ve been a T1 diabetic for 28 years, and after having my son, using an insulin pump became impossible due to skin sensitivity. This means that I have a really hard time managing overnight blood sugars. The dawn phenomenon is when blood sugars rise in the middle of the night, and for me that can no longer be tackled with an extra dose of humalog from my insulin pump. I’d heard many (perhaps apocryphal) stories about marijuana’s efficacy in lowering blood sugar. I absolutely hate being high, though, so it seemed like a difficult tradeoff. So, when CBD came on the market, I decided to give it a go. The results were immediate and quite shocking: whenever I take CBD oil before bed, my blood sugars are perfect in the morning,” says Elka Karl, mother of one.
“I was very skeptical. But it is really better than taking a Xanax. It just slows my brain down,” says Lindsey Stevens.
“Physically I am able to function and move on with my day, mentally it improves my life drastically and just takes the edge off of things. I notice that it reduces the impact of triggers, and helps me sleep and allows me to turn off all the noise in my head, especially after a stressful day,” says Diana Mariscal, mother of one.
“My pain has disappeared, my mood has changed, my hormones are more balanced,” says Lane Kennedy, mother of one.
Is it Safe?—A World Health Organization (WHO) report has found no adverse health outcomes for cannabidiol, a.k.a. CBD. You’ll also be safe from any legal issues as of December 2018. That’s when the federal government passed the Farm Bill, making hemp and its derivatives (including CBD) federally legal. CBD still isn’t FDA approved which limits how it can be produced and distributed, but there are no longer federal criminal penalties for possessing or using CBD.
That said, CBD is still a largely unregulated market, and according to Mel McGraw, cofounder of Monk Drinking Botanicals, a line of CBD-infused cocktails, “It’s hugely important for consumers to know that not all CBD is created equal. If cannabis/hemp plants are from uncontrolled sources, they could be contaminated with chemicals/pesticides, heavy metals, aflatoxins, or molds and bacteria. Certainly not something you want to consume.”
And moms aren’t always consuming just for one. Jewel Zimmer of Juna says that she gets lots of questions from women about if CBD is safe when breastfeeding. Her response: “The answer is that no studies have been done on humans but in animals CBD was safe for mama and baby up to 8000 milligrams per day for a 150 pound female, which doesn’t come close to the 5-10 mg micro dose we recommend for daily balance. It’s also important to note that breastmilk is full of naturally occurring endocannabinoids—cannabinoids our bodies produce naturally—and vital for proper development.”
And while CBD hasn’t been studied in relation to (human) breastfeeding, cannabis—with THC— has, to mixed results. The InfantRisk Center warns that cannabis exposure via breast milk or in utero may cause long-term changes to a child’s mental health and behavior. However, the center also notes, “We do not know much about the transfer of the active ingredient in marijuana into human milk, nor how much gets to a breastfeeding infant.” A study is currently in process to find out more.
Until then, may we suggest the only tried-and-true method for the toughest parenting quandaries? Go with your gut.
CBD Curious? Here are ten products we are loving right now.
*Juna—Put a few drops of this high-quality CBD oil in you morning coffee to mellow the jitters.
*Vertly—CBD infused lip butter, body lotion, and bath salts to melt away what ails you.
*Dosist—Sleek little vape pens specially formulated and pre-dosed for predictable results.
*Saint Jane Beauty—A beauty serum with 19 all-natural ingredients, including CBD.
*Lord Jones—One of the earliest entrants into the luxury cannabis market, this respected brand offers everything from gumdrops to body oil, all wrapped up in pretty little packages.
*Plant Magic Elixirs—Can Can Cleanse has added a line of fresh tonics containing CBD—we love the spicy Lemon Ginger option.
*Monk Drinking Botanicals—These tiny tonics are a great non-alcoholic cocktail alternatives. Pour over ice and enjoy 20 mg of CBD blended with ingredients like ginger, maple, and rosemary.
*Wildflower Capsules—CBD, Curcumin, and Ginseng make these little pills incredibly popular.
*Sunday Good Bath Bombs—Bath bombs may seem like proof that we have hit peak CBD, but soaking in the stuff is actually pretty chill-inducing for mind and body.
*Cannuka—These balms and body creams combine CBD and Manuka honey, which originates from the Manuka bush in New Zealand—part of the Tea Tree family.
Share this story