Although cannabidiol (CBD) comes from the controversial cannabis plant, it does not get you high, it is completely legal in the UK, and it offers all the remarkable health benefits associated with cannabis. Proven to help with everything from depression to Alzheimer’s, CBD is gaining popularity as a safe and effective supplement with huge potential to help in treating a wide range of conditions.
CBD is not just for the unwell, however. There is a growing body of scientific research that shows CBD has the power to reduce levels of anxiety and stress, lower inflammation, relax the body and mind, and subtly lift the mood. Being fairly healthy myself, I decided to use CBD to see if it would help me handle everyday stress and anxiety. I used this 8% CBD oil from Love Hemp (peppermint was my favourite flavour).
After only a matter of days of taking a few drops of 10% CBD oil every morning and evening, I began to notice that, indeed, my stress levels were reduced, my social anxiety was all but gone, and negative thought patterns were easier to stem. Thanks to my prior immersion into the research on CBD, these results were somewhat expected – although I was surprised at just how quickly and effectively CBD worked. However, there were also a number of effects from taking CBD oil daily that I had no idea would occur.
What follows are ten profound and unexpected effects I observed during one year of taking CBD oil daily.
1. I recovered much quicker after workouts
I usually work out every three days. I do fairly short, yet intense, full-body workouts in which I push heavy weights and do sprints. And the morning after a workout, I am always sore. It can even become problematic as I go about my day, as my achy muscles can make me feel lethargic and tired. After taking CBD before my workouts, I would wake up the next day and, although my muscles were still slightly stiff, they weren’t sore to touch and were a lot more limber.
Upon further research into why this might be so, I discovered that CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory, even more powerful than many of the most common natural remedies used for inflammation – like curcumin, fish oil, resveratrol, and Vitamin C. I believe CBD’s relaxing qualities also helped me recover, while there is plenty of research that shows CBD reduces cortisol (the stress hormone), which may mean supplementing CBD before a workout allows your body to handle the stress better. CBD also helped me sleep better (see number 4), which could go some way to explaining my speedy recovery between workouts.
2. My focus improved dramatically
I have tried meditation, breathing techniques, drinking raw cacao, cold therapy, and more in attempts to tame my wandering attention and to increase my focus – all with varying degrees of success, from none at all to a slight improvement. Then, when I started taking CBD daily to reduce anxiety, I found that I could concentrate for long periods with minimal effort. I wouldn’t even notice the time pass by as I sat working, reading, or even meditating. In fact, after sitting down to meditate, I found it far easier to get focused and stay in the ‘zone’ – a benefit of CBD I certainly never predicted.
Although there is not much research on CBD’s effect on concentration and focus, there is quite a lot on its uses in treating ADD/ADHD. However, I did find various corroborating opinions on Reddit, with a number of people also noticing an increased attention span and improved concentration.
3. My digestion vastly improved
To be perfectly honest with you, I had never really considered what my bowel movements said about my overall health. I also never realised how ‘irregular’ I was, and how rarely I passed solid, healthy stool. Don’t worry, I won’t go into detail. It is only now that, after taking CBD every day for one year, I know how dysfunctional my bathroom habits were. I can now set my watch by my calls to nature. And it’s nearly always an enjoyable experience. No more straining, no more assaults on the toilet bowl, just smooth, solid, and satisfying excretions. And I think we’ll leave it there.
4. I slept easier, deeper and longer
As I mentioned earlier, my sleep improved drastically during my one year of taking CBD daily. I nodded off quicker (usually within minutes), slept deeper, and stayed asleep longer. However, there was one issue – getting out of bed. When I did wake up (more often than not after a good 8.5 hours), it could be a struggle to get out of bed. Once I was out, I felt fine and ready to start the day, but while still in bed, I just had the urge to stay there forever. Perhaps my sleep was so good I didn’t want to leave it? I did manage to find some reports that showed higher doses of CBD can lead to tiredness, although lower doses were found to induce wakefulness – so maybe I was just taking too much before bedtime.
5. My confidence increased
I guess this comes hand-in-hand with a reduction in stress and anxiety, but it was still a surprise just how much of an effect CBD oil had on my confidence. I have always been quite introverted and I was generally pretty quiet when around new people. However, after only a few days of supplementing with CBD oil, I found myself confidently interacting with strangers and being a lot more open and sure of myself around new acquaintances. My experiences are backed up by this study that shows CBD can reduce anxiety associated with public speaking.
6. My motivation increased
This is one effect that I really did not see coming. Although getting out of bed could be a chore at the start of my year of taking CBD oil, I soon found myself highly motivated to get up and going and to start my day. As a freelance writer, my mornings would usually often consist of a fair amount of faffing around (wasting time on Facebook and SkySports News), but that was changing. After the first few weeks of my CBD experiment, I noticed that I had an urge to get out of bed as soon as I woke, to get breakfast eaten as soon as possible, and to sit at my desk and start to work. What’s more, I was actually enjoying my work. Writing an article that would once seem laborious and unappealing became manageable and often enjoyable. During this last year, I have set myself goals, and I have worked toward these goals and accomplished some of them. This is unheard of for me.
While smoking cannabis has in the past dampened my motivation, this cannabis derivative seemingly was having the opposite effect. Although research on CBD and motivation is non-existent, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) – which is the bodily system that CBD and other cannabinoids interact with – has been shown to play a role in regulating our motivation, among many other things, such as hormone levels, mood, appetite, pain sensation, and more.
7. Cravings were reduced
For years I have tried to stick to a healthy diet, with varying degrees of success, as I’m sure you can relate. However, since supplementing daily with CBD oil, I found it much easier to resist that sugary treat, to buy a bottle of water over a bottle of wine, and even to stop smoking cigarettes.
Although I have tried to live a healthy life for a while now, I used to smoke cigarettes. Not loads. Some days I would only have one or two, while on other days, especially when I was drinking, I would go through a 20 deck with ease. I tried to quit many times, with little success, until I discovered CBD.
I wasn’t just relying on the oil to help me cease smoking tobacco, however. I started to smoke CBD-rich hemp.
8. Smoking weed was a lot more enjoyable
I’ve smoked weed for the best part of a decade, and it’s been pretty enjoyable on the whole. While in my younger days I would waste away many a day smoking the devil’s lettuce, it was only in the last few years that I became more picky about when I smoked. This was due to the fact that when I was high I was pretty stupid. I would be a bit more awkward than usual, not as quick as I was usually, and certainly a lot lazier than I liked. I still liked getting stoned, but I had to choose my timing well – when I had done everything I had to do and when I was not going to be meeting new people.
While doing some research on CBD, I stumbled across some interesting research that showed CBD countered some of the negative effects of THC (the cannabinoid that gets you ‘high’). I discovered that CBD has been found to enhance THC’s painkilling properties while diminishing the paranoia it can cause. This piqued my interest, to say the least, so I began to take some CBD oil before smoking weed and I also started rolling my joints with CBD-rich hemp. The effects were remarkable. It’s a nice, ‘clean’ high, without the anxiety and paranoia that high-THC weed can sometimes induce. It was a game-changer for me, and ever since my relationship with weed has been a lot more healthy and enjoyable. I highly recommend it!
9. I got a lot more done
Along with an increase in motivation was an increase in productivity. I’ve always been a procrastinator. It takes me a long time to get round to doing what I should and then I usually only apply myself enough to just get the thing done. That’s why after a week or so of working hard and diligently (on personal projects as well as professional projects), I was pretty dumbfounded. Never before have I been so focused and stuck to a task with such ease. As a result, this past year has been the most fruitful year (again, personally and professionally) of my adult life. I have been published in a number reputable publications, started my own business and enjoyed deeper and more meaningful relations with loved ones, old and new.
10. I got happier, smiling became easier and life got more enjoyable
To summarise my experiences of the last year, in which I consumed CBD oil every single day, morning and night, I would have to say that life just got more enjoyable. It wasn’t that life got better, it feels more like I got better. My mind and my consciousness was upgraded and gave a whole new light to my everyday experiences. I often caught myself smiling at common occurrences or my random musings. I became more fun to be around. There was no longer this underlying sense of worry or fear that I feel plagues the vast majority of people.
In essence, CBD oil helped me get healthier and feel better, this, in turn, gave me a healthier perspective of the world. Life just wasn’t as bad as it used to be.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this article makes no attempt to diagnose or treat any health condition. This article is in no way intended to offer medical advice. It is merely a report of my own experiences with CBD and hemp and of the available research. CBD is not a magic cure, it is a very complex chemical derived from an infinitely more complex plant, that we – mankind – know relatively little about. Please employ your own investigative skills and explore the subject yourself.
More on CBD
The oil I used: CBD Armour Silver 10% CBD Oil
The CBD-rich hemp I smoke: “Strawberry Kush” Hemp Flowers UK (+13% CBD)
Interested in the science of CBD? These sites are a good place to start:
(Please note, when I say ‘weed’ in this article, I am referring to high-THC cannabis, also called ‘marijuana’, despite this being the original name for a wild Mexican tobacco that was given to cannabis by the US government in the 1930s to tarnish and harass immigrants who smoked cannabis. Read about the origin of the word ‘marijuana’ in this informative article.)