After testing out and researching CBD for the past 5 months…. I’ve finally formed a thought out opinion I am confident with. I’ve tracked my results on what I’ve seen, I tested 7 different highly top-rated brands, I’ve scoured over Certificate of Analysis after Certificate of Analysis, read studies until I was blue in the face, researched expert’s opinions and also had several different conversations with many Violets on their own experiences.
I DID MY WORK. lol. I can now assuredly say that I have formed an opinion.
KEEP IN MIND- Paired with my research, this is JUST my OWN experience. CBD is something that people have different results with. Some claim no result at all. Some truly tout CBD as life-changing. My advice is never medical advice- just my own experience and research.
SO WHAT THE F*CK IS MY OPINION?
***Feel free to jump to the end for the TLDR version, if you want to skip over the studies and the in depth and just want the nitty gritty!
I do believe that CBD can impact the human body and mind in a beneficial way.
Personally, it has helped me:
-When I have experienced acute anxiety (so not general anxiety overall, but in certain high anxiety moments it can help me on the spot)
-With sleep. CBD paired with an effective magnesium (I am particular about magnesium) has given me the deepest and most restful sleep. Dan too.
-With inflammation. I will elaborate on this later.
HOWEVER- I do think there are certain claims about CBD that are a bit… bogus. I also think most people are going into how they are using CBD blindly. Education is out there but holy f*ck is it complicated. CBD was by far one of the most intricate things I have ever studied. There is so much information and it’s hard to know where to start. So I understand why many people don’t have a good baseline as to how to get the best results with it. Like who has the time?! (For me, part of my career is based on research so I had to make the time. If it wasn’t my job, I don’t know that I would make even a quarter of the time! lol)
Things CBD has NOT helped me with: Depression, mood, or energy. (And these are claims that many CBD companies will make.) Many people have felt these effects, but I have not.
So what the hizelllllll IS CBD?
Harvard Medical School puts it perfectly: “CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a ‘high.'” (Read that article here)
People are drawn to CBD for what it can do for your endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a biological pathway that can regulate your mood, appetite, memory, and pain system. CBD is said to basically hijack this system. 😉 For most, in a positive way. (Read how the medical world sees the endocannabinoid here)
CBD is highly unregulated, so it’s SO IMPORTANT to choose a CBD brand that is third party tested, organic, and NOT SHY about showing you their Certificate of Analysis should you ask for it. If they aren’t proud of their labs, that’s a warning sign!
Keep in mind there was a study done in 2017 that covered 84 different CBD products (from 31 companies) and they found that 70% were mislabeled. They either underestimated or overestimated how much actual CBD was in their product. Oh hellz no, right!? So we GOTS to be in the know.
Most CBD tinctures are formulated with around 500-2500mg of CBD and some studies claim that for certain effects you may need as much as 300mg of CBD. Not every study claims this but this is something to be aware of. It makes me think why some people don’t feel anything at all- they may need a higher dose and chances are very slim they are even getting close to the 300mg mark- if that’s what they need. I mean shoot, that would be expensive right?! Not all studies claim this! Just something to note. Some people feel an effect with as little as 10mg– although I believe that to be rarer. (P.S Some studies look at even 600mg or higher.)
In Dec 2017, the World Health Organization deemed CBD as NOT harmful. That’s a great sign!
In 2018, the Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD (aka Cannabidiol) from their banned substances list. That’s also a great sign!
There’s also the Farm Bill, which is interesting!
SO… let’s take a very Violet Foggy approach to some of the most common Qs for CBD. As in– let’s answer these in Violet Fog speak. 😉 Yadidamean.
Does CBD really work?
Keep in mind, I’m going to go over MY experience which each question, my opinion, and also give you the research I found interesting.
Does CBD work for anxiety?
I will say this. FOR ME, in acute moments of fairly intense anxiety, CBD does help me. It’s not like I immediately feel something, but I’ll take it, then forgot I took it, and realize 15 minutes later that my breathing has become a bit calmer and the butterflies in my chest have softened. It’s the butterflies, the tightening of my stomach, that really gets to me when I’m anxious. To have relief is so nice.
What do the studies say? Well, there was one study that covered 57 men who were going to be public speaking. Those who took the CBD had significantly reduced their anxiety. However, this was with 300mg of CBD… which is a lot. SO– this goes to show that perhaps we need a much higher dose for acute anxiety. Also keep in mind- many people report having success with lower doses of CBD for anxiety.
For people who experience anxiety on the regular, many people say CBD has helped them overall (when taken regularly) but they must increase the dose when they experience it in an intense moment (acutely.)
THIS STUDY was so cool. It measured 72 adults with anxiety, and after dosing with just 25mg regularly, the majority of them experienced relief in anxiety. VIOLETS– notice I say majority, not all.
Also, see this study on dosing regularly at a lower amount for anxiety, there was only one test subject (which sucks) but this analysis was extremely thorough.
I talked to 20 different Violets in our community about CBD and nearly all of them who saw benefits from CBD (15 of the 20 saw benefits) said anxiety reduction was the main thing they noticed. Followed by inflammation decreasing.
This study claims it can even help with social anxiety. However, it is a small study.
This study claims CBD can help with anxiety because it works directly with a specific part of the brain that is tied to the endocannabinoid system. I like how specific this one was on what they measured.
Does CBD work for insomnia?
I do believe that CBD really helps me sleep better. However, I also pair my CBD was a top-notch magnesium (DM me @TheVioletFog if you want the brand)… the two of them really help me. I also think just CBD alone, which I’ve tried for months, works really well too. Dan sometimes can’t fall asleep and one thing that has really helped him is CBD.
There are many people who believe CBD does NOT help with falling asleep directly, but indirectly it can help because it can reduce anxiety– many people have insomnia issues because of anxiety.
This study covered 47 patients who experienced poor sleep quality. In the first month, nearly all of them experienced better sleep with the use of CBD. The months after the first were up and down, but mostly with general improvement.
Personally, for sleep, I need either 25mg of nano-powder CBD (more on than later) or, if under the tongue, I need 30-50mg of a tincture. Many people need up to 80mg or more sublingually (under the tongue via a tincture.) If I have cramps, I will take up to 80mg to finally fall asleep.
The general thought is that CBD can help for sleep- but it is not guaranteed. (See this overview from Harvard.)
There have also been studies with CBD and THC in tandem that are promising for sleep.
Many experts on CBD, including leading Health advocate Ben Greenfield, advise that higher doses are needed for sleep help.
Most studies that measure the sleep cycle are promising (aka getting that REM sleep we all need!) but most are done in rats and not humans.
IN SUM: It may help you but there’s also a good chance you need it in higher doses for insomnia.
Does CBD work for depression?
Personally speaking, I don’t think CBD works for depression. CBD itself does not cause feelings of euphoria… however, there are studies that show that CBD can positively affect serotonin levels.
There was a study done on rats that shows CBD can help stress-related depression. But I think it’s more about stress itself and less about depression… also it’s done on rats, not humans. (I have a hard time trusting rat depression vs. human depression.)
In fact, most of the depression-related CBD studies I found used mice or rats. However, some studies do show CBD can be an effective antidepressant.
Let me just say this, I was taking CBD regularly and still had a low depression cycle (that lasted over a month) and CBD did not help lift my mood, nor did it keep it from happening in the first place.
NOT SAYING it can’t work for you, but it didn’t work for me when it came to mood.
Does CBD work for inflammation and pain?
In the words of Dan, “CBD relieves my tummy aches and is the only thing that helps my knees after basketball.” 😛 CBD has wonderful benefits for inflammation. Even inflammation going on that you don’t realize is going on internally. You know how Omega 3s are great for you but you don’t necessarily feel the effects directly? I look at CBD the same way. EXCEPT when I apply it topically after banging my toe, if my back hurts, etc… I feel that shit. It’s so relieving for me. Whenever I know I’m about to get a bruise, if I put CBD on it, I either won’t bruise or the bruise will be super faint. And I bruise big! Like you could touch me with your pinky and I’ll get a bruise lol.
First off, the endocannabinoid system is largely tied to inflammation. (CBD activates the endocannabinoid system.)
Mostly all animal studies show strong positive reactions when it comes to CBD and pain/inflammation.
There was a human study done on CBD and bowel inflammation that was positive as well. This one I actually found most impressive.
This study was quite positive for helping people with malignant diseases with their inflammation. However, a bit of THC was also used alongside the CBD. So… take that into consideration. What’s cool is that only 25mg of CBD was used per day to create a positive effect.
Over 50% of the Violets I interviewed stated that they used CBD for inflammation.
Is CBD bioavailable? Do you need to pair it with THC for it to work?
CBD loves fat. LOOOOOVES FAT. I would never take CBD alone. Only if I know I have a significant amount of fat in my system OR I’ll take it alongside MCT oil or powder.
A lot of people enjoy CBD as they are winding down. So perhaps right after dinner. My advice is, have some fat in your dinner! Then take CBD right after. You can also take CBD right before. OR if you have a CBD edible, make sure it is one that is filled with both fat and fiber (Superseed Life makes the best CBD “cookie” I have ever tried. It’s too healthy to call it a cookie but you get the point. It works SO well.) If you haven’t eaten in a while and you’re about to take CBD, pair it with MCT oil or powder, or coconut oil. Just a tiny bit will do! Read this article on CBD bioavailability. You get 4X the absorbability when taken with fat.
I VERY MUCH DO NOT BELIEVE IN CBD THAT YOU DRINK. OR CBD GUMMIES. When you drink it, it often has no fat or anything to help it absorb. Gummies are just a waste of money- it’s pure sugar and CBD! Not effective at all. Under the tongue, in nano-particles, or in a food that is both fiber and full fat is best.
I think vaping CBD is… eh. I haven’t done enough research on what it does to the lungs. The bioavailability could be great or it could be awful from what I’ve read. It does straight into the bloodstream however there isn’t a ton of regulation with vaping CBD and there is also the very possible risk of it getting so heated that it changes the molecular structure to something harmful. For me- no thanks! There are better ways.
CBD isolates (verses full spectrum) are a scam. Too cheaply made. It only gives you the CBD and none of the other plant compounds (terpenes, specific antioxidants) which are a very powerful part of consuming CBD. Say no to isolates! Full-spectrum guarantees more of the parts of the plant that are beneficial and necessary!
Also, say NO to adding CBD to your drinks if you see this at a coffee shop. Most likely you are only going to be getting a few drops, or at most, 15mg of CBD. ALSO, the bottom line is important to them… they are most likely using a CBD isolate. Do your research and ask them the type AND how many mg you’d get. You’d also have to make sure your CBD is paired with full fat- is your drink fat heavy? Maybe, maybe not. Also under the tongue is way better than being swallowed… unless it’s nanotechnology, which, very low chance that it is.
Many people use CBD without THC and see a lot of benefits. I will tell you right now, I enjoy CBD that has 0% THC and I enjoy CBD that has .3% THC (the legal limit for CBD products.) I VERY FIRMLY BELIEVE that if a CBD product has no THC in it, then it must be full spectrum. All of the terpenes! Very important! There are studies that show CBD with THC is most effective for PAIN relief. Something to consider.
TO NOTE, and I think this is important, a study estimates that roughly 20% of people have a specific CBD genetic variant that makes it so they don’t react to it much. Their endocannabinoid system is naturally thriving. If you’re in this 20%… it’s likely you won’t feel the effects of CBD.
LASTLY- some experts say that turmeric (paired with black pepper and fat of course!) can help the absorbability a LOT. Specifically, Ben Greenfield, who is highly knowledgeable about CBD- will only pair his with turmeric. Perhaps something to try!
ACTUALLY LASTLY– keep in mind, many CBD experts state that people do better with CBD once it builds up in your system. Which can take up to a month. This isn’t for everyone, but it is for some! Will this be you? Could be!
As far as dosing… this is just personal thoughts: during the day I would definitely keep it under 25mg. For me, 25mg in a CBD full fat cookie is good, and 20mg tincture under the tongue is good. At night, it may take you more to get that “at ease” feeling. I take more at night. And I only sometimes use CBD during the day.
Dosing WILL be different for everyone. The type of CBD that works for you (tincture, CBD with THC, CBD without THC, nanotechnology CBD, edibles, etc)… it’s going to take a lot of trial and error. So just be ready for that if you really want to give it a shot.
As far as toxicity, there does need to be more research. Right now there has been ZERO humans who have had a toxicity problem with CBD and the only studies done were pretty bogus… they were done with mice and they basically pumped them full of what would be like 10 pounds in a person. Ridiculous. But yes, I would like to see more realistic research.
Quick facts and also the “too long didn’t read, ya bitch” notations:
1. There are a LOT of bogus CBD claims. Or super far fetched promises. I don’t like that. Benefits should be stated as “it could help” not “it will help.” And some claims shouldn’t be made at all until there is more research.
2. I firmly believe that CBD drinks and gummies/candies will not work. I think in order for CBD to be truly effective, it NEEDS to be paired with a fat. Or a fat AND fiber if it is an edible. CBD needs fat to be best absorbed. Also swallowing CBD does not do much, but sublingually (under the tongue) is effective.
3. The best kinds of CBD are full-spectrum– meaning a lot of the plant is still intact when extracting, not just the CBD. Terpenes, antioxidants… you want all those. An isolate will not give you those. A full spectrum will. Don’t get an isolate!!
4. If it’s not 3rd party tested, triple-tested, and organic… consider that a warning. A company should be proud to show you their Certificate of Analysis. Ask for the COA!! Make sure you are getting what they are promising! Many companies under or overestimate how much CBD is in their product. It’s an unregulated market– keep this in mind. Pretty packaging doesn’t mean everything.
5. I do think CBD can work for anxiety. For me, it didn’t reduce my overall anxiety (like the frequency) however when I take it in certain highly anxious moments it did help me, specifically it helps calm my breathing and ease the tightening of my stomach and butterflies. Studies are promising for anxiety. Will it completely wipe out your anxiety? Probably not.
6. CBD can help with insomnia and better sleep, but it’s not guaranteed. There are promising studies for CBD and sleep, but some of them say you need THC paired with CBD to be most effective. Some studies are sans THC and also promising. Some studies believe that CBD itself does not help you become sleepy (unless paired with THC), but because it can ease your thoughts… this can help you sleep. I myself sleep very well when I use CBD. I used to get up in the middle of the night to pee before CBD, now I don’t. That uninterrupted sleep is so nice. I also have more energy in the mornings due to better sleep.
7. Speaking of sleep, often higher doses are needed at night if you’re using it for sleep. With THC added, you might need less. If you use a CBD powder in nanotechnology, you also might need less. If you are using pure CBD, you might need more. And definitely should be under the tongue. However, if you’re endocannabinoid system is more sensitive, you could get by with less!
8. Some people will do better with a little THC in their CBD. There are experts who are firm believers that CBD needs even 1% of THC to be effective. Other studies show you need no THC at all. This is going to be trial and error. By the way, CBDs with THC, even though the amount is soooo small, you would not pass a drug test. So if you need to take regular drug tests, you’d need a completely THC free CBD. Finding a high-quality one is extremely important. And remember- no isolates and always third party tested and organic!
9. Dosing depends on the person. I could not be more clear on this: everyone will be different. There is even a study that claimed that an estimated 20% of people have CBD genetic variants that make it so their endocannabinoid system will not react to CBD. If you’re in that 20%… CBD won’t be for you. Also, some people do fine with as little as 10mg of CBD. Some need as much as 100mg to fall asleep at night. Also, you may need less with THC. You may feel different with different kinds of vehicles for your CBD. Also- some studies say that it takes one month of CBD buildup in your system before you start seeing effects. Others say it is instant. You have to be willing to experiment.
DOSING FOR ME: I do well with ~25mg if I take it during the day. Usually less though. At night (when I usually take it) I need around 50-60mg of a CBD tincture to fall asleep, or 25mg of a nanotechnology CBD. In moments of intense anxiety during the day, I may take around 40mg. If I’m experiencing intense anxiety at night or bad cramps, I may take as much as 80mg to really knock my ass out.
10. Don’t pay to add CBD to your beverage. A lot of places do this “Add CBD for $3!”) Most likely you are only getting 5-10mg of CBD which won’t do much. Also, it’s a good chance they are using a CBD isolate, which is crap. Plus, swallowing CBD is nothing like taking it sublingually. ALSOOOOOOO…. unless it’s paired with fat, it’s not going to do much.
11. Studies for CBD and depression are lacking. Most are done on rats. I have a hard time comparing a rat’s depression to a human’s. However, there are human studies that show CBD positively affects our serotonin levels so that’s something to consider. I didn’t think it had an impact on my depression at all. There are others who say it greatly helps them out. So again, trial and error, but I don’t believe CBD has a big impact on direct mood.
12. CBD can totally help with inflammation and recovery. Studies are very promising with this. However, some studies done were either done on mice, OR done with THC in conjunction with CBD. Nonetheless, inflammation is probably what I have heard the most about when it comes to why people use it. For me, I definitely think it helps with inflammation. Over 50% of the Violets I interviewed said that CBD helped them with inflammation.
13. For the love of making shit work for you, PLEASE pair your CBD with a fat. CBD loves fat. This is why I always pair it with MCT oil/powder and/or before or after a fatty meal or snack. Some experts believe that turmeric can help boost the absorbability as well. (Turmeric must be paired with black pepper and a healthy fat as well.)
14. Vaping CBD can be problematic because it can change the molecular structure of the CBD into something more hazardous for health. This, due to high temps. With baking with CBD- it’s tough to do. It can render the CBD ineffective. There are few CBD edibles I believe in that have got it right. If you find one that works (for me, Superseed life works amazingly) then they are rare!
15. Many experts believe CBD will work better for you once built up in your system. The jury is out on this- but some believe it can take up to a month to start to notice any effects.
16. Trial and error is the name of the game and it’s estimated it won’t work for 20% of people. Understand that trying CBD is an investment, and it may not work for you. Or it may work, but it’s possible it won’t target the exact concern you are going for. CBD likes balance- it will often go to where you are lacking (kind of like an adaptogen) only with your endocannabinoid system. You’ll have to play around with different doses and different kinds. Give it time. ALSO– there is a study that hones in on a specific CBD genetic varient (over 6000 people studied) that claims that 20% of people already have a thriving endocannabinoid system so CBD won’t do much for them. This could be you! Keep that in mind. And it could take over a month of consistent use to find out. But if it works for you, man is it glorious.
17. CBD is meant to be gentle. You know how you totally feel it when you smoke THC or drink alcohol? Or heck, even drink coffee? Chances are the effect won’t feel that prominent, even if it is working alive and well in your system. To me, it is still very well worth it and gentle shifts are better in my opinion.
18. Stay tuned for the brands I recommend! I won’t keep you waiting long I promise!
Thank you, Violets! Please please please share if you found this at all valuable. <3 Any questions or comments please leave below to help boost this post! xx
Written by your home girls at The Violet Fog