What Happened When I Tried CBD for My Anxiety

Here's what happened when one woman stopped her prescription anxiety meds and tried CBD oil instead.

person holding their head and looking in the mirror, visual depiction of anxiety

I was born with ants in my pants; it's very difficult for me to calm my brain. And when my brain isn't calm, my body isn't calm.

It's something I've experienced my whole life, but it didn't become an issue until I grew up. The more I added to my life (work, social life, romantic relationships, family responsibilities) — plus the addition of a smartphone — the more my anxiety became a constant struggle.

It wasn't caused by social situations; it was just because of everyday life. Everything felt as if it just kept piling on and wouldn't stop, and I'd become so overwhelmed and feel so uncomfortable as a result. It was like I always had knots in my stomach. I carried a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders, so I always had headaches. I would get massages at the gym and they'd ask when I'd last gotten a massage because I had so many knots — when I had just gotten one two days ago. I would grind my teeth at night, which gave me even more headaches. It was too much, and I couldn't find relief.

For a long time, I tried to manage it holistically. I take really good care of myself: I eat well, I exercise, I drink a ton of water, I don't smoke or drink, I meditate, and I do yoga. I was doing absolutely everything to keep my brain and body calm and to relax. But I still felt overstimulated all the time.

The Prescription Fix

When the holistic route reached a dead end, I went to the doctor. They were quick to suggest a remedy: prescription anxiety medicine. I opted in and noticed the effects almost immediately. (Like, literally 15 to 20 minutes later.) The feelings of being overwhelmed and uncomfortable went away. I felt a little bit tired too, which I didn't love, but I liked the results otherwise so it seemed worth it.

With this anxiety medication, you take it as needed. But I found that the more I took, the more I needed it. I found myself burning through a 30-day supply pretty quickly and having to call my doctor to get my prescription re-upped. I was very aware that I wanted and needed more to feel comfortable.

I never had issues sleeping before. But soon, I found that if I didn't pop a pill before bed, I wouldn't be able to sleep. At that point, I realized I was becoming very dependent on it. (It should be noted, though, that antidepressants and anxiety medications don't affect everyone this way, and there is no shame in taking medication for mental health.)

After two years, I talked to my doctor and decided to come off of the prescription meds. As I did, I found that my anxiety was worse than before. Ten times worse. The doctors suggested things such as meditation and taking a bath — nothing particularly helpful. All my symptoms were back, and I was willing to try anything. I did acupuncture. I hadn't eaten much processed or added sugar in about 10 years, but I decided to cut it out completely, in case it was the cause of my chronic headaches. I even stopped consuming caffeine. I would peruse the wellness department at the natural food stores and I tried everything — melatonin, valerian root, kava — to no avail.

As I was dealing with this process, I kept hearing about all the benefits of CBD (including for anxiety), but I dismissed it for a while. It sounded questionable, expensive, and too good to be true. I was reluctant because I had tried all the other holistic remedies that boasted anxiety-relieving effects, and it all seemed fruitless.

But I was feeling more overwhelmed than ever and had no leads on a fix. This was my rock bottom.

My Experience Trying CBD for Anxiety

So I decided to try CBD for my anxiety. After all, what did I have to lose? I started taking a tincture every day without expecting any results.

At about the seven- to 10-day mark, I realized that it was actually helping. It wasn't a huge "aha!" moment, because I was used to prescription drugs that hit me instantly with a really harsh effect. This was more subtle: I realized that I felt much calmer, relaxed, and just good all around. I could sleep better with CBD. All the tension that I'd had in my neck and shoulders felt like it had melted away. People were actually commenting on how relaxed I seemed.

I had thought that feeling anxious and stressed was inevitable when you're a busy person and a mom and you have a job and you sit in traffic and you spend too much time on digital devices. But it wasn't normal. Once I started taking CBD and once I started feeling good, I realized what I had been feeling wasn't normal at all. CBD changed my life, and I felt like a new person.

You might be thinking, "does CBD actually work for anxiety?" or even, "what if CBD gives me anxiety?" Those are valid questions — studies have been conducted to show the efficacy of CBD for anxiety relief, which is promising. And if you're worried about CBD increasing anxiety, you might just need a lower dose; those studies also show that too high of a dose can be ineffective.

As for me, after using CBD for about a year and a half — and having felt its life-changing effects for nearly as long — I decided to work for a CBD company. My passion for this product has led me to continue working in the industry to help bring relief to others who may have had a similar experience to me.

Without sounding totally cliché, I'm feeling the way I always wanted to feel. And now I get the chance to help other people feel that way too.

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