What Happened When I Tried CBD for My Anxiety
Is CBD the magic potion it's cracked up to be? See what happened when one woman stopped her prescription anxiety meds and tried CBD oil instead.
Photos: Kristina Strasunske / Getty Images
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. (Here's how to know if you have an anxiety disorder.) It wasn't in social situations, it was just because of everyday life. Everything was piling on, and I'd become so overwhelmed and feel so uncomfortable, 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 clean, 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. (Related: Try This Guided Meditation for Anxiety)
The Prescription Fix
I went to the doctor, and they were quick to suggest a remedy: prescription anxiety medicine. I opted in and noticed the effects almost immediately. (Literally, 15 to 20 minutes later.) The feeling 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 and 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 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.
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 like 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 caffeine. I would peruse the wellness department at the natural food stores and I tried everything-melatonin, valerian root, kava-to no avail.
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, like modern-day snake oil. I was reluctant because I had also tried all the other holistic remedies I'd heard of, and it all seemed fruitless. (Related: How One Woman Used Alternative Medicine to Overcome Her Opioid Dependency)
I was feeling more overwhelmed than ever and had no leads on a fix. This was my rock bottom.
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 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. 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 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 was obsessed. (BTW, CBD doesn't get you high. Here's the difference between CBD, THC, hemp, cannabis, and more.)
After using CBD for about a year and a half-and being obsessed with it for just about as long-I decided to go work for a CBD company. Eventually, my passion for the product (and how it changed my life) inspired me to start a CBD company of my own: The H. Hemp Company.
Without being a total 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-no prescription required. (Want to give it a try yourself? Read up on how to buy the safest and most effective CBD oil products.)