Nope, it won’t get you high … but it can help with anxiety, depression, and brain function.
It was a warm summer night, just a week before my friends and I were set to start our senior year of high school, and we were all gathering at a restaurant for someone’s birthday dinner. Just before we walked into the restaurant, I realized something strange—I couldn’t hear anything. I could see peoples’ mouths moving, but couldn’t decipher what they were saying.
And then I woke up on the concrete, a worried crowd gathered around me. “You had a seizure,” my friend said gently as I blinked my eyes, trying to process this new information. I remember it was warm that night because I was wearing a sundress, and when I finally regained consciousness my first worry was that my dress flew up and everyone could see my underwear.
After months of visiting doctors and sitting through tests like a human lab rat, it was determined that there was a slight anomaly in the anatomy of my temporal lobe—the part of the brain that controls hearing, speech, and auditory comprehension—which explains why every time I have a seizure, I suddenly don’t understand the English language. Epilepsy can’t be cured, so the only course of action available for me was to take a medication every day for the rest of my life. My neurologist prescribed a few different anti-convulsant medications, but they all made me feel tired, depressed, slow, and unlike myself—until finally, I found one that was slightly better than the rest.
Eventually, I took my health into my own hands. A lot of research, education, and trial and error led me to where I am now—a person with epilepsy who uses food and holistic practices to manage my diagnosis.
Then a few months ago, my Facebook messages inbox exploded.
“Have you seen this?”
“Do you take this?”
“This is amazing!”
Friends and family members were sending me articles about CBD—a hemp-based, non-psychoactive oil that contains canabidiol—that had been shown to stop seizures in their tracks.
What is CBD oil?
At first, I was wary. Although I live in Los Angeles, where it seems like there’s a medical marijuana depot on every corner, I’m not one for doing drugs (legal or otherwise). I mean, I don’t even take Advil when I get a headache! But despite the fact that CBD oil is made from hemp, it doesn’t contain THC. THC is the compound responsible for the “high” that comes with ingesting marijuana. In fact, scientific reviews have proven that CBD “does not interfere with several psychomotor and psychological functions,” and is safe to ingest without any side effects. Let me repeat: YOU WILL NOT GET HIGH FROM CBD!
Here’s the thing, though—CBD oil isn’t just helpful for people with epilepsy. Turns out the oil is highly anti-inflammatory, and according to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology it’s also beneficial for treating anxiety, depression, neurodegenerative disorders like dementia, and even has anti-tumoral properties. Sounds like the ultimate superfood, right? I decided to give this magic oil a whirl and see if I noticed a difference in my mood, anxiety, and stress levels.
After consulting with Amanda Chantal Bacon of Moon Juice, I decided to invest in a bottle of Gone Green Hemp CBD Oil in the 500mg tincture. Gone Green is a really incredible company that only sources the best herbs, adaptogens, and superfoods, so I knew I would be getting a very high-quality product when I grabbed their bottle off of Moon Juice’s shelf. You can buy Gone Green’s Hemp CBD Oil online—it’s 100% legal in all 50 states. They have the best customer service ever, and they carry tons of other fantastic products that any health-conscious person would love!
I stopped by Moon Juice after work, feeling a little nervous and excited all at once. “You might notice that your body feels a bit heavy after you try it—sometimes when I take it I feel like I just want to sit down and chill,” said the women behind the Moon Juice counter who helped me. Prepped for potential side effects, I emptied one dropper’s worth of CBD oil into my chamomile tea as soon as I got home … And didn’t feel anything. A few hours later I got into bed and immediately fell asleep.
Bacon had said that I might need to try two full droppers worth of the oil to really feel its benefits. I knew that I had an incredibly busy and stressful day ahead of me—I needed to fit in a five mile run before work, had lots to do at the office, was scheduled for a busy event in the middle of the day, and had a 2-hour meditation class later that night which would require a lot of mental clarity. Tentatively, I squirted two droppers of CBD oil into my bulletproof coffee and sipped away.
When I landed at my desk I was ready to work, and I feel like I was able to focus and accomplish more in a shorter period of time. The real test, though, was when I had to drive through bumper-to-bumper traffic in downtown LA in order to get to the Indie Beauty Expo—and I was able to do it with absolutely zero road rage … a big thing for me!
Because I never go downtown, I had to stop for a latte at my favorite coffee shop—and a second CBD pick-me-up. By the time I stepped into the crowded Indie Beauty Expo, I felt calm and happy. As an introvert, I usually have a hard time making small talk at events. But post-CBD oil, I felt comfortable enough to chat up a storm with every person I met! Three hours later I dragged myself out of the huge exposition and made it to my meditation class, where I took another dropper of CBD oil. Although I really love meditating, I find it particularly challenging to get into the “zone” after a long day at work. Not so much after taking some CBD—it was easy to calm my mind and tune into my breath, despite how fast-paced my day had been.
I woke up seriously looking forward to my morning CBD oil fix … I mean, tonic. Truth be told, I’m an anxious person. Although I do a lot to try and calm my nerves, sometimes anxiety gets the best of me. But regardless of emotional or physical stress (I’m training for a marathon and running quite a bit!), I experienced this week, I felt a lot more in control after drinking my CBD oil tonics. After work, I met up with a friend and felt like I could fully focus on our conversation without distractions. Could it be the CBD?
Honestly, I began to wonder if I was just experiencing the placebo effect. But on the one day, I didn’t take my CBD oil, I ended up picking a fight with my boyfriend (totally my fault) and let a few off-color remarks by a family member mess with my mood. Truly, I feel like it was a bit less anxious, both of those incidents could have been diverted.
As for my epilepsy, I can’t conclusively say that CBD oil cured or healed me. I’ve lived a very particular lifestyle for a long time, which is how I’ve been able to treat my condition. That being said, stress is a huge trigger for many people with epilepsy—and I know that using CBD helped me manage my stress in a more healthy way.
Bottom line? I’m definitely going to keep taking this stuff!
Michelle Pellizzon is a certified health coach, holistic nutritionist, NASM-certified PT, healthy living expert, and the U.S. Senior editor of Sporteluxe. When she’s not writing, you can probably find her running the trails of the Santa Monica mountains, trying to meditate, or searching for the best coffee in LA.