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What’s CBD, and How I’m Using It

As recently as a year ago, if you asked a stranger in your spin class what “CBD” was, chances are, they would have had no idea what you were talking about. Now, it seems like it’s all anyone in the wellness world wants to discuss: Which tincture have you been putting under your tongue to de-stress? […]

Dirty Lemon CBD

As recently as a year ago, if you asked a stranger in your spin class what “CBD” was, chances are, they would have had no idea what you were talking about. Now, it seems like it’s all anyone in the wellness world wants to discuss: Which tincture have you been putting under your tongue to de-stress? Have you tried a balm for muscle pain after long runs? Which cafe is serving the best CBD latte this week?

There are a few reasons why CBD is blowing up so quickly. Yes, you could argue that one is just that the wellness world loves a longevity-promising craze of any kind. (Kale! Acai! Infrared saunas!) But interest has also been growing alongside changing cultural attitudes and policies towards marijuana and hemp, two subtypes of the cannabis plant.

I have to admit, I was the biggest scaredy cat when it came to experimenting with the stuff. I was the biggest square in my youth, and my pot smoking days were non-existent, so I couldn’t imagine having any part of any part of a marijuana plant, even if it did promise to cure everything from just about anything that ails you. But since becoming legal in Los Angeles, I’m surrounded by people trying it in all manner of ways, and all manner of places to get it. And it’s not at all what I thought… for the uninitiated (as I recently was!), here’s the 411:

What is CBD Oil?

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the active compounds present in both marijuana and hemp plants. In the past, Its counterpart THC is what produces marijuana’s “high.” But once it’s separated from THC, CBD’s potential therapeutic benefits are vast, since it interacts with your body’s endocannabionoid system, which helps regulate functions like pleasure, memory, concentration, appetite, and pain. The research on exactly how using it may benefit you is still in the beginning stages, but studies are looking at how it might help with things like chronic pain and insomnia, and many people say (anecdotally) that it’s helpful for stress- and anxiety-relief, concentration, muscle soreness, and more.

CBD is present in the hemp in higher amounts, which, unlike marijuana, can be sold legally in all 50 states. (The laws on growing hemp are more complex, but it is now being grown on a limited basis throughout the US, after decades of it being illegal.) So, if you’re curious to try using it to ward off anxiety that’s been tripping you up lately, the only issue is that it can be hard to know where to start. A lotion, a dropperful under your tongue? A beverage?? 

Companies have rushed to get into the rapidly growing industry, meaning there’s suddenly a lot out there and it’s hard to know which products are high-quality.  To help, I’m sharing a few of my trusted favorites, below. These products are all made by companies with high sourcing and quality standards and an eye for design (so your CBD won’t look out of place in your beauty bag). They also run the gamut in terms of function: From a calming CBD lemonade to an all-natural lotion that promises to relieve pain, they solve for all kinds of wellness ailments.

Dirty Lemon CBD

Trendy Dirty Lemon’s beverages are all essentially amped-up lemonades. They make versions spiked with collagen, matcha—and now, CBD. It’s a fresh-tasting, not-too-sweet citrus drink (think lemon, pineapple, and orange) with CBD and l-theanine (an amino acid with its own potential anxiety-reducing and concentration-boosting benefits) added. Before a business meeting, I really wanted to be “on,” so I tried drinking a bottle. While it wasn’t life-changing, I did feel experience a calming effect and some added mental clarity. It’s a big bottle, by the way, so you can sip a little, see how you feel, and always save some for later if you’re getting too mellow. Buy here

Charlotte’s Web Original CBD Oil

The “classic” CBD approach is to buy an oil and try squeezing a few drops of it under your tongue—either on a regular basis or in stressful situations. For this application, Charlotte’s Web is as good as it gets. The Boulder, Colorado-based company is serious about ingredient quality and growing hemp responsibly. It also offers different strengths depending on your need. In the other words, if the original isn’t quite doing it for you, you can opt for extra strength. Finally, if you’d rather skip the taste, you can opt for capsules instead. Buy here

Lord Jones High CBD Dark Chocolate Espresso Chews

Lord Jones packages its CBD into high-end candies (and a really nice lotion, which is a great topical alternative to Shea Brand’s balm, by the way). These dark chocolate espresso chews are individually dosed so you get 20mg of CBD in each piece, along with delish chocolatey, coffee flavor (and no artificial colors or flavors). These are super special and work really well as a gift for a wellness-obsessed friend, too. Buy here

Shea Brand Natural Pain Reliever

For a topical solution, I love this balm from Brooklyn-based skin-care company Shea Brand. It blends CBD with other soothing, healing ingredients like organic shea butter, arnica oil, eucalyptus, and ginger. The company recommends rubbing it on for relief from muscle, nerve, and joint pain, headaches, and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. I started putting it on in response to computer-related wrist and hand pain and found it really provided a feeling of relief. It also smells amazing and comes in what is potentially the prettiest tin ever designed. Buy here

Acesco Calm Spray or Beverage Powder

Aceso’s formulas blend CBD with “synergistic” terpenes (essential oils that are also present in the cannabis plant) and vitamins for a desired effect, like Calm, Soothe, and Wellness. You can choose a spray that you spritz in your mouth or powdered mixes that dissolve in water, depending on your preference. I started using the Calm spray before bed, and it did feel like it helped me unwind. Then I tried using it when my mind was jumping all over the place and I needed to focus in on an important task. Again, it felt like I was able to chill out and zero in on the task at hand a little more effectively, but it’s hard to determine how much it’s really working or if the placebo effect is at play. Buy here

Do you have a fave CBD product that’s not on the list? Add it, below, along with why you love it!

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