Forget the meditation cushions and the mindfulness apps — if the coronavirus has got you feeling anxious these days, it may be time to consider adding some CBD to your self-care routine.
As cases of COVID-19 continue to spike across the country, so have cases of anxiety. New data from the American Psychiatric Association last week found that nearly half of all Americans (48%) are anxious about the possibility of getting sick, with more than one-third saying that coronavirus is having a “serious impact on their mental health.“
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says “capsized travel plans, indefinite isolation, panic over scarce resources and information overload” have also contributed to feelings of anxiety and isolation.
While doctors continue to work on a cure for COVID-19, people are looking to things like supplements and natural remedies to help soothe and self-medicate. One way they’re coping with the craziness: cannabidiol, a.k.a. CBD.
CBD works by interacting with your body’s endocannabinoids system (ECS), which regulates a range of functions and processes in the body that include sleep, appetite, memory, and mood. Experts say proper dosages can go a long way toward relieving things like OCD and anxious behaviors by restoring balance in your ECS.
“This system has an important role in attempting to support and maintain a sense of homeostasis (balance) in the body,” explains Jason Mitchell, a naturopathic doctor and the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of wellness brand, HempFusion. “CBD interacts in such a way that can lead to a relaxing effect in the body, and it does this in a manner that is not drug-like or as a sedative.”
Put simply: CBD could help you calm down, without getting you high.
According to a study released last month by consumer insights firm Brightfield Group, 48% of cannabis users have stocked up or plan to stock up on CBD in the near future. The numbers correlate to a spike in e-commerce sales of CBD, confirms Brightfield Group’s Managing Director, Bethany Gomez. “More than 39% of consumers plan to use CBD more frequently during the crisis,” Gomez adds, “particularly to alleviate anxiety, depression, insomnia and stress.”
It’s important to note that while CBD may help curb some of your anxiety, it’s not a catch-all cure (the FDA says it’s continuing to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of CBD products in the marketplace). “CBD supplements can help support a healthy response to specific conditions, including maintaining normal levels of stress and anxiousness,” says Dr. Jeremy Stewart, the Chief Scientist and VP of Scientific Affairs at Gaia Herbs, whose line of products include supplements using hemp extracts containing CBD. “However,” Stewart cautions, “[CBD] supplements should not be looked at as an alternative to a medication that someone’s doctor has prescribed for them.”
Another thing to keep in mind: not all products labelled as “hemp” or “CBD” on the market are the same. To get the full effects of cannabidiol, look for products using hemp-derived CBD (or cannabis-derived, in legal states) which extracts the CBD compound from the leaves, stems and stalks of the hemp plant, harnessing its full therapeutic benefits. If a product doesn’t have the CBD label (say, these “hemp oils” on Amazon), it’s because their ingredients are extracts of the hemp seed, and not the actual plant. They’ll still provide some benefits, but they won’t contain any cannabinoids, including CBD.
If you’re experiencing serious flare-ups of anxiety, it’s best to contact your doctor or medical provider. For everyone else, here are some of our favorite CBD products to try, to help you manage your mood, quell your anxiety and stay calm during this unprecedented time.
1. Caliper CBD
Caliper CBD’s perfectly precise packets contain 20mg of odorless, flavorless, dissolvable CBD powder that can be easily added to any food or beverage for temporary relief from stress, occasional aches, or restless nights. Caliper was founded by CBD skeptics who recognized a need for a quality, science-backed CBD in an industry rife with misinformation and unfounded claims.
Caliper says its clinical studies have shown its CBD powder is 6.5 times more bioavailable in the first 15 minutes and 4.5 times more bioavailable overall than oil-based CBD. Why we like Caliper: it offers you the flexibility of CBD on your terms, wherever and whenever you need it most. Sprinkle this into a glass of water, your morning coffee or a cup of tea before bed. $49.99 (30-pack), TryCaliper.com
2. Lord Jones Royal Oil
Lord Jones’ “Royal Oil” has won over fans in the beauty community as a nourishing oil for the face and body, but the broad-spectrum CBD formula can be taken as a tincture too, to help soothe anxiety and promote a sense of calm. Each full dropper contains approximately 40mg of CBD; each half dropper contains approximately 20mg of CBD. Note: Because there are no additives or extra ingredients, expect a stronger aroma of the cannabis plant. $100, Sephora.com.
3. Papa & Barkley “Releaf” Capsules
One serving a day of Papa & Barkley’s popular “releaf” capsule go could a long way toward easing aches and pains associated with physical activity, stress and anxiety. Each capsule contains 30mg of CBD in a precisely-measured dose. The capsule works great to help manage stress and to enhance your mood; if you have more acute physical pains — and live in California — Papa & Barkley offer a 1:3 THC-rich capsule as well, which has worked great in my household of three active (read: constantly sore) roommates. $59.99, PapaandBarkley.com.
4. Prismatic Plants Tincture
Prismatic Plants’ “Good Day” tincture combines all the benefits of full-spectrum hemp oil and adaptogenic herbs in an easy-to-take tincture that includes 10mg of CBD (for anxiety) and 3mg of CBDa (a naturally-occurring cannabidiolic acid that is said to help with inflammation). Bay Area-based Prismatic Plants combines cannabis with traditional herbalism, and the adaptogens in this formula (basically plants said to contain healing properties) help increase focus and calm, while decreasing feelings of anxiousness. If you need something to help you sleep, the company also makes a “Good Night” version that adds things like mood-bossting (but non-hallucinogenic) reishi mushrooms, and ashwagandha, an Indian root known for its pacifying properties. $70, PrismaticPlants.com.
5. Healist Calm Infused Patch
If you’re feeling anxious, consider using one of these CBD patches from the new CBD and botanicals brand, Healist. Each patch is infused with 10mg of CBD, plus natural stress-relieving herbs and amino acids like ashwagandha and L-Theanine. Stick a patch on a lean, firm area of your body (think bicep, forearm, or back) and leave it on for up to 24 hours to reduce stiffness and anxiety. In our experience, the patch helped to ease the tension that often comes with feelings of stress, while also helping to keep our nerves at bay. The patch stays on surprisingly well too, without irritation or discomfort. $39.99 (for a 4-pack), HealistNaturals.com.
6. Kin Slips “Park Life” Sublingual Strips
Like a breath mint strip laced with CBD, these “Park Life” strips dissolve under the tongue for faster, more direct relief than traditional edibles, which have to be digested before taking effect. In our experience, the strips have a near-immediacy of smoking or vaping, and the 10:1 ratio of CBD to THC works well to help take the edge off. Worth noting: these Kin Slips used to have an “earthy” flavor, but this new batch has an improved flavor with hints of fruit, mint and turmeric. $30 (for a 10-pack), Kinslips.com (Currently only available in California).
7. Life Elements CBD Bath Bomb
Life Elements says its “Mercury in Retrograde Bath Bomb” helps to “thwart cosmic chaos” with 250mg of hemp-derived CBD and essential oils like frankincense, myrrh, and a touch of palo santo. Hokey language aside, this CBD bath bomb does wonders for sore muscles and mild cramps, in addition to helping with stress and tension. Drop it in a bath of warm water, let it fizz and dissipate, then sit and soak. $26, LifeElements.com (Prefer a lower dosage? Get the same bath bomb in 50mg, 100mg or 200mg versions starting at $14 on The Grommet).
8. SMILE “Balance” CBD Gummies
One of the easiest ways to add CBD into your daily routine is through these multivitamins, which contain 10mg of CBD per serving. The mix of essential vitamins and minerals (think magnesium, vitamin B12, and zinc) helps to better support your immune system and prevent adrenal fatigue, while the CBD helps to regulate your body’s response to stress. Bonus: the gummies taste like passion fruit. $40, ReasontoSmile.com.
9. Her Highness CBD Pre-Roll
Prefer to smoke? This CBD pre-roll from female-fronted brand, Her Highness, delivers 0.5g of Connecticut-sourced CBD per joint. The brand says a couple puffs could help to combat anxiety, insomnia, depression, pain and cramps. What we like: the smooth-settling formula eases you into a more mellow state, rather than hitting you all at once. This set includes a pre-rolled joint and gold lighter, which you’ll need to fill with your own butane before you light up. $15, HerHighnessCBD.com.
10. KIVA “Freshly Squeezed” Gummies
KIVA is one of the most popular names in edibles, and their latest release is a citrus-flavored gummy that promises a “more relaxed state of mind.” This is one of the most well-balanced edibles we’ve tried, with the blend of CBD, terpines and ginseng slowly releasing over an hour or two, to give you a slow, subtle “high.” Note: this has a CBD to THC ratio of 9:1. $20, KivaConfections.com (Currently available in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, and Nevada).
11. B GREAT Relax Shots
There are a ton of CBD-infused drinks on the market right now, from Sweet Reason (a sort of CBD-meets-La Croix beverage) to the party-ready G and Juice (based out of California, naturally). But to really settle your most anxious moments, try taking these “Relax” shots from B GREAT. Each shot contains 20mg of full-spectrum hemp CBD, along with melatonin, gingko biloba (a Chinese plant known for its therapeutic properties), and lavender water. Half a shot helps take the edge off; a full shot lulls you into a balmy, blissful state to ease your thoughts and fears — at least for a little while. $59.99 (for a 12-pack), BGreat.com.