The office water cooler was once a place to gather around to discuss weekend plans and share communal baked goods; nowadays, however, it’s a place to talk about CBD, as well. Surely you’ve heard of the super buzz-worthy abbreviation—but if you’re not fully versed in all things cannabidiol (that’s what CBD stands for, BTW), you might be of the common incorrect assumption that it’s an illicit drug. And look, I understand the confusion, after all, it can be derived from cannabis. But here’s the thing: CBD isn’t THC (the chemical responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive effects) and it won’t get you high. That doesn’t mean it won’t give you all the feels though.
Which brings us to today’s topic: how CBD feels. Before talking cold hard (read: calm serene) effects, we must first go over what leads to the point of experiencing them. Below you’ll discover how CBD works, how you can consume it, and, best of all, what you can expect in doing so.
This might come as a surprise, but in addition to the 11 main systems in the body, we all also have (and even our pets have) an endocannabinoid system. Endocannabi-what? Yeah, I had the same initial reaction.
In layman’s terms, the ECS is a system that works to regulate overall wellness, both physically and mentally. The system is made up of three parts: endocannabinoids (AKA naturally-occurring compounds that are similar to the phytocannabinoids in plants), cannabinoid receptors (points that respond specifically to cannabinoids of all kinds), and enzymes that help break down both endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids (in other words, CBD and THC).
Okay, so maybe that didn’t feel super easy to digest, but, believe me, if you head over to the National Library of Medicine, you’ll scroll through a whole lot more, so bear with me.
The two most common endocannabinoids are anandamide (AKA the bliss molecule, according to Sanskrit) and 2-ArachidonoylGlycerol (2-AG)—both of which are fatty lipids (which is why so many CBD products are made with carrier oils like coconut or grapeseed oil). Then there are the receptors which break down further into two types: CB1 and CB2. Each of these play a role in how different cannabinoids affect your behavior. Where CB1 is tied to the central nervous system, CB2 is located majorly in the immune system. According to an article published by the British Journal of Pharmacology, CB1 receptors correlate with appetite, nausea, and pain, whereas CB2 receptors deal primarily with inflammation. Lastly, the enzymes help break down everything so that you’re not in a forever state of bliss (bummer, right?).
When you consume or apply CBD products, you can alert both of these receptors, while also tricking your body into producing more of its own endocannabinoids, which is likely why CBD brands tell you to not only use CBD when you need it, but daily so that you can build up the effects for overall well being.
Now that you know the science of CBD, let’s discuss how to actually get it into your system. While capsules and topicals are my personal faves, I’ve outlined all your options below:
Capsules & Edibles: As you might expect, you consume these in pill, food, or drink form. Think: Not Pot Gummies, Sweat With Bec Edibles: CBD Chocolate, and Mood 33 (but be mindful of your state laws, because these contain not only CBD, but THC as well).
Sublingually: These are oils that you place under your tongue. As odd as it may feel, you’re supposed to hold the liquid there for at least a minute to allow it to soak in before swallowing. I find that the process produces quite a bit of saliva, so sometimes you might just want to swallow to get it over with. CBD oils are examples of CBD sublinguals.
Topicals: Just think of all the balms, creams, and salves you’ve seen swarming your Instagram feed — both for pain and relaxation, as well as inflammation reduction. The RE Botanicals Hemp CBD Relief Lavender Body Oil is one of my faves for stressful moments. Simply roll it on wherever, whenever et voila.
Vaping: If you’re goal is fast-acting relaxation, inhalation is the way to go. This way the CBD travels directly into your bloodstream for a quick calming vibe. I dig the Urbul CBD Vapes—especially mango.
Apart from the method of consumption, the effects you feel also have to do with the dose you take (or apply). Most CBD products will list out doses clearly on the label, but if they don’t, it’s best to head directly to the site, where it will.
Typically you can expect to take one gummy, one dropper, or one deep inhalation to feel the first effects. From there, pace yourself accordingly with the max limit of your specific product in mind.
Unlike THC (short for Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not come with a side a of mind-altering effects—at least not in the way you think. Instead of the couch potato behavior associated with indicas and mind-spinning thoughts that accompany sativa strains of marijuana, CBD is all about fostering and nurturing a calm, clear mind. And with that comes the below:
While numerous studies prove these results, as a regular CBD consumer, I can attest to them as well. Whether I’m searching for sound sleep, deep concentration, reduced aches and pains, a calm mind, or an overall better mood, I reach for CBD (and urge all my friends to, too).
But, if you want another opinion, consider what one Reddit user has to say: “CBD doesn’t feel like that nagging pain in my back on the left side. It doesn’t feel like that point between the joints in my foot that has been bugging me for years. It doesn’t feel like the self-consciousness I often have in social situations. It doesn’t feel that voice in my head wondering how things will go wrong. It doesn’t feel like the anxiety that is making it difficult to make decisions.”
Rebecca Norris is an NYC-based writer who specializes in beauty, health, and wellness content. When she’s not writing for Remedy Review, her words can be found on Allure, Bustle, Nylon, Well + Good, and more. The Virginia native is a lover of lists, her Jack Russell Prince Cheddy Loon, and testing the latest and greatest CBD products the market has to offer. The opinions in this piece are hers. For a list of products third-party tested by the Remedy Review, see our Seal of Approval.