Stress and CBD go together like peanut butter and jelly. When you think of one, you can’t help but think of the other. And even though it has made waves in less than five years, you might wonder if there’s any validity behind this buzzy ingredient’s healing powers. The short answer? It depends on the individual.
“The most interesting thing about CBD and other cannabinoids, like THC, is that they each affect each individual very differently. Every human body has what is known to be an endocannabinoid system (ECS),” says registered dietitian, nutritionist, and certified holistic cannabis practitioner Emily Kyle. “Understanding this helps us to understand that cannabinoids work differently within our bodies and that their effect will not be the same for everyone.”
While the CBD market is filled with variations of products to choose from (e.g., gummies, vapes, oils, etc.), keep in mind that CBD is not totally regulated and you should shop with caution. So what exactly should you look out for? “When it comes to buying a CBD supplement, I recommend looking for three specific criteria: First, it should be made from organically grown hemp; next, it should be full-spectrum CBD; and third, the company you’re buying the CBD from should be as transparent as possible,” says holistic cannabis practitioner Brooke Alpert, R.D. Also, remember that there’s no standard recommendation for CBD dosing. Kyle says “to start low and go slow, gradually titrating up in dosage as needed.”
Even though CBD can affect people differently and the health benefits are from preclinical research, there’s no denying that there is something special about this cannabinoid. But how can it affect one’s body over time? Let’s find out.
After One Day
The CBD experience might not be the same for everybody on the first try. While one person may feel the effects immediately, it could take someone else a couple of doses to feel anything at all. “Everyone uses CBD differently, whether it be for physical manifestations of pain or mental and emotional manifestations for anxiety and depression,” says Kyle. “The human endocannabinoid system’s main role is to maintain homeostasis [or balance] within the body, so the body will use the CBD where it is needed.”
However, Alpert says that if the effects do kick in, people might “feel it’s easier to take a deep breath, realize they aren’t clenching their jaw, or perhaps relax their shoulders a bit more.” And while some other people may be able to experience instantaneous relief for more severe health situations, such as seizures and anxiety, it’s on a case-by-case basis and more research needs to be conducted to support these random findings.
After One Week
Once you have your dosage down, you may begin to feel the effects on a regular basis. “At this point, most people should start feeling a difference,” says Alpert. “Perhaps your sleep is a little bit better or you seem to have more patience. Even better, recovering from your workouts should happen quicker thanks to the anti-inflammatory benefits.” Less recovery time? We approve.
After One Month
At this point in time, you may really feel the benefits of CBD and might even be able to get a better handle of everyday stressors. “[The benefits] might not be as obvious, but skip a day or two and you’ll see what you’re missing. Coping mechanisms with stressful situations should be a lot better by now, too,” says Alpert.
The good news is that’s not the only health benefit you may notice. Alpert says that “if you’ve had chronic pain or inflammation, like an old, nagging injury, you should really start feeling the difference within the first month.”
After Six Months
“After six months, the inflammation in your body should be down significantly,” says Alpert. Plus, if some people use food to aid their stress, they might notice they’ve lost a little bit of weight, too. “For those who might be emotional or stress eaters, weight loss is a common side effect from CBD as it helps them deal with their anxiety,” she adds.
You may also notice that your body has grown accustomed to the benefits of CBD with long-term use. Alpert says that “your body should also be able to handle a few days off of CBD without any noticeable differences, as the past few months of taking it have fixed the imbalances that were causing some of the symptoms.”
As always, make sure to consult with your doctor before starting a CBD routine. While these benefits might occur for some people, they might not happen for everyone.
This story was originally published in November 2019 and has since been updated.