If you're looking to try hemp-derived CBD to relax, here's what experts want you to know about when, how, and how much of it to take at a time.* CBD products claim to help with anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain and more. It almost sounds too good to be true. So I conducted my own experiment. It is no surprise that oftentimes, we all find it hard to relax. With the stresses that we all experience on the daily it can be difficult to wind down, shut off and take time for ourselves. But it is so important to find the time, as giving yourself space to release tension from the day is essential for both your phys
How Much Hemp-Derived CBD Do You Actually Need To Relax? Doctors Weigh In*
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia.
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.
Many people find hemp-derived CBD useful for reducing physical and mental stressors and encouraging feelings of relaxation.* If you’re looking to try hemp-derived CBD to relax, here’s what to know about when, how, and how much of it to take at a time.*
How hemp-derived CBD works.
There are two main types of CBD—hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD—and if you’re confused about the difference between the two, you’re not alone. Both kinds of CBD are sourced from the cannabis plant, but similar to how your thumb is a finger but not every finger is a thumb, hemp is cannabis, but not all cannabis is hemp.
What sets these two sources of CBD apart is their distinctly different levels of phytocannabinoids (e.g., cannabidiol, tetrahydrocannabinol, etc.). In fact, by definition, their levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component that gives you a sense of high, are very different. Hemp has negligible, trace amounts of THC (less than or equal to 0.3%), while marijuana contains higher amounts of THC (much more than 0.3%). That’s per U.S. law.
“It’s primarily an issue of the legal classification,” says Babak Larian, M.D., clinical chief of the Division of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, and co-founder of MDbio.
So, how does nonpsychoactive, hemp-derived CBD work to promote relaxation? According to Larian, it works in tandem with the human body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for restoring homeostasis (balance) in the body.*
“The feeling of taking a hemp product is one of achieving a state of balance more easily or more fully if you’re having a difficult time doing so (whether physically, emotionally, or both, in many cases),”* he tells mbg. “In short: [Hemp-derived CBD encourages] balance, equilibrium, and harmony.”*
A note on FDA regulations: The 2018 Farm Bill states hemp-derived CBD products containing less than 0.3% THC are “no longer controlled substances under federal law.” The FDA does, however, continue to regulate cannabis or cannabis-containing products, including industrial hemp.
And in addition to this helpful oversight, the scientific evidence is growing for cannabis, with studies showing that the hemp plant offers a slew of health benefits, from easing stress to promoting healthy sleep cycles.*
What happened when I took CBD for a week to help with my anxiety
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- CBD products claim to help with everything from anxiety to insomnia to muscle pain.
- The hype almost sounds too good to be true, so Business Insider’s Benji Jones conducted an experiment to find out how it might help him with his anxiety.
- Jones took 250 milligrams of CBD oil per day for one week. Mostly, he felt tired after taking the doses, but he did notice a relief from anxiety, particularly during stressful moments of his week.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Steven Phan: You gotta lean back. No, tongue back!
Benji Jones: That’s me, trying CBD at a shop in New York City. Lately, I’ve seen this stuff everywhere: At the local health food store, but also at Urban Outfitters, Sephora, and CBD shops like this one. And if you look at some of the branding, it kind of makes sense.
CBD products claim to help with everything from anxiety to insomnia to muscle pain. It almost sounds too good to be true. And maybe it is. To find out, I set up a little experiment. For one week, I took CBD three times a day, while tracking my anxiety with a scorecard. I also chatted with an expert before and after to sort through the results. Here’s what I learned.
CBD is a distant cousin of THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. They both come from the cannabis plant, but CBD isn’t psychoactive. Meaning it doesn’t get you high. Now, of course, getting high isn’t the only reason why cannabis is popular. People also use it to relieve pain, control seizures, and lessen anxiety. But as researchers like Dr. Yasmin Hurd are discovering, it’s likely CBD, not THC, that’s behind these benefits.
Dr. Hurd: “It can activate some serotonin receptors, and the serotonin system is associated with alleviating anxiety.”
Jones: Hurd has been studying the effects of CBD for over 10 years. And she’s found that it can reduce anxiety in people with a history of heroin addiction. Now, fortunately, I don’t have a history of addiction, but I do see a therapist for chronic anxiety. And CBD could still help.
Dr. Hurd: “Both under normal conditions and in people who have anxiety disorders, enough research has started to show that it does have an anti-anxiety effect.”
Jones: So, back at the shop, I tried all kinds of product. From sweets to lotions and sprays. And while Hurd couldn’t recommend a specific dose for me, she did say that 300 milligrams a day should be enough to feel something. Because participants in clinical trials typically take anywhere from 300 to 600 milligrams. So, those chocolates and sprays? They weren’t going to cut it. Instead, I went for something else.
Phan: The tinctures, right? This is where you really get into the higher-strength things.”
Jones: I decided to err on the side of caution and take 250 milligrams each day, broken out into three doses: 50 milligrams in the morning, 100 milligrams at midday, and another 100 milligrams at night. That way, it wouldn’t hit me all at once.
Jones: All right, today is the day! I have my CBD here. I’m kind of nervous. All right, here we go.
Now, mind you, this was a Wednesday. A workday. Side note: The reason I’m taking CBD this way is that there are tons of capillaries under your tongue. So, anything you put there can be absorbed directly into your bloodstream. Whereas when you ingest CBD, like with that chocolate, a lot of it is broken down by your stomach. Which means you probably won’t feel much.
Anyway, several hours later, I took my last dose of the day.
If anything, I just feel extremely tired.
That was the first thing I noticed: that CBD was making me drowsy. Really drowsy. Which Hurd said is a pretty normal side effect at high doses. Though we’re not exactly sure why. But as I discovered the next night, it’s also great for hangovers.
I had some alcohol, and I’m certainly not going to have trouble sleeping. I think I’m going to eat a slice of pizza.
The next morning, I felt…great. And according to Hurd, that’s because CBD also has some anti-inflammatory effects. But what about anxiety, what I was really in this for? Each morning, I filled out the anxiety scorecard that Hurd gave me. It was a rough estimate of my daily emotional state, based on numbered responses to statements like, “I feel at ease.” But day to day, it was harder to figure out whether CBD was helping.
Just walking home on Friday night after three days of CBD, and I’m reporting that I’m mostly just tired and feeling lethargic. Not in a bad way; it kind of feels like I have a warm blanket around me, so I don’t hate it.
But over the weekend, I finally got the relief I was looking for, even more quickly than I had expected.
So, I happened to take CBD right before I had to do something stressful. It’s Sunday, but I had a task that I was not looking forward to. And I took 100 milligrams, and I pretty quickly felt my nerves calming down. And I was like, OMG, this is totally working, which is really great because I’m looking for that quick relief like everyone is.
Now, of course, this could have been a placebo. I mean, all of this could have been placebo. So, a few days later, I tried it again in a similar high-stress situation.
Not going to lie, I actually feel a little bit more calm. It kind of puts me into a dissociative state, where I’m slowing down a little bit. I actually get physical pain in my heart region when I’m anxious, which I know sounds terrible. But just 30 minutes after taking my 100-milligram dose for the evening, I feel an absence of that. I will say that I’ve also been listening to the “Lion King” soundtrack, so there are confounding variables. But yeah, I feel a lot better right now.
At that point, I had just one day left.
All right, I’m about to take my last dose of CBD! I must say, I’m kind of excited to stop having to take this three times a day. I think part of it is scheduling and remembering. But also, yeah, I’ve also just been so much more tired. I don’t feel like my anxiety was just washed away. I felt like there were a few times where it really helped in certain instances. And, overall, kind of lowered the intensity of how I was feeling because I felt lethargic. But yeah, I don’t want to be tired anymore.
Afterward, I looked over my anxiety scorecards. And sure enough, it showed that I was feeling slightly less anxious on my last day, compared to my first. Especially when I looked at statements like this. Yeah, that’s a big one for me. I wanted to run these results by Hurd.
Dr. Hurd: “How do you feel?”
Jones: Um, to be honest, I don’t feel that different. I think that the biggest change that I noticed is…I was just tired all the time. I feel this kind of slo-mo lethargia that makes me feel, like, a little bit disassociated with reality. And I think that is what made me feel a little less anxious at times.
Dr. Hurd: So, perhaps…taking it at night only might be best because it can make you a bit sleepy, and everyone has a different sensitivity. If you take it at night you get past the initial sedative effects… and then you don’t have to worry about taking other things like caffeine to try to stay awake.
Jones: And what about those moments of instant relief? Was that in my head, or could CBD act that fast?
Dr. Hurd: “Yeah, absolutely. It can act that quickly. For us, in our studies, people did — shortly after getting CBD — report reduced anxiety.”
Jones: But if there was one takeaway from our conversations, it was this:
Dr. Yasmin Hurd: Ironically, even though it’s now this huge fad in our society, we still don’t have a very good handle on how it’s working.
Jones: In other words, we don’t know: what size dose you should take, how, exactly, it changes your brain, or how it impacts different people in different ways. That’s because until late 2018, nearly all CBD was classified as an illegal substance. Which made it really difficult for scientists to study. And while research is starting to catch up… in some ways, it’s too late.
Dr. Hurd: It’s one of the first times in history that the public is determining whether something is medicine, not scientists and physicians.
Jones: As for me, will I continue using CBD? Yes — but likely only for those moments when I need instant relief. Because, while it seems to benefit a lot of people … I’m not yet fully convinced. But also because, this bottle? It costs more than $130! And if I’m going to spend that much, I want to be absolutely sure it works.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published on August 20, 2019.
Does CBD relax you?
It is no surprise that oftentimes, we all find it hard to relax. With the stresses that we all experience on the daily it can be difficult to wind down, shut off and take time for ourselves.
But it is so important to find the time, as giving yourself space to release tension from the day is essential for both your physical and mental wellbeing.
Relaxation looks different for everyone, but whether it is crashing on the sofa after a long day, grabbing drinks with a friend or taking your dog for a walk, it is essential for our mental wellbeing.
With the last year having been more stressful than ever, it is evermore essential to find time to relax. In TRIP’s 2021 Survey it was found that 7 out of 10 people had the most stressful year of their life, with 70% of people indicating that they had the worst sleep of their lives. Many people found it hard to relax due to the stresses of everyday life, such as financial issues, not seeing friends and spending too much time on screens.
Now more than ever people are looking for easy ways to relax and shake off the day (and the year!). There are so many different strategies that we can take to relax, from finding time to meditate, doing some exercise and moving our bodies to journaling and spending time in nature.
You may have been hearing aboutCBD everywhere and anywhere for a while now, and the hype around it is still growing. Hailed for its calming properties, many users of CBD integrate into their daily rituals to help them de-stress and find their calm. Whether it is a few drops of CBD oilto start your day, a CBD Drink before a big meeting or a can of TRIP to wind down in the evening, many use CBD daily to help them relax.
CBD is short for Cannabidiol, and is one of the many active compounds found in hemp plants. Unlike THC it is not psychoactive, so can’t get you high and is mostly known for its calming effects. Used commonly in the wellness world for its wide range of benefits.
Many CBD fans rave about CBD’s calming effects and claim that it helps them relax. Whether they are feeling anxious, wound up from the day or just looking to find some calm in the everyday chaos.
CBD (Canndabidiol) is well known for its calming properties, but how does it work?
CBD works with a system in our body called our Endocannabinoid system (our ECS), a system of nerves and receptors that works to help our body stay in balance. CBD helps to regulate this system, which can affect our levels of stress and anxiety, can help to alleviate pain, soothe inflammation and even support our immune systems. It has also been said that CBD can help promote better sleep, reduce fatigue and improve focus!
When trying to relax, we need to soothe stress, release tension and rest. Everyday stress, long hours at the desk staring at screens and trouble sleeping can be big barriers to relaxation.
When trying to restore this balance, CBD can be a very helpful tool, helping us to reduce anxiety, inflammation and tension that we may have in our body, while also helping us to wind down ahead of bedtime and gain a good night’s sleep – essential for wellbeing.
If you are struggling to relax, CBD may be for you. Whether that is with a CBD oil, a CBD drink or even CBD capsules you can create your own ritual. The process of taking CBD can itself become relaxing, for example when you place a few drops of Wild Mint CBD Oil under your tongue and hold for a minute, that minute gives you a moment of headspace and calmness to reflect and take a moment for yourself.
Or perhaps you might grab an Elderflower Mint CBD drink in the evening instead of a glass of wine, and as you are sipping on it find some time to breathe, relax and take a break.