A CBD Shopping Guide for Cannabis-Newbies and Seasoned Stoners
Updated: Mar 20, 2019
Get your wellness on.
CBD: What's Not To Love?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, helped me discover the magic of stress-“less“ living. Not stress-free living, but a life that doesn’t constantly stress me the F out.
The natural health aid can provide immediate relief for everything from chronic pain, digestive issues, anxiety, and panic attacks, to inflammatory issues, like hives. There are also long-term benefits of adding CBD to your wellness toolkit, as having a non-groggy-making stress-reducer that actually works is beyond empowering.
As a workaholic Virgo and former therapist, I am obsessed with the correlation between stress management in the present and reaching your long-term goals. In case the link isn’t straightforward to you, first simply understand that stress creates far-reaching hormonal changes in your body. I repeatedly told Tom that, "Stress shrinks your brain cells!!” when he was studying for the Bar Exam. And it's true! The same way that stress creates tunnel vision with perspective — shrinking complex issues into a black-and-white, fight-or-flight reality — it can constrict your sense of possibility and stall inspired action.
I found CBD at a time in my life when I had decided to prioritize wellness. After years squandering my energy on a lose-lose, toxic situation, I found a supplement that helped me to stay present and grounded in a highly stressful situation. This freed up my energy to focus on making sustainable, wellness-minded solutions while I worked on setting boundaries with the sources of toxic stress in my life. For the first time since moving to OC, California from NYC in 2014, I had the clarity to come up with actual solutions and to follow through on them.
If you turn to CBD to help you cope during a stressful situation, remember that the key is focusing on what you want, not on what you don't want. Rather than ruminating on the problems, I was determined to focus on my goals — and CBD helped enormously in my ability to do just that. It is also the perfect choice for coping with emotional stress and it’s psychosomatic manifestations. It calms your nerves, settles your stomach, eases your mind, and chills you out — from the tips of your toes to your Crown chakra, imparting analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits on its way.
CBD for Emotional Stress
It is easy to buy federally legal, hemp-sourced CBD. Back in 2016, when I got my first bottle of tincture, this wasn't yet the case. After living through years of a toxic situation, I purchased a little blue bottle of cannabis-sourced CBD oil made from a strain called AC/DC. I was still opening my mind to the possibility of its effectiveness when I read about Charlotte's Web, a strain of cannabis named after a little girl whose life-threatening epilepsy it managed. (Aww!)
I took a dropper-full as a daily supplement to tend to my overall stress levels, or for as-in-the-moment bouts of extreme stress. FYI: Stress-reduction techniques impact the biochemical stress process in the body, so the sooner you interrupt the stress cycle, the better. Since CBD is non-psychoactive, I could even take it during the workday since it kept me clear-headed, unlike a Xanax or Klonopin.
I'm not going to lie: It was still brutal. I was dealing with a post-apocalyptic relationship situation, a draining job, a chronic health condition, my puppy broke her leg while I was in Africa, and the list goes on.
But just as adaptogenic herbs like ashwaghanda or rhodiola do, CBD helps us adapt to stressful situations. I was living in a perma-frazzled state, but even remembering my grounded baseline helped guide me. Self-awareness in the moment gives you enough clarity that you don't feel limited to emotional, knee-jerk reactions — similar to the benefits of meditation.
CBD helped me through it all.
How to Self-Soothe Using CBD
(1) Halt the stress response.
Stress impacts us on all levels, so using CBD to counteract the body's response is the first step. The moment I felt a physical or cognitive anxiety symptom, I CBD'd it up. This cultivates self-awareness and helps you become your own best advocate.
(2) Maximize the relaxation response.
You can do so using self-care. This literally justifies "treating yo self" (guilt-free!) as long as it causes positive thoughts and emotions sans stress. Yoga, Transcendental Meditation, facials, spa-ing, detoxing, writing, spending time with non-stressful friends, and hanging out with my dogs were all activities I prioritized.
(3) Eliminate toxic stressors.
DETOX! First, use discernment to identify the stress-causing components of your life. Give yourself permission to minimize interactions or let go altogether of relationships that are more draining than positive. All passive aggressive, bullying, guilt-tripping, or overly demanding types get the axe.
Putting wellness first can cause pushback from those difficult people who believe they have a claim to your time, but the beauty is that I care way less. Think of it as a multi-level detox of your life — an energetic Spring cleaning, of sorts. You'll gain back so much energy!
Choose Your CBD According to Your Symptoms
For a recent article on The/Thirty, I learned about the differences between hemp-sourced and cannabis-sourced CBD and how to choose the product type that is right for you. It all comes down to terpenes, source-specific "healers" in CBD that come from hemp or different strains of marijuana. Terpenes are uniquely specialized and can be selected specifically for the management of your individual symptoms.
Trust me: The benefits of the relaxation response accumulate. As far as I'm concerned, the more you sample the merch below, the better!
CBD Supplements for Ingestion
CAP Beauty The Daily Hit ($96): I still want to try this CBD oil supplement. It is infused with adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms that help minimize the effects of stress on the body.
Cocorau Sublime Elixir ($81): This is the ultimate go-to for CBD-containing edibles that are packed with superfoods and adaptogenic nutrients. You can add this powder to a smoothie for the added benefits of Rhodiola, Astralagus, and more. They also sell gourmet gift boxes!
Yummy Karma 4:1 240 MG/60 MG THC Tincture ($80): This fabulous THC-containing tincture helped me manage a fear of flying during a transatlantic flight to London. It is great for insomnia and the reduction of acute anxiety.
Warning: It tastes nasty, but is worth it.
Also: Medical marijuana is permitted at LAX, but be sure to check your local laws before traveling with this bad boy.
MedTerra Medoil CBD Tincture ($71): I literally used this last night when I had a stomach ache and headache. The company also makes CBD for pets that I love giving to Jackson, and a topical relief cream that you can use on aching joints. (No pun intended.)
CalyFX Relief Vape ($74): I received this as a party favor at the Gold Meets Golden Brunch — one of the best events I have ever attended for work. In case you haven't noticed, CBD is blowing up in Hollywood and among celebs.
For Sunday Scaries Vegan AF ($45): These are awesome because they taste like sour gumdrops. They're gluten free and vegan. Use code <jessica10off> for 15% off!
Life Bloom Organics Nano Wellness Spray ($35) + Nano Sleep Spray ($40): I personally prefer cannabis-sourced CBD, but this company puts fabulous research into their terpene-specific, hemp-sourced CBD products. Highly bio-available nano-CBD is instantly absorbed into the blood, with formulas available for wellness and sleep.
Not Pot ($40): Cutest branding ever and you'll get a cute zippered pouch if you order a bottle soon. These are also gluten-free and vegan.
CBD Beauty Products
Using skincare products with anti-inflammatory CBD is a great way to reduce skin irritation and reactions, to calm acne breakouts and eruptions, and to protect from the potentially-irritating skincare ingredients like retinol.
CoSo Beauty Hemp Oil Infused Facial Sheet Mask ($45 for 5): K-Beauty meets CBD? Yes, yes, so much yes! Finding soothing sheet masks is important.
Rad Ritual Cosmic Mermaid ($68), Zit Blitz ($68), and Disco Honey ($68): Nanotized, cannabis-sourced CBD calms sensitive skin in conjunction with skin-loving oil blends according to your skin type. Cosmic Mermaid is for sensitive skin, Zit Blitz balances oil production, and Disco Honey is for anti-aging. Use code <BEAUTYSTONED15> for 15% off. Also, they have the best PR rep EVER.
Stacked Skincare ($110): This hemp-sourced CBD serum calms temperamental skin.
CBD For Life Pure CBD Eye Serum ($32): I love layering my eye cream over eye serums and oils for eliminating fine lines.
Isodiol Cannaceuticals CBD7 Resurfacing Enzyme Mask ($49): The use of encapsulated, time-released CBD in this exfoliating peel makes it gentle enough to be used daily for brightening, as it purifies pores and refines skin texture.
Myaderm CBD Blemish Control ($25): I am fascinated about the use of CBD for inflammatory skin conditions like cystic acne since it is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
Cannuka Skin Healing Balm ($58): The clean line's entire Beauty + Health Collection ($138), pictured above, looks fabulous. It is infused with Manuka honey, which is great for sensitive skin, and they even sell an eye cream, Cannuka Calming Eye Balm ($38), that brightens dark circles!
CBD Balms for Topical Application
Topical CBD products work great for menstrual cramps, joint pain and inflammation, stomach aches, headaches, chronic pain, and more. Highly bio-available nanotized CBD can be absorbed straight into the bloodstream, even helping to treat insomnia via topical applications.
Papa + Barkley Releaf Patch: My good friend uses the line's balm to treat aching joints. (No pun intended.) These come in different concentrations — some even have THC.
Empower White Label Topical Relief Lotion ($40): I have personally sampled this incredibly effective product. I haven't even tried their "black label" line, only their hemp-sourced "white label" collection, but I was wow-ed. I recommend it for any time of pain, including menstrual cramps.
Life Elements Bath Bomb ($14): Soak up benefits for dry skin, psoriasis, eczema, soreness, inflammation, pain, and cramps, as well as relief from anxiety and stress.
CBD For Life Roll-On Oils ($30): You can now apply on-the-go relief for your cramps, carpal tunnel, or whatever is ailing you.
High Gorgeous In Your Dreams Body Lotion: The same company that makes a THC- and CBD-infused bubble bath sells this nighttime body lotion to help you sleep.
Foria Relief Vaginal Suppositories ($40): These are specifically formulated for relief from menstrual cramps and pelvic discomfort. The line also sells a THC-containing collection — including a weed lube that will make your S.O. extremely happy.
Holistic Health Helps
I am a huge believer in neuroplasticity, the human brain's lifelong ability to change. No matter how old you are, you can learn new responses to the same stressors — literally evolution.
In a high-stress crisis situation, CBD was just one part of my new wellness-first lifestyle. Basically, I had just earned a graduate degree in Clinical Social Work and thought I might as well sample the goods on myself. And that's what sent me on my way to trying CBD!
I hope that some of this information is helpful for you in learning to use CBD as a wellness-promoting supplement in your life. I consider the exploration of wellness to be a lifelong journey and am all about discovering what works best for each of us individually. Please feel free to contact me with any tips, questions, or concerns. To read more about my writing on CBD, you can do so on Brit + Co., my website, and TheThirty.
I may receive affiliate commissions if you purchase products from some of these links!
Featured photos via Jessica Ourisman/beauty-stoned