CBD, the trendiest three letters in culture right now. What exactly is it and what does it do? CBD is short for cannabinoid; it can be found in the cannabis plant AND in the human body! It is best known for anti-anxiety and stress-relieving qualities without the high feeling. The "high" comes from THC, which is found in the marijuana plant. This means, when ingesting/inhaling CBD there is no high, there is no moment when it will hit you. What you should be paying attention to when using CBD is what are you not feeling- the pressure on your chest, the stress in your shoulders should dissolve. CBD can be derived from both the hemp and marijuana plants and is a naturally occurring compound, a form of plant medicine, that can be incorporated into your daily life to help increase well-being while decreasing anxiety, reduce inflammation, enhance sleep, and quiet the mind chatter.
The first step you need to take is to ask: "Why do I want to add CBD to my life, what is my goal?" If you're looking to enhance or help your sleep, taking CBD at the end of your day can help your body relax because it stacks on top of your naturally occurring melatonin production, resulting in a more restful sleep. If you're looking to decrease anxiety, inflammation, or chronic pain during your waking hours, you can incorporate CBD into your morning ritual.
There are a few ways you can go about this, but my two favorite ways of integrating CBD into my life is through food and fitness. Why? Because both activities bring me great joy! When CBD is introduced to the body, it stacks itself on to the natural compounds the body is creating. For instance, endorphins are created in the mornings, during workouts, and when you're doing something that brings you pleasure (like eating)--so stacking CBD on an endorphin producing ritual is a great place to start.
Why CBD and fitness? I recommend CBD and fitness because of their similar impacts on our bodies. Fitness is a great way to decrease stress and anxiety, increase endorphin production, and assist with sleep. Yes, you'll increase bone density, become stronger, and experience other physical benefits of working out, but it’s the mental health aspect of movement is what I'm here to talk about. Mental health care aligns quite nicely with CBD! Taking CBD before your workout has results that impact the body before, during, and after your fitness routine. CBD before your workout will allow you to find a sense of calm, quiet your mind, and create space for introspection which, in turn, promotes a connection between your body and breath. During your workout, CBD acts as a parasympathetic (aka soothing agent) on the autonomic system (aka our rest and digestive system.) Our bodies are made up of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems--the former being our flight or fight response and the latter relaxes/slows down our bodies. CBD helps our bodies conserve energy, increase digestive/gland activity, and slow down our heart rates.
After you work out, CBD is helping your body recover by regulating and boosting the NRF2 A protein, a naturally occurring gene that protects the body from inflammation and injury. Basically, the CBD is acting as a cold bath, reducing inflammation after your workout! You can look for CBD friendly classes (like my ELEVATED Pilates class in Brooklyn!) where CBD ingestion or topical application is part of the class, or you can make your own little ritual before you head into your workout. Keep in mind the time of day you ingest CBD and work out will impact the effects--if you work out in the morning, CBD will act more as a stimulate because of your body's endorphin production; if you work out at night, you'll experience a more sedative result because of your body's melatonin production.
Using food as your vehicle to integrate CBD into your day is pleasurable and allows for creativity. The possibilities are endless, but again, go back to why are you incorporating CBD--is it for your waking hours or to assist with sleep? From there you can really do anything!
Take the time to explore different ways and times to incorporate CBD into your life. Your ritual should be enjoyable, stress-reducing, and a moment for you. There is no right or wrong way to incorporate CBD and remember, your ritual may need to change depending on the day--so be flexible and malleable, and listen to your mind and body.