If you’re newly interested in CBD, you may be overwhelmed by all the products and information out there.
You’ve probably heard about the many amazing benefits CBD has to offer, but aren’t quite sure how and when you should take it.
I’ll show you how CBD can improve different aspects of your daily life, and when you should time your dose to meet your specific health and wellness goals.
1. After Eating a Fatty Breakfast
Incorporating CBD into your daily routine is easy and highly beneficial, especially if you pair it with a diet high in healthy fats or if you suffer from anxiety.
A fatty breakfast, such as eggs, full-fat yogurt, or oatmeal with nut butters, can increase the amount of CBD absorbed by your body, reveals a new study from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.
To examine the effect of diet on CBD, researchers administered CBD capsules to 8 participants with epilepsy either on an empty stomach or with a fatty breakfast burrito. From there, they measured the maximum concentration of CBD in the patient’s blood and compared the results between the two treatment groups.
“When compared to fasting, taking CBD with food increased the amount of CBD in the body by four-times and the maximum amount recorded in the participant’s blood by 14-times,” noted the University in a research brief released in August of 2019.
Angela Birnbaum and Ilo Leppik, co-authors of the study and professors at the College of Pharmacy, believe their results solidify CBD’s enhanced effect when paired with a fatty diet, and can “lead to lower medication costs” for epilepsy patients.
In 2019, when Colorado researchers examined the effect of CBD on anxiety and sleep, patients who struggled predominantly with anxiety received 25mg of CBD every morning after breakfast. As a result, “anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased during the study duration.”
The results support CBD’s ability to provide lasting relief from anxiety for over ¾ of participants when taken daily in the morning.
Prepare for your day with a delicious fatty breakfast and a few droplets of CBD oil in your morning coffee or tea. Dosing is easy and convenient with a tincture, simply fill the dropper head to quickly dispense a 1mL dose.
2. After a Tough Workout
Many Olympians and professional athletes have come out in support of CBD and cannabis as public opinion and legislation have shifted positively. Many cite benefits such as pain relief and better recovery speed.
Olympic gymnast and 2012 all-around champion Gabby Douglas is grateful to CBD for pain relief. “My experiences in using CBD have led me to believe that I could have been more pain free throughout my gymnastics career if CBD had been allowed,” reflects Douglas.
Another Olympian, American hurdler and bobsledder Lolo Jones “noticed the change in [her] recovery speed” after integrating CBD into her daily routine, says health publication CBD Snapshot.
Still, others call on CBD for treating injuries and relaxing sore muscles. Professional cyclist Teal Stetson-Lee proclaimed “as an athlete, the CBD tinctures and creams are extremely useful for injuries and sore muscles.”
Amanda Loudin at The Washington Post lists the star-studded cast of cannabis supporters, “among them are retired NHL players Riley Cote and Ryan VandenBussche; retired NFL players Steve Smith, Tiki Barber and Rob Gronkowski; retired NBA players John Salley, Kenyon Martin and Matt Barnes; Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones and golfer Bubba Watson.”
Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has since returned to the NFL to play alongside Tom Brady with the Buccaneers, claims “[CBD] products have changed [his] life,” specifically in terms of pain management. Gronkowski was first introduced to CBD topicals by his father, who uses a CBD cream for chronic back pain, says Sportscasting.
Loudin speaks with Floyd Landis, who won the Tour de France in 2006, but was later disqualified for using performance-enhancing drugs. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances back in 2018.
“Oftentimes, what limits athletes’ progression in sport is pain,” notes Landis, who uses CBD daily for pain relief, and to wean off of opioids. “Topical products are popular with people who want to treat localized pain,” he adds.
Topical products, such as silky lotions and potent ointments, are applied directly to the skin. From there, they gain access to the body’s endocannabinoid system through the high concentration of cannabinoid receptors present in the skin.
Then, the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD can tone down overly inflamed muscles that can prevent an athlete from performing at their peak, or delay their recovery—it’s no wonder so many top athletes choose CBD to keep their bodies in the best shape possible.
3. Before You Go to Sleep
CBD may be the secret to a restful night’s sleep, especially if you suffer from anxiety or insomnia.
When researchers in Colorado explored the effect of taking CBD after dinner on a patient's sleep, they noticed “sleep scores improved within the first month in 48 patients (66.7%).” The study used a uniquely low dosage of CBD, only 25mg, to achieve this result.
In 2017, researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania examined existing literature regarding cannabis, cannabinoids (active ingredients in cannabis, such as THC and CBD), and sleep.
CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids interact with the body through the endocannabinoid system , which researchers claim“is a critical system involved in the regulation of the circadian rhythm sleep-wake cycle.”
For individuals with insomnia, the review cites how “[study] results suggested that administration of 160mg/day of CBD increased total sleep time and decreased the frequency of arousals during the night.” In other words, patients were able to sleep longer with less disturbances, increasing both sleep quantity and quality.
Additionally, the review mentions how “CBD oil reduced insomnia symptoms and PTSD-related sleep disturbances,” perhaps providing relief to those who need it most “through its anxiolytic [anti-anxiety] effects.”
Furthermore, cannabinoids can act as agonists or antagonists towards cannabinoid receptors, like CB1 and CB2, that are part of the endocannabinoid system. If a cannabinoid is an agonist, it activates the receptor normally, the way a natural substance would. Cannabinoids that are antagonists, on the other hand, block the receptor from behind bound to altogether.
When researchers induced anxiety in rats through a series of tests, “CBD blocked anxiety-induced REM sleep suppression,” allowing the rats to enter valuable, deep rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Here, CBD is acting as an antagonist to prevent a negative event (the suppression of REM sleep) from happening; that’s also how CBD can block pain sensation, another function associated with the endocannabinoid system.
Athletes also cite better sleep for CBD use. Professional triathlete Judith Hagger, who uses CBD as a muscle relaxant, confessed “I also found my sleep improved massively—I was able to really relax and recover through deeper sleep.” Kerri Walsh Jennings, an Olympic beach volleyball player, additionally reported CBD “improved [her] sleep.”
Cannabinoids like CBD allow you to fully relax your mind and body, so that you can get a restful and restorative night’s sleep.
4. Before a Stressful Event
CBD’s anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects can help keep you calm during stressful situations.
In 2011, researchers tested the extent to which CBD reduced anxiety in patients with social phobias, specifically generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
“The anxiolytic effects of CBD had been extensively demonstrated in animal studies and in healthy volunteers submitted to anxiety induced by several procedures, including the simulation of public speaking,” reminded the authors of the study as a basis for their exploration.
To measure the effects of the CBD, researchers utilized the visual analog mood scale (VAMS), negative self-statement scale (SSPS-N), and physiological measures, like the blood pressure and heart rate of participants.
They concluded “pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech.”
Additionally, “another important observation of this study was that the increase of negative self-evaluation during public speaking was almost abolished by CBD,” observed researchers. Not only did the participants who took the 600mg of CBD deliver a better speech, they felt more positively about their performance afterwards.
Similar results occurred in a 2020 study, where participants with Parkinson's Disease were given either 300mg CBD or placebo before engaging in a simulated public speaking test (SPST) using similar measurements. In this instance, “CBD attenuated the anxiety experimentally induced by the SPST” and decreased tremors associated with Parkinson’s Disease.
Based on these findings, CBD can help you keep your cool under pressure, and may be the key to acing an anxiety-inducing interview or presentation.
For fastest results, take CBD oil sublingually; hold it under your tongue for at least one minute to feel CBD’s calming effects within 15 minutes.
5. When You Feel the Urge to Smoke
If you’re trying to quit smoking, CBD can help.
Researchers theorize the endocannabinoid system may play a large role in nicotine addiction.
In 2013, a study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors explored whether or not CBD could help smokers quit. 24 smokers were evenly given either a CBD inhaler or placebo to use whenever they felt the urge to smoke over the course of a week.
The placebo made no difference for smokers, but “in contrast, those treated with CBD significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by ~40% during treatment.” Two weeks later, the CBD group still reported decreased cigarette use, suggesting a lasting effect.
Based on these findings, authors of study concluded CBD may be “a potential treatment for nicotine addiction that warrants further exploration.”
Studies also support the use of CBD as a tool for addiction management for other forms of addiction, such as cannabis abuse and opioid addiction.
In one study specifically focusing on CBD and heroin, the use of CBD “significantly reduced both craving and anxiety,” even weeks after use, providing further insight into how CBD may help those who struggle with addiction.
CBD is safe to use, non-addictive, non-psychoactive, and does not exhibit “abuse or dependence potential,” as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) .
Quitting is tough, but new research has revealed CBD may be able to help reduce drug use by curbing cravings and anxiety associated with addiction.
Over to You
The benefits of CBD oil are extensive, and can be capitalized on depending on when you choose to take it.
Taking CBD after a fatty breakfast ensures the oil will be extensively absorbed, and can help you start your day with less anxiety.
Numerous athletes use CBD to fight inflammation that can limit their performance and recovery; others employ CBD to relax muscles and relieve pain after a tough workout.
If you choose to take CBD before bed, you may notice an increase in your sleep quantity and quality, and you may be able to reach deeper sleep with fewer disturbances.
CBD can help you keep calm and perform well under pressure, as demonstrated by public speaking tests implemented in CBD studies.
Additionally, for those looking to quit smoking for good, CBD has shown an ability to significantly decrease cigarette use in tobacco addiction and curb cravings and anxiety in heroin addiction.
In the end, there is no “bad time” to take CBD and experience all the health and wellness benefits it has to offer.
Babson, K. A., Sottile, J., & Morabito, D. (2017). Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: A Review of the Literature. Current Psychiatry Reports, 19(4). doi:10.1007/s11920-017-0775-9, from https://www.med.upenn.edu/cbti/assets/user-content/documents/s11920-017-0775-9.pdf
Belknap, A. (2019, September 24). These 5 Professional Athletes Swear By CBD-Here's Why. Retrieved November 06, 2020, from https://www.cbdsnapshot.com/these-5-professional-athletes-swear-by-cbd-heres-why/
Bergamaschi, M. M., Queiroz, R. H., Chagas, M. H., Oliveira, D. C., Martinis, B. S., Kapczinski, F., . . . Crippa, J. A. (2011). Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients. Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(6), 1219-1226. doi:10.1038/npp.2011.6, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079847/
Birnbaum, A. K., Karanam, A., Marino, S. E., Barkley, C. M., Remmel, R. P., Roslawski, M., . . . Leppik, I. E. (2019). Food effect on pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol oral capsules in adult patients with refractory epilepsy. Epilepsia, 60(8), 1586-1592. doi:10.1111/epi.16093, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31247132/
Faria, S. M., Fabrício, D. D., Tumas, V., Castro, P. C., Ponti, M. A., Hallak, J. E., . . . Chagas, M. H. (2020). Effects of acute cannabidiol administration on anxiety and tremors induced by a Simulated Public Speaking Test in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 34(2), 189-196. doi:10.1177/0269881119895536, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31909680/
Hurd, Y. L., Spriggs, S., Alishayev, J., Winkel, G., Gurgov, K., Kudrich, C., . . . Salsitz, E. (2019). Cannabidiol for the Reduction of Cue-Induced Craving and Anxiety in Drug-Abstinent Individuals With Heroin Use Disorder: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. American Journal of Psychiatry, 176(11), 911-922. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2019.18101191, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31109198/
Jenkins, S. (2020, May 22). CBD Has Helped Rob Gronkowski Play Football Again - Sportscasting: Pure Sports. Retrieved November 06, 2020, from https://www.sportscasting.com/cbd-has-helped-rob-gronkowski-play-football-again/
Kozlowski, J. (2019, October 16). NFL: How Did Rob Gronkowski Get Into the CBD Business? - Sportscasting: Pure Sports. Retrieved November 06, 2020, from https://www.sportscasting.com/nfl-how-did-rob-gronkowski-get-into-the-cbd-business/
Loudin, A. (2019, December 07). As more pro athletes use cannabis for aches and pain, the more they run afoul of rules. Retrieved November 06, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/as-more-pro-athletes-use-cannabis-for-aches-and-pain-the-more-they-run-afoul-of-rules/2019/12/06/7dbd82fc-00c7-11ea-8bab-0fc209e065a8_story.html
Morgan, C. J., Das, R. K., Joye, A., Curran, H. V., & Kamboj, S. K. (2013). Cannabidiol reduces cigarette consumption in tobacco smokers: Preliminary findings. Addictive Behaviors, 38(9), 2433-2436. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.03.011, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23685330/
Shannon, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente Journal . doi:10.7812/tpp/18-041, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/
University Relations News. (2019, August 12). High fat foods can increase CBD absorption into the body. Retrieved November 06, 2020, from https://twin-cities.umn.edu/news-events/high-fat-foods-can-increase-cbd-absorption-body
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). (2020). What Is Prohibited: Prohibited in Competition: Substances: Cannabinoids. Retrieved November 06, 2020, from https://www.wada-ama.org/en/content/what-is-prohibited/prohibited-in-competition/cannabinoids
World Health Organization. (2018, June). Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report [PDF]. Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO)., from https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf
About the Author
Lily Kiepke is a freelance writer and blogger based in the Denver metropolitan area. She enjoys using CBD to relieve anxiety and improve sleep. When she is not writing about cannabis, she can be found hiking in the Rocky Mountains or curled up with a good true crime book.