For years, I was the definition of a wine lover. And like many other women, wine was a (nearly) daily end-of-day go-to. Pouring a glass of red was a small treat that I felt owed after a long, stressful, chaotic workday or to help cope after hours of non-stop screaming children. Even if I said I was not going to have a glass, I inevitably caved, especially if there was a bottle already open staring at me from the counter.
However, one glass could quickly turn to two or three any day of the week. Leading to not only interrupted sleep (which, with a 2 and a 5-year-old, I don’t get enough of in the first place to have any to spare). It would also likely spark some form of a hangover varying on a scale of two to 10 while juggling work and kids bright and early. Next, cue up the fact that I’m still trying to lose the last ten of my littlest one and the increased sugar and poor food choices — i.e. carbs and sweets — the night of drinking and the next day to cope and the pounds would not budge. Then I discovered CBD.
CBD stands for cannabidiol and it’s the second most prevalent compound in cannabis but does not have any psychoactive or hallucinogenic effects like THC (although if it is top-notch, it does contain a very small amount of THC naturally but not enough to elicit any type of high). As you likely already know, it’s laced into everything from skincare like face oil to edibles including powder to gummies and more.
And research proves my switch could be doing my mind and body a whole lot more good than I even realized. Will Cole, the wellness pro that Gwyneth Paltrow looks to, often posts the cons of low to even moderate and consistent cocktails: “Compared with non-drinkers and light drinkers, moderate to heavy drinkers have 57 percent higher risk of dementia, according to research.”
So how does CBD work exactly? Brooke Alpert, MS, RD, CDN, a celebrity nutrition expert and creator of Daily Habit, a CBD powder that you can pour into everything from a smoothie to a parfait or nightly tea, explains “humans are equipped with a system called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a system that’s present throughout our bodies and has receptors that are there to receive and utilize CBD,” she says. “The ultimate job of the ECS is to help the body maintain homeostasis or balance.”
Alpert is a major CBD-believer and says that she takes it daily herself: “For me, the ritual of making a cup of herbal tea and then adding my CBD to the cup and drinking it puts me in a better headspace before I even take a sip because it’s been such a constant for me — trust me, it makes homework helping so much better!”
Alpert also explains that it’s important to look for the term “full-spectrum CBD” on the label, as it is “the gold standard of any CBD product.” As for dosage, it depends on what works for you, however, she notes that she’s “found 10mg to be a sweet spot for dosage for most people who are looking for wellness-focused improvement like minor anxiety, non-chronic stress, sleep quality, or aches from working out,” she adds. “It’s important to give your body some time to feel the benefits, take a few days of using it once a day and then you can decide to add more if you need.”
It’s important to highlight that part of my CBD discovery came from speaking to some Californian friends who microdose cannabis to do everything from working out to work. One, in particular, would take a small hit of cannabis before going for a run or doing a hard workout, and while she insists she took such a small amount that she was not high, she would be super focused and could run longer and really get into ‘the zone’.
The concept of micro-dosing THC is becoming more mainstream and leading to debuts of over-the-counter products such as Zeno, which is available in California where OTC cannabis is legal. Founder and creator Jack Dreifuss explains that he created the tiny white pill that contains just .4 mg of THC because “micro-dosing is a more sustainable way to integrate cannabis into your life and regular use of higher THC doses increases your tolerance over time so you have to take more and more for the same effect,” he notes. “This also makes your body less sensitive to its own internal cannabinoids, which can create problems, but low doses don’t have this problem, even with daily use.”
He also says many of Zeno’s early customers are like me. “Lots of moms are micro-dosing cannabis these days and saying it works wonders for being calm and present and connected with their kids and it’s way healthier than drinking chardonnay,” he says. “While some people use alcohol or cannabis to “tune out” micro-dosing is much more about “tuning in.”
While I went with CBD and not THC and find the effects to do the job, interestingly, Dreifuss explains that he believes that “a lot of the full spectrum CBD products are so popular because they contain micro-doses of THC, so with Zeno, we just skipped the CBD and used Theanine instead, since it has similar effects combined with THC.”
Let me be clear: I still love a cocktail or indulging in a glass of wine. However, nixing my nightly pour for a dose of CBD (be it from Keoni gummies or Daily Habit powder) has had a profound positive effect on everything from my mindset to my mood, my waistline and my productivity. But at 5 pm, when the workday is done, it’s my new go-to. Sure, it took a hot sec to get over the habit of having a glass in hand but once the CBD sets in to calm my stress and anxiety, providing a subtle sense of calm without the buzz of booze or the hangover, I don’t miss it at all.
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