Every morning, after I’ve made my three children their breakfasts, I walk over to a corner of my kitchen and drop a dose of CBD oil under my tongue. I hold it under my tongue, where it seeps into that tender thin web of skin, for as long as I can. The earthy-tasting oil slips down my throat, and then I pack lunch for my kids.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabis compound that is said to have many medical benefits, from helping to reduce inflammation, pain, anxiety, and so much more. The type of CBD oil that I take is medical grade, and contains an extremely low amount of THC (the stuff that gets you high in cannabis), and a high level of CBD.
As someone who has has been clinically diagnosed with panic disorder, I have always known that I would be on a lifelong journey managing my anxiety. When I was pregnant with my third daughter I was prescribed Zoloft, and it rescued me from the depths of depression. But once my daughter was one, and I had successfully weaned off of my medication, I knew that I would need to find a new way of managing my anxiety.
I started taking CBD oil at the suggestion of a friend, after months of consideration. The stigma is real, and I knew that taking CBD oil would put me at risk of feeling judged, especially as a mom. The misinformation around Cannabidiol is rampant, and even I first thought that taking CBD oils would have a psychoactive effect.
I didn’t understand the difference between CBD and THC - and that if I took oil with very low THC I wouldn’t experience any “high.” I was particularly concerned because of my family history with addiction - I have never actually smoked weed, or any other drug before. How could I embrace CBD oil in my day with my family history? It turns out, quite easily, actually.
Finding the correct dosage for myself did take some time, and I started out with a laughably small dosage of 0.25 ml each morning. I eventually found the oil was effective around 0.6 ml. The effects last for about eight hours, which is why I take mine in the morning to last me throughout the day.
I struggle with understanding the medical side of CBD oil, just like I struggle to understand how Zoloft healed my mind. There’s very little out there in terms of clinical trials and research on CBD oil, and I chose to try it because I trusted the stories and recommendations of my friends around me.
I walked into the entire experience a bit skeptical, willing to try but not quite willing to be sold on the entire idea. But within two weeks of starting CBD oil I was noticing a difference in my anxiety levels. I wasn’t lashing out or experiencing multiple panic attacks each day. In fact, I wasn’t experiencing panic attacks at all. Over the Christmas holidays I took three entire days off of taking the oils, and found my panic was more present, but I was still managing and didn’t have any other side effects or withdrawal-like symptoms.
This revelation was huge for me, because it gave me a sense of control over my body. Shortly after having my third daughter I was rushed to the hospital because I was lying on our couch unresponsive, my daughter in my arms. The reason was because I was messing up my dosages of Zoloft, skipping multiple days and accidentally taking multiple pills in one day - a mix-up I have always been embarrassed to admit. But it scared me the effect that screwing up my pills had one my body, and knowing that a slip-up with CBD oil wouldn’t result in a 911 emergency call was comforting.
For me, CBD oil has been an empowering way to increase my quality of life. I would never suggest that someone who is taking prescription drugs for anxiety or depression switch to CBD oil, but I think for people like me who want to try a different route - it’s an awesome option. Some might assert that I’m not a good mom for taking CBD oil, but I would argue that I’m a far more patient, attentive, and engaged mother now that I have discovered something that helps me be the best version of myself.
Note: In Canada you need a medical license to purchase CBD oil, which you can obtain through the Cannabis Clinic.The oils available through the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) all contain high levels of THC, which is a shame, because so many would benefit from purchasing cannabis oil freely.