Jessica — a mother, pre-school teacher, and photographer — shares her story of how CBD has made a difference in her journey with stress & anxiety.
FORIA: How did you first hear about CBD?
JESSICA: My anxiety began about a year ago when my daughter started kindergarten. About three or four months into school, my daughter stopped eating. The transition into school was way more challenging than we ever imagined, and it was really stressful for us.
After 3 months of going through this, I talked to some friends, and someone said "Well why don't you try CBD?”
I'm a preschool teacher so having something that I could use quickly (that would also work quickly) and didn't have psychoactive effects was crucial. I couldn't believe how well it worked.
Before I tried the CBD I knew I was going to have to go on medication to get it all under control and I was desperately trying to avoid that. I wanted something that wasn't going to become addictive that I felt good about taking.
My CBD tinctures have literally saved my life.
JESSICA: Most mornings when I woke up I’d already be having a panic attack or very close to one. There are lots of physical effects to the anxiety, but when I started getting nauseous from it, I had to smoke a little bit just so I could get up and start my day.
My daughter's six and she just kind of knew that every morning I was going through a lot. And that wasn't something that I wanted her thinking was normal. So I had to find something, figure out a way to control it in the morning.
A little bit of smoke would kind of do the trick, so I was basically micro-dosing, but worrying about my daughter, “Am I smelling like cannabis around her?”
So that was a major draw to using tinctures, because I don't have to worry about the smoke. And CBD was giving the same relief or better but without the psycho-activity.
Daily CBD vs Rescue Dosing
FORIA: Are you using CBD every day?
JESSICA: At first, I started using CBD here and there when I needed it. But my anxiety went into full swing so I started using it every day.
Sometimes I’ll still micro-dose with cannabis during the day, but I use the CBD when I’m at work or other times when it's not appropriate for me to be smoking.
Natural Approach vs Pharma
FORIA: Did you ever take any medication for anxiety?
JESSICA: My anxiety was getting worse over time, until we were kind of at a crossroads. I needed to really start taking pharma medication because the anxiety attacks were so bad.
I didn't want to take any medications. That just isn't how I live my life. I will if I have to, but the side-effects of pharma drugs can be really challenging.
So I did a lot of research and found what was gonna work for me. CBD has been amazing, and it helps with so much, not just my anxiety.
CBD Tinctures for Anxiety
FORIA: How did you decide on what format you would use?
JESSICA: I had been smoking cannabis for a while and I hadn't even really thought about CBD varieties, so when my friend mentioned it, I did a lot of research. I needed something to control my anxiety, but that I could take at work or before going to work. So I did some research on local businesses that made tinctures and other CBD products. The first one I bought was a cannabis-derived tincture 20 to 1 CBD:THC.
The first time, I waited until I needed it. I took it for the first time at work, right before my shift started. I said “Well, here goes nothing…” tried it, and 20 minutes later things were so much better.
Finding Your CBD Dosage
JESSICA: Since it was my first time, I didn't know how much to take. The bud tender at the dispensary had said “You're going to have to play around with dosage,” and he was absolutely right. So that’s what I tell people now when I suggest it to them: you're going to have to figure out the dosage for yourself.
So now I have my dosing pretty much down to a science. It doesn't even take the 20 minutes for it to work.
FORIA: So you use a little more than you did that first time?
JESSICA: Absolutely. Even though I knew it wasn't going to cause psychoactive effects and I would be fine even if I took too much, I still wanted to find exactly the dosage that works right for me.
FORIA: And do you swish it around? Hold it under your tongue?
JESSICA: I always hold them under my tongue, pretty much because I just want it to work as quick as it can. Sometimes if I'm at home and I'm doing it as a daily regimen I'll put it in my juice in the morning, but for the most part I take it straight under my tongue.
FORIA: And the relief is pretty immediate for you?
JESSICA: Yes, definitely.
FORIA: Do you take it even if you're not feeling anxious? Just to carry you through the day?
CBD as a THC “Antidote”
FORIA: Do you use other forms of CBD?
JESSICA: Not really. We do buy CBD almonds. My wife uses them because she has a hard time with edibles so if she takes some THC and it’s too much, she just eats some CBD almonds and then she feels better.
I'm definitely looking into learning more about micro-dosing THC and even CBD...
Lifestyle Support for Anxiety
FORIA: Are there other parts of your daily routine that help? Are you meditating? Eating organic?
JESSICA: I am. we just recently started cleansing, and meditating, and being really thoughtful in putting crystals in our home. Lots of things that are new to us but really help me.
FORIA: Are you are you the main health-motivator in the family?
JESSICA: That's me... I'm the one to remind them to eat vegetables. My wife and my child aren’t into that. So as a typical mother, and also just because I I've always loved to try new foods, I try to get them into that mode of thinking. It’s something that I'm continuously trying to do.
FORIA: Is there any other advice or self-care that you'd recommend for people suffering from anxiety?
JESSICA: I think that for everybody it’s is very different so the way that you treat it is very different. I think having the push to want to use something more holistic like CBD to help your anxiety might be on a case by case basis: how much you use, what kind you use, the ratio 20:1 or 5:1 or 3:1… Whatever is helping!
I just think it’s different for everybody. Talking to your community, reaching out on social media is an amazing way to find really great ideas. And that’s what I did. A friend suggested meditating and cleansing and so we started doing that. For other people, that may not work. But reaching out and doing some research and experimentation will only increase your quality of life, and for me that's what CBD did.
Passion for Living
FORIA: What has CBD freed you up to do in your life?
JESSICA: I'm a photographer. Probably about 3 years ago I got more serious about it, focusing more on newborns and families. I instagram @navigatingmyself.
Right now I'm trying to find and create my own niche within the cannabis photography community, so that's something else I'm heading towards too. I’d like to branch out into branding stuff for local cannabis companies and farmers — last year I was invited to shoot for Ganja Goddess Getaways...it's a women's only cannabis retreat that happens here in California. They're really cool.