The No B.S. Guide to CBD
CBD-curious? Here’s what you need to know about buying a quality product plus a few of our favorite CBD brands.
Like many women I know, perimenopause has occasionally made me feel a little, shall we say, unhinged. One minute, I’m gliding through my day like a sane 50-year-old woman who basically has her act together. The next minute, I’m doing my best impression of Mommy Dearest and throwing wire hangers out of the closest in a blind rage.
The “change” has bestowed upon me a whole host of mental and physical symptoms ranging from hot flashes and sleeplessness to bouts of depression, anxiety, and the aforementioned bursts of anger. Case in point: the bewildered millennial guy who cut me off in the Whole Foods produce aisle. This was one time when I was very much not an invisible middle aged woman.
When all of this started happening in my late 40s, I went looking for a solution, and since I’ve always preferred alternative health remedies for what ails me, I eventually landed on cannabis. After all, I needed something less destructive than bottomless margaritas and coconut cream pie to get me through this new phase of my life.
As part of my cannabis journey, I discovered CBD — also known as Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis flower. My first experience was with Lord Jones, the much buzzed about brand that makes delicious fruity gummies packaged in a delightful orange box (perfect as a Woolfer hostess gift!) They taste great and lack the slightly weed-y taste of some other edibles, but as much as I wanted them to be a cure-all, I didn’t get much more out of them than a tiny sugar buzz and a slightly relaxed feeling.
As Project CBD says, “CBD is a molecule, not a miracle.” That being said, CBD does have its place. It can aid with aches and pains, and it also has calming properties. While not a silver bullet for bursts of anger, crying jags, or serious depression, it can certainly take the edge off. The trick is finding the right product, the right dosage and the right modality.
Since my introduction to CBD years ago, I’ve become a veritable expert, trying dozens of CBD products from skin creams, balms, and oils to bath salts, tinctures, teas and even CBD-infused coffee. I’ve also learned a few things along the way that will hopefully help you if you decide to give CBD a try. Here’s what to look for:
- The CBD product should be third-party tested to guarantee that what the manufacturer says is in the product actually is.
- Look for whole plant, broad-spectrum CBD
- If you’re in a cannabis legal state or have your medical marijuana license, consider a CBD product with a little THC in it. According to Project CBD, THC and CBD work best together and interact synergistically to enhance each other’s therapeutic effects. In a topical, that means a more effective product without the high.
- Opt for organic CBD to avoid pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxins.
- For dosing, go low and start slow, especially when it comes to edibles. A good starting point for CBD edibles is 20 mg. It can also take up to 1.5 hours for CBD to kick in depending on your metabolism and whether you’ve take it on an empty stomach or not. For much more on dosing, we like this guide from Nice Paper.
There are hundreds if not thousands of CBD products on the market and while some are good, many are ineffective and not worth your money. Keeping that in mind, here are a few that work for me and that check all the boxes. (Note: Everybody is different so what works for one person may not work for the next, do your homework).
Juna drops are a favorite because they’re flavorless (this is key), lab tested, and are made with hemp-derived CBD sourced from small farms. The company claims the drops “lift spirits, focus thoughts, and promote emotional well-being,” but we’ll let you be the judge of that. Each dose is just 5 mg, so a good choice for beginners.
Beboe, the so-called “Hermes of Marijuana,” makes both CBD and THC products including pastilles and vapes so if you’re in California or Colorado, you’re in luck. For the rest of us, check out their Calming CBD vape pen for discreet, on-the-go anxiety and pain relief without the high.
The Medicine Farm tinctures, salves, balms, and flowers are grown on an organic farm in Maine and are third-party tested to ensure safety and quality. Plus, they make some of the highest dose salves on the East Coast. I’m partial to the Calm Salves, which smell lovely thanks to lavender, ylang ylang, sandalwood, and Roman chamomile.
I’ll try almost anything to ensure a good night’s sleep, and among my arsenal of tools — silk pillow case, regular meditation and yoga, sound machine — you’ll find a bottle of Dusk by Gossamer. Each 1-ounce bottle contains 300 mg of CBD along with CBN (another cannabinoid that won’t’ get you high), and a calming terpene blend of Myrcene, B-Caryophyllene, Linalool, and Citral.
Charlotte’s Web products are considered by some to be the gold standard of CBD because they are manufactured in an FDA-registered facility and are tested more than 20 times throughout the entire production process to ensure the most consistent chemical profile. Capsules are available in 8 mg and 18 mg doses.
Soul Addict pre-rolls. Admittedly, I’m a sucker for sexy packaging, so I was immediately drawn to Soul Addict pre-rolls. Each one contains 50 mg of organically grown hemp-derived CBD. Perfect for sharing with a stressed out friend or two.
Rose Glow Tea Room tea bags are infused with 20 mg of water-soluble hemp-derived CBD that’s third-party tested. My personal favorite to pair with tea sandwiches and scones (if only) is Breathe Tea, a soothing blend of Rooibos tea and natural vanilla flavor.