I mentioned in a recent blog post that I had been struggling with a case of the Mondays, except it stretched out over eight Mondays, and every other day of the week. I was in an extended funk. It turns out that CBD oil may have caused this cloud that was hanging over me. But let’s back up.
CBD oil has been growing in popularity. Its proponents claim that is offers near-miraculous results of decreased anxiety, reduced inflammation, relief of body aches and pains; some even go as far as to make outrageous claims that it can prevent cancer (I’m wary of any too-good-to-be-true claims in pill form).
According to Healthline, “CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.” It doesn’t contain the THC from the plant that makes you high. It is purported to have the benefits of marijuana without the psychoactive properties or legality issues. (I am a personal trainer, not a lawyer. I’m not qualified to give legal advice, please consult your local law.)
I was intrigued by the idea that non-THC CBD oil could help with inflammation and pain, mainly because I had been dealing with elbow pain that wasn’t letting up despite treatment and physical therapy.
I listen to a lot of health and fitness podcasts, and a recurring theme seemed to be the benefits of CBD oil. The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Mind Pump, Ben Greenfield Fitness and many more reported positive outcomes from CBD and hemp oil. There were podcasts, blogs, some Facebook friends, and even a real-life friend raving about the benefits.
I may have never tried it except for a CBD store opened up in my small neighborhood.
I didn’t notice any immediate reduction in pain. The lady at the store said to increase my dose. I doubled it. I felt the same. Maybe I’m a non-responder. I felt an increase in anxiety, but I attributed it to the fact that in December my diet had gotten off track. I was eating at restaurants more than usual, eating sugar, and drinking wine — a winning combination for feeling for like crap.
I deal with low-level anxiety that is kept at bay with exercise and proper nutrition.
I decided to stop taking the expensive oil until I got my diet back to normal because I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a magic pill. If I’m eating poorly, no pill or oil is going to fix me —However, if I am eating well, sleeping, hydrating, exercising, and starting from a place of health, maybe CBD oil would enhance (not replace) my efforts to reduce pain.
I cleaned up my act in January and decided to switch to a hemp oil pill from a trusted supplement company. The problem with supplements is they are unregulated. Who knows what was in the CBD oil that was not “working” for me. It could have had less active ingredients than it claimed or other components not listed on the bottle.
So I switched to a reputable company that I knew and trusted, where I buy most of my supplements (fish oil, protein powders, creatine, etc.). My diet was back on track, I was exercising regularly, but I didn’t notice any discernible improvements in pain. It was a habit to take the hemp oil pill every day — it didn’t seem to be “working” for my pain but it was expensive, so I figured I would at least finish the bottle before I wrote it off as ineffective.
My heightened anxiety from December had subsided a bit, but through December and most of January I was feeling increasingly down. I had a cloud over my head. The activities that usually brought me joy, like blogging and training, felt overwhelming. I was unmotivated and uninspired, I wasn’t handling stress well, often felt defeated, and my workouts were sluggish.
I was feeling depressed from my usual mood and life outlook. What was wrong with me? I attributed feeling a little off in December due to my lifestyle choices, but in January I was back to normal with no improvement in my mood.
Then I thought it must be the colder weather, earlier sunset, and increased stress at my marketing job, but I knew deep down that this wasn’t me — Life circumstances haven’t changed, but I suddenly felt like life was hard.
I woke up one Saturday towards the end of January and decided on a whim not to take my hemp oil pill. I certainly didn’t associate the pill with my mood at that point, I just decided not to take it.
By the end of the day, I started to feel better already. By Sunday the cloud had completely blown away. I was feeling like myself again, and I felt hope. I felt motivated. For the first time in weeks, I started brainstorming ways to increase my business, rather than feeling like I should shut it down.
I almost couldn’t believe that it may have been the hemp oil pill that made me feel depressed. Maybe it was a coincidence. Perhaps I’d wake up the next day feeling like crap again. But no. I felt like myself again — day after day.
I started researching (aka Google) if CBD oil could increase depression and anxiety like I had been experiencing, and in a sea of articles touting its anxiety-reducing benefits, I found one single article that said a tiny percentage of people on a Reddit thread reported an increase in anxiety.
After taking the hemp oil I didn't experience pain relief, and I felt emotionally worse.
I am not writing this to say that hemp oil is wrong or you shouldn’t take it. I am clearly an outlier. It does appear to be useful for most people. It’s just an important reminder that there is no single solution, whether it be a specific diet, exercise plan, or supplement, that is effective for 100% of the population. Our bodies are different and may not respond in the same way as in our friends, co-workers, or Joe Rogan.
In the end I am disappointed that it didn’t work for me. This post is not intended to discourage anyone from trying CBD oil. I am writing this article because when I searched for cases of people that had a negative CBD experience, I couldn’t find anything except for that single article citing a Reddit thread. I hope that if you decide to try CBD or hemp oil that it works miracles for you, but if you experience an increase in anxiety or depression like I did, that you’ll make the connection sooner so that you don’t suffer needlessly.
This was my experience and it may be different than yours. I can’t recommend that you take or don’t take any supplement. As always, please contact qualified medical professionals when making decisions about your health.
Strange, right? Was your experience different than mine? I’d love to hear about it. Anyone out there feel like I did after taking CBD or hemp oil?
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