9.26.2019

My Experience With CBD and How It Helped Manage Stress


Ok, let's talk about CBD. It's this "hot new thing" out in the market that, truthfully, can be really overwhelming. I mean there are so many different options, types of CBD and companies. And trust me -- no one knows it better than me! I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed to the point of just not trying it for myself. My plan was to let everyone else figure it out and then jump on the bandwagon at a later date.



But then, my wedding came. And I know there are people out there who almost question how stressed I was over the whole thing but I had my reasons! I mean looking back I just wasn't myself in any way. My stress was at an all-time high to the point of getting a contact dermatitis on my neck, having a severe acne breakout, coming close to missing a cycle (not pregnant obviously), and stress-induced stye coming up on my wedding day. I mean when I tell you I was stressed, I was stressed.

And people handle stress differently. In my day to day life, I'm not a stressed person. I'll have stressful days or moments but nothing like what I was dealing with over the past few months. I just came to realize that while I can pull off an epic wedding, it's probably not the right career path for me mentally or physically lol.

On another side (just trying to share my background first for you to get a clearer picture), I have dealt with and been diagnosed with anxiety from a young age. Overall, I would say it's similar to my stress where it is not every day but it's flared up by different situations. I do think my anxiety is a bigger part of my life than stress. I used to be medicated in high school and college but since stopped to try and deal with it personally.

My anxiety has a lot to do with my emotions and the emotions of those around me. So when I am in a wrong environment (say, the tail end of my last job), I could have anxiety attacks occur weekly. And they are debilitating. I thankfully haven't had one since December and I do believe it had a lot to do with work but there are rare occasions where they will be set off randomly (like going to the bathroom too quickly -- that one was strange -- or feeling unbalanced sitting in an airplane seat without two armrests) but as I've gotten older I've been able to know the signs and deal with them accordingly (or just cry it out lol).

ALL of this to say, I do believe that stress and anxiety are commonly used in tandem with one another but what I will talk about as it relates to CBD is my stress management. I think every single person deals with stress in their life and different forms and variations of it. When it comes to anxiety, I also think the same but I do believe that it is a more serious condition that is best discussed with your doctor and is why I'll be answering questions solely based on stress and not anxiety.

So let's get back into it...

I am unclear of the timeline because I was #stressedAF and in a daze but the general point of my story is that my friend Jess had been talking about this amazing CBD company and wanted to put me in touch and I was like yeah ok we'll talk in October I'm BUSY. And she was like I get it this can help and I was all yep ok call you later. And she kept on talking about it and gushing over how helpful it was and finally -- as I'm crying over too much mail being delivered to my house and the Amazon Forrest burning down -- I texted her begging for help. I was pretty much down to try anything that could get back to normal.

The thing you also need to know about me is I'm a follower. I'm a follower in the sense that I love getting recommendations from people. Where to eat, who to follow, where to travel, what to do -- I LIVE off of recommendations of people I know and love. I don't like reading reviews online because there is always something bad and it freaks me out! So when someone I know turns me on to something new, I'm all in. If I trust you, I trust you. And I trust Jess!

So I jumped on Equilibra per the suggestion of Jess and never looked back. Should I have done more research before starting, yes, but I trust Jess and I was not in the right frame of mind. [Side note, before actually trying the products I did read up on their website and Jess's very in-depth blog post but I didn't before ordering the items!]

What is Equilibra?

Equilibra is a CBD company based in Chicago IL that is for women, by women. They have a 1,100-organic acre partner farm in Colorado that is managed by a bioscience team with over 30 years of experience in seed genetics. They create a specialty hemp oil and their products are GMO, solvent, heavy-metals, pesticide, and herbicide-free. With each plant being hand-harvested with the purest source of cannabinoids (never using stalks, stems, seeds, or isolates).* AND Equilibria’s CBD is farm-to-home, at the highest quality available in the US market!

They also offer readily available lab test results for those who want to take a deeper look!

What is CBD?

"CBD is a natural ingredient found within industrial hemp flowers. It is clinically proven to impact mental and physical well-being when taken properly and consistently. And yes, CBD is completely safe and legal in all 50 states. It is a powerful health agent, but there is no discernible impairment (no high!)
Industrial hemp is a cannabis sativa plant grown specifically to exhibit 0.3% THC content or less — this is why there’s no intoxicating effect, but also why it’s legal. Any industrial hemp plants that cross the 0.3% “line in the sand” become marijuana plants, federally illegal, and (after approximately the 5% THC mark) psychoactive/intoxicating."*
*Information pulled from the CBD Basics Page
Do you need a prescription? 
No -- but what is cool about Equilibria is they have a dosage specialist on the team to consult with either via email or phone that can help you pick out what is best for your lifestyle.
Would it show up on a drug test? 
No, it shouldn't, BUT every person and body is different. I've never known anyone to have CBD (of any kind) show up but if you're worried, you can grab an over-the-counter THC test to find out for sure how your body digests it. 
Can you take it with other medications? Did you check with your doctor before staring it?
This is something you should 1000% check with your doctor first. I'm not on any medications so I felt OK starting without speaking to a doctor. If you have any worries at all, it's best to consult with your doctor first. Especially when on other medications, have a history of health-related issues, are pregnant or anything of the like. Equilibria also has a page dedicated to the question to learn more!

My Experience

Once I had hit my breaking point stress-wise I turned to the team at Equilibria and met with (via email, but can also be done via phone!) a dosage specialist. She asked me about my health goals and broke down the products offered, how they are suggested to be taken and what they help with. Which looked a little like this:
We currently have three products: Our Relief Cream (which can be applied topically, where you need it), our Daily Drops, and our Daily Softgels (which are both ingested). While the Daily Drops and the Daily Softgels are both ingested they work differently within the body: 
  • The Softgels are swallowed, like you would a vitamin, which means you lose some of the absorption to your digestive system; but it also stays in your system for longer. Members use them to help them stay asleep, set a consistent baseline for the day (used in tandem with the Drops), and for digestive issues (where it can act like a topical). 
  • The Daily Drops are held under the tongue, which allows it to mostly bypass the digestive system; which means it hits you harder and faster, but it also leaves your system sooner. The oil is great for microdosing, helping you find your correct dose. Members use the Drops for all kinds of things including regulating mood and anxiety, helping them fall asleep faster, inflammation, and hormone regulation. It's fast acting properties also make it great for episodic relief as well.
And me being me, I forgot to reply and they just ended up sending me one of each product to try out. We started with the Brillance Box and went from there. It turned out to be great timing because I was heading on vacation and my very late period joined the party when I got to the beach. If you've ever had a late cycle then you know the pain your body goes through with cramps. Mine hit me like a ton of bricks. 

Relief Cream

This was the first time I used the Relief Cream for my cramps. I was rubbing in on my lower stomach and trying to avoid taking Tylenol or anything similar so I could see how it works. And I'll tell you, for me it really did help. I don't think it lasts as long as something like Tylenol but I like that it's a more natural/holistic way of getting through my cramps. The one downside of the cream (compared to taking something like a pill to help) is that it will only help the direct areas you apply it. So there are some pros and cons.

Overall, specifically with the cream, I find it helps with muscle pain more than soreness, starts working within 5-10 minutes and lasts about 45 mins to an hour. There are some times where it really works well and others where I don't really feel a difference. It's totally dependent on how my body wants to work with it that day!

Andrew has tried it and doesn't like the oily consistency of it but I personally don't mind it. For me, it's very reminiscent of a heavy moisturizer and I don't really notice it after a while. The smell is also has a strong smell of hemp (all good CBD products should smell like plant), and menthol -- which I personally like but can understand if others might not. The full ingredients are Full Spectrum Hemp Flower Oil, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Arnica, Menthol, Lavender, Rosemary.

Outside of using it for cramps or sore muscles, I'll sometimes rub it on my wrists or temples when I feel I need a little more relaxation in my life. Unclear if it does anything but it feels nice!

Daily Drops + Softgels

I think I was most excited about the daily drops because they would be the quickest acting CBD item and I was able to adjust accordingly based on my needs. In my head, it was easier to take another dropper vs another softgel. From the box, I followed directions to take a dropper a day to start but I wasn't feeling anything. At least not enough. Remember I was extremely stressed during this time and I think I needed like a tranquilizer to make me clam so it was definitely a little out of the ordinary for me to take these and not feel anything. 

But I reached out to the dosage team and expressed my concerns and we adjusted accordingly. [This is what I think is so cool about this company -- you can literally talk with someone day of and they can suggest adjustments to your routine] Long story short, we tried a few different approaches and I found my body was just digesting the drops and gels too quickly. It was probably related to my diet, exercise, sleep, stress level, and water intake as it was way different than the norm at the time. 

What we ended up doing, since I had finished my bottle in less than a month, is we re-ordered the stronger softgels and oil (I was one of the firsts to get the new bottle -- hence why it doesn't have a label) and it really helped. It was like a night a day difference for me! The softgels were basically the same (just more effective for me) but the oil I found to be much darker in color, stronger in taste and a little thicker in texture. All of which is totally fine by me but just wanted to point out!

My daily routine was a softgel in the morning, drops throughout the day if needed and a dropper and softgel at night to help me sleep. And I have to tell you out of everything, the dosing right before bed was a GODSEND. It's arguably my favorite part of the whole CBD experience because I just could not sleep. My mind would be racing for hours and causing more stress leading to less sleep. It was a horrible cycle. 

I can't explain it but my brain (it's always been this way due to my ADHD but gets worse under stress) is like a TV where it just flips from channel to channel endlessly, loud and stress-inducing. When I started feeling the effects of using the CBD at night it was like I couldn't think of anything and the TV was no longer there. 

How long do you need to take it to feel results?
It will depend on your dosage but with my softgels, I don't notice a huge change but more of a general flat line for my day. Like getting back to normal and just hanging there. For the oil, it takes about 5-10 minutes based on what I'm doing or how much I'm paying attention to it.

Does it make you sleepy? 
No, but it makes you feel relaxed and can help with falling asleep.

Does the soft gel upset your stomach?
For me they haven't.

What dosage should I start on?
If you want help with dosage, I would highly suggest talking with one of their specialists. It's going to be totally different from person to person. 

When is the best time to take it?
It again depends on person to person but I like taking the softgels in the AM and when needed at night. The oil I like to take when feeling extra stressed during the day and right before bed. And the cream I like to use less frequently when I have specific pain or aches. 

After the Wedding

It's been three weeks since the wedding and I have to tell you my stress is all but gone (due to the wedding being over, not the CBD use). It's been crazy to realize how much stress I was under and how it was 99% related to wedding planning. I feel like I'm getting myself back to my normal and I've been really happy as of late. With that, I've also cut back on my CBD intake. I've found that I've needed it a lot less which has also been nice.

Now during the week, I take the softgels in the morning when needed (like if the day is busier or when I travel) which is probably about 2-3x a week, and I don't usually take it on the weekends. In terms of the oil, I am still using that about every day because it really helps me with falling and staying asleep. I've also developed a tense jaw over the past few months which, when I notice, I find that I'm probably internalizing some stress and take a dropper. And any time I have sore muscles or PMS pain, I'm lathering up on the relief cream!

Do you have to take it every day?
Short answer: no. Long answer: It's probably best to take it daily so your body can have time to adjust and react to it normally. I think the more consistently you take it, the better it works. 

Can you just use the drops as needed or is it better to use the capsules and drops?
I think they work better together (in my personal experience) but you can take the drops on their own without issue. I kind of look at the softgels as vitamins that just help your everyday overall and the oils as a needed basis. 

Does it help with anxiety or panic attacks? Would you recommend it for migraines or allergies?
I haven't dealt with these enough (if at all) to speak to it. I can really only talk about it as it relates to stress management!

What is the cost?
There are boxes, subscriptions and one-off products you can buy for a range of prices from $29 - $196.

Have you tried other brands?
I haven't, no.


WHEW! Who is still with me?? This post turned into something much larger than I intended but I know when I mentioned it on stories and added a Q&A box, I got a lot of inquiries and questions so I wanted to give you a full-fledge rundown of everything I know, I've tried and my likes/dislikes. One of the things I really try and stay away from is suggesting things you intake in your body. Every person can be so different and every experience is so personal, there's not really a one track suggestion for people like there is for something like clothing. 

Suggesting to buy a coat is safe! Suggesting anything you personally intake that can affect your body in a positive or negative way is different. So with all that, I do hope that you've learned more from this post, will do more research before trying this CBD company or another and continue to suggest the same for others!

And of course, like always, I want to share that Equlibira has gifted products to use and test but there was never any pressure or guarantee to post about them. So this blog is 100% of my own doing and a very open and honest discussion about how I feel about the product. I'm not (yet) being paid by them -- although we are in talks of future partnerships since it has worked so well for me -- but I do receive a commission (like all links on the blog) if you purchase with my code/use my link. So with that...

If you're interested in trying Equilibra for yourself, you can use the code "coveringbases" for 15% off!


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