My Journey with Hemp Oil
This is part one of a two part blog. Click here to skip to part two: Head to Head Hemp Oil Experiment
I spent a great deal of my twenties living in Amsterdam. I was working and dating my future husband. I was busy, but that didn’t stop cousins, friends, and friends of friends from occupying a space on my sofa. Many sought the taste of the otherwise forbidden fruit sold in the Dutch “coffee shops.”
I’d come home from work, check the fridge and it would be empty. My 6’5” cousin had an ongoing case of the munchies and could not help himself. The native Dutch treat the American fascination with legalized marijuana mainly as a tourist occupation. I was dead set on assimilation, so lounging in coffee shops or the hallmark sign of a tourist – white socks and white tennis shoes - was a definite “no.”
Aside from a few “yes, I DID inhale” moments in college that knocked me into sleep almost immediately, I did not really know much about the cannabis plant and its many benefits. I had no interest in getting “high.” I was building my career in the management consulting industry, and I was busy stressing myself out with my own wildly weird expectations of my corporate potential.
Fast forward to my forties, my Dutchman and I are living in the States with our three children, and cannabis is legal in many states. I’m not in corporate anymore, but my stress and stress coping mechanisms had not changed much since my years in Amsterdam. My body was giving me plenty of warnings: bloating and stomach discomfort, weight gain, exhaustion, and lack of energy when I woke up. I figured this was attributable to the everyday stresses of motherhood and persevered.
A lack of energy and the need to leave restaurants early because I was doubled over with stomach cramps steered me to functional medicine, integrative nutrition, and eventually to coaching. I became who I am today, a person who believes that my body has the innate power to heal itself and that symptoms are common but not normal. My body was telling me to wake up and listen.
Researching healing modalities became a focus for me as I worked to uncover the root cause of my symptoms. I have come to the conclusion that it’s most likely more than one cause or behavior that was causing me to feel so badly. The common thread was that my body was STRESSED: mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Years ago, I came across some research that was starting to trickle out about hemp oil (sometimes called CBD oil which stands for Cannabidiol). Hemp oil is extracted from the cannabis plant, but does not contain the THC which is the part of the cannabis plant that makes you high.
If you google hemp oil or cannibidiols, you’ll read all about the benefits for inflammation, anxiety, depression, increased neurogenesis, immune conditions, sleep, and more. I was excited about the research around how cannabinoids work to calm down your nervous system. Accessing the parasympathetic state, also known as “rest and digest,” was a challenge for me, and any help from from yoga to meditation to hemp oil was attractive. When you reduce internal stress, you allow your body the capacity to heal.
Hemp oil was one of the first things I tried in a string of natural interventions and lifestyle changes. Hemp oil is really gaining now in mainstream popularity. I’ve even noticed it in juice bars and as an additive to your drink. Unfortunately, the brands I tried never seemed to do anything.
Recently, a fellow biohacker and Bulletproof Coach did a presentation on the endocannabinoid system to a biohacking group I belong to.
The endocannabinoid system. Huh? We all have a system in our bodies that is wired to receive hemp oil and we never knew about it until 20 years ago. It’s called the endocannabinoid system. We actually have receptors (CB1 and CB2) in our bodies to receive cannabidiols.
The 2014 farm bill made industrial hemp products and hemp oil with less than .3% THC legal in all 50 states with licensing conditions after 70 years of inaccessibility in the US.
Hemp oil is best taken on an EMPTY stomach (so you might want to save the extra $5 by skipping the shot in your smoothie).
You are what you absorb. It’s easy to get caught up in the dosage/how many milligrams should I take for X, Y, or Z? The salient point is how much is my body absorbing? Is this working for me? Are you absorbing your hemp oil or is it going through your digestive system and never making it through into your cell walls?
Hemp is a bioaccumulator which means that it sucks up EVERYTHING in the soil - that’s why trust in the brand you take is key. So much of our soil in the US is contaminated with heavy metals, GMO’s and pesticides.
Test don't guess: With this knowledge in hand, I decided to do a biohacking experiment. I researched the top brands and recommendations from practitioners I trust and tested them on myself. I had already tried several of the top reviewed brands, but there were two brands getting a lot of attention I had not yet tried.
I thought about naming both brands in this blog, but I have chosen to share with you only the brand that worked for me. I don’t want to disparage other companies in this field. Everyone is doing their best. My biochemistry may be different than yours. Do what works, scrap what doesn’t.
I feel more focused. I feel less inflammation when I get up in the morning and I am more relaxed. It’s subtle, but it’s there. I cannot make any claims on how hemp oil can specifically help you. This is purely an anecdotal experience. It’s not a double blind scientific study and there’s no way I can hold everything in my body constant and tell you with 100% certainty what is making me feel better.
This is the end of part one.
Thank you for reading.