Photo by Alex Zaragoza
CBD oil is the THIS IS FINE for when you're the dog surrounded by fire
I discovered CBD oil at a cannabis convention I was covering for LA Weekly. In between having cannabis-infused lotion rubbed on my arms and acquiring as many samples of edibles I could by walking past the same booth repeatedly but changing my jacket so as to go unnoticed, I came across a large display for a CBD oil company. A pretty blonde woman walked up to me.
“Hey there! You ever tried CBD oil?” I told her no, that I don’t really smoke weed. I’m more partial to alcohol. I’m a writer. I said that as if she knew writing and alcohol are bedfellows.
CBD hemp oil, or cannabidiol oil, is a cannabis compound with a low-THC grade. Meaning it’s oil extracted from hemp that has little-to-no psychoactive ingredients. Meaning you’re not high off your ass contemplating if anyone can tell you’re blazed out of your mind while considering having Postmates deliver some dank buffalo wings to your apartment. Meaning you can take it, feel chill as fuck and function as you regularly do because you aren’t stoned. Meaning I take it at work sometimes and bless it for making that possible.
The blonde weed babe rattled off a list of all the benefits of CBD oil. That list had been rehearsed, it was longer than a goddamn CVS receipt, and it included helping with inflammation, nausea, epilepsy and anxiety.
Anxiety, at that point in my life, had become a beast I had to wrangle every single day. It’s still something I have to manage, but back then it was bad. Like, really bad. Work stress, plus exhaustion, plus a genetic predisposition for anxiety and depression, plus society being awful, was wrecking my chill.
The person I was with, a former boyfriend, perked up when the weed babe mentioned anxiety. I know it was mostly out of genuine concern, but suspected it was probably a teeny bit out of that “please dear God, whatever fixes her” sense of desperation, because my anxiety had started to affect our relationship.
Often men don’t understand or even forgive female anxiety, even if they, themselves, deal with the disorder. Men like their women pleasant and easy going. They like their ladies like they like their yacht rock. Anxiety is not yacht rock. Anxiety is EDM played in a tight, crowded, too-hot room flashing with strobe lights. Basically, the worst.
Obviously, we all like people to be pleasant and easygoing. Acting that way is how Ted Bundy got so many nice ladies to help him get something from his car. Womanhood isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world though, so we react differently.
As women, we often feel the weight of the world heavy on our shoulders/uteruses. Discrimination and misogyny in its many forms is very real for us all the time. And then there’s the pressure we put on ourselves to be more productive, to be fitter, to work harder, to be a good person. And sometimes we get sad. Sometimes everything is fantastic. Womanhood is complicated.
We’re holding a lot on our backs, hunched over like Nosferatu, trying to be cute while walking down the street, then having to tell some dick not to stare at our tits. Anxiety stems from all this (and other stuff too) while simultaneously being exacerbated by it. Anything can be a trigger.
Men can’t possibly know how this feels because they don’t experience the world as we do. The world and our culture was built to be yacht rock for men and loud, horrible EDM for women. It makes our anxiety feel so much bigger. It’s not a bitch fit. It’s not “crazy.” It’s female humanity. I say this so you fellas out there get where us anxious ladies are coming from, and can empathize rather than shame us for not being easy like Sunday morning all the time. To love and care for us even when we’re difficult like Friday evening at the office.
A few weeks ago I had my first public reading. I’ve spoken in front of an audience before. Hell, I’ve gotten on all fours and grinded on a karaoke stage while singing Adina Howard’s “Freak Like Me.” But something about this had my anxiety bubbling hard. I could feel it up and down my arms. I’d be talking about some major personal stuff, as opposed to, like, telling a room full of strangers how I want a freak in the morning, a freak in the evening, just like me. So my whole body was fidgeting from anxiety, like I needed to jump out of my skin and run.
Usually a good jog helps quell my anxiety, but I didn’t have time to get a run in then wash my armpits and contour my face. The margarita I smashed into my face before also didn’t do much. Then I remembered. Duh, CBD oil. A few drops under the tongue and within 20 minutes my body felt like I was sitting in a jacuzzi. I felt like myself again. The jacuzzi version of myself, at least. I stepped up to the mic and read my story.
While Xanax and other medication for anxiety helps many people, I wanted to find a more natural approach. CBD hemp oil did that for me. I can’t always be yacht rock, but I can get myself close to it when I need it.