Health & Beauty Lifestyle

Do CBD Products Work?

Alex travelled to New York and put a range of CBD products to the test.

CBD has had an overhaul in the last five years, a product that used to be seen as hippie nonsense has had an aesthetically pleasing makeover and is predicted to be a $20B industry by 2024.

For those who are still confused by the difference between marijuana (what you smoked to get you a bit high that one time at a party), and CBD (that hemp oil that your weird friend has been recommending to you for your back pain) here is a quick break down:

Marijuana and Hemp are different ‘species’ of the Cannabis plant. Marijuana is high in THC and low in CBD, while Hemp is low in THC and high in CBD. The high THC content means that marijuana is psychoactive, while CBD is non-intoxicating.

CBD has been used to treat everything from epilepsy to PTSD, including chronic pain and anxiety.

The legality of CBD within the state of New York is questionable, though it’s readily available through online stores, dedicated department stores, and even gas stations.

The Department of Agriculture and Markets issued a statement saying that CBD is illegal when added to food or drink, they’ve even conducted raids of a few stores selling edibles.

Where to buy CBD?

CBD in NYC is genuinely everywhere, Urban Outfitters, bodegas, speciality stores etc. I chose to buy mine both online from Fleur Marche, and at the CBD store Standard Dose.

For my first purchase I went with a Fleur Marche Sampler Kit, I mean come on, how cute is it! Plus it allowed me to do the most hipster thing ever, take an adorable photo of my CBD products in a Williamsburg apartment.

Fleur Marche’s le sampler kit

This starter kit comes with five items to trial; each product treats either a different need or uses a different format.

Product One: Life Elements Pain Stick – 125mg (Topical Pain Treatment)

Flying always leaves me with an element of lower back pain, this combined with lugging a 30kg suitcase up and down NYC’s subway meant that I had a delightful hunch when I woke up after my first night in Brooklyn. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to trial the Life Elements Pain Stick!

This 125mg pain stick is the lowest strength that Life Elements stock, they also have it in 250, 500 and 1000mg doses. When I first tried the stick, I was disappointed, I felt that though it helped a little, it wasn’t a significant enough result for me to think of it as more than a placebo. In hindsight, I likely just needed a higher dose.

Over the next couple of weeks, I continued using the stick and found that for smaller aches it was useful, plus its stick format means that you don’t have to get greasy fingers like when you use a medicated cream. Unfortunately, the scent is just as average as a Voltaren gel.

Next time I would prefer a higher dosage so that I can use it when my back is worse. But overall I give this pain stick a 7/10!

Product Two: Juna Balance Drops – 50mg (Tincture for Anxiety)

Look, I’m not a huge tincture fan, so Juna was up against a wall here with their Balance Drops. As a starter treatment for anxiety, 10mg is on the lower side; most places recommend that you start with 20-40mg and work your way up in 5mg increments as your dosage will depend on factors like weight, condition, format etc.

I took this tincture one evening when I was struggling to sleep, and I was less than impressed by the volume of liquid I was expected to ingest and the distinct hemp flavour. This wasn’t a simple ‘drop under the tongue’ tincture, but rather an entire dropper under the tongue.

Juna recommends dropping this into your morning coffee, but honestly, I think the flavour would be too noticeable. However, I think if you enjoy earthy flavours and/or don’t have a retainer in then, this might be a good fit for you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me.

Product Three: The Good Patch Nite Nite Patch – 15mg (Transdermal Patch for Sleep)

I was very excited about the Nite Nite patch from The Good Patch. Any transdermal patch sounds ideal to me because I don’t have to worry about flavour or dosage.

The Nite Nite patch is a combination of CBD and Melatonin, so I figured it would pack a real punch. The night that I trialled this product, I wanted to put it to the test, so naturally, I watched a bunch of back to back Criminal Minds episodes while playing games on my phone.

This way, not only was I super anxious that someone was going to murder me in our apartment, but my brain was also in overdrive from the games, which has been shown to increase sleep latency.

I was asleep within an hour of putting the patch on. Then I snoozed my alarm nine times the next morning and was late to brunch.

I enjoyed this patch a lot, so much that I went out in the rain on my final day in NYC and bought some more from Standard Dose. I’d give these patches a 9/10; they lose a point because they’re $12USD each and I am not rich.

Product Four: Saint Jane Luxury Serum – 50mg (Antioxidant Skin Serum)

You know that I love an antioxidant serum, by go-to is Go-To’s Face Hero so when it ran out a few days before the end of my trip, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try the Sain Jane Luxury Serum.

CBD in skincare has had pretty mixed scientific results. For the most part, it appears to be useful as an anti-inflammatory agent, so combining it with other botanicals for a more full-spectrum serum, like Saint Jane have done, makes sense.

I had high expectations for this serum given its hefty $125USD price tag, but ultimately it’s just average, which is a sin at that price. This serum barely made any changes to my redness and left my skin feeling extremely oily. I would not purchase this again and would recommend Go-To’s Face Hero over it instead.

Product Five: Calivolve Mint Truffle – 15mg (Edible to treat Anxiety)

Ice Hockey is a beloved sport of mine, I can’t play it, I can’t even ice skate, but I adore it. So, when friends suggested going ice skating under the Brooklyn Bridge, I was extremely reluctant. I didn’t want to be reminded of my poor skating performance every time I looked at an ice rink; I would rather think of the talented men in the rink hitting each other over a small piece of plastic.

Enter: Calivolve Mint Truffle

I ate a couple of pieces of this chocolate before we left for skating and it made such an enormous difference. Sure, I was still nervous about skating, but it wasn’t crippling. I still went, I even fell over in the middle of everyone and just got back up and kept skating. It was wonderful, and I loved it.

I think this little chocolate is perfect for taking the peak off your anxiety. Are you going to feel super chill after 15mg? Unlikely. But it will feel manageable, and it’s tasty. 10/10!

Final Thoughts

Look, CBD is not a one size fits all product, what works for one person might not work for you, but the Fleur Marche Sampler Kit was the perfect way to trial a few different products to find formats and dosages that worked for me.

I look forward to the legalisation of CBD for commercial sale in Australia; I think it’s an advantageous product that has been shown to treat several significant medical issues with relatively few side effects.

What have been your experiences with CBD? Are you keen to try it?

*Editor’s note – at the time of publishing, CBD is legally available in Australia but only to those qualified to use it with a medical prescription under the Special Access Scheme.

Want more Health & Wellness? Click here for the Antioxidant Benefits of Beta Carotene and here for Five Ways To Incorporate More Meditation and Mindfulness Into Your Life.

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