The researchers' hands are pouring CBD hemp oil into a glass tube. To be put to trial.Concept of alternative medicine, medicine, experiment, research, medicine. Close up.
The researchers' hands are pouring CBD hemp oil into a glass tube. To be put to trial.Concept of alternative medicine, medicine, experiment, research, medicine. Close up.

An introduction to CBD self-care

Awareness of CBD’s benefits has grown in tandem with the self-care movement. What specific daily needs can CBD address to boost our overall wellness?

Self-care is here to stay. Just a few years ago, the idea that we can all proactively look after our physical and mental welfare was still a new concept to many people. Some wondered if self-care was just another trend popularised by the Millennial generation, a favourite pastime for people who love hot baths, scented candles and face masks – and posting about them on Instagram.

Instead, the trend has become a way of life for many people. You don’t necessarily need an elaborate bath-time routine or cupboards full of high-end cosmetics to practise self-care (although, if this is how you get down – no judgement!). Each of us has different needs, which is why self-care can encompass a wide variety of tasks tailored to meet whatever they are. Put simply, self-care is the continuous process of considering your needs and proactively maintaining your wellness. Increasingly, people who prioritise self-care are integrating CBD into their everyday lives.

The self-care compound

Over the last few years, growing public interest in self-care has coincided with increased awareness of CBD and its potential therapeutic benefits. Of course, this natural chemical compound is just one piece of equipment in the self-care toolbox. It’s not the only option, and it may not be the right choice for everyone looking to take better care of themselves. However, the versatility of CBD makes it an ingredient with impressive self-care credentials, and a growing number of satisfied users.

Let’s look at some of the specific self-care needs that many people are addressing with CBD:

CBD for sleep

Failure to get a good night’s sleep is almost guaranteed to throw your mind and body off track. Whether it’s just the occasional disrupted night or long-term struggles with insomnia, poor sleep can affect mood and concentration levels. It is often linked to physical problems and periods of stress. 

There is plenty of advice from health professionals about how to improve sleep: avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evening, exercising regularly and keeping a regular bedtime are common recommendations. However, following this advice cannot always guarantee a restful night. Although CBD does not yet feature in many official guidelines, early medical studies have suggested it may help with both drifting off to sleep and staying asleep.

There is certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence from people who have tried CBD for sleep and reported positive experiences. Among well-known users, professional golfers Bubba Watson and Scott McCarron have both credited CBD oil with significantly improving their sleep quality.

More generally, a more proactive approach to good sleep may require us to think about sleep a bit differently, adjusting our attitude to something we often take for granted. Valuing sleep as something to take seriously, prioritising sleep when making choices and protecting it by avoiding things that may cause disruption – these are all things we can do to support our own sleep health as part of a self-care routine.

CBD for pain and inflammation

Many people are also exploring CBD for pain relief. A number of health conditions can result in daily discomfort, making pain management an unwanted but necessary part of life for those afflicted. Studies have indicated that CBD may be effective in reducing certain types of pain, and many experts are convinced of its usefulness in this area.

In 2019, nutritionist and health author Dr Sarah Brewer told Net Doctor that CBD oil is “one of the most helpful supplements to become available in a long time”. Commenting on its potential for pain sufferers, she said: “It is highly antioxidant so has anti-inflammatory effects on joints, to improve pain and stiffness. CBD also has an analgesic effect to reduce pain perception in the brain.”

Exploring CBD is a legitimate option for people with chronic pain, and interest in this application is growing. However, each patient’s needs are different. If you are already taking medicine for an existing condition, it’s important to check with your doctor or pharmacist about possible drug supplement interactions before trying CBD.

CBD for energy

It’s no secret that life is getting busier in general, with many of us juggling multiple commitments across our work, social and personal lives on any given day. The hectic reality of modern living is one of the reasons self-care has been such a hot topic in recent years. And when you factor in the demanding exercise regimes many of us now follow, it’s no surprise that people are seeking an energy boost.

Even those who are aware of CBD’s versatile nature may find it strange that the compound could have energising qualities. We’ve already discussed CBD’s potential as a sleep aid, so how can it work as both sedative and stimulant?

The answer is that CBD appears to have what’s known as a biphasic effect. Users can experience different effects, or phases, depending on the dosage they apply. Research has indicated that lower doses of CBD may deliver a stimulating effect, while a higher dose may have a sedative effect.

Of course, CBD’s ability to promote better sleep is likely to indirectly boost energy levels during the day as well. So it appears that CBD really does have the remarkable quality of being good for both energy and rest. However, it’s important to remember that CBD is not a typical stimulant like some other ingredients found in energy drinks and supplements. Studies suggest that CBD works to balance an array of different physical and mental processes, in a way that can ultimately leave you feeling more energised throughout the day.

CBD for calm and relaxation

Anxiety is a widespread problem that has a negative impact on the daily lives of millions in the UK. In 2020, a report from the Health and Safety Executive found that 17.9 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety alone.

Therapy, pharmaceuticals and meditation are all used to treat anxiety, and each individual’s response to a certain treatment is likely to differ. As in all elements of self-care, it’s about finding the right option for you. However, we can now add CBD oil to the list of potential treatments, with studies suggesting that it can lift mood and relax the mind.

Anecdotally, users have also credited CBD with easing everyday anxiousness and promoting a feeling of enhanced overall wellbeing. Leah Vanderveldt, an author and CBD oil user, told the mindbodygreen website about her experiences in 2020.

She explained: “CBD oil diffuses that knotted nervous feeling in my gut. As a relatively anxious person – especially in big groups or unknown social situations (i.e., a lot of the time) – taking CBD oil has allowed me to shed that a bit. It gives me a calm, “I’ve got this” kind of feeling that can really make a difference.”