CBD + Me

My journey with CBD began back in 2015 when perusing the market stalls on a sunny, autumnal Saturday in Bristol, I cam across a local brand selling their own home-made CBD products. I was instantly drawn in - the cannabis leaf in my rebellious young mind represented a middle finger to polite society and I wanted to hear all about it. However, much to my curiosity on speaking with the merchant I discovered CBD was an extract of the cannabis plant. It has many healing properties but (sadly) no psychoactive components. The deeper we conversed, the more I felt drawn to this amazing plant extract and went away carrying a small gift bag with my first CBD dropper (5%) and some infused skin-care products.

As a young person with an extremely active mind, imagination and highly ungrounded sleeping (and drinking) patterns, I often found myself at my wits end and running on empty. What is now recognised as a form of ADHD at the time was symptomised in raging night terrors, sleep paralysis, low self esteem and disordered eating patterns. Sleep was something that eluded me. It’s not that I couldn’t get to sleep, it’s that my imagination was so powerful I would meet the monsters of the horror films I pretended not to be phased by in full, screaming force. Night after night I would wake trembling and drenched in cold sweat.

The night terrors were just a symptom of my unattended ADHD, which presents differently in girls and can go undiagnosed for years and years, but they felt oh so real to me. Doctors would shrug me off with “everybody gets nightmares” (they’re not nightmares trust me) or simply admit that there’s barely any feasible research done on adult sleep disorders and they couldn’t really help unless I wanted to take sleeping pills. I tried them for a bit, I’ll admit, but all they really did was knock me into a kind of unrestful trance for a few hours before the terrors came back effing and blinding.

When I first encountered CBD I was looking for a fix-all solution. I had heard that it could be helpful for soothing the nervous system and helping with sleep. When it didn’t work instantly I was disappointed. Conditioned to search for the ‘heal all, heal fast’ solution I put it to the side after a week or so and let my little bottle collect dust. Back to the drawing board.

A few years later and I had just graduated from my first Yoga Teacher Training and recently taken a starter course in Transcendental Meditation. Something I had selected to do on impulse after falling in love with Yoga as a counterbalance to my fast paced life. I was a full time singer-songwriter, making coffee on the side and enjoying time on the road with my band… but I was burnt out. In need of something to help me understand what the benefits of slowing down a bit could really do for my life and career. I could feel the beginnings of something beautiful blossoming in the background but couldn’t see the path clearly yet. This is when CBD made a second appearance in my life.

I stumbled across an article in Om Yoga about the benefits of CBD when combined with Yoga or holistic practice. Lightbulb moment! Dusting off the old tincture bottle I thought I could put some of the suggested uses into practice and see what happened. It worked. On reflection I think it perhaps worked better the second time around because I was primed and ready to receive slowness and healing in whatever form it appeared. I had already made some of the necessary changes in my life to facilitate a slower pace and had released the notion that only one thing could ‘fix’ me and my problems. I started to use CBD quite regularly before bed and along with a better sleep hygiene routine, understanding my limitations and treating myself with compassion and respect I all but kicked the night terrors for good.

Fast forward to 2021 and I love to use CBD in my practices. I often incorporate CBD tea or ointments into my healing sessions, offering people the option to immerse themselves in full-body, sensory restoration, or use infused oils on my massage clients to aid relaxation of the body. I have found CBD most useful in its ability to work gently and kindly on the nervous system - I personally still take a few drops under the tongue before I go to bed as an aid to healthy sleep.