How CBD Helped Me Overcome Anxiety and Insecurities About Public Speaking – Allure Magazine

For much of my life, I had a deep-seated fear of public speaking. The anxiety tiptoed in during middle school, then dug in deep by my early 20s. In college, I was set to give a presentation in a journalism class. Right before I started, my professor had walked out of the room to take a call. When I put my note cards on the podium, a large wooden piece fell from the top of it and crashed to the ground. There was something about the shock of the loud sound and the sudden flush of embarrassment that broke me. Nerves all along my scalp fired. I felt strangely, irreparably damaged. I gathered my notes and sat back down without speaking a word. The class sat in awkward silence for a few minutes. My professor returned and asked how I did. A generous fellow student said, “She did great.”

The specter of that physical short-circuiting haunted me for years. For a decade after that, I white-knuckled my way through speaking to crowds. I had learned various tactics that helped me, like extreme preparation and remembering bullet points rather than trying to memorize lines. Most were panels or one-on-ones with another person on stage, not TED Talk–esque presentations. Then I was asked to do my first solo keynote, and the old fears crept back in.

After listening to me agonize for a few weeks, my husband suggested I try CBD. He bought me a few small glass dropper bottles from a local health food store, and I experimented with dosage — first half a dropper, increasing by a fraction of a milliliter each day until I felt something. (I overdid it one day and took two droppers-full — I could barely keep my eyes open.)

But when I found my dose, it was a revelation. I was heading to work one morning and it felt like the sky had suddenly opened up — like a lead blanket had been lifted off my body and the background commotion had been silenced so I could focus.

I realize that CBD may not be for everyone. I’ve tried multiple brands, and for some reason, only one particular tincture from one particular brand in one particular strength has worked for me (Green Earth Medicinals Extra Strength Sublingual Drops). And I try not to take it too often, since it’s quite expensive (about $175 for a 1-ounce bottle of 1500 mg CBD). But I think the most important thing it did was it helped me reset my expectation of what calm feels like.

It helped me feel prepared for my keynote (I nailed it). And it made me recognize that danger wasn’t lurking on the other side of that podium, which was exactly what I needed.

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