Colorado-produced CBD products (L-R) Sundown Sparkling CBD, Sparkling CBD Root Beer, Sati Organics CBD soda, St. Bernie’s CBD Gum, Rosebud CBD ice cream, Good Day Chocolate, Tribe CBD gummies, and Present, a CBD-infused sparkling water from Left Hand Brewing Co. in the Denver Post studio. Styling by Amy Brothers. (Photo by Eric Lutzens/The Denver Post)
I lost sleep worrying about how to convey how much I worry. I had all these examples, these worry-inducing details, but they don’t seem to matter now. I ate my CBD gummies.
Suffice it to say that I’ve always been an anxious person, in spite of never really having anything to be anxious about. Lately, though, things are different, with a divorce annihilating the life I knew, an unwelcome potential career change and my daughter’s 27th case of head lice all giving me legitimate things to stress over. (How do these lice not die?)
Like Taylor Swift sings in that song that isn’t even that annoying to me right now in my CBD’d state, I needed to calm down.
And look! On the shelves at the grocery store; in the coolers and checkout lanes, Colorado-made CBD food and drink products are everywhere. They promise to make me calm and relaxed, and maybe provide eternal youth and beauty, but those last two (like the first two, come to think of it) are yet to be evaluated by the FDA.
So I set out on an experiment: I would try a different Colorado-made, CBD-loaded snack or beverage for eight days in an attempt to calm down.
While I don’t really believe that 10 or 20 milligrams of CBD are going to make a difference in my life, I like chocolate and root beer and ice cream, so why not try it?
It may be apparent that I’m a CBD novice, and if it’s not, let me make it so. I’m kind of an amateur when it comes to most substances. I don’t say that as a point of pride, but rather as background, so you know that I went into my CBD food and drink experiment as a skeptical CBD virgin. Over the past year and a half, primarily because of the divorce, I could have benefited very much from the help that responsible substances can provide. (Actually, I was in such a bad way that irresponsible substances probably would have done me good, too.)
Things are better now (except the lice), but I’m still my anxious, worrying self, so I was hoping that these CBD products would help. Here’s what happened.
Colorado-produced CBD beverages (L-R) Sati Organics CBD soda, Sundown Sparkling CBD, and Sparkling CBD Root Beer in the Denver Post studio. Styling by Amy Brothers. (Eric Lutzens, The Denver Post)
Day 1: Sundown Sparkling water, made in Denver; 10 mg CBD
“Can I have a sip?” my 8-year-old, lice-ridden daughter asked.
“I don’t know,” I responded. “It has CBD in it.”
“I don’t really know,” I said, because, well, I don’t. “I don’t know if kids are supposed to have it. It’s not a grown-up drink like alcohol, and it’s not really bad, but I just don’t know.”
“Can you look it up?” my 6-year-old son chimed in. “I want some bubbly water.”
So I looked it up. I should probably know just what it is I’ll be ingesting over the next week, after all.
CBD is short for cannibidiol, and although the naturally-occurring compound comes from marijuana and hemp plants, it does not produce the high that marijuana is known for. (That comes from the THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.) CBD is believed to ease pain, help you relax and manage anxiety, but it has no psychoactive effects. Most CBD comes from hemp, which is packed with CBD and has only very, very low levels of THC. (The CBD products you buy at the store do not have any THC in them.)
As to whether or not CBD is safe for kids, I don’t find a straight answer because not much research has been done. As widespread CBD use is still fairly new, the dosage isn’t well-regulated and we don’t even really know what an adequate dose should be. The Internet tells me that for now I probably shouldn’t be pumping the kids full of CBD, and so I relegate them to non-CBD bubbly water.
My Sundown drink, with just 10 mg of CBD — on the low end of everything I tried — tastes like any other sparkling water. It’s refreshing, with a hint of citrus. I don’t feel any different, though, which is exactly what I expected.
Day 2: RoseBud Mounty Maple ice cream, made in Denver; 50 mg CBD per pint
The problem here is evident, right? For me, a pint of ice cream is a single serving. And this ice cream is delicious. It’s creamy but porous, with a little chew to it — which seems like an odd description for an ice cream, but ice cream lovers get it. It’s got flavors of vanilla and maple pop, but it’s not syrupy sweet.
I tried really hard to stick to the recommended two-thirds cup serving size (which contains 320 calories and 18 grams of fat), but I downed more than half the pint.
Afterward, I didn’t feel relaxed so much as energized. It’s hard to tell if it was from the sugar high or the CBD, but I felt motivated to do chores I’d been putting off, like vacuuming, laundry and ordering a replacement laptop battery. Instead of walking past and ignoring my kids’ stack of Family Feud cards that had been sitting on my couch arm since Christmas, I actually put them back in their box. CBD miracle? Maybe.
Colorado-produced CBD product Sati Organics CBD soda in the Denver Post studio. Styling by Amy Brothers. (Eric Lutzens, The Denver Post)
Day 3: Säti Organics lemon-lime Clarity soda, made in Lyons; 23 mg CBD
The taste of this 40-calorie-per-can drink falls in between sparkling water and soda. The packaging informs me that it “supports healthy brain function and mental cognition while staying calm, cool and collected.”
I could definitely use some healthy brain function, as my Monday morning wasn’t at all productive.
So, did I write 2,000 brilliant words and conduct stimulating interviews post-CBD soda at lunch? Not exactly, but I accomplished more than I did with my lazy pre-CBD morning, so I’ll take it.
Colorado-produced CBD product Good Day Chocolate, a CBD chocolate, in the Denver Post studio. Styling by Amy Brothers. (Eric Lutzens, The Denver Post)
Day 4: Good Day Chocolate, made in Boulder; 10 mg CBD per piece
Like with the ice cream — which, by the way, I dug into again on Day 3 — chocolate is something I want to eat a lot of. A serving size of the Good Day chocolate is one candy-coated purple ball, which is essentially an oversized, crispy M&M. They’re good; I ate three in the course of 30 seconds, and I felt proud of my restraint.
Shortly after eating them, I got assigned to write two breaking news stories, and I stayed remarkably calm. I may have become even calmer when I got assigned to write a third.
I felt like there was a filmy coating separating me from the real world. Like I could either fall asleep or keep working diligently, depending on the path I chose. Was this the calm that the CBD fanatics gospelize? Can there be a placebo effect even if you don’t expect something to work? Because this seemed to work.
Colorado-produced CBD product Present, a CBD-infused sparkling water from Left Hand Brewing Co. in the Denver Post studio. Styling by Amy Brothers. (Eric Lutzens, The Denver Post)
Day 5: Present blood orange sparkling water, made by Left Hand Brewing Co. in Longmont; 20 mg CBD
The day started stressfully. I won’t go into details, but we have a new “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” shoe policy in our household. To try to turn things around, I drank my CBD sparkling water with breakfast.
Present’s blood orange flavor was good, and like everything else I tested, it tasted just like its non-CBD counterpart product. I remained anxious all morning, though. I once heard anxiety described as feeling like you’re drowning, compared to typical days in which you’re treading water, and great days when you’re coasting on top of it. Today was a drowning day, and a 16-ounce can of sparkling water — no matter how CBD-rific — didn’t change it.
Day 6: Sparkling CBD root beer, made by Colorado’s Best Drinks in Denver; 20 mg CBD
My CBD root beer at lunch tasted delicious — probably because root beer always tastes delicious. This one had the magical effect of making my kids’ rock tumbler, which has been the noisy soundtrack of my house for the past week, actually sound soothing rather than gratingly irritating. Like a pacifying little rock jostling sound machine. Does this mean the CBD worked?
Colorado-produced CBD product St. Bernie’s CBD Gum in the Denver Post studio. Styling by Amy Brothers. (Eric Lutzens, The Denver Post)
Day 7: St. Bernie’s CBD gum, made in Lafayette; 10 mg CBD per piece
Today is the first day in my CBD experiment where I feel like I actually need its effects to work. Today, I’m doing something uncomfortable that I haven’t done in 15 years. Today, I’m meeting my new boyfriend’s father.
Truthfully, I’m still recalibrating myself following the end of my marriage in 2018. I think I’m supposed to be over the sadness and heartbreak by now, but I’m not. Not completely. Once in awhile, I still get vivid, flashback-y feelings from my old life, mainly of the comfort and security that it represented. And then I get sad, because comfort and security are nice feelings, and I’m tired of working through the discomfort and dealing with uncertainty all of the time.
Somehow, though, in the midst of all my sadness and adjustments, I stumbled into a new relationship last year, and today we’re flying to Florida to meet his dad.
New guy has warned me that his father is a bit of a curmudgeon so, yeah, if ever there was a time for CBD gum, meeting your new boyfriend’s curmudgeonly father when you haven’t been in this situation for a decade and a half is that time.
Allyson Reedy dosin’ up for the day with Good Day Chocolate. (Allyson Reedy, Special to The Denver Post)
I chewed on a sugary cube of peppermint schnapps-flavored gum (all of St. Bernie’s flavors are inspired by alcoholic beverages) at baggage claim. By the time we reached his door in St. Petersburg, I was calm. Not a butterfly in my stomach. I know; I couldn’t believe it either.
The dad, in case you’re wondering? Not at all a curmudgeon.
Day 8: Tribe gummies, made in Denver; 20 mg CBD per two gummies
I’m still in Florida with not-at-all-a-curmudgeon dad, who, by the way, is the same age as my grandparents. I feel a little weird eating CBD gummies around his dad, because now I’m not just the younger girlfriend, but I’m the younger girlfriend who packs her own CBD gummies on trips.
I stick to the dosage — two raspberry-sized gummies — and they taste good, like a gummy but enhanced. I don’t know what that means, either, but maybe a little metallic. So I’m gnawing on these fruity, metallic little raspberries and I’m staying remarkably calm for the entirety of this trip, and it’s all very strange because I feel like I’m a million miles away from my normal life — not just the 1,900 miles I actually am — and feelings of comfort and security are coming to me here, not via flashbacks from my old life, but here in my new one.
Do I think this is because of my CBD week? Of course not. And I know that these good feelings of calm are fleeting, just like everything else. But right now I’m not worried or anxious about a thing. I’m bonding with new guy and his dad, and I’m living in the actual moment for the first time in a very long while.
When I FaceTime my daughter, I don’t even notice if she scratches her head.