Sponsored by Present Sparkling Water
I love the winter holiday season. As we transition from feasting in November to the festivities of December, the air feels different- it is infused with the magic that the spirit of giving brings. However, even as the world frosts itself in ice crystals and freshly fallen snow and we adorn our lives in twinkly lights and fragrant fir boughs, that same magic in the air can feel heavy with expectation. For people who deal with chronic anxiety like I do, that expectation can sometimes be overwhelming. It is an interesting dichotomy of emotions- feeling enraptured by the holiday spirit while simultaneously feeling suffocated by the what-ifs, the coulds, and the shoulds that can arise with perceived obligation. But I refuse to let my anxiety stifle my joy! So I focus on the great, and manage my symptoms on anxious days with self care and tasty treats infused with ingredients that support my wellbeing.
The term self care has been ubiquitous this year and I love that it has infiltrated every space of the internet! From face masks to sumptuous baths (guilty as charged!) and everything in between, I’ve loved watching both friends and strangers treat themselves. What we don’t hear about as often, though, is how being gentle with ourselves is tied to self care. If you’ve been following along with me these past few months you might have noticed that I am currently on crutches, the result of a silly tree-climbing accident. It has been a learning experience for me to slow down, take my time, try not to do it all on my own, and to learn how to ask for help.
At first I was incredibly annoyed at the situation. I am *not* good at sitting still and doing nothing and my immobility forced me to do just that. But as the weeks went by, I started to realize that my accident changed my life for the better. While I still get annoyed at little things that are a struggle, like carrying a can up the stairs without shaking it too much, I’ve come to realize that I was creating more anxiety for myself by trying to ‘do it all’ all on my own; my stubbornness was keeping me from asking for help. So while this holiday season feels a bit different because I haven’t been able to snowshoe into the woods to pick out the perfect tree, I have been able to focus on what I need and bring the chaos in my life to a more manageable level. That is the type of self care that I needed, and I know that without my accident I would never have given myself the space and time I needed to calm my life down.
Self care is a wonderful thing, but as much as I wish it were, it isn’t a cure-all for mental health. You can be doing everything correctly and still feel anxious for seemingly no reason, especially during the holidays when even the in-between moments can feel more like pregnant pauses than moments of rest. So in those moments I reach for healing modalities that are outside of myself. One of these, which is new to my mental wellness routine as of August this year, is CBD. In particular I am reaching for Full-Spectrum, USDA Organic, water soluble CBD-infused Present Sparkling Water.
The Importance of Organic CBD
I’ve shied away from CBD in the past, not because I was against the idea of it, but because of my sensitives. I am incredibly sensitive both internally and externally to many things, and each time I tried CBD, I would have an allergic reaction. However, I kept hearing about the amazing benefits of CBD and wanted to try again, with a higher quality product. So when I was invited to One Farm by Waayb – the farm that grows the CBD in Present, I decided to take the leap. One Farm, based just north of me here in Colorado, is USDA-Certified Organic. Which means that the pesticides used in conventional farming aren’t present in the plant, and the soil the hemp plants are grown in is toxin-free.
So, why is this important? To truly understand, you need to look at the science behind how CBD is made. CBD, the abbreviated name for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring component of the cannabis plant. [Note: there are two species of cannabis, hemp and marijuana. CBD comes from the hemp plant and thus is not psychoactive. Full Spectrum CBD is categorized as having less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol- the psychoactive compound in marijuana. Isolate and Broad Spectrum CBD have 0% (or “undetectable levels”) THD, therefore removing the Entourage Effect. In order to get to this “0% THC” level, harmful chemicals and solvents need to be used, which means they can never be classified as Organic. In order to extract CBD oil, essentially the essence of the hemp plant that can have medical applications, you need to distill the plant down into its most basic form. CBD is a concentrate, so whatever components are present in the original state of the plant before being distilled will be concentrated in the final product. Thus, if you use a pesticide, that also will be concentrated, leading to my allergic reactions! I haven’t had any reactions to the USDA-Certified Organic CBD Full Spectrum oil that Present uses in its sparkling waters.
CBD and Anxiety
So we know what CBD scientifically is and why making sure that your CBD is organic is important, but why is it featured in a post about anxiety? It is more than just the intense calm feeling that I get when I drink a can of Present (which is 16 ounces and is infused with 20mg of CBD) it actually comes down to brain chemistry. People with anxiety often have heightened stress responses, which would be great if we lived in an episode of Naked and Afraid, but because most of us don’t and instead have to deal with stressful situations on a daily basis that don’t involve being chased down by jungle animals, it can overwhelm our systems. Small doses of stress hormones keep us safe, but chronically high levels of stress hormones can cause issues in our body-both physically and mentally.
One of the main ways that prolonged stress and anxiety can affect brain chemistry is through neurotransmitters. By definition, a neurotransmitter is “a chemical substance that is released at the end of a nerve fiber by the arrival of a nerve impulse and, by diffusing across the synapse or junction, causes the transfer of the impulse to another nerve fiber, a muscle fiber, or some other structure.” Simply, this process is how your brain relays messages. Chronic stress and anxiety can alter the levels of these transmitters and their receptors.
There are a plethora of studies that show that CBD can counteract anxiety by stimulating neurotransmitter systems and neural regeneration. Remember that CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol. CBD in particular is a phyto-cannabidiol (derived from plants) and our body has a system of endocannabinoids (endo means within the body) that can become imbalanced because of chronic stress and anxiety. CBD can help to restore balance to your endocannabinoid system by avoiding overstimulation and helping your body to boost its natural production of endocannabinoids.
Chronic anxiety can alter brain chemistry which can damage neurons, the cells that transmit nerve impulses. But because the brain can regenerate neurons and create new connections, we can counteract the damage that anxiety can cause. CBD can boost this process of regeneration, as proven by numerous studies that show the link between CBD and neural regeneration. Having a healthier brain with new connections can ease feelings of anxiety. In short, studies have shown that CBD may help us regenerate our brains, allowing our body to rebalance its systems, helping to relieve anxiety.
Why Present Sparkling Waters?
Aside from all three flavors – Natural, Lemon + Lime, and Blood Orange – being delicious as just sparkling water, I chose to partner with Present because of the company’s values. They pay attention to process and oversee every step of production, from planting seeds to packaging, and they truly believe in making the world healthier through wellness. Not only do they choose ingredients that will benefit their customers the most- like Rocky Mountain water and choosing to be organic, despite the extra ‘hassle’ – but each person I’ve met who works with Present is passionate about what they do. From a scientist with a background in behavioral neuroscience and organic chemistry who will geek out with me on the different applications of cannabinoids to marketing professionals who want to make connections with online content creators like me outside of just the ‘post for us’ space, people work with Present because they care.
As I briefly mentioned above, CBD has many proven applications, and more are coming to light as science is delving into the 100 plus different phytocannabinoids that are found in hemp. In the next few months I plan on going more into depth on many of those applications and into the growth process, so feel free to send me all your questions about CBD! I’d love to have your questions on hand as I visit the farm and have access to professionals with more experience in the hemp world than I have. And don’t forget to check out Present CBD-Infused Sparkling Water– I know you’ll fall in love just as much as I have.
This post is sponsored by Present Sparkling Waters. While I have a background in herbalism, I am not a physician and this post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any medical issue. Please consult your physician or naturopath before starting any new supplemental dietary product.