We like to keep our CBD talk positive on this blog. We usually focus on healthy eating with hemp; work out boosts and new ways for families to cope with it all. And we usually write our posts together, just as we run our company as a husband and wife team. But today, we’re getting a bit more personal, and showing a new side of our lives. And, because this is his story, today’s blog will come from Justin’s voice alone.
Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)
Long before Daniela and I started 12Twenty CBD, we were an active, happy couple. Except that, every year when Thanksgiving rolled around, it started feeling like I was going into hibernation. All of a sudden, I had problems sleeping, my energy was low, and my mood changed. It could be very subtle, until it was not. And that’s when the change would hit me like a ton of bricks.
Now, I’m a strong guy who doesn’t let much slow me down. So, for years, I shrugged off this mood change as the “Winter Blues.” I mean, who doesn’t want to hide inside when the outdoor temperature is 17 degrees?
But then, I started thinking: maybe things could be different. That’s when I started digging a bit. And, through my research, I found that my symptoms closely matched those associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to clinical definitions, SAD is “a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.”[i]
That sounded very familiar. So I talked to my doctor about what I was feeling. She suggested things like light therapy and talk therapy, along with exercise and working hard to be more social. But I was already maxed out on the exercise front, training five to six days per week, so that wasn’t going to do it. And when I got a light therapy machine, it just became a new toy for the kids.
Making matters worse, I soon suffered a slipped disc in my lower back, an injury incurred while I was working out. And that’s the moment when, on so many fronts, my life story started changing.
Discovering CBD for Mental Health
After I got hurt, a doctor gave me a script for oxycodone. But this was 2019, so I was already well aware of the opioid crisis in this country. And I didn’t want to risk trying this highly addictive medication. Then, someone in my life suggested trying CBD to help my recovery.
Boy was that a gamechanger. I soon recovered from my injury, and even found that the broad-spectrum cannabidiol helped speed up my post work-out recovery! Right around then, Daniela and I launched 12Twenty CBD, to introduce high-quality, THC-free cannabidiol into the market place. At the same time, I noticed something else was going on in my body.
My SAD-like symptoms were exacerbated when I got my injury. Because I couldn’t work out as much as I'm accustomed to, and I had to shift my normal routine. Then, once I started the CBD, I realized that it was also helping alleviate some of my emotional symptoms. I found it relaxed me and helped me get sleep, so that I didn’t wake up feeling groggy. Again, I decided to do more research to find out if this was just a happy accident. Or a long-term, seasonal solution.
Quickly, I realized that I was in good company. According to a nationwide Gallup poll, about 42% of CBD users take cannabidiol to alleviate mental health challenges.[ii] Now, 21% of users take the extract to address general anxiety symptoms. And that’s good news for SAD sufferers: two of the major symptoms associated with this disorder are anxiety and insomnia. Both of which can be alleviated by CBD use, according to a 2016 case study involving pediatric patients. [iii]
All of this confirmed what I was feeling after taking CBD. But are you wondering why this hemp-extract is so helpful? The answer is complex, and we’ve still got a lot to learn. What we do know, however, is that cannabidiol interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a series of receptors in your body that help you maintain balance, or homeostasis. The ECS affects everything from your mood, to your sleep cycles and even your immune system. So helping it function optimally can help address symptoms like anxiety and insomnia, both indications that your body has lost its internal balance.
Managing SAD with Daily CBD Doses
As I write this post, Thanksgiving Day is fast-approaching. Of course, this year will be a tough one in general. Since families likely still won’t gather together the way we’d like to. And we may or may not be dealing with the aftermath of a divisive national election. (Register NOW if you haven’t already. This year, more than ever, we need our voices to be heard.)
Even facing all the challenges of the months to come, I know that SAD symptoms won’t be the thing to take me down. I’ve got my routine working well: I start my day at 6 a.m., get a quick dose of light box therapy, and take my daily dose of CBD. And I no longer experience the energy zap symptoms that I lived with for so long. On a daily basis, I rely on CBD to alleviate my anxiety and to help my body get into a restful sleep at night. And, though SAD was not something that was on the table for me to talk about because it was very personal, I’m now inviting you to reach out with questions. Or your own stories. If my experience, or my CBD products, can help even one other person, than I’m all for it.
[i] Mayoclinic.org. “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).” [ii] https://news.gallup.com/poll/263147/americans-say-cbd-products.aspx [iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101100/