How do I know if my CBD is working?

You’ve heard the buzz, witnessed a friend’s transformation and read the research (if you haven’t yet, here’s the lowdown), but how can you tell if your new CBD routine is making a difference and not just another potion in your laundry list of wellness rituals? Nobody knows you like you, but, like watching your hair grow, it can be hard to tell if your new supplement, superfood or self-care regimen is really working. Whether you’re already a CBD enthusiast or considering trying it out for the first time, here are some tips for figuring out how it fits into your life.

1. Be consistent.

When introducing new products like CBD, I always recommend giving it a solid 10-day trial, using the same product and dosage. This is especially pertinent to CBD, as research shows a cumulative benefit of use (meaning the effects build with consistent and prolonged use).

2. Try habit stacking.

If your new CBD routine is cumbersome and hard to remember, you won’t stick with it. Period. Use this 10-day trial to figure out how to add CBD into an existing routine. Maybe it’s with your morning smoothie, afternoon tea, or if you’re already taking supplements, perhaps you can add CBD to the mix.

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3. Create your own data points.

Everyone’s experience with CBD is unique. Maybe you will notice that your sleep slowly starts to improve with use, which has a trickle-down effect on your mood, eating habits and more. Or perhaps your anxiety starts to settle, making you more content and craving fewer sweets. Changes are often gradual (back to the hair growth analogy), so writing it down will help you notice long term patterns of change. Log your sleep, stress levels, cravings and mood to keep track of any changes. This could be noted in your phone, or in a physical journal like The Well Journal.

Changes are often gradual, so writing it down will help you notice long term patterns of change.

4. Don’t change anything else.

You’re basically creating your own randomized control trial here (very scientific!), so if you try CBD the same week that you start meditating, eating vegetables and working out, it might be difficult to figure out exactly how CBD is benefiting you. I’m not saying not to do all those things, but if CBD is just one part of a total mind, body, soul makeover, it will be harder to pinpoint its specific effects.

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5. Manage your expectations.

While there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence of CBD’s benefits, there’s also a small but promising body of scientific research coming down the pipe. But you will be disappointed if you think any one thing is your magic bullet. Do it for the long term benefits, not the near term. This is another reason to keep a journal—looking back at your sleep, stress and eating patterns from weeks and months past will help you to track and gain awareness of any changes, no matter how subtle.

Mia is a Los Angeles based nutritionist, author of The Well Journal, and founder of RASA, a holistic wellness practice. Through her work, she aims to help people understand their bodies, demystify wellness trends and learn to love nutrient-dense foods, so they can improve their health, and never need to diet, count calories or stress about their food choices again.

She holds a Masters of Nutrition and Integrative Health from the Maryland University of Integrative Health, along with a Holistic Health Coaching license from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, a Grand Diplome in Culinary Arts from the International Culinary Institute (formerly the French Culinary Institute) and a BA in English Literature from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband and son.

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