Hunched over the table, I shove a burrito into my mouth as I feverishly rattle on about Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. “He’d rather vote in favor of corporations than human beings,” I tell my friend in between bites. “These positions last a lifetime and it’s like nobody even cares.” When I stop to take a breath, I realize the look on my friend’s face isn’t one of interest but of concern.
“I think you need to relax,” she says.
While someone telling me to relax is truly grating (not to mention completely counterintuitive to my high-strung personality), it did make me pause for a second.
“What do you mean?” I ask, hot sauce dribbling down my chin.
“You seem really anxious,” she says. “And you’re on vacation.”
She was right. I was visiting her in San Francisco from New York City for a few days and it was my first vacation since I’d gone full-time freelance more than a year before. At the time, Trump had recently become president and I was covering politics, for a few different websites, from the moment I woke up at 7am until sometimes as late as 3am. I should at least attempt to enjoy myself on this trip, I thought, despite the world burning around me. After all, it would still be burning once I downed this margarita.
That’s when my friend recommended her CBD (cannabidiol) vape, as a gentle way of saying, “please shut the fuck up and have a good time.” She passed it to me across the table, a sleek rose gold e-cigarette, like if Apple made futuristic tampons, and I took a small hit. The floral scent filled my nostrils as I exhaled slowly. It was instantly relaxing. As someone who’s tried prescription medication for stress in the past, it surprised me how fast-acting it was.
“The advantages of vaping CBD when it comes to stress is it gives immediate relief,” says Dr. Rachna Patel, a CBD oil and medical cannabis expert. “People with stress typically want immediate relief when they’re experiencing a panic attack or are about to experience a panic attack, so that’s when vaping is most beneficial.”
As soon as I got back to New York, I ordered a Beboe calming blend vape pen, aka the “Hermes of cannabis,” which consists of 500mg of CBD oil or about 120 doses. (Everyone’s dosage is different.) The day after it came in the mail, as I was working, I noticed I was once again contorted like a gargoyle on the edge of my desk, my face two inches from my laptop screen, going blind. So I hit the pen.
Again, it relaxed me. More than anything, it gave me a moment to sit up straight, inhale and exhale slowly, to take a literal breather, something I’ve never been good at. It wasn’t a cure-all, but it was helping me to take a beat and ground myself in reality instead of allowing my brain to spiral. It was also nice to find something that treats my stress in the moment without having to deal with any of the intense side-effects (in my experience) of other medicines.