I'm a relatively sober gal. After one too many ragers in college I rarely drink alcohol anymore (it always makes me cry now??), and have smoked weed maybe three times in the past year. But what I've *never* been shy with is my relationship to dat big pharma.

Like the millennial that I am, I've struggled with depression, and anxiety crops up more than I'd like (read: a constant and sometimes not so gentle roar). I take Zoloft and have an as-needed anxiety medication, and they help, but anxiety especially is still a part of my everyday life. I get headaches and this insane tension in my shoulders, probably from all of the stress I've been aggressively hoarding in my body as I hunch my shoulders and take shallow breaths over my laptop and ask my partner for another "painful massage." I keep a full-sized bottle of ibuprofen in my purse. Full-sized. And then you've got your run of the mill period cramps (hello, hi! here to ruin your day), and a slew of other issues that I would self-medicate with these OTC and prescribed medications.

And there's nothing wrong with that. I'll be the first person in line to shoot a hand up and say that I am beyond grateful for modern medicine, and having these options available that even our parents in some cases did not have (ibuprofen didn't come on the market in the US until 1974!). It's absolutely amazing what modern medicine can do.

But what I've also discovered is that it's not the only way. And there are more natural alternatives that work just as well, if not better, for me. What I've come to find is that, by adding a consistent microdose of full spectrum CBD to my self care routine, I've supplemented—and sometimes replaced—a good number of those pharmaceuticals. And for someone like me, that's wild.

We grew up in the Tylenol Revolution. Have a problem, pop a pill, what's in it? Who cares, Johnson&Johnson told my mom it's ok.

And I love a good quad-squad of Tylenol when my cramps are especially relentless and tearing through my body like a meat cleaver.

But as I've added CBD into my daily lifestyle, here's what I've noticed.

On a normal day, by the late morning, after my second cup of coffee but before lunch, my jaw starts to ache. I love coffee because it makes me feel alive, but I hate coffee because it makes my muscles tense up from my head to my toes like I'm about to begin my floor routine for the Olympic games.

Two or three puffs of my CBD vape pen, and I'm back. Vapor inhalation is one of the fastest acting ways to get CBD into your body, and let me tell you, a high CBD vape pen does not disappoint. Within minutes, I realize I'm not thinking anymore about how annoying my jaw pain is, or consciously trying to remove my shoulders from my ear canals. Suddenly I realize that I'm thinking about what I *actually need* to be thinking about—work, my relationship, what I'm going to concoct for a delicious dinner—and not how distracted I am by that nagging lurch.

If vaping isn't the vibe I'm feeling for the day, I also love a good full spectrum tincture. I put the drops right under my tongue and let them chill out there for a few minutes in all their minty goodness, and then swallow it and it's gone (and I smell oh so minty). Tinctures operate sublingually, meaning your body absorbs the cannabis through the sub-mucosal lining of the mouth. This method takes longer to take effect than smoking or vaping, but is a great option that's easy to slip into your existing morning routine, or for times when it's less appropriate to take a puff or two.

Now, whether you're just starting out with CBD or a seasoned vet, you probably know that because the CBD industry is still vastly unregulated, it's important to know what's in your CBD products, and to get your goods from a reputable brand you can trust. There are more affordable products out there, but don't get too carried away with finding the best "deal," because a lot of times what that actually means is crappy CBD—or no actual CBD at all (not all hemp is treated equally, so don't let any stinkers trick you—and for the love of all things good and holy, don't go on Amazon). You can't go wrong—especially when microdosing—with a powerful Full Spectrum CBD product. This means it isn't stripped down to isolates, and still has all the full plant goodness that makes microdosing CBD so effective.

Start small if you're new, with up to 10mg a day for five days, to let your body get into the full swing of things and fully reap the benefits of your new CBD self care routine.

CBD can be a powerful tool in your daily arsenal, even at small doses. I take CBD to ultimately soften my rough edges, and to melt away the pains and worries that keep me from being productive—because it's amazing how much valuable energy can be sucked up into the void to manage my anxiety and muscle tension.

I'm in no way saying that you should go cold turkey on your pharmaceutical medications, or that you should replace them with CBD. But for me, CBD has filled a lot of gaps, and has lessened my reliance on some big time pharmaceutical drugs, and that's pretty cool.

So if you dare, give it a try. Start small, pair it with other healthy lifestyle choices (crushing beers and pizza + CBD will not magically solve all of your problems), and see how you feel. Keep in mind that it'll take time to find your favorite method of ingestion, your perfect dose, and maybe job—but it's worth it. Good luck.

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