I’d never suffered from any depressive disorder before arriving at Uni. It’s weird how some people can just adapt naturally into the student lifestyle while others – like me – just couldn’t keep up. I’m not talking in a social sense, as that side was fine, but more the academic side.
University level science is a massive leap up from A-level, and in all honesty, I just couldn’t keep up with the pace. With every fail or poor grade, I felt even worse, especially when to most of my classmates – even those who only turned up half the time – it seemed like a doddle.
My friends suggested that I do and speak to a doctor after I spontaneously broke down over my cereal one Monday morning. Thinking it was just a random panic attack, I tried to brush it off until the second, then a third time. That’s when I knew something was seriously wrong. By this stage, my sleep was at best a couple of hours every couple of days, and my appetite was non-existent. Unless I was smoking weed.
Yeah, yeah I know all about the dangers of self-medicating. But a couple of joints in the evening built up my appetite, helped me relax and sleep enough to at least have the strength to turn up for lectures. Strangely, I think it may have had something to do with my lab performance picking up as well – my lecturers had even started praising the improvement. But obviously, I didn’t want to risk getting dependent and frankly it was slaughtering my already tiny bank balance.
So I went to my local health clinic and saw my GP. Truth be told, I’d read that in some cases it was now legal in the UK for some doctors to prescribe medical marijuana. I wasn’t keen on anti-depressants as I’d heard/read so many bad reviews, but free smoke? Yeah, I’ll take that…. or so I thought!
My GP – who I had never met – turned out to be seriously old school. He asked me a few questions and when I mentioned weed helping, he right away sniffed me out for trying to source it on the NHS for free! Pretty tragic but there you go. I just went for it and asked if it was something they could offer and he told me a matter of fact that it was a non-starter, and only intended for extreme clinical circumstances. He suggested pills and CBT but I just didn’t fancy taking that route.
As I was putting on my coat he then mentioned that I may want to look into CBD. I’d vaguely read about it being some kind of weed-based supplement, but I assumed it was just a fad and probably hipster snake oil. He explained – in about seven seconds – that some of his other patients had found it beneficial for mild depression and anxiety but he couldn’t vouch for it one way or another.
Later that evening I decided to do some research about CBD online and came across this excellent beginner’s guide which I found really helpful. I asked a couple of questions on Reddit and was surprised at the number of replies I received from people all over the world vouching for it. Most of them referenced US sites (I can’t afford that postage) but after more digging, I was staggered at home widespread it was in the UK. Even Holland & Barratt sell it – it must be alright then…
The more I looked into it the more it seemed that what I wanted was ‘full spectrum’ because it retained all the plant goodness without the THC. Not quite knowing what strength to go for was a bit of a problem. I’m on the heavier side so I went for the plunge with a 500mg 10ml oil. The next day it popped through the letterbox.
At first, I was a little underwhelmed. After all, this little bottle had cost me a week’s weed budget! But I figured that if I was going to see if this helped at all, best knock the smoke on the head for a little while.
Rationing out that 10ml bottle I aimed to take three drops under the tongue three times a day. 15mg CBD seemed to be what most people took for mild disorders like mine (I found out yesterday that was actually higher than most!) and that it’d last about a month. So what happened next?
Not much to start with. As advertised there was absolutely no high whatsoever. My digging about online had explained that it was very subtle and not to expect any sensations so that didn’t alarm me too much. As for my studies, they just rolled on and I still felt I was having to try way harder than anyone else to keep up. Then…
Exactly fifteen days after my first dose I woke up after a full eight hours sleep. I hadn’t enjoyed that for months, and I just felt really good. It’s difficult to describe because after that long of broken nights it’s always going to feel like a slight high feeling so refreshed. Over the day I kept up my dose at mealtimes and things just went really well. I was surprised when one of my classmates mentioned that I have seemed perkier and more engaged with things for the last week! Honestly, I hadn’t noticed but there you go.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have basically not left that state at all. I have a full day worth of energy instead of crashing in the early afternoons, much more general sociability and desire just to get things moving. For the first time since arriving here, I feel actually naturally stimulated rather than in an artificial fog or – let’s be matter of fact – simply miserable.
So if that’s what CBD can do for me in a month, then I’m sticking with it for now. I read further that even if you seem to have hit your ‘sweet spot’ upping or lowering your dose may either offer more benefits or at least save some money. Last night I ordered both my 500mg bottle and a 300mg (much cheaper) option to see if that offers the same benefits. If not, I’ll pass it on to a friend to try and maybe go for a 750mg next time – thank god for birthday money!
It worked for me and I hope it will also assist anyone else who finds themselves in a bit of mire. My only advice is to do your research and definitely go full-spectrum. From what others have said online I doubt ‘pure’ isolates would have been as effective for me.