8 Expert Tips About Starting A Hemp Supplement Routine
Hemp devotees use the plant to find calm amid the chaos of daily life.* Hemp has a unique ability to promote relaxation and emotional well-being, but like anything else, it needs to be properly consumed to be effective.* After years of reporting on this special plant, here are the best tips mbg has ever heard about starting a hemp routine that delivers on calm:*
Make sure your hemp is full-spectrum and organic.
If you see "full-spectrum" on a hemp label, it signifies that you're getting a full array the plant's active ingredients—not just a few of its isolated compounds.
Experts say that they're all there for a reason, and when taken together, hemp's cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids unite to have a more calming effect.* Besides hemp-derived CBD, CBGA, CBDA, and CBC are a few cannabinoids that researchers are fascinated by right now, and you don't want to miss out on them!
In addition to a full-spectrum stamp, Carl Germano, R.D., CNS, CDN, the author of Road to Ananda: Simple Guide to the Endocannabinoid System, Hemp Phytocannabinoids/CBD, and Your Health, says you'll also want to look for an organic certification on your hemp product since pesticide use is common in the industry.
Looking for a hemp supplement to get started with? mindbodygreen formulated our calm+ formula with certified organic, full-spectrum hemp oil with these criteria top of mind.*
Start with a lower dose and work your way up.
Finding your ideal dose of hemp can be tricky. While everybody's different, if you're new to the product, it's generally recommended that you start on a low-to-moderate daily dose (10 to 20 mg of cannabinoids) and monitor its effects for one to two weeks. If you don't feel like it's helping you stress any less, you can start to increase the dose with the permission of your doctor.*
As mbg's director of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., R.D.N., explains: "Clinical research indicates that 15 to 25 mg of hemp CBD might be a sweet spot for helping improve our stress resilience1 and promote calm2."
Side effects of hemp tend to be relatively mild (the most common one is fatigue, which some people view as a benefit, i.e., sleep support*), and people don't seem to build a tolerance to the plant over time, meaning that it's safe to experiment with dose until you find one that works for you.*
Take it consistently and look for cumulative effects.
Another important thing to keep in mind with hemp is that it's not a quick fix. It works by helping the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS)—a key stress regulating physiological system—function more efficiently and effectively.* And this takes time!
"Taking one dose and ruling it out at that point is not scientifically valid," explains Bonni Goldstein, M.D., a California-based physician and author of Cannabis is Medicine. For this reason, she says that when taking a new product or dose, you should consume it daily for at least a week before deciding whether or not it's working for you.
Give it time to work.
Along those lines, hemp oil doesn't kick in right away. It typically takes one to three hours to really get to work in the body, with effects lasting for eight to 12 hours. You'll want to factor in this buffer time when deciding on the best time of day to take the plant extract. This leads us to our next point...
Take it as needed.
Unlike other supplements that should be taken on a regular schedule, hemp can be consumed on an as-needed basis. For example, family medicine practitioner Rob Rountree, M.D., says that those who have trouble relaxing before bed might want to take it in the evening, while physician Bindiya Gandhi, M.D., suggests people who tend to feel stressed during the workday consider taking it before opening up their emails for the morning.*
Since hemp is nonpsychoactive and nonsedating at low-to-moderate doses, it shouldn't get in the way of your work. You can also change around the time that you take it based on what you need that day and even take it more than once—though you might want to wait until that 12-hour potency window is up.*
Opt for capsules and oils.
Hemp extract comes in many delivery forms these days, and they all have pros, while some have cons. However, if you're looking for a product that provides the benefits of hemp without any fillers, sugars, or funky additives, capsules (i.e., gelcaps/softgels) and oils (i.e., tinctures) tend to be the purest forms.*
Pair your hemp with other stress supporters.
Once you get the hang of hemp, Dani Gordon, M.D., a U.K.-based doctor and the author of The CBD Bible says you can play around with "stacking" it with other functional plant ingredients. For example, to elevate the stress-relieving properties of hemp, she suggests pairing it with ashwagandha extract, an adaptogen that has similarly calming effects on the body and mind.*
Don't think of it as a miracle cure.
June Chin, D.O., an integrative doctor based in New York and an early adopter of hemp, has found that many patients approach cannabinoid medicine as if it's a panacea for stress. She says that while hemp can be incredibly effective, it works best when paired with other healthy stress management practices. Think of it as another (fantastically functional) tool in your relaxing repertoire;* not the whole toolbox.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.