Why you should track your CBD use in a journal

News flash: All of us are aging, all the time. And getting old, they say, is not for sissies. Having put some miles on our bodies, most of us have some predictable afflictions. Live long enough and you will be well-acquainted with:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Inflammation

Amazingly, people are using CBD for all of these conditions, and many others, from autism to cancer and PTSD. In many cases, people are dumping their doctor-prescribed pharmaceuticals and taking CBD oil tinctures, capsules, topicals and vapes — even though Western medicine hasn’t fully accepted the healing power of CBD and cannabis.

Lots of testimonials. No clinical trials.

Indeed, while there are many online testimonials praising CBD’s medicinal powers, it’s also true that on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. And that gets to the heart of the dilemma with CBD right now: Everybody’s talking about a promising medicine that’s almost too good to be true.

Western medicine values the authoritative voice, and in this instance it’s lacking. There are no clinical trials (what drug company is going to fund millions in research for a remedy people can grow on their own, in the back yard?). But we now know that we have an endocannabinoid system, and more studies are being published proving that CBD interacts with receptors throughout our bodies.

So if you are taking CBD for any of the conditions mentioned above, how can you make sure you’re doing it in a safe and healthy way? Here’s an idea: Keep a journal.

Write it down. 

 CBD is a personalized medicine, and we all have unique genetics. What works for you might not work for me. My tolerance might be different yours, and my body might have a completely different reaction than you have. Documenting your journey with CBD can help you keep your health — and that’s what this is about — on track.

For more on the benefits of tracking your cannabis use, listen to our interview with Chris Hersha of Goldleaf.

Know what you’re taking. Hemp is a bio-accumulator, it sucks toxins out of the ground. Obviously you would not want to ingest hemp products unless you are confident that they are clean, organic and free of pesticides, heavy metals and other contaminants. Reputable CBD providers will publish Certificates of Analysis that confirm the purity of their product, batch by batch.

Pay close attention to your body. CBD’s effects can be subtle. People with acute conditions like epilepsy or fibromyalgia have reported immediate and dramatic improvements with CBD. But if you have anxiety or insomnia, for instance, keeping track of your daily intake of CBD, and your subjective response, can help you judge the effectiveness of the medicine, and determine if your dosage is right.

Rate your experience. In some cases, it might help to rate your experience. On a scale of one to five:

  • How did you sleep?
  • How relaxed / anxious did you feel?
  • How troublesome was the pain in your knee?
  • How fast did your migraine subside?

Keep with your regimen. It’s easy to start taking CBD with enthusiasm, not see huge results, and eventually just stop taking it. It’s not always easy to measure anxiety or inflammation, but if you commit to a test-and-learn approach, and document your reactions along the way, in a month or two you’ll have the evidence you need to make an informed judgment about whether to continue your CBD journey or not.  

Besides all that, journaling in itself can be positively cathartic. It’s rewarding to finding a few moments every day to step away from work, Netflix, the smartphone, whatever chaos you’re living in, breath deeply, be mindful and present, and simply put pen to paper.

When you develop the habit of stopping to simply measure how you feel today, at this moment, you become more aware of what’s great, and what still needs attention. That’s mindfulness, and it’s worth cultivating.