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In my local Portland coffee shop recently, the barista asked if I wanted to add a few drops of CBD to my Americano. He spoke in the same flat affect usually reserved for “Room for cream?” Always curious to try anything that promises to make me feel “different,” I ponied up the extra three bucks bringing my total to 2.5 times its normal price.

The CBD itself was tasteless and left a light oily film on the top of my coffee, which was not unpleasant (it reminded me of the oily drops on the surface of hot chocolate sold at ice skating rinks). What followed was one of the most clear-headed and productive writing days I’ve had in months.

For the uninitiated, CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of over 100 chemical compounds which comprise the marijuana plant. The compound most commonly associated with marijuana is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and THC is what gets people high. Because CBD won’t get you stoned, it’s an intriguing option for anyone who is seeking relief from a myriad of symptoms but is uninterested in a lofty conversation about how the fuck tunnels are actually built…man.

I recognize that I am particularly susceptible to psychosomatic effects: I once drank salad dressing mixed with ketchup and thought I was drunk. To make sure the effects I was feeling from the CBD coffee were not in my head, in the figurative sense, I corroborated my experience with other CBD coffee enthusiasts, and spoke with Dr. Benjamin Caplan and Brooke Alpert, RD and licensed holistic cannabis practitioner, who is also New York City-based author of “The Sugar Detox.”

Generally speaking, for most people taking CBD, it seems to have a calming effect,” Caplan founder of the CED Foundation says, “It doesn’t seem to counteract other effects of caffeine.

Caplan, explained further, “there is literature supporting CBD’s action as a strong anti-inflammatory agent; it can help inhibit some of the major cascades of inflammatory cells, essentially muting components of the body’s alarm system. There is also evidence that, for some patients, CBD can reduce seizures, quell pain from arthritis and muscle spasm, reduce nausea, quiet nerve pains, and help lower anxiety. With consistent use and informed consumption, [CBD] has effect as an antineoplastic agent, supporting a cell’s ability to detect faulty or cancerous activity, and promote its self-destruction.”

Alpert says, “in my practice and in the research, 10 milligrams tends to be the sweet spot for most people to feel a positive effect from CBD.”

In addition to speaking with Caplan and Alpert, I wanted to glean multiple experiences from the general public to weigh in on the effectiveness of CBD in our daily lives — since you know, I have the ability to cop a buzz from salad dressing.

Before discovering the CBD coffee fusion, Emma Stapp had cut coffee entirely, feeling that it worsened her anxiety. “I truly love the taste and the ritual of [coffee], and though I’d try anything to ‘cure’ my angst, abstaining from coffee also didn’t seem like the forever solution. Adding CBD to my coffee seems to not only take the edge off my caffeine jitters and allow me to keep coffee in my life, but it also set the stage for a calmer day ahead.” She now uses CBD to combat everything from crippling panic attacks to first date jitters.

Stapp has been in therapy for over 14 years and has tried a variety of prescription medications, acupuncture, massage, Kava, meditation, yoga, running, mindfulness techniques, and dietary changes to manage her anxiety. CBD is now her preferred method for anxiety relief thanks to her newly discovered coffee and CBD ritual each morning.

“Both CBD and caffeine are known to interact with our natural cannabinoid system, boosting certain aspects, such as attention and focus, while, subduing other neurotransmitter systems,” Caplan tells me.  “Some animal data has shown us that cannabinoids, including CBD can interact with animal memory tasks. When caffeine has been studied alongside CBD, it has been shown to have a protective effect on memory.”

John*, a male in his 30s, says CBD in his morning cup of coffee makes his work stress more manageable. He drinks a CBD coffee and almost immediately experiences a calming effect. He notices he sweats less on his commute, which is a symptom of his easing anxiety.

Elena* found CBD coffee at a coffee shop in the West Village of New York City, and now brews her own at home each morning before heading to work. She notices a clearer head at the office, sustained energy, and an easier time focusing on complex tasks.

“I recently went off anxiety medicine I’ve been on since I was 12,” Elena told me.  

CBD has been a big part of that transition. It makes a noticeable difference for me and I’m much more comfortable taking it than a pharmaceutical that has all kinds of side effects.

Realizing that my brain loves the way I feel from CBD coffee but my wallet does not, I went online and purchased the exact same unflavored CBD tincture that my coffee shop uses (the brand is Gron) for $50. Now I add it to my coffee at home whenever I remember, which is seldom, because my brain doesn’t function well without coffee. A real catch-22. At least the bottle looks cool on my counter.