Four Ways I Use CBD Oil Topically

Four Ways I Use CBD Oil Topically

In an effort to live a more healthy lifestyle, I’m always looking for natural alternatives for everyday products. Instead of chemical-laden cleaners, I disinfect my home with lemon essential oil. Instead of harsh eye makeup remover, I melt off my mascara with coconut oil. But when it came to my chronic neck and shoulder pain, I struggled to find a homeopathic remedy that was as effective as pharmaceuticals.

When my good friend asked me if I ever tried cannabidiol (CBD oil), I wasn’t immediately convinced. I had heard all the miraculous stories about CBD oil shrinking tumors and treating childhood epilepsy, but they all seemed too good to be true. I figured CBD oil was just the latest over-crazed health fad that would quickly fizzle away. So you can imagine my surprise when I mixed a few drops of Bluebird Botanicals CBD oil with my usual lotion and felt instant relief for my neck and shoulder pain. It’s true CBD oil is liquid gold.

What is CBD?

CBD is a naturally-occuring chemical powerhouse found in hemp and cannabis plants, not to be confused with THC, which is what causes that couch-melting high. CBD oil is not “medical marijuana”, it’s not illegal, it’s not psychoactive, and it’s not even a new phenomenon, as the use of CBD for medicinal purposes dates back to the 19th century. Recently, scientific studies have found CBD to be an effective treatment for issues like pain, anxiety, inflammation, and neurological disorders. Why? It all has to do with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of neurons that helps regulate things like appetite, sleep, mood, and pain. Our ECS has receptors that bind to cannabinoids such as CBD, which in turn enhances our body’s general state of balance. It’s crazy our bodies are naturally hardwired to receive CBD.

The most common way to reap the benefits of CBD oil is to ingest it orally, which has helped me to sleep better than I have in years. When you consume CBD oil, it permeates throughout your body, interacts with cannabinoid receptors in your brain and nervous system, and eventually enters your bloodstream. Although this can take several hours, ingesting CBD oil can work wonders for conditions like endometriosis, epilepsy, and for me, insomnia. But when you apply CBD oil topically, it bypasses your digestive system and interacts with cannabinoid receptors near the application. The effect is targeted and immediate, making it ideal for people who suffer from sore muscles or skin issues.

Below are just some of the ways I use CBD oil topically every day.

1 – Soothe sore muscles

Between high-impact workouts, sitting at a desk for 9 hours a day, and the inevitable aches and pains that come with getting older, I found myself taking Advil or IP Profin almost every day. Although it seems harmless, taking OTC painkillers on the regular can cause a host of potential issues, such as ulcers and internal bleeding.

Now I simply mix a few drops of CBD oil with organic shea butter and rub onto my sore muscles for instant relief. Sometimes I’ll also add a drop or two of peppermint essential oil for a nice cooling effect.

2 – Cure eczema

I’ve suffered from eczema my entire life and I have unsuccessfully tried every ointment, cream, and DIY treatment out there. A few years ago, my doctor prescribed me one of the most potent topical steroids on the market. It worked, but it also caused unsightly hypopigmentation and made me sensitive to the sun.

I honestly did not expect CBD oil to cure my relentless case of eczema when I dabbed it on a particularly red and itchy patch before I going to sleep one night. When I woke up, I was shocked to find that my eczema had nearly disappeared. Because eczema is essentially an inflammation, it made sense that CBD oil would be my skin’s new best friend. I immediately threw away my steroid cream and haven’t looked back since. Because eczema is notoriously stubborn, I have found that applying pure oil works best, but sometimes I’ll mix it with lotion to make it less messy.

3 – Nourish dry, cracked feet

I live in Southern California and spend a lot of time barefoot at the beach. Combine that with calluses formed from years of ballet and yoga, and my feet were definitely not ready for summer sandals until I discovered this DIY foot cream.

Once a week, I mix organic, cold-pressed coconut oil with CBD oil and apply to my feet before bed, wearing socks to lock in the moisture. Coconut oil adds to CBD’s therapeutic properties because it is ultra-moisturizing and packed with fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Overtime, my feet have become distinctly softer, and I plan to use this as a body butter come winter.

4 – Deep condition hair

Like every woman, I am always looking for ways to make my hair longer, softer, and thicker. I am very picky with my hair products and strictly avoid parabens, sulfates, and anything that’s tested on animals. I find it so frustrating that even hair products marketed as “natural” contain chemicals made in a lab.

Because I had so much success with CBD oil softening my skin, I decided to test it on my hair just to see what would happen. I added a few drops to my conditioner, rinsed it out, and once it dried, I could definitely notice a difference. Not only did my hair look smoother and shinier, but it felt healthier.

After a few months of treating my hair with CBD once a week, my hair is growing like crazy. According to Bluebird Botanicals’ website, their oil contains vitamins, fatty acid, and amino acids, in addition to CBD, and I’m guessing that’s what nourishes my scalp and strengthens my hair. I also like to add a few drops of rosemary essential oil which has been proven to stimulate hair growth.

What’s your favorite way to use CBD oil? Share with me in a comment below.

Choose Compassion

Choose Compassion

To quote the late Stephen Hawking, “We need to break down, not build up, barriers within and between nations.”

Earlier this week, Trump visited San Diego to inspect wall prototypes at the Mexican border, a concept so obtuse that it’s almost laughable. I typically do not let politics affect me, but because this is happening in my own backyard, I’m having a hard time processing the moral vacuity that is driving this project. It’s not the wall that upsets me, it’s the principle. The wall isn’t about border security; it won’t do anything to prevent the immigrants who come into the country legally and then overstay their visas, which is the real problem. It’s about materializing our country’s self-conceived elitism and disparaging the people who need our compassion most.

Living less than 40 miles from the border, I am closer to Mexico than I am any other major city in the United States. That country is essentially my neighbor, and I have never once thought that an arbitrary line makes me better or more important than anyone who lives there. Every time we drive down to Baja, it saddens to me to see the slums of Tijuana juxtaposed with the immense wealth and opportunity that sits on the other side of the barbed wire fence. I always think about the people who risk their lives to cross that border. We have so much in the United States; we have reached the point of diminishing returns where our wealth is actually making us unhappy. If someone in Mexico or South America wants to make a better life for their family within our borders, it seems selfish to deny them of that. When did our values transition from kindness, compassion, and basic human decency in favor of arrogance, pride, and exclusivity?

After living abroad and traveling to a number of countries around the world, I have realized two things:

1 – Opportunity is not a given.

Everyone born in the United States has the chance to work hard and improve their life. But much like the air we breathe, we don’t notice or appreciate the freedom of opportunity because it’s all we know, and we assume everyone in the world has it. That’s not the case. In many countries, whether it’s due to the economy, oppression, corruption, or societal constraints, people cannot improve their lives, no matter how hard they try. Opportunity is the exception, not the rule. If only we could all make a concerted effort to appreciate the opportunities we are given, while using them as a launching point to help those who are not as lucky.

2 – We’re all the same.

I have a really hard time wrapping my head around the fact that some people in our country think we’re more important than the rest of the world. It doesn’t matter where we were born, what language we speak, or what passport we carry, we’re all human, and we all want the same thing – peace and happiness for our families. I have connected on a deep level with people who were born on the other side the world and raised in a completely different culture than me, which has made me realize that the superficial identities we construct for ourselves and others do not define us. Dropping the prejudices society has conditioned you to have is liberating because living life with an open heart is much healthier than building invisible barriers.

If we want to make America great, we have to transition to a culture of altruism instead of ego, and I’m disappointed to see the most powerful person in the world lead with hate when he holds the keys to unlocking so much good! But at the end of the day, we have to surrender to the fact that we can’t control the actions of others, and we’re only hurting ourselves when we carry around toxic anger. We can only strive to be the most compassionate person we can be and hope that it influences others.

Terra Incognita

Terra Incognita

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I often find myself wondering how exciting it would have been to live in a time before the entire world was discovered- a time where “Terra Incognita” still sprinkled world maps and explorers set off to see what lay beyond our known borders. How incredible would it have been to see places like the Grand Canyon of Crater Lake for the first time, to stumble upon some of Earth’s most breathtaking natural wonders without even knowing they were there. Today, our meticulously detailed maps are a testament to the fact that few places on Earth are left to discover, except for perhaps the depths of the ocean. True “journeys” do not exist anymore because travel is no longer an odyssey into the unknown.

However, we do still have the unimaginable vastness of outer space, the final frontier, to explore. Final seems a bit ambitious, though, because surely the universe is far bigger than we can even begin to comprehend. What’s lies beyond outer space, beyond the constricts of even our most advanced knowledge, technology… and maybe even beyond our imaginations? Just as Christopher Columbus was blissfully ignorant of the planets of our solar system (having lived centuries before their discovery), we probably can’t even fathom what we have yet to discover. There is a difference between what we know we do not know, and what we are completely unaware that we do not know. As Plato’s allegory of the cave suggests, we can only see what is right in front of us and our knowledge is but an interpretation of reality.

When I was younger my family traveled to Chichen Itza, Mayan Ruins of the Gods, one of the seven wonders of the natural world, and our tour group brought us to a massive underground spring called Cenote Ik Kil. The deep and enchanting spring, which lies 85 feet underground, was formally used as a sacred water source by the Mayans but has since been transformed into a unique swimming hole for tourists. The spring’s murky water is known to be at least 250 feet deep- but it could be far deeper as the floor remains undiscovered. I remember jumping into the water, surrounded by cat fish; I could not see 2 feet below me but could feel the eery, unknown depths. The feeling was quite unsettling, and the experience made me panicky. Would I have felt this way if I did not known how deep the spring was? The unknown is terrifying- but only when you are aware of its existence. How many unknowns exist, that our minds have yet the capacity to even consider? Probably endless…

We don’t even know how much of the universe remains Terra Incognita.

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Living In Harmony

Living In Harmony

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I just read the tragic of story of Australian surfer Sean Pollard who lost both his arms in a shark attack earlier this week, and I was very disappointed to learn that the shark, believed to be a 8.2 foot Great White, has since been caught and “destroyed“.

In this case the word “destroyed” is a euphemism for the word “kill”, meant to divert attention from the fact that the shark is a living, breathing creature not unlike ourselves. This choice of word not only downplays the loss the life, but also implies that the shark is an object for humans to essentially dispose of as we see fit. Sadder still,multiple sharks suspected of the attack were all killed, each inspected to see which was the assassin. This is mind-boggling to me. What does killing the shark fix? It certainly does not give Sean his arms back. It only brings more death and violence to a world that already has enough of both. Unfortunately, many sharks have met this same fate, including the tiger shark that attacked Bethany Hamilton in 2003. It’s not just sharks either- a few months ago an alligator in Florida who attacked a trespassing young boy was hunted as well.

The way humans treat animals is nothing short of barbaric. According to a recent WWF report, we have depleted 50% of our animals in the past 40 years, mostly due to unsustainable factory farming, pollution and habitat destruction. Overfishing has wiped out 90% of large fish, and some shark populations have declined by up to 98% since the year 2000. We are a cancer to this Earth. We speak out against violence so much, with our anti-gun and anti-war advocacy, and yet we actively accept or ignore acts of violence inflicted on other species deemed inferior to humans. Instead of living in harmony with other inhabitants of the Earth, we go around killing everything that gets in our way. Sharks, like all animals, are incredible creatures, a fascinating gift to this Earth.  Perhaps if we directed more of attention towards understanding them and less attention towards killing them we would live in a world of life and respect, instead of fear and death. The diversity of species is what makes this planet so beautiful.

On average, sharks kill less than one person every year. Humans kill over 100 million sharks every year. Who is the more dangerous species?

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Turning the Page

Turning the Page

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The only thing I dislike about reading is when a book ends. It’s only then that I realize just how emotionally invested I am with the story, the characters, the words, and I find myself going through the five stages of grief every time. Sometimes I even procrastinate reading the last 20 pages or so of a book I am particularly invested in simply because I don’t want it to end. I love how ink on paper has the power to bring an imaginary world and fictional characters to life, to evoke such strong emotions in the reader. I don’t necessarily read books for the plot. In fact, one of my favorite books of all time To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf hardly has any storyline at all- and yet Woolf’s beautifully intertwined elegiac language still manages to steal me away to another time and place. Personally, I love reading because of the beauty of words, and I love authors who have mastered the craft of the human language. Just like the lyrics of a song, the pages of a book are pure art.

So often I hear young people say they don’t “like” to read books. This is especially common in today’s world, where studies have shown that the way the younger generation finds and absorbs information has significantly changed. This generation is not necessarily reading less, but we are reading differently. The internet makes it much faster and easier to access information we desire, which in theory has made books obsolete. We can Google any topic that interests us and skim unlimited articles instead of flipping through hundreds of pages in a book. Furthermore, being constantly surrounded by iPhones, Netflix, and Youtube, has made us accustomed to overstimulation, and our attention spans have been conditioned to 140-character tweets. Of course reading a book seems as impossibly tedious task in a world of instant gratification. Recent studies have also shown that we are a highly visual generation. We are drawn to graphics because they allow us to interpret information far more quickly than a paragraph of text. Dishearteningly, researchers have found that gen-y’s and millennials read for information, not pleasure.

About a year ago, I heard about this new app that allows people to read a novel in under 90 minutes. Created by a company called Spritz, the app manipulates the format of words to line them up with the eye’s natural motion of reading; it eliminates the need to move your eyes while you read so you can process words instantaneously. Try it for yourself:

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While this may be appealing to a world that values efficiency- and a generation that gets bored by books- I believe it eliminates the *magic* of reading. It does not allow readers to truly savor the words. A book is an emotional journey that should not be crammed into the shortest possible time frame, but enjoyed over a relaxing interval, allowing the reader to reflect, dwell, and truly get lost in the story. This app may allow users to become “well-read” quickly, but does it maintain the integrity of the author’s delicately crafted work of art? I don’t think so.

In short, I believe that anyone who doesn’t like to read simply hasn’t found a book they truly love yet. They haven’t experienced what it’s like to fall in love with characters, to become part of a carefully constructed imaginary world, to relish in emotional undertones and imagery. Reading is not just about finding information, it’s about opening your mind to another person’s reality. It’s about basking in the beauty of words. It’s not all Hemingway and Thoreau anymore, either. Plenty of modern authors are capable of captivating you more than you can even imagine, pulling you in so deep that you are essentially gasping for air as you turn the last page. A library is your wardrobe to Narnia, and books are the easiest way to *see* the world.

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