Real People on Why They Changed Their Minds About Hemp and CBD

I have a confession. The first time I took CBD, I was terrified. Even as someone with a health sciences background and a ton of experience with supplements, herbs, and natural remedies, CBD felt outside my comfort zone.

I, like so many other people, have had negative experiences in the past with cannabis; more specifically, with too much THC. These scary experiences left me with a bad taste in my mouth, and some judgmental feelings about anyone who claimed that cannabis was “harmless” and had amazing “health benefits.”

Hands Holding Cannabis Plant

But as a journalist and a scientist, I couldn’t help myself from digging into the science of CBD. Slowly but surely, I realized that the cannabis plant is so much more complex than just the psychoactive effects of THC. Eventually, my research turned into a book, titled CBD Oil Everyday Secrets

As the Cannabis sativa plant (which includes both marijuana and hemp plants) continues to shed its bad reputation, more and more people are having similar epiphanies; slowly but surely people are realizing that so much of what we’ve been taught about cannabis is false. Looking back, I know that CBD is what changed my mind about cannabis. It showed me that even if I’m extremely sensitive to THC and don’t want to feel high, I can still take advantage of cannabis as a natural remedy.

Reflecting on this, I can’t help but wonder: What does it do for other people? In other words: What does it take to turn a cannabis skeptic into a believer?

I asked four real people and they had four very different responses:

1. Trying it out

“I always assumed CBD was not for me, I think because I didn’t really understand what it was. I had been told it could help with my ulcerative colitis and IBS. I worried it would make me feel “high,” but that it wouldn’t have any true healing properties. It wasn’t until a friend of mine who had positive experiences with CBD really explained to me the proper use and benefits that I agreed to give it a shot. The CBD has been calming for my digestive system without any psychoactive effects—I love that I have a more natural solution to my IBS.”

-Tess, supply chain director

 2. Learning about the sustainability factor

“While I have been enjoying hemp hearts in my smoothies for quite some time now, my interest in hemp was further piqued when I started an ethical and sustainable fashion business. Organic hemp's environmental impact, in terms of water and pesticide usage, is significantly lower than cotton, making it a favorable alternative. It also regulates the soil! It's pretty remarkable that the crop can be used in so many ways—hemp hearts, hemp fiber, CBD, hemp oil, and beyond—and I use many of them in my day to day life.”

-Sara Weinreb, sustainability expert, designer, and podcast host

 3. Reading up on the history of cannabis

"By nature, I am a skeptic—particularly about any controversial topic! I always say: Where’s the evidence? And: Follow the money! But after reading Martin Lee’s book Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana—Medical, Recreational and Scientific, I changed my perspective completely. It was an absolutely fascinating and extremely well-documented history of marijuana and hemp. I have been totally converted and am enthused about the huge potential of medical cannabis! Add to this, my personal positive experience with CBD, and I am enthused that we are finally emerging from the last 40-plus years of imposed Dark Ages regarding Cannabis and its huge medical and social benefits!"

-George, small business owner

 4. Thinking beyond THC

“My perspective on CBD and cannabis has definitely evolved. The last time I smoked weed, I had a really bad experience, which was pre-the CBD boom. I think I had some preconceived notions that even though I knew rationally it wasn’t THC that I would maybe still have a bad reaction to CBD. It wasn’t until I tried it that I realized cannabis isn’t some monolith; there’s not just one type or one dosage. The breadth of options—delivery methods, dosages, formulations with specific terpenes and cannabinoids—has been really interesting to learn about.”

-Lilah, environmental scientist  

Written by Gretchen Lidicker

Senior Health Editor & CBD Expert or Contributing Health Editor and CBD Expert. Gretchen is a writer, researcher, and author of the book CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide To Hemp-Derived Health & Wellness. She has a masters degree in physiology and complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University and is the former health editor at mindbodygreen. She’s been featured in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Forbes, SELF, The Times, Huffington Post, and Travel + Leisure.

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