Even though marijuana can sometimes cause paranoia, the naturally occurring cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) is a very potent anxiolytic.
When paired with THC it contributes to something called “the entourage effect,” which can help to increase the therapeutic value of medical marijuana. Using it on its own isolates its ability to plug into a receptor in the brain like the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps to dampen the signals sent out by the brain to the rest of the body that prevent mind and body relaxation. CBD also ends up working as a muscle and nerve relaxer, an anti-epileptic medication, and a mediator of chronic pain.
Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States. 18.1% of adults—40 million people—suffer from it annually.
Only 36.9% of people with anxiety get treatment, perhaps due to the expenses and general difficulties of obtaining mental health care in this country as well as, certainly, the remaining stigma surrounding mental illnesses.
It’s certainly a travesty that so few people reach out to get care for such a treatable illness, and the company Not Pot™ hopes to help people who are reticent or unable to receive other treatment for their anxiety. Not Pot uses an industrial hemp-based extract to make CBD-only (that is, non-psychoactive) chocolates that act as an “herbal supplement” meant to ease stress.
While they don’t have THC, these chocolates do contain “mood-bosting raw cacao” and Ashwagandha, a plant in the nightshade family that is popular with the supplement and Ayurvedic healing crowds for its ability to help strengthen immune systems and to reduce stress. Ashwagandha also helps to modulate lack of energy and difficulty concentrating, two things that might be negatively impacted by taking too much CBD.
Notably, the hemp used is sourced straight from organic and sustainable Colorado farms and is processed through an alcohol extraction system that “results in a broad-spectrum concentrate [with] 80 different [cannabinoids].”
Because they only contain CBD, Not Pot chocolates are available throughout the United States as an alternative for those who are rightfully concerned about the risks surrounding anxiolytics like benzodiazepines. Not Pot says that a consistent regimen of chocolate-taking is required to feel any real effect, but anyone who’s used a CBD tincture knows that the feeling of relief as GABA floods the brain should be relatively immediate. (Granted, a 1994 study did show that GABA’s benefits can be cumulative. Additionally, GABA-based drugs like gabapentin that treat pain and anxiety do usually require some bodily buildup to add onto the immediate effects of the medication.)
At any rate, it’s not necessarily surprising that you’d need to stay on the supplement for it to work, like any other vitamin. At $29.99 for a 30 day supply, it’s not markedly more expensive than any other supplement, and it’s definitely cheaper than seeing a psychiatrist on most insurance plans (not that chocolates are an adequate substitute for actual mental health care, which is super important). Plus, CBD stimulates natural GABA production in your brain, meaning that the neurotransmitter can naturally cross the blood-brain barrier unlike direct GABA supplements ingested orally.
There are certainly benefits to Not Pot’s chocolates over certain other home remedies, and even if it isn’t a replacement for seeing a doctor for your anxiety, it might be the best bet for certain people who are looking for more holistic options.
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