The Ultimate Guide to Using CBD For Relaxation: Potential Benefits, Product Usage, and Tips

December 06, 2023
The Ultimate Guide to Using CBD For Relaxation: Potential Benefits, Product Usage, and Tips
Published on  Updated on  
Written by Ellese Symons Jul 14th 2023

Relaxation is essential for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Without it, your body is more vulnerable to the impact of stress (Wright, 2020). Although calming the mind helps relax the body and relaxing the body calms the mind (Scott, 2022), a considerable number of people find commonly recommended relaxation techniques like yoga, mindfulness meditation, and deep breathing exercises only marginally effective, at best, when they have the time to spare. 

As their tension levels rise, many people investigating the relaxation-promoting potential of herbal teas and other plant-powered alternatives are trying hemp-derived CBD. According to a 2019 CBDistillery® survey of 1,900 customers, 9 out of 10 report that CBD helps calm their minds, 79% prefer the effects of CBD over yoga, and 76% prefer CBD over alcohol for relaxation. In this CBD user guide, you'll learn how CBD works, the differences between popular product types, and tips for adding the cannabinoid's health and wellness potential to your daily routine. 

A Brief Overview: What CBD Is & How It Works in the Body  

CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid produced in hemp and marijuana plants. In hemp, it's the most abundant of more than 113 cannabinoids in the oil extracted from the plant's stems, stalks, and flowers. Although hemp extract has a small amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the cannabinoid that produces the "recreational" effect marijuana is known for, the CBD to THC ratio in hemp extract eliminates any risk, even if you were to consume large amounts with its natural THC concentrations intact. 

Based on decades of research, CBD works by interacting with multiple molecular targets in your body and brain, including the receptors of your endocannabinoid system (ECS) (Marzo & Piscetelli, 2015). Cannabis researchers believe supporting ECS function with CBD helps promote homeostasis (Sallaberry & Astern, 2018). Although individual results can vary, most of our survey respondents report positive effects for relaxation, better sleep, pain and inflammation after physical activity, mild or temporary anxiety, and more. 

How CBD Compares to Other Stress-Busting Relaxation Techniques  

Many people find it difficult to relax when they're worried, overworked, or overwhelmed. If you can relate, you're likely feeling the effects of cortisol and adrenaline, your stress hormones. As your hormone levels rise, your muscles tense, your heart rate increases, and your breathing changes. It's part of the natural "fight or flight" response triggered by your autonomic nervous system. Your body remains in a state of high alert until receiving signals that the threat has passed (Chu et al., 2022). 

The longer your system remains under the impact of unresolved stress, the longer it takes for your hormone levels to balance. Commonly recommended relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga promote relaxation by sending signals to the brain (and body) that diffuse the alarm. Although most of the evidence suggesting CBD's possible benefits for relaxation is based on laboratory studies, test results, and a limited number of clinical trials, many CBD users report feeling calmer and more relaxed, including our survey participants. 

While there isn't a lot of CBD research focused specifically on relaxation, there are numerous publications suggesting favorable results for stress-related (temporary) anxiety and better sleep. For example, during a small-scale study in 2011, participants given CBD before a simulated public speaking event reported less physical discomfort, less stress-induced cognitive impairment, and lower anxiety levels than those receiving a placebo (Bergamaschi et al., 2011). During a 2019 study involving 103 participants, investigators credited an improvement in overall sleep scores to CBD's "calming" effect (Shannon et al., 2019). 

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing CBD Products   

Hemp-derived CBD products are generally well-tolerated and considered safe for most people. Although the World Health Organization reports "no evidence" of public health-related concerns (WHO, 2020), not all CBD products are the same. Purity, potency, and overall product quality matter. As you're comparing brands, look for a Certificate of Analysis, the document that confirms your purchase is as potent as the manufacturer claims and tested for impurities by an unbiased third-party lab.    

Hemp plants are well-known for their ability to absorb heavy metals and other potentially harmful substances from the soil. Cannabinoid concentrations can vary from one crop to the next, mold can form as harvested plants dry, and sub-standard extraction methods can leave solvent residue behind. Although 75% of CBD brands claim their products are tested, you can't trust those assertions at face value. Only about 13% batch-test at least 90% of their products (Harrington, 2021). Viewing third-party test results is the only way for CBD users to verify product quality. 

Choosing the Product Type That's Best for You  

Once you've confirmed that you're choosing from a selection of third-party tested products made by a reputable brand, you can further narrow your search by the type of hemp extract you prefer. As you're browsing, you'll see three main types, full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate. 

Full spectrum hemp extract is the least processed. You'll get all the additional cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and other phytonutrients produced in the plant, including a small amount of THC. If you'd rather avoid the <0.3% THC in full spectrum hemp extract, you have two options. Broad spectrum CBD sextracts contain many of the same cannabinoids and terpenes, but the THC is reduced to non-detectable levels (less than 0.01%) during extraction and processing. Products made with pure CBD isolate are infused with a flavorless, odorless, THC-free CBD powder.   

Selecting the Product Best Suited to Your Lifestyle 

Once you know which type of CBD extract you prefer, you'll want to consider which products are most likely to fit into your daily (or nightly) routine. You'll find serving-size suggestions printed on their labels. However, everyone is different. Anyone using CBD for the first time should consider starting with a partial serving. If that serving size doesn't produce the effect you're hoping for, increase the amount you're using gradually in small increments. While just about any high-quality CBD product could help you feel more relaxed, there are differences between the following product types that could influence your decision.   

CBD Oil Tinctures  

Hemp-derived CBD oil tinctures are made with a blend of full spectrum extract, broad spectrum extract, or CBD isolate powder and a carrier oil. Since cannabinoids are fat-soluble, the oil helps maximize cannabinoid absorption and bioavailability. When you swallow CBD or add your tincture to foods and drinks, it can take up to an hour (or more) for the cannabinoids to enter your bloodstream. The liquid form and bulbed dropper make it easy to adjust your serving sizes as needed. 

CBD Softgels & Gummies  

CBD softgels and gummies both give you a precise, pre-measured amount of CBD in every serving. They're convenient, easy to use, and highly portable. They're great for travel because you won't have to worry about measuring serving sizes or carrying a glass bottle that could leak or break. If you're using CBD for relaxation for the first time, gummies could be the better choice because they're soft enough to cut into smaller portions. If you don't care for the flavor or aroma of cannabis, softgels (or a CBD isolate tincture) could be your best bet. 

CBD Topicals  

Pushing your body to the limit often leads to pain, stiffness, and inflammation. While necessary for building strength and endurance, that's of little consolation if discomfort after physical activity makes it difficult to relax and unwind. When you want fast-acting, targeted relief, consider trying a CBD topical. You can use CBD-infused salves, relief sticks, and lotions on their own or to complement the effects of your favorite gummies, softgels, or tinctures. For best results, CBD topicals should be applied liberally to clean, dry skin. 

Discover Why So Many CBD Users Choose CBDistillery® Products for Relaxation  

When you choose CBDistillery® tinctures, topicals, gummies, and softgels, you're getting products from one of our industry's most respected, reputable brands. We built that reputation on our belief that everyone deserves high-quality, fairly priced, hemp-derived CBD. Our non-GMO crops are naturally farmed, we rely on the cleanest extraction methods available, and our products are produced in an A-rated NSF cGMP-registered facility. 

We were also one of the first CBD brands (if not the first) to post a Certificate of Analysis for each of our products so our customers could verify the results of our third-party batch testing. You can view those results on our product pages or scan the QR code on our labels. You can also shop with confidence because we back our hemp-derived CBD products with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. 

That 60-day window is important. Although you're sure to find plenty of comments posted by CBD users claiming they felt more relaxed within hours of their first serving, everyone has a unique physical chemistry. It can take days, weeks, or even longer for some systems to adapt and respond. While you're waiting, you may find it helpful to know that most of our survey respondents report achieving their best results within 7-14 days of consistent use. If you're intrigued by the possibility of using CBD for relaxation but still not quite sure where to start, consider taking our 3-minute CBD Product Quiz or scheduling a personal consultation


Bergamaschi M, Queiroz R, et al. (2011) Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients. 36(6) Neuropsychopharmacology 1219-26. 

Chu B, Marwaha K, et al. (2022) Physiology, Stress Reaction. StatPearls 

Harrington A. (2021) 25% of CBD Products Are Not Tested for Purity. Forbes. 

Marzo, V, Piscetelli F. (2015) The Endocannabinoid System and Its Modulation by Phytocannabinoids. 12, Neurotherapeutics 692-98. 

Sallaberry C, Astern L. (2018) The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator. 34(6) JYI 48-55. 

Scott E, Ph.D. (2022) How to Relax Your Body and Mind. Very Well Mind. 

Shannon S, Lewis N, et al. (2019) Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. 23, Perm J 18-41. 

World Health Organization. (2020) Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report. PDF 

Wright S, RN, BSN. (2022) The Benefits of Relaxation and Techniques to Try. Psych Central. 

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