QUESTION: I would love to know if you have any experience with CBD oil - since everybody is talking about it and it seems to be a good alternative to a lot of other medications. I would like to take it for anxiety. While I’m not against medication, I did have some really bad side effects a year ago after taking one tiny antidepressant pill, so I’ve stayed away from these so far…

ANSWER: Let's start by stating the obvious: no two people are the same. We are all unique, even if our ailment has the same label. Treatments have to be customized to the individual; there is no “one size fits all”. Older medical traditions, such as Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine, take this as a fact, but allopathic medicine sometimes tends to miss this clinically evident fact. Even the same person can interact differently with the same substance at different times in their lives. And a similar ailment can have different roots and causes in different people. So usually there is no one specific across-the-board magic potion for what ails us.

CBD oil has been getting a lot of press and use in the past couple of years. I have not seen any negative results from people using CBD oil, so experiment with it. One of the first things to be aware of is the difference between hemp oil and cannabis-derived Cannabidiol (CBD), as they are different chemicals and their qualities can widely vary. People do sometimes use the term hemp, CBD, and cannabis oil interchangeably. Do your research; there can be confusion between the products and the legality of THC amounts according to local laws. Generally speaking, you are looking for a broad-spectrum CBD oil.

But there are other supplements that can be helpful as well. Some people do really well with SAM-e (S-Adenosyl methionine) taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Ashwagandha is a wonderful adaptogen that can help with stress and anxiety; combined with licorice root, it can do wonders for adrenal fatigue and high cortisol levels, which most of us suffer from to varying degrees. Supporting adrenal function can, in itself, help with alleviating anxiety. And then there is magnesium, which can be quite helpful as well, although higher doses can be a strong stool softener.

Do not forget about a daily practice of meditation, breathwork, and exercise. Psychotherapeutic practices, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as well as biofeedback and hypnosis, can also be helpful adjuncts to whatever route you decide to take with supplementation. Any of these practices done regularly can really help put a dent in our daily struggle with anxiety.


A warning about SAM-e: someone with a history of elevated mood or manic episodes (or someone with a family history of mania or psychosis) should use only with professional monitoring. There is a possibility for increase in impulsivity and even suicidal ideation, please proceed with caution.