Welcome to the Mental Health + Creativity Series. Here we explore what makes us tick creatively, where we can find inspiration, and above all else, how we can have a more meaningful (and fun!) life.
For this week’s newsletter, I spoke with Kim Bode, a journalist and founder of CBDossier, a newsletter that helps people better understand CBD. Originally from Germany, Kim now lives in LA and is passionate about independent journalism and newsroom innovation, above other things.
If you don’t know what CBD is, here is the gist…
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally-occurring compound derived from the hemp plant. No, it isn’t marijuana, and no it will not get you high (although there are certain levels of THC, the intoxicating component of the cannabis plant, in some CBD products, most CBD products will not alter your state of mind, other than making you feel calmer).
People rave about CBD for its wide range of benefits, like decreasing anxiety, lessening pain and inflammation, increasing focus, and allowing for better quality sleep. I personally have been writing about CBD for several years now, and encourage you to direct your attention to this brand in particular, if you’re looking to test out some products. They don’t disappoint.
Alright, now for our conversation with Kim.
CBD is fascinating because it affects everyone differently. Common reasons for usage range from decreased anxiety to better sleep to lessened pain. Why are you drawn to it?
I’ve long known about the medicinal properties of cannabis. Throughout my life I’ve been surrounded by people who have been self-medicating with it long before it became more socially accepted (and in some places legal) in recent years.
But weed has never been my thing because I don’t smoke, and the couple of times I tried it in cake (not a good idea to begin with), it made me paranoid. I got seriously interested in CBD after I moved to California, where cannabis in general is more widely accessible.
I tried it and found it helped me with anxiety, to the point that I almost never feel anxious anymore. I’ve been feeling more balanced. I noticed that I’m able to tune out noise way more easily and focus on what’s relevant, whether that’s at work or at home. I don’t get wrapped up in distracting thought spirals anymore.
Why did you decide to launch CBDossier? What do you hope your audience will gain from it?
Since I first became interested in CBD, I’ve found that it’s surprisingly difficult to find independent and easily digestible information out there, or straightforward answers to questions that a growing number of CBD-curious people have. I’ve heard this time and again from people who are interested in CBD, some of whom are even working in the field, and I figured, as a journalist, I can help.
I used to be a business reporter and have since specialized in how news organizations can advance on emerging platforms and with engagement experiences (currently full-time on the product development team at the L.A. Times), and so I’m applying all I’ve learned and observed over the years of working in journalism to CBDossier.
The goal is to help people navigate and further explore the ever-changing CBD landscape. I’m committed to independent journalism. At the same time, CBDossier should be guided by what readers want to know. I gather their questions and look for answers by talking to experts, digesting research and regulation, and aggregating news. I want to be very clear, though, that I’m not advocating for any CBD brands or products, or for using it at all. It might not be for everyone. I want to provide information to help readers make up their own mind.
Tell me about the CBDiaries you created to get the real conversation on CBD started.
Since cannabis had or has been illegal in most places around the world (or still is), there are only very limited research findings and definitive accounts about CBD out there. Plus, as you mentioned, it interacts with everyone differently.
So I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to incorporate readers’ personal stories with CBD into the newsletter, good and bad. This section is called CBDiaries (and I also post some snippets on social). Ultimately, we all benefit from learning about other perspectives and experiences, and from collectively bridging the knowledge gaps.
You moved from NYC to LA recently, mentioning your experience with anxiety living in New York. Can you tell us about that?
New York City is a wonderful, exciting place. But over the eight years I lived there, it had also become increasingly nerve-racking for me. All the noise, the people and their energies, the distractions, all of which you often can’t escape — it can be tough.
I’ve seen many people there thrive and struggle at the same time. I realized that I suffered from anxiety when I had a couple of panic attacks, but I never considered medication. I’ve always seen it as a sign that I needed to change my lifestyle, which ultimately led to leaving New York. Living in California is a lot more relaxed and for me personally just the best, at least at this point in my life. I miss New York, but mostly because I can’t visit right now.
What advice do you have for women struggling with anxiety? How can we live a more holistic lifestyle?
I think it’s important to learn to listen to yourself and take time to focus inwards. It’s helped me to write down what makes me feel good and what doesn’t, to be able to better prioritize how I should spend my time and energy. I’m a pretty social person. I love being out and about with friends (when it’s not a pandemic). But I’m also an introvert and I need time for myself to recuperate and regain energy.
I’ve also learned that certain people or situations can make me anxious, and so I can try to either avoid them or figure out better coping strategies. Also, don’t overlook physical well-being like making sure to get enough sleep, some sun and fresh air, feed your body well while limiting substances that can be counterproductive like alcohol and coffee.
Because this is a mental health newsletter, what do you do to keep your mental health strong?
Beyond what I just described, I also do yoga almost every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. I came across Yoga with Adriene many years ago when I was in grad school and couldn’t afford to pay for yoga classes.
She’s since become quite famous, and rightfully so. Besides giving free online yoga lessons, she also demonstrates a great attitude towards life in general. She’s a great inspiration.
This is Kim.
Thank you for reading today!
And as always, thank you for being a part of this mindset health support gang. Please share Take A Sip with your networks so we can (a) launch our clothing brand co-op and (b) give back to the rad mental health organizations hard at work de-stigmatizing mental health issues. I so appreciate each and every one of you who continues to read and support this newsletter.
PS. What do you love about this newsletter? What do you not love about it? Tell me so I can make it better for you.
Thank you for being here! We are in life together. Give the gift of supporting mindset health by subscribing below.