*Updated July 2019*
Hemp (Cannabis Sativa) is a sproutly, fibrous, and robust plant which humans have cultivated since the dawn of the agricultural era, dating nearly 10,000 years back. Natively it is found in the northern hemisphere, but its use in agriculture has spread across almost every continent. It grows extremely fast and produces strong fibers – finding usage in paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.
While it is similar to the type of Cannabis that gets you “high” – and yes, both derive from “Cannabis Sativa” – it is almost missing the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That being said, Hemp will not get you high; however, you might just be able to weave yourself a Grateful Dead t-shirt out of the fabric.
A spoonful of CBD keeps the inflammation away
CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of many abundant and natural compounds found in the flower of the Cannabis Sativa plant. These compounds are known as cannabinoids. It’s specific use in healthcare dates back thousands of years, appreciated by those with chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, depression and many other conditions. Even Queen Victoria in the 19th century used it to relieve the pain from her menstrual cramps.
Not to be confused with THC, CBD, as stated before, has no psychoactive effects. This means that taking the compound, which should be noted has no health risks or addictive potential, will not cause a change in your perception of reality. In fact, it’s been shown to reduce the effects of THC.
CBD for musicians and vocal cord health
When singing, your vocal cords vibrate at tens of thousands of times a second, somehow through the miracle of sound (the movement of tonal energy through the atmosphere) a pleasant tone (may or may not) be created. When you perform night after night, hundreds of shows a year, it is understandable that vocal strain may occur.
This is no joke and has lead to career-ending injuries, such as vocal polyps. The likes of John Mayer, Meghan Trainor, and Adele have all suffered tour-ending injuries. However, they’re the best of the best and have hundreds of millions of dollars to fix their broken voices.
Not your mom’s Ibuprofen: CBD for vocal polyps and strained voice
The root cause of vocal strain is poor technique and pushing your voice beyond its range for too hard and too long. When you do this, inflammation is likely to occur in your vocal cords and if a rupture happens, well… you’re out of luck.
Singers often treat inflammation with the likes of Ibuprofen, but this over the counter drug also causes blood thinning. Blood-thinning leads to bleeding and thus the likelihood of vocal ruptures increase.
CBD, however, reduces inflammation without the blood thinning. Singers with healthy, hydrated, and un-inflamed vocal cords will find that singing is much easier. When using good vocal technique, coupled with CBD, I have found that my over-all vocal strain is considerably lessened.
CBD benefits for vocal cords (and a lasting career)
It’s been a game changer for me as a vocalist. Tour can be very tough on the voice and I strongly believe that CBD Oil has significantly reduced the natural damage that would normally occur. Again, the most important thing is proper technique, but CBD has become an important part of my vocal health regime. However, do not ever push your voice beyond its natural limit because you are taking an anti-inflammatory of any kind.
Inflammation is a physiological process which the body uses to increase blood to a damaged area in an effort to make repairs. After a strenuous performance, vocal rest and hydration are absolutely imperative to make sure your voice is ready for the next show. Avoid talking, alcohol, and caffeine before and after shows, if possible. Going to bed after the show is the best course of action if you enjoy the idea of a lasting career.
CBD for musicians on tour
These anti-inflammatory properties of hemp oil can also be useful for anyone suffering tendonitis issues. As a bassist, keys, and guitar player, sometimes I’ll find that long studio sessions can cause inflammation in my wrists. Again, this stems from poor technique and over-usage.
Just like my voice, CBD can reduce the swelling and pain in my wrists, allowing for faster healing and more efficient playing. I’ve known quite a few drummers and guitar players who have switched to CBD from Ibuprofen and Tiger’s Balm, the most commonly used treatments for sore wrists.
Benefits of CBD for life on the road
One particularly interesting use of CBD while on tour is as follows: Sometimes when leaving, say, Colorado or Oregon, one might feel compelled to consume a larger than normal amount of the massive quantities of cannabis they have purchased. This leads to the psychoactive state known as “I’m way too high.” CBD can counteract THC edibles.
No one likes to be on a plane seated between a sickly, screaming child and a catatonic, snoring, and neck-pillowed man while being “way too high.” To be alone with one’s thoughts (which can turn negative and scary very quickly) in this situation is stressing to say the least. Fortunately, a few squirts of a potent CBD tincture and you’re back to sanity, mind clear as a Colorado sky.
Choosing the best CBD oil for you
There are obviously a ton of products to choose from, many of which are of very high quality. Personally, I use sublingual drops, extracts, and sprays. Sprays are nice because you can apply them quickly and efficiently to the back of the throat, while extracts are nice because you don’t have to worry about them leaking.
The basic method of ingestion if to simply spray, drop, or squirt the product into your mouth or under your tongue, wait about a minute, and then swallow. I generally notice the anti-inflammatory effects within 30-60 minutes.
My favorite hemp oil products
My personal favorite product is the Gold CBD Extract. Dosing is extremely easy to regulate, the taste is pleasant, and you don’t have to worry about it leaking. I also highly recommend Made By Hemp and Endoca Hemp oil drops.
Simply put a few drops under the tongue and wait. Lastly, and most commonly, I use Hemp Oil Care’s spray, due to the fact that I can apply directly to the back of the throat. All of them have a pleasant, flowery taste and can be easily mixed into any sort of drink.
Money back, risk-free guarantee
I love that Trusted CBD Oil also has a money back risk free guarantee. Unfortunately, there are some low quality and fake CBD products on the market. It is important to purchase products through trusted manufacturers. Luckily, TrustedCBDOil.com has done the research and lab-tested hundreds of products to bring together a list of the best CBD Oil products on the market.
Is CBD a Natural Remedy for Spasmodic Dysphonia?
Vocal strain can increase the severity of spasmodic dysphonia, which is every singer’s worse nightmare. Spasmodic Dysphonia (aka laryngeal dystonia) is a disorder in which the vocal cords go into uncontrollable spasms and can cause the person to lose their voice. CBD may be the natural remedy that people are looking for. There is not proof that CBD benefits this condition but there are some anecdotal stories floating around about people that have benefited by taking CBD for this condition.
In general, I have found CBD to have a slightly calming effect. Tour life, contrary to popular belief, can be at times stressful and exhausting. The shows bring you up. Way up. And afterwards, you have to come down. CBD seems to mellow out the highs and lows, rounding out the harsher edges of the touring experience. I also find CBD helps with sleep and lessens anxiety. To have a clear and healthy mind is one of the most important aspects to being a successful touring artist.
The fact is, musicians have to play. You can’t take shows off and you have to do your best every night. Vocal strain is going to happen, but CBD can play an important role in lessening the damaging effects. And just as importantly, it’ll help reduce anxiety, stress, and promote a healthy night of sleep. All musicians should give CBD a try. I am sure you will find it beneficial in a multitude of ways!