CBD oil – we talk to Nia from Yugenial
Hi Nia! You own Yugenial – can you tell us a bit about why you started it and what products you sell?
Yūgenial is a holistic wellness brand and our first range features 4 CBD products: 2 topical (we have CB1 and CB2 receptors in the skin) and 2 oral (for the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the organs in our body).
I was actually studying medicine at university and they were the unhealthiest years of my life. I struggled with work-life balance and the emotional demands of the job and put my mind and body under a lot of stress. It manifested as a rather dramatic burn out episode a couple of years after my intercalated degree, where I was forced to take some time out and finally focus on the root issues.
I was hesitant to subscribe to the pill-popping culture as a means of respite and so gave my diet and lifestyle an overhaul. When I discovered holistic remedies I really felt as though it was filling in the remaining half of my world-view with regards to health, and so I wanted to work on a wholesome brand that married the best of all worlds.
I found CBD because I became interested in the emerging research around the therapeutic potential behind substances like cannabis and psychedelics. Imperial college the university I went to, recently opened with worlds first psychedelic research centre and it is showing promising results.
CBD products are popping up everywhere but there is still some mystery around it – what exactly is CBD?
CBD does indeed work in mysterious ways and actually its exact mechanisms of action are still unclear. We have something called an endocannabinoid system, containing CB1 and CB2 receptors in almost every organ of the body. It was previously believed that CBD interacted directly with these receptors, but now emerging research is showing that it may actually encourage us to produce more of our own cannabinoid molecules.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, its one of the cannabinoids found in the Hemp plant. We have EXOGENOUS cannabinoids, which are cannabinoids produced by things like plants, and ENDOFENOUS cannabinoids, which are produced by our own bodies but they are structurally the same / very similar! It’s actually fascinating that we are designed to interact with nature in this way.
The endocannabinoid system itself is also currently undergoing a lot of new research, but due to its extensive presence, it’s believed to be involved in a whole range of conditions, from gut health to the stress response.
Also to clear up the cannabis connection, yes CBD comes from cannabis. However not the kind you may initially think! Cannabis is actually a family of plants, the most well known being Marijuana, which contains very low levels of CBD and very high levels of a molecule known as THC. The CBD oil we use is actually derived from the Hemp plant, which in our case has very high levels of CBD and low levels of THC. THC is the molecule that gets you high and CBD actually negates these effects.
Do you use CBD oil products yourself, and what benefits do you personally get from using them?
Yes, I take CBD oil in my smoothie every morning as a health supplement. I have the headroller which I use at work to de-stress, some people prefer the vape but personally I think vaping and smoking still come with health risks that are best to avoid.
I also take a spoon-full or two of a 100mg bottle of Elixir before bed because I occasionally struggle to sleep and I’ve found it’s made the most difference in this area. The mistake I, like a lot of people, made initially, was to think that in order for it to work I needed to start with a super high strength and go crazy with it. I bought 1000mg and started to notice side effects, which often manifest as the symptoms you’re trying to treat – poor sleep and anxiety etc.
But the side effects told me it was doing something! I rapidly brought down the dose and researched that actually everyones endocannabinoid system is different so it can be hard to calculate doseage and there are no official guidelines as of yet. However it’s most sensible to start with a lower dose and take just a pipette or two on a regular basis. The effects actually build over time so it’s not a one-stop shop.
What are the main reasons that people use CBD oil?
CBD oil is being marketed as one of those ‘wonder cures’ for everything under the sun from anxiety and depression, to sleep, to cancer to weight loss. So far, evidence has only been conclusive with regards to medical CBD in treating epilepsy and MS, so a lot of research still needs to be done but this is promising.
Most people are trying out CBD and seeing how it works for them selves, with feedback we most commonly get being related to sleep, localised pain and lifestyle stress. Some people are even giving it to their pets to help them calm down, or when they are ill.
Who inspires you? (in business or wellness etc)
I love Tim Ferris, he is an avid self-experimenter and bio-hacker, along with Joe Rogan and Russell Brand who’s brands I am addicted to (excuse the pun).
I also love Goop, I think it’s brilliant that they mix the conventional with the alternative and historical and that they speak to a whole range of experts on their blogs and podcasts. I also subscribe to Thrive Global by Arianna Huffington, and I have always been a big fan of Emma Watson and her commitment to clearly communicating complex issues like feminism and sustainable fashion.
What are your top three wellness tips?
-Focus on diet, it’s bandied around so much we become immune to hearing about it but out of everything I’ve tried this really does make the most fundamental difference. Just getting more fibre and eating less processed sugars and carbs can make a real difference to sleep, mood and skin health.
-I found that meditation really helped me slow my head down a bit. The time commitment is hard, the biggest difference was when I was doing 40 mins body scanning meditation a day for 2 weeks, but like many others, I don’t see how you’re meant to have a 24/7 job, exercise, be well read, prepare healthy meals, maintain a social life and meditate for an hour every day haha. But my motto is that something is better than nothing and I’m learning not to be so hard on myself.
-Move more. If you struggle to get to the gym, there are so many great aps or youtube videos these days. All you need is a matt at home and a few dumbells. But I do always find I achieve much more at the gym and try to wake up early to go before work – it helps me miss the dreaded rush hour.
Do you have a morning and/or evening routine?
Every morning I focus on my breath as a quick 10-30 min meditation as soon as the alarm goes off. Then I go to the gym and set myself up for the day ahead before work.
In the evenings I’m usually out doing something as there always seems to be so much on in London, but I try to commit to Kundalini yoga every Wednesday and leave at least 1 or 2 nights a week for reading and unwinding. Journaling is a great way of doing this.
Do you have any non-negotiable wellness habits/rituals that you cannot live without?
When I go to the gym I love running and if I don’t run for long periods of time I really notice the effects. I always get told I should do weights more and that running isn’t as good as other options but for me personally, I can’t go without it and it really helps me get out of my head. I put on my favourite songs and just tune out for a while.
What are your favourite books or podcasts?
Podcasts: Joe Rogan, Russell Brand, Tim Ferris
Books / Authors: believe build become by A jones and D Woskow, Graham Hancock, Emotional Resilience by Dr harry Barry, The Diet Myth by Tim Spector
What lies ahead for you and Yūgenial in 2020?
I’ve found some great brands to partner with this year so hopefully we manifest and take that further in 2020. I’m also ordering in a new range of strengths and hope we’ll be found at a few more popups and stockists, whilst we continue to build this beautifully curious community J
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