Review: Penguin CBD – How I biohacked my anxiety
I think it goes without saying at this point that Penguin CBD gets a thumbs up from me.
I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Living with anxiety can be total hell. One minute you can be fine, and then the next you feel this intense heaviness as if everything is crashing down on you.
It’s something that’s followed me my whole adult life. I’ve tried a lot of different things to deal with it. Stress balls, fidget toys, coloring books, essential oil diffusers, weighted blankets, Himalayan salt lamps, herbal teas, all of the usual recommendations you get from generic listicles.
That’s not to say none of them worked. Some did. Sort of. It’s just that they had varying levels of effectiveness that would inevitably diminish after a while. I struggled to find something that gave me reliable, lasting results.
And then I tried CBD for the first time this year.
Over the last two and a half months I’ve been using CBD products provided by Penguin CBD to biohack my body and combat anxiety. Now I’m ready to share my thoughts on the brand.
In the spirit of disclosure, I will say that Penguin CBD reached out to me and offered a sampling of their products for review. I accepted because I love free stuff and will try anything once.
In all seriousness though, I have to thank them for this opportunity. I’m not nearly as adventurous as I’d like to think of myself, and I probably would’ve never gotten around to trying CBD otherwise. Here’s some of the goodies that I received from them:
Penguin CBD Oil: The main staple of most CBD brands, from what I can tell. The lid has a built-in dropper for measuring doses. Penguin offers it in natural, mint, and citrus flavors. It also has three strengths: 250mg, 600mg, and 1000mg. They were generous enough to let me pick a mixed sampler of some of these options.
Penguin CBD Capsules: Standard gelcaps with the CBD oil inside. Slightly squishy and gold colored. Each one has 10mg of CBD according to the label, and they’re sold in bottles containing 30 individual capsules.
Penguin CBD Gummies: Rainbow-colored sour gummy worms made with CBD. 10mg per serving, and 30 gummy worms per container. Far tastier than you’d expect.
Penguin CBD Cream: CBD cream that comes in 250mg containers. Very rich and thick in texture. Smells like pure heaven.
Before I dive into how I decided to use these products, I’ll give you some brief background details about the brand itself.
Penguin is a relatively new brand that arrived on the scene in the middle of 2019 and have been building moment since then. Despite being a fresh face in the CBD market, you’ll often find them mentioned in lists of top CBD brands across the internet.
Their website says that their hemp is grown in Oregon through sustainable and ethically-conscious methods. That means they don’t blast their plants with pesticides or any noxious chemicals that can negatively affect the natural ecosystem. They do, however, use the latest technology to make sure their final product is purified and refined before it gets packaged and sold.
I love penguins and think protecting the environment is a good cause, so they won my trust pretty quickly. That’s all I really needed to know about them.
As many people who suffer from anxiety can attest, it can be rough getting up in the morning sometimes. It gets especially bad during the weekdays in my experience. I’ll often lay there thinking about all of my work and personal responsibilities that I need to take care of during the day ahead, and find myself struggling to leave the comfort of my bed.
The one thing I’ve learned over the years is that you just need to take it one step at a time. Brush your teeth. Hop in the shower. Eat breakfast and drink coffee. They’re all small, manageable steps to help get you out the door.
Now that I’ve tried CBD, I’ve got a new step to add to my routine.
My preferred form of CBD for mornings is the capsules. I’m already used to taking medication after waking up, so it fits right in with the rest. Penguin’s CBD capsules are softgels, so they’re easily gulped down with a glass of water. Simple as that. No need to deal with measuring out dosages or any flavors.
Occasionally I’ll use some of their CBD cream as well. My anxiety can cause some pretty nasty eczema breakouts. I’ve found that just a little fingertip-sized dab for each of the affected areas (usually my arms and legs) was enough to keep the flare-ups down. It’s also a huge positive that Penguin’s CBD cream has my two favorite scents combined into one: peppermint and lavender.
Laugh at me all you want. Flowers and mint are awesome. I don’t need to smell like bacon or woodshavings or whatever stupid “man scent” gets pushed these days.
It’s embarrassing to admit it, but for awhile I wasn’t in the greatest shape. Whether working or browsing for pleasure, most of my time is spent on the computer. Then my weekends, whenever I don’t have any plans, are usually spent unwinding with some video games or binging shows on Netflix. A tech-based life is often sedentary and not exactly conducive to physical activity.
I also had a gym membership that I barely ever used. Honestly, I found it difficult to work up the confidence to go. I couldn’t help but picture other people silently judging me as I strained to lift weights, got easily winded on the step machine, or sweat up a storm on the stationary bike.
Deep down I knew that the majority of gym-goers were actually friendly and encouraging people, but my social anxiety always got the best of me. That’s why I figured that CBD might help me in this area. A sort of liquid courage, if you will.
Before every workout I decided to take a full dropper of Penguin’s CBD oil. I chose the 600mg strength orange flavor in particular. I made sure to hold it under my tongue for 90 seconds, as many say that’s the best way to get it into your bloodstream. It calmed my nerves and let me just focus on completing the exercise activities.
After I was done, I ate one of Penguin’s CBD gummies as part of my recovery. I’ve read before that athletes often eat gummies post-workout because it replenishes their energy with carbs and sugar. It worked like a charm for me.
This is one of the areas where CBD has really changed things for me. Now I look forward to going to the gym three times a week. I’m no longer worried about what other people think, and have even made some friends with the other regulars there. I never imagined myself getting into fitness and exercise, but I guess the right elements at the right time can turn that around.
Bed time is when my anxiety reaches its peak. I can spend hours tossing and turning at night, thinking about all of the things I could or should have done differently. It’s like my mind becomes my worst enemy. And every time I look at the clock, it feels like it jumps another hour.
Having anxiety at night is a vicious circle too. It disrupts your sleep and leaves you worn out the next day. In turn, that only increases the anxiety you feel as night rolls back around again. It can quickly turn into an ongoing snowball effect.
In an attempt to break the cycle, I decided to try the strongest CBD product that Penguin gave me. Every night I took a dose of their CBD oil in the 1000mg strength mint formula. I went with that flavor because it didn’t clash with the lingering taste of my toothpaste.
The interesting thing I found about CBD is that it doesn’t make you sleepy, per say. Instead, it’s more of a deep, warm, fuzzy comfort where every other concern melts from your mind. It’s like being in your favorite chair and not ever wanting to get up.
I can’t recommend CBD for sleep enough. It’s by far one of its best uses.
I’m not an expert when it comes to CBD. I wasn’t even totally sure about the difference between hemp and marijuana until earlier this year. This was my first ever serious experience with CBD, so I can’t give you a professional opinion on how Penguin stacks up to other brands.
However, I can give you my impressions as a first time user. I’m sure that’s valuable to those out there who are beginners as well.
A semi-minor concern I had going in was the taste. While doing research, I noticed a lot of articles mentioning a “hemp taste.” Supposedly some CBD products can taste “earthy,” which seems to mean dirt and grass. Uh, gross.
Yet, I didn’t notice any of that while trying Penguin’s products. Even the “natural” flavored oil was neutral and palatable. This was the first sigh of relief that I had. I have extremely picky taste buds and can’t stand anything that rubs them the wrong way.
So, now for the big question: How did it affect my anxiety?
The answer is that my anxiety didn’t vanish overnight. Of course, it wasn’t going to, there isn’t any magical cure out there that can do that for you. But, for the first time in my life, it finally feels manageable.
My anxiety no longer feels like something that’s out of my control. It doesn’t feel like the end of the world anymore. By using CBD regularly, now I feel like I finally have the tools to cope with it when it hits. There’s something oddly empowering about that.
I think it goes without saying at this point that Penguin CBD gets a thumbs up from me. They’ve been a wonderful introduction to CBD so far, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store next.
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