How My Debilitating Anxiety Led Me To Launch A Wellness Brand That Helps Others
In wellness, we hear about anxiety more than ever before. We hear about it from our community more often and there has, perhaps, never been less stigma around it.
That said, there have also never been more “solutions” available — sometimes including pharmaceutical cocktails we’re not always interested in.
If you suffer from anxiety or know someone who does, read our fascinating interview with Nature’s Candy founder, Benny Singh. His story is compelling and the way he explains CBD’s potential benefits for those who suffer is a true education…
The Chalkboard Mag:Benny, we hear more about friends and readers dealing with anxiety now than ever before.
Millennials, and the fast-paced, quickly-evolving culture in which we now live, seem to be especially susceptible to it. We learned a little about your story. From the social to the professional challenges, it all felt so relatable. Tell us how anxiety started to become what you call a “debilitating” condition for you personally?
Benny Singh: As a millennial Indian-American, I grew up under a lot of pressure from my parents and some traumatic events that no child should experience. I was told what to think, what to feel, and how to act in ways I was not comfortable with, especially around other Indians.
My family wasn’t well-off whatsoever, so it’s inevitable that a kid would feel the negative effects of financial stress in a household. There also was a looming pressure for me to succeed in life, being pushed to one day become a doctor because of the social status it holds.
It wasn’t until I actually graduated college that I had the confidence to say that I wasn’t interested in helping to sell more pharmaceutical drugs, or work 12-hour shifts for an industry of greedy corporations. All of this, combined with several traumatic events in my life, served as the building material which would lead me to a full-fledged anxiety disorder by the time I reached my 20’s.
When I entered the workforce, my anxiety got worse. I was laid-off from my first job due to performance (which slipped because of anxiety), but I didn’t understand how to start talking about what I was going through, especially because of the stigma, “You’re Indian, you don’t get anxiety.”
As I was gaining professional experience, my anxiety intensified, especially during the intense political turmoil of 2016. At the time, I felt overwhelmed by the world-wide issues at hand, from global warming to the changes in the stock market, mass shootings to unlivable living wages.
For some of us, anxiety can be debilitating. You know that stomach-sinking feeling you get before doing something nerve-wracking like getting on a roller coaster? I had been feeling that way for over a decade — 24/7, 365 days a year.
I was constantly imagining the worst of any situation I was in, whether driving or at work or in a social setting. My heart rate was high, my breathing rapid, and my thoughts and emotions were frequently out of whack.
I realized my anxiety was a huge issue when it was basically owning my life every single day. It’s as if I was traumatized by all the adult things I had to do correctly that made anxiety an everyday thing.
Around 2017, I was watching Netflix in my living room and had a minor chest muscle spasm and had a panic attack thinking I was going to spontaneously die right then and there just watching TV. Once I was calm, which took about 30 minutes, I thought about how ridiculous it was to feel that way; unreasonable and out of my control. Anxiety can make you believe anything is possible, especially the negative ones.
TCM: When/how did you first encounter CBD in your journey to deal with all this? What was your experience with it?
BS: The first time I tried CBD, it instantly became a powerful daily tool for me to cope with my anxiety.
I had seen CBD as early as 2013 and honestly didn’t think much of it — I thought it was some kind of illegal, knock-off marijuana. Slowly, I started to hear more and more about CBD online and knew it was connected with relief from pain and anxiety.
Finally, in 2017, I bought a CBD tincture for myself from Whole Foods, but only after weeks of deliberation because of the $100+ price tag for just one ounce of a mediocre strength product. I began taking the CBD every morning for a few weeks. The results were night and day. My thoughts at work were untangled and completely organized, my mood was uplifted, my heart didn’t feel like it was pounding, and my breathing felt unhindered. I was honestly amazed.
I wanted to keep taking CBD every day from then on because of the profound effect it had on my chronic anxiety, the only problem was how expensive that habit would be. Was it even worth it?
TCM: Fast-forward to today, you are now a molecular biologist who is passionate about developing accessible CBD products designed to support others like you, who struggle with anxiety. Let’s talk about your motivation…
BS: Lucky for us younger scientists, CBD has been known by the scientific community for many years now. It is only just now gaining traction with the growth of marijuana legislation and recent clinical studies done on CBD’s benefits with childhood epilepsy.
It was thrilling to learn that something not produced by big pharma could be this powerful! I’ve worked in pharmaceuticals as well as manufacturing, so it’s no question that I was equipped to know the right way to develop a product. Most important of all, having personal experience with a challenge like anxiety can drive a person like no other, with the purpose of ensuring that no one else has to experience the similar pain.
In my opinion, there is no other more powerful motive than a personal obstacle that was overcome.
TCM: So, you launched into the CBD business with a passion to provide solutions for others like yourself. What products did you decide to make and how do you recommend people try them?
BS: A person like me who suffers with anxiety can start with a high strength oil like our 1350 mg tincture. The more severe the anxiety, the more frequently he or she can take it.
I personally take CBD once in the morning and once at night before bed, but I know others who take it once in the morning every other day.
It really is a matter of trying it and finding the frequency that is best for you personally, everyone’s body differs depending on age, weight, gender, race, genetics, etc.
Dispense one dropper-full of 1350 mg oil under your tongue and hold for a few seconds to allow absorption, and then swallow. After 2 weeks, adjust your dose up or down until you find the best dose that works for you. Perhaps you add in a dose at night, or reduce dose by taking half a dropper. It’s really up to you, but this is a good starting point.
Some people don’t like swallowing pills so we have the oils. Some people like adding CBD oil to morning coffee too. Others prefer on the go easy-to-take options like the gummies — just throw it in your bag and go. Some don’t like added flavoring which is why we have an unflavored oil that tastes earthy, natural, and ‘real’.
The softgels are really special because they use our proprietary nano-emulsion technology for a more robust absorption, twice as much CBD gets absorbed from the soft gels than do the oils. Nature’s Candy sports cream is great for people who have more topical discomfort like muscle soreness. Those with intense muscle aches and joint pain would benefit from a combination of topical sports cream and CBD ingestible.
TCM: In wellness, we find personal experience to be as compelling as anything, but why don’t you also share some larger facts about CBD with readers as well?
BS: CBD is 100% legal in the United States as long as it comes from hemp and not marijuana and contains no more than 0.3% THC. CBD with 0% THC will not make you high whatsoever (minus placebo effect or adverse drug interactions), since the psychoactive is completely absent. Nature’s Candy takes an extra step to completely remove THC.
Using Nature’s Candy CBD, unless you have consumed marijuana recently, you will not fail a THC drug test on the most commonly administered drug panel sensitivity used in the US.
A 2017 study by Penn Medicine showed that 70% of CBD products sold online are mislabeled. This means consumers are pretty much wasting their money on low quality products, unless they truly do their research!
TCM: Back to the topic of panic attacks, what do you personally use for a more acute moment of anxiety? Of course, we wouldn’t expect you to give medical advice, but in your opinion…
BS: For anxiety “episodes”, it’s a good idea to regularly take CBD. I used to have panic attacks every week, but now I don’t have any at all. This is because I regularly take my CBD regardless of how I’m feeling in the morning. It is quite similar to a multivitamin you would take daily. A steady stream of good CBD will do its job in keeping you from entering that mindset that sends your thoughts spiraling out of control. As you said, I’m not a doctor but that’s my opinion and that’s what works for me.
TCM: What about for those who have some kind of situational anxiety — whether they get a bit of social anxiety at gatherings or have a specific encounter that whips them up every week, that kind of thing?
BS: My recommendation is actually not to treat CBD situationally. The reason for this is that CBD can take 2 weeks before you notice a difference if you’re a first timer, and a couple hours if you are a regular CBD user.
As previously mentioned, it’s a good idea to take CBD regularly as part of your daily routine to ensure that any situations you encounter keep you calm and collected to feel your best. Your body will also adapt overtime to the steady stream of CBD, and you don’t necessarily want to hinder that flow by only taking the rare dose. Note, however, that this is just my opinion. The body can do some pretty amazing things, so some people might find it effective to take CBD a couple hours before a specific situation that normally would give them anxiety!
TCM: What else do you want people with anxiety to know? Have you found other resources to be especially helpful?
BS: I want people to know that CBD is not a cure, but if you do have anxiety, you definitely should be taking it. CBD is one of several anxiety coping tools you should have in your arsenal.
If a person suffers from anxiety, I highly recommend talk therapy. Talk therapy tends to be looked down upon or seen by the sufferer as embarrassing, but speaking about your thoughts and feelings actually helps to rewire your brain which can help you better organize your thoughts. If you add CBD to your toolbelt of talk therapy, 1 min. breathing exercises, healthy eating, and plenty of sleep, you’re on your way to relief.
My company, Nature’s Candy will give you your money back if you don’t experience the kind of relief myself and so many of our customers now have. No questions asked. This is how confident we are about the quality of our products and service. You can hit us up with more questions at[email protected]or find us on Instagram to learn more and for limited time promotions.
This story is brought to you in partnership with Nature’s Candy. From time to time, TCM editors choose to partner with brands we believe in to bring our readers special offers. The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.