I mean, really. Who hasn’t heard of CBD at this point, right? Have you ever wondered exactly what it is, though? OK, so the technical name for the cannabis plant is Cannabis sativa and it contains over 100 chemical compounds that are known as cannabinoids. One of those compounds is cannabidiol and its nickname is CBD. Unlike THC, CBD lacks the psychoactive properties that cause you to feel high. That doesn’t mean it’s not totally bomb, though, because it comes with some pretty amazing health benefits — ones that I’m about to dive into in just a second.
So, if you’ve been looking for some ways to improve the quality of your health without spending a billion dollars to make it happen, I can personally vouch for the fact that CBD oil is something that will benefit you beyond measure. Here are just 10 (of the many) reasons why I say so.
1. CBD OIL: Improves Your Mood
So, let’s start off with something that sounds super complex but it’s really not. All of us have a neurotransmitter in us known as anandamide. It’s tied into what gives us a blissful feeling, plus it can help to increase our oxytocin levels. This is good to know because oxytocin lowers stress while causing you to feel warm, fuzzy, and affectionate. So, if you’ve had a low day (or week), a little bit of CBD oil can literally perk you right on up.
2. CBD OIL: Neutralizes Free Radicals
If you’ve always heard of free radicals but were never really sure what they are, it’s kind of a long story. Probably the easiest way to break them down is they’re the kind of molecules that, when left to their own devices, can wreak havoc in your entire system by triggering oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is problematic because it can cause an imbalance in your body’s cells and tissues. CBD oil is helpful in this lane because it has the ability to neutralize free radicals so that they don’t end up causing damage to your system — and that’s a good thing.
3. CBD OIL: Reduces Inflammation
Whether you struggle with chronic or acute inflammation, CBD oil is something that can really help you out. Something that the oil has in it is anti-inflammatory properties. The properties are so effective that they are able to affect the way your body’s endocannabinoid receptors (ECS) move about. This is relevant because your ECS is the cell-signaling system you’ve got that alerts your body when inflammation is occurring. When CBD oil is applied, less inflammation occurs.
4. CBD OIL: Supports Digestion
Almost a year ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “80% Of Your Immunity Is In Your Gut. Take Care Of It Like This.” Because so much of your health is tied to your gut, it’s important that you’re hypervigilant about proactively taking care of it. One way to do that is by making sure that your digestion runs smoothly and one way to do that is to use CBD oil. CBD oil is good for your digestive system because it is able to keep your GI (gastrointestinal) tract healthy while preventing several different kinds of diseases in the process.
5. CBD OIL: Minimizes Breakouts
Whether you’ve got acne, you experience hormonal breakouts or there is simply an area of your face (or body) where pimples like to pop up, CBD oil can help all of these out thanks to its pretty potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In fact, one study revealed that applying this kind of oil to your zits is far more effective than using Vitamin C or Vitamin E on them, which is pretty darn impressive if you ask me.
6. CBD OIL: Relieves Itchy Skin
Speaking of the skin-related properties in CBD oil, if you’re someone who battles with skin issues that are connected to eczema, psoriasis, or just chronic dry skin, you’ll be amazed how much relief applying some CBD oil to your skin can be! Not only can it help to speed up the healing process of cracked skin, but it can also moisturize your skin if it’s causing any type of itching or irritation.
7. CBD OIL: Decreases Pain
I once read an article that said that CBD oil has been used as a way to treat pain-related symptoms for thousands of years at this point. Because your endocannabinoid system consists of things like your sleep patterns, your appetite, and how your body responds to pain, CBD oil is beneficial in this area because it reduces inflammation and relaxes your pain stimuli so that you are able to feel some much-needed relief. In fact, CBD oil is proving itself to be so effective that it is oftentimes recommended to people who deal with fibromyalgia or pain that is associated with cancer.
8. CBD OIL: Improves Blood Pressure
If high blood pressure (or even cardiovascular disorders) is something that you struggle with, this is just one more way that CBD oil may be able to help you out. Although many studies are still being conducted on this particular health benefit, word on the street is, since it’s the kind of oil that helps to balance homeostasis (the state of how your internal, physical, and chemical conditions all work together) in the body, it can help to lower your blood pressure levels if you happen to be in a stressed-out state. And since a whopping 41 percent of Black people have high blood pressure within the United States, knowing this about CBD oil is highly relevant and beneficial.
9. CBD OIL: Soothes Insomnia
Something that I’ve been doing for quite a while now, at least a few times a week, is applying CBD oil to the soles of my feet before turning in for the night. Since there are 2,000 pores on each foot and many experts consider them to be the largest pores on your body, applying oils to that area can result in quick absorption. When it comes to CBD oil specifically, because the properties in it are tied to a reduction in pain and anxiety and also because it’s an oil that is directly tied into reducing your cortisol (stress) levels, it’s easy to see that if you avoid all of these other reasons to give CBD oil a shot, a good night’s rest is definitely a strong motivator to at least strongly consider giving it a try. I’m living proof of that, chile.
10. CBD OIL: Intensifies Orgasms
Remember how I said that CBD oil is good for treating anxiety? There is no way around the fact that, the more relaxed you feel, the more pleasurable sex will be. As a bonus, when you bring CBD oil into your boudoir, you have a far greater chance of experiencing more orgasms too (and who doesn’t want that?!). The reason the oil can help to make this happen is because your body naturally has cannabinoid receptors in your reproductive organs. So, when you apply CBD oil, it can only help to “trigger” them (in a good way), so that your sexual responses are intensified. This is actually why more and more people are becoming super fond of CBD lubricant.
Another writer for the site shouted it out in her article, “Why Cannabis Lube Is The Best Thing To Get Yourself For V-Day”. Also, Leafly is a cannabis-friendly site that has a DIY recipe that’s pretty easy to make (check it out here). You know what they say — don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it…so don’t. #wink
Featured image by Getty Images
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Most are familiar with the BMF story, but the tale of Tonesa Welch, the First Lady who was at the epicenter of drug trafficking in Detroit during the ‘80s and ‘90s, remains largely untold. Tonesa's journey is one of resilience and transformation, as she navigated the tumultuous world of crime and emerged with a renewed sense of purpose. After serving time in prison, Tonesa has dedicated herself to turning her life around, becoming a powerful example of redemption and the possibility of positive change. Her story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is always a path to a brighter future.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Tonesa herself, director Vivica A. Fox and executive producer Tressa Smallwood to discuss the new film now streaming on BET+ to discuss the transformative power of storytelling and the critical role that Black women play in owning and shaping our narratives.
Certainly, Vivica Fox is no stranger to the big screen, having graced us with her captivating performances in a myriad of iconic roles such as Set It Off and Two Can Play That Game. However, this project marked a momentous first for Vivica as she stepped into the director's chair, embracing a new and exciting chapter in her illustrious career. In a candid conversation, Vivica expressed her heartfelt gratitude towards her collaborator, Tressa, who offered her the invaluable opportunity to explore the world of directing.
“I'm actually very grateful to my partner there, Tressa. She gave me an opportunity to see if I like directing,” Vivica shared. She went on to reveal the challenges and triumphs of the production process, noting that the team had a mere 14 days to bring the film to fruition, a testament to their dedication, resilience, and unwavering passion for storytelling.
In my conversation with Tonesa, we discussed the significance of her sharing her own story, particularly as a young Black woman. Tonesa highlighted the importance of reclaiming her narrative and challenging stereotypes and emphasized that telling her story is about empowerment and inspiring others. Her commitment to authenticity and inclusivity underscores the need to amplify diverse voices and broaden our understanding of the stories that shape our world.
“Because people have so many different perspectives of women in the streets, and they think we are always behind the man, and that's not always true. I just wanted to show people how it happened, how I made it through it and made it out, and what I'm doing now. I'm working on me. I'm helping other people, and I want people to see that from me,” said Tonesa.
“I was given a second chance, and that's what I want to do. Once I left the prison doors, I said I'm not ever coming back here. I'm not ever living that life again. So that's why it's important because people get you stuck in that box, and I'm not that person anymore, especially as Black women. We're so multi-dimensional. There's so many different sides to us and everyone does try to fit us in one box or put us in one stereotype.”
Vivica delved deeper into her role as a director, providing us with valuable insights into her unique approach. “I’m an actor’s director. I would know when my actors were filming if they weren't giving it to me. If we needed pacing, that's the beauty of having a director who is an actor as well,” she stated. Vivica emphasized her hands-on approach, often running lines with the cast to ensure a strong connection and delivery.
The executive producer, Tressa Smallwood, echoed these sentiments, highlighting the added value of working with a director who is also an accomplished actor. “You almost kind of get an acting coach because your director has been there,” Tressa explained. This synergy between the director and actors served to elevate the overall quality of the performance, creating a rich and dynamic storytelling experience.
Life after prison can be challenging, but Tonesa has been actively contributing to her community since her release. She works with women who are incarcerated or about to be released, helping them transition back into society. Through her support and guidance, Tonesa helps these women navigate reentry and rebuild their lives. “It's so important because when I came home from prison, I didn't have all the resources. So now I've learned about all these resources that are available to women. It was a lot of things for men but not for women.” she explained. “I love talking to the women. I love giving them hope because, coming from there, you don't have any hope. You don't believe in yourself. That's what we're here for. We got to pull our sisters up.”
It's crucial to emphasize the significance of Black women in the industry finally having the opportunity to share our stories in our own way. “Now we're having an era where especially Black women are sticking together and telling our stories. It's us telling our stories truthfully so that our audience will know our true story.” Vivica said.
“I think a lot of that also comes with being in a different time whereas Black women, we're able to be in ownership and in leadership positions where we have the say about the stories that we want to tell, and we didn't typically have that years ago,” Tressa adds.
The stories we tell and the voices we amplify have the power to shape our world, and the work of the First Lady of BMF: The Tonesa Welch Story team exemplifies this. Tonesa's journey from incarceration to community service is a testament to her resilience. It's a reminder that everyone has a story to tell and that those stories are richer and more powerful when they are told by the people who lived them. As we move forward, let’s continue to uplift and support the voices of Black women in the industry and celebrate the progress that has been made while acknowledging the work that still lies ahead.
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Feature image courtesy of First Lady of BMF: Tonesa Welch Story