*This article is purely informational and does not constitute medical advice. Consult your healthcare provider about CBD.
May – It’s the MOVE MORE Month! It’s that time of the year (should be year-round actually) for hustlers like us to not only be mindful of our craft but of our current health and fitness state too.
Around 86% of American workers spend most of their working hours “sitting all day.” While in the morning, late runners, skipping breakfast, content themselves with grabbing instant coffee on the way to work.
These and other seemingly innocent but impactful work habits can come and hunt you in your late 50s with a not so attractive basket of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and more. Having said that, don’t freeze yet. An office can still be your little health hub with a shift of perspective.
By this time, you might have heard of CBD (cannabidiol), the compound extracted from cannabis plants touted to help with overall health and wellness. Personalities like Martha Stewart are fully immersed in the hype, profiting, of course, from her CBD gummies gourmet line.
In this article, let’s explore how CBD works in a workplace type of set-up. Since it is a cannabis compound, will you get reprimanded for it? What is this thing, and how is it supposed to work? Are you in the right mind for even trying it?
While at it, I’ll be dishing some little exercises and good habits you can squeeze in even right under your boss’s nose.
Fitness habits and practices you can observe in your office
Little Chair Exercise
A. Upper Trap Stretch: (Head and shoulder stretches)
- Gently pull your head towards each shoulder. Make sure to feel a light stretch every time.
- Hold each pose for 10-15 seconds.
B. Neck Stretches: (Head and shoulder stretches)
- Lean your head forward.
- Gently roll your head toward one side, holding for 10 seconds.
- Repeat the motion on the other side.
- Slowly lift your chin.
- Repeat the process three times.
C. Shrugging Shoulders: (Head and shoulder stretches)
- Raise both shoulders towards your ears.
- Return to initial position.
D. Shoulder Stretch: (Head and shoulder stretches)
- Clasp your hands behind you.
- Raise your chin and push your chest outwards.
- Hold that pose for 10 to 30 seconds.
E. Oblique twists: (Obliques or abdominal muscles)
- Sit in your office chair. Using both hands, hold the edge of your desk.
- Holding the edge of the desk, spin yourself as far as you can (until you feel a light stretch) to one side. Then repeat spinning to the other side.
- At least 10 repetitions for each side.
F. Knee-to-chest: (abdominals)
- Sit on the chair. Stretch your legs in front of you.
- Holding the bottom of your chair, pull your knees toward your chest.
- Return to the initial position. Repeat the whole process 10 times.
G. Butt Squeezes: (butt/glutes)
- Sit with a good posture.
- Squeeze your butt (glutes) as hard as you can for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Relax. Then, repeat the process 10 times more.
H. Leg extension: (quads)
- Sit with a good posture. Ensure your feet lay flat on the floor.
- Lift one of your legs until it goes parallel to the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and lower your leg back to the starting position.
- Repeat the process for each side.
Not a fan of seated exercises? You can still gain by doing any of the following:
- Do short walks outside during breaks.
- If you’re on the lower level of your workplace building, avoid elevators sometimes. Go ahead, use the stairs!
- Be a Dwight. Make standing desks a thing.
- If it’s not much of a hassle, use a bicycle on the way to work.
- Crack jokes. Laugh.
Benefits of short office exercises
Normalizes your BMI (Body Mass Index)
Researchers at the University of Utah revealed that short-burst exercises (lasting 10 minutes or more) throughout the day, impacts your BMI (Body Mass Index) positively. “What we learned is that for preventing weight gain, the intensity of the activity matters more than duration,” says Jessie X. Fan, professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah.
*The BMI (weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is an indicator of determining whether you’re overweight, normal, or underweight.
Reduces your appetite
A 2013 study comparing the impact of long-hour versus short-burst exercises found participants performing short-burst exercises to have experienced 32% less hunger.
According to Hagobian TA, et. al., exercise alters appetite-regulating hormone concentrations. It also promotes tighter appetite control.
A 2018 review links short-burst exercises with a positive mood.
How do you stay motivated to routinely do it?
With exercise, consistency is key. Here are some techniques you can do to help you stay motivated:
- Challenge your co-workers to a routine exercise contest and keep each other accountable for skipping but don’t be too harsh with the consequences.
- Set goals (preferably short-term and not far-fetched).
- Schedule workout times by setting an alarm on your phone.
- Reward yourself with simple pleasures by completing a week-worth of seated exercises.
Healthy Office Habits to Adapt
Get more gains by combining seated exercises with the following habits:
Stay away from vending machines; keep healthy snacks nearby
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) showed more than 20 percent of working Americans get their food from work.
When asked what their offices were serving, the common replies were food high in empty sodium, calories, and refined grains – pizza, soda, cookies, candy, brownies, and cakes.
Instead of hounding the vending machine and convenience stores with junk food, keep a healthy stash of snacks in your drawers. Savory kale chips and dark chocolate coated almonds might not be on par with hotdogs but the lesser calories you’ll get is everything.
Bring homecooked meals for lunch
Survey says, 31% of Americans are motivated by the low cost of preparing meals. 22% say they like the healthy aspect of homecooked meals. Meanwhile, one in five Americans says they like that homecooked meals give them control over picking what they eat.
This just makes sense. Homecooked meals are a lot healthier and economically practical than fast-food chain items. Plus, you get to pick what healthy meal you’re going to get for the day.
Adapt good computer habits
The average American worker spends about seven hours a day on the computer. 58 percent of U.S. working adults, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA) 2016 American Eye-Q survey, have felt the effects of digital eye strain – a direct result of long screen time.
There are anti-radiation/blue light-protection glasses you can use to shield your eyes from the light your computer screen emits. Turning down your screen’s brightness is also an option.
Also, be mindful about maintaining a good sitting position but shift positions occasionally.
Clean your working space
When our working space is in chaos, so are we. If you think about it, there is some truth to that. You’re likely to spend an hour looking for a paper clip in a cluttered desk than in a neat one.
The same sensibility applies to paperless offices: Survey says data workers waste up to two hours a week searching for lost digital documents.
Additionally, the distraction of cleaning and organizing alone is already a type of exercise for your hands and brain.
This reminds me of the “Eat, Pray, Love” author, Elizabeth Gilbert who after her book’s success has been in a slump fearing not writing another stellar material. She turned to another entirely different prospect – gardening, got struck with inspiration mid-plowing and regained her passion.
Schedule quick naps
Power naps often happen during lunchtimes but if your employer allows you to snag one during working hours, that is impressive.
Taking naps in the office is often frowned upon. However, in Japan, taking a power nap is encouraged and respected (to a degree where if you’re seen sleeping, people assume you’ve been working hard). The act is its own culture that the Japanese people created a term for it – “Inemuri” which means, being present while sleeping.
Humans aren’t meant to thrive in a fluorescent-lit cubicle. We’re built to live under the sun accompanied by trees, which is why working outside brings forth bursts of creativity and other productive qualities for working people.
If your HR agrees, do your work outside – the alfresco of that coffee shop where they only play fancy jazz, in parks where occasionally rain pours, on the side of that fountain you often stare at when you’re lonely.
You’re not a robot. You’re a thinking, walking flesh that needs all sorts of breaks – pee breaks, participating in the latest office gossip, laugh breaks and more.
The Pomodoro technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s is a time management method you can use to efficiently use your productive/break times. Using this method, you break your working hours into 25-minute chunks and 5-minute breaks.
Keep track of this time-management method by downloading a Pomodoro application to your phone.
A no-brainer but an often forgotten necessity. Get those huge water bottles with the markings on them so you’re motivated to complete the required healthy volume of water daily.
Cut on caffeine
A caffeine overdose is not good for the heart or your teeth either. Cut down on coffee until the only remaining cup exists in the morning.
Stare in space and breathe
It’s not that weird.
What is CBD?
CBD has been making rounds in the health, wellness, and fitness industry lately. Athletes get hooked on it to soothe sore muscles after work-out, wives lather its cream alternative at night, and even your shampoo might have traces of CBD on its formula.
CBD products even sneaked into offices. You might not know this but one of your co-workers is probably secretly infusing a CBD tincture in their coffee every morning.
CBD or cannabidiol is one of over 100 naturally-occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant and its varieties. THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is also part of the group but unlike CBD, THC is psychoactive or can give the feeling of a “high.”
Googling CBD, you’ll find blog after blog professing the compound’s health benefits. But be wary, unconfirmed ones like “cancer-fighting” shouldn’t be confused with what CBD can only actually do.
“The FDA has approved only one CBD product, a prescription drug product to treat seizures associated with Lennox Gastaut syndrome (LGS), Dravet syndrome (DS), or tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in people one year of age and older.”
Any medical claims other than the mentioned conditions should not be taken seriously.
Also, it’s important to note that the FDA (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration) does not approve CBD as an additive for food nor label it as a dietary supplement. Although the FDA continues to collect better information on CBD and the possibility of it being used for both human and animal consumption.
Can CBD help with productivity in the office?
This notion hasn’t been confirmed yet. Although anecdotal reports and research supports such a claim.
Celebrities like Olivia Wilde, don’t worry too much about Broadway wrecking her body. “…I’ve been using this body lotion that has CBD from marijuana. It’s called Lord Jones, and I discovered it through my friends in L.A. Recently I did a play on Broadway for six months, and my body was wrecked. My neck was really tight. The CBD has relaxing benefits, and the idea is to avoid using too many painkillers.”
Megan Rapinoe who led the USA team to victory during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup claimed CBD helped her “…stay at the top of my game for several years now…”
The hunch is that CBD may not directly affect your productivity level (I mean, even on best days nobody is 100% productive) but its indirect effects may somehow affect how efficient you’re going to be during that day.
What are these so-called indirect effects:
Anxiety is a constant annoying companion whenever and wherever – in your pilates class, homeroom meetings, or office. It could ruin a presentation when it sees an opportunity to freeze you up in meetings.
In a study presented by The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on CBD, they observed their rat subjects to show lower heart rates and a decrease in behavioral symptoms typically manifested by increased uneasiness.
Although more research needs to be done to validate these results in humans and other forms of anxiety disorders.
The theory that CBD energizes and gives a sharp-laser focus isn’t unfounded. A 2016 review discussing motivational disorders by Natalie E. Zlebnik and Joseph F. Cheer concluded that “…in motivational disorders with complex etiology and underlying neural substrates, the multitarget effects of CBD may make it a highly efficacious treatment option…”
Improves the circadian rhythm
The human circadian rhythm is the natural internal process of the body that regulates our sleep–wake cycle. With a wrecked sleeping schedule this rhythm can be disgruntled, yielding health consequences a busy work-life can’t afford.
Next to pain, a lot of CBD users utilize CBD for improving sleep (although the claim isn’t confirmed).
Kim Kardashian in People said, “That’s not my thing. I got into CBD a few months ago. It’s saved my life. Even to sleep at night. I like the gummies. I will just use a little bit and fall asleep [laughs]. I don’t think I would ever take a Xanax or an Ambien again.”
No one could function well enduring pain. Even Former MLB Player David Wells, who was once addicted to Percocet, tried every alternative painkiller. Having stumbled upon CBD, Wells says “I’m living proof CBD works…I’m 3.5 years painkiller-free. That’s pretty good.”
The legality of using CBD in the workplace: Are you going to be reprimanded for using a type of CBD product at work?
Disclaimer: This isn’t legal advice. Check your state CBD laws
“CBD related products containing less than 0.3% THC are legal and employees may use the lawful product, but, as with other products, the employer can regulate its possession and use at work” that’s as per Davis|Kuelthau law firm’s paper on CBD in the Workplace.
However, using CBD in the workplace is not totally risk-free. There are a couple of things to take into consideration such as:
A. Every person is slightly different in metabolizing CBD. Humans naturally store compounds like THC (taken from full-spectrum types of CBD products) in body fats.
Some might store THC in their fats longer than usual, accumulating more as the person continues to consume CBD. This can cause some employees to test positive for marijuana (THC metabolite) even if the product they’re consuming is well below the 0.3% THC limit.
B. There are CBD products available, mostly unchecked, that might contain more than the 0.3% THC required limit. It’s best to check the product’s COA (Certificate of Analysis) link, usually pasted on a brand’s website, to see the unit’s THC level.
C. Certain professions have slightly stricter drug testing routines. Government employees, Commercial Driver License (CDL) truck drivers, and similar drug-sensitive roles could lose their jobs if they tested positive.
Under a Department of Transportation-mandated interpretation, those who tested positive for THC aren’t excused even if the product consumed was CBD or medical marijuana.
Lafayette Police officer Bernard Anderson was fired from his job after failing a drug test in which he tested positive for a marijuana metabolite.
How to Use CBD Products at Work?
- Don’t leave your employers in the dark. Let them know you’re taking CBD during working hours.
- Only use quality CBD products from reputable CBD brands. That way, you’re sure that the product is true to its 0.3% THC limit.
Checking for quality and reputability might be hard but there are tricks:
- Read reviews online from unsponsored blogs and sites.
- Look for the product’s COA paper. It tells you how much a certain compound (including THC and CBD’s) is contained within the product formula. You might also find other necessary information in COAs such as:
- Name and address of the manufacturer or distributor
- Ingredients (including non-cannabis additives)
- Net quantity (weight)
- Lot, batch, or control number
- Production date
- Expiration date
- Sometimes riding on a bandwagon is a good idea. A publicly hyped or a generally well-liked product is, at times, a positive sign for a CBD brand.
- Check if the hemp used has been domestically grown on American soil. Not meaning to be biased but hemp grown in the US observes USDA’s quality-control standards.
- CBD products are categorized under three types: Isolate, Broad-spectrum, and Full-spectrum.
- Isolate – CBD isolate contains only CBD, the carrier oil and nothing else. This is as pure as CBD gets.
- Broad-spectrum – It contains other cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and essential oils. It differs by completely omitting THC in the extract.
- Full-spectrum – A full-spectrum type of CBD product contains the full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils. It contains a small amount of THC.
If you don’t like the risks that a CBD product with THC poses, avoid products with full-spectrum labels.
- Only shop at reputable places. Avoid purchasing from gas stations and other shady places. Buy CBD from licensed dispensaries or credible online marketplaces like Direct CBD Online or cbdMD.
Is taking CBD going to impact mandatory drug testing?
Drug testing programs are designed to detect the presence of alcohol, illicit drugs, and certain prescription drugs.
Depending on the type of testing conducted, a participant will hand over a specimen (either a urine, hair follicle, blood, etc.), the lab will then test the specimen, looking for the metabolites of the substance included in the list.
A negative test result does not automatically mean that the employee hasn’t used any of the substances prohibited in the workplace nor a guarantee that he or she would not face any future inquiries.
A positive test warrants a confirmation or second test. If the second test still yields a positive result, depending on the workplace and the circumstances, the employee may be referred to EAPs, into treatment, or for disciplinary action.
It’s unlikely to get a positive drug test by just consuming CBD but it’s not impossible. CBD products, especially those labelled “full-spectrum” could have traces of THC on them (although in insignificant volume).
Also, it’s possible for common drug tests to not exactly tell the difference between CBD and THC. Testing methods using a gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry, or GC-MS, through a chemical tracer called trifluoroacetic anhydride or TFAA, might not discern CBD from THC.
“I can’t even estimate how many people this is going to screw over,” said Mr. Frank Conrad of Colorado Green Labs in Denver to the New York Times. Mr. Conrad witnessed several cases of false positives. On June 20, 2018, Mark Pennington had trouble with child custody because his son’s hair follicle tested positive for THC.
Mr. Pennington had been providing his son with a honey-laced CBD product.
What should be your response as an employer with regard to the use of CBD in the workplace?
If your Human Resource department hasn’t drafted any policy regarding the use of CBD, you might want to get started on that now.
Unless deemed necessary, an employer may ban the use of CBD products in the workplace altogether. Those who are routinely conducting drug testing could modify their policy to either include or exclude CBD from the list of metabolites that would greenlight a “positive” test.
As an employer, you might also want to offer a leeway on your policies. It’s possible that some employees might extend requests for the use of CBD for medical purposes. It’s important to review each request (not in general) on a case to case basis.
However you want it drafted, the trick is to be crystal clear about these policies to avoid future ugly disputes.
Should you worry about CBD impairing your employees?
While you should always consult with a medical advisor about CBD and impairment, you generally don’t have to worry about your employees getting impairment because of a CBD intake.
A 2015 paper completed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains CBD should not impair humans because of its non-intoxicating nature.
CBD per se can’t cause high but don’t be complacent, a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that 43% of CBD oils randomly tested had more THC in them than labeled.
Should you use CBD at work?
Why not? Whether it genuinely works or sort of works only due to the placebo effect, you’ll lose nothing. According to the World Health Organization, “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”
Make sure, though, to give your employers a heads up.
“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”