PR 302 | Naked Warrior Recovery


CBD is not a cure-all, but rather an essential element in supporting our body’s natural ability to recover and find balance. Embracing CBD as a modality for recovery might be the key to unmasking your inner resilience and finding the strength to overcome life’s challenges. In this informative episode, we are joined by William Branum, a former Navy SEAL, and the founder of Naked Warrior Recovery. Today, he shares his inspiring story of overcoming trauma and discovering a path to healing through CBD. William first recounts his experiences as a Navy SEAL and the burden of carrying the weight of trauma, stress, and anxiety. He opens up about the emotional toll that combat can take on the human psyche and how he found solace in the least expected remedy – CBD. Through this natural anti-inflammatory, he noticed a gradual reduction in the figurative “temperature” of his emotions, helping him to regain control and heal emotionally, mentally, and psychologically. Delving into the science behind CBD, William educates us on the endocannabinoid system – a network of neuroreceptors found throughout the body. He also uncovers the historical stigma attached to CBD and how misconceptions have overshadowed its profound healing benefits. Breaking down these barriers, Will shares how his company, Naked Warrior Recovery, aims to create a safe space for everyone to embrace vulnerability and embark on their journey toward healing. Tune in now and discover how CBD can be a path to healing!


Show Notes:

  • 04:02 – Lessons From The Navy Seal
  • 23:31 – Naked Warrior Recovery
  • 33:24 – The CBD Stigma
  • 37:49 – Different Forms Of CBD Consumption
  • 44:06 – Rituals For Resilience

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Naked Warrior Recovery: How CBD Transforms Lives With William Branum — Replay

How do first responders recover from traumatic events? In this replay episode, my guest is William Branum, the Founder of a CBD company called Naked Warrior Recovery. SEAL Sniper instructor and retired Navy SEAL leader, William talks with me about how failures are the most precious lessons in your entire life. Other things that we discussed were his background as a Navy SEAL, a sniper instructor, and the Founder of a CBD company called Naked Warrior Recovery.

Also, the challenges and traumas that first responders face in the work and how they cope with them, the importance of mindset and resilience in overcoming failures and adversity, the benefits of CBD for reducing inflammation, pain, anxiety, and even stress, and the mission and vision of his company, Naked Warrior Recovery to help first responders and other veterans heal from their wounds. Sit back and enjoy my conversation with guest William Branum.

I am sitting in a seat of gratitude, feeling incredibly blessed and fortunate to be here, to be doing what I’m doing, and looking forward to the conversation that I’m about to start with someone that I was introduced to. We have a mutual friend and we’ve been chatting. I got to see firsthand what he’s up to in his business and experience some of that, which we’ll get into. Let me share a little bit about him and then we’ll dive right in because this is going to be a rich conversation and all of you are going to love it a lot.

First of all, I’ll say that Will Branum is a retired 26-year veteran of the Navy SEALs. He was a Chief Navy SEAL, SEAL sniper instructor, and then pivoted, I’ll say, out of that service. We thank him so much for that service. We’re going to talk a little bit about that as well in connection with how it was that he created to maintain resilience as a SEAL instructor and a leader in that incredibly respected institution. As far as the military goes, it’s thought of in a way that’s a little different than maybe some other branches of the military. We could talk about whether that should be the case or not but I want to thank him for his service at the outset here.

He also went into something quite a bit different. You guys are going to love the pivot story of retiring from service and then starting a business on his own, an entrepreneur like so many of us, and launching a business, a CBD company back in March of 2020, which is an interesting time. You would think historically what would it be like to start any kind of a new business in March of 2020? It’s called Naked Warrior Recovery. Initially, the inspiration for it was to help veterans and first responders to recover from traumatic events, both physical and emotional.

I guess we’re saying tongue in cheek that it would be a difficult time to start a business at the outset of a pandemic, and yet the business was intended to assist veterans and first responders in being able to recover from traumatic events. I can’t think of a more extended traumatic period than the last 7 or 8 months for so many people. Will, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show. I’m glad that you could join us.

Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.

I would love to know what’s not a part of that bio that people might be thinking to themselves. What does it take to become a Navy SEAL? If you’ve ever read a book or listened to another Navy SEAL, talk about what that training is like, what it’s like to not just apply but to go through the process and be accepted into that service. It’s pretty daunting. Developing yourself to that capacity is something great unknown to a lot of people. Will, what can you tell us about yourself that you want people to know at the outset that’s not a part of the bio I read?

I spent 26 years in the Navy and 95% of that time was in the SEAL teams. We had some good and bad times there. I have had many failures in my life. I love having failures because those are the most precious lessons in my entire life. It didn’t matter if it was a marriage or doing some underwater navigation while diving. I never learned when I succeeded. I only learned when I failed. “Don’t do it like that, do it like this.” Those are all my greatest lessons. Failure is my friend, even though I don’t like it. I hate failure but I also love it.

We could probably stop this show. You’re leading with the one great lesson that failure is your friend but you’re still not happy to see that friend. I know you’re my friend.

I know you’re here to help me but I don’t like it.

I wish you weren’t here. It’s like the first chapter or the middle chapter of the book. I haven’t gotten to the end so I don’t know what the end chapter is. I imagine that if history is any indication of the future, our lives are filled with great ups and downs, moments where we feel we’ve “succeeded” and moments where we have gotten the feedback that something hasn’t worked according to plan or is a “failure.” I’ve always had a personal issue with that word. This is in the vein of motivation maybe or inspiration. How do we reframe the word failure?

Think about it. If you’re sitting reading this or watching it on YouTube and you think, “I failed just like this guy,” this guy’s a 26-year veteran of the Navy SEALs and led other SEALs. He’s talking about how his greatest teacher was a failure. Where do we see our lives and failures and give them a meaning that is all about what didn’t work and what we wish we could be done differently? Also, the regrets we’ve got about those things or the stories that we tell about how they stopped or impeded us. What you’re telling us or at least what I’m getting out of this is that your ability to consistently move forward has been the result of the failures you’ve had. It’s an ironic relationship.

It comes down to resilience, another word that you can use. When I was going through training, I didn’t prepare before I went to SEAL training at all. I was able to pass the physical entrance test but I didn’t work out that hard before I went. It certainly showed when I got there because I experienced a lot of failures. However, I wasn’t there to quit. I was there to become a Navy SEAL. I watched these amazing athletes, these guys that could run, swim, do the obstacle course, could PT, and work out. To me, they were like leaders and inspirational. Oftentimes, those were the first guys to quit.

When you’re going through that selection course, you’re going to fail. The job is to fail, learn, and become better. You don’t show up to SEAL training knowing everything. You got to learn. They’re going to break you down. Many of these people were collegiate athletes. They were the best of the best in their circle or team. They got there and would run super-fast or do everything better than everyone else. “You all suck. Get lock arms, get in the water, or run over this berm, get wet, and come back for the next hour and a half.” I was like, “That’s part of training.” For them, it’s like, “I did everything right. I should not be punished.” They couldn’t take that.

The job is to fail, learn, and become better. You don't show up to SEAL training knowing everything. Share on X

The fact that they weren’t number one anymore, they were a loser like everyone else in the class. They were a failure. They couldn’t take that emotional stress on their psyche. They took it personally instead of like, “This is a team effort. Our job is to suck it up and move forward.” I was talking to a friend of mine about attitude and effort. He runs a program usually for entrepreneurs called The Project. It’s very expensive to go to the program. It’s a 75-hour little mini-hell week. A friend of mine is one of the instructors there. They take all of the control away from you. This is important in life. There’s so much around you that you cannot control.

These guys that were super athletes couldn’t control the fact that they were losing or failing. All you can control is your attitude and effort. Are you going to have a good attitude and put forth the effort to do what you need to do to accomplish your goal? I didn’t realize that at the time. I was just there to finish training. Later on, as I matured, I learned that it’s about attitude and effort. It doesn’t matter what is happening, whether you’re in combat and things are blowing up around you.

You put forth a lot of effort to train, make the right decisions, do the right things, and get out of bad situations. You have to have a good attitude. I’ve seen some people when things start going badly lockdown. That’s the opposite of what you should be doing. You need to look up and start looking around. When things go bad, that’s the most important time to have the right attitude and put forth the maximum amount of effort that you can.

Will, it reminds me of that old Charles or Chuck Swindoll quote about attitude. I wish I could quote the entire thing. I won’t but the penultimate line in his, almost like a poem, is, “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” It’s a quote about attitude and it’s the only thing. You’ve got to play that one string over and over again. Your attitude, how it is that you respond to things attitudinally. I remember when I was a kid, my dad would sometimes say to me, “Change your attitude.” I was like, “I don’t even know what you’re talking about. What do you mean?” Have the self-awareness to go, “My attitude sucks. You’re right. I got to change my attitude right this second.”

That word was an enigma to me growing up. I hear you talk about attitude and effort, being these two things that were the inflection point let’s say at the SEAL training between guys that made it and guys that didn’t. The inflection point wasn’t as much about the performance or raw talent of these guys with tremendous talent and ability, yet they’re faced with failure they couldn’t control. Not a failure because they suck. When you’re only as strong as your weakest link, and I know we’re hitting up a couple of cliches here but in any team, whether it’s a SEAL team, a team in your business, or any area, like your family, you’re real legitimately only as strong as the weakest link is.

If anybody fails, we all fail. They couldn’t handle the failure personally so they couldn’t ultimately be part of the team. That’s pretty remarkable. Is there a way that you were able to reframe that word? I’m being a bit semantical but for folks, the word failure itself is a trigger and even an anchor, like keeping people stuck in place. Did you reframe that word and use a different word to describe what you were experiencing?

For me, it was a learning point. I learned how to be a better runner and push my body in ways that were as uncomfortable. I don’t have to go quite as hard and I’m still going to pass the run or pass the swim, or not quite keep up on the run. If I put forth a little more effort, it’s going to hurt a little bit but I’ll finish more quickly so the pain is going to stop. It taught me to think about that effort. How much effort am I going to put out? Am I going to put it out right now or extend the amount of pain that that effort brings over time? I learned to run faster and work a little bit harder.

PR 302 | Naked Warrior Recovery

Naked Warrior Recovery: If I put forth a little more effort, it’s going to hurt a little bit now, but I’m going to be finished more quickly. The pain is going to stop.


Meaning to put the effort out in the moment. This is an interesting thing and I’m getting chills here. Performance is part of what we do and what I’ve been doing for a while. I was a lawyer for eighteen years and I pivoted out of that profession. I performed quite well at least at a business level. I wasn’t performing well on a personal level. It was destroying my life. I have all these amazing things to be grateful for, my wife, the love of my life and my college sweetheart, and four kids, but I’m miserable. It’s funny because I work with our company and sometimes consult with organizations about resilience. I’ll work with individuals within those organizations, including the founders, and CEOs.

I find there are other people too, just like me at that time in my life, that have everything truly to be grateful for but they’re somehow still miserable. In some regards, it tracks back. I’m doing my best to trace this back to what you described, which is that a lot of people are saving themselves. They’re saving their energy and holding back for something they imagine they’ll need that reserve for in the future. They’re not putting out their best effort at the moment, thinking that somehow, they’ve got to save it for tomorrow. I’m a spiritual guy. I’m not terribly religious but this is a great story and learning of failure and success in things in the biblical text and other spiritual texts.

I love that story of the Jews wandering in the desert and they’re given enough food, manna, for their day and they’re told, “Don’t save it. You don’t need to. They’ll be more tomorrow for sure.” People couldn’t deal with that uncertainty with the lack of control perhaps, the control over their destiny, so they went ahead and saved it anyway. It turned it was poisonous and toxic. The rest is history. It’s interesting when you think about what you described. Lack of control and uncertainty tends to produce fear in us. We then go into the saving mode, saving our energy. If you’d done that, do you think you would’ve succeeded if you’d been trying to save yourself at the moment?

Not at all. It’s interesting, I didn’t understand what I was doing back then. Now that I’m older and I have many other lessons in my life, I’m still trying to build resilience in myself. I go out for a run or something in the neighborhood that I live in. There are a few hills. Most people are going to take their time and ease their way up the hill. I don’t do that. A friend of mine calls it attacking the hill so I attack the hill. I think about him every time and he’s a former teammate of mine. I run up the hill. Once I get to the top, then I think about slowing down, catching my breath, and figuring out what the next plan of action is. Whether it’s to keep going at the same speed or slow down, catch my breath, and then get ready for the next hill.

It’s so much stronger. Even at the end of SEAL training, we’re out on Santa Clemente Island, we have to earn our food every day. Either you have to do a bunch of pushups, pullups, and situps to eat or run up what they called Frog Hill. It was about a quarter mile almost straight up. It starts pretty flat and then it turns into this very steep hill. I was a mediocre runner, middle of the class I guess. Going up that hill, it’s like this little goat trail that goes up. If you go slower than the guy in front of you, you’re pretty much-screwing everyone behind you.

I thought it was my job to get out of everyone’s way so I would run as hard as I could. I was in the top 3 or 5 every time we did that hill. Other people would mosey on up but you have to get there in a certain amount of time or you have to go get in the ocean and then come back and eat your lunch or dinner soaking wet outside, away from the class. I never wanted to do that.

That sounds great. Everybody is so jealous going, “You sign me up, I want to do that.” We’re stronger than we think.

Always. That was something I learned early on. You always have a little more in the tank. It doesn’t matter what it is you’re working on. If it’s like a paper or you’re writing a book, exercising, or working on a relationship, you always have more in the tank than you think you do.

I want to transition and this will be simple because we’re talking about it already. What does it take to create resilience? Over 26 years in that profession, in that line of work, in that service, what did you learn about what produces long-term resilience? You saw guys come in. Some of them failed and then were able to succeed because they learned from their failure. I might reframe the word failure as feedback or finding out. You don’t fail but you find out often what’s not going to work. What didn’t work in that instance?

You can make some adjustments. You saw that at the outset and then through 26 years, you must have seen guys come and go, make it not make it at all levels. Can you draw some conclusions about resilience in the SEALs and what it looked like, what produced it, and how ultimately it either contributed to people being able to go the distance or when it was lacking, they not being able to?

A lot of it is just mindset. In the SEAL teams, you’re lucky because you’re surrounded by similar attitudes and mindsets. If you started to dip in your resilience, performance, or in any way, you’re going to get that immediate feedback. If you don’t perform, show up, or feel sorry for yourself, you’ll get immediate feedback. It’s not always positive feedback. Therefore, it gives you the ability to make corrections that you need to make.

The reflection of other people around you may not feel supportive when people are holding you accountable or giving you rough feedback. Ultimately, you can’t hide from the truth of the moment.

You’re not hiding anything. There are no hiding or real secrets. You can have secrets but things will come out, and be exposed at some point. If you’re not performing to the level of the team, they will either bring you up or you’ll no longer be a part of the team. It won’t be an easy path. Nothing is given to you. You have to earn it every day.

I’m thinking to myself that the name of your company, and I don’t know if true enough, feels like it has something to do with what we said. When you’re exposed to everyone around you for the purpose of you being better, ultimately that’s the only goal. It might not feel like that to some folks, I suppose when they’re being pressed so hard. It’s for you to be better because ultimately the team is better as you are individually better. You’re naked that whole time. You’ve got a company called Naked Warrior Recovery.

I want to track both the name of the company and the naked part of it, as well as the recovery piece because, in our study and research about resilience, a lot of it has to do with the word recovery. I want to see if we can talk in terms of the expenditure, the spending yourself in the moment part, knowing you’ve got more in the tank, and yet understanding that recovery is in many ways an unsung hero of resilience that doesn’t get spoken about a lot. Why don’t we start with the name?

Let me back up a little bit. I transitioned out of the SEAL teams on August 1st, 2018. I started a consulting company to help organizations navigate the military acquisition system. It was a science and technology field where I was pretty good at getting money for other companies to develop technologies for the military. I wasn’t super happy doing that. People wanted me to sell their widgets that I didn’t believe in. I also lost a family, a team that I had. Marine Corps is like, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” You’re expected to uphold all these values and maybe you have this same support system.

It’s not like that in the SEAL teams. It’s not that they don’t want to be helpful or friendly. They’re busy doing other stuff. They’re preparing to go into bad situations and take care of that inner core. You’re no longer part of that inner core. We’ll talk to you when we can. That created an incredible loss for me. I was in denial about getting out of the Navy. I was returning emails the day that I retired on the work projects that I was working on. I was in complete denial. I’m like, “I guess IT department, maybe you need my phone back.” That was very traumatic for me. My entire adult life has been in the SEAL teams.

Now, I’m a civilian. I have greatly reduced my income. I no longer have a mission or a purpose in life. I no longer have a family or a team. It was a huge traumatic transition for me. I also have some other stuff, we’ll call it middle baggage from toxic relationships or work stuff. Life isn’t fair. Life will beat you down if you don’t take charge.

Life isn’t fair and will beat you down if you don't take charge. Share on X

It fills your knapsack with rocks, bricks, and other things you carry around all day.

I have a big bag of stuff. I was using alcohol for many years to turn off that noise that’s in my head. I had heard about CBD before it was cool. There are a million CBD brands out there. The guy was talking about the medicinal qualities of THC medical marijuana. I’ve never tried marijuana but I’m certain that it’s not as bad as the amount of alcohol that I have consumed. Everyone knows about THC but there’s this other molecule called CBD and it has all these medicinal benefits and good fear, sexual nervous system, and all these other things. I was like, “Maybe I should try that one day.”

It wasn’t for another year after I got out of the Navy because I’m a child of Nancy Reagan’s war on drugs, “Just Say No.” I’m still scared of that stuff. I finally tried CBD because a friend of mine gave it to me. I said I was interested. He had some bottles and he gave me a bottle. I tried it that night. I slept a little bit better. I like to say water boils at 212 degrees. I was walking around at 210 degrees. It didn’t take long to hit that needle and have a flare-up and some small trigger, not even a big trigger. I started coming down from 210 degrees to 208 degrees, 200 degrees. It’s a very subtle change and I didn’t notice it immediately.

I know people are tracking this but your emotional stove so to speak was run hot as a result of this trauma, the stress, and the stuff in the bag that you’re carrying around to that day. You started to explore the CBD and could see that the figurative temperature of that stove was coming down.

Reducing, yeah. Something else I noticed was some pain was not as bad as it used to be. Normally, I would do certain movements and it would just be the stabbing pain. Every time I do the movement, I’m grimacing. About three weeks after I started taking CBD, it wasn’t the sharp pain that was stabbing me anymore. It was just a bill pain. I was like, “When did that happen? I must be getting better.” I ran out and then I thought nothing of it. Things started coming back. Little triggers were starting to set me off. I was like, “Maybe there was something to that CBD.” I tried another brand and things got a little bit better.

Eventually, I found a way to start my CBD company because I believed in the product and what it did for me. I started Naked Warrior Recovery. The Naked Warrior is the predecessor to Navy SEAL. Back in World War II, if you’ve seen the movie Saving Private Ryan, you saw the amphibious assault force at the beginning of the movie. They went ashore there at Normandy.

Prior to that assault, several days, a week, two weeks, these guys at the Navy got to volunteer. They would swim on the beach, measure the depth of the water with a rock on a piece of string, and look for obstacles underwater. They would do 3,000 to 5,000 yards of beach a night, go back to the ship, chart everything out, and then go back out the next night.

Hours before the assault, before Saving Private Ryan takes the beach, these guys would go out, and put a demo on all the obstacles in the water and as many on the beach as they could. As the assault force is coming, they’re taking fire from the beach and the naval ships are firing at the beach to give them some cover fire. They blow the obstacles on the beach and then the assault force comes in. That was awesome.

In the Pacific, the Marines were doing the same thing. They were doing these amphibious assaults. They would run aground on a barrier reef around the island and those island campaigns. They were wearing 60 to 80 pounds of gear. They would run off the edge of the reef thinking they were in 3 feet of water and they would drown. The Navy brought these underwater demolition teams, these naked warriors because they would go into battle naked with a mask, some fins, shorts, a Ka-Bar knife, and their little lead line and slate. That is all they wore.

They would go in and clear these obstacles so the Marines could go in and move forward. In 1967, the underwater demolition team became Navy SEALs. It’s the predecessor of the Navy SEALs. The other side of that and I still do sometimes, is I was walking around with this ego, armor, or chip on my shoulder, for the lack of a better term. Everything was an attack on me, a trigger, or something that was holding me down or keeping me down.

At some point, I realized CBD allowed me to be a little bit more vulnerable so that I could face those triggers and stressors, and find a little bit more healing mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. What I discovered is at some point in combat, we put on armor to go into harm’s way and then come back. We take our armor off and then go clean up. In life, we never take that armor off. We never allow ourselves to recover, get naked, or expose ourselves to healing.

We’re all warriors in our life. It doesn’t matter if you’re a soccer mom, a real estate agent, a Navy SEAL, or anything in between there. There is stress in your life. There are triggers. I had to learn how to expose myself to people who want to love me and not everyone is trying to attack me. I need to get naked to find the healing that I needed. CBD was a modality that helped me get to that point.

There are multiple meanings to the way that you’re using the word as a part of your brand as a part of the company. To me, the origin story is so important. I’m very happy that you shared that. Thank you. The idea is that so many of us are walking around with this armor and unable or unaware of what it takes or what it could look like even for us to take the armor off at points to recover. I gave a TED Talk, which was a little bit of a different metaphor but so similar because I was using this metaphor of guarding. It was a lifeguard. You imagine walking around in a guarded state all the time. On that hypervigilant, you’re always looking for the threat.

I grew up in New York and I was a lawyer for eighteen years. I had all this kindling for that fire of fear. That’s all that is ultimately when we’re unwilling to be vulnerable. By that, be real about where you’re at in a moment without thinking that you make yourself the weak member of the herd, and by being that, you get eaten. That’s ultimately the way our brains work.

Stuck in the spider flights parasympathetic, never able to slow down and recover.

As a part of putting this all together, I don’t want to use the word expert if you don’t want to use it but you’re very knowledgeable about how the body works biochemically, how these things are helping us or what modality will help us when our parasympathetic system and adrenals are compromised. We’re producing cortisol morning, noon, and night because we’re walking around with low-level and sometimes not-so-low-level of anxiety. How do we recover?

What’s cool about your company is that it’s one of those ways that people can recover that not everybody’s considered or even aware of because there are a lot of stigmas. You and I said there’s a stigma associated with CBD. The other part of the plant or at least the psychoactive component known as THC is a schedule one drug. In federal law, you go to prison for it. States are changing those.

Until December 2018, CBD was still scheduled as one drug, even though there were no psychoactive effects of it at all.

I don’t want to get into politics. I know you probably don’t either. Do you have a sense of why it is that something that is not dangerous and is helpful has gotten that stigma? Do you have a historical perspective on that?

There’s some history that it was business political. People can frame things and make stories up to tell whatever story they want. Marijuana, whatever you want to call it, has been around for thousands of years. People have used it for medicinal purposes. Probably when it became more recreational, there was a stigma put on it that it was going to create more crime. It was a paper company that helped get hemp to be illegal until World War II when it became legal again so that you could make rope and things like that. It became illegal again in 2018. It was because hemp was a viable alternative to the constitution written on a hemp document.

Will, what is it about the components of CBD do you think or do you know that’s helped you to bounce back and recover?

For me, CBD is an anti-inflammatory. It’s not an anti-inflammatory the same as ibuprofen, which takes into consideration acute inflammation. You stub your toe, bump your head, and have a head headache, that’s acute inflammation. Chronic inflammation is where a lot of disease is derived from or it happens because of disease.

CBD has been shown scientifically to reduce chronic inflammation. It also interacts with your endocannabinoid system. All mammals have this giant network of neuroreceptors throughout their entire body that’s connected to their digestive system, endocrine system, central nervous system, immune system, and every system in their bodies.

PR 302 | Naked Warrior Recovery

Naked Warrior Recovery: CBD has been shown scientifically to reduce chronic inflammation.


It’s called the endocannabinoid system because you naturally create endogenous cannabinoids but I didn’t know that until I started researching this industry, science, how the body works, and why CBD work. It turns out that CBD is a neuroprotectant so it helps feed your endocannabinoid system and keep your endogenous cannabinoids from breaking down. It reduces inflammation.

The reason the endocannabinoid system is important is because everything is connected. When things get out of whack, that’s when chronic illness happens. You may have heard stories where people are saying, “CBD cured my cancer, Lyme disease, and all these other things.” It’s not curing anything. It’s reducing inflammation. It’s like a multivitamin for your endocannabinoid system and it helps bring it back into homeostasis.

Homeostasis is a word to represent balance.

Equilibrium balance, yeah. It brings everything back so that everything can work the way it’s supposed and made to work. Your body heals itself.

If your body is not self-fatigued or isn’t expending energy in ways that aren’t efficient, it has the capacity to resolve things without the use of drugs or certain things of that sort in cases. We’re not saying it across the board. Is there a particular way that you have either experienced yourself or seen in others that’s the best? I’m sure people who may not know much about CBD are saying, “What do I ingest it? Is it topical? I’ve seen it in both forms.” Is there a best practice for somebody curious and wanting to find out more? What’s the best way for somebody getting started with this to experience CBD?

The answer I’m going to give sucks but it depends. Everyone is different. Everyone’s body and endocannabinoid system has different requirements and needs. I have gummies that are only ten milligrams of CBD. They are the least efficacious product I have but I have more positive feedback from the gummies than from any other product that I sell. The most efficacious would either be the tincture that you take sublingually or the soft gels, which have a nanoemulsion technology, which makes the oil droplets much smaller, a better bioavailability.

If you’re going to try CBD, try whatever you feel you should try. The gummies are a pretty good price point to get in. It’s $40 for a jar of 30. If that’s not enough for you, maybe you move up to a soft gel or a fluid tincture. Tinctures have the quickest absorption because you’re pretty much getting it right into your blood system sublingually.

You drop it in under your tongue is what you’re saying.

Under your tongue, you hold it there for 30 to 60 seconds. I use the tincture mostly. If I have some triggers coming in and I start getting super off, I’ll take a tincture in 10 or 15 minutes. I’m still mad. I’m just less mad. It doesn’t make your problems go away. It takes the edge off of I’m not ready to come across the table and choke someone. I’m like, “We can have a reasonable conversation. I’m still angry but we can work through this reasonably instead of me making irrational decisions.”

To be repetitive about it, this is without any psychoactive component. This is not THC. It’s not like you just went outside and smoked a joint to get chill so that you weren’t so angry.

CBD does something different. It makes the bad stuff less bad. I can still perform at a very high level. It’s the way that it interacts with the central nervous system, with the anger or whatever my emotions are. I go to PubMed. It’s got a great search engine. You can type in there, “CBD endocannabinoid system, CBD anger,” or any combination. You’re going to come up with studies that are as current as November 2020. Peer-reviewed studies are published on PubMed. Prior to December 2018, CBD was not studied very well because it was in that schedule one class of drugs.

There’s more popularity and emphasis on it so there are studies coming out every day on the effectiveness of CBD, how it’s working with the body, and what it’s doing. I’ll go there to get more up-to-date information. What I know is how it affects me. It brings me away from 212 degrees. Since I’ve taken enough CBD, I can come down much more quickly. Before, it was like, “I come down 1 degree. Now, I can come down 10 degrees.”

PR 302 | Naked Warrior Recovery

Naked Warrior Recovery: Because I’ve taken enough CBD, I can come down much more quickly.


There are topicals as well, people that are having physical pains, aches and pains, and things that are more chronic, not acute, the topicals work. I’ve got some knee challenges, occasionally surfing and stuff like that. Also, shoulder. I use it topically and I see relief from that. Do you use it topically as well from time flow?

I use it topically all the time. If I’m working out and have a sore session, do squats or something, it’s so hard to stand up and walk around. I’ll put some CBD on and it’s still painful. It’s just not that stabbing me in the leg pain that it takes so much time to get over so I can get up and start moving a little more quickly. It’s still painful. It doesn’t take the pain away. You’ve caused that damage to your body. You’ve broken or torn muscle tissue. The lactic acid comes in and creates that soreness. It just makes the soreness less.

Studies are clear on that too. Pain management is a big thing. That’s probably why too many opioids were prescribed. When you’re not in tremendous pain, your body will recover faster. It’s one of those things that we track to the topic of resilience. One of those unsung heroes is recovery. They perform better long-term when systems are in place for recovery. Taking the armor off produces a period of recovery. We are walking around with our armor on and some of us have a difficult time taking all of it ever and the exhaustion that comes from that.

I don’t have to think. I know it personally and through so many of the people we’ve worked with and even studied. I’d like to get one ritual that you have created for yourself. It may be that you’ve answered this question already. I believe that the power of ritual is so important when it comes to creating a conscious change. What’s one thing you do on a ritual basis daily if it is daily that helps you to recover and create that longer-term resilience?

I have to work hard at this. Have the same bedtime every night. I still get up at the same time no matter what time I go to bed. I’ll stay up until 11:00, 12:00, or 1:00 doing stuff or letting my mind get in the way of sleep. I used to use alcohol and I still do drink alcohol but not as much as I used to. I’ve cut it to probably 2/3. I drink about 2/3 as much as I used to. If I allow myself to stay up past 10:00, who knows when I’m going to go to bed? That affects me for the next day like, “I don’t feel like getting up. I’m feeling sorry for myself.” I’m sitting the other day up for failure by not going to bed by 10:00 every night.

This is 200 and some episodes into this conversation about resilience with so many different people. I had somebody that we did an interview that was all about rest and the difference between rest and sleep, which was cool. No one’s ever said that before. The bedtime specifically, the ritual of going to sleep at a certain time or before a certain time is the component of setting up their resilience or performance for the following day. I feel the same way. If I stay up past a certain hour, call it 10:00, who knows when I’ll go to sleep? I know I’m going to go to sleep before 2:00 for sure unless it’s a weekend and we’re hanging out. To get interested in something and start reading or watching or whatever it might be, it could be 12:30.

Getting less than the right amount. I’m an 8-hour guy. I love to get 8 hours of solid sleep and I typically for so many years tend to get up at least once a night. I’m up for a couple of minutes and then I go back to sleep. Not having that solid sleep is setting us up for more feedback than we need and finding out what doesn’t work for us. For me, to hear you say that is powerful, Will. Those of you are out there going, “It’s the same thing. I’ll watch the news or TV. I’ll do crosswords.”

Lying in bed or somewhere else and you go, “I could be sleeping and resting, recovering so that the next day when I wake up, I’m not groggy.” I’m not sitting in that zone of, “Am I okay today? Am I not okay? Am I feeling good?” You can fall off the cliff pretty quickly, especially in the morning, those first waking thoughts. This leads perfectly into my waking ritual, maybe a bookend to what we’re talking about here, which is how you begin the day. What’s your waking ritual like? My waking ritual used to be I get up in the morning, put my feet on the floor, and feel crappy and even anxious to start the day.

“I’m just starting the day. What do I have to be anxious about?” You think about what’s going on, falling into self-doubt or self-pity even in that nanosecond energetically at the beginning of the day. In part, it was not getting enough sleep at night for sure. Also, not having what is more of an automatic set of my compass correctly. My grandmother would say, “Start on the right foot.” For me, that was the first idea that I’d entertain in my head. Physically, what am I doing? That became a moment to say something. That’s my first physical act in the morning, other than swinging my legs across the bed. Sometimes it comes before that. Feel gratitude. Intellectually or mentally, I go, “I’m awake and alive. I’m grateful for that.”

When you went to bed last night, Will, people put their heads on the pillow at the same time as you did, and not everybody woke up. You go, “I’m aware.” That’s as real as it gets. “I’m grateful I’m awake.” I say out loud, “I love my life,” these four simple little words. That’s my physical act at the beginning of the day that I do for years. It’s such an automatic thing and yet it doesn’t fail me in the sense of I’m recognizing how I want to experience myself and start the day. I will not lie and say I’ve gotten a poor night’s sleep because I stayed up too late or whatever might have been the case. That’s tougher. I’m super glad you brought that up and we sat with it for a while because it is an unsung hero.

I don’t think people recognize enough. They hear people out there who are influencers talk about how you should work 100 hours a week. Don’t be a wimp. “Start your side hustle at 7:00 PM and work until 1:00.” I thought that was total crap. I couldn’t care less who hears that. Except for the people outside of the bell curve maybe, who somehow their body doesn’t require more than 4 or 5 hours of sleep. For those folks, good on you. Will, thank you for being on the show. People will have questions they want to get answered.

You can go to, leave a comment or questions, subscribe, tell a friend, or share this episode with a friend, especially if you think there’s somebody who might be open to learning about CBD. I am a consumer of that product as well and have gotten to test Will’s work. Higher quality is how I define what you’ve curated in that space. I appreciate you doing that. There are a lot of companies out there, not all entirely reputable, doing the right things, just recognizing a business opportunity more than something more moral or ethical in terms of what they produce. You’re not coming from that place. Will, thank you again.

Thank you.


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About William Branum

PR 302 | Naked Warrior RecoveryWilliam Branum is a highly decorated Navy SEAL veteran who served in the United States military for 26 years. During his extensive military career, he honed his leadership skills, cultivated a strong mindset, and gained invaluable experience in high-pressure situations as a sniper instructor, leading teams on operations ranging from protecting the interim Iraqi elected officials to direct action missions in Baghdad and Afghanistan as well as undersea missions that were required to be approved by the President of the United States. After retiring from the military, William has made it his mission to share the lessons he learned with others as a speaker, author, and business, and leadership advisor.

William’s expertise in leadership and mindset has been sought after by organizations ranging from small universities to Fortune 500 companies. He draws on his experiences to provide practical advice on how to cultivate a leadership style that inspires and motivates others, and how to develop the resilience needed to succeed in challenging environments.

William’s commitment to serving others drove him to launch Naked Warrior Recovery, through which he supports several philanthropic causes, including the Navy SEAL Foundation, Centurion Military Alliance, and 22Zero.Through his work, William continues to inspire individuals and organizations to embrace the qualities that have made him a successful leader: discipline, dedication, and a willingness to push beyond one’s limits.