We live in stressful times. Whether it’s what’s on the news or our crushing workloads and sedentary jobs, many people are searching high and low for relaxation techniques that work. Over 40 million adults in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders and related issues. Given the explosion of interest in cannabis research and products over the past few years, non-psychoactive CBD oil has become a favored anxiety reliever for many. Even the Food and Drug Administration recently reported it is expediting efforts to create a regulatory framework for CBD and maintains that it is committed to sound, science-based policy on CBD. You may have a friend or family member who swears by it, but can we say that the effects of CBD are really a natural way to relieve stress?
Is CBD A Natural Stress Reliever?
To answer this, let’s first look at stress from a medical context. Everyone experiences stressful events sometimes; those feelings are completely normal. But when life feels like an unending, anxiety-inducing test, it can be that you’re experiencing chronic anxiety. That means your brain has been “trained” to feel high levels of anxiety. In other words, your brain is pumping out higher than expected levels of stress hormones like cortisol on a regular basis. Perhaps this would be a valuable survival mechanism if you were stuck in the jungle being hunted by predators for days on end, needing to respond with a fight-or-flight instinct to every little sound, but in our modern world of unread inbox messages and parent-teacher conferences, it can inhibit our ability to deal with life’s daily demands and reduce our quality of life. The side effects of chronically elevated stress hormone levels include physical ones like weight gain, weakened immune system, digestive problems, muscular tension, and even heart disease. They can also include unseen but strongly felt effects such as depression, fatigue, and headaches. CBD could be a helpful tool for combating chronic stress and anxiety.
First, the basics: Cannabidiol—CBD for short—is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant, similar to its more infamous companion, THC. However, while THC produces the high associated with marijuana consumption, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t get the consumer high. Many CBD products available for sale legally in the United States are produced from industrial hemp farms. Hemp does not contain any of the psychoactive compound THC. Note that if you’re purchasing CBD in a state where medical marijuana is legal and regulated, some CBD oils may not come from industrial hemp, and may have trace amounts of THC. Oils labeled with a ratio of CBD to THC content will be a blend of both, as some patients prefer the hybrid effects or report that even a small amount of THC will more fully activate the pain-relieving effects of the CBD. Consider what you’re comfortable with before making a purchase. You should always purchase cannabis products from a licensed and compliant retailer, to ensure the highest quality product and that product labels accurately reflect the amount of CBD contained within.
There are many forms of CBD to assist with stress management. For momentary instances of anxiety and stress, you could try the Terra-Fron Tincture for easy dosing. Simply place the dropper under the tongue and hold oil there for at least thirty seconds before swallowing. You could opt for a more regimented approach with CBD supplements or by starting your day off right with a CBD infused cup of coffee.
There’s a growing body of scientific evidence for CBD’s anti-anxiety properties. In both human and rodent studies, less anxiety in response to stress was reported/observed. CBD improved public speaking performances both for people with and without diagnosed anxiety disorders. It seems that if you’re looking to relax your mind in a low-impact way, CBD is a good bet for you.
CBD can also assist with stress-related disorders other than anxiety, such as trouble sleeping and muscle tension. A small but growing body of studies suggests that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep, although it’s still early days in the area of “CBD for sleep” research. Muscle soreness is another common ailment, affecting everyone from sedentary office workers looking to just “relax the back,” to weightlifters who might otherwise turn to potentially-dangerous NSAIDs or muscle relaxers to ease their discomfort. For them, the less toxic nature of a regulated CBD oil could be an attractive alternative. It’s been scientifically observed to ease muscle inflammation.
Can CBD Lower Cortisol?
As mentioned above, one of the chemicals produced in the brain most associated with stress is cortisol. If CBD really can counter stress, one might expect to see some scientific evidence for CBD’s effect on the amounts of cortisol in the body. In fact, CBD has been observed to significantly decrease cortisol levels in the body’s plasma, suggesting that CBD can have an inhibiting effect on cortisol secretion. That’s not the only effect on the endocrine system CBD has been noted to have: it also can lower pancreatic insulin release, reducing obesity.
Can CBD Help Calm Nerves?
Yes. Chronic anxiety isn’t the only stress-related psychological condition CBD can help patients overcome. Studies have demonstrated that brain areas related to panic disorders are positively affected by the introduction of CBD, increasing calmness. Symptoms linked with excessive fear and anxiety occur in numerous neuropsychiatric disorders, including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). According to a 2015 study on the efficacy of cannabidiol for a broad swath of anxiety disorders, nearly a third of the U.S. population will experience some anxiety disorder in their lifetime. This contributes to a diminished sense of well-being, as well as elevated rates of unemployment, relationship breakdowns, and suicide risks. This can cause an immense social and economic burden. If you’re looking to relax your mind for any reason, CBD presents a promising avenue.
Can CBD Help My Pet With Separation Anxiety?
Humans aren’t the only living things affected by anxiety, and as illustrated above, the stress-relieving effects of CBD have been observed even in rodents. While your pet may not have to deal with a high-pressure career or a mortgage, lifestyle changes can nevertheless present a source of stress for them. Common pet anxiety sources might be situational, like loud thunderstorms, or behavioral, such as separation anxiety. When dogs and cats are anxious, they may pace, pant, whimper, tremble, become aggressive, not eat, or “act out” by urinating/defecating on the floor in spite of being house trained. Pet owners have self-reported positive behavioral changes in their pets after incorporating CBD into their lifestyles. Many pet owners use CBD tinctures to mix oil into their furry friend’s food, or give CBD infused treats before a potentially stressful event like a checkup at the vet. It’s always important to discuss CBD with your veterinarian before you start treating your pet, especially if they are on other forms of medications.
You’ve probably heard a lot about CBD in the media. The vast array of speculation, promises, and products might lead one to think it’s just another in a long line of cure-alls that failed to live up to the hype. There’s a growing body of peer-reviewed scientific evidence pointing to its novel usefulness for reducing anxiety, stress, and its related psychological and physiological ailments.
Of course, it’s important to remember that you should speak with your doctor about any change to your treatment regimen. They can advise you if there are any known interactions between your prescription medications and CBD. Only a doctor should be trusted to diagnose, treat, or cure medical conditions, and this content is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
The bottom line is, if you’re looking to ease some of life’s everyday stress, you might want to try putting on some relaxing music and giving CBD a shot—it could work for you.
Disclaimer: Any therapeutic claims of CBD contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are for information purposes only.