For the majority of the population in the US, stress has become part of their daily lives. While it is known that occasional stress can be beneficial to achieving and completing crucial tasks, too much stress can adversely affect the health of sufferers. Chronic stress is usually treated with pharmaceutical medications, but many people find that their side effects are unpleasant and are turning to CBD for relief.
The need to understand stress, how it affects the body and how to effectively relieve it is discussed below.
Explaining chronic stress and its causes
As people go about their daily lives, it is normal to feel stress with various issues that arise. These may include job insecurity, personal and work related-issues, increased workloads at school or work, the list is endless.
However, when this stress becomes prolonged and eats away at a person constantly, it is called chronic stress. The prolonged exposure to emotional pressure affects the endocrine system and the body’s release of corticosteroids.
The causes of chronic stress often have their roots in a traumatic experience that has not been properly worked out of the system. It continues to impact the daily life of the person and how they view the world. If chronic stress is left untreated it can lead to other medical conditions like chronic depression and serious medical conditions such as cancer heart attacks and strokes. The psychological load can also lead to committing suicide or even harming others.
Anxiety and stress share similar physical and emotional symptoms, but they are two different things. Stress is the body’s response to a threatening situation, while anxiety is a reaction to stress.
Taking the first positive step in stress relief
The majority of people in the US rely on pharmaceutical drugs for stress relief without realizing that they are just masking the problem by treating the symptoms and not the cause. The problem with these medications which include Prozac, Sertraline, Celexa and others is that they have undesired side effects. These include the risk of addiction, fatigue and even increased anxiety or depression.
Chronic stress sufferers can benefit in a positive way from seeing a licensed mental health professional and this should be the first step toward seeking relief. Fortunately, new studies are confirming what many have believed for a long time, CBD is capable of offering stress relief without any side effects.
What is CBD?
The oil that comes from the cannabis plant is known as cannabidiol, or CBD in short. The cannabis plant has over 100 different cannabinoids and CBD is one of them. Found in the leaves and flowers of the plant, cannabinoids are removed through the process of extraction and separation. The resultant crystalline structure is colorless and that is CBD in its purest form.
CBD has many known benefits and these include relief from pain, stress and anxiety. It has also been proven to be very effective in treating epilepsy. Just recently, the FDA approved a medication containing CBD for treating two rare forms of childhood epilepsy.
How can CBD help with stress relief?
Besides its well-known cannabinoid, THC, the cannabis plant has another active compound known as CBD. Unlike THC, CBD does not offer the mind-altering “high”. THC binds with the two receptors in the endocannabinoid system known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CBD impacts the CB2 receptor only. It inhibits the production of the FAAH enzyme which breaks down the endocannabinoid anandamide, resulting in the improved ability to cope with stress.
Since 2009, studies have shown that CBD helps to reduce anxiety by changing the brain’s reaction to it. This was observed in brain scans with changes to the blood flow patterns in the brain associated with stress and anxiety. CBD has also been shown to reduce social anxiety, often felt in people before public speaking. In the study, Reestel et al. found that the cannabinoid partially activated the serotonin 5HT1 receptors which help people adapt to chronic stress.
In a 2014 research study, performed on animal models, it was found that an appropriate dose of CBD oil had an antidepressant and anxiolytic effect.
Another analysis in 2015 showed that CBD has the potential to reduce stress and social anxiety disorders. These may include social anxiety disorder (SAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety disorder.
Finally, research in 2016, studied the effectiveness of CBD on PTSD and insomnia. The findings reflected that CBD significantly reduced PTSD induced anxiety, while it also aided a healthy sleep pattern.
CBD or THC
Both CBD and THC can fight chronic stress, but THC strains should be taken in much smaller does. Studies have confirmed that higher doses of THC can actually worsen levels of anxiety. CBD is the best choice for stress relief. It is easily available throughout the US and beyond.
Research in CBD use is still relatively new but so far none of the negative side effects that are seen in prescribed medication have been observed. Users of prescribed drugs often complain of dizziness, problems with memory, blurred vision, slurred speech, weight changes and many other side effects.
Some researchers have warned that smoking of CBD may have a negative impact on the health.
The dosages in CBD can be difficult to determine since it is not highly regulated yet. The frequency and dosage will depend on the type of preferred CBD product e.g. oil, tincture or tablets.
Get rid of stress for good
Stress has become so much a part of people’s lives that most go about their daily business, not even realizing that they are in need of stress relief. In the meantime, it is chipping away at their health and state of mind. For those that do realize that they need help, doctors often prescribe medications that may help for a short while or have other negative side effects.
CBD is available in a whole range of products that can be started off in the smallest of doses. For those that don’t like taking tablets, there are oils, tinctures and even balms and all are effective in alleviating the symptoms of stress.