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Stress and CBD – What Do We Know?

Stress is in insidious thing. It can build-up within our minds and bodies unnoticed – then, without warning, pounce and leave us feeling drained, tired, and frustrated with ourselves.

Thankfully, stress’s prevalence means that there is a wealth of research into the condition, and that sufferers can always find resources to help. From talking about the problem to treating the physical and mental symptoms, there is plenty we can do.

But what about CBD, which is surrounded with promising health claims – many of which overlap with the common symptoms of stress? Below, we look at the condition in more detail – and what we understand about how the CBD flower, with its unique effects on the mind and body, could help.

First of all, what is stress?

What a question. True, it may sound as basic as asking, ‘Why is the sky blue?’ or, ‘How come we wear shoes?’, the truth is that stress is a lot more than the sum of its symptoms. We all know how it feels to have a racing pulse, a mind filled to bursting with thoughts and worries, hot cheeks and that heavy, nauseating lump in your stomach. We’ve all experienced sleepless nights, the early morning sinking feeling, and that feeling of not being able to let things go, relax, and enjoy non-stressful times as much as we should.

But stress is a lot more than that. Yep, it’s a real stinker.

Stress is officially characterised as a anything that puts the mind, the body, or your emotions under strain. There’s no one universal cause for it, and some of us are just more vulnerable to experiencing the effects of stress than others.

Stress can be an acute reaction. In other words, it can come (and go) very suddenly, and last only as long as the stressor – the thing causing the stress – is present.

Then again, stress can also be chronic. Even when there is no obvious stressor present, our minds and bodies can go on existing in a constant state of low-level stress. Insomnia, mood swings, unexplained pains, brain fog, lowered immunity, and feeling yourself withdrawing from friends and family are just a few of the symptoms associated with chronic stress.

It’s also important to remember that anything can stress anyone out. Yes, your job may not involve brain surgery or air traffic control – true, your upcoming family meal may not be on a par with losing a job or moving halfway across the world – but, if it causes you stress, then it’s a stressor.

So, in short, stress is a physical and/or psychological response to a stressor. It’s something we all experience, but in different ways.

What helps stress?

Common advice seems to be avoiding the things that cause us stress – but, let’s face it, that’s terrible advice. None of us can avoid all of life’s stressors. Even if you’re free from the demands of work, financial stress, and having to call people on the phone, you’re still going to run into some of life’s big disruptions sooner or later.

Different people will find different things work for them. From exorcising demons at the gym at 6AM, to taking long, steaming baths every Friday night, there are so many different ways people attempt to balance the stressors – and the feeling of stress – with the things that help them to relax.

Obviously, a bath or a session on the punching bag doesn’t take anything away but, for many, the best results can be found in balance – taking the bad with the good (provided the bad isn’t too bad).

There are, however, some extra things we can explore to help our minds and bodies shake off those feelings of stress, and find it easier to reach that sense of calm each day. A balanced diet can help our bodies to cope with the physical strain, and give energy levels a natural boost, while exercise can lead to a rise in the ‘feel good’ hormones (endorphins), which can help you to feel. Breathing exercises can provide you with a way to cope when you are ‘in the moment’, while opening up to others – friends or mental health professionals – can be extremely valuable in the short- and long-term.

Does CBD Help Stress?

There is some evidence to suggest that the symptoms of stress could be eased with CBD.  No one can make any definitive claims yet, as, for health and wellness product, years and years’ worth of research need to be undertaken before researchers can reach any conclusions.

Then again, the pool of research available to us is always growing. Comprehensive literature reviews and case series offer more and more insight each year into how our bodies interact with CBD.

One of the main potential benefits offered by CBD is the feeling of calm many users have reported. While CBD does not produce anything akin to the ‘high’ that marijuana (weed) creates in users, many do report a sense of relaxation and stillness – something that can offer the perfect antidote to moments of intense stress, or a great aid if you’re struggling to ‘unwind’ in the evenings.

CBD also has potential to aid in some of the exacerbators of stress. Insomnia, anxiety, and mood swings are all thought to be connected to the endocannabinoid system, which is what CBD interacts with when it enters the body (whether through vape, smoke, oil, or edibles). For instance, this study from Neurotherapeutics found that CBD demonstrates strong potential in reducing anxiety-behaviours associated with PTSD, OCD, and other disorders.

In 2021, the Journal of Cannabis undertook a cross-sectional study, looking at the top reasons people chose to use CBD. Interestingly, more than 40% listed anxiety and sleep problems, while 37% reported general health and wellbeing.

Also, CBD’s well-established anti-inflammatory effects can be a real benefit to those suffering from aches and pains throughout the body.

There is a broader supply of scientific literature written on the symptoms of stress – insomnia, pain, anxiety, etc – than there are on CBD for stress as a single subject. This is understandable, since stress is generally characterised as a composite of different symptoms, which means that it is experienced differently by everyone.

For that reason, CBD will help different users differently, even if every user reports feeling stress. The mounting anecdotal and scientific evidence supporting its ability to help sufferers of stress, however, make it well worth integrating into your wellness routine.

CBD can be vaped or smoked, added as a supplement to food and drink, or baked into a range of edibles, which makes it very easy to use whenever you need to feel supported from within. We have put together a full guide to choosing the right CBD product for you, in case you need a little help getting started.

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