18-30% of American adults suffer from some kind of chronic anxiety or stress.
Stress and anxiety-related disorders are sweeping the US as well as the entire globe. More and more people every year are being diagnosed with stress or anxiety-related conditions or disorders every year. Anxiety on its own is terrible enough for anyone to deal with, but anxiety itself is only the tip of the iceberg. Anxiety and stress can affect your health and daily life in a slew of awful ways including
– Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping
– Poor sleep quality
– Fluctuations in mood or temperament
– A lack of energy during the day
– Increased or decreased appetite which can lead to rapid weight loss or weight gain
– Manifesting itself as acute or chronic physical pain in the neck, shoulders, back and other areas of the body
– Affect your cognition and motor function
Why has stress become so overwhelmingly palatable in the US and what was is it affecting our health that we may or may not be aware of?
IMPACTS OF STRESS ON THE BODY AND MIND
Anxiety and stress can cause a huge strain on your mental health and over time can become a burden to yourself and your loved ones and your social circle. Not only that, but it can also put you at a much greater risk of developing other serious health-related issues and conditions:
Heart disease and other heart problems: High levels of stress over extended periods of time have a direct impact on the functioning of the heart. Not only does stress increase your heart rate and blood pressure, but it also increases the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides that are released in the bloodstream. Too much stress on the heart can substantially raise your risk of developing a blood clot or having a heart attack.
Alzheimer’s Disease: We have seen through animal testing that certain levels and amounts of stress can increase the rate at which lesions develop on the brain. We also know that stress inhibits the quality and quantity of sleep that you are able to get. Lack of quality sleep is beginning to be directly linked to your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Asthma and breathing: Stress can cause breathing problems and exacerbate the symptoms of asthma.
Depression: Stress and depression are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it is fairly common that prolonged periods of stress is a precursor for depression.
Stomach and Gastrointestinal Problems: Stress has some profoundly negative effects on the body and mind. From causing pain to creating gastrointestinal problems, stress can exacerbate stomach problems like ulcers, general GI irritation, heartburn, acid reflux, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Obesity and Obesity-Related Conditions: Stress can lead to stress eating, which can result in rapid or gradual weight gain. It isn’t uncommon that individuals under enormous amounts of stress for long periods of time to gain weight, which can lead to sluggishness and depression while putting you at a greater risk for things like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
Physically accelerating Aging: Stress will physically and visibly wear out your body faster. Some studies have shown that stress directly deteriorates your body’s cellular makeup by shortening your body’s telomeres, causing your body and mind to age at an accelerated rate.
Poor Immune Functioning: You may have noticed that when you are stressed you are more likely to get sick and that you are sick more often. Stress puts a massive strain on your immune system because your body and mind are constantly engaging in fight-or-flight mode.
Premature death: With all the negative effects that stress puts on your body, this is going to significantly raise your odds of dying prematurely.
THE SHORTCOMINGS OF ANXIETY MEDICATIONS
The exponential growth that we have seen in stress across the country has led to the subsequent boom in the pharmaceutical industry for medications that lower and treat stress.
Why don’t more people rely on anxiety medications?
On its face, taking medication to treat your anxiety may be the most logical solution. Unfortunately, the negative side effects that many of these potent medications can cause far outweigh the benefits of potentially lowering your anxiety.
Many commonly prescribed anxiety medications are addictive and can lead to serious chemical dependency. Other major side effects of antianxiety medications can include
– Heart problems
– Neurological issues
– Actually increasing your levels of anxiety
– Increased risk of depression and/or suicidal ideations
– Insomnia or trouble sleeping
– Addiction or chemical dependency
The next time that you are watching TV, pay attention to the ads that are played for anti anxiety medication. You will often hear or see that a long list of negative side effects that follows the few cited potential benefits of taking any given medication.
Where does CBD come into play with treating anxiety?
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is a totally natural compound that is derived from the cannabis plant. CBD comes from the Cannabis Sativa plant.
Is CBD marijuana?
This is where most of us tend to get confused when referring to CBD. It seems like a lot of people tend to use the terms hemp, cannabis, and CBD interchangeably, which can cause somewhat of a misnomer when it comes to speaking about the uses and benefits of CBD.
Think of Cannabis Sativa at the parent plant or the top of the umbrella. Underneath the top of the umbrella, there are two primary species of Cannabis Sativa: marijuana and hemp. CBD is present in both of these naturally occurring elements, but at a much higher concentration in hemp, as opposed to marijuana. Coincidentally, CBD also has much lower concentrations of THC (less than 0.3%), which is the key psychoactive ingredient present in these plants.
WILL I GET HIGH FROM CBD?
One of the questions that people ask the most when CBD is in question is “will I get high from using CBD?” You can probably get an idea of this from the nominally low percentage of THC in CBD, but to answer your question, no. You are not going to get high when using CBD.
THC and CBD are both cannabinoids. The cannabinoid THC is the active ingredient in traditional marijuana that is responsible for the high that you get from ingesting or smoking it. When CBD has been isolated and separated from the cannabis plant, that’s when less than .3% THC remains in the plant. This isn’t anywhere in the ballpark of the percentage of THC that CBD would have to have to create the sensation of being high.
What’s really incredible is that CBD is the second most concentrated cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, which makes it abundantly and naturally available for us to reap all of the benefits we are discovering, that CBD can offer. Separating CBD from the rest of these cannabinoids has given us the ability to identify the health and medical benefits that CBD has to offer.
IS CBD THE SAME AS MEDICAL MARIJUANA?
Medical marijuana typically contains THC, whereas CBD contains the very nominal amounts of THC that we just discussed. Therefore, medical marijuana can cause the high that is associated with marijuana use, whereas CBD does not.
IS CBD LEGAL?
Absolutely. CBD is legal federally as long as it does not contain any greater than the .3% THC.
FORMS OF CBD
Since it has been legalized federally, it seems like we can see ads and signs for CBD everywhere. It is being sold everywhere from convenience stores and grocery stores to specialty CBD companies online.
What forms is CBD sold in?
One of the most commonly found and sold types of CBD is in oil form, but there are lots of different ways that you can ingest CBD including
– Gummies and other edibles
Specialty shops, coffee shops, and even bakeries and restaurants are now adding CBD products to their menus. Can you believe that you can get a latte, muffin, or smoothie infused with CBD?
Adding CBD to CBD oil is one of the most common ways of ingesting CBD because it is portable and easy to use. Though there are many different ways that you can consume CBD oil is great because you don’t have to worry about the sugars and preservatives that you can get with edibles. This also gives you a safe and effective way to avoid the negative side effects that can come with smoking and vaping.
Now that you have a better idea of what CBD is and how you can take it, what is CBD’s relationship to stress? Can it actually improve symptoms of anxiety and depression?
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ANXIETY AND CHRONIC PAIN
Can CBD help relieve symptoms of depression? From the early tests and experiments that we are seeing, there is a strong body of evidence that makes us believe so. In animal testing we are seeing that CBB does have a positive effect on reducing stress in rats. Within the body of research associated with these tests, we are seeing a marked improvement in the physical behaviors that are indicative of stress as well as the physiological effects (elevated heart rate) that come with stress as well.
Even in the small body of human testing and clinical trials that we have witnessed, we are seeing noticeable improvements in CBD’s abilities to reduce stress and anxiety. Early testing and anecdotal evidence alike are showing us that CBD is a safe and effective means of treating general anxiety disorder (GAD). In certain tests, subjects using CBD were observed to have noticeable reductions in both physiological and visible symptoms of stress and anxiety, when compared to test groups undergoing stress, that were not using CBD.
CBD is also currently being used effectively to help those with specific forms of anxiety disorders such as social anxiety disorder (SAD). CBD is becoming commonly used to reduce stress for individuals that are overwhelmed with anxiety in specific and general social circumstances.
CBD is also being used to alleviate more severe forms of stress such as that which comes with post-traumatic stress disorder. There are multiple recent studies that observe individuals while using CBD as a standalone form of helping stress and anxiety as well as others where CBD is being used in conjunction with other forms of PTSD treatment and management such as therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. We are seeing noticeable improvements in stress-related symptoms when using CHD as a part of a regular routine for reducing and improving stress.
With its noted effectiveness in treating specific and general anxiety, we are also seeing growing communities of individuals with panic disorder and even obsessive-compulsive disorder using CBD as well.
HOW CBD WORKS NATURALLY TO REDUCE ANXIETY
What is the mechanism in CBD that seems to make it effective in managing, coping with, and treating all types of stress and anxiety?
CBD interacts with something in our body’s known as the endocannabinoid system ––– a network of receptors that occur naturally throughout the human body. Scientists discovered endocannabinoids as products that naturally and innately produced by the human body, and seem to be responsible for keeping the body at a certain level of homeostasis, in responses to changes in the environment.
What we have found is that our bodies have an endocannabinoid system that consists of an intricate network of receptors that can be found throughout the body. These receptors help regulate important functions in the body such as
– Immune system functioning
– Mood regulation
– Appetite and satiety
– and motor function
What’s CBDs relationship with the endocannabinoid system?
CBD is what is known as a 5-HT1A agonist, which is a type of serotonin (a major neurotransmitter in the body responsible for feelings of happiness) receptor. CBD is an agonist that is a receptor is commonly targeted by SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors).
SSRIs work to increase the level of serotonin in the brain, leading to feelings of happiness, contentedness, and relaxation. CBD has the ability to boost the signaling power that it relays to serotonin receptors This, in turn, increases the transmission of 5-HT1A and the positive effects of serotonin on the brain and body. All without the negative side effects that certain antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and other SSRIs can have.
ANXIETY AND CHRONIC PAIN
There are so many people in this country and around the globe that suffer from anxiety or depression. Anxiety and depression can both be byproducts of chronic pain in the body.
Think of a nagging injury that you’ve had for years or the chronic back pain that you have from sitting in your car or at a desk all day. Thankfully, CBD has also been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which can often be the source of chronic or acute pain.
While we are still early on in testing, there is strong anecdotal evidence indicating that CBD may be effective at treating chronic pain associated with arthritis.
With that, chronic anxiety and depression are so potent that they have the ability to exacerbate the symptoms of chronic pain, making the pain that you are already experience even more nagging, painful, or excruciating. Since CBD is seen to be effective for treating both inflammations at the source while combatting anxiety and depression, it has been reported that CBD has a high level of efficacy for reducing chronic pain.
WHY AREN'T MORE PEOPLE USING CBD FOR ANXIETY?
Overall, CBD appears to provide a lot of benefits and all with little to no downside. If that is the case, why aren’t more people using CBD to help them manage and minimize their anxiety?
The unfortunate truth is that a lot of this lies in the stigma that is associated with the use of traditional marijuana and THC. Even though the federal government has permitted CBD nationally, it seems that in a social sense, some still associate CBD with its psychoactive THC counterpart. With that, the use of CBD is still put in question or frowned upon by large communities of people across the country.
The other side is that there has not been a long or deep body of extensive testing or research with CBD and its ability to effectively treat or manage anxiety over the long term. Much of the information that we have access to is from short term or early testing, so we have yet to see what the long term benefits and effects of using CBD will be.
IS CBD SAFE?
When comparing the side effects of CBD with other anti-anxiety drugs and medications that can cause more problems than they fix, most would consider CBD extremely safe. As mentioned earlier, CBD appears to provide a plethora of benefits and maximum upside with virtually no negative side effects. You should, however, keep in mind that the way you consume CBD can make it more or less healthy. CBD gummies or baked goods can contain processed sugars and preservatives while inhaling smoke from a CBD vape might not be the safest or healthiest long term way to consume. CBD tinctures, oils, and topical solutions seem to provide some of the safest means of using CBD.
OTHER REASONS PEOPLE USE CBD
It seems that beyond treating anxiety, CBD can be beneficial for a variety of individuals and health conditions. What else is CBD being used for?
We are now seeing people use CBD for
– Managing symptoms of epilepsy
– Multiple sclerosis
– Depression and sadness
– Chronic pain
– Obsessive-compulsive disorder
– and more
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TAKE CBD FOR ANXIETY?
While there are lots of modes in which you can take CBD, we recommend that you shop around and do your research to find what may work best for you. In general, anything edible is going to absorb into the bloodstream much more slowly than say smoking it, but the effects of the CBD could last much longer as it passes through the digestive system.
CBD oil is one of the most widely found forms of CBD and is often consumed sublingually. This makes for faster absorption into the bloodstream than if you were to consume an edible.
What about the proper dosage?
Since the knowledge base that we have on CBD is still very much in its infancy, the dose of CBD that you should be taking is undetermined. This can very much vary based on weight, age, gender, genetics, and the severity of your anxiety.
We recommend doing as much research as possible on CBD companies, brands, and products before settling on your first one to try. Get as much feedback and information on your hands as possible before deciding which product would be best for you.