Stress has become an almost inseparable and sometimes even consuming part of modern life. While stress can seem somewhat negligible or even a sign of weakness, prolonged exposure can materialize into palpable health complications, including heart problems, and even worse by some people’s standards, it can result in weight gain and acne.
Traditional prescription drugs for stress are a slippery slope, which can lead to tolerance, addiction, other vices, and all kinds of side effects. Alcohol has long been people’s go-to self-prescribed solution to stress. But as we know, it’s not a well you want to go to too often, as it can not only make you more anxious over time, but it can even grow into a separate, bigger problem in itself.
Introducing CBD into the mix makes your relaxation routine infinitely more balanced, moderate, and benevolent. Unlike the toll-heavy and potentially consuming prescription drugs and self-medication practices, CBD is like a loyal friend who is simply there for you, without asking for anything in return or dragging you into a toxic relationship.
It’s no wonder many “wine moms” are already shifting to CBD. Nobody is even saying you have to forego alcohol altogether, but simply to redistribute your resources for relaxation, so to speak.
How CBD Alleviates Stress
CBD is an external analogue of the neurotransmitters, produced internally by our own body, known as endocannabinoids. As such, the cannabinoid interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of our endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for maintaining our inner balance and regulating processes like pain, anxiety, inflammation, and more.
CBD for Different Types of Stress
It’s hard to say where stress ends and clinical anxiety begins. Even when stress is just born out of a hectic lifestyle rather than a mental health condition, it’s still anything but harmless, especially when it becomes the norm. Either way, CBD has been showing great promise in studies and anecdotal evidence across the entire stress and anxiety gamut.
CBD for PTSD
CBD has been sweeping through the war veteran circles, with many of them hailing it as a true godsend.
Besides anecdotal evidence, an increasing body of research backs up CBD’s potential to provide respite from PTSD. For instance, a retrospective case series found that out of 11 patients, 10 experienced a 28% decrease in PTSD symptom severity after eight consecutive weeks of treatment with CBD. The researchers concluded that CBD is a viable adjunct therapy method to regular psychiatric care.
Another scientific overview, be it one that focuses on studies on rodents, argues that “recent studies [on rodents] have confirmed the ability of CBD to alter important aspects of aversive memories in humans and promote significant improvements in the symptomatology of PTSD.”
CBD for OCD
Some case reports have outlined the positive effects of CBD on people with OCD, but perhaps the biggest feather in CBD’s OCD cap comes from a study from 2020. While it was actually on cannabis rather than CBD, it established a correlation between higher concentrations of CBD, higher dosage, and a higher rate of symptoms reduction, which were all in the 50-60% range.
CBD for Social Anxiety
While scarce, research on CBD’s properties in this particular anxiety niche has still been promising. One particular study on people with social anxiety revealed CBD’s anxiolytic properties on actual brain scans, tracking the cerebral blood flow. In another, more practical study on participants with social anxiety, 600 mg of CBD did something that can seem like borderline magic to people with this problem – it loosened their tongues before a simulated public speaking test. Granted, the dosage was large, and it was a simulation, but nevertheless, the study was a strong reason to be believe in CBD’s anxiolytic potential.
CBD for Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder has been an increasingly hot topic in the last few years, and this is where CBD’s powers arguably shine through the brightest. A solid body of anecdotal evidence and studies on human participants and animals have consistently demonstrated CBD’s ability to simply calm the mind without having to render it numb or knock you out cold.
Best CBD Product Types for Stress
Picking out the optimal CBD product type and delivery method can be stressful in itself, so we’ve devised a little handy guide to help you out.
These products’ contents span the full chemical spectrum of the hemp plant, including trace amounts of THC. The full spectrum works like an orchestra – like band members, the plethora of cannabinoids work in concert to produce a richer, synergetic impact, known in the cannabis field as the entourage effect, considered the X factor of cannabinoid magic.
The difference between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum is the complete lack of THC in the latter.
CBD isolate is pretty much what it sounds like – pure CBD concentrate, the purest money can buy (99%). For some, a solo performance by their favourite artist can be more powerful than a whole band.
CBD Delivery Methods
The next product categories are characterized by their way of delivering CBD to the body. This is not a mere technicality – on the contrary, the delivery method affects CBD’s bioavailability – its absorption rate into the body – and time of onset, both major factors in its efficacy in fulfilling specific needs.
For the purposes of stress relief, there are three product categories worth discussing.
CBD Oils and Tinctures for Stress
These are either oils or distilled alcohol, serving as CBD carriers. They’re usually applied either with a spray or a dropper, under the tongue, where they’re held for a minute before swallowed. The area under the tongue is rich in capillaries, which soak up the oil and insert it directly into the bloodstream. This way, CBD bypasses the liver and its third-pass metabolism, which not only delays the onset, but also takes a serious cut, something like an entry fee, leaving much less CBD for you. In other words, oils and tinctures are one of the most cost- and time-effective ways to consume CBD.
CBD Capsules and Edibles for Stress
These have lower bioavailability and a slower onset than oils because they go through the gut and liver and respectively the third-pass metabolism. However, they have the benefit of user-friendliness and convenience, as you can easily carry them around and pop them discretely in your mouth while keeping track of the exact dosage you’ve consumed. Moreover, gummies come in all sorts of nice flavours.
These two attributes make CBD edibles a more digestible and seamless option for people who need a quick fix on the go and/or have a hard time tolerating weird, bitter tastes that are characteristic of oils and tinctures.
CBD Vapes for Stress
Vaping produces the fastest onset – practically instant – but its bioavailability isn’t the greatest. CBD vapes are optimal for people who need an instant dose of stress relief.
Things to remember when choosing your CBD stress product
- Only choose brands that provide lab reports from third-party tests. Otherwise, their CBD products could be full of all kinds of contaminants, while ironically lacking in CBD.
- Because the right dosage is an extremely individual concept that depends on your endocannabinoid receptors and overall physiology, the rule of thumb is to start low – between 5-10 milligrams per day – and go slow.
- CBD isn’t an instant panacea, but it can be a driving force toward holistic wellness. Your expectations can be high, but not unrealistic.
N.B. Consult your doctor if you have any medical conditions that could be a variable in the equation.
CBD for Stress Essentials
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Choosing the right CBD product
We understand it can be quite daunting when choosing your first CBD product so have a read of our handy guide to help you choose the product that’s right for your needs.Help Me Choose