Stress affects everyone and recognising the signs and dealing with them appropriately can enable us to improve our health and quality of life. There are many ways to deal with stress and for some individuals, taking CBD has been part of the solution.
Right now, we’re all trying to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and many of us are self isolating, which can be a trigger for stress making it harder to relax. Part of this is because as we spend more time at home, perhaps working from home or self-isolating, it can be harder to find ‘chill out’ time and space as we’re adapting to using our homes in a different way.
Here we take a look at stress and how it affects the body, how CBD could help and other ways to reduce stress in our daily lives, during this pandemic and afterwards.
What is stress?
When we are stressed it is our body’s way of reacting to some kind of threat or demand and can leave you feeling overwhelmed or panicked. Stress can inspire some of us to take on a challenge and may also give us extra strength to defend ourselves, or to take ourselves away from a situation.
When we encounter danger, stress is our defence mechanism and our aid in dealing with the immediate danger.After its initial impact, which drives us to complete a task or survive a stressful situation, if it sticks around for the long term it can quickly become detrimental to our health, productivity, mood, relationships and quality of life.
CBD can be used to help deal with these symptoms; it can decrease anxiety and stress and make positive changes to mood. It can also help aid a good night’s sleep, decrease nausea and increase appetite. In times of uncertainty and stress, CBD can help bring a greater quality of life and reduce worries that eventually will be detrimental to our health.
Covid-19 as a trigger for stress
Currently the Covid-19 pandemic is sweeping the globe, causing disruption to all of our lives and bringing with it much anxiety and stress. Now, lots of us are quarantined or have families that are isolated, places of social gatherings like pubs, restaurants and gyms are closed and many people are without work.
Whether we are stressed about where the next pay cheque is coming from, or if we are able to buy toilet paper or essential groceries, stress is surrounding us all. As humans we function socially and much of our unwinding is done by socialising or exercising, such as going to meet friends, having a drink or going to the gym or a weekly dance class.
To see the current advice and latest updates on the pandemic, visit the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
What are the causes of stress?
Causes of stress can vary from person to person; what a desire that drives one person to meet a target can cause massive anxiety to another. We all thrive under different circumstances and in different ways but there are some general situations that influence our stress levels and cause them to rise.
When we feel threatened, our nervous system floods our body with powerful stress hormones which rouse our body for emergency action. Our senses become sharper, blood pressure rises and our hearts pound. The changes increase reaction time and stamina and improve focus resulting in the reaction we call ‘fight or flight’.
Some of the causes of stress are:
- Major life changes
- Financial problems
- Being busy
- Relationship difficulties
- Children and family issues
Internal causes of stress can be:
- Unrealistic expectations
- Negative thoughts or self talk
- Inability to accept uncertainty
- Rigid thinking, lack of flexibility
These are just some of the ways in which we can become stressed or allow stress to take over. When we become stressed chronically, we can become depressed or anxious, which can lead to new health problems starting to arise and cause our health to deteriorate.
Lots of these causes are to do with our quality of life or inability to deal with certain aspects of it. Only we have the power to deal with, change how we feel about, or how we react to certain aspects of our lives. Having a positive healthy mindset is a good start to reducing stress and help is available from professionals, including cognitive behavioral therapy, counselling, meditation and many other wellbeing methods.
The dangerous thing about stress is that it can creep up on us. We don’t necessarily notice the signs or symptoms as they are worsening, so it is a good idea to have an understanding of what these can be, and where possible, take action to manage stress in a sustainable way.
What are some signs and symptoms of stress?
- Aches and pains
- Loss of sex drive
- Frequent illness
- Nausea and dizziness
- Depression or unhappiness
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Agitation and anxiety
- Loneliness or isolation
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
- Using alcohol or drugs to relax
- Nervous habits (pacing, nail biting etc.)
- Constant worrying
- Poor judgement
- Anxious or racing thoughts
- Inability to concentrate
If you are suffering from stress, the NHS have excellent resources on dealing with stress, including helplines, peer support, apps and audio guides on wellbeing.
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is one of 113 currently identified active compounds of the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids interact with our endocannabinoid system, which runs through our central nervous system, including the brain and also our peripheral nervous system. It is involved with various activities of our immune system, appetite, memory and pain-sensation and in mediating the pharmacological effects of cannabis.
The serotonin receptors influence neurological and biological processes, some examples include:
CBD, although an active compound of cannabis, is not responsible for making us high and doesn’t have psychoactive properties (unlike another of the compounds THC). CBD comes in many forms and as a full spectrum product does contain trace amounts of THC, usually below 0.2%, which is the legal limit in Europe and is deemed low enough to not cause psychoactive effects.
How can CBD reduce stress?
CBD combats anxiety by stimulating neurotransmitter systems and neural regeneration. Serotonin is generally associated with generation of happiness, but the role of the serotonin neurotransmitter is extremely complex. More serotonin is not necessarily better and dysfunction can come from too much or too little serotonin, as well as malfunctions with the receptors. There are 14 receptors for serotonin but CBD binds specifically to 5-HT1A which is believed to play the strongest role in anxiety disorders.
CBD prevents overstimulation of our CB1 receptor (which is responsible for modulating neurotransmitter release and reducing pain and other inflammatory symptoms) by boosting our body’s production of endocannabinoids. Experiments show that CBD relieves OCD and other anxious behaviours.
Chronic stress can be held responsible for shrinking our brains and doing damage to neurons, even though our brains have the capability to generate certain areas. CBD is proven to stimulate the growth of new neurons leading to reduced anxiety.
This shows that CBD could help counterbalance the damage done by chronic stress.
What types of stress does CBD help with?
Studies have found that correctly dosed CBD oil has anti-depressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects. It has been shown to reduce stress and social anxiety as well as insomnia.
CBD can be used to treat many types of stress and anxiety disorders, such as, but not limited to:
- Panic disorder
- Generalised anxiety disorder
CBD products can be used to not only treat stress disorders, but also to alleviate general stress symptoms. It can be used as part of a healthy lifestyle and as a supplement to boost immunity and help to regulate pain and mood. CBD is becoming increasingly popular in recent years in mainstream and alternative or holistic treatments. It can be a suitable product for anybody needing some stress relief or prevention.
If it is just a couple of drops to wind down after work, or as a daily supplement to get rid of nerves for a big presentation, or set you up for a stress-free day, there is a product that can benefit us all. As well as alleviating symptoms of stress or anxiety CBD can be antipsychotic, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective.
A growing number of people are using CBD for stress, anxieties or other ailments. Furthermore, a rising number of pharmaceutical companies are investing in research into the benefits of CBD and medical marijuana.
We don’t have to be diagnosed with a condition or disease and neither do we need a prescription for CBD (although it is recommended to always consult your GP before taking CBD, especially if you take any medication). It is possible to choose the product that best suits your lifestyle and meets your individual requirements, from edibles, teas, herbs ,oils, topical balms and CBD vape oils.
CBD oils for stress
Here we take a look at how we can integrate CBD into our lives, how to measure our dosage and which product is right for us.
CBD oils are one of the fastest and easiest ways to get our dose of CBD. They come in different size bottles of different strengths; some are water soluble, some you hold under the tongue and there are even oils you can spray into your mouth. When we ingest CBD oil orally, the effects can be felt almost immediately (depending on strength and bioavailability). It is easy to take both at home and on the move, easy to integrate into our daily routine and if we need a top up we can get it on the go.
Adding CBD to our daily routine is as simple as putting a couple of drops under your tongue or in a glass of water. Most CBD oils come as a % of pure CBD per mg. Most CBD products recommend to start with 2 or 3 drops and judge the effects for yourself. If you need more relief simply have 1 or 2 more drops.
CBD oil is available as an isolate or full spectrum, both in a variety of strengths and methods for taking. Some manufacturers have started combining other supplements with CBD for a more wholesome product, such as turmeric CBD oils. Some oils come in a pipette style dropper bottle for better dose regulation and others in the form of mouth spray.
How is full spectrum different to isolate and which is better?
The main difference between these two types of oil is that the isolate oils are a pure CBD extract, which means that the CBD has been extracted to a pure state and does not contain any additional cannabinoids or terpenes.
People select isolate oils due to their purity and because it is free from other cannabinoids and does not have any THC content. THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that gives the high feeling.
Full spectrum CBD oil contains other cannabinoids and terpenes and is a more organically complete product. When the CBD oil contains other cannabinoids and terpenes they work together in a synergy to produce ‘the entourage effect’. People choose this oil for increased effectiveness. As this is a more complete product there is a trace amount of THC left (not enough to cause a high) and in Europe this must be less than 0.2% to be considered legal.
Neither of the oils are technically superior, it is just down to personal preference.
Other types of CBD products to try
CBD is an incredibly diverse product and can take all forms, shapes and sizes. There is an ever growing range of edibles in various strengths, you can find vape oil with tropical flavours and you can find smokable CBD hash, CBD jelly, etc. New products are always joining the CBD marketplace and quality is ever improving.
Why not test out some CBD gummies where each gummy sweet contains a whopping 10mg of CBD or brew up your morning coffee with some CBD coffee beans?
The options are nearly endless, there is a product for everyone. Now we can find muscle creams for sport injury and even cosmetic products like acne repair gel or day/night moisturizers! Have a browse in our online shop to see exactly what is available, what could best benefit you and fit into your lifestyle.
Advice on taking CBD for stress
The FSA recommends anyone who is pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any other medication to seek the advice of a GP before taking CBD.
When you have decided that CBD is the right supplement for you, be sure to read the guideline dosage. For CBD oil we recommend a low dose of 2-3 drops to start with and judge the effects it has on you. Everybody reacts differently so if it is not enough, try increasing the dosage by another drop or two. Do not exceed the recommended dose.
It is a good idea to log your dosage in a diary or journal and make a note of the effects it has for you. For example take note of how your mood changes after your dose or if you feel anxious after a while how topping up helps.
Some of us might find it works better to start the day with a dose and some of us might prefer to unwind with a dose in the evening.
Being able to tailor our dosage to our personal needs and also being able to have it whenever we need or want makes CBD a superior health supplement.
How long could CBD take to work?
The rate at which CBD becomes effective varies and is subject to many factors. If we consume edibles and have to digest and metabolise our CBD it will take longer than if we inhale a strong vape CBD oil.
Some of the oral oils on the market are highly bioavailable which means the absorption rate is increased and in turn we get more from our CBD as we can feel fuller, stronger effects, faster.
Some high quality CBD products can work almost instantly, like the water soluble oils or spray oils. Others like edibles, balms and lotions can take longer but if we have aching joint pains or chronic ache, a balm will benefit us more because we will be able to apply it directly and as often as we need.
Bear in mind that health supplements like CBD are to be used in conjunction with a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
To get the most out of your purchase try including other elements to your day that help you to unwind and destress. Many of us take for granted the benefits of going for a walk or doing some exercise, perhaps mindful practices like yoga or meditation can be beneficial, maybe switching your brain off and settling down to watch a TV series or a movie is more your thing.
Whatever it is you enjoy, be sure to take some time to be without stress and free yourself from worry, if only just for a little while.
Disclaimer: Please note that you must be 18 years or older to purchase CBD products. All claims and effects of CBD have been regulated by the MHRA since 2016 and distributors require a license from the MHRA to make any medical claims. Claims are opinion based and non-scientific, and while we may discuss the opinions people share, they are not our own. Our CBD is not intended to treat, cure or prevent disease. Although we can advocate its calming & healthy properties it is in no way intended for medicinal use.