If you find yourself constantly feeling stressed out about your job, your relationships, or the state of the world in general, you’re not alone. Stress is a major epidemic in the United States. A third of Americans experience “extreme stress,” and nearly half of all Americans report that stress has a negative impact on their careers and relationships.
Managing stress can be difficult—sometimes counting to ten and squeezing a stress ball just doesn’t cut it. That’s why many Americans have been looking for alternative ways of dealing with stress, including using cannabidiol (CBD). But does CBD work for stress? Let’s explore.
What Is Stress?
The stress definition can vary depending on who you ask, but essentially, stress is emotional, physical, or mental tension.
Too much stress can have a serious negative impact on our health. However, not all stress is necessarily bad. Eustress is positive stress that can have benefits for the experiencer, as well as create feelings of euphoria. For example, The feeling of climbing the hill on a particularly large rollercoaster or getting ready for a first date can create eustress.
The harmful and unpleasant variety of stress is sometimes referred to as distress—think getting stuck in traffic while you’re already late for an important meeting. The most comprehensive definitions make a distinction between positive and negative stress.
Fight Or Flight
Whether it’s eustress or distress, stress is a chemical response to external stimuli. Early homo sapiens evolved stress responses to better avoid dangerous predators. The sight of a lion would activate the sympathetic nervous system, flooding the body with hormones and chemicals that would aid our ancestors in either fighting or fleeing. Hence the term “fight or flight response.”
Modern humans aren’t as likely to run into an apex predator hunting on the savannah, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t still experience the fight or flight responses. When your boss sends you an ominous email, and you feel your job may be in jeopardy, that’s a threat to your life, and your body reacts much in the same way as if it saw the lion.
The negative symptoms of stress can manifest in several different ways, including:
- aches and pains
- stress hives
- muscle tension
- digestive problems
- high blood pressure
- weakened immune system
- sexual dysfunction
Too much stress can be disastrous to our health and wellness. That’s why finding ways to manage your daily stress is essential. Here are some simple and natural ways to relieve stress.
Exercise and physical activity can release endorphins that cause our body to feel good and can help lower our overall stress levels. Similarly, spending time with friends and family triggers the release of hormones that can lead to stress relief.
In the case of stress, the old adage “laughter is the best medicine” rings true. Laughter not only helps to relax the body, but it also boosts our immune system, releases stress-combatting endorphins, and can improve our overall cardiovascular health.
A daily meditation practice can help re-center our spirit and quiet the intrusive stressful thoughts bouncing around our minds. Regardless of whether you practice mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, or guided meditation, just ten minutes a day can drastically reduce stress feelings.
CBD For Stress
CBD has not been formally approved by the FDA to treat stress. However, there is a mountain of anecdotal evidence, as well as preclinical research suggesting that CBD and other cannabinoids may reduce stress. For example, several human trials researching the effects of CBD on those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have found that the cannabinoid may be an effective tool for treating symptoms. It’s important to note that this research is still very much in the preliminary stages and, therefore, not definitively conclusive. However, the results are still promising.
How To Use CBD For Stress
Many people choose to take CBD oil for stress, but is this the best way to use CBD?
When taken orally, CBD has incredibly low bioavailability. This means that even the best CBD gummies for anxiety and stress will take a long time to induce effects and only utilize a small fraction of the CBD they contain. Inhalation methods like the elon® are not only faster acting, but they also don’t waste as many cannabinoids.
If you are using an oil or edible CBD, look for full-spectrum options. Full-spectrum CBD contains all the terpenes and minor cannabinoids naturally present in hemp. The presence of the compounds triggers what’s called the entourage effect and increases the effectiveness of CBD. Whole hemp flower is full-spectrum and a natural way to enjoy the calming sensations of CBD while also experiencing the intrinsic flavors and aromas of cannabis.