CBD for Stress: An Introduction

woman in bed

April is Stress Awareness Month and so we are looking at how stress can affect the body and how CBD can interact with our internal systems to redress the balance. Keep reading to find out how you can use CBD for stress.

What is stress?

Stress is your body’s physical response to mental or emotional pressure.

When you’re stressed, your body believes it’s under attack and switches to what’s known as ‘fight or flight’ mode. As a result, a mix of hormones and chemicals are released into your body so that you prepare for physical action.

In small doses, stress can help you rise to the challenge and
it is normal to feel some stress around situations such as job interviews . But too much of it can damage your body and your mind. Learning how to better deal with stressful situations can help you feel calmer and more in control.

In the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope.

Symptoms of stress can include: feeling anxious or afraid, getting angry or aggressive, feeling overwhelmed or frustrated and depression.

Worried about stress?

One of the difficulties with stress is that people experience stress in different ways. This contributes to stress manifesting itself differently, therefore it is up to you to recognise your own personal stress triggers and take action to mitigate negative effects. If you are worried that you might be feeling too much stress then why not take the Stress Management Society’s FREE stress test? This can help you understand your own individual stress levels and help to make adjustments in your daily life.

What about CBD and stress?

CBD works with cannabinoid receptors that make up the body’s internal Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which was discovered by researchers in the early 1990s. These cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body. Endocannabinoids bind to them in order to signal that the ECS needs to take action. There are two main endocannabinoid receptors:

  • CB1 receptors, which are mostly found in the central nervous system
  • CB2 receptors, which are mostly found in your peripheral nervous system, especially immune cells

Experts are still trying to fully understand the ECS. But so far, we know it plays a role in regulating a range of functions and processes. Research has linked the ECS to the following processes:

  • appetite and digestion
  • metabolism
  • chronic pain
  • inflammation and other immune system responses
  • mood
  • learning and memory
  • motor control
  • sleep
  • cardiovascular system function
  • muscle formation
  • liver function
  • reproductive system function
  • stress
  • skin and nerve function

How can CBD help?

By interacting with the body’s internal endocannabinoid receptors, CBD has an impact on all of the processes listed above. This means that stress, anxiety, pain, mood, sleep and many more systems can be affected by CBD. Furthermore, studies have shown CBD could be particularly effective for people with stress or anxiety, and mental health issues exacerbated by sleep issues or pain.

Even for those without specific symptoms, CBD can assist in maintaining a state of bodily wellbeing. The growing body of research on the endocannabinoid system suggests that the endocannabinoid system switches into gear when it senses certain imbalances in the body, and then switches back off once order has been restored to the system.

To reach homeostasis, our bodily systems must find a balance. An example could be; an athlete applies greater stress to their body, leading to pain and inflammation. This is sending homeostasis out of balance; the endocannabinoid system then begins to try to restore balance to the body. Taking cannabinoids as a supplement can assist this process.

In conclusion, if you are struggling with stress there are a number of daily changes you can make to improve quality of life. Monitoring stress triggers and acting accordingly is a reactive management strategy, meanwhile adding daily CBD to your routine is a great way to proactively maintain bodily wellness.