CBD for Stress
However unpleasant, stress is natural—our body's instinctual reaction to an emotional challenge or physical tension. In short bursts, stress is a trusty ally, helping us avoid danger, meet a deadline, or give a great speech. This is because when we’re under pressure, our lizard brains kick into survival mode, releasing hormones that make our minds more alert, our pulses race, and our muscles tense up—just in case we need to outrun a lion.
Trouble is, stress can come from a lot of different sources these days. An event or a thought that makes us feel frustrated, angry, or nervous can cause stress, too—but our bodies aren’t smart enough to know the difference between a distressing thought and a hungry lion. Those fight or flight hormones linger in our bodies, telling it to stay on high-alert, even though our minds have long since moved on. Over time, stress hormones build up and put our health at risk.
Considering almost half of those surveyed say they regularly suffer from moderate to high levels of stress—this makes diagnosing and treating stress important for all of us.
Stress can cause many types of physical and emotional symptoms. You may not even realize that some of your symptoms are being caused by stress, such as:
- Upset stomach
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Lack of focus and energy
- Sexual issues
- Stiff neck or jaw
- Tiredness, fatigue
- Problems sleeping (sleeping too much, or too little)
- Aches and pains with no clear source
- Use of alcohol or drugs to relax
- Weight loss or gain
Stress Types and Causes
Stress typically comes in two forms:
Acute stress. This is normal, high-grade stress that comes over you in a flash, gets your heart pumping, and subsides quickly. You might experience this kind of stress when you have to slam on your brakes, or when you’re on a roller coaster ride. It keeps us alert and out of danger, but can also occur when we’re doing something fun or exciting.
Chronic stress. This is a low-grade, but always-there stress level that lasts much longer than a single episode - and will often stem from an ongoing worry or concern such as money trouble or relationship issues. Any type of stress that goes on for weeks or months is considered chronic—and, because you can become accustomed to it, some people don’t often know how stress is affecting their health until it turns into other, more serious conditions, such as:
High blood pressure
Depression or anxiety
Skin problems, such as acne or eczema
There are both pharmaceutical, and non-pharmaceutical treatments for stress. Your doctor can help guide you to what would be most effective for you. At-home treatments include:
Exercise is one of the best combatants to stress (along with sex)
B Vitamins can help keep focus, energy, and mood levels up
Herbal supplements such as kava root, passionflower, lemon balm, theanine, valerian root,
lavender, and chamomile have some anti-stress and anxiety properties.
Limiting social media exposure on the internet and smartphone
Motivating projects like decluttering or going on a wellness kick
Avoiding alcohol and drugs including caffeine and nicotine, as all can worsen stress and anxiety
Talk therapy with a trained counselor or trusted friend
However, if your stress is extreme or not being managed by at-home remedies, your doctor may proceed to a more clinical approach, such as:
Antidepressants like serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Paxil, Prozac and Lexapro
Sleeping pills or minor tranquilizers
Medication to treat physical symptoms of stress such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or high blood pressure
Alternative therapies for stress include:
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping). Similar to acupuncture, EFT focuses on meridian points to restore balance to your body’s energy and to reduce stress.
Breathing exercises have been shown to have an immediate impact on stress reduction.
CBD and other plant cannabinoids are growing in popularity, showing promise in at least three experiments (human trials underway) for the treatment of stress and anxiety (generalized, panic, OCD and PTSD).
Other relaxation techniques such as meditation, massage, and acupuncture.