Are you looking for natural alternatives to relieve your stress because other traditional methods of stress relief like exercise, meditation and medication aren’t working for you?
We know that stress responses are partially regulated by your body’s endocannabinoid system, which is where CBD reacts upon ingestion. So, it makes complete sense that CBD may actually help regulate stress responses.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been wondering if you should hop on the CBD oil train to relieve some of that stress. But the oil can cost so much money that it’s a little scary to try it out. Could it be a waste of money?
How do you know if CBD will really help reduce your stress?
We’ll lay out the information for you so that you can make your own informed choice about whether trying CBD oil is worth the investment.
This article is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
What is CBD Oil?
You may have heard that CBD stands for cannabidiol, the chemical in cannabis and hemp plants known for its medicinal effects, such as pain relief, sleep and anti-seizure effects.
CBD oil is the concentrated form of this medicinal oil, whether it’s sourced from medicinal cannabis or industrial hemp.
But what is the difference between these two plants?
Both plants are actually forms of cannabis; it’s just that a plant must contain less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in cannabis, to be considered industrial hemp. Hemp still contains a lot of CBD, though, which can be extracted and converted into an oil.
This means that you can find two types of CBD oils: those extracted from THC-potent cannabis plants and those from nearly THC-lacking industrial hemp. The CBD is the same no matter which plant it comes from; it’s the level of THC in the oils that differs.
Note also that hemp seed oil is different than CBD oil derived from hemp. Hemp seed oil is pressed from the seeds of the hemp plant and doesn’t contain any CBD or THC. It’s a useful oil used in manufacturing and foods.
So, if you use CBD oil derived from 100 percent industrial hemp, you are not consuming a measurable amount of THC to cause any psychoactive effects. You will only be getting the benefits of the non-high-inducing natural chemical, CBD.
But Isn’t CBD Oil Illegal?
As long as CBD oil is extracted from industrial hemp-rated plants, it’s now completely legal according to the 2018 Farm Bill, as long as they contain less than 0.3 percent THC.
Laws vary from state to state on which types of cannabis and its derivatives are legal, whether for medicinal or recreational use. Therefore, in some states, patients use CBD products that come from the full-spectrum THC-containing cannabis plant.
THC causes the “high” feeling that most people associate with cannabis, so in industrial hemp derived CBD oil, which lacks THC at a measurable amount, you don’t have to worry about being impaired and/or breaking the law.
How is Stress Defined?
Let’s define stress before giving the facts about whether or not CBD really helps lower it. For the purposes of this article, we will be talking about:
Stress Associated with Anxiety and Depression
These are serious mental health disorders that can cause physical and emotional stress. Anxiety is when fear causes a patient to go into fight-or-flight mode, activating the body’s stress response and raising adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine levels.
Depression and is a deep feeling of sadness and hopelessness that doesn’t go away and affects day-to-day life. It usually results from situational stress or chemical imbalances. The biggest risk in patients with depression is suicide.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Right? Sometimes, that’s easier said than done.
Life serves up some tough situations which can raise stress levels in the brain and body. This can cause similar effects to anxiety or depression, releasing the same fight-or-flight hormones that can be damaging to your health.
Situational stress is generally be managed by finding new ways of thinking, or cognitive behavioral therapy. That’s the difference between situational issues and chronic depression/anxiety.
When the body can’t eliminate enough free radicals through use of antioxidants, they build up and cause stress. In various organs, the collection of too many free radicals can cause inflammation and tissue damage over time.
Can CBD Oil Help With Stress?
So, we come to the big question. Will CBD oil relieve your stress levels?
It’s important to remember that everyone is unique, responding differently to medications and chemicals introduced in the body.
With that in mind, you should know that the only FDA-approved use for CBD is as an anti-seizure medication. Because of the new legalization for hemp-derived products and the changing laws on medical cannabis in various states, research on the positive effects of CBD is still in its beginning stages.
Using some of the CBD studies that are out there, we’ll give you the information you need to decide whether or not CBD oil would be helpful in reducing your stress levels.
CBD Oil for Stress Associated with Anxiety and Depression
Studies say that CBD oil definitely helps alleviate some of the stress associated with anxiety and depression. One study found that CBD relieved Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) symptoms associated with public speaking.
Scientists conclude that those with SAD receive both anxiety-reducing and anxiety-causing effects from full-spectrum cannabis. They think that this is because higher levels of THC can cause anxiety symptoms, while higher levels of CBD can produce the opposite effect.
In fact, these two chemicals seem to work synergistically, balancing each others’ effects.
But more than one study has shown this anxiety-reducing effect from CBD. Another showed that CBD has been found to lower anxiety levels while being a medication with a high safety profile and few negative side effects. This study recommends further examination of CBD to be used as an anxiety-relieving drug.
Yet another study published by medical researchers shows that CBD has anti-depressive effects. This study is based on animal models with observations that can be transferred to human health.
So, the studies seem to support the use of CBD for stress related to anxiety disorders.
CBD Oil for Situational Stress
First, let’s look at the body’s response to stress. Studies have already shown that the endocannabinoid system helps regulate the hormonal response during stressful events.
CBD is a cannabinoid that affects the endocannabinoid system, helping to buffer some of the release of stress hormones. In other words, CBD helps the body regulate its response to stress.
One study used brain scans to measure how CBD affected the stress responses in subjects. The results showed that CBD lowers some of the stress response chemicals in the brain.
Scientists also found that patients who experienced anxiety before the brain scans were less anxious after being given a dose of CBD.
As far as situational stress goes, it seems that CBD can be helpful to the body’s response. Because of the way it interacts with a system so intertwined with stress response, the endocannabinoid system, CBD easily relieves stress chemicals in the body.
CBD Oil for Oxidative Stress
Many human diseases cause and are caused by oxidative stress’s tendency to damage tissues in the body (inflammation).
CBD is a cannabinoid that counteracts the effects of that oxidative stress, which means it can help repair some of the damage done by diseases and prevent them by staving off oxidative damage.
Conditions like pain, depression, immune system disorders and diabetes can all be caused by this type of oxidative inflammation, and therefore relieved through CBD action.
Another study showed that CBD lowered oxidative stress levels in heart patients with issues due to diabetes. This study further supports the idea that CBD can lessen inflammation due to oxidative stress in the body.
The Bottom Line on CBD Oil and Stress Relief
CBD oil is a complex topic debated by many. While some claim that it reduces stress levels, others say there is no proof. We’ve summarized some of the studies for you here so that you can make your own decision in the matter.
I don’t know about you, but the studies have me pretty convinced. I may finally be willing to shell out some money and order CBD oil from a reputable industrial hemp supplier.
It’s pretty evident that CBD could help with the stress in my life. It’s a natural solution that could reduce my stress hormone levels and potentially help protect my body from oxidative stress damage.
Are you ready to give CBD a try, or are you still not convinced? Hopefully, this guide will help you make the decision that is right for you.