Let’s be honest - the last two years haven’t been easy for anyone. From health scares, to work concerns, cultural shifts, and daily stressors, it’s no surprise that the pandemic has negatively affected mental health, worldwide.
At the same time, there’s been a rise of interest in holistic, and organic ways of eating, living, and healing. Including, an increase of consumers turning to CBD and hemp-derived products as a natural method of relief for many common aches and pains. Like, stress and anxiety.
So, does CBD live up to its hype for improving moods? Find out, as we explore all the latest stress and anxiety research, consumer findings, and all the inner workings of the therapeutic cannabinoid in our beginner’s guide to CBD for stress and anxiety.
The Toll of Stress
2021 marks the year that stresses were at an all-time high. In fact, a February report showed stress levels amongst US adults were higher than they were in the early days of the COVID 19 pandemic. Even more, throughout the pandemic 4 in 10 US adults reported symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders, up from the previous 1 in 10 reported in June 2019.
But, stress is more than just a pesky, nagging feeling of worry that lingers from sunup to sundown. It can have a serious toll on your health. Stress not only affects your thoughts, behavior, and mood but can affect your body, too.
According to the Mayo Clinic and other medical experts - stress going ‘unchecked’ can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. The severity of these conditions makes it even more important to know the signs of stress and anxiety and being proactive to remain calm, cool, and collected.
To do so, many consumers are harnessing the natural plant powers of hemp and its primary cannabinoid CBD. But, can CBD really help stress and anxiety? Let’s get into all the research that’s been conducted so far to find out.
The Science Behind CBD for Stress & Anxiety
It’s likely you’ve heard family members, coworkers, or friends rave about CBD stress relief and have wondered - does CBD oil really help with anxiety? Even with a collection of real-life narratives on CBD stress support, there’s nothing better than clinical trials and research to uncover the truth.
So instead of scouring the internet for the information yourself, we’ve compiled all the latest science and findings behind CBD oil for stress and anxiety.
- CBD may have anxiolytic traits - In 2013, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published study results that reported: “CBD was shown to offer benefits including acting in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent.” The most important trait for stress and anxiety is ‘anxiolytic’ which by definition means ‘reduced anxiety’.
- CBD may boost serotonin - Research has concluded that certain dosages of CBD appear to activate and influence the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor positively. If you didn’t know, serotonin is nicknamed the ‘happy chemical’ by the scientific community for its unique role in boosting moods. Even more, low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, and common medications used to treat the condition are SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)). These unique inner-workings are the reason why the medical community is further exploring CBD as an alternative treatment for serotonin-related conditions, including depression, anxiety, and overall stress.
- CBD may help treat anxiety disorders - One 2015 study review concluded that evidence from preclinical and clinical trials suggest CBD may be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders like -
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) - With the National Institute of Drug Abuse in agreement that CBD is effective at reducing stress associated with GAD as shown by a small animal study.
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD) - One 2011 study further solidified CBD’s effects in reducing anxiety levels for those suffering from SAD when administered an oral dose of 400 mg of CBD.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - A collection of studies has also proven that CBD is successful at reducing many common symptoms of PTSD, including the replay of negative memories and nightmares.
- Panic disorder (PD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- CBD’s anti-anxiety effects may improve daily routines - A more recent 2020 study conducted in New Zealand proved CBD benefits for anxiety may help improve the overall quality of life. The small group reported significant improvements in “ their ability to perform daily functions'' with CBD’s ability to reduce anxiety and pain. Another small study on adults produced similar results in 2019, when CBD use for anxiety and sleep problems were investigated. After two months of receiving a 25 mg - 75 mg CBD dose, 78.1–79.2% of participants reported improved anxiety symptom improvement.
While the medical community catches up on years of research lost due to the criminalization of hemp and cannabis plants - these studies show promise in CBD alleviating stress and anxiety symptoms and hope for more definitive and conclusive results in the future.
CBD Best Practices To Relieve Stress
Of course, it’s also important to note that in today’s modern world all CBD can’t be treated the same. Not only can quality vary from brand to brand, but the exact contents, blends, and formulations can too. To achieve the utmost efficacy from CBD oil for stress and anxiety, it’s crucial to understand the differences.
For stress and anxiety, it’s important to understand CBD products will differ in type - whether full-spectrum, isolate, or broad-spectrum. Full-spectrum CBD oils, edibles, tinctures, and other goods contain the whole profile or ‘full-spectrum’ of cannabinoids, compounds, terpenes, and flavonoids extracted from the hemp plants. That includes up to 0.3% allowable THC, per the 2018 Farm Bill.
Broad-spectrum contains the same ‘full-spectrum’ but without any trace amounts of THC. Isolate products, on the other hand, contain CBD and only CBD. So, why does the type of extraction matter when it comes to CBD stress relief? Because specific hemp terpenes have their own beneficial stress-relieving effects, themselves.
Terpenes at their core are the aromatic compounds of hemp flowers, but are proving to produce their own therapeutic benefits as well. Including -
- Limonene - The Limonene terpene found in hemp and cannabis plants is responsible for unique citrus aromas, of lemon and orange. Studies have shown that limonene is not only stress-relieving in effects, but could be an effective antidepressant too. These studies also show that limonene might also be influential in boosting serotonin, that happy chemical we previously discussed.
- Caryophyllene - Caryophyllene is one of the most abundant terpenes found in hemp and cannabis plants, that animal studies are proving could also be stress-relieving in nature. It’s also one of the only terpenes that’s proven to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system directly, similar to cannabinoids like CBD and THC to produce their unique effects.
Other terpenes like Linalool, Pinene and Myrcene may also have the capabilities of calming or relieving stress and anxiety, but are far less researched than Limonene and Caryophyllene. So keep in mind, with the presence of a diverse terpene profile, consuming full-spectrum hemp goods is one of the most recommended best practices for harnessing the full benefits of CBD for anxiety and stress.
Natural Relief for Stress and Anxiety
All in all, only time will tell if using CBD oil for anxiety will become more mainstream as clinical trials continue to prove its efficacy. For now, what we do know is CBD benefits for anxiety are effective not only for real-time consumers but proven in small studies conducted so far.
In the meantime, with few side effects and a shift towards natural ways of healing - the use of CBD stress relief products is growing exponentially. As many consumers feel comfortable in self-exploring the benefits of CBD for anxiety and experiencing its effects for themselves.
If you’re interested in joining the CBD movement and looking for optimal results - always be sure to seek out high-quality, third-party tested, and carefully crafted hemp and CBD products - like the collection of premium Luce Farm Wellness CBD. Shop our USDA Organic selection now and begin your journey of natural and intuitive healing.