Using CBD for stress and anxiety is becoming increasingly more common. Not only have many people found that daily use of CBD started to reduce their stress and anxiety, but scientific research also backs up the benefits of CBD for stress and anxiety.
Numerous studies illustrate the benefits of CBD for managing stress, anxiety, and even panic attacks. But how exactly does cannabidiol help the body counteract the negative effects of stress? According to researchers, the answer could have something to do with the relationship between CBD and the stress hormone known as cortisol.
As the hormone most commonly associated with stress, cortisol has a bad reputation. However, it’s actually a perfectly natural substance, responsible for regulating everything from blood sugar to your metabolism, and even your circadian rhythm (sleep cycle).
Unfortunately, high levels of cortisol created by stress can also have a negative impact on the body (and mind) over time. Similar to any hormone imbalance, an excess of cortisol disrupts the natural status quo (homeostasis) of the body, causing some unwanted symptoms. Fortunately, CBD could be the solution.
What is Cortisol? Understanding the Stress Hormone
Before we explore the potential of CBD for stress management, it’s worth getting a clearer idea of what cortisol is. Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland at various points throughout the day. This naturally-occurring hormone plays a significant role in the following:
- The body’s stress response
- Glucose metabolism
- Inflammatory response
- Blood pressure regulation
- Insulin management
- Immune function
The reason cortisol is most commonly associated with stress is because the adrenal glands often release this hormone when responding to physical or emotional pressure.
Cortisol is also the hormone released during the “flight or fight” response. When you perceive danger in your situation or environment, the amygdala (a structure in the brain) notifies the hypothalamus, which signals a range of responses, including the release of hormones such as cortisol.
In the correct doses, cortisol is essential for your body to function normally, and it can assist in giving you the focus and energy required to respond in dangerous situations. However, too much of this hormone has been linked to a host of problems, including certain cancers.
Dangers of Too Much Cortisol
Exposure to high amounts of cortisol is one of the many reasons why chronic stress is so detrimental to your health. When your cortisol levels are too high, the hormone imbalance in your bloodstream can prompt symptoms such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
- Decreased bone density
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Decreases in muscle tissue
- Muscle tension and chronic pain
- Impaired cognitive performance
- Lower immunity and slow wound healing
- Suppressed thyroid function
- Increased belly fat (stress belly)
Each of these threats also come with their own individual risks. For instance, excess belly fat is linked to a greater number of health problems than other forms of fat throughout the body. High abdominal fat can increase your risk of metabolic syndrome, heart attacks, strokes, and more.
High levels of cortisol can also lead to a condition called Cushing Syndrome, which can lead to the formation of adrenal tumors.
While a little stress doesn’t necessarily mean you’re exposed to too much cortisol, constant exposure to high levels of stress can definitely throw your body off balance. Long-term exposure to elevated cortisol and other symptoms of stress can wreak havoc on virtually every part of your body, prompting an increased risk of countless health issues, from depression to heart disease.
CBD for Stress: How to Manage Cortisol Levels
CBD for stress can be an effective component of a comprehensive strategy for managing stress. As mentioned above, cortisol levels naturally fluctuate throughout the day, but cortisol often increases when you’re exposed to “stressful” thoughts or situations. Taking CBD oil to counteract these stressful thoughts and experiences could be a powerful way to maintain balance.
Most experts recommend a holistic approach to dealing with stress and the issue of high cortisol. If you’re concerned your cortisol levels are dangerously high, you may need to speak to a doctor to rule out the risk of chronic conditions.
Many doctors will also recommend counselling sessions and relaxation methods as part of your stress management program. This could include breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, guided imagery, and even journaling which could help reduce your stress in addition to the consumption of CBD oil.
CBD for stress is an effective way to relax the body and mind, and many people swear by it when it comes to managing stress.
Studies indicate that CBD (Cannabidiol) is effective at resolving periods of stress and potentially modulating cortisol output. By relaxing your mind and body, the right dosage of CBD tells the adrenal glands to reduce the output of cortisol. This study on human volunteers found a significant decrease in cortisol levels when patients took CBD and were exposed to stressful situations.
How Using CBD for Stress Influences Cortisol Levels
The use of CBD for stress isn’t a new concept. Some of the earliest research into the benefits of CBD highlight the impact the substance can have on feelings of stress and anxiety. The study mentioned above from 1993 indicates CBD is valuable at reducing cortisol secretion.
By lowering the secretion of cortisol from the adrenal glands, CBD could also be a valuable anti-catabolic compound, capable of minimizing the breakdown of muscle mass in the body, caused by high levels of cortisol.
Studies have also highlighted the benefits of CBD as a tool for minimizing anxiety. In this review, cannabidiol was highlighted as a potential natural remedy for a range of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The study notes CBD not only can help reduce the impact of short-term stress and anxiety, but may also reduce the risk of long-term physical side effects caused by excessive stress.
A research study from 2020 found CBD could also reduce the risk of people suffering from high levels of stress experiencing “psychosis”. The report indicates use of CBD during periods of stress for a series of patients can reduce the synthesis of cortisol in the body.
Other Benefits of Using CBD for Stress
Aside from reducing the body’s cortisol levels, CBD can also battle stress in a variety of other ways. For instance, when the body experiences stress, it increases the risk of oxidative damage and inflammation, which can lead to discomfort, and further the stress responses caused by physical issues. CBD’s potential antioxidant properties could fight against these problems.
Better sleep can also lead to a better mood and reduced stress. With regular consumption of CBD oil, many people experience improved sleep at night. Using CBD for sleep is very common. Cortisol levels naturally spike to higher levels in the morning, to help control the circadian rhythm. However, if you’re suffering from chronically high stress levels, excessive cortisol could make it much more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
The less sleep you get, the more likely you are to experience more significant symptoms of stress, from panic attacks to depression. Research into the benefits of cannabidiol indicates it could be an extremely valuable tool for improving sleep patterns. CBD can soothe the mind and body for sleep, and promote a higher quality of more restful sleep.
Managing Cortisol Levels with CBD
Cortisol is one of the body’s most important hormones, and something we simply couldn’t live without on a day-to-day basis. However, making sure the amount of cortisol in your body remains as balanced as possible (rather than constantly being elevated) is crucial. Using CBD for stress could be the ideal way to get your mind and body more relaxed, meaning that CBD could help regulate your nervous system.
Not only is CBD excellent for managing all kinds of stress and anxiety, but it’s also safe to use for the majority of people, with virtually no side effects. CBD could be the easiest and safest way to bring your stress levels down to a minimum.
If you suffer from chronic stress or anxiety, try Wunderkind Extracts Indica Full-Spectrum CBD Oil.