Many of us already dealt with an abundance of stress and anxiety before the pandemic hit. Now, as we struggle to re-establish normalcy in our everyday lives, the challenge to resume work, school, and our social lives may seem a bit overwhelming.
Our healthcare system teaches us to reach for a pill when something causes us discomfort or keeps us from smoothly getting through our daily routines. And, of course, the pharmaceutical industry recognizes the profit in offering prescription solutions to manage stress and anxiety. Not only do these drugs come with a hefty price tag, but they also include adverse and even dangerous side effects. Take a look at the list below:
- Benzodiazepines, commonly known as Xanax, treats social anxiety conditions such as the fear of intimacy or public speaking. Drowsiness and balance issues represent the two most common adverse side effects.
- Buspirone works with the brain’s chemistry to treat short-term panic attacks and long-term inherited anxiety disorders. The negative effects include dizziness, nausea, headaches.
- Antidepressants sold under the names of Paxil and Zoloft represent some of the most widely prescribed drugs for depression and anxiety. Patients report such side effects as dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, and sexual dysfunction.
- Tricyclics specifically treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The adverse side effects include constipation and weight gain.
What are the dangers of extensive stress?
We often connect the terms stress and anxiety. Stress results from a naturally occurring hormone cortisol, but an overabundance of this hormone causes us anxiety.
Anxiety refers to characteristics such as worry, apprehension, and nervousness, or an unsettled feeling. When we experience problems with money, family, work, or current events, we get forced into a ‘fight or flight’ mode as anxiety takes hold.
Our DNA impacts our level of anxiety and may manifest as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD or Social Anxiety.
Health problems associated with anxiety
Not too many of us enjoy feeling anxious. Anxiety lowers our productivity and our quality of life. The increased production of cortisol lends itself to severe and even life-threatening conditions such as:
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Heart disease
- IBS and other digestive issues
What is cortisol and is it always bad?
The hormone cortisol naturally occurs in the human body. Its production takes place in the Adrenal glands at the top of the kidneys. It works with the brain to control our mood and energy level.
When life gets too stressful, we associate that with the overproduction of cortisol. But problems also happen when we don’t produce enough of the hormone. Addison’s disease or insufficient cortisol causes such conditions as skin discoloration, low energy, and weight loss.
To help keep cortisol levels balanced, consider the following:
- Control inflammation through drinking water and a proper diet.
- Watch glucose levels, especially if diabetes may present a problem.
- Get plenty of restorative sleep.
- Make sure to incorporate exercise or physical movement into your daily routine.
What is CBD?
Many people who don’t want to deal with the various side effects brought on by prescription drugs to help handle stress and anxiety look toward natural methods. Indeed, many herbs and supplements may help with stress and practices such as yoga or meditation.
Cannabidiol or CBD oil represents one of the most effective supplements to manage stress.
CBD or cannabinol derives from the hemp plant. This common cannabinoid does not contain the psychoactive properties found in marijuana so, it won’t make your high. Marijuana and hemp come from the same species of the cannabis Sativa plant, but the hemp plant measure less than.3% of THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC causes the euphoric high so popular with recreational marijuana users.
How CBD works to control stress and anxiety
CBD possesses healing powers and helps your body achieve physical and mental health through the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.
Made up of a series of small endocannabinoids or acidic molecules, the ECS runs throughout the body and its systems of all mammals. Homeostasis or balance throughout the body represents the primary function of the ECS.
Though the ECS dates back to the beginning of time, its discovery didn’t come until the early 1990s. Research commissioned in the 1980s resulted in unveiling the ECS.
Though the ECS aims to achieve balance or homeostasis, it suffers compromise because of aging, poor lifestyles, and stress. Cannabis and its healing cannabinoids help boost a suffering ECS. The cannabis plant’s phytocannabinoid system mirrors that of the ECS, so when ingested or applied topically, it penetrates the C1 and C2 receptors at the cellular level to assist with our physical and mental health. Reducing cortisol represents one way CBD helps to handle stress and anxiety.
Using CBD to handle stress and anxiety not only reduces cortisol levels, but it also helps to get closer to balance or homeostasis through its synergy-like qualities:
- CBD helps you achieve better sleep.
- Taking CBD contributes to your energy level and helps you exercise more.
- CBD helps improve your mood and your mental focus.
CBD oil comes ready for consumption in tinctures, capsules, gummies, and various food products. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions or check with a healthcare professional regarding dosing.
You will also find topicals such as lotions, massage cream, and bath products that may improve stress levels.
CBD will work the best to reduce stress and anxiety when combined with a healthy lifestyle, including a proper diet, plenty of sleep, regular exercise, and healthy stress-relieving activities.
- Is CBD legal? Yes, Hemp-based CBD is legal in all 50 states because of the 2018 Farm Bill.
- Is CBD safe for everyone? CBD has very few adverse side effects. Check with a healthcare professional about dosing for children and pets. Additionally, don’t use CBD if you are pregnant, lactating, or have concerns about chronically low blood pressure.