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Does CBD help with stress?

Are you feeling stressed? There’s a good chance you said yes, as feeling overly stressed is more common than ever. About one-third of Americans are living with extreme stress and 48% say their stress has increased over the prior five years. 


In the following blog post, we’ll explore how CBD may impact your stress levels.

The Effects of CBD


As opposed to THC, CBD does not impact heart rate or blood pressure during normal conditions. Further, animal models indicate potential for CBD to reduce heart rate and blood pressure.


We do not know what the optimal therapeutic window for CBD dosing is as of yet. Nor do we know what mechanisms are involved in the anxiolytic actions of CBD. Anxiolytic is a fancy way of saying reducing anxious symptoms. 

Why CBD may impact Stress Levels


The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is found throughout the human body. One of the locations where cannabinoid receptors are densely located is in the central nervous system. It is in the brain where the ECS has been shown to mediate central stress-induced analgesia (pain-reduction). It is the coordinated release of 2-AG and anandamide in the brain that modulates how stress impacts pain levels. 


Sleep Quality


We all intuitively understand how sleep quality impacts stress levels. Not only does our body use sleep to rest and recover, it also dramatically impacts our mood and energy levels during the day. It is for these and many more reasons that sleep is essential to managing stress.


The use of CBD has been shown to have positive, yet fluctuating, positive impacts on sleep quality. This same study reported that nearly 80% of CBD-users experienced decreased anxiousness within the first month. 


Chronic unpredictable stress


Another fascinating study on rats explored the impacts of CBD on chronic unpredictable stress and corresponding physiological changes. They found that CBD was able to prevent the behavioral effects that normally occur while in such a situation. Further, they speculated that these beneficial effects were due to the facilitation of endocannabinoid neurotransmission and consequent CB1/CB2 receptors activation.  


These changes in neural activity could recruit intracellular/synaptic proteins involved in neurogenesis and dendritic remodeling. In other words, the changes in the nervous system induced by CBD allow for enhanced creation of nerves and neural connections, in a stressful situation.


Even more good news, at least potentially, involves the long term impacts of CBD. Once again talking about rats though. Researchers observed the prevention of long-lasting anxiogenic effects after predator exposure. It was speculated that this effect is due to the CBD facilitating 5HT1A receptors neurotransmission. These receptors could be the therapeutic target of choice for those CBD molecules, with effects lasting beyond the time of dosing. 


We’ve talked a lot about rats, but there are a few studies exploring the effects of CBD on humans that relate to stress but are directly exploring topics like traumatic events and anxiety-provoking experiences.

More recent studies have confirmed that CBD can work to alter aspects of aversive memories in humans and promote significant improvements in symptoms following traumatic events. In psychology, they use the term extinction to describe how we can ‘forget’ traumatic experiences and overcome them. Such as driving again after a big accident, when others may develop driving phobias. 


So how many of us live under situations of chronic unpredictable stress? Whether or not CBD will be as beneficial for humans as it appears to be for rats in labs is far from certain. More research will help us explore this topic. 


If CBD is able to help us prevent the development of chronic stress-related symptoms, that alone would be a great benefit. Whether CBD can help us develop new memories and habits as we progress further away from traumatic or stressful environments, is another domain worth studying. With time, we expect to have far more evidence to explore. 


Public Speaking


What does the term public speaking make you feel? For many of us, this term is aversive and panic-inducing. Well, in one of the few studies done on humans in this domain, researchers used public speaking in their assessment of CBD. The results indicated that pre-administering CBD reduces worry, cognitive impairment, and discomfort around doing a speech performance.  


Anxious Symptoms and Sleep


Another large study looked into the topics of anxious symptoms and sleep. The researchers found that both of these scores improved in the first month of treatment for the majority of participants. 

While these effects did fluctuate after time beyond that first month, benefits were maintained during the entire study. 


Returning to the topic of stress, if CBD is able to produce benefits in the level of anxious symptoms and sleep issues you suffer from, what would happen to your stress levels? As you can see, we don’t have enough research directly looking at CBD treatments on stress levels. That said, based on studies looking at related symptoms, we can speculate that maybe all these anecdotal stories are on to something.  


In summary, CBD offers direct and indirect benefits that can result in better management of stress. Combined with positive behavior changes, adding CBD in your life may help you keep things steady. Alevas creates high-quality water soluble CBD products that you can trust. With so much to worry about, the last thing you want to doubt is the content of your CBD products. All Alevas products are third-party tested so you get exactly what you pay for.