Are you looking for a way to naturally relieve your stress? If so, read on to learn why you should use CBD for stress. CBD products claim to help with anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain and more. It almost sounds too good to be true. So I conducted my own experiment. Hearing a lot about CBD oil for pain management or anxiety? Many CBD products might not be the cure-all they claim to be. Learn more here.
Feeling Stressed Out?: How CBD Can Help With Stress
8 of 10 Americans are affected by stress. To put this into perspective, that’s 79% of 327.16 million people.
Chances are, you’re one of those people. Whether it be an unthankful boss or an angry mother in law, stress affects us all in different ways.
Chronic stress can affect more than just your mental stability, it causes symptoms from headaches and high blood pressure to chest pain and heart palpitations. Sure, you can take anti-anxiety medications like Xanax or Prozac. But, why not try to relieve your symptoms with natural remedies?
CBD is still in infancy, but research suggests that CBD oils can vastly reduce stress when taken on a regular basis.
Read on to learn more about using CBD for stress relief.
What is CBD?
In short, CBD is an oil that comes from the cannabis plant.
Officially known as cannabidiol, CBD is considered a cannabinoid. It is one of over 100 different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
Cannabinoids are found in leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. They are then extracted and separated.
Once extracted, CBD is a colorless, crystalline structure at room temperature in its purest form. CBD can be derived from either the marijuana plant or the hemp plant. Both are strains of the cannabis plant, however, CBD that is derived from the marijuana plant tends to be more potent and more effective than that of the hemp plant.
CBD is known to have benefits on pain relief, stress, anxiety, seizure disorders, and more.
Does CBD Produce a High?
One of the most well-known cannabinoids is called Tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC. THC is the chemical in the cannabis plant that offers the mind-altering high feeling, as opposed to CBD, which is 100% non-psychoactive.
Both CBD and THC bind with special receptors in your brain, however, CBD binds directly with those receptors, where THC does not. This is why you feel no fuzziness or mental slowness.
Because of the way that CBD binds with your receptors, it may take a bit longer for you to notice the effects.
When you do begin to notice the CBD, you’ll feel a wave of relaxation through your body.
Can You Use CBD for Stress?
Being subjected to stress on a daily basis can threaten your social life, mental and physical health. CBD oil is a natural way to reduce the daily stress that is keeping you from living your best life.
But don’t take our word for it, check out these studies performed over the last few years.
A study performed in 2010 showed that CBD helps to reduce anxiety in people with social anxiety disorder, or SAD. This study found that CBD not only helped reduce current anxiety, but it also changed the initial brain reaction to said anxiety. Brain scans showed changes in blood flow patterns in regions of the brain associated with stress and anxiety.
Similarly, a 2011 study found that CBD reduced social anxiety specifically induced by public speaking.
A 2014 research study found that appropriately dosed CBD oil had antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects. This study was performed on animal models with a variety of experiments, such as the forced swimming test (FST), elevated plus maze (EPM), and Vogel conflict test (VCT).
In 2015, an analysis showed that CBD continued to reduce stress and social anxiety. The study referred to CBD as, “a potential treatment for anxiety disorders.” These disorders might include SAD, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety disorder.
And finally, this 2016 research studied the effectiveness of CBD specifically on PTSD and insomnia. What they found was that CBD significantly reduced PTSD induced anxiety and aided in a healthy sleep pattern.
Is It Stress or Anxiety?
Before you decide which medication is right for you, it’s important to understand exactly what your body is going through.
You’ve likely heard the terms stress and anxiety used interchangeably, however, these are two very different things. Stress and anxiety share many of the same physical and emotional symptoms. Both can take a heavy toll on the body.
It can be difficult to spot the differences between the two, however, it’s pertinent that you understand and can identify which you are struggling with.
Stress is what your body does in response to a threatening situation. Anxiety is a reaction to that stress.
Once you’ve determined which disorder, if not both, is clouding over you, you can properly begin treatment. CBD oil works well to treat both stress and anxiety, however, some anxiety disorders may require additional medications or therapy.
Are There Risks?
Research on the long term health effects of CBD is limited due to the fact that CBD research is overall a new concept.
Some researchers do caution that CBD can have a negative health effect when smoked.
Research specifically on CBD oil has found no negative side effect thus far, unlike medications such as Xanax, which produce a multitude of negative side effects, not limited to dizziness, memory problems, slurred speech, vomiting, blurred vision, loss of sex drive, weight changes, and more.
Because CBD is not highly regulated, it can be difficult to determine the correct dosage or frequency in which it should be taken. Dosages may differ based on which product is taken, such as gummies, tablets, or oils.
Be mindful of this, and carefully follow each set of individual directions.
Let Go of Stress Today
Stress ruins the lives of many on a daily basis. No matter how you choose to remedy the situation, don’t let stress take control of your life.
If you’re interested in giving CBD a chance, check out our online selection or stop by for a complete consultation. We offer useful selections of tablets, gummies, and oils with CBD for stress and other medical conditions including inflammation.
If you’ve tried other treatments and had little to no relief, it might be time to give CBD a try. It just might let you go back to being you again.
What happened when I took CBD for a week to help with my anxiety
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- CBD products claim to help with everything from anxiety to insomnia to muscle pain.
- The hype almost sounds too good to be true, so Business Insider’s Benji Jones conducted an experiment to find out how it might help him with his anxiety.
- Jones took 250 milligrams of CBD oil per day for one week. Mostly, he felt tired after taking the doses, but he did notice a relief from anxiety, particularly during stressful moments of his week.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Steven Phan: You gotta lean back. No, tongue back!
Benji Jones: That’s me, trying CBD at a shop in New York City. Lately, I’ve seen this stuff everywhere: At the local health food store, but also at Urban Outfitters, Sephora, and CBD shops like this one. And if you look at some of the branding, it kind of makes sense.
CBD products claim to help with everything from anxiety to insomnia to muscle pain. It almost sounds too good to be true. And maybe it is. To find out, I set up a little experiment. For one week, I took CBD three times a day, while tracking my anxiety with a scorecard. I also chatted with an expert before and after to sort through the results. Here’s what I learned.
CBD is a distant cousin of THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. They both come from the cannabis plant, but CBD isn’t psychoactive. Meaning it doesn’t get you high. Now, of course, getting high isn’t the only reason why cannabis is popular. People also use it to relieve pain, control seizures, and lessen anxiety. But as researchers like Dr. Yasmin Hurd are discovering, it’s likely CBD, not THC, that’s behind these benefits.
Dr. Hurd: “It can activate some serotonin receptors, and the serotonin system is associated with alleviating anxiety.”
Jones: Hurd has been studying the effects of CBD for over 10 years. And she’s found that it can reduce anxiety in people with a history of heroin addiction. Now, fortunately, I don’t have a history of addiction, but I do see a therapist for chronic anxiety. And CBD could still help.
Dr. Hurd: “Both under normal conditions and in people who have anxiety disorders, enough research has started to show that it does have an anti-anxiety effect.”
Jones: So, back at the shop, I tried all kinds of product. From sweets to lotions and sprays. And while Hurd couldn’t recommend a specific dose for me, she did say that 300 milligrams a day should be enough to feel something. Because participants in clinical trials typically take anywhere from 300 to 600 milligrams. So, those chocolates and sprays? They weren’t going to cut it. Instead, I went for something else.
Phan: The tinctures, right? This is where you really get into the higher-strength things.”
Jones: I decided to err on the side of caution and take 250 milligrams each day, broken out into three doses: 50 milligrams in the morning, 100 milligrams at midday, and another 100 milligrams at night. That way, it wouldn’t hit me all at once.
Jones: All right, today is the day! I have my CBD here. I’m kind of nervous. All right, here we go.
Now, mind you, this was a Wednesday. A workday. Side note: The reason I’m taking CBD this way is that there are tons of capillaries under your tongue. So, anything you put there can be absorbed directly into your bloodstream. Whereas when you ingest CBD, like with that chocolate, a lot of it is broken down by your stomach. Which means you probably won’t feel much.
Anyway, several hours later, I took my last dose of the day.
If anything, I just feel extremely tired.
That was the first thing I noticed: that CBD was making me drowsy. Really drowsy. Which Hurd said is a pretty normal side effect at high doses. Though we’re not exactly sure why. But as I discovered the next night, it’s also great for hangovers.
I had some alcohol, and I’m certainly not going to have trouble sleeping. I think I’m going to eat a slice of pizza.
The next morning, I felt…great. And according to Hurd, that’s because CBD also has some anti-inflammatory effects. But what about anxiety, what I was really in this for? Each morning, I filled out the anxiety scorecard that Hurd gave me. It was a rough estimate of my daily emotional state, based on numbered responses to statements like, “I feel at ease.” But day to day, it was harder to figure out whether CBD was helping.
Just walking home on Friday night after three days of CBD, and I’m reporting that I’m mostly just tired and feeling lethargic. Not in a bad way; it kind of feels like I have a warm blanket around me, so I don’t hate it.
But over the weekend, I finally got the relief I was looking for, even more quickly than I had expected.
So, I happened to take CBD right before I had to do something stressful. It’s Sunday, but I had a task that I was not looking forward to. And I took 100 milligrams, and I pretty quickly felt my nerves calming down. And I was like, OMG, this is totally working, which is really great because I’m looking for that quick relief like everyone is.
Now, of course, this could have been a placebo. I mean, all of this could have been placebo. So, a few days later, I tried it again in a similar high-stress situation.
Not going to lie, I actually feel a little bit more calm. It kind of puts me into a dissociative state, where I’m slowing down a little bit. I actually get physical pain in my heart region when I’m anxious, which I know sounds terrible. But just 30 minutes after taking my 100-milligram dose for the evening, I feel an absence of that. I will say that I’ve also been listening to the “Lion King” soundtrack, so there are confounding variables. But yeah, I feel a lot better right now.
At that point, I had just one day left.
All right, I’m about to take my last dose of CBD! I must say, I’m kind of excited to stop having to take this three times a day. I think part of it is scheduling and remembering. But also, yeah, I’ve also just been so much more tired. I don’t feel like my anxiety was just washed away. I felt like there were a few times where it really helped in certain instances. And, overall, kind of lowered the intensity of how I was feeling because I felt lethargic. But yeah, I don’t want to be tired anymore.
Afterward, I looked over my anxiety scorecards. And sure enough, it showed that I was feeling slightly less anxious on my last day, compared to my first. Especially when I looked at statements like this. Yeah, that’s a big one for me. I wanted to run these results by Hurd.
Dr. Hurd: “How do you feel?”
Jones: Um, to be honest, I don’t feel that different. I think that the biggest change that I noticed is…I was just tired all the time. I feel this kind of slo-mo lethargia that makes me feel, like, a little bit disassociated with reality. And I think that is what made me feel a little less anxious at times.
Dr. Hurd: So, perhaps…taking it at night only might be best because it can make you a bit sleepy, and everyone has a different sensitivity. If you take it at night you get past the initial sedative effects… and then you don’t have to worry about taking other things like caffeine to try to stay awake.
Jones: And what about those moments of instant relief? Was that in my head, or could CBD act that fast?
Dr. Hurd: “Yeah, absolutely. It can act that quickly. For us, in our studies, people did — shortly after getting CBD — report reduced anxiety.”
Jones: But if there was one takeaway from our conversations, it was this:
Dr. Yasmin Hurd: Ironically, even though it’s now this huge fad in our society, we still don’t have a very good handle on how it’s working.
Jones: In other words, we don’t know: what size dose you should take, how, exactly, it changes your brain, or how it impacts different people in different ways. That’s because until late 2018, nearly all CBD was classified as an illegal substance. Which made it really difficult for scientists to study. And while research is starting to catch up… in some ways, it’s too late.
Dr. Hurd: It’s one of the first times in history that the public is determining whether something is medicine, not scientists and physicians.
Jones: As for me, will I continue using CBD? Yes — but likely only for those moments when I need instant relief. Because, while it seems to benefit a lot of people … I’m not yet fully convinced. But also because, this bottle? It costs more than $130! And if I’m going to spend that much, I want to be absolutely sure it works.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published on August 20, 2019.
CBD Oil — Are the Benefits Claimed Too Good To Be True?
These days, many of us could certainly go for a miracle cure-all, especially those of us who struggle with chronic pain, overwhelming anxiety, cancer-related symptoms and/or hard-to-treat neurological disorders. So, it’s no wonder that CBD oil is popping up in our search results. But can we really count on CBD oil to positively impact our symptoms in the ways we hope? Internal medicine specialist Paul Terpeluk, DO, explains why CBD oil may not be as effective as we’d like.
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What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of more than 100 chemical compounds found in the cannabis sativa plant. But it’s THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), not CBD, that’s the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that gives you a euphoric high.
CBD is pulled from hemp, a type of cannabis plant that contains very low levels of THC, so it doesn’t get you high. CBD oil is simply a product that contains CBD extract and an oil, like coconut oil, typically for topical use.
It’s important to know that since the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill, the production and sale of CBD products in the U.S. has been legalized on the federal level as long as they contain less than .3% of THC. However, it’s still illegal under some state laws.
Plus, Dr. Terpeluk explains the market has been oversaturated with CBD products — from bath bombs to gummies, lotions, creams, tinctures and oil — none of which are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and may not be 100% pure CBD. As of mid-December 2021, the FDA has only approved one cannabis-derived and three cannabis-related products, all of which you can safely get with a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider.
“There’s no oversight of the majority of CBD products from a regulatory authority,” says Dr. Terpeluk. “Most of the CBD that you’re buying, unless they have a rigorous marketing campaign and quality control that says it’s 100% CBD oil, more than likely, it’s contaminated with other cannabinoids, including THC.”
What are some of the benefits of CBD?
Several studies show the benefits of pure CBD may have wide-ranging positive effects, though. To understand those benefits, it’s important to consider our body’s endocannabinoid system, a complex system of enzymes, neurotransmitters and receptors that plays an important role in the development of our central nervous system. This system helps regulate a variety of functions, including pain, motor control, memory, appetite, inflammation and more. By further studying CBD’s effects in these specific areas, we may better understand how CBD impacts a variety of conditions and disorders.
Helps with neurological-related disorders
The FDA has approved Epidiolex as a treatment for several seizure disorders, including two rare disorders known as Duvet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Several case studies suggest CBD may also be beneficial to patients who are resistant to anti-epileptic drugs. “With epilepsy, there’s a threshold in your brain that gets excitatory, and you go into a seizure,” says Dr. Terpeluk. “CBD increases that threshold.”
Other studies suggest CBD may also be useful in managing symptoms of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, as it has neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory properties. More studies are needed, however, as many suggest that it’s not just CBD alone, but a combination of CBD and other cannabinoids, that may help reduce many of these symptoms.
It may assist with pain relief
By interacting with neurotransmitters in your central nervous system, CBD could potentially relieve pain related to inflammation, arthritis and nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy). In one four-week trial, people who had nerve damage in the lower half of their body reported a significant reduction of intense, sharp pain after using a topical CBD oil.
“All of our different anti-pain drugs affect some section of our pain system, whether it’s Tylenol®, Aspirin®, morphine or opioids,” explains Dr. Terpeluk. “No one wants to be addicted to opioids, so if there’s a cannabinoid you can take that’s not addictive but can repress the pain, that would be the Holy Grail with chronic pain.”
Still, he cautions, there’s a lot left to be studied, including whether there are significant adverse long-term effects of CBD when used for pain relief.
“If you’re taking it in an unregulated fashion, you don’t know how much is in there, and you’re not quite sure how it affects you outside of your particular pain,” says Dr. Terpeluk.
It may help with anxiety and mood disorders
Anxiety and mood disorders like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder can have a severe effect on your daily life and may often cause both physical and emotional stress that could lead to other underlying conditions like sleep disorders, high blood pressure, chronic pain and heart disease. It’s too early to understand the full gamut of effects that CBD may have on anxiety and mood disorders, but individual studies seem to suggest varying positive results. In one study of 57 men who received either oral CBD or a placebo 90 minutes before participating in a simulated public speaking test, researchers learned that a 300-mg dose of CBD significantly reduced social anxiety during the test.
And while there are a wide variety of treatments available for anxiety and mood disorders — ranging from talk therapy and counseling to prescribed medications — Dr. Terpeluk suggests the most important thing is to get at the root of the underlying causes of the anxiety you’re experiencing.
“Anxiety is better approached by looking at what’s causing it in your life rather than trying to figure out which drugs can reduce it,” says Dr. Terpeluk.
It might help with cancer-related symptoms
CBD may help with nausea, vomiting and weight loss caused by chemotherapy treatments. The FDA has approved three cannabis-related products to help alleviate these symptoms, as well as help increase the appetite for those who have AIDS. These drugs all contain some level of THC or synthetic THC and are not purely CBD alone.
But some studies seem to suggest that CBD can help decrease the size of tumors and help stop the spread of cancerous cells in skin cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and more. As with other areas of study, further human clinical trials are needed to understand the full effect CBD has on various kinds of cancer.
What are the side effects or risks of CBD?
If you’re purchasing CBD oil and other products online or from a local vendor, Dr. Terpeluk says there’s no real way of knowing the purity of the CBD you’re using, as it could be mixed with other cannabinoids, such as the dangerous delta-8, or THC.
“It’s a little bit mysterious. It’s not as harmless as you think,” says Dr. Terpeluk. “If you take CBD oil because you buy it on the market, you have a very high likelihood that you could turn a drug test positive for THC because it could actually contain THC.”
CBD can also affect a variety of medications, including pain medications, antidepressants, antipsychotics and more. It could also cause several side effects that may include:
- Issues with coordination. .
- Drowsiness or fatigue. .
The best advice? Before considering CBD oil or other CBD products, make sure you talk to your healthcare provider to decide whether it’s safe for you and to ensure it doesn’t have harmful interactions with any medications you’re currently taking.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy