In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept across the world, it’s safe to say that our lives have changed considerably. It’s probably also safe to assume that due to this change, many of us may now be feeling increasingly stressed and anxious, even those who have never previously struggled with these feelings before.
With the ‘new normal’ set to continue for a while yet, and with ever-increasing evidence that CBD oil can have a positive impact on certain aspects of our mental health, could now be the time to try it? We’ll share our thoughts and the research behind it.
Stress and anxiety – the other epidemic of our times
According to a study in 2018 by the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of people in the UK said that in the past year they have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. What’s more, 61% of those who felt stressed said they also felt anxious. With reports that the number of hospital admissions for stress and anxiety have soared over the last decade, it’s clear that this has been a growing issue for a while – and while there’s yet to be any concrete evidence of it yet, it’s almost certain to see a peak during the recent Coronavirus pandemic.
Cortisol is the natural hormone produced by our bodies when we’re put in stressful situations. We all need a bit of it, but too much and it comes with a whole host of unwanted side effects, like headaches, fatigue, depression and anxiety.
The link between CBD oil and better mental health
With seemingly more people than ever before experiencing problems with their mental health, it’s understandable that people are looking for a solution. And as some of the prescribed medications can often come hand-in-hand with unpleasant side effects, many are looking towards something more natural and holistic. That’s where CBD oil comes in – and the link between it and our mental health all starts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
While there’s still a lot of research to be done on it, the ECS is thought to be responsible for keeping a lot of our metabolic processes in balance, and regulating things like sleep, mood and appetite. It’s also responsible for the production of endocannabinoids, which are the neurotransmitters that play the key role in triggering beneficial effects. We all naturally produce them, but some people less so than others – and when there’s an imbalance, we’re more likely to experience things like anxiety. CBD oil can act as a supplement, essentially topping up our endocannabinoids and restoring that important balance in our brains. The result? Countless reports of people claiming that they not only feel better physically, but mentally too.
So can it really make a difference, or is it all a bit of the placebo effect? Well the science is certainly looking optimistic. There have been a wide number of studies that clearly demonstrate the positive impact of CBD oil on stress and anxiety – like the 2011 study that showed both people with and without anxiety disorders found public speaking less stressful with the help of CBD. And we all know how paralysing public speaking can be!
Here at Tailored Wellbeing, we certainly think it makes a difference too. We’ve been exploring the ins and outs of CBD oil for years (it’s why we’re here today!), and have been committed to carefully studying its benefits – particularly in regards to mental health. We’ve spoken about the positive connection between CBD and anxiety in another blog, but with that said, let’s take a look at just a few more ways CBD oil can impact and improve mental health.
A serotonin boost
Most of us know serotonin as being the brain’s mood-boosting chemical, the one responsible in part for our happiness and feel-good vibes. But what many people don’t know is that it’s also associated with alleviating anxiety. CBD oil works in activating and binding to serotonin receptors, specifically 5-HT1A, which has a known impact on anxiety. This works similar to the way some anti-anxiety drugs do, so can result in lower levels of anxiety in stressful situations.
Calming the nervous system
CBD oil also interacts with the brain’s GABA receptors. GABA (which stands for Gamma-aminobutyric acid) is the main neurotransmitter responsible for inhibiting or reducing excess activity in the brain. When CBD oil is introduced, it helps activate these receptors which inhibit stress hormones released by the nervous system, helping you to relax.
Better sleep quality
There’s a definite link between poor sleep quality and anxiety, so much so that it seems one can cause the other and vice versa. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that CBD oil helps to reduce insomnia and increase the amount of actual sleep you get in a night, which in turn helps to reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Terpene isolates tackle anxiety symptoms
Now, this is a benefit that’s fairly unique to us, because not all CBD oil includes terpenes in its formulation – but ours does, and it’s for a good reason.
Terpenes have been around for years, used in essential oils and ancient remedies all over the world. When used in their purest form (terpene isolates), they can provide a number of natural health benefits, including reducing or alleviating some of the symptoms of anxiety. Limonene in particular is known to help relieve restlessness, while linalool can help to encourage relaxation.
Taking CBD oil for stress and anxiety – how much and how often?
The truth is that there’s still a lot of research to be done surrounding dosages, and the results can differ from person to person depending on their size, weight and tolerance levels. Studies suggest that anywhere between 25mg and 250mg can be effective. We recommend you always start off low, and then adjust accordingly, spacing doses throughout the day if necessary.
Of course, anxiety and stress affect every person differently, so the ways of managing them will naturally vary too. We’d always recommend using CBD oil in conjunction with other methods of keeping stress at bay, such as keeping active with regular exercise and eating a healthy diet. And if you’re struggling with your mental health, speak to your doctor.