With the euphoria of marijuana legalization sweeping most parts of North America, some still have no idea how much cannabidiol (CBD) figures in the discussion. CBD, particularly the hemp cannabidiol strain, has long been the focus of studies as it shows tremendous potential in the medical field. Initial studies indicate that CBD can help in the treatment and management of various ailments including seizures in children, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Research also strongly suggests that hemp cannabidiol effectively reduces anxiety and stress.
A 2015 study in the Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics shows that CBD is very effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety disorders. These include social anxiety disorder (SAD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Apart from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a good number of other anxiety disorders may also be stress-induced.
Naturally, this may beg the conclusion that marijuana may indeed reduce stress and anxiety. However, this is not exactly the case. To understand how cannabis reduces stress, it is first important to know the difference between marijuana and hemp CBDs.
Hemp Cannabidiol vs. Marijuana Cannabidiol
Both hemp and marijuana come from the cannabis family with one major difference. Marijuana, or cannabis sativa, has a higher content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compared to hemp or cannabis indica. Along with CBD, THC is among the approximately 100 components of cannabis plants called cannabinoids. THC is arguably the most popular cannabinoid owing to its psychoactive properties. A batch of marijuana typically contains THC levels that are anywhere between 5 to 20 percent or even higher. These are the levels that are enough to get you high.
Hemp, on the other hand, only has around .03 percent level of THC, which will not give you a high. In contrast, it has high levels of CBD. This means that hemp cannabidiol supplements are not only legal in all 50 states, they are also a good alternative for those who want to enjoy the medical benefits of cannabis without the hazy psychoactive effects of marijuana. THC, however, isn’t all that bad as it does have its own medical applications. This cannabinoid shows promise as a treatment for muscle spasticity, which is common in Parkinson’s disease, various body pain, nausea, loss of appetite and sleeping disorders.
When it comes to stress management, however, CBD is a far better option than THC. This is because some studies point to the fact that THC may cause stress and paranoia and, in some cases, even worsen an existing anxiety disorder. Although popular belief holds that smoking marijuana relieves stress, research is cluing users in on the fact that the opposite may be true. Therefore, for stress management CBD, takes the cake.
How CBD Works in Reducing Stress
Without using too much complicated scientific jargon, CBD reduces stress by binding and interacting with various neurotransmitters in the brain and the rest of the body. Neurotransmitters either stimulate or inhibit a particular physiological response via receptors. Some of these neurotransmitters directly interact with the endocannabinoid receptors that are responsible for the regulation of emotional behavior and response to highly unpleasant stressors.
Once the CBD binds with the neurotransmitters that link to these receptors, the receptors, in turn, produce anxiolytic effects that calm down stressors relevant to various forms of anxiety disorders. Some studies even observe a complete negation of fear responses. Overactivation of these receptors, however, such as in the case when THC binds with them, will worsen the effects of the stressor.
To stimulate the receptors, only small amount of CBD is enough to produce a calming effect. In this regard, hemp cannabidiol a good choice for relieving stress as it contains a moderate amount of CBD. While high CBD levels may decrease its anxiolytic properties, it will not aggravate the effects of the stressor. The 2015 compilation of studies on CBD also suggests that its regular administration effectively protects against the adverse effects of chronic stress.
Should you choose to start using CBD for stress management, there are two viable ways to self-administer. You may either use a wax vaporizer pen with CBD oil or go with edibles like gummies, brownies and cookies. Vaporizing pens are a favorite among users owing to its portability. Smoking should be out of the question given both its health risks and inconvenience.
While things are looking up for medical marijuana in general, studies are still underway to study its safety with prolonged use and its long-term effects. Those who use hemp cannabidiol for its stress-reducing properties, however, have long been attesting to its effectiveness. One major advantage of CBD over traditional anti-anxiety medications is that the former does not build tolerance nor does it have any potential for abuse, unlike benzodiazepines.