Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at some point, but they aren’t the same thing. In clinical terms, stress is an autoimmune response to a situation (such as speaking in front of a crowd). Anxiety is a direct reaction to stress over time. Stress used to keep us alive when we were running from lions and tigers and bears. In the 21st century, we’re rarely running from animals that want to kill us, but we live under even more stress from our jobs and our lives. Because the stress is chronic, or happens all the time, people develop anxiety.
Luckily, our body has a natural cannabinoid system in the brain and the body to help calm this stress response. The endocannabinoid system can help replace stress hormones and lower stress responses and over time, help relieve anxiety. Let’s look at the current research into something called Endocannabinoid (eCBD) Augmentation.
Reversing Stress with eCBD Augmentation
Stress and Your Body
Before we get to that endocannabinoid system, let’s talk about the physical effects of stress. When a person gets in a stressful situation, the central nervous system triggers a “fight or flight” response, causing your heartbeat and breath rate to accelerate. This system also sends blood to all the important places for running. When the fear is gone (either by removing yourself from the situation or solving the problem), your body returns back to normal. The issue with chronic stress is that your body never completely returns back to normal.
Many people suffer from the physical symptoms of chronic stress. These symptoms include:
- High Blood Pressure
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Symptoms of stress don’t stop at the physical symptoms. Chronic stress affects mood, leading to anxiety and depression, and indirectly affects most parts of a person’s daily life. If you’re living under chronic stress, you may experience impaired concentration, irritability, and sleep disruptions. But these aren’t the worst of the indirect symptoms. This stress can prevent you from performing normal calming techniques and can increase reliance on unhealthy coping mechanisms. Ultimately these small indirect things can eventually lead to clinical depression or anxiety.
Endocannabinoid Augmentation Study
Because stress is a major cause of anxiety disorders, scientists are looking for new approaches to regulating the effects of stress. This study experiments with blocking fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), an anandamide-degrading enzyme. In our bodies, anandamide is considered the “bliss” hormone. Anandamide does more than produce euphoric feelings; it’s also an important hormone in memory, motivation, appetite, and fertility. Anandamide also helps prevent the growth of cancer cells.
How the Test Worked
This test observed three metrics. First, researchers established the fact that acute foot-shock stress results in anxiety. Researchers measure the stress in rats by using a light-dark box test. Normal rodents will spend the most time in the dark compartment, but when the location is new, they like to explore. When a rodent is experiencing anxiety symptoms, the time spent in the dark compartment increases. When the rodent is under the influence of an anxiolytic drug, the time spent in the light compartment increases. In rats not subjected to foot-shock stress, blocking FAAH had no effect on the anxiety behaviors. However, in rats subjected to foot-shock stress 24 hours prior to the light-dark box test, blocking FAAH reduced the anxiety in the rats similar to how cannabidiol works. Afterwards, anandamide levels were lower all over the brain.
The Results of This New CBD Study
Because the study of CBD is still very new, all of these little tests help scientists understand our body’s natural eCBD system better. Working backward, neuroscientists learned that the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in regulating mood, stress, and anxiety in rats and humans.
This newest study proves that augmenting the eCBD system in our bodies is a viable strategy for treating stress-related disorders. As we saw in the study, blocking that FAAH enzyme is key to reducing stress-induced anxiety. Sadly, that’s just a research study for now. Patients don’t have the drugs to block the FAAH enzyme like they did in the new study just yet.
An important breakthrough from this study is that blocking the FAAH enzyme has similar effects as orally ingesting CBD oil before or during a stressful situation. This is good news! Patients suffering from stress-induced anxiety and/or depression do have some hope of relief with CBD Hemp Oil.
What is CBD Hemp Oil?
CBD (or cannabidiol) hemp oil is a medicinal oil derived from the hemp plant, not the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol also makes up 40% of the cannabis plant, with tetrahydracannabidiol (THC) and other chemicals making up the remaining 60%. While THC is still illegal in half of the United States, CBD is perfectly legal in all states, since it doesn’t have that psychoactive chemical. CBD hemp oil contains only trace amounts of THC by government regulation. If you’re concerned about THC, you don’t have to worry about it when it comes to CBD oil.
Options for Using CBD Hemp Oil to Relieve Stress Related Anxiety
You can purchase “whole plant” CBD oil, “pure” CBD hemp oil, CBD tinctures, and other products made with hemp oil.
- Whole plant CBD is made using the entire hemp plant to extract CBD. Some medical professionals believe that the whole plant provides a wider range of cannabinoids, which can be better for the body.
- The other option is purchasing “pure” CBD hemp oil. Pure CBD relies a lot more on science and genetics to create a good product because they use strains of hemp without THC.
- CBD tinctures are different from hemp oils because they have CBD dissolved in alcohol instead of an oil. This means a tincture can better mix with things like vegetable glycerine, which is the main ingredient in most e-cigarette “juice.”
- Hemp oil edible products are also sold online and in shops. Read the label carefully to see if it contains CBD, but you can find chocolates, snack bars, and even body products like lotion.
How ever you want to take your CBD, you can find the right method for you and your specific brain to help you relieve stress and anxiety.