Fact Vs. Fiction: The Science Behind CBD and Occasional Anxiety

Dec 1, 2020 | Pain Points

Feelings of stress and anxiety are perfectly normal, and even in the best of times, those feelings can arise from obvious sources as well as not-so-obvious ones. Most of us face some level of everyday stress as we go about our daily job and family responsibilities, and many of us grapple with it on a subliminal level due to the unpredictable state of the world today. If you’ve managed to escape occasional anxiety during these tumultuous times, kudos to you! But if you find yourself seeking ways to promote a sense of calm and manageability in your everyday life, know that you are in good company and there are many valuable resources at your disposal. Although stress is normal, it doesn’t have to be a mandatory part of daily life—and its effects on the body should not be ignored. The tension and inability to sleep or focus that often comes with prolonged stress can have disastrous consequences on our major organs, joints and muscles, and overall physiological well being. In this article, we’ll explore some of the science behind everyday stress and occasional anxiety, in an effort to answer these three critical questions

  1. What are some of the ways our bodies manage stress? 
  2. What are some natural resources that exist to aid in this effort?
  3. How can I adjust my wellness routine to combat occasional anxiety?

The endocannabinoid system and its role in managing stress and anxiety

As you learned in health class, our human bodies are equipped with many important systems designed to regulate everything from digestion to reproductivity. There has been much recent conversation in the scientific community regarding one such system known as the Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, which all humans and animals are born with. Scientific research on the ECS to date points to its role in responding to feelings of fear, anxiety, and stress. Scientists believe the ECS serves an important oversight role in directing other physiological systems and processes—in particular, those tasked with managing stress and anxiety or our “flight or fight” response. We know that prolonged stress and anxiety can diminish our natural stores of vital endocannabinoids, including one called anandamide, which serves to promote healthy brain balance and optimization. Similar to the role serotonin plays in depression, decreased levels of anandamide can make it harder to put aside feelings of anxiety and make way for more pleasurable thoughts and emotions. Logically, when the receptors within our ECS are satisfied, the result is better overall brain function and emotional response. 

Endocannabinoid resources in nature

The science around the ECS is vast, complex, and growing every day. But the current research is enough to prompt many people to seek ways to satisfy the body’s brain-balancing endocannabinoid receptors through natural foods and dietary supplements. We know about endocannabinoid-enhancing fatty acids that exist naturally in foods like flax and chia seeds, walnuts, sardines and anchovies, and pasture-fed eggs rich in Omega 3. These nutrients work to support the ECS and help the body retain and utilize endocannabinoids and phytonutrients like anandamide more effectively. Unsurprisingly, the dynamic hemp plant has also risen to the forefront as one of nature’s best-known sources of cannabidiol (CBD), as well as other proteins and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that are essential for healthy brain and organ function. CBD oils are derived from the nutrient-dense flowers and leaves of the hemp plant, and these products come in many different dosage levels and formats including topical creams and ointments, oil-based sublingual tinctures, capsules, and chewable gummies.

The research on CBD for anxiety

There are thousands of products on the market today that claim to alleviate stress and anxiety—and some have more merit and research backing them up than others. CBD is among those treatments being closely analyzed, and the results have so far been largely promising. For anxiety sufferers in particular, CBD may hold potential. Our body’s “fight or flight” response is triggered by processing happening deep within the amygdala, the part of the brain that processes intense or frightening experiences and subsequently tells us whether to resist or disregard those resulting emotions or run away. When feelings of anxiety take hold, it’s often because our brains are not able to fully process those reactions. Two recent studies—one conducted on mice and another on humans—demonstrate how increasing levels of anandamide and CBD, respectively, helped subjects forget about fear-based events and memories. All of this is to say, scientific CBD research continues to underscore what scientists have known for a long time about the endocannabinoid system and its role in helping humans manage different stressors related to feelings of anxiety.

Using CBD as part of a holistic wellness plan

Now that you understand a bit more about the body’s natural processes for managing everyday stress and anxiety, you can begin to do some more independent research and decide for yourself whether CBD is the right choice for you. It also never hurts to talk to your preferred healthcare provider about additional steps you can take to manage the unique stressors in your daily life. Chances are, they will tell you there is no magic bullet or cure-all potion. Many Happy Campers use our high-quality CBD oils and extracts to aid in their pursuit of a calm and balanced life. But in talking to our customers about their wellness goals, we’ve learned that the most successful people also prioritize these strategies for maintaining a healthy stress response:

  1. They have identified the factors in their lives that bring on feelings of fear and anxiety, and they take measured, daily efforts to avoid those triggers—whether that means switching career paths, taking time alone, or just simply turning off the TV news. 
  2. They eat conscientiously, focusing on whole foods and limiting “cheats and treats” to times when it feels like a reward instead of a defense mechanism. 
  3. They make time for meditation and self-reflection in the form of good books, quality time spent with loved ones, and opportunities to explore our beautiful world in the outdoors. 
  4. They make a point when they’re feeling low to help someone in need, knowing that doing so triggers a powerful neurological response that increases their own sense of positivity and strength. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.