How CBD Can Help Relieve Your Stress & Anxiety

CBD’s low-impact, anti-anxiety effects are making it a welcome addition to more medicine cabinets every day. Here's what you need to know about how it can help.

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Anxiety is a part of everyday life. Everyone can experience it, maybe just around a deadline or driving in rush hour traffic, but many deal with more chronic symptoms of constant stress. According to the World Health Organization,1 in 13 people worldwide suffers from an anxiety disorder. Whether one’s mental state is diagnosed or not, combatting overwhelming stress levels has unfortunately become a national pastime at this point. Looking at the correlation between cannabis and hemp sales during the most stressful year of our lives, it’s clear that CBD’s low-impact, anti-anxiety effects are making it a welcome addition to more medicine cabinets every day. 

Research and clinical studies have shown that when consumed, CBD’s effect on the endocannabinoid system helps our brain process stress responses more efficiently. A healthy endocannabinoid system promotes healthy functioning of multiple bodily systems—sleep cycles, muscle repair, and regulating those nasty cortisol spikes during stressful moments. CBD has the capacity to deliver therapeutic benefits while tapping into how we function physiologically and biologically on a deeper level. That sort of well-rounded versatility is what’s made simple CBD oil tinctures so popular. A mere dropper-full of a straightforward oil like Dogwood Botanicals’ taken orally straight on the tongue or mixed into tea can simultaneously mellow strained nerves and promote overall health. Brands like Xula take things a step further, harmonizing other medicinal herbs with their menu of CBD tinctures for specific needs for those experiencing stress or a prohibitive mental fog. Those who aren’t into the flavor and texture of oil can always opt for swallowable pill versions like Tommy Chong’s CBD supplements. On the go without a beverage? Motive makes CBD infused toothpicks—as subtle a dosing method as it gets. 

For some, stress is a feeling more than a mental state. A feeling that manifests in tense jaw muscles, a stiff neck, carpal tunnel—the list goes on. Topical application of CBD has its own set of effects, penetrating skin to soothe symptoms of nerve or joint issues without entering the bloodstream. So these topical products will never get you high, mentally, but they will bring down inflammation and allow muscle-relaxing ingredients to penetrate more effectively.

CBD may sound like a simple cure-all, but doing it right is not so easy. Finding the right CBD product for one’s particular version of stress is an incredibly subjective process. The triggers, frequency and side effects of one’s anxiety are only one set of factors; everyone’s unique body chemistry reacts differently to CBD. It takes patience to find the right dose and the right product that works with your body. CBD may not even end up being strong enough to eliminate your stress, but the right dose may complement, or even amplify, other calm-inducing practices you’re incorporating into your day-to-day. The key is that CBD is so low-impact and low-risk that you don’t need to be afraid of trying many different forms. As long as research on how different kinds of bodies react with cannabinoids is so sparse, that’s really the only way to find your desired effects.

Once you do find the right average dose for your body, you can shop more confidently for the form factors that work best for you. The goal here is to incorporate CBD into your lifestyle in the easiest, most low-impact way, so that you actually keep up with it long enough to accurately assess effects. When one product is proving incompatible with your day-to-day rhythms, try something else. That’s the benefit of experimenting with the most hyped ingredient in the wellness space—there are myriad options to explore!

If you’re most stressed during work hours in the afternoon, something like Caliper Swiftsticks that you can drop into your lunchtime beverage may be ideal. A chronic tension point in your lower back can be treated with a transdermal patch like those by Mary’s Nutritionals for hours. If you’re looking for more spontaneous relief when anxiety hits on-the-go, keeping CBD gummies in your bag could be more logical. Looking for less sugar? Brands like MedTerra make softgel CBD supplements that you can add into your handful of morning vitamins. Here are the various forms and formulas that can help you use CBD to soothe stress, your way.

Lauren Yoshiko is a Portland-based writer and co-host of Broccoli Magazine's podcast, Broccoli Talk. She was among the first journalists to cover the commerce and culture of cannabis starting in 2014 and her work has since appeared in Willamette WeekForbesRolling Stone, and Broccoli Magazine, among others. Follow her on Instagram at @laurenyoshiko for Portland breakfast sandwich recs, stoned nail art, and moderate cat content.
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