CBD Use for Stress + Relaxation

CBD use for stress and relaxation is popular and one of the most common uses among Americans.  Many suffer from stress, some more severe than others. Stress, a well known and probably one of the most unpopular feelings commonly shared. Anxious feelings is what most of us are feeling during this pandemic. It’s not uncommon for us to experience stress associated with triggering events such as a bad start to a day, a breakup, an argument, loss of a job, loss of a family member, loss of a pet, and of course COVID-19.

Stress is, however, unhealthy. Unattended stress or mismanaged stress can take a significant toll on the mind and body.

Stress is the trash of modern life; we all generate it,

but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life.

Danzae Pace

Stress unleashes bad feelings – feeling mad, sad, frustrated, and even hopeless. For some, stress can impact mobility by causing things stiffness, soreness, aches.  Stress can also interfere with our clarity of mind, decision making, and our relationships at home and/or at work. Others may experience more serious health effects such as high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.1

Common Side Effects of Stress

On Your Body On Your Mood On Your Behavior
Headache Anxiety Overeating or undereating
Muscle tension or pain Restlessness Angry outbursts
Chest pain Lack of motivation or focus Drug or alcohol misuse
Fatigue Feeling overwhelmed Tobacco use
Change in sex drive Irritability Social withdrawal
Stomach upset Sadness or depression Exercising less often
Sleep problems
Source: Mayo Clinic

Stress Management – Balance It Out

While stress can be overwhelming, it can be managed. There are many different stress management techniques to explore and test. Some stress reducing tips:

    1. Take a break from your own thoughts. Sometimes our thoughts are the very thing that cause or escalate stress. If you are fixated on toxic thoughts try to recognize that and change your mindset or seek help to do it. You are more powerful than you might think when it comes to your own mindset.
    2. Exercise. Engage in physical activity like walking, running, lifting weights, yoga, pilates, biking, swimming, etc. to pump up your endorphins (basically your body’s “make me happy” neurotransmitters).
    3. Try spiritual engagement. Some research has shown that spiritual people tend to better manage stress from the positivity of connecting with a higher being.2
    4. Engage in mindfulness exercises. Some research suggests that engaging in mindfulness reduces stress and anxiety. If you’re new to mindfulness, mindfulnessexercises.com is a resourceful website you should visit. It hosts a wealth of information including 2,000 free mindfulness exercises and 1,500 mindful mediations.
    5. Give yourself stress release affirmations such as “I am relaxed and calm”, “My tension is melting away,” “I am centered and quiet,” and/or “I am releasing all negative emotions.” These are only a few of the many affirmations available online or through mobile apps.
    6. Smile! The old adage “grin and bear it” definitely has some merit. Studies have shown that smiling affects emotion, and that positive emotions have an affect on stress.3
    7. Let it go. Don’t let little things that really have no significance bother you. If you don’t know what those are as you’re reading this, be mindful going forward and you should be able to recognize them as they occur.
    8. Don’t overload yourself with unnecessary obligations or commitments. It’s ok to say “no” sometimes.
    9. Find others. Join social media groups consisting of members who also experience stress to learn or share tips and tricks. You’re not alone. Just make sure the conversations are healthy and helpful. If the conversations are negative, you should leave the group as they may derail your mission.
    10. Get a good night’s sleep. Quality sleep can create a magical shift in how we think, feel and act. A good night’s rest allows us to recharge and awake with a refreshed mind.
    11. Take a natural plant extract like hemp-derived CBD to help promote calmness and relaxation.

Consumer Surveys

CBD Use + Experiences on Stress + Relaxation

Research suggests that CBD, short for cannabidiol, affects our body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is described as a complex cell signaling system that includes endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors and enzymes. Certain of those receptors are related to feelings of anxiety, and CBD is one of those cannabinoids that appears to react with those receptors to help stabilize that imbalanced emotion and promote a feeling of calmness.

Even though more scientific research is underway to better understand how CBD works with stress, anxiety, and on the endocannabinoid system, many Americans have turned to using hemp-derived CBD pending that additional research.

CBD User Data 

Various CBD consumer surveys have been done since the boom of CBD, all showing that millions of people use CBD for stress, CBD for anxiety, and CBD for relaxation. Below, we highlight some of those surveys and what they show.

In an anonymous survey distributed via social media from Nov. 2018 to Jan. 2019, with 340 respondents:

  • 65% reported using CBD for stress relief.
  • 55% reported used CBD to relax.

In a January 2019 survey of 4,000 Americans conducted by Consumer Reports:

  • 37% reported using CBD to reduce stress or anxiety or to help them relax, with 63% of them reporting CBD was “extremely or very effective” at doing so.

In a 2019 joint survey of over 2,000 Americans conducted by the Harris Poll & Quartz:

  • 50% purchased CBD for stress relief.
  • 55% purchased CBD for relaxation.

In a March 2019 survey of 855 women on the use of CBD conducted by Remedy Review:

  • Baby Boomers: 36.5% reported using CBD for anxiety; 31.7% reported using CBD for relaxation.
  • Generation X: 47.9% reported using CBD for anxiety; 42.7% reported using CBD for relaxation.
  • Millennials: 59.8% reported using CBD for anxiety; 51.7% reported using CBD for relaxation.

Amongst all generations, 54.7% found CBD effective for anxiety, and 47.3% found CBD effective for relaxation.

In a April 2019 study of 1.3 million U.S. social media posts and conversations conducted from Jan. 1, 2018 to Jan. 1, 2019 by CBD Marketing:

  • 250,000 conversations centered on the use of CBD to relieve stress and anxiety (in addition to insomnia and depression), with 90% of those conversations about CBD’s effectiveness being positive.

In a Gallup poll of Americans conducted from June 19-July 19, 2019:

  • 5% reported using CBD for stress.
  • 20% reported using CBD for anxiety.

In a summer 2019 survey of 2,600 arthritis patients conducted by the Arthritis Foundation:

  • 77% found CBD relieved their symptoms of anxiety.

In a August 2019 survey of over 2,000 Americans conducted by ValidCare:

  • 22% reported using CBD for mental health issues, with 75% of those reporting their specific issue being stress or anxiety.

Notably, there were zero adverse events from using CBD reported.

In November 2019, Coresight Research reported its survey of 920 participants and their use of CBD in the past to help them relax in the past 12 months:

In a November 2019 survey with 1,273 vitamin and supplement user participants conducted by ConsumerLab.com:

  • 37.5% reported using CBD to reduce anxiety.

In a February/March 2020 survey consisting of roughly 3,000 participants conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute:

  • 39% reported using CBD for reducing anxiety.
  • 33% reported using CBD for aiding relaxation.

In a April 2020 survey of 2,000 American adults conducted by SingleCare:

  • 49% reported using CBD for anxiety and stress.

In a 2020 survey of American consumers conducted by New Frontier Data in partnership with Square:

  • 60% reported using CBD to relax, relieve stress, or reduce anxiety.

As the above surveys show, tons of Americans use CBD for stress, CBD for anxiety and CBD for relaxation.

A caveat to note. The above surveys don’t account for a participant’s health status – i.e., is the participant suffering from clinically diagnosed anxiety, or, is the participant a healthy individual who experiences “stress” or “anxiety” without a clinical diagnosis. This is highlighted because hemp-derived CBD should not be used as a substitute or alternative to taking prescription medications unless approved by your doctor. If you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder or other serious medical condition, or are taking prescription medications, it’s in your best interest to first consult with your doctor for guidance on any possible interactions or other complications.

Does CBD Work for Everyone?

As with most supplements, no, CBD does not work for everyone.

CBD has helped many people with their type of stress and to relax. Whether it will work for you is a question that can only be answered by trial.

As a new CBD Oil user, it’s best to start with a low serving size (commonly referred to as “dosage”) and gradually increase it as needed. On average, human CBD studies have reported a CBD dose of up to 1,500 mg per day to be well tolerated.5 1,500 mg per day is too high and should not be your starting dose unless approved by your doctor. Start with a much lower amount, somewhere between 10mg-40mg per day and increase the amount by a serving size or two on a weekly basis until you feel the desired effect.

Your chances of having to increase or decrease the amount should be expected as part of your CBD experience. No two people are the same and the amount of CBD that’s right for you is just as unique as you. Monitor how it makes you feel and adjust accordingly. If you don’t feel it right away, be a little patient. CBD may take some time to work, especially if you’re new to it, and that too varies from person to person. Think of CBD working somewhat like a vitamin … you may have to take it for a week or two to notice a difference, and it may take a little longer if not used regularly.

If you don’t feel your desired effect after taking CBD for a week, then you may try increasing the amount by an additional serving size or two, and keep gradually doing so until you reach your desired effect. On the other hand, if you feel super-tired or too relaxed, you’ve probably taken too much. In this case, decrease the amount and keep gradually decreasing it until you reach your desired effect.

No matter the amount, rest assured that no amount of CBD will make you feel “high” like marijuana would so you’re ok to take CBD for stress at work or CBD for stress at home. As to CBD addiction, it’s been shown that CBD has no potential for abuse or dependence, or any withdrawal side effects or symptoms.

New to CBD? Not Sure What to Try?

Your ideal choice for a first time user depends on what you want to use it for and what type of formulation you prefer - CBD isolate or CBD Full Spectrum.
Full Spectrum

The advantage of a Full Spectrum CBD Oil is receiving the benefits of CBD plus the other naturally existing cannabinoids (CBG, CBN, CBC, and 0.3% or less THC) in the hemp plant. With anti-anxiety properties (amongst others), these cannabinoids work together to promote a feeling of calmness, as compared to taking one of the cannabinoids alone to do so. This is typically referred to as the “entourage effect.”

Just remember a Full Spectrum formulation contains trace amounts of THC.  Depending on the frequency and duration of use, THC might build up in your liver, and eventually into your bloodstream.  That might be just enough to return a positive test result for THC.  So, if you are or may be subject to drug testing by, for example, your employer, check to see if your employer has a Drug-Free Workplace Policy and what it says, or consult with Human Resources about using a hemp-derived CBD product that contains trace amounts of THC to help you decide.

CBD Isolate

A CBD Isolate is formulated with pure cannabidiol and no other cannabinoids. CBD Isolate is ideal for those who want to avoid any amount of THC whatsoever.

Summing It Up

Plenty of Americans use CBD for stress, CBD for anxiety and CBD for relaxation. CBD is considered generally safe and has been shown to be well tolerated when taken up to 1,500mg daily.

As a new user of any CBD Oil or other ingestible CBD product, you don’t need to start with such a high amount. Start with a much lower amount, somewhere between 10-40mg, and gradually increase it until you feel your desired effect. Increasing or decreasing your serving size should be expected as part of your CBD experience, especially if you’re new to CBD.

Lastly, remember to be a little patient as CBD does take a little time to set in before you may feel a noticeable difference.

Keep calm, stay balanced, and be safe.

Sources + References

Stress Symptoms: Effects on Your Body and Behavior.Mayo Clinic. Published April 4, 2019.

Borchard, Therese J. Spirituality and Prayer Relieve StressPsych Central. Last Updated July 8, 2018.

Paddock, Catharine. Smiling Reduces Stress And Helps The Heart. Medical News Today. Published August 1, 2012.

If you’d like to take a deep dive into scientific research or clinical studies on stress and the endocannabinoid system, you can start here: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C10&q=stress+and+endocanabinoid+system&btnG=

Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Zuardi AW, Crippa JA. Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Curr Drug Saf. 2011;6(4):237‐249. doi:10.2174/157488611798280924; Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):139‐154. Published 2017 Jun 1. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034

WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. Cannabidiol (CBD) Pre-Review Report: Agenda Item 5.2. World Health Organization. Thirty-ninth meeting, Geneva, 6-10 November 2017.

The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment, and may not and should not be used for such purposes. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare expert with any questions you may have regarding a medical question or condition.

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