Modified: 8/24/2021

CBD Use for Stress + Relaxation

CBD use for stress and relaxation is one of the most common uses among Americans.  Many individuals suffer from stress with some experiencing more intense stress than others. Stress is well known and probably one of the most common feelings experienced among humanity.  Stress can be triggered by various people and circumstances.  For example, a bad start to the day, a breakup, an argument, losing a job, or losing a pet can trigger the feeling of stress.

Stress, however, is unhealthy.  When stress is unattended or mismanaged it can take a significant toll on the mind and body.  Stress negatively impacts the mind by causing unwanted feelings such as being made, sad, frustrated and even hopeless. When the mind is consumed by the feeling of stress, it can interfere with clarity of mind, decision making, and relationships at home and at work. The impact of stress on the body can result in stiffness, soreness, aches, and pains. Some individuals experience more serious health effects such as high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.

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

CBD Consumer Surveys

Data on CBD use for stress and relaxation

Research shows 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.

While additional research is underway to better understand how CBD works with stress, anxiety, and on the endocannabinoid system, Americans continue to use CBD to help them de-stress and relax. Indeed, numerous CBD consumer surveys show millions of people use CBD for stress, anxiety, and relaxation. Below, we highlight some of those surveys and what they show.

CBD User Data Summary on Stress and Relaxation

The data from an anonymous survey distributed via social media shows that 65% use CBD for stress relief and 55% for relaxation.  Separately, in a 2019 survey among 4,000 Americans, 37% use CBD to reduce stress or anxiety or to help them relax. Among these, 63% found CBD “extremely or very effective” at doing so.

In a joint survey with over 2,000 Americans, the data shows 50% bought CBD for stress relief and 55% bought CBD for relaxation.

In a survey of 855 women from all generations, 36.5% of baby boomers use CBD for anxiety and 31.7% for relaxation. Among generation X, 47.9% use CBD for anxiety and 42.7% for relaxation. This number increased among millennials with 59.8% using CBD for anxiety and 51.7% for relaxation. Amongst all generations, 54.7% found CBD effective for anxiety, and 47.3% found CBD effective for relaxation.

In a study of 1.3 million U.S. social media posts and conversations, the researchers found 250,000 conversations on using CBD to relieve stress and anxiety (in addition to insomnia and depression). Among these, 90% included positive remarks on the effectiveness of CBD.

In a survey of 2,600 arthritis patients, 77% found CBD effective for anxiety relief.

In another survey of over 2,000 Americans, 22% use CBD for mental health issues. Among these, 75% indicated using CBD specifically for stress/anxiety. Notably, there were zero adverse events from using CBD reported.

In a survey among 1,273 vitamin and supplement users, 37.5% use CBD to reduce anxiety.

The data from CBD consumer surveys published in 2020  have similar results:

  • A survey with roughly 3,000 respondents shows that 39% use CBD to reduce anxiety, and 33% to relax.
  • A survey of 2,000 American adults shows that 49% use CBD for anxiety and stress.
  • In a survey among American consumers, 60% reported using CBD to relax, relieve stress, or reduce anxiety.

Does CBD Work for Everyone?

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

Data from the above CBD consumer surveys show that CBD has been effective for stress relief and to achieve a sense of relaxation for some but not for all.  This is not surprising as the results of many products vary by the user and, in some cases, the type and quality of the product.

If you are new to CBD, it’s best to start with a low amount (commonly referred to as “dosage”) to see if that amount works for you. If the amount is ineffective, you may gradually increase the amount by a serving size or two and keep doing so until you feel the desired effect. On average, human CBD studies report a CBD dose of up to 1,500 mg per day is well tolerated. However, a dose of 1,500 mg per day is too high for a new user unless doctor recommended.  Start low and go slow.

On the other hand, if you feel super-tired or too relaxed, you’ve probably taken too much CBD. In this case, decrease the amount and keep gradually decreasing it until you reach your 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. 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.

No matter the amount, rest assured that no amount of CBD will make you feel high like marijuana would so you’re okay to take CBD for stress at work or CBD for stress at home. As for addiction, studies report that CBD has no potential for abuse or dependence, or any withdrawal side effects or symptoms.  This means if you stop using CBD you will not experience any side effects or crave CBD like you would with illicit drugs, prescription medications, alcohol, and cigarette smoking.

→ Recommended: Self-Perceived Anxiety Ranked Top Reason for CBD Use

Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or Isolate

CBD products are typically formulated a a full spectrum, broad spectrum or CBD isolate.

Full Spectrum

A full spectrum CBD product means the product has a predominant amount of CBD along with varying amounts of other cannabinoids, including 0.3% or less THC, and some terpenes. This formulation is ideal for individuals who do not have a sensitivity to THC and are otherwise okay to use a product with a trace amount of THC.

Broad Spectrum

A broad spectrum CBD product is the same formulation as a full spectrum minus the THC.  CBD products that are promoted to be a broad spectrum will typically state that they “THC Free”, “Zero THC” and the like. Broad spectrum CBD formulations are ideal for those individuals who do not wish to have any THC in their CBD product.

CBD Isolate

A product formulated as a CBD Isolate means the product only contains CBD and no other cannabinoids or terpenes. Isolate products are ideal for individuals who only want to use CBD.

→ Learn more: Full Spectrum v. Broad Spectrum v. CBD Isolate

11 Ways to Help Manage Stress

Stress can feel overwhelming but it can be managed.  There are numerous stress management techniques to explore and test. Here are 11 ideas on how to help manage stress.

  1. Take a mental 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. Try a natural plant extract like a hemp-derived CBD oil product to help promote a feeling of calmness and relaxation.

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

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.

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.

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