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|
Source: Mayo Clinic
CBD Consumer Surveys
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:
Does CBD Work 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Don’t overload yourself with unnecessary obligations or commitments. It’s ok to say “no” sometimes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Try a natural plant extract like a hemp-derived CBD oil product to help promote a feeling of calmness and relaxation.
Stress Symptoms: Effects on Your Body and Behavior.Mayo Clinic. Published April 4, 2019.
Borchard, Therese J. Spirituality and Prayer Relieve Stress. Psych 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.