Low-dose THC can relieve stress; more does just the opposite Cannabis smokers often report that they use the drug to relax or relieve stress, but few studies provide clinical evidence of these Are you looking for a way to naturally relieve your stress? If so, read on to learn why you should use CBD for stress. When considering CBD or hemp oil for anxiety, what about — both? Learn how each can relieve anxiety in its own fashion…
Low-dose THC can relieve stress; more does just the opposite
Cannabis smokers often report that they use the drug to relax or relieve stress, but few studies provide clinical evidence of these effects.
Now, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago report that low levels tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, does reduce stress, but in a highly dose-dependent manner: very low doses lessened the jitters of a public-speaking task, while slightly higher doses — enough to produce a mild “high” — actually increased anxiety.
Cannabis is a highly regulated category 1 substance, and permits to study the drug are difficult to obtain. While it is common knowledge that many people use cannabis for its stress-relieving effects, “very few published studies have looked into the effects of THC on stress, or at the effects of different levels of THC on stress,” says Emma Childs, associate professor of psychiatry in the UIC College of Medicine and corresponding author on the study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
“We found that THC at low doses reduced stress, while higher doses had the opposite effect, underscoring the importance of dose when it comes to THC and its effects.”
Childs and her colleagues recruited 42 healthy volunteers 18 to 40 years old who had some experience with cannabis use but who were not daily users.
Participants were randomly divided into three groups: The low-dose group received a capsule containing 7.5 milligrams of THC; the moderate-dose group received a capsule containing 12.5 milligrams of THC; and a placebo group received a capsule containing none. Neither the participants nor the researchers knew who was in each group.
“The doses used in the study produce effects that are equivalent to only a few puffs of a cannabis cigarette,” said Childs, noting that it is difficult to compare doses of smoked cannabis to doses of ingested THC. “We didn’t want to include a much larger dose, because we wanted to avoid potential adverse effects or cardiovascular effects that can result from higher doses of THC.”
Participants attended two four-hour sessions at the University of Chicago, five days apart. At each session, they took their capsule and then relaxed for two hours to allow the THC to be absorbed into the bloodstream.
During one session, participants were asked to spend 10 minutes preparing for a mock job interview. They were then subjected to a five-minute interview with lab assistants who did not offer any feedback, verbally or through body language, although video display was visible to the participant, showing their performance. Participants were then instructed to count backwards from a five-digit number by subtracting 13, for five minutes — a task that is “very reliably stress-inducing,” Childs said.
In their second visit, participants were asked to talk to lab assistants about a favorite book or movie for five minutes and then play solitaire for another five minutes.
Before, during and after each of the two activities, participants rated their stress levels and feelings about the tasks. Blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol, a key stress hormone, were measured at intervals.
The participants who received 7.5 milligrams of THC reported less stress after the psychosocial test than those given a placebo, and their stress levels dissipated faster after the test.
Participants who received 12.5 milligrams of THC before the two tasks reported greater negative mood before and throughout the task, and were more likely to rate the psychosocial task as “challenging” and “threatening” beforehand. Participants who received this dose also had more pauses during the mock interview compared to those in the placebo group.
There were no significant differences in participants’ blood pressure, heart rate or cortisol levels — before, during or after the doses or the tasks.
“Our findings provide some support for the common claim that cannabis is used to reduce stress and relieve tension and anxiety,” Childs said. “At the same time, our finding that participants in the higher THC group reported small but significant increases in anxiety and negative mood throughout the test supports the idea that THC can also produce the opposite effect.”
“Studies like these — examining the effects of cannabis and its pharmacological constituents under controlled conditions — are extremely important, considering the widespread use of cannabis for both medical and non-medical purposes,” she said. “Unfortunately, significant regulatory obstacles make it extremely difficult to conduct this type of research — with the result that cannabis is now widely available for medical purposes with minimal scientific foundation.”
Joseph Lutz of UIC and Harriet de Wit of the University of Chicago are co-authors on the study, which was supported by grant DA02812 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Feeling Stressed Out?: How CBD Can Help With Stress
8 of 10 Americans are affected by stress. To put this into perspective, that’s 79% of 327.16 million people.
Chances are, you’re one of those people. Whether it be an unthankful boss or an angry mother in law, stress affects us all in different ways.
Chronic stress can affect more than just your mental stability, it causes symptoms from headaches and high blood pressure to chest pain and heart palpitations. Sure, you can take anti-anxiety medications like Xanax or Prozac. But, why not try to relieve your symptoms with natural remedies?
CBD is still in infancy, but research suggests that CBD oils can vastly reduce stress when taken on a regular basis.
Read on to learn more about using CBD for stress relief.
What is CBD?
In short, CBD is an oil that comes from the cannabis plant.
Officially known as cannabidiol, CBD is considered a cannabinoid. It is one of over 100 different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
Cannabinoids are found in leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. They are then extracted and separated.
Once extracted, CBD is a colorless, crystalline structure at room temperature in its purest form. CBD can be derived from either the marijuana plant or the hemp plant. Both are strains of the cannabis plant, however, CBD that is derived from the marijuana plant tends to be more potent and more effective than that of the hemp plant.
CBD is known to have benefits on pain relief, stress, anxiety, seizure disorders, and more.
Does CBD Produce a High?
One of the most well-known cannabinoids is called Tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC. THC is the chemical in the cannabis plant that offers the mind-altering high feeling, as opposed to CBD, which is 100% non-psychoactive.
Both CBD and THC bind with special receptors in your brain, however, CBD binds directly with those receptors, where THC does not. This is why you feel no fuzziness or mental slowness.
Because of the way that CBD binds with your receptors, it may take a bit longer for you to notice the effects.
When you do begin to notice the CBD, you’ll feel a wave of relaxation through your body.
Can You Use CBD for Stress?
Being subjected to stress on a daily basis can threaten your social life, mental and physical health. CBD oil is a natural way to reduce the daily stress that is keeping you from living your best life.
But don’t take our word for it, check out these studies performed over the last few years.
A study performed in 2010 showed that CBD helps to reduce anxiety in people with social anxiety disorder, or SAD. This study found that CBD not only helped reduce current anxiety, but it also changed the initial brain reaction to said anxiety. Brain scans showed changes in blood flow patterns in regions of the brain associated with stress and anxiety.
Similarly, a 2011 study found that CBD reduced social anxiety specifically induced by public speaking.
A 2014 research study found that appropriately dosed CBD oil had antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects. This study was performed on animal models with a variety of experiments, such as the forced swimming test (FST), elevated plus maze (EPM), and Vogel conflict test (VCT).
In 2015, an analysis showed that CBD continued to reduce stress and social anxiety. The study referred to CBD as, “a potential treatment for anxiety disorders.” These disorders might include SAD, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety disorder.
And finally, this 2016 research studied the effectiveness of CBD specifically on PTSD and insomnia. What they found was that CBD significantly reduced PTSD induced anxiety and aided in a healthy sleep pattern.
Is It Stress or Anxiety?
Before you decide which medication is right for you, it’s important to understand exactly what your body is going through.
You’ve likely heard the terms stress and anxiety used interchangeably, however, these are two very different things. Stress and anxiety share many of the same physical and emotional symptoms. Both can take a heavy toll on the body.
It can be difficult to spot the differences between the two, however, it’s pertinent that you understand and can identify which you are struggling with.
Stress is what your body does in response to a threatening situation. Anxiety is a reaction to that stress.
Once you’ve determined which disorder, if not both, is clouding over you, you can properly begin treatment. CBD oil works well to treat both stress and anxiety, however, some anxiety disorders may require additional medications or therapy.
Are There Risks?
Research on the long term health effects of CBD is limited due to the fact that CBD research is overall a new concept.
Some researchers do caution that CBD can have a negative health effect when smoked.
Research specifically on CBD oil has found no negative side effect thus far, unlike medications such as Xanax, which produce a multitude of negative side effects, not limited to dizziness, memory problems, slurred speech, vomiting, blurred vision, loss of sex drive, weight changes, and more.
Because CBD is not highly regulated, it can be difficult to determine the correct dosage or frequency in which it should be taken. Dosages may differ based on which product is taken, such as gummies, tablets, or oils.
Be mindful of this, and carefully follow each set of individual directions.
Let Go of Stress Today
Stress ruins the lives of many on a daily basis. No matter how you choose to remedy the situation, don’t let stress take control of your life.
If you’re interested in giving CBD a chance, check out our online selection or stop by for a complete consultation. We offer useful selections of tablets, gummies, and oils with CBD for stress and other medical conditions including inflammation.
If you’ve tried other treatments and had little to no relief, it might be time to give CBD a try. It just might let you go back to being you again.
Clearing the confusion: CBD or hemp oil for anxiety?
When considering CBD or hemp oil for anxiety, what about — both? Learn how each can relieve anxiety in its own fashion
Anxiety issues are widespread. More than 70% of people who have previously attempted suicide have some type of anxiety disorder, according to research published in the journal Depression and Anxiety.
Additionally, two of the most common anxiety disorders associated with attempted suicide are panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Even mild forms of anxiety can have negative effects on the body. Among them are headaches, increased irritability, digestive issues, heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, and excessive fatigue.
With traditional anxiety medication comes side effects
While one common approach to anxiety treatment is to take one of four classes of prescription medication — selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), or benzodiazepines — these don’t always come without side effects.
For instance, SSRIs can leave patients with agitation, dizziness, upset stomach, and difficulty sleeping and taking SNRIs can result in constipation, headaches, loss of appetite, and sexual problems.
That’s why some people who are struggling with anxiety turn to alternative options instead. Two of these options are cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp oil. Because both of these substances come from the same plant, there is a bit of confusion as to the effect each has, and choosing CBD or hemp oil for anxiety.
“Both CBD and hemp seed oil can help treat anxiety,” says Sonya Soderlund, an expert in CBD oil research who shares her findings in numerous articles published on this topic, “but for completely different reasons.” Let’s look at hemp oil first.
Hemp oil for anxiety
“Hemp seed oil, which is cold-pressed from hemp seeds, contains no cannabinoids like CBD or THC,” says Soderlund. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the part of the hemp plant that is responsible for the “high” that is typically associated with the use of marijuana. Therefore, because hemp seed oil does not contain this substance, it does not offer this effect.
Soderlund goes on to explain that hemp oil is “generally sold for use in cooking or skincare and is rich in the optimal proportion of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.” It is these two fatty acids that make products containing this ingredient helpful for easing anxiety.
There is evidence of omega-3’s value in treating anxiety in a 2018 study published in JAMA Network Open. “In this study, people who took at least 2.000 mg per day of omega-3 were most likely to have decreased anxiety,” says Soderlund.
Another 2018 study, this one published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, shares that individuals suffering with anxiety and depression tend to have lower levels of these polyunsaturated fatty acids. They have lower ratios of omega-3s as total fatty acids as well.
CBD for anxiety explained
“CBD, on the other hand, is a cannabinoid, a chemical that is not present in hemp seeds at all,” explains Soderlund. “It is extracted from the bud, as well as the stems and leaves.”
The way CBD works is by interacting with our body’s endocannabinoid system, which is the system that helps regulate our sleep, mood, appetite, memory, and reproduction.
The human body naturally produces two endocannabinoids — anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglyerol — that interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout the body. However, some health experts suggest that some people may not produce enough of these endocannabinoids, resulting in a condition called clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. In cases such as this, taking CBD may be helpful.
For instance, some studies have found that CBD helps ease social anxiety. “Studies also suggest that CBD may also aid in fear extinction,” says Soderlund, “which is part of what fuels PTSD.”
If patients are interested in using hemp seed oil to ease their anxiety, how much should they take?
“For perspective, one tablespoon of hemp seed oil would contain between and 3,000-6,000 mg,” Soderlund says. “So, half a teaspoon could be a good starting dose for people who want to try this out.”
In regard to CBD, “in terms of dosing, each person is unique,” says Soderlund. “It’s best to start with a low dose, like 10-15 mg of CBD, and take that for 5-7 days and then increase if needed. Some people need very little, while others take doses of 50 mg per day or higher.”
Each body is different, and patients or doctors prescribing CBD or hemp oil for anxiety need to keep in mind each person’s individual reaction and needs.