Yes. But how does it work? CBD products claim to help with everything from anxiety to insomnia to muscle pain.
Is the hype too good to be true? Let us break it down for you.
WHAT IS RELAXATION?
Relaxation is defined as “the state of being free from tension and anxiety.”
Relaxation seems to be important for health and wellbeing because it helps protect you from the negative effects of stress. Essentially, relaxation is “a process that decreases the effects of stress on your mind and body.” According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly everyone can benefit from learning relaxation techniques.
Breathwork and meditation are common relaxation techniques, as are drinking herbal tea or using aromatherapy. In the first set of relaxation techniques, you are interacting with your autonomic nervous system to lower your state of arousal. In the second set of relaxation techniques, you are using natural compounds to promote feelings of relaxation. These natural compounds could be anything from lavender or chamomile, to THC or CBD.
HOW DOES CANNABIS (CBD & THC) HELP YOU RELAX?
Ok, so how does this stuff work? Well, the short explanation is that CBD can activate some serotonin receptors, and the serotonin system is associated with alleviating anxiety.
Want the scientific explanation of CBD?
CBD interacts with the body through the Endocannabinoid System, a complex cell-signaling system made of neurotransmitters (called endocannabinoids), neuroreceptors, and enzymes that functions within the brain and immune system.
We still have a lot to learn about the endocannabinoid system, but research suggests that it may help regulate mood, temperature, appetite and digestion, immune functions, reproduction and fertility, cardiovascular system functions, and more. In fact, its primary role is thought to be maintaining homeostasis, or an overall balance in the body and mind.
Sometimes certain stimuli can interrupt homeostasis, especially our sense of calm, such as an injury or stressful event. In these cases, the body releases natural endocannabinoids to help return the body to a healthy state.
Sometimes, however, there is an endocannabinoid imbalance that prevents the body from maintaining its natural, relaxed state. This is where CBD may come in.
CBD is similar in structure to these endocannabinoids and can bind with both major receptor sites, though it’s most commonly known to act indirectly on endocannabinoid receptors to help balance the endocannabinoid system. Some evidence even suggests that it may help regrow damaged endocannabinoid receptors over time, but more evidence is needed to understand how it may work.
DOES CBD HELP WITH ANXIETY?
Possibly. The anecdotal evidence says yes, but we need more research.
CBD can help you feel calm when you’re upset. It can help smooth rough waters when you get stressed out. But what about more serious ailments? How can it help with anxiety?
One 2019 study titled “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series” delves into the issue, specifically targeting CBD’s benefits for anxiety that causes sleep loss (or perhaps sleep loss that worsens anxiety).
The study followed 72 adult patients with primary concerns of either anxiety or poor sleep. 57 patients (79.2%) experienced decreased anxiety within the first month that remained at the decreased level for the duration of the study. 48 patients (66.7%) reported improved sleep during the first month, although the results fluctuated over time.
The study suggests that while CBD may have some potential as a sleep-enhancing supplement, its primary potential may lie in anxiety relief. Specifically, the study concludes that “Cannabidiol may hold benefit for anxiety-related disorders. Controlled clinical studies are needed.”
WHICH CANNABIS PRODUCTS MAKE YOU FEEL RELAXED?
Most cannabis products are intended to have calming or relaxing effects on whoever uses them so you have a wide range to choose from!
CBD oil is perhaps the most popular and well-known format. These bottles contain CBD extract mixed with carrier oil and can be taken orally. We recommend that you place a few drops underneath the tongue, hold them there for around 60 seconds, and then swallow. This allows the CBD to infuse into your bloodstream which should help it to have the desired effects.
THC VS CBD FEELING
THC and CBD overlap in therapeutic benefits, but the overall experience is like night and day.
We already know that CBD is non-intoxicating. While CBD reportedly offers relief from many different symptoms through various non-ECS receptors, THC’s medical effects revolve around its powerful intoxicating properties.
For some people there can be drawbacks to taking only THC. Many people use it to deal with the same array of symptoms that gained CBD so much attention. But the experience is very different – and sometimes unpleasant.
When you consume THC, you might feel:
- Racing (often creative) thoughts
- Increased appetite
- Mental impairment
When you mix CBD and THC this is where the magic happens.