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CBD For Stress: Does it Help?

Stress is a common issue in the UK, with one in 14 adults (7%) feeling stressed every single day, and 74% ‘overwhelmed or unable to cope’ at some point in the past year. The most common cause of stress is work-related pressure, though big changes in your life, overwhelming responsibilities, strained relationships, financial issues and health concerns are other common factors. Those with existing conditions, such as ADHD or Autism, are also more susceptible to higher stress and anxiety levels.

And it can have wider implications for your health. 51% of adults who felt stressed reported feeling depressed, and 61% reported feeling anxious. Stress can also lead to uncomfortable physical symptoms, such as insomnia, headaches, blurred or sore eyes, muscle tension or pain, stomach problems, chest pain and high blood pressure, nausea, rashes and changes to your menstrual cycle — amongst others.

Traditional remedies for stress include wellbeing practices, such as exercise, meditation and breathing exercises, though cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and medication is sometimes used in more severe cases. However, there is a newer method that should be considered — and the science behind it shows promising results. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant that has been heralded as a natural solution for stress, and related mental health conditions, in recent years.

Does CBD Help With Stress? 

Studies suggest that CBD can help to alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety disorders. This is because it is thought to interact with our endocannabinoid system, a cell-signalling system connected to the central nervous system that plays a role in regulating a range of our cognitive and physical functions (including stress and anxiety), by binding to its CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Endocannabinoid system. Image courtesy of Harvard Health Publishing (2021).

And the studies show promising results.

  • Of 387 current or past-CBD users, the top 4 reasons for using CBD were self-perceived anxiety (42.6%), sleep problems (42.5%), stress (37%), and general health and wellbeing (37%). Of those 37% using CBD for stress, 92.2% responded that they felt less stressed when using CBD. 
  • Researchers evaluated the effects of CBD treatment in 72 adults with either anxiety or sleep problems and, after 2 months, 78.1–79.2% of participants reported improvements in anxiety symptoms.
  • Another trial concluded that CBD could lead to symptom relief in treatment-resistant anxiety disorders in young people, with no serious and/or unexpected adverse effect. 
  • A review of eight related studies concluded that CBD has a promising role as alternative therapy in the management of anxiety disorders.
  • A 2021 review of preclinical research concluded that ‘collectively, and given CBD’s safety profile, these studies support the continued evaluation of CBD as a promising new agent in the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders.’
  • Another literature review of human studies assessing the efficacy of cannabidiol for social anxiety supports the efficacy of acute CBD for improving social anxiety without sedative or cognitive side effects.

There is also research to suggest that CBD is an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A 2019 case series found that the administration of oral CBD in addition to routine psychiatric care was associated with PTSD symptom reduction in adults with PTSD, and offered relief in a subset of patients who reported frequent nightmares as a symptom of their PTSD.

In addition, experiencing chronic stress greatly increases a person’s risk of developing a substance use disorder. However, CBD is also thought to be an effective alternative to alcohol, and a potential antidote for addiction, which could help to prevent and treat addiction disorders.

Chronic inflammation due to oxidative stress may lead to several conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis. As CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it could help to reduce the physical effects of stress, and play a part in preventing stress-related conditions. Indeed, a comprehensive study on the Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol (2020) published in Antioxidants (Basel), concluded that:  

  • CBD protects lipids and proteins against oxidative damage by modulating the level of oxidative stress, which participates in cell signalling pathways.
  • CB2 activation leads to a decrease in ROS and TNF-α levels, which reduces oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • Studies in rats have also shown that CBD, by activating 5-HT1A receptors, can reduce physiological and behavioural responses to restrictive stress.

In addition to human studies, there have been some studies that suggest that CBD can also help to alleviate stress and anxiety in canines. A recent study (February 2023) found that a single dose of Cannabidiol (CBD) positively influences measures of stress in dogs during separation and car travel. 

How Many MG of CBD Should I Take for Stress?

There are several factors that help determine how much CBD you need to take for stress. However, most if it comes down to personal preference and requirements. Our recommendation would be to start with 10 mg a day, and then to increase it slowly until you find your perfect dose.

Closing Thoughts

CBD is thought to be an effective remedy for stress because it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system and modulates the cognitive and physical functions associated with stress, as well as reduces chronic inflammation associated with oxidative stress. Although current evidence shows promise, more research is needed to fully understand its effects. In addition, the use of CBD for stress management should be discussed with a qualified healthcare professional, in particular if you take prescription medication.


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