You can ask any colleague, friend, or family member about their true feelings for the holidays and we can bet it’ll be a mixed bag of reactions. With all the love, gifts, and cheers on one side of the equation and stress and anxiety from the spending, travel, and extra family time on the other side. In light of this, a recent survey showed that 62% of respondents had ‘very or somewhat’ elevated stress labels during the holidays compared with only 10% reporting no stress and anxiety.
Can CBD For Stress And Anxiety Help?
2020 has been a tough year, and fortunately, it’s coming to an end soon. But it’s not 2021 yet, and there’s one more hurdle to get over before December 31- the holidays. And with that, the holiday stress. With Cannabidiol (CBD) stores popping up around the US and the push for herbal medicine, the question is whether CBD and CBD containing products can be helpful in managing anxiety and stress with the upcoming holidays.
CBD and the endocannabinoid system
Since ancient time, the cannabis plant has been grown and used for both its medicinal and industrial benefits. The cannabis plant contains more than a hundred different types of cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) amongst the others. While THC has psychoactive effects, CBD does not. Hemp plants are grown for their fibers as well as relatively high CBD levels, as industrial hemp must have less than 0.3% THC to be legal.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of cannabinoid receptors (such as CB1 and CB2) that can be activated by CBD throughout the brain and internal organs, as well as the immune system. The ECS is involved in the regulation of numerous processes throughout the human body from pain to spermatogenesis, as well as regulation of emotions and cognition. Furthermore, studies have shown that the ECS is critical for learning and responses to emotionally salient, especially highly aversive events. Activation of cannabinoid receptors such as some CB1 subtypes have also been shown to be anxiolytic, thus further laying the groundwork for the fact that CBD can help anxiety and stress. This is especially true around the holidays.
CBD and the serotonergic system
Most people have heard of serotonin which is the so-called ‘feel-good’ hormone. Though this is true on an extremely simplified basis, the serotonergic system is much more complicated. From the system underlying the antidepressant mechanism, to other medications working on gut motility and nausea, to migraines. One of the most important serotonin receptors is the 5-HT1Areceptor. It is well established as an anxiolytic target, with many medications approved for the management of Generalized Anxiety Disorder exerting effect through this receptor. CBD has also been shown to be active at the 5-HT1A receptors potentially driving a neuroprotective, anti-depressive as well as an anxiolytic effect.
Holiday Stress with CBD
CBD has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties aiding issues ranging from pain to nausea. With the holidays approaching and the associated stress, CBD will no doubt become an alternative to help manage the holiday related stress. Not just by making it easy to manage the stress and anxiety but also by helping reduce the side effects of poor sleep, poor appetite and the likes. Cannabis, through its effects on the ECS, not only lengthens the sleep, but shortens the time it takes to fall asleep.
Overall, there are strong preclinical studies demonstrating the utility of CBD to help manage stress and anxiety, as well as to help manage the associated side effects of stress, such as insomnia and low appetite.
Whether you observe Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa – or even if you’d rather not observe anything at all –the holidays tend to be a time of stress and anxiety. After all, there’s gift buying and maintaining holiday cheer; there are high expectations and socializing; there’s planning, cleaning, cooking, wrapping and more. Happy, sad, stressed, regretful, cheerful, anxious; the holidays can be an emotional roller coaster, so buckle up!
Lowering holiday stress is, at least partially, in your hands. Obviously, you can’t get new relatives or turn back the hands of time, but here are a few things you can do to help yourself have a stress-free, or at least less stressful, holiday season with CBD.
‘Tis the season to party! Parties are often a time to overindulge in alcohol. Too much alcohol can make you feel bad physically and mentally. Being overtired (and hungover) can lead to depression, and who needs that at holiday time? So, try to drink in moderation. If you need some pre-party chill, take some CBD. Studies indicate that CBD can assist in curbing anxiety and holiday stress.
Travel is always stressful. But this year, COVID-19 has thrown something extra into the mix. Now it’s not how or where to travel, but whether to travel at all. Whether to cancel visits with relatives and close friends weighs heavily on many people, adding extra anxiety. If you do travel, a dose of CBD at the outset can be beneficial to your well-being.
- Aches & pains
Long periods of sitting in a car or a plane can cause your muscles to get a little cranky. The cold weather can also contribute, and anxiety and stress can come with their own set of body aches, pain, and headaches. CBD has been shown to help alleviate pain and inflammation and aid in mitigating migraine pain. Got a muscle ache and want to pinpoint the pain area? Try topical CBD cream to hit the hurt where it lives.
Have a list. Not only will this help you focus on what you need to buy, but it will also help you remember what you purchased, so you don’t overspend. Don’t buy more than you can afford, or you’ll add a whole new source of stress.
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