By now you’ve likely heard of CBD in the media or from friends.
It’s become somewhat of a buzzword these days, but does it have any real benefits?
Is CBD just another health trend or does it truly improve wellness?
If you’ve been on the fence about trying it, this quick read will surely help you make up your mind for good.
You’ll learn about the scientifically-validated benefits of CBD, as well as get answers to the most common questions about taking it. Ready? Let’s get started!
Does CBD Reduces Stress?
One of the most touted benefits of CBD is its ability to reduce the negative effects of stress.
Some take it to combat the daily pressures brought on by work and relationships. Others use it to mitigate stress in the moment, such as after an argument or when experiencing emotional distress.
When the stress response is triggered, the body undergoes several physiological changes.
- Heart rate and blood pressure increase
- Muscles and nerves tense
- Energy is directed away from digestion and healing
- Alertness is increased
It goes without saying that these responses are highly undesirable, and are best avoided when possible.
Can CBD Help Reduce Stress?
CBD naturally boosts the body’s innate stress-relieving mechanisms. It also reduces the amount of stress-inducing hormones that are released.
The body uses specialized neurotransmitters, called endocannabinoids, and important receptor cells that receive these compounds called cannabinoid receptors.
Together, these components make up a signaling network known as the endocannabinoid system (or the ECS). The ECS is intimately connected to nearly every aspect of health and wellness, including the stress response.
CBD increases the tone and signaling of endocannabinoids, such as anandamide, or “the bliss molecule”, which may improve many different aspects of wellness, especially stress and mood.
CBD also activates the release of serotonin in the brain—a chemical that creates a calm, content feeling. It also inhibits the secretion of cortisol, the hormone responsible for creating stress.
In scientific terms, CBD activates something called retrograde signaling. This means that CBD can reverse or calm the stress response.
It does this by sending signals to the muscles and nerves that tell them to relax. It also calms the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the experience we know as stress.
Is CBD An Anti-Inflammatory?
CBD’s “retrograde signaling” effect doesn’t just calm the stress response, it also has the potential to reverse inflammatory reactions related to injury, illness, and autoimmune disorders.
By directly supporting the healthy function of the endocannabinoid system, CBD balances the body’s natural regulatory processes related to inflammation.
Inflammation is important in the process of healing, however, prolonged or chronic inflammation impedes the body’s ability to heal and self-regulate.
This activity inhibits pro-inflammatory enzymes and chemicals, encouraging the immune system to reverse the inflammatory process.
Inflammation can manifest in many different ways causing the experience of:
- Headaches and migraines
- Joint and muscle pain
- Lower back pain
- Digestion problems
- Skin issues
The anti-inflammatory effect of CBD is scientifically validated by animal studies and supported by a growing body of anecdotal and clinical reports.
Can CBD Help You Sleep?
Millions of people live with chronic sleep problems that negatively impact their health. The good news is that many people who take CBD say it has incredible sleep benefits that can help with many different sleep disturbances.
Remember earlier when we mentioned that the endocannabinoid system is connected to nearly every aspect of health and wellness? This includes healthy sleep patterns.
Maybe you’ve heard of the “flight or fight” response where the body undergoes physiological changes to prepare for running away from or standing to face danger. Well, the body has another mode called “rest and digest”. In this state, the energy is directed at digesting, healing, and relaxing. CBD can help move the body and brain into this mode.
Many things keep us awake at night when we should be getting a good night’s sleep. Stress, pain, and anxiety are the most common reasons for experiencing bouts of insomnia, but sleeplessness can also be related to drugs, lifestyle, shift work, travel, and other factors.
How Exactly Does CBD Help With Sleep?
Researchers studying CBD suggest it may help promote healthy sleep in several ways, including:
- Reducing cortisol production
- Activating serotonin release
- Calming painful inflammation
- Relaxing nerves and muscles
- Boosting anandamide
Most people turn to harsh narcotics and sleep aids that negatively affect the body and brain, but CBD offers a healthier way to support natural relaxation at the end of the day.
Studies indicate that CBD doesn’t negatively affect healthy sleep patterns, but it may be able to provide relief for those dealing with common issues that affect the quality of sleep throughout the night.
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