It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that the last few months have been more than a little taxing on our stress and anxiety levels and mental wellbeing. There is no roadmap or guidebook called “How To Cope During a Global Pandemic,” and I think we’d all do well to remember that - self-compassion and kindness really is the only way to cope with so much uncertainty.
That being said, I thought it would be useful to elaborate in this blog post on one particular way in which you could potentially ease your way to some inner calm, if all the normal methods aren’t working. So let’s talk about CBD oil and mental health.
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil (which stands for Cannabidiol)comes from the cannabis plant but it’s not the same part of the plant that cannabis, the drug, comes from. Within the Cannabis plant there is TCH and CBD. TCH (Tetrahydrocannabinol), is the main psychoactive component of cannabis, and is responsible for the “high” associated with recreational cannabis use. TCH works by mimicking neurotransmitters that are responsible for how we experience pain, appetite, sleep and other bodily functions and effects can include relaxation, hunger, fatigue and a feeling of calmness.
How Does CBD Oil Work in the Body?
Both CBD and TCH are cannabinoids, naturally occurring compounds that are most well known for being found in abundance in the cannabis plant. Our bodies have what’s called an Endocannabinoid System (just like any other system in the body) which is a physiological system involved in helping the body maintaining balance. CBD and TCH stimulate receptors within this endocannabinoid system and therefore help to promote balance and homeostasis and also reduce pain and inflammation.
CBD differs from TCH in that it doesn’t contain any of the same psychoactive properties as TCH, but it does still help to promote this feeling of calm. TCH is an illegal drug which has been shown to have long term side effects such as impaired thinking and reasoning. CBD, on the other hand, is legal, and has been shown to provide benefit in the following situations:
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
So the reason that CBD oil is now so commonly used to treat anxiety is due to its relaxing effects on the brain, working to calm neurological inflammation which in turn makes us feel relaxed, grounded and less stressed.
As we know, stress and anxiety can exacerbate health symptoms and also put us at risk of illness later on in life - it certainly pays to be cool, calm and collected but that relaxed state is also one of the hardest things to constantly achieve. Life these days bombards us with stressors 24/7, and whilst I think CBD is a great addition to any wellness warriors medicine cabinet, I also think it’s crucial that we all learn to relax and unwind without relying on something external. So whilst you’re spiking your nighttime hot cacao with a few drops of CBD oil, here are a few of my other favourite ways to unwind and lower those anxiety levels:
- The Breathing App by Eddie Stern
- An anti-inflammatory, organic diet (your dietary choices add stress to the body too). Cru8 can help you here!
- Hot baths with Epsom salts
- Time spent in nature
- Meditation and Mindfulness
It’s also important to point out that many companies have jumped on the CBD oil bandwagon, but the quality and strength of these oils can vary greatly. When taking CBD there are a few things to think about:
- The concentration of CBD in the product
- The weight of the individual taking it
- The severity of the issue being treated
- The person’s constitution: i.e are they generally sensitive to medications / fluctuation in body homeostasis?
The easiest way to take CDB is distilled into an oil (check that it’s a good quality oil like olive oil), and as such you can also use it topically to treat aches and pains (for example at that time of the month!)
In terms of dosage go low and slow to begin with, a couple of drops of oil or roughly 5-10mg spending on the dropper size of the bottle should be fine. Of course you could also try any of the myriad of CBD infused waters and drinks available on the market too. The concentration of CBD in these tends to be quite low, but the placebo effect is lovely! Just check the label for hidden sugars or sweeteners!
Whatever works for you, I wish you a week filled with calm, rest and relaxation!