In a world where stress levels are through the roof, more people seek remedies to help them cope with them. While several pharmaceutical medications can combat stress symptoms, natural remedies like CBD are also options.
In fact, CBD supplements are among the most-sought after stress relief products in the market presently. To understand why this is so, let's take a deep dive into what CBD does to stress and how you can use it to recover your peace of mind.
The science behind CBD
CBD is one of the many chemical compounds (cannabinoids) found in marijuana or hemp plants. It accounts for roughly 40% of these plants' extract.
Generally, the percentage of CBD in hemp is much higher than in marijuana. Hemp also has lower concentrations of THC (less than 0.3%) which is why CBD derived from hemp is often more acceptable than CBD from marijuana.
Cannabidiol is consumed in many ways, with the most common being inhalation (vapor or smoke), ingestion (supplements), or topical application (lotions and creams). Since 2019, clinical studies on CBD have mainly focused on understanding its relationship with pain, movement disorders, cognition, and anxiety.
While the results have largely been ambiguous, a growing body of recent studies indicates that CBD could be beneficial in managing some of these conditions.
In a way, CBD has always been described as the 'antithesis' of its sister compound THC due to the responses they trigger in the body. This distinction primarily originates from their psychoactive properties. THC is explicitly psychoactive (makes you feel 'high'), but CBD is not.
Some publications contend that CBD is actually psychoactive but not in the same way as THC. They argue that CBD's psychoactive properties are evident in how it helps the body adapt to pain and anxiety.
How does CBD work?
Research into CBD's action mechanisms is progressing fast. Here are some areas where research studies offer critical insights into how CBD works.
CBD and endocannabinoids
Researchers have still not precisely mapped out CBD's action mechanisms on endocannabinoids.
However, existent research suggests that as a cannabinoid, CBD is chemically similar to the body's endocannabinoids. This similarity enables it to interact with the body's cannabinoid receptors — CB1 and CB2 — and affect various body functions.
Other studies have shown that CBD can also modulate non-cannabinoid receptors and pathways. One such instance is how it delays the reabsorption of endogenous neurotransmitters such as adenosine and anandamide.
It can also inhibit or enhance the binding action of specific G-protein coupled receptors.
CBD and serotonin receptors
Scientists from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and King's College, London, researched CBD's impact on anxiety. They established that CBD activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor at higher concentrations to release the hormone serotonin.
Serotonin is a G-coupled protein receptor linked with a host of neurological and biological functions, including anxiety, sleep, addiction, pain perception, nausea, and vomiting.
5-HT1A belongs to the group of 5-HT receptors and is activated by serotonin. These receptors are situated in the peripheral and central nervous systems, where they serve as triggers of various intracellular chemical relays that initiate inhibitory or excitatory responses.
CBD is a derivative of CBDA (cannabidiolic acid). This acid also has a high affinity for 5-HT1A receptors. Preclinical studies suggest that CBD's anti-emetic (prevent nausea) properties can be attributed to CBDA, which researchers think is a stronger anti-emetic than CBD.
CBD and vanilloid receptors
CBD is able to interact with various receptors in the body to alleviate certain symptoms. For instance, it can bind to TRPV1 (transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V) receptors to regulate pain perception, body temperature, and inflammations.
TRPV1 receptors belong to a family of TRP receptor variants that are known to regulate a wide range of effects that medicinal herbs have on the body.
The name 'vanilloid receptor" in reference to TRPV1 is associated with the vanilla bean, which is noted for containing eugenol – an essential oil with analgesic and antiseptic properties.
Eugenol's medicinal properties have been well-known since historical times when it was used to treat headaches. Scientists now contend that CBD's binding action to TRPV1 could be responsible for influencing pain perception. Eugenol can also help in unclogging blood vessels.
Hot chili contains capsaicin, a compound that can also activate TRPV1 receptors. This is nature's equivalent of anandamide, a known TRPV1 agonist.
CBD and GPR55-orphan receptors
Whereas in receptors like TRPV1 and 5-HT1A, the action of CBD is activation, new studies show that in specific G-coupled protein receptors like GPR55, its action is deactivation.
The GPR55 protein receptor is found in the cerebellum part of the brain. It is believed to play a role in bone formation (osteoclast cell function) and regulating blood pressure, among other physiological processes. Researchers refer to GPR55 as an "orphan" receptor because it is still not clear whether it is a member of a larger group of receptors.
A 2010 study by scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences found that when GPR55 is activated, it promotes the proliferation of abnormal cells. Indeed, numerous studies have identified the GPR55 receptor in many types of abnormal cell diseases.
Another study by the University of Aberdeen’s Ruth Ross established that CBD has antagonistic effects on GPR55 activation.
At a 2010 conference on the International Cannabinoid Research Society in Lund, Ross asserted that CBD could block the signaling of GPR55, effectively reducing bone reabsorption and the propagation of these cells.
CBD and PPARS nuclear receptors
Another group of receptors that could have a role in containing the spread of abnormal cells are the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs). It is believed that CBD promotes the activation of these receptors.
One particular receptor known as PPAR Gamma inhibits the proliferation of these cells. It can also induce the regression of lung disease cells in humans.
The activation of PPAR-gamma receptors proceeds with the degradation of amyloid-beta plaque, a molecule associated with memory.
CBD and reuptake inhibition
CBD penetrates human cells to bind with nuclear receptors. But to do this, it first has to permeate the cell membrane by piggybacking on fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) that direct lipid molecules to the interiors of the cells.
The intracellular transportation also aids in moving THC and endogenous cannabinoids (2AG and anandamide) across the cell membrane to different targeted parts of the cell.
Both THC and CBD influence receptors on the nuclear surface that modulate mitochondrial activity and gene expression.
CBD, in particular, is strongly attracted to three types of fatty acids that are also the targets of endogenous cannabinoids. Once anandamide gets into the cell, the FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) breaks it down.
However, CBD limits the interaction between anandamide and FABP transport molecules, effectively interfering with the breakdown process and slowing the passage of endocannabinoids into the cell interior.
For this reason, scientists believe CBD also acts as an anandamide breakdown and reuptake inhibitor. This action raises the levels of endocannabinoids in the brain's synapses.
Its ability to enhance the tone of endocannabinoids and prevent the reuptake of anandamide could be key to CBD's neuroprotective properties in reducing seizures and numerous other health benefits.
As for its anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties, research shows that CBD also inhibits the reuptake of adenosine. In doing so, it boosts the levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain, thereby regulating receptor activity associated with adenosine.
It is noteworthy that adenosine receptors A1A and A2A are linked to cardiovascular functions, coronary blood flow, and the regulation of myocardial oxygen consumption.
CBD in allosteric regulation
Allosteric regulation is when an effector enzyme molecule binds at a site that is not its usual active site. As an allosteric modulator, CBD is believed to have the ability to inhibit or enhance how receptors transmit signals by altering the shape of that receptor.
Australian researchers contend that CBD can interact with GABA-A receptors to enhance their binding affinity for GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid), their principal agonist. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter found in the central nervous system of mammals.
The GABA receptor mediates the sedating effects of benzodiazepines like Valium. On its part, CBD mitigates anxiety by altering the shape of the GABA-A receptor in a manner that magnifies GABA's calming effects.
CBD has also been identified as a "negative allosteric" regulator of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor in the central nervous system and the brain.
Although it does not bind itself to CB1 receptors in the same way as THC, CBD binds itself allosterically to CB1 and changes its shape, thus weakening CB1's ability to attach to THC firmly.
As a result, CBD reduces the psychoactivity ceiling of THC. This explains why people using CBD-rich products do not get as 'high' as when they use THC-dominant cannabis. However, a combination of CBD and THC has been shown to be more effective in pain reduction therapies.
Lab tested CBD
The increased demand for CBD products has come with its upsides and downsides. Regulatory authorities like FDA have registered concerns over the emergence of unapproved CBD products in the market.
This problem is compounded by the legalization of CBD products in many countries and the increasing accessibility to these products.
A recent lab data analysis showed that 25% of CBD products were not tested for impurities, including heavy metals, pesticides, and microbial contamination.
The investigation also established that most consumer CBD products are not accurately labeled, making it difficult to determine their potency.
Consequently, the FDA recently shared a list of brands whose CBD consumer products did not contain the correct amounts of CBD as stated on their labels.
At FOCL, all our products are third-party lab tested to ensure that our CBD meets all the highest quality standards and that what’s on the label is actually in the product you’re consuming.
Lab-tested CBD products should generally have THC levels less or equal to 0.3%. At this quantity, THC's psychoactive properties are not enough to induce a 'high.' Remember that marijuana products are still largely illegal in many countries.
Similarly, medical marijuana is only legal if it contains limited amounts of THC (below 0.3%).
Generally, cannabis products undergo a battery of tests to ensure that they are safe and effective in treating health conditions. These include trace metal, pesticide residue, yeast and molds, moisture, and potency tests.
CBD dosage guide
CBD dosage is essentially a trial-and-error affair.
Apart from a CBD prescription used in epilepsy treatment, other CBD products do not have prescribed dosages. This could be because people have different tolerance degrees for CBD. However, human studies suggest dosages ranging from 20 to 1,500 mg.
Medical health practitioners advise that it's better to start with smaller doses and gradually make your way up until you achieve the desired effect. Different ailments require different amounts. Typically, 10 to 40 mg per day is suitable for non-serious cases.
As the severity of a condition increases, so does the CBD dosage. It is advisable to use 30 to 100mg per day for semi-serious and severe cases. For more severe cases, 50 to 350mg is recommended. Larger doses of between 200 and 500mg are suggested for severe to extreme conditions.
Even as you try to follow these guidelines, keep a few crucial tips in mind. The effects of CBD may last 6-8 hours. Therefore, health experts recommend taking it twice a day but in gaps.
Gapping your intake may also help you avoid overdosing because CBD effects do not kick in right away. In some cases, you may wait 2-4 weeks before feeling the effects.
Cannabinoids have a biphasic effect. This essentially means that an increase in dosage does not necessarily have a corresponding increase in impact. In most cases, the opposite happens, where higher doses lead to adverse effects.
Generally, smaller doses have been shown to stimulate the body better than higher doses. So if you find that CBD no longer works for you, take a short break (5-7 days), then resume taking it in smaller doses. Alternatively, reduce your dosage by half.
Possible side effects of CBD
CBD is usually well-tolerated in smaller doses. However, it can cause side effects such as diarrhea, dry mouth, fatigue, drowsiness, and reduced appetite when taken orally.
Higher doses of Epidiolex, a prescription CBD medication, for a long duration have been associated with liver injury.
Other studies indicate that high doses of CBD for people with brain disorders might worsen tremors and muscle movement.
CBD might also interfere with how the liver breaks down certain medications. This could affect the effectiveness of these medications and their side effects.
Overall, there are few known adverse effects of CBD. In instances where unfavorable reactions have occurred, subsequent investigations revealed the person mixed other medications with CBD of the CBD product was contaminated.
Best CBD supplement for stress
There are varieties of CBD supplements for stress on the market. However, not every CBD product is approved by regulatory authorities.
Therefore, you should practice caution and ensure the supplement you purchase is lab-tested and third-party certified to contain the amount of CBD indicated on the label.
Our FOCL CBD supplements for stress are tried and tested to offer you quick relief from stress and anxiety. FOCL Day is stacked with Rhodiola and five more stress-fighting adaptogens to help you fight everyday stress.
Similarly, our Premium CBD Drops are another great option for people who want to infuse CBD into their beverages. A few drops of this minty CBD tincture in your tea or coffee will leave you feeling blissfully relaxed and focused on tasks that matter.
Is stress hurting your sleep? Try FOCL Night. This product combines the natural supplement Ashwagandha and other soothing botanicals that will help calm your mind, letting you fall into a peaceful night's sleep.
What are the best CBD gummies for anxiety and stress?
If you prefer something you can chew while carrying on with your duties, we’ve got you covered.
For the perfect daily dose of CBD that you can carry around, try our Premium CBD Gummies. These multi-flavored gummies pack 25mg of our premium hemp CBD each so you can get a delicious dose of chill anywhere, at any time.
If you’re looking that packs more of a punch, then our new Full Spectrum CBD Gummies are what you need. Containing 25mg of CBD per gummy, you’ll get more bang for your buck and move through each day stress-free. Find them in Sour Watermelon, Tropical Punch, and Mandarin Orange flavors.
For those who can’t sleep due to stress and anxiety creeping up at bedtime, we highly recommend our newly-released CBD + CBN Sleep Gummies. These treats pack the same 25mg dose of CBD, each with the addition of 15mg of the sleep-inducing cannabinoid CBN. Our sleep gummies will help you fall asleep faster and wake up refreshed.