The sudden shifts in day-to-day life that come with surviving a global pandemic together often feel surreal — particularly the effects of social distancing, which can stir up feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety. It’s important to remember, as communities like Taiwan and Singapore have proven, that social distance and self-quarantining can be extremely effective solutions for flattening an outbreak. But while that’s heartening, it doesn’t make these methods any less stressful. That stress, however, can be eased, particularly if you pay special attention to engaging in a little extra self-care outside of just washing your hands a lot (but definitely do that, too).
Stress and Your Health
At Psychology Today, Pamela B. Paresky, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago says, “Stress isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. Depending on one’s interpretation of stressors, it can be motivating and energizing. But the stress of unexpected negative situations can be depleting.”
Stress, whether induced from isolation or otherwise, can be more than just emotionally depleting. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, stress can lead to headaches and migraines, stomach issues, inflammation, cardiovascular complications, obesity, long-term mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder and more.
Of particular note during the COVID-19 pandemic, stress can also have an adverse impact on the immune system. In a review of over 40 studies on the correlation, Current Opinion in Psychology concludes that “psychological stress has been linked empirically with dysregulation of facets of the human immune system.”
CBD as a De-Stressor
While CBD is not a replacement for traditional anxiety medication, “evidence points toward a calming effect for CBD in the central nervous system,” reports The Permanente Journal in a 2019 study of 72 adults with anxiety and poor sleep patterns. After CBD treatment, which was well tolerated in all but three patients, anxiety scores improved in roughly 79% of the study participants and sleep improved in about 67% within the first month.
Likewise, a review of 49 clinical, preclinical and epidemiological studies conducted by Neurotherapeutics finds that “existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder” and other stress-related issues. CBD works by interacting with protein-based receptors in the body, which are attached to your cells to receive various stimuli. The receptors that CBD is believed to interact with most are chiefly found in the central and peripheral nervous systems and may elevate serotonin levels (low serotonin, meanwhile, is associated with depression and anxiety). Similarly, research (such as that from Future Medical Chemistry) indicates that CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. As inflammation can suppress immune response, this quality may help boost the immune system.
In Your Routine
CBD is a great, natural way to help relieve stress. It’s non-addictive and it won’t get you high, meaning you can take it whenever you need to relieve a bit of tension. At B GREAT, we offer oil drops that you can put under your tongue or easy-to-take CBD capsules – and the calming effects can be felt in as little as 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the product and the individual.
If you’re looking into CBD for its calming qualities in particular, seek products that specifically cater to that need, as they’re often bolstered by additional ingredients that may help ease stressful feelings. For instance, B GREAT’s Relax Shot packs melatonin and ginkgo biloba in addition to full-spectrum, lab-tested whole hemp grown in the U.S.A., while our Hemp Capsules also feature MCT oil for sustained energy. To help stay relaxed all day, you can try taking the capsules (or a dropper of B GREAT Hemp Oil for faster results) as you begin your day, and then take the Relax Shot before bed to help you wind down and get a solid night’s sleep.
More Self-Care Techniques
Speaking to The Philadelphia Inquirer in March 2020, psychotherapist Angelique Porter discussed self-care during self-quarantine, encouraging everyone to “distract yourself with an art activity, like coloring, painting, drawing, listening to music, or playing music if you play. Those distractions have been proven through research to reduce stress, which in turn can boost your immune system.”
The CDC also offers some tips for getting through tough social isolation periods, like taking breaks from the news, practicing meditation and deep breathing, and using the extra time to boost your mind and your immunity with regular exercise and a well-balanced diet. Ditch smoking and alcohol, but do video chat with your friends and family to feel more connected and vent your feelings – remember, it’s all about physical distancing, not social distancing.
- World Economic Forum: How Cities Around the World Are Handling COVID-19 – and Why We Need to Measure Their Preparedness
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Office on Women’s Health: Stress and Your Health
- Psychology Today: Stay Social While Engaging in Social Distancing
- Current Opinion in Psychology: Current Directions in Stress and Human Immune Function
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Stress and Coping
- The Philadelphia Inquirer: Social Distancing Can Strain Mental Health. Here’s How You Can Protect Yourself.
- GoodTherapy: 9 Self-Care Strategies to Reduce Stress
- The Permanente Journal: Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series
- Neurotherapeutics: Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
- Healthline: Using CBD Oil for Anxiety: Does It Work?
- Healthline: From Vaping to Gummies: 3 People Dish on Using CBD for Anxiety
- Medium: How Long Does CBD Take to Work?