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Stress is defined as any stimulus that upsets the body’s balance. The stimulus can be real or imaginary, and regardless of it, stress can be prolonged very easily and become a state of being that dominates life. In this article, we will consider stress, the mechanism of its occurrence, the most common symptoms and whether it could CBD oil can help relieve stress.
What is stress?
In the past, stress was mostly seen as negative distress, but today it is known that short-term stress is actually good and makes us strive for things (1). A demanding job that needs to be completed, overdue library books that need to be returned, an empty fridge that requires a trip to the food store. Things like this will be handled specifically with the help of stress; a person can’t get an undone task out of his mind and rather tackles it than constantly running the same thought over his mind. Also events related to survival, such as threatening situations, are often triggered by the “fight or flight” reaction caused by positive stress.
Chronic or prolonged stress
When there are too many challenges or burdensome things in life, a person experiencing stress can also notice physical symptoms. Challenges related to sleep, brain fog, problems related to concentration, forgetting things, etc. are symptoms from which it can be concluded that stress has been prolonged. With chronic stress, hormonal activity may change and go into a knot, and it may take a long time to recover from it.
Stress on the body and mind level
Nothing in itself directly causes stress. Many things influence its experience, such as a person’s worldview, their current resources, tolerance and resistance, and their attitude to life (1). Not all stress is bad either; what matters is whether the stress is short or long-term and whether there are ways to alleviate it!
Stress affects several body systems and quickly causes changes in neurobehavioral processes. These changes cause symptoms of stress such as sweating, headaches or tension.
The first event of stress is the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, and the second is the activation of the HPA axis. The hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis regulates the body’s stress response and is responsible for producing cortisol. The HPA axis is involved in the regulation of acute, chronic, psychological and physical stress.
Stress activates the hypothalamus in the brain, which sends signals to the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands produce a steroid hormone called cortisol, which is also known as a stress hormone. The HPA axis is responsible for producing cortisol, and its function is regulated by the endocannabinoid system. The secretion of cortisol in a stressful situation is normal and necessary, and its amount naturally varies during the day. However, as a result of chronic, prolonged stress, cortisol production may be disturbed and it may cause e.g. insomnia, immune system disorders or even heart disease and diabetes .
Stress and the endocannabinoid system
The endocannabinoid system, and the system’s signaling, extends to all body functions, including the brain, where stress also occurs. The endocannabinoid system is one of the most important regulators of the stress response; it restores the HPA axis and facilitates the habituation of the stress response to repeated stress experiences (2,3). The endocannabinoid system also regulates the stimulating and balancing effects of neurotransmitters. In addition to these, the endocannabinoid system also affects stress at higher levels such as emotional and cognitive levels. (3)
Endocannabinoids from a stress perspective
There are two known endogenous cannabinoids in the body, anandamide and 2-AG ( 2-arachidonoylglycerol). Studies show that the concentration of the cannabinoid 2-AG increases in the hypothalamus of the brain during stress, while the amount of anandamide decreases. A decrease in anandamide activates the HPA axis and contributes to the generation of stress. Correspondingly, an increase in the amount of 2-AG prevents stress and calms the HPA axis. (2,4)
The insufficient presence of endocannabinoids is caused by the accelerated activity of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). FAAH is a molecule that breaks down cannabinoids and its activity accelerates in the almond nucleus up to 24 hours after a stress reaction.
Cannabinoid receptors in a stress situation
CB1 receptor activation is essential as a negative feedback provider of the stress response in addition to its neuroprotective properties (3,4). It has also been suggested that the CB1 receptor is responsible for the ability of the endocannabinoid system to suppress the HPA axis (2).
Symptoms of stress
The symptoms of stress can really be anything. There is no clear, specific kind of pimple or one and only feeling that defines the body as a state of stress, but anyone suffering from chronic stress will certainly feel the symptoms of stress and notice if it has been prolonged.
The most typical physical symptoms are e.g. headache, stressed stomach, skin rashes , palpitations, nausea, flu cycle and sweating. Mental symptoms include irritability, anxiety , depression , tension, memory problems, fatigue and insomnia . Stress can also affect relationships, e.g. as the isolation of the stressed (5).
Headache caused by stress
Headache may even be the most common physical symptom associated with stress. Headache occurs as a symptom of both acute and chronic stress and is also caused by unconscious stress.
As a result of stress, the body’s protective mechanisms may be weakened and the result may be sensitization of the nervous system and disturbance of the sense of pain. Although a stressed stomach is not a physical problem, studies show that stress has real effects on bowel function and the feeling of stomach pain. Symptoms of a stressed stomach include, for example, bloating, flatulence, constipation/diarrhea and abdominal pain. (5) CBD has positive effects bowel function and you can read more about it here .
Stress pimples and stress-related rashes
Stress can also cause rashes. Even a short-term stressful situation can raise pimples on the chest and face. Pimples are caused by rapid hormonal changes in the body caused by stress. As a result of prolonged stress, the skin may start to develop lines, acne and various rashes. by the effect of CBD oil you can read about eczema and other skin symptoms here and here.
CBD oil can relieve stress
CBD is a versatile cannabinoid. It has been found to have a relatively weak direct effect on the known cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, but it also affects other targets in the body. CBD seems to prevent stress-induced changes related to the serotonin receptor (5-HTA1) and promotes receptor signaling (2,3,4). CBD also has an alleviating effect on stress-related neuroinflammation, and it appears to bind to stress, depression and to anxiety contributing TRPV1 receptor. (2,3,4)
It has been shown that CBD:n one of the most significant tasks in relation to stress would be to increase the activity of CB1 and CB2 receptors by preventing the breakdown of anandamide (2). CBD can help reduce acute stress-related anxiety, but also normalize abnormal stress reactions. (3,4)
Natural treatment for stress
Fortunately, however, there are many natural and easy ways to relieve stress quickly. During difficult times, you should remember your own well-being and take care of versatile, nutrient-rich food and a sufficiently long, restful night’s sleep. Silencing smart devices, taking a sauna and walking in nature are simple but effective ways to calm down. It is essential to try to prevent stress, and it can be made easier by getting to know your own resources and finding suitable ways to deal with acute stressful situations.
Pets also experience stress
The stress of other family members, such as a dog or other pet, can also cause concern and cause similar symptoms of stress, which personal challenges can also cause. Domestic animals and pets are easily stressed by big changes in their living environment. Traveling and loneliness in particular can cause stress. CBD oil is also given to dogs, cats and other household pets. Read more about the dosage of CBD oil for pets .
The body’s balancing endocannabinoid system is a fascinating multifaceted entity that is present everywhere, but not solely responsible for anything. It is even involved in the creation and calming of stress, embodying that reaction caused by the senses that strongly affects peace of mind. CBD oil has been in several studies, and in connection with the studies, it has emerged as an effective and safe aid for many physical and mental symptoms caused by stress!
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- Neurobiological Interactions Between Stress and the Endocannabinoid System. 2015. Morena M, Patel S, Bains JS, Hill MN. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Hill%20MN%5BAuthor%5D. Referred on 23/05/2022
- Bee ; Stress. https://www.mehilainen.fi/mielenterveys/stressi. Referred on 23/05/2022