According to a 2017 Gallup poll, nearly eight in 10 Americans experience stress, with 79 percent asserting that they feel stress daily. While the causes of stress vary from person to person, with some placing blame on the state of the nation and others blaming their finances, the desire for relief is the same for all. Chronic stress, or stress experienced on a daily basis, interferes with the ability to sleep, relationships and overall happiness. Isn’t it time to break the pattern of unhealthy habits like smoking, excessive drinking, and overeating in order to cope with stress? Explore what researchers have to say about CBD’s possible relationship with stress, and learn how to know if chronic stress is negatively impacting your life.
What Is Chronic Stress?
The American Institute of Stress describes stress as “the cost of daily living: bills, kids, jobs.” Although it is often the stress we try to minimize, justify, or muscle through, ignoring these pressures can cause certifiable harm to the body.
When a person is stressed, the “fight or flight” response is produced, flooding the body with the stress hormone cortisol and setting off a chain reaction of mental and physical responses to stressful stimuli. Some of the physiological responses to stress include hypertension, gastrointestinal issues and skin problems. When experienced rarely, stress is not harmful to the body, but chronic stress can take a toll on health in a number of ways.
How Chronic Stress Takes a Toll
Chronic stress weakens the immune system, increases the risk of heart attack and type 2 diabetes, raises blood pressure and may lead to fertility problems. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, long-term stress can cause or exacerbate such conditions as “heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression or anxiety.” Researchers have found that stress can also make existing health problems worse. But chronic stress is not without solution - one study of patients with chronically recurrent headaches showed that a simple course of cognitive-behavioral therapy to reduce “catastrophizing,” or negative patterns of stress-inducing thought related to pain, led to improvements in the headache profiles of about half of the participants.
Stress and Anxiety Are Not the Same
While stress and anxiety produce some of the same symptoms, they are not the same. Both may lead to insomnia, exhaustion, excessive worry and even physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate or headaches, but stress is your body’s reaction to a trigger and is often a short-term experience. Chronic stress is made up of those short-term experiences and can be a result of an unhealthy mindset of not addressing stress when it occurs. Similarly, while some anxiety under stressful circumstances is normal and healthy, it can become excessive, indicating a nervous disorder that requires treatment by a mental health care professional.
CBD and Stress
CBD works with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in maintaining homeostasis to help you sleep better and optimize stress management. As far as your health toolbox goes, a balanced endocannabinoid system will help you get the job done without any fuss. Although CBD is not currently an FDA-approved treatment for stress or anxiety, research suggests it could be on the list for consideration in the not-too-distant future.
RESET Balance, a pharmaceutical-grade advanced CBD product, can easily be integrated into your daily life. Stressed about that upcoming meeting at work? Add a few drops of CBD to your morning smoothie before heading to the boardroom. Stress keeping you up at night? RESET uses a proprietary drug-delivery system to ensure you’re getting the full impact of CBD without an undesirable aftertaste.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist. Her work has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, The Telegraph and VICE. She lives in Los Angeles.