Life is stressful–we are all so sick of life being talked about before covid and life’s new normal. But let’s face it: the past three years or so have been stressful. Everyone feels stress from time to time; but when does stress become anxiety?

What is stress?  Stress is a physical or mental response to an external event. Stress can be negative or positive. Stress can be crippling or motivating. The stressor may be a one-time event, short term occurrences, or it can happen repeatedly.

Anxiety is an overreaction to negative stress. It is your body’s reaction to stress and can occur even when there is no outside or internal stressor present. If the anxiety begins to interfere with day-to-day life, there can be physical consequences.  Anxiety can cause problems with sleep hygiene, immunity, digestion and so on. If unchecked it can cause great upheaval in your life and important relationships. Chronic anxiety can even lead to diagnosable anxiety disorders and/or depression.

Learning the causes of stress and coping techniques can help with anxiety and improve daily life.  It will take time, practice and even some trial and error for success. But here are some good ideas to get started. Journaling, practicing deep breathing and visualization techniques using an app (like Calm, headspace or insight) or guided videos (there are some great ones on you tube), practicing mindfulness and meditation (some popular ones are declutter, The mindful movement and Michael Seeley), practicing self-care: exercise, proper hygiene, eating regularly, along with good sleep routines, and reaching out to those who can help.

As we look to ways to help manage stress and anxiety, let’s not overlook how CBD may fit into stress and anxiety reduction.  The scientific community is studying how cannabis (hemp and marijuana) are helpful in the reduction of physical symptoms of anxiety.  In a research article published in BMC psychiatry journal in 2020, titled Medicinal cannabis for psychiatric disorders: a clinically-focused systemic review, authored by: Jerome Sarris, Justin Sinclair, Diana Karmacoska, Maggie Davidson and Joseph Firth. There were some promising results for using cannabis to help with various anxiety related mental health problems.

“The most promising evidence is for CBD as an adjunctive treatment in schizophrenia, showing efficacy in social anxiety, and some data suggesting a potential effect for PTSD and ADHD. The data also tentatively suggest that a role exists for cannabinoids in reducing insomnia. Given the generally favorable safety profile of cannabinoids to date there is clearly a strong case for encouraging further research” (published online 16 January 2020).

There is much hope for cannabinoids. CBD benefits the human body and mind. Currently most of the evidence is anecdotal. However, with social acceptance and federal legalization of all hemp products the increasing pressure to legalize cannabis can push the research forward.

Anxiety: What is it, and how do I make it go away?