Everyone has their own go-to method to unwind and relax. From enjoying a glass of wine to watching a binge-worthy TV show, most people have a few go-to practices that help them quickly access their calm side.
While these routines can work for some, a new method of relaxation has been gaining popularity —and there are even studies to back it up. CBD is a powerful yet natural tool for those looking to bring a sense of calm and serenity into their lives. Since the legal cannabis industry is expanding every day, there is a wide range of CBD products that fit a variety of lifestyles and preferences. Whether it is used as needed or on a daily basis, many people are starting to discover just how effective CBD can be. Researchers have found promising results when it comes to the calming effects of cannabidiol, so it may be the exact thing you need to unwind, uplift, and relax.
CBD vs. THC
The lines between CBD and marijuana can often get a bit blurry, so it is important to clarify their differences. CBD and THC are two of the most recognizable cannabinoids, and while they both come from the cannabis plant, they don’t have the same effects on the human body.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical compound that causes the psychoactive effects most commonly associated with marijuana. Ingesting CBD (cannabidiol), on the other hand, doesn’t elicit psychoactive effects. Instead, it calms and relaxes the mind and body, which is why it is being used to ease a host of issues like stress, anxiety, pain, and more.
A 2009 study best illustrates the differences between these two compounds. THC was found to increase anxiety in people by activating neurotransmitters that are responsible for the “fight or flight” response. On the other side of the spectrum, CBD helped to reduce autonomic arousal—the nervous system response that can lead to bodily functions like an increase in heart rate or heavy breathing.
CBD’s Effect on the Body
CBD influences the body by interacting with receptors, chemicals, and proteins, which can cause a reaction in neurotransmitters, hormones, and cells in the body. This can influence a variety of bodily functions, relating to everything from lowering stress to fighting against seizures.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, a communication system in the brain and body that is responsible for promoting homeostasis. It regulates numerous physiological processes, including mood, appetite, motor skills, pain perception, sleep, and cognitive functions.
In this system, our body actually produces its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. It also has receptors that interact with and bind with these endocannabinoids, helping to regulate these physiological functions.
"Studies have explicitly demonstrated that CBD can help relieve anxious behaviors by interacting with the endocannabinoid system."
When in a state of stress, the endocannabinoid system can get off balance—but CBD may help restore it. When CBD is taken internally, it reacts with these endocannabinoids and links to the receptors to evoke certain responses. In terms of relaxation, this linking process can help control stress, mood, and energy levels. Studies have explicitly demonstrated that CBD can help relieve anxious behaviors by interacting with the endocannabinoid system.
Researchers have found that CBD also interacts with 5-HT1A receptors, which are responsible for stimulating the production of serotonin—a neurotransmitter often called the “happy chemical.” While serotonin has at least 14 different receptors in the body, the 5-HT1A receptor is believed to play a large part when it comes to anxiety disorders: researchers have found reduced 5-HT1A receptor binding in patients who suffer from panic disorders and social anxiety disorders.
Both the endocannabinoid receptors and 5-HT1A receptors play an important role in the brain and body when it comes to overall relaxation. People who take CBD to unwind most commonly report an uplift in mood and a deep sense of relaxation. When CBD is introduced to the body and brain, it can encourage this wave of calm through the regulation of energy levels, control of stress, diminishment of anxiety, and elevation of mood.
Finding a CBD Product that Works Best for You
The different varieties of CBD products are seemingly endless, and the market seems to be continually flooded with innovative options. When it comes to choosing a method for your own personal use, it is best to choose something that works best with your lifestyle. Common, straightforward methods of ingesting CBD that effectively allow you to access the calming benefits include using an oil sublingually (under the tongue), vaping, or taking capsules.
Vape products will work the fastest, with the benefits kicking in within minutes of use. While the onset of benefits from orally ingested products may take longer (around 60 to 90 minutes), they often will have longer lasting results. It can also be trickier to know exactly how much CBD you are taking when vaping. Those looking for a consistent dosage may have better luck with an oil or capsule.
In addition to the conventional methods mentioned above, there are more fun options that you can build a relaxing ritual around. CBD has been added to products like gummies, beverages, cooking oils, chocolate, and more, so you can easily find an option that works for your tastes, preferences, and relaxation needs.