The chain of events over the last couple of months has raised stress levels to unprecedented degrees due to the global pandemic, COVID-19.  Within a few short weeks, we were completely changing our work and school routines, the way we shop for food and necessities, how we interact with friends and loved ones. We have been inundated by terrifying stories of rising death rates, rising unemployment, and economic distress. With all these changes and uncertainty, it is no wonder stress levels are heightened.

Stress causes both mental and physical changes to our bodies. Certain types of stress can have negative effects on the body over time such as weakened immune systems, high blood pressure, digestive issues, anxiety, etc.

There are many things that we can do to help lower our stress levels. The CDC recommends trying things such as, taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to new stories; taking care of our bodies by meditating, eating healthy and well-balanced meals, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep; making time to unwind and do things we enjoy; and connecting with others and talking about concerns and how we are feeling through video chat, phone calls, email, text messages, etc.

CBD has long been associated with the potential for stress reduction. According to Daily CBD, “it may reduce the sensation of stress and protect the body from the negative effects stress can cause over time.” To understand CBD, it helps to first understand the human endocannabi­noid system or ECS.

The ECS was identified by researchers in the 1990s when, while exploring the physiological effects of cannabis, they noticed that endocannabinoids including CBD were interacting with many of the same receptors as the cannabis molecules but having different effects.

Cannabinoid receptors exist in the brain, gastrointestinal tract, reproductive system, heart, blood cells, muscles, and a large concentration of endocannabinoid receptors are in the living skin layers. The body’s own endocannabinoids engage with these receptors to affect a wide range of physiological functions.

The ECS is responsible for two basic activities, explains Michael Moskowitz, MD, author of Medical Cannabis. The first is modulating energy and well-being. The second is nudging the body back to homeostasis. Because of this governing role, the ECS is sometimes referred to as the “master regulatory system.”

“The ECS is more responsible for maintaining balance and health than any other system,” Moskowitz notes. “We’re still learning about the full extent of its function, but we’re beginning to understand that the ECS is now believed to be the most important system for maintaining health.”

CBD interacts with the cannabinoid receptors which provides feedback to other areas of the body to help keep the body in balance.

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