Let’s face it, pandemics are stressful. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), national polls are indicating high levels of stress and anxiety in recent months. About half of Americans report that they are anxious about potentially contracting COVID-19, and even more are worried that their loved ones will get the virus. It’s hard enough to worry about our personal health and that of our family and friends day after day. But, potentially combined with additional negative impacts on mental health, finances, and our general day-to-day lives? It’s overwhelming.
These tough times are a lot to cope with for many obvious reasons. While experts are working nonstop to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must remain focused on protecting the health of ourselves and those around us. However, intense efforts to maintain good physical health may be causing us to neglect our mental health. So, how do we effectively cope? There’s hundreds of stress-management tips readily available with a simple Google search, so we don’t want to be redundant here. Instead, we’re going to specifically focus on CBD and how our favorite cannabinoid may play a helpful role in dealing with stress and anxiety in the context of a COVID-19 world.
What is causing this increased stress and anxiety?
We’re persevering through a tremendously difficult time. Public health steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 - social distancing, school/business closures, etc. - can easily make us feel isolated and detached from the world around us. The disruptions caused by being separated from our loved ones, working virtually, or simply navigating our emotions undoubtedly causes a lot of anxiety and stress. Perhaps someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19 and you must figure out how to provide the care they need with minimal exposure. Maybe you’re concerned about your finances after missing multiple weeks of work after falling ill from COVID-19. The list goes on and on.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) links elevated stress to outcomes such as:
Sleep or eating pattern changes
Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
Worsening of chronic health or mental health conditions
Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other substances
How is CBD helping?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid that works with our endocannabinoid system to regulate a host of processes that keep us functioning at and feeling our best. Sleep, appetite, and concentration (sound familiar?) are just a few of the important processes promoted by a healthy endocannabinoid system. The therapeutic potential of CBD and anti-inflammatory capabilities of the endocannabinoid system are also believed to provide symptom relief for certain chronic health problems and mental health conditions.
CBD may be a natural and effective tool to help rebalance a mind and body thrown into chaos by an anxiety-inducing pandemic. In combination with other general good-health and stress-management techniques, CBD is being widely utilized among those seeking to put their mind at ease, adjust to dramatic life changes, and support continued health and wellness - leaving more opportunities to focus protecting ourselves and our families from COVID-19.
CBD and COVID-19
There may be even better news on the horizon when it comes to CBD and COVID-19. According to researchers at the Dental College and Medical College of Georgia, CBD may even help COVID-19 patients recover from lung damage caused by the “cytokine storm.” The body typically releases cytokines to fight off infections, but when too many cytokines are released - this is commonly seen among severe cases of COVID-19 - it can result in high fever, severe fatigue, and sometimes even death.
Studies suggest that CBD may combat the “cytokine storm” by facilitating increased levels of apelin, natural inflammation-reducing peptides that tend to decrease during this storm. Preliminary evidence suggests CBD, a known cytokine inhibitor, has the ability to improve oxygen levels and overall lung function for those in respiratory distress. However, these are simply associations. Further research is still necessary to determine the exact relationship between CBD and COVID-19 symptoms.
Pandemic blues got you down? Perhaps now is the time to try out a new CBD routine! With a healthy endocannabinoid system, you may find it just a little bit easier to carry on despite the craziness around us.
There are a variety of potential health benefits of CBD. However, it is important to keep in mind that CBD is not guaranteed to cure, treat, or prevent any illness of ailment. New users are encouraged to consult with their physician to learn how you can add CBD to your lifestyle.