By Emily Ledger
Most people will deal with stress at some point in their life and many of us struggle with it on a regular basis throughout our lives. As such, stress is considered one of the most common mental health struggles. It can manifest itself in a number of ways and be both a symptom and cause of other mental health conditions.
Since 1992, the month of April has been recognised as National Stress Awareness Month and healthcare professionals and health promotion experts use the thirty day period to increase public awareness about the cures and causes of stress. Also in recent years, the use of the cannabis derivative CBD has taken off massively across the UK, with many users claiming that the cannabinoid can help to reduce stress.
How can CBD influence stress?
CBD, like other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, interact with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) – a system of receptors, active compounds known as endocannabinoids, and enzymes. The ECS has been found to play a significant role in mood regulation as well as a number of other neurological and physiological processes.
In a recent survey of CBD users in the UK, over a third of respondents reported that they used CBD products for the management of self-perceived stress. Furthermore, almost all of those respondents (130/141) claimed that the compound had helped them to manage their stress levels.
The potential ability of CBD to influence stress levels may be linked to its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties. There is substantial evidence that stress and anxiety are inherently linked with each perhaps playing a significant role in the development of the other.
According to the NHS, feeling anxious or scared leads to the release of hormones known to cause stress such as adrenaline and cortisol. Research into CBD has shown that the compound’s interaction with human cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) can lead to an uptake in serotonin – a chemical that helps to stabilise our mood, influencing our feelings of wellness and happiness. This may help to counter feelings of stress as well as anxiety.
National Stress Awareness Week 2021
Stress Awareness Month has taken place in April every year since 1992, giving healthcare professionals and advocates a platform to raise awareness around the effects and solutions to stress. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of adults in the UK have felt stressed to the point of feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope in the last year.
Despite stress being one of the most common mental health struggles in the UK, it is still not taken as seriously as other health conditions. Furthermore, the Stress Management Society recently collaborated with Huawei to conduct a study on stress in the UK. They found that 65% of respondents have felt more stressed since COVID-19 restrictions were introduced in March 2020.
This month, the Stress Management Society launched a 30-day Challenge Calendar based on this year’s theme: ‘Regaining Connectivity, Certainty, and Control’. For more information, visit their website!