How To Combat Holiday Season Anxiety With CBD
Six Common Holiday Stresses and How CBD Can Help
For many people, the holiday season is synonymous with stress. For those who suffer from anxiety, it can be unbearable. All the gatherings, gift-buying, planning, and preparing tend to throw our usual daily management of stress out of whack. On top of that, the holidays are a stage for family dynamics to play out. That anticipation alone can trigger anxiety.
A 2017 report by the Brightfield Group indicated that anxiety was the number one reason people used CBD. Of those surveyed, 71% reported using CBD for its anti-anxiety effects. It’s not surprising, considering that CBD is naturally predisposed to function with our endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex network within the human body made up of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2). Balance within the system is maintained by cannabinoid compounds. We produce our own endocannabinoids, but if our system is out of whack, plant-based cannabinoids such as CBD can help.
During the holidays, when diet and exercise often get ignored, our ability to deal with stress is challenged and our inner wellness can be compromised. Let’s take a look at some of these kinds of stress and then consider how CBD can help when holiday demands throw our lives out of whack.
Anxiety-Making Holiday Stresses
These are just some of the common stress inducers that pop up for the holidays, including:
- There’s Too Much to Do! Ready. Set. Shop, cook, entertain, bake, plan, decorate, send out greeting cards, wrap presents, deliver presents, show up at parties—you’ll need something to wear, make travel plans, don’t forget to be cheerful, and also do everything else you normally do day in and day out. Sound exhausting? Just thinking about it can overwhelm someone into an anxiety attack.
- The Dent in the Funds. The pressure to spend for the holidays begins before we have a chance to celebrate Halloween. Budgets get annihilated by the desire to make the holidays nice for those you love and by the temptation of credit cards. You feel like you have to compete with your friends, your neighbors, and the commercials on TV to provide the loveliest holidays with the most coveted gifts and stunning celebrations. Constant shelling out creates mounting anxiety within.
- The Insurmountable Expectations. There are the expectations of others that you are trying to meet. And there are your own expectations, of either yourself or from your personal holiday experiences. We have this need to make everything perfect for others, or perhaps we are expecting someone else to make the season special for us. It is likely that either way, it will never turn out how we pictured it. Unmet expectations can cause anxiety that can lead to depression.
- The Family. We really don’t need to elaborate on this one … but we will, maybe like your mom who keeps telling you something you’re already aware of and would more than anything like to never listen to again, but … The family stuff can range from simple annoying quirkiness like this, to having to sit down to dinner with people whom you find it too difficult to be around. Navigating this tricky aspect of the holiday season certainly provokes the fight or flight responses in many families and their members.
- Enough with the Social Events. The work parties, the friends-givings, the kids' school stuff … it gets to where you dread looking at your calendar. The pressure mounts to look cheerful and bright as you walk into a holiday scene, lugging a baked good or a 10,000-calorie casserole (for the umpteenth time).
- The Annoying Crowds. There’s no way around it … large groups of people who are not all moving on the same wavelength as you (but are probably just as annoyed) are inevitable. Long lines, throngs of people loaded down with packages and kids whose patience has expired (you’re probably one of them), tolerance-tested salespeople, and traffic in bad weather can all encourage an upwelling of anxiety.
Don’t Worry … There’s an All-Natural Solution Just in Time for the Holidays!
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a phytocannabinoid (plant-derived cannabinoid) that, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is not psychoactive. It is believed that CBD activates serotonin receptors. It also plays a role in the perception of pain and the reduction of inflammation. CBD degrades one of the brain chemicals responsible for mental function and mood.
CBD works with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It is through this system that it exerts its effects on the human body. The ECS is present in all mammals and is involved in the regulation of a number of body functions such as sleep, mood, and appetite, production of hormones, and regulation of immune and nervous system responses. By regulating these functions, it helps to maintain the body’s homeostasis.
CBD minimizes panic behavior. So, if you find yourself wanting to fight or flight the holidays, a high-quality CBD could help. Many people who use CBD for anxiety describe its effect as a “calm confidence.” So, while you can’t escape the stress-inducing holidays (and really you probably wouldn’t want to), you may be able to enter them armed with some clear-headed calmness.
Several preclinical animal studies have been performed regarding CBD and anxiety. And now, more and more human studies are being conducted. A study done on animal models in 2014 concluded that CBD oil had not only anti-anxiety but also antidepressant effects.
A 2015 analysis of previous studies determined that CBD oil may provide relief for numerous forms of anxiety, including:
- social anxiety disorder
- panic disorder
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- generalized anxiety disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder
The side effects of CBD are minuscule compared to Xanax or alcohol and are generally well-tolerated. They include:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Drowsiness when taken in high doses
- Inhibition of hepatic drug metabolism and decreased activity of p-glycoprotein. (Similar to eating grapefruit when on certain liver medications.)
How to Choose a High-Quality CBD Product
For several reasons, it is very important to select a high-quality CBD product. First of all, the establishment from which you purchase your CBD should be knowledgeable about cannabinoids in general. Secondly, they should be able to tell you exactly what ingredients are in the product and where they were cultivated and produced. They should be able to provide testing data for their products, which should be pure and contaminant free.
Nature’s Breakthrough, an educational resource for The Hemp Haus, recommends full spectrum CBD. The Hemp Haus currently carries Ananda Hemp full spectrum products. Full spectrum CBD refers to the pure hemp oil extracted from a hemp plant, containing unmodified cannabinoids and compounds. Unlike isolated or synthetic cannabinoids, full spectrum hemp oil contains an array of cannabinoids, as well as many essential vitamins and minerals, fatty acids, flavonoids, and terpenes. These compounds have been proven to work more effectively together in a specifically designed, synergistic manner known as the “entourage effect.”
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