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By Ali Stoddard
Today, we are confronted with many more environmental toxins and stressors than we were exposed to in our youth: chemicals in our food, water and personal care products; ridiculous competition; violent, frenetic entertainment; news updates around the clock… the list goes on and on!
These stressors are wearing down our immune function and burdening our nervous system.
We are looking at unprecedented numbers of adult and teen anxiety, nervousness and overwhelm. This is a new phenomenon and it’s becoming a big problem. Kids usually do not “grow out if it.” They learn to cope better and hide it better, but if the root cause does not get balanced, it turns into adult anxiety, inability to socialize, panic attacks and so much more.
Our senior citizens develop anxiety too. As one becomes less able to “control” one’s environment – stress, health, noise, etc., the excitatory processes and triggers become more frequent and become overwhelming for the system.
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a natural supplement that BALANCES the excitatory processes in the brain WITHOUT side effects. CBD helps to calm anxiety by working in the different parts of the brain where anxiety starts. CBD is very similar to a molecule (2-AG) that the body already produces. 2-AG is a CBD-like molecule that is produced on an hourly basis by the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
The Endocannabinoid System is the most pervasive and important regulatory system in the body and balances, modulates and regulates all of the other systems – including nervous, endocrine and lymphatic.
The ECS works to balance mood, behavior and many other essential functions in the body. CBD (and 2-AG), are the molecules or cannabinoids that do all the heavy lifting in the Endocannabinoid System.
Related article: Tips and Tricks To Overcome Your Paranoia While You're High
THC is the other most-researched and well-known cannabinoid in cannabis. CBD and THC are cannabinoids that are used by the Endocannabinoid System to balance the body (see the “canna” thread here?)
THC can “turn on” or “turn off” almost 50 different gene expressions on our DNA; CBD turns on or turns off a whopping 2,000 gene expressions on our DNA! CBD is the workhorse of cannabis and is the molecule in the ECS that is working on our anxiety, amongst many other functions. THC can also help with anxiety by directly hitting the brain receptors with a euphoric hit, however, it is CBD that is actually balancing the excitatory processes and creating change in wellness.
Also, THC can bring on anxiety and even depressive feelings if taken in high doses, therefore I only recommend CBD Hemp (less than.3% THC) for anxiety and depression. Our kids are smoking pot to relieve the anxiety, but they should really be taking CBD Hemp in a tincture.
When we are under constant stress, whether it be every day stress, chronic pain, a debilitating condition or even a chronic loss of sleep – our body goes in to “fight or flight” mode. This hyper sensitive condition leads to an imbalance in the body’s overall function, leading to anxiety that shows itself in many forms – nervousness, hyper sensitivity, melt downs, panic attacks and unwillingness to socialize. Anxiety shuts down the frontal cortex, leading to reduced memory and reduced executive functions, as well.
CBD works in the brain to not only calm these excitatory processes, but it works also to quell the triggering effect that leads to panic attacks. When we supplement with CBD we can very quickly work to offset these imbalances that lead to this chronic state of “fight or flight” and anxiety.
CBD keeps our body out of the “fight or flight” mode during the day – which allows the body to better relax into a deep sleep at night. Most people need a little THC for rest at night, yet those who take CBD during the day for anxiety, report that they sleep better too. This is due to the overall balancing effect of CBD.
CBD, like all plant-based medicine, is more effective if all the bioactive components are preserved in the supplement. It is essential to make sure your CBD comes from “whole plant”; is full spectrum (other cannabinoids in addition to CBD, plus terpenes); and is tested for toxins like heavy metals, pesticides and mold. Many online sources of CBD Hemp are untested and are not full spectrum. When your CBD supplement has more bioactive components in it, there is a more potent effect (called the “Entourage Effect”).
Related article: THC and CBD, and the Entourage Effect!
Dosing a plant-based medicine or “supplement” is completely different than dosing a (one molecule) pharmaceutical. Listening to, and feeling how your body is responding is the best way to dose.
Start with a small drop if you are generally sensitive to drugs or food, otherwise begin with the recommended dose – and then titrate up by small increments quickly. CBD can be cumulative, but more than not, it is a single dose that starts the ball rolling and the body feeling benefit. If you have found the correct dose for your body, you may feel “grounded”, less scattered, less reactive and less worried. Using CBD as a supplement is an exercise in connecting with your body and it is not the panacea to all your problems, but it could be a start :)
Organic, whole plant, full spectrum CBD Hemp Oil is the best place to start. Any company that has a better delivery system (liposomal or nano-emulsified) means your oil or tincture will absorb better and faster and you will need less to affect the same results. Under the tongue, or “sublingual” is the most efficient way to absorb your CBD.
Liposomal or Nano-emulsified CBD Oil
Traditional CBD Oil
Related article: CBD Dosage - How Much CBD Oil Should You Take?
Also, read John Hicks,MD: The Medicinal Power of Cannabis, chapter 4.
I have a strong background in medicine, working with patients and physicians in surgery and pain management. I am always learning how the body works and how to compliment CBD healing. I’ve been an avid athlete (swam and played rugby for Cal) and continue to play soccer today. My family and I have always prescribed to the eastern philosophy of holistic healing, even though I have professionally sold western medicine. It is my great honor to be in cannabidiol healing and on the cutting edge of wellness – it is an ancient art that I love. I live in the SF Bay Area and have two college - age kids. My website, www.GreenAlley.org is geared toward finding the safest and most effective CBD supplements on the market. I am a CBD consultant to patients, companies and physicians. My email: AskGreenAlley@gmail.com
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