Stress is an inevitability of life. A single instance or a combination of everything going on in life can make us feel trepidation and feelings of being overwhelmed. While no one seeks out stressful feelings, they are inevitable and in some cases keep us on the right track. Stress motivates people to work toward goals, it alerts us to avoid certain situations or people, and can even keep someone safe by avoiding or correctly responding to dangerous situations. Like so many other things that seem to make being human difficult, stress is actually an evolutionary advantage. Momentary stress may be unavoidable, but sustained stress over long periods of time can have health consequences. The hormones released when we feel stress and the strain the body is put under have been proven to leave irreparable damage to organs and muscles alike. In the hopes of avoiding these health concerns, many who deal with sustained stress turn to psychological treatment and, sometimes, prescription drugs. Prescription drugs have been used effectively in some cases, but too often their side effects do more harm than the stress itself or exacerbate the initial stress, literally creating the opposite effect the drug intends. Fortunately users can turn to cannabis for its ability to treat stress and its symptoms.
While it is something everyone experiences, not everyone understands what stress really is. According to medical professionals, stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. The five senses take in so much information, the conscious brain cannot process it all. This, however, does not mean the brain and body do not respond to it. Stress can be brought on by both conscious and subconscious interpretations of an environment. If our mind and body begin a stress response, this means we have determined something in the environment is a threat, whether this is true or not and sometimes without even realizing it. It is also important to understand stress is part of the fight or flight response. The blood vessels dilate to get the resources in blood to muscles in case action is required, pupils also dilate to take in as much information as possible, adrenaline and cortisol production increases to increase heart rate and boost strength and energy, and oxygen is rushed to the brain to sharpen decision-making and the senses. This may be what happens to everyone’s body during stress, but not everyone experiences stress as consistently or often as others. A person’s genes and the adversity they experience in life are key indicators as to their susceptibility to stress and the severity of their reaction. Just as experiences build a person, they can also build a structure for how a person handles stress. Stress is a normal response for the body. In the case of legitimately threatening situations, it is crucial the body goes through this process to help someone make it through.
For people who deal with stress on a regular basis or over long periods of time, this normal response can have serious, long-term effects on their health. Stress affects both the mind and body. The Cleveland Clinic states continued stress, or distress, “can disturb the body’s internal balance or equilibrium, leading to physical symptoms such as headaches, an upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, sexual dysfunction, and problems sleeping. Emotional problems can also result from distress. These problems include depression, panic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry.” Subjecting the body to too much adrenaline and cortisol can take a toll on a person’s emotional well-being. Stress can snowball into anxiety and extreme responses known as panic attacks. Depending on how someone emotionally processes or does not process stressful situations, depression can develop and lead to even more strain on the body and mind. Subjecting the body to these symptoms for long periods of time can reduce the effectiveness of the body’s organs and increase the risk of injury.
There are many reasons for stress and for that reason, there are many forms of treatment for stress. Whether it is in search of a fast solution or carefully prescribed by a doctor, many people turn to drugs like antidepressants, anxiolytics, or beta-blockers. Both antidepressants and anxiolytics are used to balance the chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, while beta-blockers take on the physical symptoms of stress. These medications are what might be called ‘band-aid solutions,’ as they merely treat symptoms or alter brain chemistry to stop symptoms before they start. This does not mean they are always effective or will make stress go away. What’s more, the side effects can go so far as to make stress worse. Antidepressants can increase cholesterol, harm the liver, interfere with the effects of other drugs, increase the risk of suicide, and can cause anxiety during withdrawals, sometimes creating a dependency. Anxiolytics can cause drowsiness, dry mouth, and cause seizures if abruptly stopped. Beta-blockers can hide symptoms of serious illnesses, such as hypoglycemia and overactive thyroid disease, and if the user abruptly stops taking a beta-blocker, they can develop serious cardiac issues. The side effects of these three stress-relieving drugs can be life threatening and the idea of taking a drug that may cause serious harm can make a patient all the more stressed.
The most effective treatment for stress is altering the mindset and psychology of the stressed individual. Stress stems from a response to a perceived threat. If someone can change how they respond or, better yet, change what they perceive to be a threat, they can reduce the amount of stress they experience and the wear and tear their body goes through during each stress period. This can be easier said than done, however, because this requires the stressed person to change how they view the world they live in. Even if the person is ready and willing to do so and is actively trying, the brain has a hard time breaking patterns and will choose to conserve energy by reverting to old modes of thinking over trudging through new thought patterns. Assistance from psychotherapy has been shown to be effective, but that is not always enough. If someone needs a little more help than psychotherapy can provide and wants to avoid the horrible side effects of traditional stress medications, there is a great alternative available to them.
CANNABIS AND STRESS
CBD has enormous potential in treating stress effectively. So much so, one study found 67.9% of people who use medical cannabis use it to treat stress and related psychological disorders. This popularity is due in large part to the different parts of cannabis which can be used to treat the different symptoms of stress. CBD can address a multitude of symptoms because of how it interacts with the body. This cannabinoid works with the body’s Endocannabinoid System to relax the mind and ease tension in the body. CBD attaches to receptors all over the body to relax muscles the user might not even know are tense and alter brain activity to lessen the severity of reactions. Choosing the proper mode of consumption can also increase the effectiveness of CBD in treating stress. Smoking or vaping can provide immediate relief, but the effects may not be as potent as some people need. Edibles take slightly longer to take effect, but the benefits last much longer and can be more powerful for severely stressed individuals. If edibles are what work best, Sensi has a wide variety of effective products.
SENSI PRODUCTS TO REDUCE STRESS
Nearly all of Sensi’s products can be used to treat stress. Sensi Caps CBD Softgels, Sensi Chew Pain & Stress CBD, and Sensi Gummies Magic Mango are products that focus on reducing inflammation and anxiety, with no psychoactive effects to treat stress symptoms. If stress is impacting sleep, Sensi Caps Sleep, Sensi Chew Insomnia CBD, and Sensi Gummies Bedtime Blueberry are all infused with melatonin which can help the user establish a healthy sleep routine and help the brain and body deal with stress.
“The Chews are delicious and the portion and price was right on. I was thrilled because I only use medical marijuana on an as needed basis for anxiety. It provided relief and allowed me to be functional without being too stoned. I would and will recommend this product… The … chew made me feel happy and relaxed and did not make me have the munchies, it did not make me forget my thoughts or give me a headache. My husband and children thank you too because happy wife and mother makes for a happy home :)”
Harvard Health Publishing. “Understanding the Stress Response.” Harvard Health, 1 May 2018, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response.
Morelli, Jim. “Common Anxiety Disorder Medications: Types & Side Effects.” RxList, 6 Feb. 2018, www.rxlist.com/anxiety_medications/drugs-condition.htm.
Salazar, Claudia A, et al. “Medical Cannabis Use among Adults in the Southeastern United States.” Cannabis (Research Society on Marijuana), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 9 Feb. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6388700/.
Smoller, Jordan W. “The Genetics of Stress-Related Disorders: PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety Disorders.” Neuropsychopharmacology : Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Nature Publishing Group, Jan. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4677147/.
“What Is Stress? Symptoms, Signs & More.” Cleveland Clinic, 5 Feb. 2015, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11874-stress.