WRITTEN BY MELANIE FLORES AND DR. SWATHI
Reducing stress is a key lifestyle change that can be made to promote wellness and peace of mind. Americans are often cited as some of the most overworked and overstressed people in the world and many are constantly searching for ways to reduce this stress. While proven methods such as exercise and breathing techniques are great tools, cannabinoids are currently being researched as a potential way to help lower stress levels in humans.
How does cortisol affect our stress response?
Cortisol is the hormone in the human body that is responsible for the stress response. Looking for molecules that reduce cortisol is key in finding stress reduction aids. A 2019 sample of 72 adults showed that oral CBD in doses of 300-600mg may reduce cortisol levels. In accordance with these results, a double-blind study of 11 participants showed that cortisol levels in the blood were significantly reduced after doses of oral CBD were administered.
What are the benefits of using CBD for stress?
Heightened stress levels in humans can lead to the development of chronic disease, poor mental health, and impaired sleep. Using natural remedies that calm stress in the body can reduce inflammation, decrease anxiety levels, and promote a sense of well-being. Studies demonstrate that CBD may be helpful in promoting a calmed state, which in combination with other strategies may reduce stress.
The Bottom Line
Overall studies are showing that high doses of CBD may help to decrease cortisol levels in the human body, but more research is needed on larger sample sizes to determine the efficacy of CBD for stress reduction. CBD may be a powerful element to add to your stress management toolbox, but a healthcare provider with knowledge of medical cannabis should always be consulted to ensure that CBD is a good fit for you.
- Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18-041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041
- Zuardi AW, Guimarães FS, Moreira AC. Effect of cannabidiol on plasma prolactin, growth hormone and cortisol in human volunteers. Braz J Med Biol Res. 1993 Feb;26(2):213-7. PMID: 8257923.
- Appiah-Kusi E, Petros N, Wilson R, et al. Effects of short-term cannabidiol treatment on response to social stress in subjects at clinical high risk of developing psychosis. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2020;237(4):1121-1130. doi:10.1007/s00213-019-05442-6
This article was edited by Dr. Swathi and was written by Element Apothec Scientific Communications Intern, Melanie Flores. She is a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) student at Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Science University College of Pharmacy in Portland, Oregon.