Since the 2018 Farm Bill removed all hemp-derived products from the controlled substances act, effectively making hemp – and with it, CBD – legal in the United States, CBD has become increasingly popular. More people every day are turning to this hemp-derived natural resource for all kinds of wellness benefits, from getting better sleep to maintaining a calm mood, and, of course, pain relief.
Now that CBD is so readily available, people are discovering how using it on a daily basis can help them meet their health and wellness goals, from starting the day with focus and energy, to feeling more calm, and getting better sleep at night. If CBD can help you feel better, it’s easier to tackle your “to do” list every day!
CBD Health Benefits to Help You Become Your Best Self
So why is CBD so popular, and how can it help you feel better? In order to understand all the benefits CBD has to offer us both mentally and physically, we first have to look at how CBD works in our bodies to positively affect how we feel and function.
Our body has a unique system of receptors and neurotransmitters called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system hosts CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptor sites throughout the brain, central nervous system, immune system, and many organs. The ECS is constantly working to keep all our systems in balance and plays a role in protecting us from the stimulus in our environment.
CBD supports our ECS by interacting with the CB receptors to help maintain health and wellness on a daily basis. By helping our bodily systems run smoothly, the ECS regulates the quality of our sleep, mood, digestive health, metabolism, mental clarity, focus, and more – a whole range of full-body benefits!
Enjoying the Benefits of CBD for Better Sleep
Sleep is a necessary bodily function. Not only does it help with our energy level and ability to stay awake all day, but there are also some behind the scenes functions that you may not be aware of. Sleep helps us grow, heal, and repair damaged tissues and organs. It is vital for our memory ability, it fortifies our immune system, and helps maintain our natural circadian rhythm.
As much as we’d all love to consistently get a great night’s sleep, having trouble doing so is a common problem for so many people. While the occasional restless night can be attributed to the busy, stressful lives we lead, many struggle with more serious and disruptive sleep disorders, such as insomnia, restless legs, obstructive sleep apnea, bruxism, and narcolepsy. Regarding insomnia, The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine reports that “chronic insomnia is highly prevalent and affects about 30% of the general population.” Chronic insomnia disorder is associated with daytime fatigue, depressed mood, increased risk of depression, disrupted socialization, impaired vocational functioning, reduced quality of life, and lowered work productivity.
It’s no surprise then, that anyone who struggles to sleep is looking for a safe, natural solution. That’s one of the reasons I recommend CBD for sleep. It can help ease stress and tension to calm the mind and offer relief from aches and pains with its anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxing properties. One sleep study showed that CBD can improve disorders of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
When discussing sleep issues with my patients, I advocate for a very comfortable sleep environment. An ideal place to sleep should be dark, quiet, cool, neutral smelling, and should have comfortable bedding. It is also important to eliminate blue light devices in the evening (i.e. tablets, monitors, screens). Blue light can suppress melatonin which is a hormone that regulates sleep. It would be wise to switch cell phones to “evening mode” which gives off a yellow hue vs a blue light. And if you’re considering CBD for sleep, I recommend cbdMD’s line of sleep aids as a potential solution. Both their broad spectrum products (no THC) and their full spectrum products (with a small amount of THC) combine the relaxing power of CBD and other soothing herbs and melatonin to help promote the best sleep.
Using CBD for Stress Management
According to the American Psychology Association, “76% of adults said they have experienced health impacts due to stress in the prior month, including headache (38%), fatigue (35%), feeling nervous or anxious (34%), and/or feeling depressed or sad (33%).” This is not surprising, considering everything we deal with on a daily basis while trying to balance family, work, social stressors, and the constant demands on our time and attention.
Dealing with stress affects almost everyone at some point, both physically and mentally. In more severe cases, anxiety can cause folks to avoid daily life activities such as going to work, paying bills, household chores, and even social activities. That’s one of the main reasons I recommend CBD, because it can help us feel more relaxed and calm. CBD not only influences our ECS, it also influences our serotonin pathways. Imagine being able to cut one of the major barriers (stress or anxiety) in your life with CBD. How much more can you get done in a day?
Our brains (in the simplest explanation) are a very complex network of thoughts, emotions, memories, calculations, chemical/visual/sound/touch interpretation, and more. No wonder it can take a great deal of effort just to leave the house and face the real world! Many people find that they can “roll with the punches” a lot easier with a regular CBD routine to help balance out their stress levels.
Improving Workout Performance with CBD
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities.”
Whether you’re really into working out, or just enjoy walking or yoga, CBD can help you with your physical activity, both before and after exercising. The advantage of taking CBD before a workout or exercise is its ability to help more blood flow to your muscles, encourage mental calmness, and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Many people use CBD for post-workout recovery (both ingesting and applying topically) since it helps with muscle spasms, analgesia, inflammation, and has antioxidant effects. And an added benefit is that taking CBD helps with sleep post-workout – which is crucial to recovery of muscles and tissues.
As a side note, if you are an athlete subject to drug testing, cbdMD offers a line of NSF Certified for Sport® products that are certified to be free of THC and other banned substances.
Finding Natural Pain Relief with CBD
As we discussed in our blog on chronic pain, it can disrupt work tolerance, interfere with household chores, grocery shopping, self care, social life, sleep, and our overall quality of life. Pain can be such a distraction that it can affect the ability to concentrate, calculate, comprehend, and retain new information. It can affect mood, temperament, and joy for life. Chronic pain can often lead to depression.
Research shows that CBD has various biological benefits, including as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. This property may, for example, help reduce inflammation in the joints associated with arthritis or other mobility issues.
CBD is a great, natural option to add to pain management therapy. CBD can help ease inflammation, pain perception, and encourage muscle relaxation. It can also aid in helping the anxiety component when pain medication is wearing off. Depending how long you need relief and how fast you need relief, folks tend to reach for a combination of CBD products, like a topical for targeted relief or a special formula specifically for pain.
Enhancing Focus & Mental Clarity with CBD
There’s no doubt that we live in stressful times – post pandemic, inflation, political influences, and other stressors – that make it difficult to stay focused and have mental clarity at work or in the home. Besides developing good mental health habits, we can also incorporate CBD into our daily routine to help decrease anxious feelings and stress that can be disrupting our ability to focus or concentrate.
One of the main ways CBD can help with cognitive function is by helping us sleep better. The brain doesn’t function well when it's fatigued. I spoke earlier about how stress can cause us to be anxious, which makes it difficult to concentrate. Lastly, CBD can help ease the daily aches and pains in the body so you can focus on the task at hand without the distraction of discomfort in the joints or connective tissue.
I recommend CBD to most of my patients to help reduce the stress in their life and to get more sleep, which in turn leads to a better mood, concentration, and outlook on life. There are even some CBD options formulated with proprietary ingredients specifically for focus and concentration.
Adding CBD to Your Skin Care Routine
While I’ve shared a lot about how CBD can help with common issues like sleep and stress, did you know it can also help with inflammatory issues of the skin?
Some of the most common skin disorders are acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, sunburn, and hives. All of these have a component of inflammation in the skin, either by the immune system response, trauma, infection, or nutritional deficiency. If we can help reduce the inflammation, then the skin can have a better chance of clearing up.
In my practice, I see many patients that I add CBD to their acne care to reduce the inflammation that comes with comedones. I had one of my psoriasis patients notice a sizable difference overnight after the first application of CBD cream. Their red scaly plaque turned to a lighter color by the next morning. I was shocked and impressed since I had never seen a response like that from any prescription cream that I have written for that patient.
As a side note, I personally use CBD on my skin, especially my face and hands. I probably wash my hands at least 20x/day, and CBD helps relieve my dry, itchy skin. I use CBD facial serum on my face (wishfully hoping to discover it helps prevent wrinkles!), but mostly to help prevent dryness and inflammation since it has powerful antioxidant effects. I have been using CBD on my face for the past seven years – so I guess you can decide for yourself when you see my picture below!
The Importance of CBD on Your Overall Wellness
So in a nutshell, CBD may be very helpful in multiple aspects of your life. If you’re looking for better sleep, less stress, relaxation, and better mobility, then CBD may be a great option for relief.
Even if you are not looking specifically for help with pain, sleep, or stress, CBD has many other benefits like an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, to help your general wellness. It may help you be more focused and calm in a chaotic work environment, during a meditation/yoga session, or even just tackling your daily routine. There are tons of amazing testimonies of how CBD has changed people’s lives for the better.
Why struggle? Ease the journey of your life a little more with some help from CBD!