The Best Supplement For Stress Relief

Stress can affect the body in ways you might never have expected. While some common signs of stress include an increased heart rate, sweating, and rapid shallow breathing (per WebMD), stress can also manifest in the form of hair loss, constipation, decreased immunity, and can even lower one's pain tolerance, according to Cleveland Clinic. Stress is the way in which our body responds to danger — whether it's a physical threat or a perceived threat — our body responds in the same way by going into "fight-or-flight" mode to keep us safe.

When stressed, our body releases cortisol. This hormone impacts almost every system in the body and serves a number of different functions such as regulating our metabolism, reducing inflammation, and boosting immunity (via StatPearls). During moments of stress, it's cortisol that enables us to stay energized and on "high alert" in order to respond to danger. However, too much cortisol released over long periods of time due to chronic stress can put us at risk for certain health conditions including high blood pressure and heart disease, according to Premiere Health.

Through the use of stress management techniques, we can help keep stress under control. Various supplements are marketed for their stress relief benefits, but some consumers may be concerned about lingering drowsiness or other potential side effects. Is it possible there's a supplement out there that can help keep us calm without feeling sedated?

CBD supplements may relieve stress without that groggy feeling

Naturopathic doctor, co-founder, and co-CEO of wellness brand, HempFusion, Jason Mitchell tells Rolling Stone about the potential of CBD supplementation for stress relief. He suggests it can have a relaxing effect without feelings of being high or sedated. While CBD is a chemical compound in marijuana, it is without THC, and therefore does not get the user "high," according to Mayo Clinic. CBD interacts with our endocannabinoids system (ECS) — a neuromodulatory system within the body that influences central nervous system functioning (via Biological Psychiatry). 

While research is still limited regarding CBD's long-term effects on humans, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Nora D. Volkow spoke on CBD's potential medical benefits in a public statement, suggesting that CBD has been proven effective for anxiety and stress in animal clinical trials. The ability of it to reduce behavioral and psychological stressors in the body shows promise and potential for humans.

Other ways CBD can help

While the number of human studies are minimal, a 2011 study published in Neuropharmacology looked at 24 patients with Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder, half of which were given a placebo and the other half given a single dose of CBD prior to a simulated public speaking event. While the placebo group demonstrated higher rates of mental and emotional distress, those who were given CBD displayed markedly lower levels of anxiety, cognitive impairment, and self-consciousness regarding their performance.

CBD may help with more than just Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder, reports Healthline. It may also help with insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder. If you're interested in exploring supplementation with CBD it's best to speak with your doctor first. They may be able to recommend the right dosage and ensure it won't interact with any of your current medications. Some reported unpleasant side effects include diarrhea, fatigue, and weight changes.