Eight in 10: That’s the number of people who say they encounter stress in their everyday lives, according to a recent Gallup poll. Of that number, 44% responded that they felt stressed “frequently.”
These results surprise no one. Sadly, the fact that many people turn to unhealthy habits, such as eating or drinking to excess, in the face of stress is no surprise, either.
What may be surprising is that hemp can help ease stress, and that combining it with additional herbal remedies amplifies its actions.
Hemp in the Body
About 20 years ago, researchers discovered that cells throughout the body contained receptors for endocannabinoids. These substances help control all physiological functions, including how the body responds to stress. Researchers also learned that stress itself can, in turn, upset endocannabinoid levels within the brain, causing a downward spiral in which the body’s ability to employ these substances properly becomes more and more impaired.
In addition, scientists found that hemp contains phytocannabinoids, which interact with the same cell receptors. As a result, hemp acts within the body in a similar fashion to endocannabinoids, helping to maintain a healthy state of balance.
Hemp’s phytocannabinoids are particularly useful when factors such as stress and poor diet cause a state of endocannabinoid deficiency. Such deficiencies have been linked to not only poor stress response but also ongoing low-level inflammation, the kind implicated in chronic disease. What’s more, anxiety—a common result of excessive stress—is also associated with decreased endocannabinoid levels.
As critical as hemp is in stress relief, it isn’t the only herb known for its calming effects. These other healing agents work well when combined with hemp phytocannabinoids.
Green tea’s health benefits are well-known, such as its ability to promote calm alertness. That capacity is due to the presence of L-theanine, which encourages the development of brain waves that produce a sense of deep relaxation with heightened focus.
Like green tea, the reishi mushroom has a long history of use. It functions as an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body adapt to stress, and aids in normalizing body functions, including cardiovascular and immune activity. (Astragalus is another adaptogen that strengthens immunity.)
In fact, there are a number of adaptogens. For example, ashwagandha, long valued in India’s Ayurvedic medicine, has traditionally been used to alleviate anxiety, insomnia and memory loss. Today, it is seen as a way to counteract fatigue stemming from overwhelmed adrenal glands, which play a crucial role in stress response. Another Ayurvedic herb, tulsi (also known as holy basil), is also used to pacify the nervous system.
Western herbalism offers its own wealth of relaxants. They include lemon balm, used for anxiety and depression; valerian, another anxiety fighter; hops, which gently encourages sleep; and feverfew, a relaxation herb that helps ease migraines.
In addition to adaptogens, a hemp-based stress formula should provide a full spectrum of phytocannabinoids. It should also contain substances that promote hemp absorption and support the endocannabinoid system.
There will always be stress. But you can counteract its effects with hemp and other calming herbs.