As 2020 ushered in a pandemic level of stress, it has forced us to navigate through several unknowns. My wife and I have a senior about to graduate high school and two other kids at home. What’s happening with classes? How will we end the school year? Will we have a graduation? What about our jobs? Money? Relationships? My grandmother was patient #50 in the country on those who lost their battle with Covid-19, so as I write this article when will this virus be gone? Over the last 3-4 months it would be hard pressed to not be at 8 / 10 on the stress level, but we are trying daily to find a new balance with this new world we live in.
Eating right, exercise, connecting on zoom calls to those you haven’t heard from in a while are all ways to support your physical and emotional well being. This is all connected to our own endocannabinoid system (ECS). One important thing to keep in mind is that the ECS is primarily a system for your body to reach balance and homeostasis.
When it comes to modulating stress, things go both ways: The ECS both alters and is altered by stress. Endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2) are found throughout the body’s adrenal axis, as well as in parts of the brain (particularly the limbic system) where the body regulates things like fear, stress, anxiety, emotions, and memory.
A healthy endocannabinoid system helps keep our stress response from becoming too extreme – so we when we experience a stressful event, even if it is very unpleasant, we will not over react to it. A healthy ECS also lets us put unpleasant memories behind us – an important part of emotional well-being.
Both acute and chronic stress can actually weaken the ECS, which makes us more vulnerable to stress – and perhaps more susceptible to developing emotional and physical issues related to an inability to keep our stress response under control. To really return to a state of balance – homeostasis – it is important to nourish the ECS.
One way to supplement your ECS is with cannabidiol (CBD) based products. A nutritional supplement that includes phytocannabinoids from a source like hemp can help nourish the endocannabinoid system so it’s better able to find that physical and mental balance.