Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is the buzzy word on everybody’s lips lately. There are CBD tinctures to take and CBD supplements to swallow with your morning vitamins. There’s a whole host of CBD skincare products to try, an influx of CBD bath salts, endless muscle-soothing CBD lotions, and even CBD dog food. (Yes, seriously.) The substance is touted as a veritable cure-all for stress and anxiety, known for soothing tension of any kind… and in today’s stress-fueled world, people are willing to pay a premium for anything that promises a brief reprieve.
But you don’t have to.
The body naturally produces CBD all on its own — and there are ways to boost that production with simple (and affordable!) diet and lifestyle changes, effectively reducing stress and anxiety naturally.
How CBD Works
All mammals are equipped with something called the Endocannabinoid System, or ECS. It’s the system of receptors in your body that’s tasked with regulating things like stress, pain, sleep, and even immune function. The goal of the ECS is to maintain balance, so that you feel as good as you can, as much of the time. These receptors respond to substances called endocannabinoids to make that happen. CBD is a phytocannabinoid — so it’s similar, but not as bioavailable as the body’s own endocannabinoids.
I first learned about the ECS while researching a story on how CBD works… but instead of thinking, Oh, cool, I should try CBD! I thought… Wait, why don’t I just produce more of my own “CBD?” So I got to researching, and guess what? It’s totally possible.
How To Produce More “Natural CBD”
One of the main endocannabinoids you need to know about is anandamide, which is directly tied to our overall happiness levels. It seems the more anandamide in your body, the happier you feel; the less anandamide, the more stressed and depressed you feel. There are certain enzymes in the body — mainly, the FAAH enzyme — that break down anandamide. But there are also plenty of ways to boost the body’s production of this essential endocannabinoids and reduce production of FAAH.
Scientists have shown that 30 minutes of exercise can increase the amount of anandamide found in the bloodstream — thus, making you happier and more relaxed.
OK, this is kind of the best one. Eating high-quality dark chocolate stimulates the ECS and stops the breakdown of anandamide.
Extra virgin olive oil is said to regulate “CB1 receptors” in the ECS, similar to how a CBD supplement would.
Interestingly, exposing the body to cold temperatures — like taking a cold shower or indulging in cryotherapy — has been proven to increase your natural levels of endocannabinoids, as well as “increase the density” of CB1 neuron receptors. (Essentially, that means you’re making more endocannabinoids and making it easier for your ECS to receive them.)
Flavonoids, found in foods like tea, citrus fruits, berries, and red wine, inhibit the FAAH enzyme, which helps your anandamide levels stay strong.
Take a probiotic.
Probiotics are great for your gut anyway — they replenish natural stores of “good” bacteria — but they can also help reduce stress and anxiety, apparently. Studies show that a certain type of probiotic known as lactobacillus acidophilus actually increases “CB2 receptors,” which makes it easier for the ECS to keep the body in balance.
So, Do You Really Need To Take A CBD Supplement?
It’s totally find to indulge in the new CBD trend. Try a CBD gummy! Take that tincture! Both will interact with your body’s ECS to help regulate stress and anxiety. But while you’re at it, why not add more of your own endocannabinoids to the mix, too?
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