We’ve been really invested in the complex and very real problem of stress lately. Last year, CBS News reported that about 8.3 million American adults suffer from “serious psychological distress.” This report from the American Psychological Association (APA) provides a comprehensive breakdown of common stressors and the categories of people they affect the most.
Today we want to talk about some of the hardest-working, sometimes least-appreciated superhumans out there—the mothers. More from the APA: According to a 2010 survey, “women are more likely to report physical and emotional symptoms of stress than men, such as having had a headache (41 percent versus 30 percent), having felt as though they could cry (44 percent versus 15 percent), or having had an upset stomach or indigestion (32 percent versus 21 percent)…. The same survey also reported that women are more likely than men to report that they eat as a way of managing stress (31 percent versus 21 percent).” A Web search on “motherhood stress” yields a lifetime of reading material—over 20 million results.
At CBD Movement, we try not to be overly predictive or presumptuous. But based on evidence and on our own experience, we’ve come to feel that stress and anxiety is “low-hanging fruit” when it comes to conditions that CBD can help to treat—for those it works on, it really works.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, a single mom, a married mom, or any combination thereof, you’ve got an especially difficult job, and are constantly performing a physical and mental balancing act. Motherhood is a beautiful thing, but it’s also hormone-disrupting, nerve-taxing, draining on your body and mind. Sure, you can turn to Advil, McDonald’s, Xanax, and sleeping pills for quick fixes, but in the long run, we all know where those quick fixes can lead. And according to APA psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD, “How a mother manages stress is often a model for the rest of the family. Other family members will imitate her unhealthy behavior.” Why set an unhealthy example when you have other options?
All that said, here are four reasons why we think CBD could be the new “mother’s little helper”:
1. CBD quiets anxiety
We’ve talked a lot about this lately, and invite you to check out “Anxiety and Stress” and this piece on fears related to speaking in public for more detailed info on how CBD can help you conquer anxiety. A study published by the Journal of the American Society for Experimental Neurotherapeutics states that, “Overall, current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders.” Some moms might turn to marijuana to alleviate anxiety, but smoking weed oftentimes creates its own brand of nervousness. CBD actually combats the effects of THC, and when used in a preparation containing little to no THC, it has none of those “marijuana high” effects, but can bring straight-up, sober stress relief.
2. CBD helps maintain hormonal balance
Pregnancy sends a woman’s hormones into hyperdrive—they can be all over the map. And of course, childbirth itself creates its own cascade of hormonal effects. Older mothers going through menopause can also expect to experience hormonal changes. Even that “time of the month” can create swings in many women. When scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system (ECS), they came to understand that it is implicated in regulating many of our most basic physiological functions—sleeping, appetite, body weight, mood, blood sugar, etc. How does the ECS do this? By producing and releasing cannabinoids that directly affect—you guessed it—hormones and hormonal signaling. The physical and psychological demands of pregnancy and motherhood can knock your hormones out of whack, but it’s been suggested that taking CBD regularly can help to “refeed” your ECS and restore balance. This piece talks about this in greater detail.
3. CBD can help control your weight
Busy mothers often put on weight. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s just one of many byproducts of constantly running around and putting everyone else first while neglecting yourself. Quick (fast) food choices made for practicality’s sake can turn into blood-sugar-spiking bad habits. Add in lack of exercise and lack of sleep and voila, here are those extra pounds you never ordered! We’re not going to say that CBD will melt the fat off of you, but because of its regulatory effects (see above), it can help to keep your blood sugar in the right place and your cortisol levels down by helping to manage sleep and stress. In addition, while we generally think of cannabis as an appetite stimulant, this is true of THC, but not CBD. In fact, a 2012 study of different cannabinoids and their effects on feeding patterns in rats supports the theory that CBD actually decreases food consumption and weight gain.
4. CBD is a natural antidepressant
Let’s face it, moms can be at risk for bouts of depression. Postpartum depression, menopausal depression, and “down” periods at different stages of motherhood are Numerous preclinical studies have shown repeatedly that CBD can boost serotonin levels in the brain by boosting serotonin signaling. Many antidepressant medications do the same thing—they target the serotonin system to increase the availability of this neurotransmitter in your system, which in turn has mood-boosting effects. CBD also affects the production of glutamate, another hormone linked to depression. Given the side effects (which include wreaking havoc on your hormones—see #2) and the fact that (according to one study) antidepressants are only effective for about one-fifth of users, it might be worth tossing out the Prozac and keeping CBD on hand in the medicine cabinet instead.
Mothers can always use more healthy tools—especially when it comes to all-important self-care. Without your health, you can’t be there for your family and do all the amazing things you do. Perhaps consider adding CBD to your arsenal of personal-care go-tos, it might end up being your new best friend. If you’re curious to learn more, check out “What to Look for in a CBD Product.”