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Stress Response | Quadratum Hemp | Hemp-Based CBD Products

Stress Response

Energy & Focus
November 26, 2016
November 26, 2016

Can CBD help with stress?

The human body has an internal chemical harm reduction system called the endocannabinoid system or ECS. The ECS is run by chemicals called endocannabinoids that are produced naturally and attach themselves to cannabinoid receptors throughout our body to help regulate functions such as immune response, appetite, sleep, pain, and more. These endocannabinoids act as “messengers”, essentially allowing cells to “talk” to each other. In the brain, cannabinoid receptors are necessary to control emotional behaviour, mood, stress, and fear. Cannabis, as its name suggests, contains cannabinoids – specifically the chemicals THC and CBD. These chemicals are similar to those found naturally in our bodies and can be used to help stimulate signaling in the ECS to regulate bodily functions.

Stress is typically defined as any stimulus that presents a challenge to homeostasis; typically a real or perceived threat to an organism’s well being (Hill 2010). Any unanticipated threat to an organism’s survival will trigger an immediate coordinated neural, endocrine, and behavioural response. Researchers currently believe that repeated stress can actually modify circuits in the brain, causing functional changes in brain activity (Senst 2014) that can result in deficits in cognitive functioning (Hill 2005). Stress activates signaling in one of the cannabinoid receptors that functions to regulate the way the body’s behavioural and endocrine systems respond (Hillard 2014). As a result of this signaling, the body increases its heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to muscles, which gives it an increased chance to escape or to survive in the case of an injury. Therefore, maintaining robust receptor signaling helps to prevent against the development of stress-related changes in the body.

Preclinical studies have clearly shown that activating these receptors within specific areas of the brain can reduce pain and anxiety behaviour also known as the “fight or flight” phenomenon. Multiple studies have linked a process called neurogenesis (increased neuron production) to levels of stress within the body. Stress relieving activities, such as exercise, increase neuron production; while increased stress can cause this production to decrease.

Neurogenesis was previously thought to be impossible in the human body during adulthood; however, new research is showing that not only is neurogenesis possible, but that the ingestion of CBD can potentially help encourage its production (Campos 2013). Disruption of endocannabinoid signaling and regulation in the body has shown to result in increasing signs of anxiety and depression (Gorzalka 2008). Research is suggesting that administering cannabinoids, such as CBD, could actually reverse the cognitive impairments in brain function created by stress (Hill 2005) and that cannabinoid signaling could represent a novel approach to the treatment of stress-related depression (Segev 2014).

Most of the research into CBD’s effect on stress is still in the preclinical stage, but early evidence suggests that CBD can not only help to reduce stress levels in the body, but that it can also help to reverse the effects of chronic stress.

Works Cited

Alline Campos, Zaira Ortega, Javier Palazuelos et al. “The anxiolytic effect of cannabidiol on chronically stressed mice depends on hippocampal neurogenesis: involvement of the endocannabinoid system.” The International Journal of Neurosychopharmacology, 2013: 1407-1419.

CannaVest. “The endocannabinoid system and CBDs role in stress, anxiety and fear.” Leafly, 2014:

Gorzalka BB, Hill MN, Hillard CJ. “Regulation of endocannabinoid signaling by stress: implications for stress related affective disorders.” Neurosci Biobbehav Rev, 2008: 1152-60.

Hill MN, Patel S, Carrier EJ, Rademacher DJ, Ormerod BK, Hillard CJ, Gorzalka BB. “Downregulation of endocannabinoid signaling in the hippocampus following chronic unpredictable stress.” Neuropsychopharmacology, 2005: 508-15.

Hillard, Cecilia. “Stress regulates endocannabinoid-CB1 receptor signaling.” Semin Immunol., 2014: 380-388.

Matthew Hill, Sachin Patel, Patrizia Campolongo, Jeffrey Tasker, Carsten Wotjak, Jaideep Bains. “Functional Interactions between stress and the endocannabinoid system: From synaptic signalling to behavioural output.” J. Neurosci, 2010: 14980-14986.

Segev A, Rubin AS, Abush H, Richter-Levin G, Akirav I. “Cannabinoid receptor activation prevents the effects of chronic mild stress on emotional learning and LTP in a rat model of depression.” Neuropsychopharmacology, 2014: 919-33.

Senst L, Bains J. “Neuromodulators, stress and plasticity: a role for endocannabinoid signalling.” J Exp Biol, 2014: 102-8.


  1. Most of the research using objective measures to evaluate how effective the relaxation response is at countering chronic stress have been conducted in people with hypertension and other forms of heart disease.

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  3. Most of the research using objective measures to evaluate how effective the relaxation response is at countering chronic stress have been conducted in people with hypertension and other forms of heart disease.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for pointing this out to me. I’ll have to review the literature and then possibly adjust the content in our articles to reflect this reality. If you see anything else that seems off or not a good reflection of the research, please let me know! You can email me directly at or comment like you’ve just done.

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