CBD and Stress: What Science Says

CBD and Stress: What Does the Science Say?

Are you feeling more on edge lately with so much uncertainty in our daily lives? I sure am. That’s why I’m so glad I also have cannabis in my daily life, and CBD in particular.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is often recommended for easing stress and boosting mental relaxation—but it’s also promoted as a pain reliever, sleep aid and skincare ingredient, sold at grocery stores and gas stations, and even infused into pillowcases and sports bras. No wonder people are confused. Which claims are real and which ones are hype? 

Research on CBD and Stress

As a neuroscientist, I seek out data-based evidence. So I’d preface any statements about CBD and stress relief by saying—as any responsible person in this field would—that findings are promising but we need more data from large-scale, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Decades of prohibition prevented researchers from doing more in-depth study of cannabinoids, and I’m thankful we’re starting to make more headway.

In recent years, credible studies on CBD have resulted in some encouraging discoveries, and I’d like to share a few with you:

  1. A 2019 study of 72 adults published in the Permanente Journal examined whether CBD had an effect on anxiety and sleep in a three-month period. An overwhelming majority of participants’ anxiety scores decreased within the first month. And they remained at decreased levels for the duration of the study. (A majority of participants reported that they slept better too in the first month. Results fluctuated over time, however.) 
  1. Another 2019 study published in Frontiers of Psychology examined 37 teenagers with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Each participant received 300 milligrams of CBD oil or a placebo every day for one month. The participants’ anxiety scores in the non-control group dropped significantly, while the scores of those in the placebo group remained unchanged.
  1. A 2015 literature review published in Neurotherapeutics assessed findings from 49 primary preclinical, clinical, or epidemiological studies, and found that “evidence from human studies strongly supports the potential for CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders.”
  1. A 2011 study published in Neuropsychopharmacology examined the effects of CBD in 24 subjects diagnosed with Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (GSAD). All 24 were asked to speak in front of a group. Researchers found that “CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech.” 

CBD and THC: They Work Better Together

Beyond it’s calming abilities, CBD is associated with many other benefits. One benefit is that cannabis consumers report fewer of the unpleasant side effects associated with THC when CBD is present. 

Almost everyone who has tried cannabis has had an unpleasant experience at some point, one that usually involves jitters, paranoia, or a racing mind. These studies and others indicate that CBD could counteract some of those unwanted effects. I would argue that such a reduction does strengthen the argument for CBD’s ability to boost mental relaxation and clarity.

At LucidMood we’ve designed a variety of formulations so that consumers can find a THC:CBD ratio that works best for them. 

Of course, everyone’s experience with cannabis is different—but as head of R&D, I take very seriously the idea that our customers are looking to us for reliable results and consistent experiences. Who wants the stress of not knowing how cannabis is going to affect you when you’re looking to unwind after an intense day

There is no universally recommended dosage for CBD yet. I always advise new consumers to start low and increase dosage gradually. Cannabis tolerance is highly variable, so if, for example, you’re trying a LucidMood vape pen, start with one to two 2-3 second inhalations, wait about 10 minutes to feel the onset of effects, then go from there. 

Helping People Have a Better Day 

At LucidMood, we are big believers in the many cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis and their ability to help people have a better day. That’s why we got into this crazy business in the first place. In uncertain times, we could all use a little support to help us be more centered, more relaxed.  

So, could CBD help you cope with stress? My TL;DR answer: The best way to figure that out is to try it.

Learn more about LucidMood’s unique formulations here.

Recreational CBD? Busting the Myths About Cannabidiol

Recreational CBD? Busting the Myths About Cannabidiol

Now more than ever, the world can feel really chaotic, and it can be a challenge to disengage from the stressors that surround us. 

Thankfully, we have options to step away from the fray, whether that’s getting outside for fresh air, savoring a home-cooked meal or my favorite way to achieve mental relaxation: cannabis. “Recreational CBD” might sound like an oxymoron, especially since so much of the marketing and promotion around cannabidiol guarantees consumers that it will not get them high. 

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about CBD and what it can do. So let’s bust a few myths:

Myth: CBD is Purely Medicinal

It’s absolutely true that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and the potential to reduce adverse effects of stress, along with helping many people with seizure disorders—but it also has important recreational benefits as well.

CBD, while non-intoxicating, is actually psychoactive in very subtle ways when consumed on its own—and when consumed alongside THC, it supports THC and positively affects the euphoric sensation of the high. 

Myth: CBD Kills the THC Buzz

CBD has been cast as the “anti-THC” by some, and many people incorrectly believe that it inhibits the “fun” aspects of THC. 

Like most binaries, the division of THC and CBD into two sharply divided categories—one for wild stoner partying, the other for boomers with arthritis—is simply not accurate.  

Although THC does most of the heavy lifting to create the euphoric high that its fans have grown to love, it isn’t the only important cannabinoid when it comes to experiencing an enjoyable high. The way I see it, CBD actually supports THC for recreational use because it influences THC’s psychoactive effects in a number of ways. 

The most-studied aspects of the THC-CBD interaction are tied to the unwanted effects of THC

We all know people who avoid cannabis because it makes them feel paranoid and panicky—but studies indicate that CBD can help calm unease and result in greater feelings of tranquility. While everyone’s experience with cannabis is unique, I think it’s valid to ask whether people who had negative weed experiences in the past could have had better ones if they had tried the right cannabinoid formulation.

Myth: Pure THC is Totally Awesome

There are many anecdotal reports from patients about unpleasant side effects of consuming pure THC in the form of the pharmaceutical Marinol (a.k.a. dronabinol, a synthetic version of THC). Which could explain why it’s not very popular. 

However, studies show THC paired with CBD appears to reduce some of the unwanted effects associated with THC, including paranoia and disorganization. Although not everyone experiences these effects, those who do could greatly benefit from pairing CBD with THC.  

About the Entourage Effect

So what’s behind CBD helping to provide balance with THC? It’s the entourage effect

This phenomenon was identified by organic chemist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who’s my hero and a true OG in cannabis research going back to the 1960s. His theory is that the hundreds of compounds in the cannabis plant interact with each other by activating or deactivating certain receptors in the human body. 

In this case, if THC is causing a person to feel paranoid, other cannabinoids (like CBD) and terpenes would step in to alter that experience—hopefully for the better.

Better Blends of THC and CBD

In many THC cannabis products, lab tests report a non-detectable (ND) amount of CBD, and I see this absence as a massive missed opportunity for consumers to experience cannabis to its fullest potential. 

At LucidMood, we design our formulations with the entourage effect in mind. 

Our Luminous pen, for example, contains a 1:2 ratio of THC to CBD, which offers a gentle euphoric sensation. The terpenes geraniol and limonene are included in this blend for an even balance of calm and clarity. 

Our Luscious pen is formulated for more of a body high, with a 4:1 THC to CBD ratio, and includes the terpenes linalool and caryophyllene for relaxation. 

Because LucidMood offers several different THC:CBD ratios, consumers can experience an array of different euphoric highs that include light mental relaxation, strong head highs, intense body highs and many levels in between. 

I encourage those who see THC and CBD as belonging in completely different lanes to consider the ways they interact, both with each other and with the wide spectrum of terpenes found in the cannabis plant, and to experiment with how custom formulations can offer better and more reliable outcomes.

Check out all of our custom formulations here.

About Tristan Watkins, Ph.D.

Dr. Tristan Watkins is a neuroscientist who studies how terpenes and cannabinoids interact with the nervous system and applies this knowledge to create cannabis formulas that deliver distinct and predictable effects. His cannabis research began as a passion project during graduate school at Vanderbilt University, where he researched how changes in brain structure and function lead to changes in behavior. Dr. Watkins currently serves as the Chief Science Officer of LucidMood, where he formulates and validates experimental products.

Cannabis for Intimacy: LucidMood Loving formulation

Weed and Sex: Why the Modern Consumer Uses Cannabis to Build Intimacy

It might not come up every day, but budtenders often get questions about cannabis and sex. 

Of course we know that weed is great for social activities, connecting with friends and even alleviating social anxiety—but what about weed for those one-on-one, clothing-optional interactions?

While there’s no single cannabis product that improves everyone’s love life, research indicates that cannabis can boost libido and increase sexual satisfaction. 

A 2019 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (JSM), How Cannabis Alters Sexual Experience, offered some eyebrow-raising results in a survey of 216 men and women:

  • 58.9% of study participants said cannabis increased their desire for sex
  • 69.8% said cannabis helped them relax more during sex
  • 73.8% reported increased sexual satisfaction with cannabis
  • 65.7% said cannabis use resulted in an increased intensity of orgasms

Keep fanning yourself, because a 2017 Stanford University School of Medicine study of more than 50,000 Americans also showed a positive correlation between marijuana use and sex. 

Why it Makes Sense to Combine CBD with THC 

While these numbers are pretty remarkable, more study of cannabis and sex is needed (of course it is!). While we wait, it’s important to remember what any knowledgeable budtender will tell you: 

  • All cannabis is not created alike, and the varying types and amounts of cannabinoids affect people differently. 
  • And while cannabis can help some people reduce anxiety, the plant has the opposite effect on others—and when it comes to sex and intimacy, nothing kills the vibe faster than anxiety or stress.

Research has shown that too much of the prime psychoactive compound in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can induce anxiety and discomfort. And while cannabidiol (CBD, the current “It Girl” of cannabinoids) doesn’t get you high, it relaxes you—and it mellows out some of THC’s uncomfortable side effects. 

This desire for a balanced, even experience—high but not anxious—is why some people seek out specific formulations of cannabinoids. While smoking flower can be unpredictable, targeted extract formulations offer a more reliable experience. So if you or your partner are wary of being overwhelmed by a high-THC strain on a romantic night, try seeking out a product with a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD (such as LucidMood’s Loving vape pen).

CBG and the Mood-Boosting Powers of Cannabis

And while it doesn’t take a chemistry lesson to figure out whether or not weed increases a person’s chemistry with their partner, it’s important to note that cannabis is more than its most famous component, THC. In fact, the plant contains hundreds of distinct compounds, including a group known as rare or emerging cannabinoids. 

One rare cannabinoid in particular has gotten more attention of late: cannabigerol (CBG). This non-intoxicating compound is thought to help regulate mood due to its ability to act on the serotonin system. The more common cannabinoid CBD has been shown to boost anandamide, which is often called the body’s native “bliss” molecule for its role in activating cannabinoid receptors in the brain that elevate mood. (LucidMood’s Loving vape pen includes both CBG and CBD for this reason.)

And if that’s not enough science for you, cannabis also contains many different terpenes, which give plants their distinctive scents (think pine and rose), and some of which also have profound effects on humans. Terpenes like linalool and limonene, commonly found in lavender and citrus, have been shown in lab studies to have relaxing properties, which may help to relieve stress and improve low moods. The right combination of cannabinoids and terpenes can create a feeling of being deeply relaxed but also very tuned in to your senses. 

When it comes to weed and sex, it’s helpful to remember that cannabis facilitates connection in many ways. When we are less stressed and more relaxed, less anxious and in good spirits, it’s easier to bond with other people, whether that’s through going out for brunch with friends or staying in for a romantic evening with a new crush. 

Cannabis can be an excellent tool for improving emotional and physical intimacy, but if we’ve learned anything, it’s that weed is way more than just a puff of a bowl or vape pen. Cannabis is a complex plant with unique and powerful effects, so why not experiment with how different formulations affect your desire? 

So please, friends: consume your cannabis with the intention of being open and tuned in to the moment and to yourself—which is what intimacy is all about.

What’s in the LucidMood Loving formulation: A 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD, plus CBG and the terpenes Ocimene and Nerol.

About Tristan Watkins, PhD.

Dr. Tristan Watkins is a neuroscientist who studies how terpenes and cannabinoids interact with the nervous system and applies this knowledge to create cannabis formulas that deliver distinct and predictable effects. His cannabis research began as a passion project during graduate school at Vanderbilt University, where he researched how changes in brain structure and function lead to changes in behavior. Dr. Watkins currently serves as the Chief Science Officer of LucidMood, where he formulates and validates experimental products.

Introduction to Cannabis

Stop thinking of cannabis as a singular plant that solely produces THC. Instead, think of cannabis as a plant that produces a diverse set of compounds that can produce a full suite of effects and moods. Cannabis produces many more cannabinoids than just THC, some of which we are still discovering. Moreso, hundreds of terpenes are naturally found within cannabis, and these terpenes can impart unique flavors, tastes, and experiences. If you have ever wondered why some products make you super chatty, while others leave you listless, its because of the complex assortment of cannabinoids and terpenes interacting in your body. Although this type amount of variability can seem confusing, it also means that you can find the perfect product to best match your needs — for any moment.

Cannabinoids – THC gets all the fame, but the other cannabinoids are just as important to creating the perfect high for you. If high-THC products are a bit too much to handle, consider finding products that contain other cannabinoids, like CBD, CBG, or CBN. These other cannabinoids can help your high feel a bit less intense, more social, or more spacy.

THC – This is the one everyone knows. THC delivers a strong sense of euphoria, leaving people giggly and oftentimes hungry. If not for THC, the popularity of cannabis would likely be minimal.

CBD – CBD is essentially the mirror image of THC, and produces somewhat opposing effects. CBD does not get you high, and even smooths out some of the more intense effects of THC. These two cannabinoids, THC and CBD, actually work well in unison. In fact, cannabis in the past — decades to centuries past — contained much higher amounts of CBD alongside THC.

CBG – Similar to CBD, CBG does not create the high associated with cannabis. Products containing CBG will likely create a more energetic and sociable experience than without.

CBN – Although CBN does not produce a euphoric high like THC, it can have a very strong sedating effect for many people. Small amounts are said to be great for meditation, while larger amounts can aid people in rest.

Terpenes – Terpenes are the naturally occurring aromatic compounds that give botanicals (including cannabis) their signature smell and taste. Additionally, many of these terpenes can be relaxing, alerting, sociable, connected, centered, and more. Finding the perfect combination of terpenes can be challenging. Some go well together. Some are opposing and clash. Think of terpenes like your spice rack, where some spices naturally group together perfectly, while others should never be found in the same dish.