The US Census conducted a Pulse Survey March-June 2020 to assess how COVID is impacting mental health. 42,000 households responded. The number of people who self-reported feelings of anxiety has tripled compared to a similar survey conducted the year before. Aside from fear around the disease itself, the CDC points out that pandemic-related measures like "social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety."
Going outside the home isn't usually a scary proposition--for most. We enjoy events, time with friends, a dance class, a morning jog, a vacation. But with COVID-19, we've had to adjust to a new normal in a matter of months and all of the stress that came with it.
It's important to stay vigilant right now. But unbridled stress and other emotional symptoms may have gotten worse during Lockdown. And reintegrating into a COVID-conscious society after spending more time at home adds to the stress. So if your mental alarm bells go off when someone gets inside 6 feet and you're struggling to find a balance between safety and living, we've got tips to reduce your anxiety after lockdown. And we'll share how Cannabidiol (CBD) may fit into a comprehensive COVID-19 stress management plan.
Tips to Reduce Your Anxiety After Lockdown
Being proactive can increase confidence as you venture out, helping you manage stress better than any CBD product can alone.
- Plan your work/school wardrobe, lunch, and transportation ahead of time to reduce the stress of getting ready.
- Try to go to bed early so you can get enough sleep even if you experience frequent waking. If you've been staying up late during Lockdown, give yourself one-two weeks to adjust your sleep schedule, if possible.
- Talk with your boss about staggered work schedules, alternating in-office days, half days Office-Home. Many businesses are taking these measures to reduce foot traffic and bottlenecks.
- Check out the company or school website for any guidelines for employees/students.
- Be open with friends who are overzealous about getting back to their social life. You shouldn't try to control them. But it's okay to say "no, I'd rather not go to a party, bar, concert, etc. right now". It's also okay to leave early if people aren't social distancing once you get there.
- If FOMO (fear of missing out) if an anxiety trigger, try suggesting safer activities to your friends so that you can still feel connected socially. Outdoor vs. Indoor. Smaller gathering vs. large one.
- Try to avoid confrontation. We've all seen the social media videos of people confronting others not wearing masks. It usually ends up with someone screaming or pushing. Unless you're in a position of authority, it's generally better to just try to keep your distance and let it go.
- Challenge your belief system. During COVID, you may have developed a sub-conscious belief that people are dangerous. But people need human interaction. So blanket assumptions like this can cause anxiety and isolation. Try to find some balance.
- Have a go-to product that can help you feel better. Studies have also shown that Cannabidiol (CBD) can help those with various types of anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder, phobias as well as insomnia.
How CBD May Help With Post-Lockdown Anxiety
Wait! Doesn't cannabis increase anxiety?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a cannabinoid that is very substantial in most marijuana, has shown actually to increase anxiety and paranoia in some people. But CBD, also found in the cannabis plant, appears to have the opposite effect. And its ANTI-ANXIETY EFFECTS can be sustained when you take a regular dose every day or more pronounced when you take higher doses during stress feelings.
On top of that, it's non-addictive, has shown only a few minor side effects in studies, and can be completely separated from THC, so it's doesn't cause a high.
The Effects of CBD on Anxiety
Here are just a few studies of note:
- A small, controlled, GAD study found that public speakers with anxiety performed better and had fewer physical symptoms like shaking, freezing, sweating, elevated heart rate, etc. when taking CBD before the speech.
- A small controlled study on people with SAD found a reduction in blood flow to the fear center in the brain. In people with anxiety and phobias, this part of the brain is over-stimulated, which increases blood flow to it.
- An analysis of 100s of studies concluded that the CBD appears to be an anti-anxiety agent. CBD may offer some relief for those with PTSD, OCD, and general anxiety.
We could all use a little more of these benefits after lockdown for COVID.
How Cannabidiol Works
Current research suggests that CBD's interaction with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) explains these effects. The ECS is a network of cell receptors and neurotransmitters that helps the body maintain mental and physical homeostasis (balance).
THC interacts with the receptors called cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) found mostly in the brain. CBD, on the other hand, interacts with cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2), which are mostly in the immune system. The immune system impacts how you manage stress. So Yes, CBD MAY HELP REDUCE ANXIETY, among other CBD benefits.
What Dosage You Need to Help Anxiety
CBD can be fast-acting or provide more sustained effects depending on how you use it.
For fast-acting relief, the CBD needs to contact soft tissues like those found in the mouth and lungs. So sublingual is best here. You can also smoke CBD flowers or vape CBD oil, if you prefer.
For more long-term effects, consider starting a once or twice daily oral CBD oil or CBD capsule routine.
Dosing is a very individual thing when it comes to CBD. So we recommend you start at the lower end, 10 to 25mg. Be consistent with dosing. And increase it after a week if you'd like to experience more pronounced effects.