Burnout is real. While not all medical professionals agree quite on exactly what ‘burnout’ means, most relate it to the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. That which you might be experiencing at this time of the year: Constantly feeling tired; brain fog; difficulty concentrating and a shorter than usual temper. Among other things.
The term ‘adrenal fatigue’ was first used in 1998 by naturopath James Wilson, PhD. Back then, Wilson described it as a "related signs and symptoms that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level." According to Wilson and subsequent studies since, adrenal burnout is associated directly with intense stress and – while you may not have any physical signs of illness – the symptoms can include feeling tired (regardless of the amount of sleep you’ve had), difficulty concentrating and craving salty snacks
Now, the pressures of being productive while working from home as well as managing all the other household tasks during isolation has definitely put a lot of strain on many individuals’ mental health.
Here are a few tips on beating isolation anxiety by making use of CBD. CBD (or cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) however, (the cannabinoid most commonly associated with cannabis), it has no psycho-stimulant properties. “CBD can be extracted from either of the cannabis sativa species - hemp or marijuana (there are countless cultivars of each),” explains Tony Budden, co-founder of Hemporium and long-time cannabis activist.
“Both come from the cannabis family but hemp plants typically contain less than 0.3 percent THC, while marijuana plants contain higher (and varying, depending on variant) concentrations of THC,” he says, adding that CBD is the cannabinoid that has for centuries been most commonly used in food and wellness products. Thanks to increased recent research and government deregulation it has seen a massive resurgence in use for various treatments. Including for the symptoms of burnout.
1. CBD regulates cortisol Stress (in whatever form) causes the body's sympathetic nervous system (a network of brain structures and nerves which controls the ‘fight or flight’ response) to release hormones through the adrenal glands. This release includes cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline and leads to an increase in blood pressure, a spike in heart rate and rapid breathing. While the sudden jolt of a ‘fight or flight’ response plays a critical role in how we deal with potentially dangerous or stressful situation, being in that mode with high levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the system for extended periods of time (as most of us are in today’s fast-paced life) is unhealthy.
Cortisol is also crucial in regulating the immune system and helping prevent and fight infections. However, adrenal fatigue can lead to abnormally high (or low) cortisol levels. CBD has been shown to work as a natural antioxidant in the body, aiding in boosting the immune response and that way helping to fight disease. CBD can inhibit the production of unnecessary cortisol and regulate the receptors in the brain responsible for the stress response, helping to reduce anxiety and effectively help you manage stress.
According to Budden, CBD does this by triggering receptors throughout the body known as the endocannabinoid system. This system influences many physiological processes, including the body’s sleep cycles, hormone levels, immune system and pain receptors.
2. CBD can help decrease cravings for salty foods
The adrenal glands are situated just above the kidneys, and adrenal fatigue often leads to smaller amounts of aldosterone production. Symptoms of this could include the frequent urge to urinate, which – in turn – could lead to a loss of minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. Ultimately causing you to crave salty foods.
A recent study by an Italian University’s medical faculty shows that CBD can help regulate cravings, digestion and modulate bowel movements, thereby improving the body’s overall digestive functions.
In addition, numerous studies have also found that CBD can alleviate various other digestive issues.
3. CBD can help you sleep better Another symptom of adrenal burnout is insomnia, or, (potentially even worse) waking up still tired and fatigued despite getting a full night’s sleep. CBD has been shown to help regulate the circadian rhythm (the body’s 24-hour cycle of physiological processes) and help users sleep better. It does this by interacting with the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptor.
CBD has also been shown to help users fall asleep more easily, because of its anti-anxiety and stress-reducing properties mentioned earlier.
4. CBD reduces anxiety Anxiety from the pressures of the new work year can add to burnout symptoms and often negatively effect performance. By staying relaxed and focused and getting enough rest you can push through. CBD has been shown to help with this.
In 2015, a broad reaching analysis of various earlier studies showed that ‘CBD is a promising treatment for numerous forms of anxiety, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress.’
“We’ve known for years that this plant has been used by people to chill out and relax and it is great that we are finally seeing the clinical research to support this, especially on the CBD side where there are no psychoactive properties so you can use it while you are working and have other responsibilities as well,” says Budden.