Hemp and Happiness: Our Guide To Improved Mental Health
In countries affected by frailty, trauma, and violence, approximately one in five people suffer from different kinds of mental health issues- including anxiety and depression. For so many years, there has been an enormous stigma surrounding how we discuss and view mental health. Some people like to think that mental problems are just a phase, but we’ve got some news: they’re not.
During the initial peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal College of Psychiatrists reported that nearly half of the British population suffers from severe anxiety. As people across the world continuously battle with the unseen enemy of depression, anxiety, and low mood, tackling the relevant issue of mental health has never been more crucial than ever. So, the next time you hear anyone saying it’s just a phase, tell them they’re wrong.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health involves a person’s emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. Our thoughts and feelings are just as important as our physical health. Indeed, there is no holistic health without good mental health. It plays a crucial role at every stage of life, from childhood to adolescence, and all through the course of adulthood. Since it affects the way we think, feel, and act, strong mental health is fundamental to living a good life overall.
In 2018, the World Health Organization emphasised that mental health is more than just the absence of disorders and infirmities. Looking after our mental health is not just about maintaining wellness, but also aims to prevent a wide range of mental health conditions. By preserving, maintaining, and restoring mental health, an individual is more inclined to find a sense of purpose in life and feel fulfilled.
Mental disorders may vary in different types and roots. Some of the most common ones include the following:
- Anxiety disorders (phobias, panic disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorder)
- Mood disorders (such as depression, bipolar disorder and cyclothymic disorder)
- Eating disorders (such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), or binge-eating disorders)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (also known as PTSD)
- Psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia or delusional disorder)
Among these well-known conditions, anxiety and depression are the most commonly experienced mental problems worldwide, regardless of age, sex, and social status. Anxiety is characterised by a feeling of fear, unease, and worry, which can be mild or severe.
Depression, on the other hand, is experienced through extreme sorrow, loss of interest in hobbies and activities, low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, and poor concentration. Everyone may encounter fear and loneliness at some point in their life, but anxiety and depression are far more intense than typical everyday emotions.
There is no single root of all these illnesses. If we try to put two different people in a stressful situation, one may experience anxiety symptoms while the other may not. In other words, a lot of factors may contribute to the development of mental health problems, and it’s different for everyone. These variables include family history, biological variables (such as genes and hormonal imbalances in the brain), painful life experiences, and other environmental factors.
In a nutshell, mental health problems are not uncommon, and can happen to just about anyone. However, help is always available. Many who go through symptoms of stress, anxiety, and other related ailments can recuperate if given the proper care and treatment, and with the appropriate commitment. In fact, many previous cases have recovered completely in the past.
Gone are the days when psychotherapy and heavy pharmaceuticals were the only methods available for treating various symptoms of mental disorders. As we all search the world for healthier supplements to traditional treatments, our eyes land on hemp.
Hemp has made its way into the news and all over the web as a potential subject of interest in conversations surrounding mental health. At CBII, we are highly motivated to give you a deeper understanding of hemp’s fascinating history, and how it might possibly have the potential to bring inner peace and happiness into our lives.
A Closer Look Into Hemp: Our favourite Herb
Hemp is a strain of Cannabis Sativa, a flowering plant that originated in Asia and is now commonly distributed throughout the world because of its purported therapeutic abilities. Hemp has previously been explicitly grown and utilised to create various industrial products, including rope, paper, textiles, and more. However, upon recently delving into its natural properties, researchers found that hemp may have more potential than we first thought.
Its versatility expands to human consumption due to its putative health benefits. From being a primary source of making different industrial materials, hemp has been reborn as an intriguing health supplement in the growing health and wellness industry. It all comes down to hemp seed oil, which is touted to potentially supplement a variety of branches of our wellbeing, including symptoms of poor mental health, according to some anecdotal reports.
Ever since the birth of the legal hemp market, and the sudden popularity of products such as CBD and hemp oil, there has been a massive growth in the research and production of wellness products containing hemp seeds, making an appearance in everything from hemp seed capsules to multi-purpose oils.
Hemp-based products can be, of course, derived from the hemp plant. However, a study published in the Journal of Nutraceuticals Functional & Medical Foods in 2000 has proposed that hemp seeds could be the most potent ingredient in the plant when it comes to its nutritional potential.
This is primarily because hemp seeds may contain healthy levels of vitamins, amino acids, and a perfect ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. All these organic nutrients are generally understood to have a possible impact on our mental health and overall wellbeing.
Hemp Seed Oil and the Brain
The central nervous system plays an integral part in the control of most bodily functions, including movements, awareness, sensations, speech, and memory. It is made up of two different types of tissues: white matter and grey matter. Simply put, the white matter is composed of numerous cell bodies that send information to the brain, while the grey matter is responsible for processing the given information.
A deficiency in these groups of tissues may have an adverse effect on our mental health. In order to prevent this, our brain requires a constant supply of polyunsaturated fats, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, in order to enhance the function of different cell bodies and keep our white and grey matter functioning optimally.
The grey matter holds an approximate amount of 50% essential fatty acids, and most of them are composed of Omega-3 and Omega-6. Since our body produces minimal natural fats, it has to receive additional fatty acids from secondary sources, like hemp. Among all the natural sources in the plant kingdom, hemp seeds contain one of the highest rates of polyunsaturated fats, ranging from 75% to 80% of their total content.
This quality is very unique when comparing hemp to other kinds of seeds, which is why you won’t likely find a better natural source of polyunsaturated fats than hemp seeds. Let’s further dissect the plant and see how each nutrient might help improve essential brain functions.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
A study conducted in 2019 has shown that consuming foods rich in Omega-3 may potentially supplement the treatment of anxiety symptoms in young adults.
There may be a number of potential reasons for this. For instance, Omega-3 could be absorbed into the cell membrane of the nervous system, where it possibly interacts with various mood-related molecules, such as serotonin (happiness hormones), norepinephrine (anti-stress hormones), or dopamine (motivational hormones). Additionally, omega-3s have been repeatedly studied in more than 30 clinical analyses involving patients living with symptoms of depression, with promising results.
So, what do we mean when we say hemp contains an excellent ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids? Here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Our brain is susceptible to a type of inflammation that is below our perception of pain, meaning it’s not something we feel.
This can be referred to as ‘cellular inflammation.’ It’s a type of inflammation that can be disruptive in a way that can lead to a breakdown in the interactions between brain cells, impacting our mental state and overall health. In some cases, it can be a huge factor in the growing prevalence of anxiety and depression.
Increased consumption of Omega-6 fatty acids is one possible cause of cellular inflammation. While all polyunsaturated fats may have their own natural benefits, it is crucial to get the right balance among them. A study suggests that a standard ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is practically between 1:1 and 4:1. Uniquely, hemp seeds may offer an ideal Omega-3 and Omega-6 blend of 3:1, which the body requires.
Another point of interest in the potential organic properties of hemp is amino acids. Our body is capable of producing up to 12 amino acids on its own. The remaining nine essential amino acids are primarily obtained from other natural sources through our diet. As mentioned above, hemp seed contains all the 21 amino acids needed by the body, including tryptophan (an amino acid purported to be useful in cases of anxiety symptoms).
Some research suggests that tryptophan (one such essential amino acid) may show promise in regulating mood swings associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women, as well as potentially stress-related symptoms of sleep disorders. Since tryptophan is the main precursor to all the hormones produced naturally by the brain, it can easily interact with our serotonergic system, which handles mood and other related brain functions.
In addition to amino acids, we may wish to enhance our ability to produce more serotonin levels by supplementing tryptophan with other vitamins (including vitamin B6 and B12). Overall, our body needs 13 essential vitamins to develop and function properly (these are the vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B-complex vitamins).
Vitamin B-complex comprises eight of those fundamental vitamins- all of which can be potentially received from hemp seed oil. Since we are incapable of permanently storing all these vitamins inside our body, it may be beneficial to keep them present in our daily dietary choices— this way, we can help our body replenish and maintain healthy levels of the vitamins it needs.
Moreover, many studies have found that taking B vitamins alongside amino acids may synergistically promote a sense of stability and calm. Vitamin B-complex is a large class of water-soluble vitamins, including thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin (vitamin B7), folate (Vitamin B9), and cobalamin (vitamin B12).
Let’s try to break them down a little to see how each vitamin may potentially benefit the brain, and our mental health along with it.
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is essential for regulating blood sugar levels, which can be a significant factor for developing anxiety symptoms. Hence, it is deemed to hold promise in potentially impacting the adverse effects of stress and anxiety.
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) helps convert food into energy, allowing the mind and body to function more effectively.
- Niacin (Vitamin B3) plays a vital role in supplementing symptoms of depression. Some people who underwent severe depressive symptoms reported that vitamin B3 has efficiently supplemented the treatment for depression symptoms, such as extreme sadness and hopelessness. Others purported it made their depression completely go away.
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) helps sustain the adrenal glands responsible for producing hormones, which help regulate metabolism and respond to stress symptoms.
- Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) is essential in different bodily functions, such as metabolism, red blood cell production, and the creation of neurotransmitters in the brain. Together with tryptophan, it may potentially supplement the anxiety symptoms triggered by PMS.
- Biotin (Vitamin B7) is involved in a wide range of metabolic processes that are primarily related to the use of fats and amino acids in the body.
- Folate or Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) is important for cell growth, amino acid metabolism, and the formation of red and white blood cells, all of which may assist in balancing out depressive moods.
- Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) is probably the most well-known of all the B vitamins, as it is repeatedly proven to have the potential to enhance different brain functions (including red blood cell development).
In the Mood for Hemp? Here’s How to Potentially Impact Your Mental Health with Hemp Seed Oil
When it comes to mental health, keeping a well-balanced amount of all the above-mentioned nutrients in your system is extraordinarily important. While you can absorb these natural properties from the food you eat, supplementing your daily diet with hemp seed oil might be the easiest way to get a dose of nourishment that comes all together in one superb bottle.
Food deficiency has always been associated with the onset, severity, and duration of certain mental disorders, including symptoms of anxiety and depression. Some of the most noticeable dietary patterns involved in these ailments include poor appetite, skipping meals, or an extreme desire for sweet foods, all of which can contribute to nutritional deficiency. Thus, one of the most simple ways to naturally supplement symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression is to integrate hemp seed oil into your daily balanced diet.
More and more advocates are making the bold statement that hemp seed oil is the new olive oil. This only means that you, too, can easily experiment with it in your kitchen. One option is to simply mix a few drops of hemp seed oil to your favourite recipes, like smoothies, pasta, salad dressings, or soup. Some people also prefer using it sublingually through a tincture that often comes with a dropper. Just put a few drops of hemp seed oil under your tongue, hold them in place for as long as you can (roughly 30-60 seconds will do) and you’re good to go.
Another handy option is to try our hemp seed capsules with B vitamins after a hearty breakfast, or before bed for snooze support and a potentially good night’s sleep. In most cases, those who regularly experience symptoms of anxiety and depression may also struggle to get a decent amount of sleep.
An article published on Civilised points out the potential ability of hemp seed oil to mitigate short-term sleep problems by possibly managing symptoms of stress and pain, making it easier to get a sense of calm and fall asleep. If you are a novice when it comes to hemp, you may wish to start with one capsule a day, and then slowly, gradually work your way up if needed.
While oral ingestion is a popular method of consuming hemp seed oil, other users are a little more reserved, and are comfortable using a spray or other topicals. For many people living with depression, it’s usually hard to find the courage and motivation to exercise. Frequently, they may blame themselves for losing interest in everything and anything- from getting inspired to actually working out. This kind of self-criticism makes them feel worse about themselves and, in a vicious cycle, often leaves them feeling even more depressed.
Nonetheless, a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry has shown that regular exercise’s psychological and physical benefits might help maintain a balanced mood, particularly alongside mainstream treatment for clinical depression. Physical activities may potentially ease depression by driving your mind away from worries, so you can get off the endless cycle of negative thoughts that trigger your depression.
It may be easier said than done; however, starting your workout regimen slowly but steadily can be your most significant first step towards better mental health. While exercise can leave your muscles feeling sore at the same time, supplementing with hemp oil could provide the essential nutrients needed to impact your muscles’ healthy recovery.
There are, indeed, many creative ways to incorporate hemp seed oil into your everyday life. It’s safe to say that there’s no right or wrong method. Much of it is down to an individual’s tastes and needs. One thing to note when using hemp seed oil, however, is its recommended dosage. In most cases, the standard dosage of hemp seed oil is 25 mg taken once a day, which may be increased according to your individual needs.
Other Natural Ways to Manage Anxiety and Depression
Living with anxiety and depression can have a considerable impact on your quality of life, leaving you drained and feeling empty. This kind of state of affairs makes it even harder to find the strength or desire to ask for help. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to help you feel more in control of your emotions and, eventually, your overall wellness (possibly alongside mainstream treatments or therapies, as needed).
Learn the art of acceptance.
Embracing what you’re going through is the key to effective mood-management. It can be difficult to be fully open about your emotions and understand that neither anxiety nor depression is a rare case. In fact, many people say that going through depression is like living in a dark, empty hole.
When you find yourself in that situation, you tend to lose sight of other people, including some of your friends or family, who might be facing similar challenges. Being able to accept your feelings and connect with others simply means that you’re no longer alone in that dark, empty hole. By keeping this in mind, you allow yourself to accept that where you are right now is not where you’ll always be.
Examine your emotions.
Concealing the pain and loneliness you feel may seem like a subtle way to cope with depression. However, this strategy is not helpful at all. It is essential for self-healing to not avoid the situation. Thus, if you need to let yourself feel your emotions, do it until you learn to live with all your sentiments.
Think about possible reasons and causes behind your emotions, and what actions you may be able to take to improve your quality of life. Once the emotions lift up, do not forget to reward yourself for overcoming those obstacles. It’s important to celebrate your hopes, progress, and emotional achievements.
Create a practical routine that sets realistic goals.
When it comes to establishing a to-do list, it doesn’t have to be so lengthy and weighty that you would rather do nothing at all, as opposed to starting it. You need to assess your energy levels to create a system of tasks that works for you. Set a gentle schedule at first, and start with smaller tasks until you can work your way up to much bigger ones. Of course, you may also wish to take breaks, preferably after every hour of your work.
All your efforts call for a much-needed celebration. So, when you achieve a goal, make sure you do your best to recognise it. You can take yourself out to a lovely dinner, or buy a book you’ve been waiting to read. This way allows you to commemorate and remember those all-important moments of success in your life. Just the thought of a job well done could make for a powerful defence against the negative voices in your head.
Mental health is an essential component of our overall wellness. However, despite its importance, things seem to be just as they were before: a curtain of stigma, limited awareness, and a lack of funding for many vital services. All of these are major barriers to seeking help and promoting better mental health. That being said, there is no rationalisation for ignoring conditions that can hugely affect a person’s way of life.
Anyone may suffer from different mental disorders, or low moods; however, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment that offers a cure. Instead, there are many different avenues that aim to reduce symptoms and address the underlying causes in order to help us manage our moods.
While finding the right mainstream treatment for you may take some time, know that supplements such as hemp are always available (though are in no way an adequate replacement for therapy or mainstream medication).
Hemp seed oil is growing in admiration for providing a long list of possible supplementary benefits, which have been repeatedly supported through an ongoing body of research. It is deemed to promote a potent natural supplement to many traditional-based treatments for various anxiety and depression symptoms.
We hope that this article helps you find the knack for living your life to the fullest. While science is continuously making its way to many further discoveries regarding the potential benefits of hemp seeds, it isn’t so hard to give these small (but great!) seeds a try. Perhaps incorporating hemp into your daily lifestyle could be the start of your blissful journey towards strong mental health.