Many in the UK were left surprised and downbeat when Boris Johnson announced the 3rd lockdown due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on 4th January 2021, as most believed that there will be no more lockdowns with the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. Lockdowns have posed several problems to all sorts of people, and many are still struggling to cope with spending time indoors on an extended basis.
This increasingly sedentary lifestyle is causing obvious physical issues for many, such as back pain, weight gain and cardiovascular problems. However, there are also a number of oft overlooked mental difficulties that come with such an isolated routine. This includes, but is by no means limited to, loneliness, depression, anxiety and a reduction in coping mechanisms. Furthermore, this is exacerbated by the decrease in accessibility of mental health services, but also outside spaces and social activities.
This article will discuss some of the common problems posed by lockdown and see if CBD can help you cope with the lockdown. We also touch on what to look out for when you are buying CBD online.
Problems associated with Lockdown
Many people have complained that they feel as if they are serving a prison term in their home due to lockdown and to a certain extent, this is true. There is a limit to the amount of time you can spend working from home, reading, conversing with family members, or pursuing a hobby. The fact that most shopping venues, tourist attractions, and outdoor venues are closed has made sure that even if venturing outside was an option, it would be of no use.
Additionally, from a physical standpoint there are myriad problems caused by ongoing lockdown. Sport England reported during the first lockdown that 41% of people were doing less physical exercise than they were prior to lockdown. There a numerous knock on effects of major reduction to exercise. For example, those experiencing muscle/joint pain and stiffness will no doubt exacerbate their issues with a lack of exercise. Additionally, many people who are overweight and are not exercising, will experience far worse symptoms should they contract COVID-19. To put this into context, 70% of people who were admitted to critical care with coronavirus were overweight.
By reducing our physical exercise, aggravating existing health problems, increasing the risk of serious symptoms and putting additional stress on our mental health, we are also increasing the stress that will be placed on the NHS in what are already desperate times.
From a social standpoint, as humans, we are social beings. Having this social element of our lives almost entirely removed is guaranteed to create more problems. A survey conducted by mentalhealth.org.uk in late November found that one in four adults in the UK had feelings of loneliness in the “previous two weeks”. This feeling of loneliness can also manifest itself in a variety of mental health conditions if it is sustained for long periods. Loneliness has been proven to increase the prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress, which can be incredibly difficult to manage.
While lockdown has severely affected mental health for individuals, it has also led to a rise in domestic abuse cases alongside anxiety and moods. There have been numerous reasons suggested as to why this may be the case. It is certainly true that with couples locked in their homes and unable to see anyone else, they have more time to argue on trivial matters. When this is combined with the ever-present fear of getting infected with COVID-19, the current environment has ensured that people do not feel safe in their own homes. Prior to this, there is no doubt that many of these individuals once considered their own home as the last refuge from any potential threats.
Surveys conducted by UK’s office for national statistics suggest that a full 37% of adults in the UK believe that Covid-19 has led to increased levels of anxiety and lower moods that are a danger to mental health.
As we all attempt to navigate our way through what many health experts have declared a ‘mental health crisis’, many of us are attempting to search for exercises or products that can support us in coping with such tribulations.
On a more positive note, there has been an explosion in interest around a certain plant that humans have used for thousands of years. That is, of course, cannabis. More specifically, we are talking about CBD – the non-psychoactive compound of the plant. This is known for its’ soothing properties and ability to help deal with the anxiety and moods caused by the current lockdown. Before delving into the benefits of CBD, let us have a closer look at what it is and how it can help with the improving various aspects of our mental health.
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive substance derived from cannabis that has been used for medicinal purposes for decades. CBD is a cousin of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the primary substance in cannabis and is responsible for the psychoactive “high” experienced after consuming cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD does not have any intoxicating effects. CBD has long been used for treating anxiety and depression as it is known to have a soothing effect.
How can CBD help you cope with Lockdown?
Anxiety and lower moods that have become omnipresent due to the lockdown are intertwined, as anxiety affects our moods and perception of our surroundings. Several studies have been conducted to examine the effect of CBD on anxiety and there is an ever-burgeoning body of evidence to suggest that CBD is incredibly effective in lowering anxiety.
Our nervous system is linked to the endocannabinoid system that runs through our body. This endocannabinoid system, in turn, uses several receptors that receive signals from different stimuli. CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors that are thought to influence serotonin level in our brain. Serotonin is a chemical that plays an important role in regulating our emotions, mood, bowel movements, sleep, blood clotting, bone health, and motor skills. Scientists assume that CBD affects serotonin signals by increasing the production and levels of serotonin in our body.
A study conducted in 2010 by Crippa, Derenusson et al, concluded that CBD could help reduce anxiety experienced by patients suffering from social anxiety disorder. Another study, by Bitencourt and Takahashi, published in 2018 found that CBD can help deal with a multitude of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
CBD has also been used for treating anxiety associated with several psychological conditions such as depression, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), SAD (Social anxiety disorder), and schizophrenia.
Most researchers believe that CBD does not have any major known side effects and is entirely safe to use – unlike many other drugs. It is also one of the few drugs known to regulate the amount of serotonin and thus regulate our moods which are often caused due to low serotonin levels in the body.
CBD in the UK
While cannabis is listed as a class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) in the UK, CBD is not. Only businesses that possess valid licences from the Home Office can grow, market, sell, export, or import CBD or products that contain CBD. It is important to check the licencing information before buying CBD in the UK as buying from an unauthorized seller is a violation of the law.
UK regulations control the farming, sale, marketing, import or export of CBD, and lay out a stringent criterion about the type of CBD that can be grown in the UK. As per Home Office regulations, “CBD can be extracted only from plants with a low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content” (less than 0.2% THC content).
The NHS has also approved two CBD drugs for treating severe epilepsy, muscle stiffness, and spasms associated with multiple sclerosis. Epidyolex was the first. This drug has been approved for children with two rare types of severe epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Additionally, Sativex, the second drug, has been approved for treating muscle stiffness, and spasms in patients with multiple sclerosis. Epidyolex is also an approved drug for treating several conditions, including seizures in the EU.
CBD has long been used for treating a wide range of medical conditions – both physical and mental. It may be the drug that you need to cope with the lockdown. As anxiety and moods are among the most common problems that are associated with the lockdown, so CBD is the perfect choice due to its’ past track record and research that supports the effectiveness of CBD for these two problems and many, many more.
With the increasing popularity of CBD in the UK, it has become relatively easy to buy CBD online as several online CBD shops are selling CBD in various forms such as CBD oil, CBD cream, CBD patches etc. you must carefully study the information on a website before buying CBD online as not all sellers may have the required licences. Some are known even to sell CBD products that do not meet the regulatory requirements for such products.
Consequently, it is also important to seek independent lab reports where possible. Any legitimate CBD business will be in possession of these, so don’t hesitate to ask. This will ensure that you are getting a high-quality product that also meets the myriad regulations and restrictions of the Home Office.
So, why not try CBD today! The lack of side effects and growing variety of delivery methods, from CBD capsules, to transdermal CBD patches, to CBD drinks, mean that there is a CBD product for everyone!