CBD and Cortisol Have a Relationship You Should Know About

cbd and cortisol

Posted on March 12th, 2021

Cannabidiol (or CBD) comes from cannabis plants. Currently, there are 113 known cannabinoids, each with a significant role in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Since CBD is a non-psychotropic compound, users don’t get “high” after use. Proponents tout the compound for its variety of potential therapeutic benefits, such as treating two severe epilepsy forms. Although the FDA doesn’t regulate the safety or purity of the substance, CBD is still considered safe. Because CBD is still a relatively new topic to the general public, many people still question it. One topic of curiosity is whether there is a relationship between CBD and cortisol. This article explains and expands on everything you need to know about how CBD and cortisol are related.

What Is the ECS?

The endocannabinoid system is a complex biological system within the human body. Although medical scientists discovered it in the 90s, much remains unknown when it comes to how it functions. Experts now believe that it influences some major processes, such as memory, mood, sleep, and appetite. However, there is still much more to learn. 

The ECS has three major parts: endocannabinoids, enzymes, and receptors. These components work regardless of whether an individual uses CBD or not. How does the endocannabinoid system deal with stress? 


Although stress might be very common, it does not make it any less of an issue for people having to manage it. Many of those who have used CBD claim that a regular dose of a premium product is all they require to deal with times of acute stress and control their overall stress. The same might be true for you.

CBD is pleiotropic – something that affects a range of processes via multiple molecular pathways. Because of this, there are all kinds of ways that CBD interacts with your system. This is the root of the theories when it comes to how CBD oil may help with stress modulation. As it stands, the ECS is starting to be regarded as one of the vital regulators of a stress response. 

What Is Anandamide? 

Although most people try CBD to deal with stress when it arises, several studies prove that the accumulation of cannabinoids in the system will be what makes the key difference. In most cases, chronic stress is believed to be a major contributor to an “endocannabinoid deficiency”. Anandamide is one of the important cannabinoids that your body produces on its own. An endocannabinoid deficiency can lead to a variety of problems. 

The outcome of this is an entirely unbalanced body, which might result in other problems such as skin conditions, illness, and fatigue. If your body lacks enough anandamide, then it might lead to higher cortisol levels. This leads to an easily triggered or continuous active flight or fight response; a problem when this reaction is not appropriate. 

Based on a 2016 Neuropsychopharmacology study, a decrease in anandamide can activate the hypothalamic-pituitary gland. Ultimately, this process leads to higher cortisol levels in the blood. Generally, this is an integral part of the survival instinct in a balanced body. However, your endocannabinoid levels can increase or drop quickly during times of acute stress. In the long-term, this increase might result in mental and physical ailments, such as adrenal burnout. In turn, this results in a further decrease of endocannabinoids.

CBD and Anandamide

With stress management, one of the vital measures is the inhibition of the enzyme FAAH, which breaks down anandamide. Because of this, higher anandamide levels can flow freely throughout the system. It can make its way to your brain where it may influence the HPA axis – the main stress response system. 

With regular CBD use, research currently shows that its accumulative nature causes higher anandamide levels. This can then inhibit the unnecessary production of cortisol. Generally speaking, anandamide acts as the stress gatekeeper. CBD increasing anandamide levels is one of the indirect connections between CBD and cortisol. 

CBD & Dopamine

According to recent clinical studies, CBD directly activates other body receptors, such as dopamine receptors and serotonin receptors. Both of these are vital neurotransmitters in the brain associated with depression and stress. Though we need  more research, there are high hopes for its overall positive impact on pain, mood, and even addiction. 

Based on a recent study on rats, stress increases over 24 days led to reduced serotonin activity. And after seven days of CBD dosing, these levels were entirely normalized. 

Dopamine is often linked to the “reward response” – for example, a happy rush when you eat a new meal. However, there is currently evidence to show that chronic stress dampens the release of dopamine, which can lead to vulnerability, addictive behavior, and mental illness. Although the relationship between CBD and dopamine is still widely unknown, the research so far shows that cannabinoids enhance dopamine neural firing.

Tanasi products - our storyCBD and Cortisol

The adrenal gland is responsible for producing cortisol, a primary hormone that modulates your stress response. More often than not, the more stress you feel, the more cortisol your system is likely to release. CBD oil might help with this response. 

In general, cortisol has had a significant purpose in human survival since it deals with mediating your natural “flight or fight” response. Although the actual risks in your everyday life are now few, stress remains high – this suggests that the body still produces cortisol frequently. The enhanced cortisol level forces your system to prioritize the flight or fight response. This reduces allocation of resources to your metabolism and immune system, leading to symptoms that can vary from increased anxiety to mood swings and weight gain. 

A 1993 study demonstrated that CBD oil is anti-catabolic. That means it may help control the amount of cortisol the endocrine system releases. As a result, it reduces stress-related side effects in the body.

CBD and Cortisol Management

If you have been looking to counteract cortisol’s effects, an anti-catabolic substance like CBD could be helpful. Recent research has shown the therapeutic CBD advantages when it comes to treating anxiety and stress. By working together with the endocannabinoid system, CBD may naturally regulate stress, calm anxiety, and improve moods. Generally, it works to inhibit cortisol production. 

The THC in marijuana may increase your levels of cortisol. Therefore, CBD oil from hemp is the ideal choice for people who are looking to reduce cortisol levels. Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC.


What is another bad cortisol scenario? Well, excessive cortisol production from an intense workout can be problematic. Extremely high hormone levels might lead to low bone density, high blood pressure, and even decrease muscle tissue. Taking CBD oil as a supplement before and after a workout may help to manage your cortisol levels. This would enable your muscles to replenish and even grow as they should.

Final Thoughts on CBD and Cortisol

Have you been wanting to supplement with CBD? You should have learned so far about the links between the endocannabinoid system, CBD, and the endocrine system. They suggest that CBD may help regulate hormone levels. Knowing about this relationship between CBD and cortisol can be very useful if you suffer from chronic or acute stress.

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