Achieve the Entourage Effect with Meditation, Hemp Oil and GABA plus L-Theanine
We live in uniquely stressful, blissful, challenging and terrifying times. Technology and its bounty connect us instantaneously to global opportunity, community, friendship. And yet at the same time our hyper-connected modern world places inescapable demands on our time and sanity. Luminous liquid plasma televisions hang like movie screens on our living room and bedroom walls, pouring out news 24 hours a day, and we are never exempt from the spectacle of humanity or global suffering. As we drive (or take mass transit) to work we multitask with podcasts and conference calls. (And if we don’t, we might not get that promotion or raise.) We text our colleagues, bosses, friends, lovers and children in meetings, at stoplights, over meals. We post photos of our business dinners and working vacations from far-flung corners of the world. We read news and fake news. We worry about climate change. We work and play too hard. We don’t sleep enough—the National Sleep Foundation reports that in 2018, only 10% of American adults prioritize their sleep over other aspects of daily living. According to the foundation’s chair, Dr. Joseph Ojile, “People…are consistently overscheduled. They are not getting enough sleep.” Where once we had huge swaths of time to ourselves, now we mainline the world 24/7.
In other words, we’re stressed. We’re anxious and keyed up. Anxiety is known to affect 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
In fact, according to a new report in Vox, we’ve entered a new age of anxiety consumerism”—we’re buying everything from fidget spinners (as many as 50 million sold) to gravity blankets (70,000 sold at $249 each), all in the hopes of easing stress and the jitters.
But technology is probably not the answer. There are simple, effective, natural approaches to soothe and calm our bodies and minds. Natural stress relief is what we seek. Regular physical exercise, along with mindfulness meditation, can supplement the use of effective phytonutrients. Natural remedies have a long history of traditional use by herbalists, can help reset the anxious and stressed out mind and body.
A Quick Look at How Stress Hijacks our Nervous and Immune Systems
We all understand the immediate impact of stress. Our hearts race and thud, our muscles tense, we feel flushed and hot or suddenly cold, we break out in a sweat and breathe more rapidly. We release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. This fight-or-flight response was built to ensure our survival. But chronic stress can lead to insomnia, anxiety, irritability, depression and many somatic symptoms, from headaches to stomachaches. It can also contribute to the risk for many major diseases, from cardiovascular disease to diabetes.
Stress activates what is known as the HPA axis, releasing a cascade of neuroendocrine signals that stimulate hormones and neurotransmitters. The HPA axis is our essential stress response system. It includes:
- The hypothalamus: a part of your brain that regulates your pituitary gland and also governs temperature, thirst, hunger, sleep and emotions.
- The pituitary: the body’s master gland, which orchestrates the function of the other endocrine glands.
- The adrenals: perched on top of the kidneys, they produce cortisol and adrenaline, along with other hormones and hormone precursors. Adrenaline speeds up your heart, raises your blood pressure, and kickstarts your energy. Cortisol increases sugars in the blood, stimulates your brain’s uptake of glucose, and alters immune system responses while suppressing digestion.
When stress becomes chronic, this intricate natural alarm system goes awry. According to David Spiegel, Stanford University’s associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, when we are stressed, we know the cause of our stress. But when stress becomes chronic and we become chronically anxious, anxiety itself becomes the problem. Anxiety is like a snowball—getting bigger as it rolls along.
Exercise Your Mind and Your Body
It is well known that exercise helps calm the mind and body and reduce anxiety. Aerobic exercise stimulates the body to produce endorphins—natural feel-good molecules that act as painkillers and improve sleep and mood.
In turn, mindfulness exercises have been shown to be very effective in easing stress and anxiety. These include mindful slow, yogic breathing, a mindful body scan, and mindfully observing thoughts, letting them arise and melt away while focusing on breath
How Calming Cannabidiol from Hemp Oil Can Reset Your Natural Rhythm
Cannabinoids are a fundamental and deep communication system that is present in all plants and animals on earth. This marvelously versatile signaling system helps maintain homeostasis and balance throughout our body and brain. Cannabinoids play a critical role in regulating appetite, sleep, mood, pain, inflammation, energy metabolism, and the immune and nervous system., These essential molecules help modulate the activity of over 1000 genes, and help bolster our own antioxidant defenses.
Cannabinoids help to balance mood by their effect on a serotonin receptor known as 5HT1A. They also affect receptors that regulate levels of anxiety, and help quiet excitability in the brain. Within our bodies there are two cannabinoid receptors, known as CB1 and CB2. The anxiety quenching effects of cannabinoids are mediated by CB1 receptors.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a constituent of the cannabis plant that does not have psychoactive effects like its more famous cousin, marijuana, which contains 19-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. It can be found naturally in hemp oil. CBD has no “high” associated with it. It is calming and anti-anxiety. In fact, a recent study showed that CBD significantly reduced anxiety before giving a speech. 
When offered in a nanoemulsion, CBD oil provides rapid uptake and immediate calm. A study of ten individuals that compared 12 mg of nanoemulsified CBD and regular CBD found that uptake was over five times greater.
Hemp oil can be enhanced by other phytonutrients and extracts that also target the CB receptors, for a truly synergistic “entourage” effect, where mutually resonant botanicals support and enhance their respective actions.
Nurture Your GABA
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is informally known as our ‘calm and connect’ molecule. It is our principle inhibitory neurotransmitter and is associated with our body’s ability to balance the fight-or-flight response. Our brain naturally produces GABA, and it helps inhibit and slow down nerve impulses. GABA supplementation has been found to significantly increase calming alpha-wave patterns during stress, and to reduce anxiety levels. GABA is found in foods such as kimchi (where it is a fermentation byproduct). GABA receptors are found not only in the brain but also in the gut, suggesting they can help support healthy digestive function as well. Supplemental GABA is widely available.
GABA is enhanced by L-theanine, an amino acid found naturally in green tea. L-theanine supports relaxation and mood by increasing alpha-wave activity, and levels of serotonin, dopamine, and GABA in the brain. After supplementing with L-Theanine, brain wave patterns smooth out; the effect is akin to meditation. L-Theanine also calms without impairing cognitive ability. It lowers levels of cortisol.
Natural approaches, when combined, can be surprisingly effective. Utilizing breakthrough formulations that enhance phytonutrient uptake means that smaller doses yield larger effects.