Feel like it’s impossible to slow down and focus on what you’re doing in the present moment? You’re definitely not alone.
Let’s be real. Distractions are everywhere and focus isn’t something most of us do well.
The thing is, the ability to focus is critical for success in life. If we have difficulty focusing, every aspect of our life suffers — relationships, work, our health and more. Have you ever stopped to think what an incredible shift you would experience if you practiced the act of focusing?
Welcome to mindful living, something that can be incredible for improving focus and much, much more.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness. It’s something we all possess but don’t necessarily practice regularly. Simply put, mindfulness is focusing your attention on what you’re doing in the present moment.
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in 1979, “mindfulness is awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, non-judgmentally.”
Mindfulness is the ability to stay focused in the present no matter what it is that you’re doing. Mindfulness allows us to be in the here and now. And when we’re in the here and now, it’s a lot easier to focus on what we’re doing.
Think of mindfulness as being in the flow of the present moment. It’s the conscious direction of our thoughts to whatever we’re doing right now.
Sounds easy enough, right? Sure. But most of us don’t do it. Our minds and the millions of random thoughts we have tend to take over. Rather than staying present in whatever task we’re doing, we end up obsessively thinking about things that happened in the past or what might happen in the future. Welcome to one of the main reasons we become stressed out and can’t focus.
Here’s the thing, though. We can bring a state of mindfulness to anything.
Taking a shower, walking the dog, making breakfast or dinner, doing the dishes, doing the laundry, driving to work, engaging in our work, working out…everything we do can be seen as an opportunity to practice mindfulness.
The Benefits of Mindfulness for Increased Focus
The benefits mindfulness has on focus are truly unprecedented. If you’re interested in improving your ability to focus and concentrate, you should definitely be thinking about how to incorporate more mindfulness into your life.
Check out the following benefits of the art of “paying attention on purpose to what’s happening in the present moment.”
Mindfulness Can Help Restructure the Brain
Were you aware that practicing mindfulness can actually change the structure of your brain?
In 2011, Harvard University Medical School researchers studied mindfulness by looking at magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during an eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program.
What researchers discovered at the end of the eight-week study was nothing short of amazing. Not only did participants report that they experienced several cognitive benefits, but MRIs showed that there were significant physical differences in the grey matter density in the brain.
What exactly did these brain images show?
- Differences in brain structure in areas responsible for self-awareness, compassion and introspection.
- Decreased grey matter density in the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure in the frontal lobe that is responsible for stress and anxiety.
- Increased grey matter density in the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain associated with memory and learning.
Seeing that mindfulness can literally restructure the brain, it’s easy to imagine how it could seriously promote more focus.
Mindfulness Can Help Improve Overall Well-Being
When we’re focused on what’s happening in the moment as it’s happening, it’s pretty difficult to get caught up in other thoughts.
Imagine a reality where you’re fully engaged in what you’re doing, whether that be your professional life, personal life or activities you love.
Rather than thinking the countless incessant thoughts about everything but what we’re actually doing, we instead become fully engaged in it.
Doing so would dramatically improve your overall wellbeing, which would do wonders for improving your concentration.
No regret about what has happened in the past. No worry about what might happen in the future. Just full attention on what is happening right now. Engaged. Present. And fully aware.
Reduce Stress and Ease Anxiety
Stressed out? Anxious? So is everyone else.
Stress and anxiety are two of the biggest things that make it feel impossible to focus.
Mindfulness can help. It invites us to be aware of the present moment as it’s happening. It can allow us to become more aware of our thoughts and emotions and be less reactive when they arise.
If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety, mindfulness can help you ease into a state of non-reaction, which can help tremendously with anxiety levels.
And when you’re not anxious, guess what? It’s far easier to focus.
Increasing Focus Through Mindfulness
One of the best ways increase your focus and ability to concentrate is by practicing mindfulness.
Here’s something to think about.
We have the ability to control our thoughts. And we can control where our attention goes by controlling our thoughts. We can choose to keep our thoughts in the present moment by living in a state of mindfulness.
When working, mindfulness helps us to focus and concentrate on our work in that moment. When engaged with others in our personal relationships, mindfulness allows us to be fully present with the other person. When studying, mindfulness allows us to focus our attention on what it is we’re learning and keep our concentration centered on the task at hand.
5 Ways to Promote Focus and Mindfulness
1. Embrace Mindfulness from the Moment You Wake Up
One way to promote focus and mindfulness is to begin the moment you wake up. For most of us, the alarm goes off and we start immediately thinking of what we have to do that day, what happened the day before or what pressing matters are pertinent in our lives.
Embracing mindfulness from the moment you wake up is a simple concept once you have it down. When you wake up, tell yourself “I am waking up” and simply be present in the moment of waking up. When your mind starts to wander, bring yourself back to the present moment as you start the day. Don’t think about yesterday. Don’t obsess on what didn’t go the way you wanted. Just be fully present starting out your day. It could go something like this:
I am waking up. I am thankful for a new day. I am listening to the birds chirping outside my window. I am sitting up in bed. I am getting out of bed and am mindful of my feet on the floor. I am standing up and walking to the bathroom. I am making coffee. I am drinking my coffee, aware of the sensation of the cup to my lips, the warm liquid in my mouth, the taste on my palette and the sensation of swallowing each sip. I am turning the water on to take a shower. I am in the shower and allowing myself to experience the sensation of the warm water and am fully present as I cleanse my body. I am getting dressed. I am walking to the car. I am getting in the car. I am starting the car. I am driving to work.
See how you can shift your thought process to focus on exactly what is happening in the present moment as it unfolds? Begin to practice mindfulness from the moment you wake up each day and you’ll begin to promote more focus and mindfulness throughout each moment every day.
2. Start the Day Out with Some CBD
As part of embracing mindfulness from the moment you wake up, you can start the day out with some CBD. CBD can be used to help maintain your sense of focus throughout the day.
Feeling anxious and stressed out can make it extremely difficult to be mindful and focus on what you’re doing in the present moment. By supporting relaxation with CBD, it’s easier to embrace each moment as it unfolds.
As part of your mindful morning, you might consider taking CBD. While everyone is different when it comes to the effects of CBD, it may be the perfect addition to your routine.
3. Focus on One Thing at a Time
One of the most effective ways to promote focus and mindfulness is to focus on one thing at a time. While it might sound easy enough in concept, most of us aren’t doing it.
Think about it. When you do the dishes, are you really focused on the fact that this is all you’re doing in the present moment? When you work on a task, are you focused only on that task or are you thinking of other things? When you take the dog for a walk, are you simply walking the dog or are you fixated on other thoughts?
Most of us do not focus on one thing at a time. This is the premise of mindfulness, however, and can do wonders to improve your focus. How exactly do you do this when most of us are accustomed to giving in to the incessant thoughts we have all day? Bring yourself back to the present moment as much as possible.
4. Come Back to the Present Moment Each Time You Find Your Mind Wandering
Incorporating focus and mindfulness into your everyday life becomes possible when you bring yourself back to the present moment every time you find your mind has begun to wander from whatever it is you’re doing in the present moment.
Let’s go back to the idea of doing the dishes. It’s a simple task that most of us engage in on a regular basis. The next time you’re doing the dishes and you find your mind begins to wander to something else, bring yourself back to what you’re doing. The plate in your hand, the warm water, the action of washing and rinsing, then putting it in the rack to dry.
When you find yourself thinking about what happened at work, or what your boss said, or the fight you had with your boyfriend, or the test you have to study for, or the fact that you haven’t done the laundry, or sent that email, or the countless other thoughts that can captivate our minds and taking us out of what we’re doing in the now, simply bring yourself back to the present. Begin to practice this every time your mind wanders, and you’ll find focus and mindfulness begin to take precedence over those incessant thoughts.
5. Practice Sitting Meditation
Did you know that people who meditate regularly are believed to have the ability to decrease brain activity associated with the wandering mind? Research shows that people who meditate (compared to non-meditators) have more stability in the posteromedial cortex, an area of the brain that is associated with mind-wandering and spontaneous thought.
Sitting meditation is one of the simplest concepts that exits. All you need to do is sit and focus on breathing in and breathing out. If you’ve never meditated before, you’ll find your mind wanders…A LOT. The more you practice, however, the more you’ll find you can focus on each breath moving slowly in and gently out of your body.
If you’re new to meditation, you’ll find there are tons of resources that can help. From meditation apps to guided meditation audios online, there is a wealth of resources that can help you get started with a regular meditation practice. Doing so is something that can have a profound effect on promoting focus and mindfulness.
We live in a world where distractions are everywhere. Want to increase your focus and live more mindfully? We can’t say we blame you. The power of focus and mindfulness can truly be life-changing.
If at first the practice of mindfulness doesn’t come easily, give it some time. Bring yourself back to what you’re doing in the present moment as many times as it takes until it’s something that comes to you naturally. We’ve seen the results in our own lives and understand personally just how powerful the shift can be.
Do you regularly practice mindfulness in your own life? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
All hemp is not created equal.
When it comes to purchasing CBD products, we can’t stress enough how important it truly is to make sure what you’re buying is organic.
The importance of organically grown hemp is unprecedented. Here we’ll take a look at exactly why.
What Is Organically Grown Hemp?
Organically grown hemp is that which is cultivated using organic growing practices. According to the USDA, “organic” is a labeling term that specifies that food or other agricultural products are produced through approved methods.
And while hemp hasn’t yet been approved to get the USDA organic stamp of approval, organic hemp farming practices would follow the same general guideline as that which the USDA has established.
In general, organic hemp operations need to show that they’re using only non-chemical nutrients, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides and demonstrate that they’re following sustainable farming practices, protecting our natural resources and conserving biodiversity.
The rise in popularity of CBD has led to countless individuals becoming interested in hemp farming. And while organic hemp is preferable to non-organic hemp (which we’ll get into in a moment), the increasing demand for CBD can make it difficult for hemp farmers to grow large crops without using GMO seeds, chemicals or plant growth regulators. This isn’t to say it’s impossible. It just means that not every hemp farm is committed to organic farming.
Why Organically Grown Hemp Is So Important
As we all well know, most CBD products available on the market today are derived from hemp. And while not everyone is concerned with what they put in their body, there are plenty of people out there who have no interest in consuming food products that have been saturated in toxic chemicals.
Think about it like this. Would you rather put CBD that has been sourced from naturally grown hemp under your tongue or CBD sourced from hemp that has been grown with harmful chemicals?
For us, the answer is clear. We don’t call our company Joy “Organics” for nothing.
In order to ensure a successful harvest, crops of any kind will only thrive when given nutrients. And without the use of pesticides and insecticides, they become food for unwanted garden pests. This includes hemp.
Let’s take a closer look at why organically growing the hemp that’s used to source CBD is truly so important.
The Problem with Pesticides
In order to ensure that a hemp crop isn’t taken over by bugs and insects, farmers must use pesticides that either repel or kill these unwanted intruders. These pesticides can also help prevent disease, which is vital if one wishes not to lose their entire crop. Basically, when it comes to hemp farming (and farming in general), pesticides are a fundamental part of the process.
Why exactly are some pesticides such a problem? There are a few reasons. Check it out.
Pesticides and the Environment
While pesticides are ultimately used on land, it’s possible for them to contaminate nearby water sources such as the ocean, rivers, lakes, streams and ponds. For instance, if a hemp farm is planted near a stream or river and there is runoff into the stream or river, the pesticides used can ultimately contaminate the water. In turn, this can negatively impact fish and other animals, causing them to become sick or even die.
Another way that pesticides used in hemp farming can have a potential negative impact on the environment is through a process known as volatilization. This happens after a pesticide has been sprayed and it turns into a vapor or gas, which then makes its way through the air where it can distribute to different land areas (a process known as vapor drift) and potentially harm various wildlife species.
Pesticides and Your Health
Some pesticides can be detrimental to human health. Have you ever visited an agricultural area and seen farmers in biohazard suits wearing masks? This is so they aren’t harmed while using toxic pesticides when spraying their crops.
In a 2016 review, it was highlighted that “numerous negative health effects have been associated with chemical pesticides.” Some of the most common include:
- Respiratory problems
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Neurological damage
- Reproductive problems
- Endocrine disruption
While things are set to change with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp production for CBD has so far been a largely unregulated area. This means that when it comes to growing hemp, pretty much anything goes…including the use of whatever pesticides growers see fit.
Even in Colorado, where hemp and marijuana are both legal, the list of approved pesticides for cannabis production contains several chemicals that are known to be dangerous to human health. Some of these include EDTA, phosphorous acid and more.
But with industrial hemp production, it’s a different story. Anything can be used because there are no regulations set in place. This means that toxic pesticides that can be potentially damaging to human health could be used to cultivate the hemp from which your CBD is sourced. Seeing that CBD is used to benefit health, using products sourced from potentially contaminated hemp products seems to be quite a contradiction.
Phytoremediation (and What it Has to Do with Organically Grown Hemp)
Here’s something you might not be aware of that’s of paramount importance when it comes to hemp cultivation — hemp is a plant that soaks up whatever is present in the soil in which it’s cultivated.
This process is known as phytoremediation and is an all-natural “clean-up” process in which some plants pull solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, crude oil, toxins and more out of the soil wherever they are grown. Basically, phytoremediation is nature’s way of removing contaminants from the earth.
Hemp isn’t the only plant responsible for phytoremediation, but it is one of the best. Other plants responsible for phytoremediation include sunflowers, poplar trees, weeping willow trees, Indian mustard and Indian grass.
On April 26, 1989, Chernobyl, Ukraine experienced the worst nuclear disaster in the world to date. The nuclear reactor explosion was undoubtedly one of the biggest catastrophes in history. Not only were 120,000 people evacuated from the area, but many experienced severe health consequences.
And while the region today is widely known as one of the world’s most unique wildlife sanctuaries, according to LiveScience, the area won’t be safe for human habitation for another 20,000 years.
What does this have to do with hemp?
Quite a bit, actually. In 1998, an effort was begun by a company called Phyotech to plant hemp at the Chernobyl disaster site to remove the nuclear contamination still present in the soil. As it turns out, phytoremediation is excellent for removing radioactive elements from soil and water, as well as other harmful compounds.
“Hemp,” said Phyotech research scientist, Slavik Dushenkov, in 1998, “is proving to be one of the best phyto-remediative plants we have been able to find.”
Hemp isn’t just used for its phytoremediation abilities at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site. Sheep farmers in Italy have also turned to hemp farming to clean up land contaminated with the toxic chemical dioxin.
In a 2017 interview with CBS, sheep farmer Vincenzo Fornaro explained that he’s trying hemp to clean up the land that’s been in his family for generations that was unfortunately contaminated by contaminants spewing from Europe’s largest steel plants. He’s planted hemp to try to leach the high levels of dioxin our of his soil. When asked if he thought hemp was the future of his farm, Fornaro replied, “Yes, absolutely.”
Knowing that hemp is so adept at phytoremediation, it becomes a bit more clear as to why it is so important that it’s organically grown. It’s going to soak up whatever is present in the soil it’s planted in. Contaminants in the soil mean contaminants in the mature hemp plant. And seeing that CBD oil is extracted from mature hemp, any contaminants present in the plant are also going to be present in the CBD.
Don’t Settle for Less Than Organically Grown
At Joy Organics, we take organic hemp farming very seriously. This is because we’re well aware of the health effects and environmental impact of non-organic farming practices. We’re adamant about offering a product that is not only beneficial for our customers, but for the environment as well.
We’re passionate about our products, which wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of those committed to sustainable growing practices and organic farming techniques. If you have any questions about the importance of organically grown hemp, please contact us at any time. We’re always here to help!
Are you a veteran? Visit our veteran discount page.
For such a young industry, CBD products have seen a fast transformation. In the beginning, CBD capsules were the industry standard. Eventually, tinctures and topicals came into the picture. Now, the methods of using CBD products seem infinite. As the CBD industry continues to grow, more unique hemp-based items keep popping up on the market. Here is a look at some of the most unusual CBD products you’ll find out there!
Why Are There So Many Unusual CBD Products?
Anytime there’s a new craze in the health and wellness sector, everyone wants to jump on board. Once this happens, the field gets oversaturated. As a result, those within the industry try to find ways to bring the product to the next level.
Usually, it takes a long time for a niche within the health and beauty market to blow up. However, CBD products have captured the imagination of the masses. It’s like the interest in CBD products was once a match and the wellness industry threw gasoline all over the fire.
Due to this influx of competition, many CBD companies are turning to alternative methods of using CBD. Companies are doing this in hopes of carving their own niche in an already healthy, yet still burgeoning industry.
How Companies Make Unusual CBD Products
What makes CBD so attractive to these companies is that the benefits of hemp-based products can be experienced in many ways. Our body has cannabinoid receptors in every major system and near all the essential organs.
The endocannabinoid system has an influence on everything including:
- Pain Perception
- Hunger Modulation
- Inflammatory Responses
- Energy Consumption
- Antioxidative Responses
- Nutrient Absorption
- Immune Cell Production
- Digestive Issues
- Hormone Production
- Fat Distribution
- Sleep Cycle
Our endocannabinoid system is a chef with its hand in every pot. Its goal is to promote homeostasis throughout the body. Seeing as the endocannabinoid system is so targeted, it allows CBD companies to become more aimed with their care.
What further cements CBD as an attractive component in health and beauty products is how our endocannabinoid system is set up. With the ECS under the epidermis, in the digestive tract and throughout our system, there are many ways to introduce CBD to your body.
The CBD industry has grown on the backbone of the following products:
CBD Tinctures are highly concentrated drops of phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil. Just place a dropper full under your tongue and allow the drops to pool for 1–2 minutes.
Underneath your tongue are thousands of tiny blood vessels known as capillaries. The cannabinoids in your CBD tinctures will bind to the carbon molecules in your saliva. This action allows the capillaries to latch onto the CBD. Together, the molecules permeate through the thin skin in your mandible area.
After the time is up, swallow your CBD tincture. From there, your body will digest the remaining cannabinoids.
CBD Softgels work like most over-the-counter supplements. You pop the capsule in your mouth and swallow. Once the softgel reaches the stomach acids, your body begins to process the solid matter.
As the outer casing of your CBD supplement begins to oxidize, it will release phytocannabinoids into the atmosphere. This release allows CBD and friends to find the receptors in need of care.
It’s difficult for the body to absorb an entire supplement because potent stomach acids destroy a lot of the beneficial compounds. With cannabinoid receptors in our GI tract, it’s vital that CBD bypasses the stomach acids.
That’s why we use nanoemulsion technology. Our CBD Softgels have the smallest cannabinoid particles on the market. Therefore, the benefits of CBD will be farther-reaching within your system.
Whenever we experience pain in our joints or have a rash breaking out on our skin, there is inflammation in the area. We know this because our cannabinoid receptors are setting this reaction off.
As inflammation rages in the area, neural tissues on the receptors will pick up on the prowler. Vapors from the inflammation set off the receptors, which causes the mind to conjure up your unsavory symptoms.
Anyone who has sweated before knows that our body is covered with pores. These microscopic holes are a portal in and out of the system. When we rub CBD salves or balms into the system, cannabinoids can penetrate the skin.
Plus, CBD has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Therefore, using CBD products can help rejuvenate compromised cells hanging around your epidermal layer. Also, cannabinoids help inhibit pro-inflammatory biomarkers that may trigger a future flare-up down the road.
The Most Unusual CBD Products
Now that you have a better understanding of the most popular CBD products and how they interact with the system, you are ready for the most unusual CBD products. After all, the aforementioned CBD products served as the prototype for these new CBD products to sprout up.
With CBD Face Masks and CBD Vape Pens making their mark, a CBD suppository might not sound as chic as some of the others in the field. However, a CBD suppository is an effective way of absorbing CBD.
Vaginal and anal suppositories may be effective for those with digestive issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or for women experiencing menstrual cramps. You bypass the whole digestion process and bring CBD into the system at a port of entry close to the problem.
The way a CBD suppository works is much like the sublingual method. No, not because you’re a butthead. Anal and vaginal passages have many capillaries. With this instant access, you may feel the effects within 10 to 15 minutes and up to eight hours.
The idea of CBD toothpaste might seem a bit far-fetched, but hear us out. Many DIY kinds of toothpaste get crafted with peppermint, spearmint and/or tea tree essential oils. Essential oils are the aromatic chemicals that come from plants. Cannabinoids work with these chemicals, known as terpenes, in what’s known as the entourage effect.
Just as essential oils have shown to be antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, so has CBD. Therefore, CBD toothpaste could be a great way to help fight tooth decay and freshen breath.
If available, purchase a CBD toothpaste formulated with therapeutic-grade essential oils. Research indicates that terpenes have a synergetic effect on one another. Therefore, the cannabinoids from CBD and terpenes in the essential oil will go the extra mile in cleaning up that smile. However, it’s a good idea to speak with your dentist about using CBD toothpaste as it is such a new and unusual product!
Need to give your CBD toothpaste a workout? Pair it up with Azuca’s CBD Sugar. Azuca formulated a line of artificial sweeteners that allows your body to absorb CBD quicker than traditional digestion methods.
Through Azuca, you can purchase CBD sugar in varieties that include:
- Chocolate discs
- Granulated sugar
- Sugar and Stevia syrup
Each serving is 25 mg of CBD and is water-soluble, so it mixes with anything. With Azuca products, you can sweeten your coffee, baked goods or fruit salad with a touch of CBD.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
As you can tell, foodies are having a field day with CBD. Why not mix it with the most commonly used household item? That’s precisely what Plant People did with their CBD EVOO.
One word to the wise — don’t use this to cook at too high of temperatures. Cannabinoids start to burn off at around 355° F, so you might lose the valuable benefits.
Not to mention, extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of around 400° F. At this point, the molecules become chemically altered, exhibiting carcinogenic tendencies.
Feeling anxious? Upset? Restless? Don’t get bitter. Get CBD Bitters. Bitters are a great way to give your beverage a nuanced flavor. They bring a sense of class and sophistication to your beverage, making the hard work you did all day feel that much more rewarding. Unwind even more by giving your stiff drink a drop of CBD bitters.
Mountain Elixirs made a line of CBD bitters crafted to complement:
- Bubble Water
While the mixers seem endless, prepare to be blown away by the number of options Mountain Elixirs gives you for CBD bitters:
- Cherry Bourbon
Mix and match to your own delight as you melt your stress away on your couch…or in a nice, hot bath.
CBD Pet Products
CBD was such a controversial topic for two-legged creatures that many don’t think to provide cannabis care to their four-legged loved ones. Our pets have a system that isn’t much different from our own.
They, too, have an endocannabinoid system that oversees their wellness. Therefore, our pets also have the same receptors and compounds that are causing many of the uncomfortable symptoms that we also experience when our body is under attack.
CBD Pet Products often come in two forms:
CBD Dog Treats are an easy way to introduce CBD into your pet’s wellness regimen. They already associate getting a treat with a reward. They will feel even more rewarded when that treat has a serving of phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil in it!
For larger animals, a pet treat might not be sufficient. CBD Pet Tinctures allow you to control the serving your pet needs. If you are having trouble dropping the tincture directly into your animal’s mouth, then soak a treat in the tincture or put it on your pet’s food. Like we said, it’s hard for a fur baby to resist a delicious treat!
The Growing World of Unusual CBD Products
As you can see, we covered a lot of ground in the ever-growing world of CBD products. While we discussed some unusual methods of using CBD (shoutout to suppositories), they all seem to be effective.
What’s so great about CBD is that you just need to find how supplementing is right for you. Learn more about CBD products with our Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil.
We’re fascinated with the way phytocannabinoids work in harmony with the body’s own endocannabinoid system. One of the most popular reasons people report using CBD is the positive effect it can have on anxiety.
Why do naturally occurring cannabinoids such as CBD, THC and others seem to help alleviate anxiety?
In essence, it all comes down to the endocannabinoid system which, among other things, is largely associated with our mood and emotional states.
The Endocannabinoid System and Anxiety
In one of our favorite studies about cannabidiol as a potential relief for anxiety disorders, researchers found existing preclinical evidence that strongly supports using CBD for several anxiety-related disorders including:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Because the study found that “overall, current evidence indicates that CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders” and that CBD works in harmony with the endocannabinoid system, we wanted a better understanding of the connection between the endocannabinoid system and anxiety in general.
Here’s what we discovered.
According to research, the endocannabinoid system is a signaling system within the brain that acts to control neurotransmitter release. The expression of the endocannabinoid system in the limbic regions of the brain causes it to have control over emotional behavior, mood and stress response.
Research shows that a “growing body of evidence unequivocally demonstrates” that disruptions in endocannabinoid signaling could result in depressive and anxious behavioral responses. It also suggests that manipulating endocannabinoid signaling can cause an anxiolytic response.
How does it work?
What exactly is the connection between the endocannabinoid system and anxiety?
To understand this, it’s vital to better understand the endocannabinoid system itself.
A Brief Overview of the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system has been referred to as one of the body’s most important physiological systems. Basically, it’s responsible for pretty much everything involved with our physical and emotional health. Sleep, mood, pain, digestion, immune response and more…it all comes down to the endocannabinoid system.
There are two main endocannabinoids that have been identified in the human body: anandamide and 2-Archidonoylgycerol (2-AG).
The primary receptor sites in the endocannabinoid system are known as the CB1 (found in the central nervous system) and CB2 receptors (found in the immune system and almost everywhere outside the brain and spinal cord).
Anandamide, named after the Sanskrit word for bliss because of the feelings of happiness it produces, is a neurotransmitter that forms part of a neurochemical system that helps regulate mood (as well as pain and appetite).
It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that our mood, happiness levels, anxiety, fear and ability to endure stress are all controlled by the endocannabinoid system. When anandamide levels are imbalanced, anxiety will almost assuredly ensue.
In the brain, anandamide is broken down by the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). Research suggests that those with increased levels of happiness (think less anxiety) simply have more levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide in their system.
Research shows that anandamide deficiency predicts stress-induced anxiety and suggests that the reversal of stress-induced anandamide deficiency is a key component in the therapeutic effects of FAAH inhibition.
The Endocannabinoid System as a Regulator of General Anxiety
When it comes to managing anxiety, it’s well-known that several different neurotransmitter systems are involved. This, combined with the function of CB1 receptors in the suppression of neurotransmitter release, is why the endocannabinoid system can be regarded as one of the primary regulators of anxious behavior.
In a 2005 review, authors suggested that the mediating effects of cannabinoids (such as CBD) on anxiety-related responses appear to involve both CB1 and non-CB1 cannabinoid receptors. It’s been discovered that brain regions such as the amygdala, cortex and hippocampus (all of which are involved in emotional behavior) are teeming with CB1 receptors.
Research shows that in animal studies where mice are lacking CB1 receptors, they often show anxiety and depressive-like symptoms, as well as significant alterations in their stress response. It was discovered that blocking CB1 receptors in mice induces anxiety, while the inhibition of anandamide metabolism leads to an anti-anxiety effect.
This is something that led researchers to suggest that the endocannabinoid system appears to play an essential role in one’s emotional state and could be a powerful target used in anti-anxiety therapy.
Endocannabinoid Deficiency and Anxiety
Endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome was first proposed in 2004 by Dr. Ethan Russo, neuroscientist and renowned cannabinoid expert. In a groundbreaking study, Russo suggested a deficiency in the body’s natural endocannabinoid levels could be the reason behind some conditions.
Further research indicates that deficiencies in natural cannabinoids could result in a predisposition to developing PTSD and depression. Authors of the study note that there is “evidence the ECS serves in an anxiolytic, and possibly anti-depressant, role.”
The Endocannabinoid System and Anxiety Related to PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can manifest after a particularly disturbing and traumatic event that reaches far beyond typical stressors that can lead to anxiety. Things that might lead to PTSD include things such as violent personal assault, combat, accidents, natural disasters and more.
While at least half of all adults will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lifetime, not everyone will develop PTSD. Those who do, however, may experience persistent thoughts or memories of the event, might startle easily, could experience sleep problems and feel detached or numb. People with severe forms of PTSD can experience significant problems in their personal lives on a multitude of levels.
What does PTSD have to do with the endocannabinoid system?
A 2013 study was the first to discover that individuals with PTSD have significantly lower concentrations of anandamide than people without PTSD.
For the study, researchers divided 60 individuals into three groups: people with PTSD, people with a history of trauma but no PTSD and people with no history of trauma or PTSD.
Brain imaging detected that individuals with PTSD (especially women) had more CB1 receptors in brain regions associated with fear and anxiety than those without PTSD. It was also discovered that they had lower levels of anandamide, which actually binds to CB1 receptors.
According to the study’s author, when anandamide levels become too low, the brain compensates by increasing the number of CB1 receptors, which “helps the brain utilize the remaining cannabinoids.”
Understanding that those who suffer from PTSD could have lower levels of anandamide, it makes sense that CBD has shown to help with PTSD-related anxiety as the non-psychoactive cannabinoid could work as a sort of anandamide replacement, as the two share extremely comparable structural and chemical characteristics.
Research also suggests that endocannabinoid system signaling promotes both the extinction of fear memories and conditioned fear responses, both hallmark characteristics of PTSD-related anxiety.
The Endocannabinoid System and the Fight or Flight Response
Most everyone is familiar with times of considerable stress or when experiencing a stressful event makes us shift into fight or flight mode. “Fight or flight” is also known as the acute stress response and refers to a very real physiological reaction that occurs when a stressful event happens.
The flight or fight response plays a huge role in how we react to stress and danger in our environment. It can be super helpful in some situations because the stress may help us better deal with the threat we’re facing.
Here’s the thing, though. Some people experience feelings of fight or flight when there isn’t any danger. And in cases such as these, anxiety is a large part of the flight or fight response.
It’s been discovered that CBD may help reduce the negative influence of fight or flight through the activation of the adenosine receptor in the endocannabinoid system. Much like CB1 receptors, adenosine receptors are primarily found in the brain and spinal cord.
When adenosine levels are stimulated, there is also a rise in dopamine and glutamate neurotransmitter levels. Dopamine is responsible for perception, motivation and reward, while glutamate is responsible for cognition, learning and memory.
While more research is warranted, it’s suggested that the endocannabinoid system and the interaction and effect it has with adenosine receptors has a significant influence on feelings of fight or flight.
As CBD Popularity Grows, So Will ECS Research
The increasing popularity of CBD and other cannabinoids has led to increased understanding of how these cannabis compounds work in harmony with our bodies. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has opened the door for a wealth of information on why cannabinoids contain the positive effects they do.
There are numerous studies that show the potential benefits of cannabinoids for the mitigation of anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. Research shows that the endocannabinoid system seems to have a large influence on anxiety, giving us a deeper understanding of not only the potential of cannabinoid therapy but also of anxiety itself.
So, you think you want to be a hemp farmer?
We can’t say that we blame you.
This is an extremely exciting time in history. The 2018 Farm Bill has opened up an area that has been virtually untouched for more than a century. Now that hemp cultivation is basically legal in all 50 states (click here to read more), there’s a growing interest in growing hemp.
It’s estimated that CBD will be a $22 billion industry by 2022. And seeing that CBD is sourced from hemp, getting into the business of hemp farming could prove to be very lucrative indeed.
Just how lucrative?
According to Alex Seleznov, board member of the National Hemp Association, hemp crops grown for CBD could bring in $25–$35 per pound. Each plant will yield roughly one pound of hemp that can be used to source CBD, and with 1,000–1,500 plants per acre, hemp farmers could be looking at around $30,000 per acre of hemp.
Growing hemp, it seems, could turn out to be very lucrative indeed.
Hemp has been grown for thousands of years (many contend it’s the world’s oldest cultivated crop), but modern cultivation methods aren’t quite what they used to be. There’s much more to growing hemp than sticking a seed in the ground and watching it grow. If you really want to grow hemp, here’s everything you need to know.
The Ultimate Guide to Growing Hemp
Where to begin?
Growing hemp is a huge undertaking. Knowing where to start and the right steps to take can make a world of difference when taking on your new venture.
Growing hemp isn’t as straightforward as growing other crops. Before you begin there are a few key points to keep in mind.
The 2014 Farm Bill allowed for pilot programs to cultivate and study hemp — these were approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and various state departments of agriculture. This is something that brought the first “legal” hemp farms back to America and allowed for the expansion of hemp cultivation on a small scale.
The 2018 Farm Bill changed things and is far more expansive than this pilot program. It permits for broad hemp cultivation in all 50 states, which is something that has sparked the interest of several would-be hemp farmers.
New legislation, however, doesn’t exactly create a system where anyone can grow hemp wherever and whenever they please. Basically, you’re not going to be growing hemp as freely as you would basil and tomatoes, then selling your hemp-derived products at your local farmer’s market.
Getting Started Growing Hemp
There are certain restrictions regarding hemp cultivation. If you’re interested in taking on this new venture, it’s vital to know everything there is to know before you begin.
Hemp Cultivation Regulation
If you want to grow hemp, keep in mind that there are going to be strict state/federal regulations to do so. Section 10113 of the Farm Bill states that state departments of agriculture must confer with the state’s governor and chief law enforcement officer to come up with a plan which will then be submitted to the Secretary of USDA and can only begin once it’s approved.
States, however, have the option to opt out of formulating a regulatory program. If you live in a state that doesn’t create a regulatory program, you’ll have to apply for a license under a federally run program.
Capital and Overhead Cost
Starting a hemp farm isn’t exactly cheap. Keep in mind that capital (money spent on land, equipment, etc.) and overhead cost (money necessary to keep your hemp farm operating) will likely be on the higher end of the monetary scale for first-time farmers. Already have a big piece of land? Perfect! Bigger operations mean bigger profits in the end. Keep in mind, though, that smaller hemp farms can also be a valuable investment if you do things right.
Aside from everything you need to set up your hemp farm and keep it running, there are likely going to be special permits that will need to be obtained through your state’s department of agriculture. Some states (but not all) require a criminal background check for would-be hemp farmers.
Know the Laws
Knowing the laws surrounding legal hemp cultivation seems like a no-brainer, but if they’re not followed exactly the way they’re laid out by the U.S. government, your entire crop could potentially be destroyed.
Any hemp cultivated in the U.S. cannot exceed the 0.3% THC limit. This is the magic number that separates hemp from marijuana. If your hemp crop contains any more than this allowable percentage of THC come harvest, your entire crop (per U.S. law) must be destroyed.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), various state policymakers have taken action to address various policy issues and at least 41 states have enacted legislation to establish industrial hemp cultivation and product programs. They also offer an overview of individual state laws and public acts on industrial hemp research and cultivation.
Hemp Cultivation 101
When it comes to growing, hemp is one of the easier crops to cultivate. They don’t say cannabis grows like a weed for nothing.
That being said, there are still a few things to keep in mind when you’re ready to sow your seeds (or cut your clones).
If you’re interested in growing the best hemp you can, keep the following tips in mind for a successful harvest come fall.
7 Tips for Successfully Growing Hemp
1. Start Small
When learning to grow hemp, it’s best to start small. Sure, you might have a 100-acre plot of land — which is awesome. But that’s also A LOT of land, and there are immense amounts of preparation and work that will go into it.
Seleznov advises new hemp farmers to start small and experiment. Rather than start on such a massive scale, start small and go slow. Hemp production isn’t going anywhere. And if things keep going the way they are in the CBD industry, hemp will be in demand for quite a while.
For your first-year farming, start with one acre, maybe two. Learn everything you can in that first year about growing hemp and plan on expanding the following season.
2. Understand Your Soil
When it comes to growing hemp, we can’t stress enough how important soil quality really is. Assuming you’ve already got a plot of land where you’re interested in growing, one of the very first things you’ll want to do is get your soil tested. Soil testing kits are typically available from most extension offices in the state you live in. Once you get your results back, it’s important not only to note the nutrient content of your soil, but also the texture of your soil as well.
It’s a common myth that hemp can be grown anywhere. It actually grows better in certain types of soil over others. The best soil for growing hemp is loose, well-aerated loam that has high fertility and an abundance of organic matter. The pH level of the soil should be 6.0-7.5.
While well-drained or tiled clay soil can be used to grow hemp, soil that is structured poorly or drains poorly typically results in crop failure, right around the time seedlings and young hemp plants are prone to damping-off (a plant disease that occurs from poor soil drainage).
You can also grow a good hemp crop with sandy soil; however, this isn’t the most desirable type of soil for hemp production. Why? Because sandy soil needs additional irrigation and fertilization in order to assure a successful harvest.
After you’ve determined you have the right type of soil to grow hemp, you’ll also need to ensure that it contains the nutrients necessary for your plants to thrive. Hemp requires high levels of nitrogen, medium to high levels of phosphorus, adequate levels of sulfur and calcium levels that aren’t in excess. Aside from being planted in well-aerated, loamy soil, hemp thrives when organic matter added to soil is more than 3.5%.
Keep in mind that hemp is a plant that is responsible for a process known as phytoremediation. This means that hemp will soak up whatever is in the soil it’s planted in. Hemp is so adept at phytoremediation that it has been planted in abundance at the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster site to pull radioactive waste from the soil. If you’re growing your hemp for CBD, the importance of growing organic hemp can’t be stressed enough.
3. Sowing Your Hemp Seeds/Using Cannabis Clones
Growing any kind of plant seems like it would be a fairly basic process, right?
Stick a seed in the ground and water it until a seedling pokes its head out. Super simple. When it comes to growing hemp, things get a little more complicated.
Keep in mind that you have a couple of options. These include using hemp seeds or hemp clones. What’s the difference? Let’s take a deeper look.
Before you begin, it’s vital you understand that when it comes to the hemp plant itself, there are several different genetics. If you’re growing hemp for the purpose of CBD, the last thing you want is a variety of hemp that is intended for stalk and fiber (such as in making various textiles).
Something else to keep in mind is that cannabis has been prohibited for years. This means that hemp seeds are a bit different than commercial seeds for standard vegetable crops (think tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.). While commercial seeds are typically genetically stable (meaning the seed will produce identical plants of the same phenotype), hemp is a bit different. Consistency might not always be the same, which is why it’s paramount you do your research before purchasing hemp seeds.
Don’t assume that you can just buy any old bag of hemp seeds from the store, stick them in the ground and watch them grow into a lucrative cannabis field. Because cannabis was prohibited for so long, it’s a bit behind when it comes to finding seeds that will produce consistent results.
In a recent interview, founding chair of the National Hemp Association, Michael Bowman, explained where farmers interested in hemp production get seed, noting that Canada and Europe were the best options. Bowman put it like this:
“The challenge is the .3 THC limit. There is a lot of seed available outside of the U.S., but we don’t know how acclimated it is to latitudes and longitudes here and how that correlates to THC limits at harvest. If farmers bring in seed and the crop busts the .3 limit at harvest, it becomes marijuana under the law and must be destroyed. That will keep a brake on some robust expansion until we get a good feel for how those genetics are going to express themselves in different environments. It will take another year.”
Don’t want to wait a year? There are already options to purchase hemp seeds — it’s just a matter of ensuring that you’re going to get a consistent crop, which is something vital in any farming industry.
If you don’t want to go the seed route, there’s always the option of clones.
While seeds are a bit easier to find, hemp clones can offer superior consistency when it comes to hemp cultivation.
What exactly are clones?
Simply put, clones are the cuttings from a “mother” plant. These clippings then grow their own root systems and become plants that are genetically identical to the original plant, which can grow year after year.
Clones are taken from the healthiest lower branches of the mother plant. Once they are cut from the plant, they are then rooted in water, cloning solution or rockwool. Roots typically sprout from the clone in 2–3 weeks.
Hemp clones, however, aren’t exactly common to come by, which can make sourcing clones for your hemp farm a bit difficult depending on the state where you live.
4. Planting Your Hemp
When it comes to actually planting your hemp into the ground, there are some important aspects to keep in mind.
First of all, you’ll want to pick the best date to plant your crop. There are different growing zones throughout the U.S., so each state will be a bit different when it comes to the time of year you actually get started. As a general rule of thumb, plant your hemp when all danger of frost has passed. Ideally, soil temperature will be between 46–50 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, keep in mind that soil moisture is necessary for seed germination. Seeds should be planted at 0.75-1.25.
Spacing between each hemp plant is subject to what you’re growing your hemp for. When it comes to hemp, crop spacing is highly determined by your intended yield. Crop spacing will be different for fiber, seed and the manufacturing of CBD. Hemp crops that are intended for fiber can be planted closer together, while hemp planted for seed and CBD manufacturing will need to be planted farther apart.
According to Bowman, when growing hemp for CBD, farmers should anticipate 1,000–1,600 plants per acre. When growing hemp for fiber used in industrial purposes, this number skyrockets to up to 30,000 plants per acre or more.
5. Watering Your Plants
Just exactly how much water do hemp plants need to thrive? It’s assumed that hemp requires 20–30 inches of rainfall during its growth cycle. If precipitation is less than this, irrigation will be necessary.
Keep in mind that the absorption of water increases each day until flowering begins. After this, absorption of water significantly decreases, then increases again during the late flowering and seed formation period.
According to the USDA Farmer’s Bulletin No. 1935, “Drought conditions, if accompanied by high temperatures, appear to hasten maturity before the plants are fully grown…. Hemp requires a plentiful supply of moisture throughout its growing season, especially during the first 6 weeks. After it has become well rooted and the stalks are 20 to 30 inches high it will endure drier conditions, but a severe drought hastens its maturity and tends to dwarf its growth. It will endure heavy rains, or even a flood of short duration, on light, well-drained soils, but on heavy, impervious soils excessive rain, especially when the plants are young, will ruin the crop…. The hemp plants in puddled areas of a saturated field will be ruined within two days; it is imperative that the field be well-drained. On the other hand, if the slope of a field is too steep, precipitation will run off the field before it can be retained.”
Nutrients needed for a successful harvest will be largely determined by a soil test. According to the Agricultural Analytical Services Lab at Penn State University, when soil contains optimum levels of potassium (K) and phosphorous (P), the following nutrients are recommended for a potential 1,500-pound crop: 150lbs nitrogen (N), 30lbs phosphate (P205) and 20lbs potash (K20).
Hemp is also subject to a variety of different diseases and garden pests. Some of the most common diseases include grey mold (Botrytis cinereal), white mold (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum), root rot and blight. Common garden pests that like to prey on hemp include aphids, grasshoppers, flea beetles, grubs and cutworms.
While pesticide and insecticide use is obviously up to the discretion of the farmer, many growers prefer to stick with organic farming processes. There are plenty of natural solutions that will help keep pests off your hemp plants.
Companion planting is a cultivation technique that can help plants maintain increased resistance to various diseases and garden pests. Companion planting has a history of some 10,000 years; it was implemented by Native American tribes who planted corn, beans and squash together, as they found when planted together these particular plants thrived.
Companion planting with hemp is something that shouldn’t be underestimated. Common companion plants for hemp include basil (the pungent smell is a natural pest deterrent), chives, cilantro, and sage (all help deter aphids, flies, spider mites and beetles), peppermint (deters harmful insects and attracts beneficial ones), garlic (a natural fungicide), beans (help supplement nitrogen into the soil) and chrysanthemums (help protect against microscopic worms that can ruin root structure).
Harvest. The moment every farmer waits for after a long growing season. If you’ve ever grown anything (even one tomato in your backyard), you know how anticipated (and exciting) this time of year truly is.
When it comes to harvesting hemp, the time which it is done is determined by the type of hemp being cultivated. Hemp that is planted for CBD is typically harvested around early October, or when the plant is approximately 16 weeks old and the flowers have ripened and are full of seed.
Hemp grown for fiber, on the other hand, is generally ready to harvest between the time of early bloom and seed set. Industrial hemp also goes through another process in harvest known as retting, which helps break the bonds between the two different variations of fiber in the hemp plant.
There’s No Better Time to Start Growing Hemp
We just covered A LOT of information, and we understand that it can be extremely overwhelming to take everything in.
We also just covered the basics. There’s a lot that goes into growing hemp. But if you’re up for the challenge and willing to work hard, there’s nothing more rewarding than reaping the fruits of your labor.
Remember, we’re at the very beginning stages of an industry that is projected to explode in the coming years. Becoming a successful hemp farmer can be done. Humans have been growing this ancient crop since the time that crop cultivation began — growing hemp is nothing new. It’s simply new to us in this particular period of time.
Interested in growing hemp?
There’s truly no better time to get started than now.