In the battle to beat work-related stress, we need all the arms we can muster. Cannabidiol (CBD) may become our close ally.
Sixty-four percent of adults report work as a common stressor in America.  Chronic stress may evolve into work-related anxiety, which the American Psychological Association describes as “harmful to both physical and emotional health.”  Anxiety eats away at our well-being from the inside out. But can CBD really help?
In the early 1980s, researchers confirmed that CBD inhibits the anxiety-inducing effects of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in human beings.  CBD antagonizes THC by increasing anandamide, the natural endocannabinoid with priority for cannabinoid receptors.  Nonetheless, the anxiolytic effects of CBD extend beyond simply countering THC.
In individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD), administration of CBD has been shown to regulate regional cerebral blood flow to the limbic and paralimbic brain areas.  CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels for SAD patients tasked with public speaking.  Animal studies have found CBD as effective as diazepam (a benzodiazepine) for reducing anxiety-related responses. [7,8]
The standalone anxiety-reducing effects of CBD may be attributable to interaction with 5HT (serotonin) receptors. Several experiments have found that while CBD does not agonize cannabinoid receptors, it does directly activate serotonin receptors. [9,10] According to the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, “serotonin may be associated with physical health as well as mood.”  Pharmaceutical medications for depression and anxiety include selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, which aim to increase serotonin in the brain. 
As mentioned, CBD also indirectly elevates anandamide. Upregulation of the endocannabinoid system has been correlated to neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which may mediate the effects of chronic stress.  While the mechanism is still not precisely clear, an increasing number of studies suggest that CBD exerts anxiolytic effects in humans.
For example, in a sample of 72 adults with anxiety or poor sleep, CBD improved anxiety symptoms in 57 patients and improved sleep in 48 patients.  Better sleep may aid stress reduction over time through the cascade effect.
CBD has shown promise as an anxiety-reducing agent, but it is important to address the issue on every possible front. The National Alliance on Mental Illness recommends sharing one’s feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional. Taking time off may also help. Finally, accepting anxiety – rather than fearing/fighting it – may actually take some of the power from these feelings. 
Tight deadlines, workplace politics, and excess workloads are among the myriad of issues that many face in the office. CBD may be a viable addition in the battle to win back your sense of calm. Always speak to a healthcare professional if you find that feelings of stress are becoming overwhelming. Remember that mental health comes first.